So the Boy turns one in a few days. And really we don’t have anything huge planned. It’s a combination of he-won’t-remember and Thea-has-no-free-time-to-plan-and-Nikolas-is-hopeless. Just a small family thing. But the hope is that Thea will be able to put together a Batman cake. Does one “put together” a cake?
I think I’ve been adjusting fine to… staying in my pajamas and watching movies with a toddler. Admittedly, not a difficult adjustment. Much more difficult for Thea to go back to full-time work… and then some. Being a teacher is hard. And unlike me, Thea doesn’t look for shortcuts nor is she as comfortable with mediocrity. So she works very hard.
Fortunately, we have a setup where I’m able to work from home quite a bit (he says as he updates his blog) and my mom can watch the Boy a couple days a week. In my mind, a pretty good setup. Of course… I’m the one in pajamas.
So I feel a little guilty that we’re not the traditional family… Where the man goes to work and… the wife stays home. I guess the traditional family from the 50’s. Because I know very few families where one parent can stay home. Life is expensive.
I’ve taken to calling the baby “Duling.” Which is Tagalog for “cross-eyed.” He’s got daddy’s close-set eyes and from certain angles… well… he looks cross-eyed.
I actually just like the sound of it: Du·ling’. Emphasis on the ling. I don’t really think about what it means.
Makes me wonder about how much influence we have on our kids. Clearly his cheerful and buoyant personality have nothing to do with me. But will he end up sarcastic because Thea and I can both be sardonic? Will he appreciate movies because… he has watched so many with me already? He loved Blade Runner.
Then again, my dad likes the sports. Me… not so much. But there’s a good chance I don’t like sports as a reaction to my dad’s competitiveness. Which, coupled with my incompetence, made for a pretty miserable time. The only times I ever scored goals in soccer were on my own team. Note the plural. And my dad was the coach. Tried to trade me.
Alright, I’ve been asked by a friend to try to actually write something regularly on the ole’ blog to help combat his loneliness at being so far from home… Maybe this selfless ambition will motivate me. We’ll see.
I wonder why it is that I’ve been unmotivated to write for the past couple years. Every time I try to write an update, it becomes about why-I-don’t-write-anymore, much like what’s happening right now. And that’s boring to read about, and not much more fun to write about.
So… fatherhood. Love it. The first two months were a nightmare. The past six have been just lovely. Honestly, if we’d had one of those kids that doesn’t sleep properly for the first year, I don’t think I’d have made it. The two months of little-to-no-sleep was agony enough.
But now we’re in a routine. He eats, sleeps, plays, poops, repeat.
It’s fun making him laugh, and watching him think and figure things out in his little baby brain. I like that he recognizes me and he’s excited to see me when I come home.
I wonder how much of his personality is already there, if I’ll be able to see in hindsight his character in embryo…
Alright… boring, rambling post. Usually at this point I’d just delete it and forget about the blog for six months… Just going to post and try to get some momentum going.
Three months ago today I became a dad.
I can currently hear him complaining in the nursery, wanting to stay up and socialize even though it’s bedtime.
So he sleeps through the night. For the past couple weeks he’s been sleeping eight or nine hours a night, which is glorious. The first time the Big Sleep happened it was from five to eleven in the morning. And we’ve been moving it a half-hour or fifteen minutes earlier each night so now we’re close to midnight. And he doesn’t want to go much earlier than that. He could barely keep his eyes open when I put him down at 11:30 tonight and he’s still grumbling in the next room.
The first time he slept from 1am to 10am we were confused and disoriented when we awoke. Why is it so quiet? Why do I feel so rested? Didn’t we have a kid? And then there’s the mad rush to check if he’s still alive. Then the joyful hugging and crying. Which or course wakes the baby.
So I guess we made it through the worst. Teething. Bring it on. I survived Wake-a-thon.
I have to say, for a while near the end there I didn’t think I was going to make it. For weeks Thea and I divided the night. I would take the first shift in the family room, rocking and feeding him, usually to four or five in the morning. Sometimes six or seven. Sleeping for the odd hour. And as the night would deepen and he would continuously wake me from my fifteen minute snoozes I would feel my anger and resentment building… against this needy little bugger and against my wife for enjoying her five hours of sleep. By the time I got to the end of my shift I would pretty much shove the baby into Thea’s arms, with a firm plan to pack my bags and head for New Zealand. After I slept.
So hopefully no more posts about sleep. Yeah right. Wait till he discovers the monsters under his bed.
Oh man, so many complaints about my lack of updates on this thing.
I’m just not feeling it people, we should just let this blog rest in peace.
Yesterday my parents came over and my we spent the day painting the nursery. One of the things that excited me about the house was the finished nursery with adorable teddy bear wallpaper. Yay, one room that doesn’t need work. Then we bought the house and Thea informed me that the teddy bear room was horrible and must be changed. Son of a monkey’s uncle. Monkey’s cousin.
To add insult to injury, if I may appropriate an appropriate cliché, I had already filled the baby’s room with action figures. Admittedly, Batman doesn’t complement a teddy bear picnic theme, but c’mon. Apparently neither the permanent décor nor the remnants of my childhood are good enough for our son. So Batmen are back in storage because they’ll “scare the baby” and the teddy bear wallpaper is garbaged because it’s “terrible.”
So we painted. And it was fun and relaxing. Except that the first coat of paint started blistering wherever the teddy bear wallpaper boarder had once lived. I suggested we draw little circles around the bubbles and just go with an “under-the-sea” theme but it looks like the bubbles have subsided and tragedy has been averted. Except when I lost my balance and fell into the freshly painted wall. Apparently my life is a Three Stooges episode. Meanwhile my mother is taking pictures of me painting so we can keep it in our “baby scrapbook.” Somehow, I think between the midnight feedings and the opening of the last Harry Potter movie, we’re going to find it difficult to find time to scrapbook. “Honey, the baby is drowning.” “Wait a second, I’m scrapbooking.” We’re not really people for whom scrapbook is a verb.
It’s frightening how satisfying it is to own a house. I worry that Jesus weeps at my materialism.
Thea and I have been debating over whether we’re bad parents if we go see Harry Potter. It opens the week after little Nemo is due. I think yes… that would be bad.
Thea and I decided that we wouldn’t reveal our potential baby names because… we have enough trouble with opinions between the two of us. Throw any more people into the mix and it will be chaos.
The thing is, we have such diverse taste. Thea prefers savoury while I like sweet. I’m talking about food now, not babies. If I think the doggy in the window is adorable, she’ll inevitably think it looks like a mangy beast. Thankfully, our taste in movies and music complements nicely. And she always saves her beverage for the end of the meal while I finish mine way too early so ever since we got together I’ve had a backup drink with which I can wash down my tasty meal. What was I talking about? Oh… names.
So my sister gave us a baby name book that’s great with suggestions and cross-references and categories… but I know that as soon as I see a name I like… Thea’s going to hate it. Somehow the names that jump out at me are particularly loathsome to her and vice versa. But after much discussion we’ve salvaged a list of mutually appealing names. Unfortunately, no one will hear the list until we’ve met baby and made the final decision. But there you go.
We had ultrasound #2 yesterday. A mixed experience. I am not a patient man. I’m horrible in supermarket lines and behind slow drivers. And in waiting rooms while my wife is off being ultrasounded. Seriously, I sat there for forty-five minutes with no news. Other pregnant women came and went. An old episode of CSI was on the communal television and the elderly woman beside me could not understand the plot and kept asking her daughter for clarification. “Did he say ‘body’ or ‘bee’?” “Who is that guy again?” “Why are crime scene investigators involved in other areas of police work?” I made up that last one. Finally, after actually witnessing my fingernails grow they called me into the room. And extreme agitation melted into elation as I saw my wife with her big belly all greased up looking at her blob baby on the black and white monitor. It was magical.
And the nice technician lady showed us all the stuff we saw last time, and a little extra thrown in for fun. And this time I could actually make out what she was talking about.
There are moments. Most of the time we don’t see them coming. The stuff we remember… The flashes of significance that form our memories. Other times we’re aware that right now, this is important. Earmarked moments. Proposing to Thea surrounded by crunchy coloured leaves. Sitting in a shady corner of beach watching her trying to snorkel in that yellow bikini. And now this. A poor little peed-on stick perched by the drain in our bathroom sink.
So obviously I haven’t written in a while. Let’s see if impending fatherhood motivates me at all.
I must say, besides the excitement and wonder at watching my wife’s belly expand like something out of Science Fiction, I’m getting a lot of amusement-mileage out of annoying her. For example: the name debate. We’ve decided to not discuss names outside of our coupledom (to spare people the embarrassment of telling us that they hate a name we eventually choose… and we have enough trouble agreeing between just the two of us), but I get a perverse pleasure out of suggesting deliciously horrible names and then watching my wife’s reaction. And then I don’t back down and I get to watch the horror grow on her face as she begins to believe that I may be serious.
“I think Sherlock would be a great name for a kid.”
“Whatever, I know you’re not serious.”
“No, think about it, everyone would assume that she’s smart.”
“Sherlock is a boy’s name.”
“Boy names for girls is very hip right now.”
“What if it’s a boy?”
“We’re not naming him Cornelius!”
If anyone has named their child Sherlock or Cornelius, I mean no offense. And shame on you.
Or there was the great Mural Debate of March. I thought one wall of the nursery could be a mural of a forest or magical land… but no. Apparently this isn’t a democracy at all.
And I bought a diaper bag that I know that Thea doesn’t like because it’s been sitting forlornly in the corner for two months. But we’re using it for diapers. By God, we’re using that diaper bag.
So there we go. It was suggested to me that I keep a record of these next few months because never again will a be a first-time dad. So I’m resurrecting poor neglected blog. Let’s see if it takes.