Saturday, December 31, 2005

An unexpected memory of Mom

While rooting around in our basement for our daughter's baby items that our son-to-be might find useful, I found the lost half of the baby monitor that we used back then. It was in a 30 gallon black trash bag with about 3 gallons of things that had nothing to do with each other besides the fact that they were originally found in our bedroom before we moved.

This reminded me of Mom because long before, when she was alive, she'd asked me to find this for her. She was already having trouble walking, and they thought a baby monitor would be a good way for my stepfather to listen for her when he was elsewhere in the house. At the time, I could only find one of the pair, and this was a great weight on me.

I recall being in the dark of the basement searching high and low for the other half of the baby monitor set. My mom was dying, and there was nothing I could do about it. They'd asked for this one thing, and I was sure I had it here somewhere, but I couldn't find it. This small way to help, I could not manage.

I looked and I looked, but I only ever found the one half. I can still feel feeble.

Here it is, nearly a year after her death, and this small item can churn up those memories. There's not really any shame in what happened, but I still feel guilt.

Friday, December 30, 2005

A few words about newborns.

It's been almost five years since my daughter was born. One nice thing about the second baby is that we already know how to handle it. I'm surprised by some of the little lessons I've retained over all this time. Here are a few.

Newborns like to be swaddled. The womb before delivery is pretty cramped quarters, and that's what baby is used to. What older human beans consider confining, newborns feel secure.

Remove socks before changing a dirty diaper. When baby plants a foot in the manure, it's easier to wipe it off a bare foot than it is to remove a stinky sock.

Before six weeks of age, a smile means baby has gas.

The baby will eat as long as you feed and then spit up what won't fit in a tiny tummy. You have to be smarter than the baby! Just because baby seems willing to eat more doesn't mean it can actually happen or that the baby is still hungry.

Babies are individuals. When our daughter was as old as our son is now, she was well hooked on the pacifier. Our son doesn't like the thing at all.

Newborns lack guile. There's no need to worry that the baby is tricking you into doing something that's not best. Older kids will cry in protest at bed time just to get Mom or Dad to show up and keep them company when they really need to rest. Newborns cry with sincerity.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Seventh sign of the coming apocalypse

I've been tapped in a chain meme. Yipee!

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
  1. Experience freefall
  2. Visit Europe
  3. Raise kids
  4. Live
  5. Fire a gun
  6. Write something big and good
  7. List seven things I cannot do
Seven Things I Cannot Do
  1. Levitate
  2. Think of seven things...
  3. Type fast with baby in my arms.
  4. Keep up
  5. Dance
  6. See in the dark
  7. Eat my own weight in Suzy Q's
Seven Things That Attract Me To. . . Blogging
  1. Writing
  2. Reading
  3. Interaction
  4. Arguments (especially bad ones)
  5. Fame
  6. Fortune
  7. A place to put time I'm not using.
Seven Things I Say Most Often
  1. I Say...
  2. How can I help?
  3. What?
  4. Howdy
  5. Goddammit
  6. For Pete's sake!
  7. OK.
Seven Books That I Love
  1. Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert A. Heinlein
  2. Snow Crash — Neal Stephenson
  3. Cryptonomicon — Neal Stephenson
  4. Programming Perl — Larry Wall
  5. Last Chance to See — Douglas Adams
  6. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams
  7. Lords and Ladies — Terry Pratchett
Seven Movies That I Watch Over And Over Again
  1. A Few Good Men — "I believe every word of their story, and I think they should go to jail for the rest of their lives."
  2. Star Wars — "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."
  3. Aliens — "Game over, man, game over!"
  4. The Princess Bride — "Never get involved in a land war in Asia"
  5. Raiders of the Lost Ark — "I'm making this up as I go."
  6. Unforgiven — "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
  7. Die Hard — "Do I sound like I'm ordering a pizza?"
Seven Songs I Play Over And Over Again
  1. Sick & Beautiful — Artificial Joy Club
  2. You Oughta Know — Alanis Morissette
  3. No Hero — The Offspring
  4. Simply Irresistable — Robert Palmer
  5. Paint It Black — The Rolling Stones
  6. Treat Me Like Dirt — Patti Rothberg
  7. Turn The Page — Bob Seger
Seven People I Want To Join In Too
  1. Lee
  2. Garou
  3. MDC
  4. Muse
  5. And three other people less lazy than I am.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Baby Boy Hasselbacher

I've finally given up finding a good picture of him. They just don't seem to do him justice. So, here's one from the first hours of life outside the womb:
Baby boy

He was born at 4:11 AM, December 15. He weighed 7 lb., 1 oz.

He scared his old man coming out because his umbilical was wrapped around his neck (and abdomen), but the doctor cut it off fast, and he seems no worse for it. He's almost two weeks old today, and he's 18 oz. over his birth weight.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

God's gift: litterbug.

On the tollway one morning, I was crawling behind a car with the license plate "GODZ GFT". The driver chucked an empty cup of yogurt out the side window. There has to be some deep cosmic meaning to God's gift being a litterbug, but I'll be experiencing damnation if I can find it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My unbelievable daughter.

At nightly pre-bed wind-down time, my daughter is typically in her bed, watching something she's already seen a hundred times before (but has nevertheless asked to see again). The other night, I walked into her room to find her standing in front of the TV with one hand over it as if to reach something on top.

"What are you doing?" I asked. This is a question that has increasingly been answered with "nothing" lately, but this time she said:

"I got a booger."

"And you were putting it behind the TV?"

"Um, yeah."

I give her points for honesty. I pointed and said, "use the tissues right next to your bed and put it in the trash." Then I left her alone. She might still have put it behind the TV for all I know.

This and many other behaviors drive home the lesson, she's not a little adult. She doesn't reason the way we do, doesn't have the same priorities we do. The world is a different place to her.

This makes for a certain unpredictability. The dogs chew things when we leave sometimes, and once in a while they surprise us with what they're willing to shred orally, but that behavior is basically bounded. My daughter, on the other hand, is capable of so much more. Finding something torn up on the floor when we get home isn't such a shock, but what will I find when I finally look behind the TV?