New Dad

This started out as a Dad's perspective on my wife Katrina's pregnancy and a way to keep the family updated. Alina arrived in February 2006 and now it's more about our parenting adventures. Now we've added Evelyn in July 2008.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mr. Mom

I've been home with the girls since early July (thanks, economy!), thus the sparse updating. It's not that I don't have occasional downtime - I do. But that is usually spent doing things that don't require higher brain function. As Mr. Mom, I'm really bad at cleaning, but made a sauce tonight with smoked paprika. So I'm half-way there.

Alina & Evie, now 3-and-a-half and 14 months, love playing with each other. Unfortunately, and I suppose unsurprisingly, Alina wants everything Evie is playing with despite being surrounded by a mountain of fuzzy creatures and bleep-blop. Evie has a very specific objection sound, like a pterodactyl or banshee, when her sister steals a toy from her. It helps to be able to identify this sound from the other room. It allows me to simply yell, "Alina, give it back to her!" without running into the room. Couch Parenting. Sometimes Alina will carry her younger sister, in a modified heimlich hold, into the room and place her at my feet. Sometimes it's because she wants Evie out of her business and other times it's to move her away from danger. "Alina, gentle!" is a popular order.

Evie, the younger, hunts for death. She is a lot more adventurous than her sister was at that age in many ways. It's like she's our Boy. I've caught her scaling everything from kitchen cabinet shelves, open drawers, a rolling wire laundry cart, and any flat surface at eye level (stools, ottomans, chairs, etc). I can't run towards her yelling NO because she tends to throw herself back when she's excited or think I'm playing a game. My tactic is to walk by her like I don't even see her and then snatch her when she's not expecting it. Then it get into the nononono stuff. Suffice is to say that all stools are turned upside down in our house for a reason. So now instead of worrying about her climbing, I just need to keep an eye out for unintentional impalement. Babies put everything in their mouth, but it was really uncanny how Evie would find the one thing in the room that was the most inappropriate thing to sample orally. She would actually crawl over her toys to get to the torn corner of an envelope, mystery crumb, or tracked-in foliage from the outside. Now that she's walking and a little wiser, she'll pick things up off the ground, turn to me and hold it up, say Da-Da, and I'll ask her to give it to me. She'll walk over and hand it to me with a smile. I thank her profusely for the offering. The way she is right now is really the closest I'll ever come in my life to owning a chimp.

Evie is also the lightest sleeper in the universe. Maybe it helped that her older sister spent her infant years in an apartment above a busy, bus routed street, but this new kid will actually wake up if your head breaks the threshold of the doorway to the room where she slumbers. Do you know what that means?! She was awakened by the movement of air particles in her environment! There's really no quieter sound than that!

Alina, the older, is basically a full-on person. I don't even change my vocabulary on her behalf anymore. She just gets everything now. Most of the time, my wife and I debate where the hell she picks up some of the things she says. Last night, for example, she said in anticipation of dinner, "Mom, how's my chicken coming?" Recently she told me she was "really disappointed" about not being able to go somewhere she liked and also that my "breath smells terrible."

She started what I'm told is nursery school last week. I'm still a little fuzzy on the terminology. Apparently, Preschool, Nursery School, and Pre-K are all different things. Maybe it was the steroids the doctors gave her when she had Croup but, at 42 inches, she towers over these kids. The mini-bookbags they give out actually didn't fit her and they needed to go upstairs to get an older kid version. She should do well there. I mean, lets face it, we're in Queens. Most of these kids are hearing two languages at home. We got to sit in on the first day of school and MAN is she a brown-noser. Constantly telling the teacher of her accomplishments and never passes up an opportunity to tell anecdotes that relate to whatever the class is doing. Oh, and she also told the teacher "I share my snack with Grandma Betty" despite the fact that she only met her a few times and has been deceased for 6 months. So, she has playdates with dead people too. Social butterfly.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Up To Speed

I plan to get better at blogging. I have more time on my hands now. More on that later. Until then, here are some ruminations and babblings from around the online world that I've put out.
  • Alina got me a beer from the fridge for the first time and it's on St. Patrick's Day!! She's enabling at a sixth grade level.
  • I am being offered genetic counseling through my heath plan to see what horrible diseases I might get. What an awful idea.
  • I am full of sushi and regret.
  • Alina thinks putting yougurt on our seedlings will make them grow. I disagree, but she's helming this experiment.
  • Swear words really lose their punch when you have to spell them out loud instead of saying them. Earmuffs!
  • One week until Florida. Two weeks until Wife ends maternity leave. Three weeks until we fire the babysitter.
  • Having trouble explaining to the toddler that there are no fairies on the Staten Island Ferry.
  • Just made my browser block FoxNews.com, RushLimbaugh.com, & GlennBeck.com for when my Republican father babysits during the day.
  • Wondering if the kids will drink nighttime Tylenol in a sippy cup just before the flight tomorrow.
  • I have nothing nice to say about Northwest Airlines so I'm not going to say anything at all .... except that they can suck the sweat off a dead man's balls.
  • Liked the sun, surf, and sand but will miss having our hotel's 2nd bathroom most of all.
  • We're concerned about the Cheez Whiz content of that 7 Eleven gasoline we just purchased in FL.
  • I have misplaced the only thermometer that hasn't been in someone's butt.
  • Bravo Mets. Way to maximize the use of that boring exterior stadium wall with megalith billboards. Bob's Discount Furniture?
  • I just used a men's room with an infant strapped to his chest. That was interesting. Can't really see where you're aiming. You just have to believe! There is no spoon!
  • I'm wondering if this blatant bribery to the toddler for using the potty will backfire.
  • Hate that I haven't been able to kick this cough, but love that I sound like Barry White.
  • I wish the words "preschool" and "tuition" were never in the same sentence.
  • I'm amused that every time a rapper gets arrested, the news makes a point of saying their real name. "Killa X, whose real name is Clarence Higgenbottom, was arraigned....."
  • I have walking pneumonia!
  • 9-month old is furniture walking and our 3-year old just said "Fuck". Where does the time go?
  • I'm torn. The more obnoxious my 3-year old is, the funnier the 10-month old finds her. I'm no enemy of laughter, but she's annoying me tonight.
  • Evie sees dead people. While strolling by a large Queens graveyard, she waved, laughed, and played blanket peek-a-boo with someone who wasn't there. Alina said "there's a big scary man".
  • I love that the Carney selling fried Twinkies has a bluetooth headset.
  • I just met my 15-yr old sister's 18-yr old boyfriend. Visions of homicide dance in my head.
  • 200 wine tastings later and I am expected to be able to pronounce Viognier? Bite me.
  • Just put Baby Orajel on the infant's toothbrush instead of toothpaste. Whoops! Good n numb now! My name is Tha Tha tonight.
  • Latest Pet Peeve - Getting your hair cut in a place where everyone goes by cutesie nicknames. You're not a stripper, Magenta!
  • Dora the Explorer sells perfume. Bitch.
  • Note to self: $12 pants will last about as many days as dollars spent on them.
  • Fairly certain that folding toddler & infant laundry is my least favorite chore in the universe. Little. Tiny. Piles. Everywhere.
  • Using an electric razor while driving in morning traffic is legal, right?
  • If you were born in 1991, you can buy cigarettes. If you were born in 1992, I can totally buy them for you.
  • Morning spent spouting phrases like "necklaces don't belong in the refrigerator!"
  • Learning that Creativity, like a muscle, will wither if not routinely exercised. . See?!
  • Awww! Did the big bad lightning keep my fellow NYers deprived of sleep? Welcome to my world, bitches :)
  • Maybe if I make a mix tape for the economy, she'll come back to me.
  • Really loving this slow paced Italian wine and food thing, but don't they know this baby sitter is charging $15/hr? Sheesh!
  • Told my wife I didn't think she was very creative. She thought I said she looked pretty. I went with it.
  • Summer Friday. Home. Raining. I see a couch fort in my future. Hey kids, make your own! This one's mine!
  • Really ready to redeem my night-out-with-friends coupon tonight.
  • Tyrone, Pablo, Tasha, and Uniqua get way more screen time than Austin. The Backyardigans are totally racist, man.
  • Wife Conditioning Proof Alpha: I can now wrap birthday presents with Christmas wrapping paper.
  • Lets be clear. If you get a candle or lotion as a gift, that person does not know you.
  • A Neo-Nazi organization is participating in the adopt-a-highway program. The state had to oblige but now plans to rename the road the Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Highway.
  • Only two types of people are at the laundromat at 7:30AM - parents of pukey kids and murderers cleaning their sheets.
  • Fuck fire walking. Try going barefoot over Lego in the dark - and you're not allowed to scream.
  • On hold music is the William Tell Overture. This composer had a serious cocaine problem.
  • Items in garbage: Pickles Mustard Diapers Garlic Asparagus Raw Meat. I don't condone chemical weaponry but someone drop this on our enemies.
  • Billboard : Music :: World Series : World
  • Would an example of pedophile profiling be pulling the guy out of line with glasses and a mustache? Maybe he has a van with no windows?
  • The church annex across the street is using a circular saw at 9pm. I'm making my toddler yell "STOP IT, JESUS!" out the window.
  • Little disappointed I'm getting laid off on June 30th. But, discovering that (+Unemployment) - (Daycare Costs for 2 kids) = only a minor dent in the family wallet. Mister Mom, here I come!

Friday, April 24, 2009

1st Parent-Teacher Conference

When I heard I was to attend one of these, I was a little surprised. Alina goes to a place for three hours, two days a week. They do projects and songs and things that you'd expect little people to do. It's not really a school. She's only 3, so what would they have to say about her? Was she in trouble? Does she bite kids? Does she draw pictures of Jesus riding a giant phallus?

When we get there, we see all the mildly nervous and somewhat inconvenienced mothers in the waiting room. It's 10AM on a weekday and I'm the only Dad there. Smatterings of kiddie art are strewn about. I imagine what the labels would be were it a gallery. Painted Cheerios On Construction Paper. Pasted Macaroni and Pipe Cleaners on Egg Carton. Our name is called. Oh my! Will she go to Stanford or Vassar?!

We get into the room and the two Magic Garden wannabes whip out this checklist. It's broken out into sections and varying levels of development and they've checked off all the things she can do and left the things she can't do unchecked. They start talking to us about how she's doing, but they've left this checklist just sitting there on the table. So, I'm not really listening to them because I want to see the Scorecard! Give me the Scores and the Stats! I'm a guy. As I was reading upside down I noticed things that she can totally do but were not checked. It was hard for me not to blurt out, "Bullshit! She can jump on one leg! Honey, go over there and show them how you jump on one leg. " Apparently jumping on one leg is a physical milestone. But you'd think that all moves are. Crawling, walking, running, spinning, bicycle kick to your enemy's chin - I need to make my own checklist.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spill It, Slacker

It's a strange set of affairs when I need to look through photos and Facebook updates to remember what has been going with our family over the last couple of months. Dumbledore has his pensive, I have photo albums and tweets. Lets see, where to begin.

We've had and have been to many little person birthdays as of late. We had Alina's third birthday, though I don't remember much of it. I spent most of it running out for things because we were truly ill prepared this year. In fact, this may be the last time we do a birthday at our house because it's just too crazy. We're also not that good at it. Imagine preparing a house for a party where adults can enjoy themselves. Now imagine preparing a house for a party where 3-year olds can enjoy themselves. Now combine both actions into one whirlwind, 2-hour smorgasbord of balloons, beer, bouncy houses, and hors d'oeuvres. Alina had picked out the invitations at the store. She's in a typical princess and fairies stage, so she was drawn to the Tinkerbell invites. After we sent them out, we got several phone calls from parents asking if it was a Fairy theme party and if their kid should dress up. Yeah, we were confused too. Since Alina's party was first in this string of kiddie soirees, it didn't really occur to us that this is what people do and expect. We started getting invites with princess themes, pirate themes, ballerina themes. Where's Daddy's tutu? So the closest we came to a theme was the color red, since Alina's birthday falls so close to Valentine's. I gave her three long stem roses for the three years she has been in my life. This seems like a good tradition to follow. In following through on this, I discovered that the roses on February 11th are waaaaay nicer than the roses at 6:47PM on February 14th. Go figure.

On the Evie front, she now has two top and two bottom teeth that she'll occasionally grind, giving me the DTs. Additionally, she has decided that baby food is not her thing. She would much rather have what you're eating/drinking. So, that's what we do, save the obvious things like peanut butter and tequila shots. She says Da-Da now and as a result, Katrina says she won't go back to work until she says Ma-Ma. Notice: If you run into my youngest daughter, run some drills, won't you? We could use the income. Item: Both girls got to ride the Roosevelt Island Tram for the first time. Evie was super freaked out with this, but didn't cry. Flying to Florida next month should be interesting.

Some recent photos:
Pirate Baby!


Don't eat the yellow snow

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sistering


It's really hard to get them both looking at the camera and staying in focus at the same time. Parent Tip: Turn on the TV and hold the camera just above it. Really sells the illusion of an attention span (tip not in practice for current photo above).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Don't Do Anything Ever

I'm always giving instruction to Alina in telling her what NOT to do. Don't touch that, don't leave that on the floor, don't step off the sidewalk without holding my hand, don't headbutt your sister, don't eat your boogers, etc. I started to notice that this bombardment of common sense instruction had seeped its way into my everyday life too. Take my commute for example. A mixture of announcements both live and recorded decree:

Hold onto the handrail, please face forward while riding the escalator, stand clear of the closing doors, step away from the platform edge, do not walk or ride between subway cars, for your safety please do not block the doors while the train is in the station, be aware of your surroundings, your bags are subject to search by the NYPD, strollers and push carts and pull carts are not permitted on the escalator, avoid the sides of the escalator, have a safe day, and (our own brand of freakout) If You See Something, Say Something.

No wonder no one listens. After a while it all becomes white noise. If I actually paid attention to all the warnings and cautions meant for people like me, I'd conclude that the world thinks I am inconsiderate and stupid. One can only assume that all of these instructions came as a result of some numb nuts doing just the thing they're warning against. I wonder how much money gets spent to legislate stupidity. Dipshit 'A' decides to ride on the outside of the train and gets turned into beef stew. Then, state lawmakers have to take the time to make a law against doing so. They make signs telling us not to do it and automated voices tell us not to do it. Oy! On the upside for the state, most stupidity laws are fineable if you're not dead afterwards - like texting while driving.

I invite you all to see what dumb laws are on the books in your state. These are mine http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states/new-york.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Can (update my blog) ! !

Where to start on this Inauguration Day, in Daddydom? It has been too long. We went through a really rough patch with colds. I had laryngitis, Alina had bronchitis, Evie had 102 fever and runny nose/cough and wouldn't eat, Katrina had a fever (we don't seem to have any adult thermometers) and cough. On top of everything Evie was also teething. She popped one tooth on the bottom last week, about two months earlier than Alina's came. Apparently, it's just different for everyone. Some kids are even born with teeth, our Doctor said. See said tooth below!


Alina has really gotten into role playing with her, for lack of a better term, action figures. They're Cinderella action figures, but they're still action figures! It started a couple of months ago when I would take one of her stuffed animals and have it gesture to her, but not speak. Waving, dancing, nodding yes and no, etc. She would speak to the animal and I would respond with the appropriate movement. Eventually, she would pick up her own stuffed animal and we'd go on an adventure together. Granted, just about every adventure starts out with her asking, "Do you wanna go to my birthday party?" but we can go from there. I used to do long form improv, you know! Soon she started playing both parts on her own and it's hilarious and mildly scary to watch. Sometimes the drama betwixt the two characters gets out of hand. They'd start arguing with each other and Alina would inevitably start getting emotional. When there weren't any toys around, she'd do it with her feet and hands. The right foot would be arguing with her left foot over something like, "That's mine, no it's mine!" If I started doing that it would be decidedly less cute.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sittin' and Grinnin'

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Whirlwind Holidays

I had to work last weekend and put in 12-hour days for about two weeks straight. I was looking forward to a weekend of rest, but the holidays are upon us! Friday night after work I took the train up to Stamford to meet up with the girls and ended up spending the night there. The next day we drove up to South Salem for a Christmas Party with friends and then drove back to Queens to meet up with my parents and little sister who spent the night. Why? The next morning, we were due to show up at FAO Schwarz at 8AM to attend this event where people with little little kids can go through the store before it opens and shop, eat, do activities, and oddly enough, dissuade Gilbert Gottfried's daughter from stealing your daughter's shoes. When the floodgates at FAO opened at 10AM our next stop on this relaxing weekend? MACY'S to see Santa. This was our 3rd year in a row doing this, so I guess it's officially a tradition. Then that ended. Going home? NOPE. We're off to Connecticut for my mother-in-law's Christmas Party, so she can show off her grandchildren. We drive back to Queens and spend the night fiercely cleaning. Why? Because for the next few days we're going to have house guests that consist of a Mom, a 2-year old and an 8-month old. So that makes, wait for it, FOUR kids under the age of 3 in our apartment (all girls) for a few days. I woke up this morning and couldn't speak. Between not sleeping, inhaling a bevy of chemicals, and being around so many people at once I seem to have come down with some kind of laryngitis. My mother-in-law got it the day before me, but if you ask her, SHE didn't give it to me. Just an amazing coincidence, I suppose. But, I came to work anyway so I don't get anyone ill. Maybe I'll sleep under my desk.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

E is for Empathy

Alina has started taking sides and empathizing with the other parent. If anyone raises their voice, even if it's just to tell a joke, Alina will assume that an argument has broken out and automatically assume the one who is louder is in the wrong. Most of the time that could be true, I suppose. She'll start waving her arms in the air and say, "No no no no. No, Daddy, no," then turn to the other person with a sympathetic face and say, "It's okay, Mommy. It's okay." Or vice versa, depending on who she has judged as being wrong.

To go along with with this new emotion, she also has started fawning at adorable things like babies, animals, or baby animals. "Awwwwww, look Daddy, that's so beautiful," she'll say, or "so cute!"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Double Stroller!

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket, we got a double stroller. It's a megalith! It's an Escalade! It doesn't fit through all the doorways in our house! But we apparently need it, especially for times like this:

For a little while, Alina rode in the foot rest of our original jogging stroller. But it wasn't made for that. The front-heavy result would make you unwillingly veer into the street on crooked sidewalks. That, and little Evie likes to kick and grab her big sister's hair when she's sitting there. As much as I try to reason with the 2-year old that her baby sister "doesn't know any better," it doesn't stop the kicking or hair pulling from happening. Toddlers are results driven creatures. Alina thinks, "She doesn't know any better, got it. But she's still doing it and you're letting her!"

For the purchase of this item, we used a Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon that we got in the mail at a store called Buy Buy Baby, since they take them. They fought us on it, of course. The next time we got the coupon in the mail it said "no strollers" on it. HA! It was our first time at Buy Buy Baby and I have to say, staff-wise, it was like going from Kindergarten to Harvard. The store actually has a knowledgeable Sales Staff on the floor as opposed to the wandering Babies r Us dipshits who seem to have just returned from cashing their medical experiment participation check.

P.S. So much for saving money on recycling Alina's clothes. When it started to get cold, we finally realized that these kids are off-season. One was born in winter, the other in summer. So, when I went through Alina's old winter coats to give to Evelyn, I only found ones that fit a 1-month old and a 9-month old. So they were all too big and too small. I can't believe we didn't think of that!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween

Ladybug and little Dumbo

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Evie's First Laugh




Is something funny? Probably not. I think it's more fright laughter. Like in a haunted house, skydiving, or after beating up a hobo. More videos are here http://www.youtube.com/user/earonoff

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Up Toilet Seat Heard 'Round the World

Everyone went away for a whole week to hang out at my mother's house. Being home alone, I thought I would be going out every night, getting stupid, making plans. Turns out, I didn't miss plans or going out. I missed "nothing". Coming home, turning off my brain and doing absolutely nothing. It was pretty glorious. No one to bathe, no one to feed. Unfortunately, my brain didn't know how to process this and it rewarded me by giving me a major bout of insomnia. I probably got less sleep with everyone gone than when they're here. Luckily, I had the Presidential debate on my DVR. That's some good white noise.

When everyone's home, not only does Evie the infant sleep in our bed, but refuses to sleep unless she's on her stomach. This is bad, but would be worse if she couldn't pick her head up. The crib is literally collecting dust. So, suffice is to say I don't sleep in that bed very much and usually opt for the couch. If I'm sleeping closer than 2 feet from her, I pop awake every 30 minutes to see if she's still breathing or to make sure she's not under me. On those now rare occasions when I AM sleeping with them, I lie across the foot of the bed like some kind of animal. I've been relegated to the family pet. Our cat is like, "Dude, that's MY spot. Go back to the couch!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mired In Poop & Exhaustion

I remember when Alina was born and it took me a while to know what to say here other than "I'm Tired" and "Poop". It's kinda like that now, just multiplied. At times I wonder if there will ever be an end to poop and exhaustion. Between the cat, fish, iguana, and children, it seems that an inordinate amount of my day is spent dealing in fecal matters. Then, our parents are going to start becoming incontinent and we'll have to deal with them too.

I used to dread shopping. Now, we argue over who gets to go to the store because it's time to be alone with your thoughts, among other things. I actually took great joy in a 4-minute car wash the other day. All enveloped in pink and green foam, the mild vibration of the water and shammies. It was so ... peaceful. I'm finding joy in the smallest things. Like Buffalo Wing flavored Pretzels and the fact that my cell phone can ID songs just by listening to them. What's wrong with me?

Evie turned 8 weeks old this week and she's starting to come out of her hold-me-or-I-cry phase. When Alina was that old, you could hang her on a hook by the onesie and she wouldn't make a peep. We knew we couldn't bat .1000 in the serene infant department. That would've been too lucky. Wife and I have different approaches to crying. I contend that it's just how she communicates and isn't always something that I can fix. Outside of the usual: Gas, Change Me, Burp Me, Feed Me - sometimes she's just fussy. Sometimes she's just tired. I can't make her sleep, but she'll keep herself awake crying because she's tired and wants to sleep. It's irrational, but it's babies. Sometimes sucking on something helps, other times there's nothing to be done. She just eventually realizes her own exhaustion and drops like a mallet. Katrina always tries to find a way to console and it stresses her out when nothing works. I don't have milk that lets down, so I can't possibly feel the same way. But, when Evie isn't kvetching, she's smiling a lot and looking people in the eye. A personality is starting to form so she's less of a flailing lump and more of a smiling flailing lump.

The standard battery of shots soon approaches so we'll be able to take her places where the diseased roam and the filthy trod - like a gymboree or a subway platform. Alina was born in the winter so not going out until the shots was easy. But this summer baby is going places, ho boy. We started going to Jones Beach in the early evening. There's hardly anyone there, it isn't hot, Alina can play in the sand, and it's very serene. We're not supposed to go where there's people, particularly indoor places. Away from crowds. Brooklyn Botanical Garden, a bevvy of local farms that have either apple, strawberry, or blueberry picking, and the local zoos have been frequented. Malls suck anyway. Not having shots has been a great excuse to breath old fashioned fresh air. Well, with JFK, LGA, LIE, BQE, and the Van Wyck so close by who knows how fresh it is. Luckily, Forest Hills isn't a misnomer. Lots of trees. Lots of birds in those trees. Lots of crap on my car. Oooh! Time for another car wash!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Infant Can Beat Up Your Infant

What do I look like to you? Some guy who has all the time in the world that he can just sit down at the computer and jovially thwack away at the keyboard whenever the mood strikes? People tell me to blog more. Maybe that the Olympics are over I'll find more time.

Needless to say, the two-child household is a very busy place. Baby clothes in varying sizes take forever to fold. Evie is not a big fan of being placed horizontally so someone is always conveying our little dependent in some fashion. She's also brutally strong, almost frighteningly so. She was lifting her head up from lying on her tummy at 3 weeks and rolling from side to side - occasionally going completely over. I was kinda looking forward to that carefree period where you could put a kid down on the mattress and go brush your teeth. There was a comfort in knowing there was a guarantee that they'd still be in the same spot when you got back. But this one already moves. That, and you never know when Alina will "help" Evie by putting a blanket over her face. Even the pediatrician was aghast at her strength. At the 4-week appointment, they basically knock them around a bit, pull them up by the hands while they're on their back to see if their head flops and hold them up in the air like Superman to see how their bodies react. When the doctor first did this with Alina, our immediate reaction was to put a hand under her head or give an assist. Our nebbishy Jackie Mason-esque doctor would say, "I'm testing her reflexes, not yours." With Evie's exam, he commented, "I don't know what you're feeding her, but you should bottle it and sell it." I too noticed this obscene strength when I would try and move her hands to put a shirt on. It was like arm wrestling and she was winning. So, Katrina's Max Ultra Performance Robo-Juice is going for $24.99 a pint.

Here's a picture for the packaging:

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Home Is Where The Hypertension Is

Thought I'd digest being a father of two girls for a couple of weeks before writing anything down. That turned out to be a mistake because I have no mental energy. More on that later.

They wanted us there at 5:15am. That's Really Early. We brought Bagels for the staff. That was like gold. The staff was lovin up on us somthing fierce. I highly recommend it to anyone getting a 7am c-section ..... or any early morning surgery. I wore a blue scrubs suit that made me look like Neo-Natal Devo.


Notice the slits where my pockets are. I needed access to digital camera, phone, camera phone, tips for the surgeons, switchblade (in case they needed me to assist), etc. While I waited and paced around the recovery room while they prepped Katrina in the O.R., I busied myself by adjusting the lighting. I knew I would get the baby while they sewed Mamma back up. And I needed optimal conditions for documentation. They made me sit in a chair and not move, near Katrina's head. Turns out they not only would refuse my help, but they didn't want me to see them loose sponges or take out the wrong baby. I had to stay behind the curtain draped on Katrina's neck. OBs must get sued a lot.

Slice. Baby.

Look! A girl! Think how much we'll save on old clothes. If it was a boy, it'd be wearing pink onesies with the word "Boy" written across the chest in black sharpie. I had a pretty good feeling it was a girl. So much so, that I had pre-written the text message I was going to send out. I was fairly sure after one of the ultrasounds. Also, there was that one time that a nurse slipped and tried to cover it up a couple of months agao: "I'm sure she .... or HE or IT will be just fine." Apparently I was the only one who noticed. Evelyn wasn't 5 minutes old before they asked us if we wanted her to get a Hepatitis B shot. They luvvvv giving babies shots these days. We opted to wait for the pediatrician visit. It seems to me a number of other diseases were more likely to be contracted in a hospital setting, but what do I know.

She came out rather annoyed looking. Who could blame her? The doctor told us she squirmed out of their grasp a couple of times before they could fish her out. I took about 40 pictures of her in the operating room and had trouble finding one where she didn't look like a grumpy old man. Like this:

Never let it be said that I only put cute pictures up on here. Since we've only had c-sections, I haven't seen the squished head forceps baby thing yet. I hear they're very unphotogenic.

Alina couldn't visit because she had snot rockets. She picked up a cold literally the day before the surgery, so she was apart from mother and sister for 4 days. But, when she finally was able to visit, - VIDEO - CLICK ME - something awfully cute happened.


I forgot how small infants are. I have a chicken in my fridge that weighs more than my daughter. Now Alina feels huge. But Evie is a great eater - she came out hungry and hasn't stopped. At one point during her first week, she latched onto Mamma's udders for 2.5 hours. Katrina wasn't ready for that. She remarked, "She's using me as a pacifier!" Sometimes Evie would have trouble latching on. After meeting with a lactation consultant, it was discovered that our newest arrival has a skill that a breastfeeding coach with 30 years of experience had never seen before: She can roll her tongue both ways onto its side. I guess she'll be winning a lot of cherry stem tying contests in high school. So, we have that to look forward to.

After checking them out of the hospital in our two-carseat vehicle, Evie slept for about 22 hours the first day she was home. All of a sudden I was taking care of three people instead of one and was confounded by the amount of garbage we were producing. So far, there have been very few assassination attempts by big sister. If anything, she will kill her with kindness, aka a really big hug that snaps her in two. Alina mostly wants to give her kisses on the head, but will occasionally snuggle with a bit too much vigor. That, and she keeps whacking Katrina's c-section scar. I continually tell Katrina to brush up on her wax on, wax off to deflect incoming toddlers. But, she'll need more time with Mr. Miyagi to perfect it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Evie has arrived!


Evelyn Mae - 8lbs 4 oz.


Monday, July 14, 2008

The Baby Who Cried Born

I made yet another fruitless trip out to Long Island last week after a phone call from my pregnant wife. Around 11am on Thursday, she called me to say that she's having strong contractions again and was going upstairs to get checked out. She works in the same hospital she's delivering in, so this is convenient. About two hours later, I get another phone call from her saying "They're doing to do the C-Section today." The nurses and residents all told her to call me so I wouldn't miss it. She was even examined internally by her least favorite resident, who we call Fisticuffs, due to her inclination to show the fetus her wristwatch. They were actually ordering anesthesia, so it was feeling like this was it. The contractions usually stop after a couple hundred milliliters of intravenous fluid. They had given her nearly 1000 ml and the contractions hadn't stopped. After volleying a few "You're sure? I'm sure!!" back and forth, she told me to call my mother and she would do the same. This was the pre-agreed upon strategy for the grandparents to make all the phone calls so we didn't have to. Remembering the last 5 visits to the hospital, I still wasn't 100% convinced that this was actually taking place. I even told Katrina, "Don't call your mother until I'm wearing scrubs."

I use the company car service we have at work to shuttle me out there so I don't have to deal with the Long Island Railroad. They won't mind the charge, I thought. It's a special occasion! I sat in a ton of traffic and only got about a third of the way there before I got another phone call telling me that it was called off. Apparently, once the doctor showed up on the scene, he reminded everyone of a hospital policy where they don't do c-sections more than seven days out unless it's an emergency. It would seem that no one knew this but the doctor. So he closed up shop and told Katrina to come back when she was in so much pain she couldn't carry on a conversation. The silver lining is that he put through the paperwork so that she didn't have to go back to work for the rest of her pregnancy - all 6 business days worth - citing stressful work conditions. The official extraction date is Monday, July 21st at 7am.

She was home all day on Friday and had the house to herself for the first time in 4 months. It was also the first time in a while when she had no contractions. So, as long as she doesn't move or think, she'll be just fine. However, when we were at the playground this weekend, I had to put a leash on her so she wouldn't go running after Alina. Mom habits die hard.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Call Me When I Have A Kid

Last week, Katrina calls me at work and tells me in full freakout mode that her water broke. The brief conversation sounded like a David Mamet play:

My water broke!
Your water broke?!
My WATER broke!
When di-
JUST NOW!
Fuck!
I know!
Well I'm-
How are you getting here?
How am I gettin-?
I gotta go upstairs!
Okay I'll get there!
Okay, Bye!
Fuck!

It was about 11:00am so first things first. I put my lunch in the microwave and set it to IMMEDIATELY. Experience Points, son. If this was going down, I knew I wasn't going to be eating for the next 12 hours or so. My mother and little sister were babysitting Alina so the plan was to take the subway out to Forest Hills, get picked up by them, and get a ride out to Long Island.

I started reading my book on the subway - relishing in my coolheadedness. The baby was coming about 4 weeks early afterall. Cause for concern, but not alarm, as we were told this child is tracking to be born about 9 or 10 lbs. Let's say that again. NINE or TEN pounds. It was big enough already to be born without things like steroid injections to inflate the lungs. Got about half a page into my book and realized I was kidding myself. I wasn't absorbing any of the words, my eyes just running over them. I put my book back in my bag. I looked around at the glazed over subway passengers, thinking that none of them had any problems nearly as important as mine. A few minutes later, I buried my head in my hands and let out an audible "UGH" when I realized we hadn't yet settled on a name! How was I going to argue with someone who's anestitized? Perhaps she'd be more agreeable. But when she comes to, she'd probably tackle the mailman before the forms go off to the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

I get to the hospital in what could be considered record time and shoot up to Labor & Delivery. When I ask for Katrina, they tell me she's the freaked out one in Trauma Room 1. Being in a room called Trauma wouldn't put me at ease either. When I walk in, a SonoTech is doing an ultrasound. As it turns out, her water didn't break. It was ..... something else. No, she didn't piss herself. Her plug? I have no idea. The word Mucous came up. But I'm still fuzzy on the details because I was too busy coming to terms with the water not breaking. I mentioned to Katrina that we hadn't picked name yet. She responds, "Oh, I picked them. It's all you can think about just lying here." But she didn't pop so I think there's still time for debate.

This is the fourth or fifth time I've been to the hospital with this pregnancy. Low fetal heart rate, contractions, contractions, alleged water break. All false alarms. Katrina woke up early this morning and said, "I think this is the day, because I'm really nauseous." She was nauseous just before going into labor with Alina - still think it was the Thai food, though. In my half asleep voice, I told her I wasn't moving until someone is holding a scalpel.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mini Manipulator

We've seen Alina practice crying in the mirror, but she's taking it to a whole new level. It's nice to see my powers of manipulation have passed down through the DNA so completely.

#1
Operation: Two-Headed Gatekeeper

We've all heard of this method. I just didn't think it would happen so quickly.

The 2-year old lies in bed one sleepy weekday morning and asks, "Mommy, I want to watch TV?" Her mother swiftly replies with a resounding No. A few wrinkles form between the baby's wee eyes as she redirects, "I'm going to ask Daddy." I'm in the other room and haven't heard the first part of their conversation when I hear Alina declare "Daddy! I want to watch TV?"

#2
Operation: East Berlin Misdirection

Wife and child are in a diner together, sitting at a booth. The young-in wants to climb over the back of the booth and into the neighboring one. Several tries get thwarted by removing the leading leg that is draped over the seat. Then, the little one tries a different tactic. She says, "Mommy, I want a kiss," puckers her lips, makes the pre-emptive kissy Mmmm sound, and wraps her arms around Mom's neck. She continues to whisper, "I love you Mommy" over and over, pressing her lips against her Mother's cheek. But this is all a ruse! The pressing of the kiss on the cheek prevents Mom from turning her head and seeing that the child is using this as a distraction to swing both legs over the back of the booth. By the time the "kiss" is complete, our climber has successfully placed herself in the adjacent eating nook and several victory bounces on the soft red cushions ensue.

This one blew my mind - a true distraction tactician. She's going to start colluding with the cat: "Okay, you start throwing up on the carpet while I go for the Girl Scout Cookies." Wait, where are those cookies? Maybe they've done this one already!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Get a Hobby

I used to make fun of my father because he would have these hobbies that seemed all-consuming. It wasn't a passing fancy. It was full-on and neck deep with all the accessories. You can almost map out his life chronologically from these phases, from my point of view. Allow me to list them and then generalize my memories of them for comedic purposes. There was:

The Diving Phase - Live lobsters crawling around a NYC apt. The cat was very curious.

The Space Shuttle Phase - He'd get press passes for close-up access to launches and return with slide shows put to Vangelis music.

The Workout Phase - Nautilus equipment and Bruce Springsteen records.

The Hunting Phase - Stuffed birds on the wall and a homemade shotgun shell crank. "Don't forget to add the wad or daddy will blow his face off."

The Sailboat Phase - A 40th birthday present to himself and learned all the lingo like close hauled, broad reach, and boom vang. Can your dad sheet bend and half hitch knots?

The Japanese Phase - Feng Shui and dark red furniture, lamps, hiragana, kanji.

The Dog Phase - Raw turkey necks in the meat grinder at dinnertime. They had better rain parkas then I did.

The Culinary Phase - Utensils, cookware, and spices that are used for one specific food.

Though I jest, I ultimately benefited by osmosis and inclusion in these. The older and more parental I get, I see these less as something to poke fun at and more like something to consider for myself. In your 20s, your hobbies are socializing. You go out, meet up, end up at their apartments until the wee hours. Then people start to move away or move on and while you're still friends with these people, they don't exactly make into your calendar as often. Not that I ever kept a calendar. Then, what do you do with yourself? Of course, you play with your kids and take them places. We even took her to a few parties and she did great! But the mind seeks more stimulation than Merry-go-rounds, Pooh, and zoos can offer. I can see how men turn to obsessing over sports or playing golf. There's distraction, activity, and camaraderie all rolled up into one. I'm not a big fan of sports or golf or model trains .... yet. I guess my father gets extra points for keeping his hobbies interesting. Aside from socializing and perhaps acoustic guitar, I can't think of many things I've done that qualify as a hobby - unless you count acting off-off Broadway. I scuba dive, but only on warm vacations. We traveled a bit, but can't as much now. So what it boils down to is I Need A Hobby. For now, it needs to be inexpensive, not keep me from home, and feed my brain. The banjo? Violin? Smoking meats? Yodeling? Pimp?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stoopid Doctors

In our litigious society where people sue because their coffee was too hot or their kids are too fat, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised when a doctor goes to DEFCON 1 when perfectly natural, explainable things happen during a pregnancy. Case in point: Yesterday Katrina went to her doctor for the now bi-weekly visit. Well, to be fair, it wasn't her normal doctor. At these visits, sometimes they do an ultrasound and other times they just have a chat or keep it simple, like a blood pressure check and a quick "How ya Feelin'." This time, the doctor used a stethoscope to check the baby's heart rate, which typically runs around 140 bpm. However, she noticed that the heart rate slowed down and then would go back up again. This happened twice. The doctor then said that she wanted Katrina to go to the hospital immediately and wanted to call an ambulance. However, our toddler was with her so that wasn't really an option. More stress icing came next when she stated 'if you need to deliver tonight, the baby is a good weight and will survive'. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ! That's a load.

I got a frantic phone call as I was in a Falafel joint, getting dinner for everyone, at around 7pm. Since Katrina was going to, at the very least, be strapped to a fetal monitor for several hours, she sped from the doctor to pick me up at a tactical location. My job: Toddler Wrangler. We all go to the hospital and apparently no one was aware that we were coming. After waiting around for about 15 minutes, I mention to someone that the word "Ambulance!" was used by her doctor. Then I had their attention.

Much to my annoyance, the initial doctor never told Katrina how much the fetal heart rate was dipping. So we really had no idea how much of an emergency this was. What we weren't told until much later at the hospital, was that a heart rate dip can occur if the fetus is gripping or lying the umbilical cord. And the kicker, "It happens all the time."

By now, we had been there several hours and they still had Katrina on a restricted diet. That is, a diet of absolutely nothing. The Nothing Diet. They claimed that if they need to do an emergency c-section, she can't have food. Mind you, the entire time we're there, the baby's heart rate never dipped again. But the lack of food and drink was starting to show it's wear. As it turns out, stress and dehydration and starvation can cause CONTRACTIONS. Internal examinations followed to check for dilation. So now we're stuck there even longer because they want to monitor those. The very act of being treated and monitored created more problems then when we went in. I had Katrina's dinner with me, but they wouldn't let me give it her. Since she wasn't allowed to eat with her mouth, they decided it would be best to let her eat with her veins. They propped up this gimundo IV bag and put it on free flow. Now this chemical teat is making Katrina very cold as her body doesn't have enough time to warm the fluid to 98.6 with the new fluid piling in on top of it. Blankets please! This, of course, makes the contractions go away after about 20 minutes.

Throughout the evening, I'm trying to keep Alina off of Mommy's bed with various food distractions and whatever was on Cartoon Network. At night as some of you know, Cartoon Network turns into a very strange place. Courage the Cowardly Dog is uber-trippy and not terribly appropriate for a toddler, but that's why it's on late. Imagine Fantasia meets Ren & Stimpy. On top of everything else, my cell phone was vibrating non-stop and the room phone was ringing off the hook. Various grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc were trying to get the latest news. The nurses started getting annoyed and told us to tell them not to call anymore at this hour. They don't have a receptionist and answer the phone themselves - taking time away from patients.

I've mentioned in a post titled 'Lamazarific' that labor and delivery rooms have bright theater lighting. One thing I geeked out on was that they're controlled remotely with a strobe wand. The lights point and focus to wherever the strobe is. It was very hard not to play with this when the nurses left the room.

There was probably a 0.005% chance that an emergency c-section would result and I guess that's why doctors were prescribing these tactics over the phone. We never actually saw anyone but nurses. But I always find that doctors, particularly OBGYNs, err on the side of Let's Not Get Sued. After going through all that bullshit and getting out at 12:30am (Alina still awake), we got the professional prescription of "Rest and plenty of fluids". Wow, really?? Do I sound bitter? Yeah, I thought so.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dad vs The Fruit Fly

Is there an apple under my couch somewhere? Is there something unholy going on inside our potted plant? The vegetable eating iguana? The fishes? The cat? The flowers? Where do they come from and why are they here?? DIE! I've been doing battle with these little fuckers morning and night. Sometimes the wife just doesn't understand why I get so insane during battle. It's because it's BATTLE. I get to kill things! And sometimes it's the best part of my day after the long monotonous sludge that is the E Train and a Human Resources career.

My methods of fruity genocide have have varied over the weeks. We started out just clapping our hands at them as if they were mosquitoes. Even Alina got into it, saying "I got the bug!" after clapping her hands, even though she didn't. Just useless, this two-year old is sometimes - time to start carrying some weight, kid. So hand clapping was futile. They're just too fast. Lysol and/or citrus room spray was effective in dropping them but it got too extreme on the lungs and eyes. "Ahh! It burns!" Lysol with a lighter - now that was fun but inefficient and let's be honest, dangerous. Every teenage boy had a pyro period. It was fun to re-visit. Next, I tried a vacuum to suck them out of the air using the narrow hose attachment. Also fun, but limiting because of the power cord and I couldn't tell if they actually DIE DIE! Wielding a half roll of paper towels came next. It equipped me with not only a killing tool but a cleanup supply as well. These things bleed red! Hell, as long as it's theirs. It took a great deal of focus to wind up enough speed and accuracy to do the deed correctly. I felt like that spirit on the subway in "Ghost" who could move things with his mind if he concentrated enough. "All your love, all your anger, all your hate and you let it EXPLODE LIKE A REACTOR!" If you go too slow, you miss. Then my mother showed up with a metal mesh fly swatter. So....simple, so fast. But, as I mentioned, they leave a mark. The solution, which brings me to the present, is to scare them off the wall or ceiling and then swat in mid-air. They either get stuck in the mesh and DIE on impact or they get sent across the room and DIE DIE DIE! I try to send them in the same direction, which is evident if you look in our bathtub or on that big yellow stuffed bunny in the corner of the dining room. We'll probably need to burn that thing .... with Lysol and a lighter perhaps.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Name Wars

The date for the C-Section has been selected. July 21, 2008. Kind of odd selecting someone's birthday ahead of time. If you place any stock in the Zodiac, it could mean the difference between having a child that's tenacious, intuitive, and moody versus one that's creative, fun-loving, and bossy - i.e. Cancer vs Leo (which starts July 23). Of course, this all goes under the presumption of Katrina not going into labor by herself or they don't postpone it. Alina was actually 5 days early.

We must be getting close. I'm already being hounded about all that's left to buy - extra carseat, crib and/or bassinet, stroller, etc. But we still can't come to an agreement as to what the name will be. Since (we've) made the decision not to find out the sex, our work is doubly hard. She picks very nice first names, but doesn't consider how it will sound with our last name: Sebastian, Violet, and Claire are some of the ones she floated recently that I quickly shot down. And she'll come up with ones that rhyme with Alina, not realizing it.

She too has knocked down my recent suggestions of Everett, Hannah, & Harper just as quickly. I've got a couple more in my sleeve that I won't reveal to anyone but Katrina for reasons discussed previously. Mostly because I really like them and don't want any influence to tell me otherwise - especially family. If you're floating names before the baby comes, people feel free to bash openly. Once it's born, they can't say shit - at least not to my face. Suffice is to say, I'm still fighting for my pocketed names. They're pretty flexible. One of them can go male or female and the other can be shortened in 3 ways that sound like names themselves.

We typically don't require much justification for shooting each other down. A audible "yeesh" is usually enough. Sometimes we invoke the popularity clause. If it's too popular according to ssa.gov, it gets shot down. As you can see, I know how to put the anal in "over analyze".

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blogadultery

Once in a while, I cheat on my blog and write on another. It's supposed to be about NYC so take it from that perspective. I wanted to put this here, because the site may go down soon and it was something I actually took time doing.

A View of the Universe + One Month Security

All New York conversations eventually turn to Real Estate. It usually comes before the weather, but after you’ve bragged about that new restaurant find. You know, that cool and cute little Thai place that will eventually get too crowded, become uncool, get more expensive, and dwindle in culinary quality? We’re all about Real Estate because most of us are always moving. Either it’s because our rent for that one-bedroom with the one-ass kitchen has been hiked to $3200, or the neighborhood changes beneath your feet and it no longer holds the same appeal. The Scene. Case in point, K-Mart in the East Village (you’re DEAD to me, East Village) or the Trust Fund Ghetto that has become Williamsburg, Brooklyn (I didn’t have enough ironic t-shirts to stay). I don’t know whether to think of The New York Apartment as a fleeting natural resource or a very worn in 80-year old prostitute. We’re always on the prowl for the new up-and-coming neighborhood, building, or rent-stabilized unit. Though, the latter is more akin to a Sasquatch, White Whale, and endangered species all rolled up into one.

There are very few native New Yorkers in New York so perhaps we’re transient by nature: molting our apartments like crustaceans and hoping the landlords have paid to paint our new shells. The constant shifting results in no real sense of home with fond bygone memories. There's nothing invested because you’re a lifelong renter. So, we scuttle from place to place and it’s never easy. We put ourselves through the misery of moving, often several times per decade or more. It could be the square footage, but you’ll just buy more stuff and need more space later. You may love the view, but chances are a luxury monolith will stymie your skyline vista eventually. Aesthetics? They got those marble counter tops at Home Depot just like everyone else - why have that translate to more rent? Schools? If you’re really concerned about education, you’re either moving to the suburbs or staying in the city and forking out kindergarten tuition. Wouldn’t it be nice if that phrase was an oxymoron?

We all have our methods and tricks to the moving madness. Some go to Craigslist, the New York Bible. Bonus: Our Bible has used furniture and casual encounter sections. Jealous? Others enlist scads of brokers to pounce on vacancies and show them like a proud kitty with a dead mouse. Though when I say the word ‘broker’, I usually spit on the ground to get the taste out. But that’s just me right? There are lotteries you can apply for and sweat through. Maybe your name will come up you’ll get that condo in the newly gentrified neighborhood. I hear South Harlem is being called SoHa in Real Estate circles. Too. Damn. Funny.

We have a symbiotic relationship with our city. It moves and we counter. Long after the spread has reached far and wide and the latest opulent high-rise looms twenty feet from JFK airport, New Yorkers will still be accessing the classified ads via the chip in their brain, using the landing lights to read by. In the land with limited open space and endless crowds, we create our private universe of peace and self between exposed brick and drywall. There is no one like us. We like sushi and fried pizza, we simultaneously trend set and trend scoff, we ride four subways to work by day and join pillow fight leagues by night. Don’t try to understand us. We fly the flag of New York City.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lazy Dad Roundup

Whenever we leave the apartment she asks "Do you have your keys?"

Whenever I drop something or there's a loud noise, I hear from the other room "Are you okay?"

A bevy of YouTube videos are posted HERE.

Her first movie in a theater was officially Horton Hears a Who. The only thing she buried her face in my chest for was the previews. They're often fast and loud.

Katrina went up to Connecticut to have dinner with some old friends. While she was gone, we got messy. Paint and water were everywhere:




We went to Coney Island this past weekend. Astroland got their demolition delayed for another summer. She was finally tall enough to do some of these rides alone. Though technically she really shouldn't be that tall. At least she knows enough to stay seated and keep her belt on.



Friday, April 11, 2008

Buy Buy $Daycare$

From now until the end of Katrina's maternity leave, which starts sometime in late July, Alina will no longer be in a daycare. That's $1,344 a month I won't miss shelling out. As I've mentioned before, Katrina doesn't get paid to be on maternity leave (USA! USA!) so, like before, we're socking away. Alina's daycare made that a very slow process. So now the week looks like this: Katrina is home one day, my mother comes over one day from NJ, my uncle & aunt come over two days, and I take her into the city one day.

My one day is taking her to a daycare center across the street from my job. My company has a Backup Daycare benefit through Bright Horizons where I get 20 days a year either put her in a facility or someone comes over. The subway rides in the morning have been interesting. We get her psyched up by telling her all about going on the choo choo train. Anyone who has been on a subway during morning rush can tell you that it's not quite as romantic as a real Choo Choo. We either get dropped off at the station by Katrina or a taxi, depending on what time she has to be at work. Otherwise, it's a mile walk/stroll. So far, I'm against strollers on the subway. Too much to deal with between stairs, her bag, and herself. The first time we commuted, we took the E express train and stood for part of the time. She held both my hands, standing in front of me as I pressed my back against the side door. Occasionally she'd look up at me a little concerned and then eventually smile. At the first stop, someone got up and we sat down. I guess I have to have boobs to get offered a seat. She'd alternate between sitting in my lap with her thumb in her mouth and standing on my lap looking at posters. I need a Purell pump strapped to my ankle though. She wants to touch everything and it's not a matter of thinking there were filthy people sitting there before you. You KNOW there were filthy people there before you. The 2nd time we commuted, we took the V local train. It takes longer but we're the first stop so all the seats are empty. Besides saying "slow down" to the train, Alina got a little impatient towards the end. Every time the doors opened she'd look up at me and say "All done?" So we counted down on our fingers how many stops were left.

The actual facility I take her to is fantastic and the staff couldn't be nicer. They have separate areas for each age group and NO TV. But like a real, legal daycare, I have many many forms to fill out. And one extra form each time I show up asking me if she's toilet trained, how she goes to sleep, any special objects we brought like a blanket, what food I brought. Everything has to be labeled and we needed to provide pictures and medical histories, etc. I've filled out less forms buying a car.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Disney's Happy Endings

No, this isn't a post about good 'ol Walt and his interludes with Thai hookers. Though that probably happened too. This is about a series of short books that Disney put out using their classic characters and calling it "Happy Endings". These books are for small kids, thus the cardboard pages, and the set that we got as a present includes Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast, and Snow White. It even comes with a CD so one can listen to whimsical music while reading.

Now allow me to point out the ridiculous, especially with the book titled "Snow White: A New Beginning". The 17-page (two sentences on each) story opens thusly:

"Snow White was a lovely princess who lived in a castle. She was kind and generous, and her heart was filled with joy." - Okay, that sounds Disney-ish, right? She has to run into the forest to escape the Queen's evil plans. We don't know what plans those are, but who cares? There are dwarfs to meet, after all. So she sings to some birds and rabbits and finds the dwarf cottage. She cleans the dwarf cottage and falls asleep in their beds. You remembering this so far? The (now nameless) dwarfs come home and "decide to let her stay". I'm not skipping around here. They really cut to the chase. The last three pages go like this:

"The cottage was transformed! Every night, the Dwarfs would sing and play their instruments for Snow White. The Dwarfs were glad to have Snow White live with them. Because of her great kindness, the Dwarfs soon came to love Snow White."

"Snow White was so happy to have found the Dwarfs. When she first ran off into the woods, she had cried, as anyone would. But she didn't give up, and she found a new home."

"In time, Snow White left the Dwarfs to marry a prince. But she often thought of her dear friends in the woods!"

The End? That's It?? No apple, no mirror mirror, no witch, no dying, no saving kiss??? What's the point of this book???? I'll grant you that the witch in Snow White is arguably the scariest antagonist in all of Disney Cinema. But why change it that much, with all the titles available to make into books. I mean, they all have happy endings anyway. But they've reduced this to a story about girl who runs away, moves in with seven men, and cleans up after them. Oh and by the way, one day she marries a prince.

I shudder to think what other stories will get the same short shrift treatment. One day, George Bailey was sad on Christmas. But then his neighbors came over and his daughter played the piano and everyone was singing and happy and George realized that he really did have A Wonderful Life.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Technology!


20-week (ish) 3-D ultrasound

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Terrible Twos: It Begins

Favorite New Sentence:
"No I don't wike it."

Favorite New Word/Phrase:
"Now" and "Right Now"

Favorite New Game:
Objects in mouth then run away laughing as we say "Spit that out!"

Favorite New Sound:
Ear piercing scream to scare the cat.

Caught a crying/fretting practice session in the mirror. She walks up to the front closet which has a floor length mirror on it. She puts her hands up to her eyes, pouts, and says "a-hoo a-hoo". Faker!

Now she rats us out to one another. For example, Alina came up to me and said "Daddy! Mommy pushed." She had been attempting to climb the windowsill and Katrina removed her from it. Informant!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Horrible, Horrible Freedom

I went to Portland, Oregon last week to visit some close friends that moved out there over the summer. I also got a chance to see an old High School friend as well. The operative word here is "I" because the journey was embarked upon entirely by myself. That's right! I left the toddler and the pregnant wife at home - and they say chivalry is dead?

The reality of it was that the trip was planned a while ago, initially slotted for the Spring. I was waiting for the weather to get nice and for my Corporate AmEx to accrue enough points to convert into a plane ticket. The points came through early because no one at my job likes to use their AmEx and the new baby on the way made a Spring departure more complicated. We decided that the ideal time for me to go would be during the early 2nd trimester. By then, Katrina doesn't have morning sickness anymore and she's not uncomfortably big. I left on a late Wednesday and came back on an early Tuesday so she'd have weekend assistance and not 5 straight days of single parenthood. It also became apparent that if I didn't go soon, I wouldn't be going anytime in the foreseeable future. Leaving a mom with TWO little kids is a bit of a dick move.

There. Now that I've got my justifications all lined up it's time to say how awesome it was!

The house I stayed at was on Hawthorne Blvd in the Southeast section of Portland. It was very much like the Village/Williamsburg Brooklyn of Portland. The major difference being the less pretentious hipsters. Brooklyn Hipsters look homeless from the neck up and wear $300 jeans with a 27" waist. Portland Hipsters look homeless all over and aren't quite as emaciated. They're big on used clothes, a-hem, I mean "vintage". I've never seen so many used stores in one place. And it's not just clothes. There's furniture, miles of books, electronics, bikes, movies, those giant 70s era porcelain ashtrays with the fifteen divots - when you want everyone to smoke. One store, House of Vintage, is literally 13,000 square feet. There were a lot of dogs and a lot of bikes. Even bike racks on the front of the city bus. Friendliest service ever. From the gas attendant to the waiters, everyone was super nice. Best oysters ever - actually ordered seconds for dessert much to the amazement of my gracious hosts. And oysters are always more fun in Shooter form - in a shot glass with cocktail sauce and lemon juice. I enjoyed the unique venues like the Bagdad where one can have dinner, then move into the $3 theater with a beer in tow - the seating rows all having tables and service.

Then there was nature. Mount Hood, Multnomah Falls, and Roslyn Lake Park:







Note to anyone thinking of walking to the top of Multnomah Falls - the 2nd largest waterfall in the U.S. - you can't see the waterfall from there! I guess we kinda knew that, huffing and sweating uphill for a mile on switchback trails, but at the time we had a "because it's there" attitude. That was quickly replaced with "Why the fuck did we walk up here?" But, now we have stories, I suppose. I think my hosts got their nature fill to the point where the sight of a babbling brook induces cold sweat and heart palpitations. They're still asphalt people.

What did I learn from this time away (other than that I still have an annoyingly high tolerance to alcohol)? I realized that I hadn't yet become a programmed parent. I didn't wake up and feel weird not having a diaper to change or bottle to warm up. Nor did I feel relieved. I missed everyone at home a lot, but you may have trouble convincing my hormonal wife of that. Sometimes we only spoke once a day. The time difference proved to be challenging when it was time to say Goodnight to Alina. Now Katrina needs a spa weekend to be fair, but she gets the DTs when she overnights away from her little one(s). Maybe after she stops breastfeeding so she can eat sushi and bathe in Pinot Noir.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kiddie Party!

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Hate Your Kid

That's right. Your little A.D.D. punk annoys the shit out of me. If they're not muscling their way between a toy and my kid, they're throwing things indiscriminately that end up hitting her. At a birthday party, they'll sneeze on a table full of food and open presents that aren't theirs. We need to revert to the days when jungle gyms were made of steel and action figures were made of iron. This way, when they get out of line, they'll get injured like they're supposed to - like our Forefathers!. Thin the herd, let them experience consequences. Keep those kids in traction so the rest of us can have some fun. These days, if a kid is doing something they're not supposed to at a playground and takes a spill as a result, there's no repercussion because there's no cement. The ground is made of sponges! By that same logic, we should all put helmets on our kids and have them beat each other with styrofoam mallets. This way, they learn that violence is fun and nothing bad really happens.

We make crayons and paste non-toxic but they eat Lucky Charms and Fluff. We complain that their education system is screwed up while they watch yet another 2-hour American Idol. It's coddling, hypocrisy, and laziness all rolled up into one and it's flavored with Rockin' Blue Raspberry.

Man up (or woman up) and be a fucking parent. I know it was fun when they were all cute and squishy and didn't roll over, but those days are gone. Get to work, people. Your kids are pissing me off and I'm going to start tripping them when you're not looking - which is basically all the time.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baby #2 Update

I haven't been writing very much about Baby #2. Mostly because I already wrote about Katrina being pregnant and it has roughly been the same experience so far - retch, sleep, eat. A few different cravings and saving graces. Pancakes seem to be only carry-over from the last pregnancy that has yet to wrong Katrina's affinity for nausea. I don't even know what week she's in unless I think really hard about it. I used to be able to spout that statistic at any time of the day. Her tummy did pop a bit earlier this time, so that was new. For the record, we're in the second trimester now and will be doing the sonographical counting of fingers and toes in a couple of weeks - Week 20 of 40.

One thing that is changing is finding out the sex. She doesn't want to know, thus I don't want to know. My argument for knowing has always been that giving birth has enough unknowns, surprises, and complications. Why add another? I thought about complaining, but what can I do? In a stalemate such as this, tie goes to the runner. She's carrying it, I'm not. My sister was mortified by this choice because she has a garage full of blue and pink baby clothes, some of which we originally gave her. She is dying to send us a few boxes to clear some space, but can't until the baby is born. Thus, the first thing out of Katrina's mouth when she sees a doctor or technician has to be IDONTWANNAKNOW, as they have a history of slipping up a pronoun once in a while. He, I mean, It is doing fine.

We've also decided not to disclose our name choices. This pregnancy is already shrouded in mystery, ain't it? So, why did we decide this? First, it seemed that every time we decided on one, a virtual Fibber McGee's closet full of babies with the same name came crashing down upon us. Initially, we had a pretty good footing with the name Zoe Mae. In the weeks to follow, we met girls, boys, even dogs with the name and we just fell out of love with it after that. Secondly, everybody's got an opinion. And unless they're pointing out a fatal mockery-laden flaw embedded within the name that I may have missed, like converting Jackson Aronoff to JackOff, then I don't want to hear it. I'll even hear people say, "I know someone with that name and they're an asshole." Mmmkay thanks - I'll remember that in case I meet your friend one day and need him to save me a spot in line or something.

Of course, if you were to hear it from Katrina, she'd tell you that this pregnancy is very different this time around because she has to chase around a 2-year old. She gets tired fast. My usual response is, "Well stop chasing her then." Though I think when she says chasing, she's talking more about bookending her day by racing to and from daycare drop-offs and pickups while working 10 hours. Then when we're home it's make dinner, eat it, bathtime, stories, bottle, brush teeth, fix lunch for next day, dishwasher - oh look it's 11pm - CRASH!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Aarrrrggghh

I'm ...... planning a birthday party for a two-year old. It's .... cough ..... getting out of hand. Twennnty Seven .... people. People! Help! Gawwwwwwwd

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mini Therapist

Alina saw that her daddy was visibly upset. To make him feel better, she took him by the hand saying, "C'mon, Daddy. C'mon, Daddy" and brought him around the apartment to see all the pets. First, she led him to the fishtank and said, "Wook, Daddy. Fishies!" Next, she gleefully pulled him towards the acrylic enclosure that housed Ecko, the iguana. "Wook, Daddy. Ecko!" Then she tracked down the cat, Embers. "Wook, Daddy. Embers! Kitty!" She smiled. It worked. He felt a lot better.

The first time you save your kid's life, you feel grandiose. A true feat of heroism. She almost fell off the bed, afterall. Bad things could've happened had you not grabbed her ankle. After the 50th time you save your kid's life, you don't even think about it, except maybe to think, "I really wish this kid would stop almost dying. It's getting old." Your virtuous pomp is replaced by a nonchalant glaze. You could even do it while talking on the phone and carrying a plate of corn on the cob. "I'll take that Xacto knife, thank you very much."

Then there's that one time - perhaps #63. That one time when it's just too close and the results could've been worse than you can imagine. Then you can imagine it and you just lose it. Right there at the mailbox.

But ...

How can I be upset when I have all these pets? Right, Alina?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Regressing For A Day

Happy Birthday to me ..... Everybody Out! That was about the extent of the first half of the day. The plan was rest and no responsibility for 8 whole hours. Unfortunately I had an appointment in the mid-afternoon so it wasn't a complete success. But, I found myself in the West Village, which is a nice area to walk around during the week when there aren't many people. Ah, a Gray's Papaya hot dog on a cold day with a papaya "drink" - legally I don't think they can call it juice.

Later that night, Alina brought me a slice of cake with a candle in it. She has gotten very good at that song. Well, it is only four words. Katrina smartly bought just a slice and not a whole cake, but we all shared in its strawberryness. It was interesting to note how messy our apartment gets after one day of not cleaning it, since I took the day off both professionally and personally. It was like we had a poltergeist.

Alina is turning two in a couple of weeks. I have very little to do with the festivities, but noticed that a lot of stamps were gone so apparently people are coming. Remember party bags? I sure didn't. And I even feel downright annoyed that I have to provide sweets and gifts for cretanous mini creatures that I've never met. Both at daycare and at her actual party. I guess it could be worse - like renting a petting zoo and cleaning up goat shit or something. Winter birthdays rule.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ad Nauseam. In 4-D!

Two dimensions wasn't enough. Three dimensions? Surely you jest. America wants FOUR dimensions! We went to an aquarium in Norwalk, CT over the weekend and they had this 5-minute ride/movie featuring Spongebob. You know, because it's an aquarium and Spongebob .... lives in the ocean. It's about as appropriate as having a My Little Pony ride at a Rodeo. Anyway, the ride consists of you sitting in this box with about 20 other people and watch a 3-D movie while your chairs throw you about to simulate the corresponding screen action. The goal is to give you the feel of being there. I guess the thwacking about is the 4th dimension. While I love roller coasters and any carnival-variety spin n' barf ride, I typically don't do well on these things. I guess it has something to do with the randomness of it and not seeing the path of movement ahead of time.

While I was parking the car, Katrina bought tickets to this ride. She's pregnant, Alina's is one, and I traditionally hate these things so I couldn't figure out why we were fated to do this. I was later informed that the warnings about the ride aren't posted where you buy the ticket, just at the ride itself. It's more of a legal disclaimer than a warning. Everyone is trying to cover their ass from getting sued. Please do not ride if you're pregnant, experience motion sickness, have heart conditions, back/neck problems, vertigo, ingrown toenails, hemmoroids, ocular bleeding, fisticuffs, nipple splinters, and the list goes on...

Then, we heard that you can choose to have your seat turned off, so you wouldn't have to experience what yet another sign called "Violent, Aggressive Movements". My fears were suddenly replaced with the eagerness to see Alina watch a 3-D movie for the first time. We were able to have both our chairs silenced, as they could only do it in pairs.

Surprisingly, Alina kept the glasses on despite them being too big for her head. I didn't really watch the movie - something about a pickle falling out of a Crabby Patty and getting away. When the first 3-D reach-out-and-touch-it moment happened, Alina put one hand on the side of her head and the other over her nose and said "Oh No!" Like, she wanted to cover her eyes but also couldn't look away. All around us, people in their chairs were being gimbaled and thrown about in a way that made me very happy that we weren't one of them. That action, combined with the 3-D, overtly loud speakers, and real bubbles being released completely turned reality on its head (in the eyes of a nearly two-year old). What world must this have been? Unfortunately, Spongebob and his pals had to be attacked by a robot with a circular saw for one arm. "We've clearly descended into hell," I thought. It was over fast enough. She didn't seem to hate it as much as I thought. The lights came up and she yelled "Bubbles!" as they were still floating around. Then, had a bunch of incoherent stories to tell Mommy who was waiting outside for us. So, I guess now we have to wait for the 5th dimension, where they skip the lines and the tactile, blunt-force experience and just download the ride directly into your brain.

She threw up about two hours after, but that later proved to be unrelated to the ride. But it did shed some light on how little she actually chews her food. Whole Penne pasta and clementine slices? Reminds me of a dog I once had.

3-D hangover baby below:


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sanjay Claus

Mom and Babe were at our local pizza place tonight, when an Indian Sikh with a full beard and purple turban walks in. Alina, perks up, runs over to him and yells:

"SANTA! Hi Santa! Look, Mommy! Santa! How are you, Santa?!"

The man just smiles. Katrina, trying to prevent tomato sauce from shooting out of her nose, decides to put another foot in our family's mouth by pointing at his turban and saying, "She likes your hat."

Here is an artist's rendering:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I'm No Gandalf

Once in a while, we begrudgingly make the trek up the Van Wyck Expressway to Babies r Us. It's a place I don't really like going, especially on a weekend, being nestled with a BJ's, Target, etc, making the approach and parking situation quite heinous. Sometimes we have no other choice when we need something very specific. This past Sunday was one of those times. We needed to buy nipples for Medela bottles and have yet to see them sold anywhere else. Luckily, we're seasoned veterans and don't need to speak to any of the clueless staff. Really, you'd think they'd hire someone who had a basic knowledge of anything they were selling. An abundance of choice tends to paralyze the average consumer, paired with the fact that new parents and parents-to-be are typically brain dead. When faced with 27 brands of car seats, sometimes you want to speak to a sales person.

Like the new Trader Joe's that opened around the corner from us (YES!), it's virtually impossible to leave Babies r Us once you find what you went there for. After all, you wrestled your way into the place. It'd be a shame to wait on line just for nipples. So while Mama was looking at hats on sale, the wee and I abused the furniture. Alina wanted to get into every crib and play with the mobiles, jump around. I was hoping someone would yell at us, as I was in the mood to win an argument. Alas, no one challenged. Ho hum. I've never been a particularly rowdy or disrespectful person, but I'm finding that being parent has made less inclined to placate the general public.

I felt like an elder statesman seeing all the pale-faced, shell shocked, bewildered people roaming the canyon-like aisles. I was them once. Some were pregnant, some had infants, all looked mildly terrified. Did I impart my Wisdom onto these draftees? Nope, that's their journey. And besides, a parent's unsolicited opinion is a big pet peeve of mine. Alas, there is no Oracle when it comes to baby consumer products (especially not in Babies r Us), so one's source of knowledge is usually other parents. So, I just sit back and watch the mayhem. I watch the woman who can't choose between angled bottles and Dr. Brown's ones that allegedly prevent spitting up. I see the couple argue about a swing that doesn't allow side-to-side motion and back-and-forth. I examine the Auntie that flips through every book on the shelf to find the one that will make her niece a genius. Then there's the Dad who is testing the infant mattresses to see which one is more comfortable. Okay, Ready?

- Dr. Browns doesn't do shit and they're really hard to clean
- Your kid may not even like swings in the first place
- It's not the book, it's how often you read to them
- Your kid weighs less than you, Mr. Mattress tester

Of course, my self aggrandizing attitude towards new parents is limited to just new parents. Someone with a couple of 10-year olds probably looks at me the same way, thinking, "Dude, you have no idea."

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Rockin' Eve


12/31/07 11:06 PM


As you may have deduced from this photo, things are a bit laid back this year. My mother-in-law even came down to watch Alina so we could go out and we didn't take her up on it. THAT'S how much we didn't feel like going out tonight. Katrina's weekend of retching probably didn't help the motivation factor. Maybe I should try and take on that bottle of Veuve just to balance out the party universe.

My one regret from 2007: That "L. Ron Hubtards" never took off as a catch phrase to describe those Dianetics people who give stress tests and Scientology books in subway stations around the city. It seemed promising.