24 February 2008

In which I become overwhelmingly sappy

The boy is now two months old, and is exploding onto the scene.  He's gone from someone who eats, sleeps, fills his diaper and stares at nothing to someone with a personality.  He smiles all the time, which of course melts my heart every time he does it at me.  He recognizes us.  He giggles, especially when I rub the bottom of his feet.  He has "conversations," mostly with himself.  He's discovered that he can make other noises than just cries.

He is amazing.  A week or so ago I was nestling him in my arms as he was falling asleep when all of the sudden his eyes shot open and he smiled at me.  Then he fell fast asleep.  There may never have been a more perfect moment in my life.  When I die, I hope I have the chance to make that the last thing I remember about this world.

Kristen and I are adjusting, but we are still stumped by a few things.  He had his first vaccinations last Friday, and even though we knew he could be a little fussy for a while afterwards, we were still a little stunned by how loudly he screamed, how persistently.  Even though it's normal, it's hard to hear a baby that you would do anything for be that upset.  He calmed down after an hour or so and slept for the rest of the night, so all is well.  We know that he is not a crier unless he's hungry, needs a diaper change, or gets startled while he is sleeping (those cries can be very startling for us too) and we are good at recognizing which cry it is.  And now we know the "I've just had multiple needles plunged into my legs and you're damn right I'm going to howl" cry, so we'll be better prepared next time.

He is a pork chop.  I can't believe how different he looks, how he has plumped out all over the place.  He has rolls on his legs and his neck, and multiple chins.  His belly sticks out over the sides of his torso.

I know 99.9% of people with children saw all this when their first child was an infant.  Still, because it's new for me it feels so individualistic, like I am the only one who has ever gone through this.  It will be interesting to see how I react when number two comes around (no, that is not a breaking news story-that is still a ways away).

Having Desmond in December (though not specifically planned) has done wonders for my mental being.  Normally around this time of year I get significantly blue as I get full sick of winter.  We are actually having a winter in Chicago this year; multiple snowfalls and cold temperatures, in contrast to the last few years when it seems like we get shipped to Seattle for three months.  Forty degrees with rain and low, gray clouds really head me into a funk when they last for weeks at a time.  They shouldn't call what we've had in the past winter; it ought to be called blah, or something a bit more vitriolic.

(By the way, no offense to Seattle.  I like it there.  There's enough to do to overcome the iffy weather most of the time.  I'm just not used to it)

I am already thinking to next winter when Des will be able to go outside and experience what it feels like in the snow.  Of course before that he'll have the opportunity to roll in the grass.  Having a kid is like being a kid again, because I get to see the things I did again, this time as a witness.  I never really thought about that before.

Man, I love my son.  I knew I would, of course, but I did not think it would be this much of a rush.  I feel like I just climbed Mount Everest in an hour.

16 February 2008


Nothing is more aggravating that writing for an hour and then forgetting that if you put something in a search engine without opening a new window, you're going to lose whatever you failed to post.

So I'll sum up: two weeks ago five women were massacred at a Lane Bryant store outside Chicago.  Two days ago five students were massacred at a university just outside Chicago.  In response to the school shooting, President Bush today said that "all anyone can do is pretty much pray."  Yeah, that'll stop everything.  Of course, Bush is a Republican, and this is an election year (even though, thank God, he won't ever run for anything again) so he can't say anything that will piss off the NRA.

Look, I'm realistic.  The 2nd Amendment isn't going away.  Some people need a gun to feel safe.  Some folks like to hunt.  I respect that.  I'm not a gun owner and I will never be one, but that's a personal choice.

But for God's sake, it seems like people are being slaughtered every week now.  There have been five multiple shootings in the country in the last ten days.  When is it enough?  When the hell is someone somewhere going to say something?  Where is Hillary Clinton?  John McCain?  At least Barack Obama said something today, though he had to express support for the 2nd Amendment before anything else.

If you go to the NRA homepage (google it, I'm not linking to them, ever) you'll see no mention of the Northern Illinois shooting.  It's like it never happened.  How many people are they willing to let be sacrificed before they acknowledge a problem? 

I've reached the point where I am fully convinced that it is just a matter of time before my life is affected by someone with a gun who has no business having one. 

I can't imagine going to the store or going to class and have it be the very last thing I do on this Earth.  It's numbing to think about.  Worse yet is the idea of it happening to someone I love.

Remember, guns don't kill people.  People kill people.  But as Eddie Izzard says "I think the gun has something to do with it.  Go up to someone and yell BANG! and see if that kills them."

Turns out, it's good that what I originally wrote got chomped.  It was much more snarky, and pretty unintelligent.

I'm really, really sick of hearing about people getting shot who have done nothing wrong, who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When?  When is enough enough?  How many more people have to die?  We've spent an enormous amount of money fighting terrorism since 9/11, when 3000 people died.  Not to marginalize their deaths, but no one has died in America from terrorism since that day.  It's estimated that close to 200,000 people have been shot to death since 9/11.  And we haven't done a goddamn thing about it.

07 February 2008

Things that go middle in the bump of the night

Let's play "Jeopardy!"

Answer: getting up in the middle of the night with a newborn, while exhilirating on the "I'm bonding with my new son" level, sucks.  He's evolved; Desmond normally wakes up once between midnight and eight now.  I, on the other hand, seem to be up all the time.  It's an event when I manage to stay asleep for more than an hour at a time.

Question: Why the hell am I writing at 3 AM?

Correct.  Select again.

I'll take "different types of spit-up" for $400...

Anyway, I'm up again.  It's kind of peaceful in the "I might be the last person on Earth" way, and I've had this habit most of my life.  My last two years in college I worked three nights a week from midnight to six in the lobby of one of three dorms.  All I had to do was sit there and make sure nothing bad happened.  It was on the less-exciting side of the Iowa River, so very little happened, though I did punch a pizza delivery guy once.  And I ran down a hallway at 4 AM with a flaming bag of popcorn (though not at the same time as I punched the pizza dude).  It was essentially eighteen hours of mostly uninterrupted study time and I was getting paid for it.  I rarely had to do any work outside of those three shifts.  The only drawback was trying to sit through a class on three hours sleep.  I took a lot of naps in secluded regions of the library back then.

(Think of that last paragraph as the answer.  The question:  "What is a random, pull-it-out-of-your-behind memory from college that you haven't thought about in at least ten years?")

There has been a lot of snow here lately.  I think we passed fifty inches for the season today, after a little less than a foot fell here.  When I first came downstairs an hour or so ago after giving up on sleep again, I walked into the dark kitchen that looks out to the backyard.  I love how the darkness of the middle of the night is brightened by a newfallen snow.  It's one of the few things I enjoy about winter.

So I stood looking outside for a while.  It was completely silent except for the hum of the fridge ten feet behind me.  Very peaceful; I was glad that I was awake.  Then, for no reason that I can think of, it hit me like a slap: today is February 7th, my father's 74th birthday, the six he has celebrated up in Heaven.

I've written about this day before, and I think I've made my point about it, so I think I am done writing anything else in regards to this day.  I will say that I have been thinking about my father a lot lately, obviously because I just became a dad, and I am comforted by my memories.  Once a day, I tell Desmond something about his grandfather.  By the time he is ten he might know as much about him as I do.

There is a specific direction that I want to go with this, but I will have to resume at a later time.  Someone is hungry again, and it ain't me.

I mean this with all sincerity: being a Dad rocks.