Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You Don't Post For a Month and Now This?

Sad to say that my responsibilties as father, husband, and employee have superceded by duties as diligent blogger. It's been three weeks since my last post and, in blogging terms, I may as well have taken off three years. I have embraced the mantra of parenthood: after all the chores are done, Rebecca is safely (and finally!) asleep, the dishwasher is clean, my lunch is packed...well, I'd rather just go to bed.
But I couldn't resist sharing this photograph.
I can't say whether I'll come back to updating with any frequency. I'd like to, but time's been scarce of late. When Becca starts sleeping through the night (or at least a reasonable facimile) I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pimp My Ride

Earlier in this blog, I touched on transportation, namely, my lack of it. To resolve our "Bringing Home Baby" issue, my wife and I wisely decided to rent a car for one week. That got us to the and from the hospital, back to the hospital for various jaundice-related reasons, to the pediatrician and the grocery store.

Our life as non-car-having semi-urban hipsters ended yesterday. Buying a car, in retrospect, was one of those things we should have done months ago. With the money we spent on rentals or Zipcars in the past 12 weeks, we could have easily made monthly payments for a while. Money was never the issue, honestly, it was equal parts research, laziness, and misguided hope that we could easily manage without a car. There's no doubt we could have survived without a car, but whether it would have been easy is another story. Any lingering thoughts of staying carless evaporated during our midnight ride to the emergency room (everything was, ultimately, fine - that was the turning point in our battle against jaundice).

Our first thought was to check out Hondas - they are relatively safe, reliable, and a used one can run for years. But the local Honda dealership had something better. Something that is undoubtedly safer and just as reliable. Since my wife and I had gone so long without a car, the make, model, or style is not important. What is important is safety, security, and piece-of-mind.

No, friends, we did not join the ranks of the SUVs. Nor did we settle on a sedan, we just may need more space that your typical four-door can offer. My wife and I think of ourselves on the cusp of the next great retro craze. What offers more space than a sedan, better gas mileage than a SUV and the safety of a steel cage?

That's right, we roll in a Volvo station wagon. Big muthafuckin' pimping.

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The Second Pot

My dearest morning pot of coffee, I love you more than I can say. You are always there for me, coaxing me awake, chasing away my slumber, a morning lover whose sweet kisses danced along lips like a secret mistress. My dearest morning pot of coffee, we have spent nearly every morning, weekday and weekend together, and my respect and admiration remains for you.

But there is another.

I can no longer live a double life, I must confess. I have been seeing a second pot of coffee in the evening. By the time five or six o'clock rolls around, morning pot of coffee, you are nothing but an afterthought, a fleeting memory of a day gone by. I turned to this second pot of coffee out of desperation, a necessary evil when faced with heavy eyelids and impending company. But this innocent sampling has become something more, something greater, something I cannot control.

You know, morning pot of coffee, that I have my indiscretions. Once, twice, even sometimes three times while I am away at the office. But this is no mere dalliance with a new flirtation. I have come to love, to desire, to crave the second pot of coffee and I am helpless against it. I come to you out of respect, out of our history together. This need not be the end of our relationship. I will come to you faithfully upon my rise each morning. But know this, sweet morning pot of coffee - there is another. Not a replacement, but a complement. And this will not soothe the blow, it may worsen it: my wife is no stranger to the second pot of coffee, either.

Please try to understand.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Importance of Being Baby

When I was a junior in college, I had an internship at a small PR firm. The firm's owner had a background in marketing, public relations, and communications, including a stint with a local sports team. He was a bit of a sports nut, so he and I developed a good relationship. Despite his zeal for all things sports, I remember being surprised that I was constantly updating him on the results of games and the latest news. I was shocked, *shocked*, at discovering he didn't watch a single pitch of the baseball all-star game that year. He was the owner of a small business, handling a lion's share of the work, and also a parent to two young children. He loved baseball, he explained, but he simply didn't have the time.

I've embraced that sentiment over the past week. So many things that I would typically use to fill my time have fallen by the wayside as I focus on my baby and being a parent. Even basic daily elements of my routine have been shed. In the past year, I have averaged one day a month where I don't shower. Now, I haven't showered twice in the past four days. It's not that I don't have the time, I'm just too busy watching my cute daughter (and not leaving the house).

Here are a few other things that have plummeted on my interest list in the past week:
  • Exhibition NFL games
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Most non-baby-related Internet activity
  • Speaking in coherent, grammatically-correct sentences
  • Updates from my mother on random people I went to high school with
  • Dinner
  • Jeopardy!
  • Having more than one beer
  • Shaving
  • The life-altering relationship problems faced by the Sydney cast of "The Real World"
  • Anything occurring after 10 p.m.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Used to be Smart

They say that men have two brains, one in their head the other in their pants. The common joke is that men only have enough blood to use one of those brains at a time. I think parenthood has given me a parallel to that.

You see, I used to be smart. Just one week ago, I was rattling off answers on Jeopardy! telecasts, could concentrate on a thought to completion, even carry on meaningful conversations. What has happened since? I can't really do any of those things.

Parenthood isn't rocket science, but it does take a fair amount of brain power and equal parts common sense, perseverance and patience. You can read, watch television programs, and interrogate other parents as much as you want, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Being a parent has taken most of my concentration lately and, when mixed with a sleep-deprived schedule that would make an Abu-Ghraib official shudder, it has left me unable to do much else.

Since Rebecca was born, I have learned the optimal way to feed her, bathe her, change her, hold her and clothe her. This has come at the expense of the remainder of my intellect. You see, while I've become adept at parenting skills, I have lost the command of other basic skills and sense.

Two days ago, I boiled water to sterilize some pacifiers and bottles. Twenty minutes later, I walked into the kitchen, oblivious to the pot of water, nearly boiling over, without anything else inside. Our lactation consultant, so instrumental in helping Rebecca eat properly, generously gives out her home phone number to new parents. She is often the most essential early presence in a child's life, but after five-ten days, she isn't necessary. After giving us the basics on feeding, she regretfully had to pass us along to another nurse. She was leaving the country on vacation, that morning, for more than two weeks. I asked her for her home phone number, in case we needed it while she was away.

I had a third example (three is a trend, you know), and a fourth. But now, I cannot remember them. I can't have more than a basic conversation - enough to complete a transaction at the supermarket, but not really able to go into any detail about my life without losing my train of thought.

I used to get in trouble when the blood from my brain rushed out of my head and to my other brain. That got me where I am today.

Now, it takes all the brain power I've got to maintain focus as a parent, learning as I go, to keep my baby happy and healthy. But it comes at the expense of the rest of my life. I'm happy to talk to you about being a parent, just don't ask me about anything else.


Friday, August 24, 2007

My Yellow Baby

You may recall that my wife and I painted our nursery yellow with some fairly radiant consequences. We eventually repainted the nursery a less-obscene shade of yellow, which is probably for the best: My baby is incredibly jaundiced.

Jaundice is fairly common, especially in babies born via induction or premature. My wife and I were both jaundiced as infants. I spent a few days under the heat lamps, right next to hamburgers and fries, before I was able to go home.

My baby's lucky, she gets to be home. After visiting the pediatrician and lactation consultant yesterday, we were given some strict marching orders: feed her, feed her regularly, and hope she poops. The life of a baby, right?

So now, instead of just enjoying the frustratingly delightful first few days of parenthood, letting our natural intuition and ignorance battle it out, my wife and I have a goal: keep baby home. Little Rebecca's flirting with going back to the hospital to be put under the florescent lights. Our pediatrician recommends a hospital stay (however brief) if a baby's bilirubin number hits 19. Rebecca was 12.5 when she left the hospital, 17.2 yesterday, and 17.7 today. We're hoping that by tomorrow, after a full 36 hours of bi-hourly feedings, her count will fall, her yellow tint will fade, and the jaundice subsides.

In the meantime, we have to feed her every other hour. The process takes about 30-45 minutes. Overnight, from about 11-7 am, we can stretch feedings to every three hours. I hardly know what to do with all that free time.

Rebecca is fairly oblivious to all this, changes in her poops aside. Jaundice has some cyclical effects that are counterproductive. Jaundiced babies can naturally lower their bilirubin count by eating regularly, gaining weight, and excreting regularly. Jaundiced babies are also notoriously lethargic and sleepy. Keeping her awake between feedings is tough, sometimes she's curious, other times she cries, but mostly she sleeps. We have to wake her up to feed her. We should all be so lucky to have such a schedule.

She's sleeping behind me, bathed in sunlight, as I write. She took a few active moments to open her eyes earlier, that doesn't happen too often (at least until around 4 am).

My wife and I closely monitor and track her intake and output. We try to keep her awake during feedings and we try to keep her excited and awake between feedings from time to time. All in an effort to keep Rebecca out of the hospital and in our home. Admitting an infant for jaundice is usually a 24-hour process. A baby enters the hospital, spends most of her time under special lights, parents can come visit, and everyone goes home happy the next day.

Were Rebecca's count to hit 19, that's what would would happen. She'd go into the hospital, mom and dad could only visit and have to spend the night at home, quietly, without a crying child. And we are both actively working to prevent this. We're working to keep our daughter home, where we can watch her, and feed her on the hour of each odd hour; where I can watch her start to squirm and cry as she discovers how to poop, and she can mostly lay silent, asleep in her chair, while her mother and I worry about her health, her personality, and what college she might want to attend.

Ask me last week whether I'd choose the one-night reprieve from baby duty over the 24-hour routine, and you'd get a different answer than now. Don't get me wrong, we want what is best for our daughter. We want her healthy, happy, and a normal hue. But we want to try it ourselves - try to feed her and change her and take care of her - before medical professionals kick in.

We're parents.

Oh, and since I don't really have the time or inclination to write/update as much as I'd like, enjoy this baby photo from earlier today.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The First 48 Hours

This is going to be one disjointed-ass post.

Random thoughts, remarks, and observations on my first 48 hours as a parent...

If you asked me, around 4pm yesterday, how being a parent was, I'd have to tell you it was going remarkably well. I suppose that it still is going remarkably well, though there's a bit more fussing and crying over the past 12 hours.

Rebecca *hates* having her diaper changed. She cries like a banshee when she is put down and her diaper comes off (I am encouraged at her reaction to being bottomless, perhaps that will keep). Of all the basic functions babies are born with, pooping is the strangest and scariest. Can you imagine figuring out what your body was doing down there if you had no idea? Also, I'm pretty sure I know what is going "in" so why does it look like black tar heroin coming out?

If you need to reach me, try between midnight and 4am, I'm usually up, but my hands are full.

She opened her eyes and looked at me yesterday, and I damn near died.

Allow me state and reiterate how awesome my wife -- and all mothers -- are. Babies don't do much their first few days or weeks, but they definitely eat. They eat every few hours and it's not something that can really be done half-ass. My wife just asked me to hold Rebecca for a while so she could shower for the first time in days. I will happily oblige.

...more to come, must relieve mommy for a bit...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What's Dis?

Huh? Where am I? What's dis Interweb thing?

Why iz it so hard type wif dese mittens on? What does dis say, I cannot read.

Oh, hai. My name is Rebecca Marquis and I was born yesterday at 7:25 pm. I do not like to miss Jeopardy!, so I came out just in time.

I weigh 6 lbs and 10 ounces. I really like eating. My mommy and daddy are pretty cool people, but I'm not sure they know what hey are doing.

Ok, I'm bored and tired now. I go bak to seepin. Kiss me I'm cute. Luhzu all, bye bye!

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