Saturday, January 28, 2012

Harper's Special Ingredient

Now that Henry has come along and is sans any vaccinations until he's 2 months old and we live in an insufficiently inoculated area, I've made the - possibly unpopular, yet safe - decision to keep him out of the public eye (and nose..and hands.. and mouth) for a few more weeks.

Until Brandon gets home each day, we must be creative in our entertainment pursuits. Like pioneers. Like pioneers who didn't feel like hitching up the wagon and fording the river to get to Target.

We do many strange things to keep ourselves (HARPER.) entertained. Yesterday, I got a look from a neighbor because Harper was the plane and Henry & I were the engine. An engine which operates loudly and in a single-file line around the front yard. In circles. The plane and/or engine may be required to flap their arms.  And when Harper called for the rocket booster (requiring an enthusiastic whoosh from the engine) just as the neighbor was walking by, what was I going to do? NOT engage the rocket booster? no. Anyway.

Conventional entertainment-wise, she helps me cook every night. Which is awesome because it means I actually cook every night. Sometimes awesome for Brandon.

As the sun sets on any given afternoon, you'll find Harper perched on the counter top gathering supplies and readying herself for her main tasks, which are pouring and mixing. Which looks like me struggling to keep or get any at all of what Harper is pouring or mixing into a bowl.

Yesterday was no different.

I particularly like making chicken pot pie because Harper hates it (which means she won't lick the spoon..) and it also means she takes her tasks so seriously but hates the smells so badly that she'll literally shudder her way through it.

Me: ((opening can)) "OK, pour in the Cream of Potato."
Harper: (peers inside can) "OK!" ((shudder))
Harper: Sticks in spoon ((shudder)) to loosen it up while I hold it.
Me: ((puts chicken in the bowl))
Harper: ((shudder))

So.. you see, she's all business and I see only a glimpse of her silly toddler self when she pours in the frozen peas and carrots (have I not yet paused to laud the fresh & wholesome nature of said pie?) and after Harper mangles we painstakingly crimp the edges of the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (lauding..) with a fork, she gets to play with the leftover dough. Which also makes her shudder, but only for a second.. in a good way.

Yesterday was special.

She must have been feeling a little frisky and confident in her preparation. Anticipating each ingredient, she called for each before she needed them and in no time, we were ready to pour her concoction into the pie pans. A little bit Julia Child.. A little bit Fancy Nancy.

As I walked over to Harper, who was still dutifully stirring the pie innards, I watched powerlessly - with hands full of waiting pie pans - as she, as quick as lightning, added her pièce de résistance. With brow-furrowing concentration, Harper spat in the chicken pot pie.

The End.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

a birdhouse.

When you have a baby around Christmas, some things get lost in the shuffle. And when you come up for air on this, the 12th day of January, you don't make a gingerbread house.

You make a birdhouse.

Aptly named, by Harper.

Me: ((squirts huge gob of icing at 9:30 AM and shakes head at questionable parenting)) Where do you want to stick the orange piece? 

Harp: In my mouth! 

After much brandishing of icing spoon (pictured).. and a calculated lick of the roof, she made her final pronouncement:

mmm....It tastes as good as it smells! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Indy returns.

Happy New Year Baby!

Well it finally happened.  My wife and I checked into the hospital around 11 AM on Dec 30th, and by 12:05 AM New Year’s Eve, we had a squirmy new addition to Team Family.  Grace Savannah. 7 lbs 0 oz, 19.5 inches, APGARs of 8 and 9…but nobody gives 10s anymore.  The poor thing looks too much like me for her own good, but I digress.  It was quite the event. 

For me it was pretty surreal.  During med school OB/Gyn rotations, I delivered a few dozen screaming balls of humanity into this world, but the game changes when that ball of humanity carries your genetic make-up.  From a logistical side, I knew what to expect. 


There would likely be gross sounds, smells, lots of weird fluids, and potentially one or more people in the room will poop*…medically speaking of course.  From an emotional perspective, I might as well have just popped in The Notebook on DVD and expected that, just because I’ve seen movies before, this one will be similar (yes, guys who are forced to watch that movie are also emotional wrecks by the end).

My wife, who typically has the stress threshold of a soufflé, was a champ.  Seriously.  I’ve never been so proud of her and glad that I’m a dude in my life.  She put a determined look on her face, and made it clear that we were not leaving there without a baby.  She only said one thing while she was pushing too.  “Don’t look down there.” 

Seriously?  That was a superfluous request.  Never in my wildest self-destructive fantasies did I ever have any desire to look “directly into the sun,” if you will.  I imagine that it is probably like that scene in Indiana Jones where the Nazis look at the lost ark and their faces melt off.  I’m a doctor, and medically these things don’t bother me a bit.  It’s just that I’m content keeping business and pleasure very separate. 

In the end, everything went according to plan, and we were able to take Grace home a couple of days later.  I’m sure I will follow this post with one about my first days as a terrified father, but right now, I need to take a nap.   A couple hours ago, I tried to put a dirty diaper back on Grace after I already changed her.

*Mandy would like me to make it very clear that she did not, in fact, poop.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

doin' alright for the shape I'm in

I knew I'd be sleep-deprived, but the beauty of the hell that is the perpetual worry of your first child is that you get to nap. If you can tear yourself from ensuring their chest rises and falls during their nap. Seriously... I watched Harper while she slept. Just in case.

Generally, though, when they crash, so can you. It's a beautiful thing. On maternity leave, if you want, you can nap every.single.time they do. With any luck, by the time your significant other arrives home for the evening, you can manage a coherent sentence or two.

When you have two children (or more.. bless your hearts), you aren't as nervous. You have tricks up your sleeve. You can burp a baby with the best of them. You can change a terrible awful diaper and they don't even cry. You know when they're hungry, when they're tired and how to get them to sleep. With any luck, your significant other also knows these things so that every once in a while, you get a 5 minute break.

Here's where the other shoe drops. The trade off: You can't nap. So in those first few weeks when your newborn sleeps all day and eats/fusses all night, all you can do is look longingly at the occupied Rock 'n Play and wish you were 21 inches long while you hoist a 30 lb toddler onto a slide - specifically labeled for outdoor use but unabashedly assembled in your basement because you'll do anything to keep your toddler occupied in the cold winter months - or climb into their playhouse (also far too big for the basement, but in there anyway..or this could just be me).

I'm managing to shower every day. ...because when you only sleep a few hours each night, sooner or later, you're gonna look in the mirror and scare yourself. Showering helps. Most days, I wear clothes that you won't confuse for pajamas. Some days, I even wear make up. I'm making this look easy.  

It's not.

I have finger paint on my clothes, something sticky and hard stuck in my hair and my socks don't match. Whatever you do, don't try to carry on a conversation with me or listen to what I say. Generally, if you look closely, you'll hear and see things like this:

1. Newborn care: Vaselining the wrong end of diaper. Thrice. Vaselining outside of diaper. Twice.

2. Housekeeping: Hoisting the regular, gross diaper-laden trash into the bright blue, amply marked, enormous Recycling can.

3. Disciplining my child (with nonsensical gibberish): "You can either stand here and scream about nothing or you can go to timeout." ((confused look from toddler))

4. Safeguarding my toddler from the wiles of a suddenly insurmountable mouthful of chocolate covered almonds: "Spit that in my mouth, right now!"  ((toddler: confused, again))

5. And because Brandon, my darling genius husband, is never exempt from scrutiny, and because he's been on vacation and keeping a few more of my newborn hours, it's gotten to him, too: A few days ago, he almost lost his marbles on the scale because he had gained 10 lbs in two days. ...but he was actually just holding Henry and forgot. Boom. Doctored.

More to come from the trenches..