Put Together

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.

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Sleepless

Michigan J. Frog, as seen on The WB

Image via Wikipedia

It’s like the old Warner Bros. cartoons where Michigan J. Frog pretends to be dead and then starts dancing and singing when no one is looking, driving Porky Pig crazy.  We have a heck of a time getting this kid to settle down, but whenever we have guests or my mom comes over to help, he’s a perfectly restful quiet baby.  Which makes me think that we’re doing something wrong.  Thea suggested today that perhaps we’re not being as loving and cuddly as Grandma, so I tried.  In my most lovey-dovey voice I nuzzled Nathanael, cooing “Who’s a bad baby?  You are!  You are!  Who’s driving Daddy crazy?  My tiddly widdly pain in the butt!”  To no avail.

But I guess our bodies adapt to little sleep.  Here I am, fully functional with a measly three hours rest.  Although… I have no recollection of the drive to or from church.  How did I get home?

I have to get back into the preaching rotation in December, and I’m not looking forward to it.  Usually I need time to ruminate and digest, and our new lifestyle of two-hour cycles, twenty-four hours a day isn’t going jive well with my system.  But we adapt.  I feel sorry for the poor souls who have to listen to me on a Sunday morning for the few weeks before the baby’s schedule starts to… I don’t know.  Isn’t something supposed to happen where he actually sleeps for a reasonable chunk of time?  Someday?

I can hear him grunting and complaining in the nursery.  He started off feeding every three hours, but we’ve graduated to every two.  I feel like our life should be a musical montage of us repeatedly feeding the baby, changing the baby, holding the baby, and holding each other and weeping when he won’t sleep.

 

Sleeping Babes

The other night I climbed into bed very late, having stayed up to watch X-Men.  Naturally.  I’m taking advantage of my movie time while I still have it.

Thea was asleep and I put my hand on her belly and baby was moving all around.  I tapped his bum (according to the doctor) and he moved over to the other side.  So I tapped him there and he moved away again.  It was like we were playing a little game.  Or I was annoying the heck out of him.  But a strange thought that baby is awake and doing… whatever he’s doing in there while Mommy is asleep.

The Meeting Place

Thea is off volunteering at the school where Nemo may one day attend.

Weird to think that we could still be in this neighbourhood in five to ten years.  Not a bad weird… but in my mind my dad is forty.  It’s still a decade away for me, but I find that the older you get, the faster time goes.  The pregnancy has flown by.  At least for the one who doesn’t have to experience morning sickness and swollen ankles.

I met Thea around this time of year back in 1999.  The air was crisp and the leaves were changing… just like our hearts.  Actually I don’t really remember the first time we met.  She was with two other Filipina girls and they all looked the same to me.  Ah… l’amour.

I don’t think I can even remember the first day of school.  I can remember when I peed my pants in kindergarten.  It was gym day or something so my mom made me wear my gym shorts under my pants and they didn’t have a fly.  So when I opened my outer pants I was blockaded by my inner pants.  Like opening a door and finding a brick wall.  I remember desperately fumbling but it was too late.  Just too late.  I had to do the soggy walk of shame back to the kindergarten room, knowing that it wasn’t my fault.  My mom came with a fresh pair of pants and she held up a Canadian flag for me to change behind.

Can’t remember meeting my wife, though.

Father’s Day

DadWhen I was little, when we lived in Campbellville surrounded by cornfields with our gravel driveway and creaky metal swing-set my dad could jump over picnic tables and kick a soccer ball so high in the air it would be just a little dot.  Every Father’s Day I want to write something, but I never do.  It’s hard to say things.

Let’s give it a try.

My dad didn’t let us win at games.  I think he found it funny how angry we got every time he scored a goal or delivered a checkmate.

At night I would wake up to his Vaseline-gobbed pinky stretching my nostrils for fear that I couldn’t breathe.  And he wouldn’t let me wear my Superman cape to bed in case I choked.  To this day I can’t think of I time where I’ve visited and he doesn’t ask me if I can breathe at night.

He would re-enact his army stories with our G. I. Joes.

Taking a cue from Solomon, he ripped my rubber Spider-Man in half to share with my brother when Jordan was convinced and vocal that it belonged to him.  Jordan’s Spider-Man was later discovered behind the washing machine.

When we’d jump into his bed in the morning he’d talk to us with his feet, falsetto-voiced Serbian feet that we’d pry apart as they’d argue with each other.

My dad was convinced that my pet lizards were disease ridden and one winter afternoon I arrived home to find their tank in the backyard, lizards frozen solid.  Apparently they were “already dead” when put outside.

The spectrum of my memory ranges from that guy jumping picnic tables and coaxing people to touch his biceps to the gray-haired man who needs help operating the printer… and digital camera… and cell phone… and who coaxes people to touch his biceps.

I should mention that last time I fixed his printer it wouldn’t work because it was full of change.  I didn’t ask any questions.  We can all make our own conclusions.

I feel blessed to have been raised by a dad who put us kids first, always.  When he coached my soccer team and I was chasing butterflies and picking dandelions instead of playing defense there must have been some dashed hopes of having a world-class athlete son.  But I know that all he ever wanted was the best for me, a chance to grab every or any opportunity, to cultivate in me the character to make the most of my life.  The same high hopes, aspirations and dreams that I’ll have for my own kids when I have them.

And his legacy is a part of me.  I’ve been thinking about it because of Father’s Day, about leaving a legacy.  And although I certainly didn’t inherit any athletic ability, so much of who I am and how I think has been molded by my dad: my sense of humour and love for nature and my well-developed calf muscles.

And the thing is, when it’s my turn to raise my own family, I have a lot to work with, to draw on.   Very little to discard other than a couple of dead lizards and a gob of Vaseline.

That’s what I think about Father’s Day.