blogger's block

I've been working on this post for weeks. 

The truth is I have little to report.  The turtle and I are in a routine and things are running smooth.  That's not to say I haven't had challenges.  I've had to remind myself several times to take a breath and all will be fine - he has very few needs right now and I am miraculously able to meet them all.

So, I have little to report.  He's brilliant.  He smiles and has this giggly, cooing, rolling laugh.  I don't really believe in angels much less a chorus of them floating above us, wings outstretched, but if I did, they'd sound like him... that laugh.

He's amazing. 

But I've been dry when it comes to writing here. 

Maybe it's that I've been doing a lot of work lately and after staring at a blank screen for hours, squeezing words from my veins, I just don't have anything left.  It's Hemingway's dreaded "blank page."  

Maybe it's that I've been watching my sister and her husband say their goodbyes as he fights cancer. 

The horror of leaving Angie and Turtle is unimaginable.  He finally succumbed to the disease yesterday.  He leaves behind a young son and my sister's three that he treated like they were his own. 

What they are going through makes my blogger's block seem petty.


But it's made me cherish every moment I get with my son.  

Daddy at Home - Day Four: Going Solo

Going solo is a bit misleading.  I am not solo, I'm taking a shift.  It's a solo shift, but it lasts about nine hours and then we're back to being a trio again. 

So, I'm not completely solo, but when most people get up and go to work, I begin the process of feeding and diapering a three month old.  (In this posting, we'll use his nickname, Turtle... or Dutch...)

I thought I knew how things would go down when the wife went back to work.  I'd probably hang out, feed Turtle, get in some X-Box, put him in his crib, get dinner started, bake some bread... it'll be easy.


The first day was exhausting.  I had no idea what his schedule was, no idea how much he ate at each feeding - we're breast feeding, which means he eats until he's full.  I had no idea.  And I've been around!  I've been here every day.  I've read countless books to prepare myself and still...  I was being treated to the same learning curve that my wife went through on her first solo day.  It's very different when you're working as a team.  Very different. 

He knew it was different as well.  I'm sure he could sense it. 

Which made him scream and cry.

"Where is my 24 hour buffet!?"

"She's at work earning money to keep you in this house with all these nice things.  You get me until 6."

...And cue the crying.

Feed him with what mom pumped.

Attempt to burp him.  (he does this very stiff legged, standing, leaning, arms flailing thing... and screams...  then he burps and feels fine.)

He falls asleep and I... lay here with him on my chest, helpless because every time I put him in his crib he cries.

But by day two, we had become old pros.  I had learned a few tricks.

1) Go to gym late at night and then shower in the evening.  Makes mornings more efficient.
2) Don't sweat the small stuff, like dishes.  They'll get done.
3) Thank God for World Cup Soccer!  I love watching it and he loves the lights and movement on the tv and the sound of the vuvuzela's, the buzzing white noise of a million futbal fans.  So we get all geared up in our orange and Dutch and I watch the Oranje and the US teams play. 

(How cool is it that my first month as a stay at home dad is during World Cup!)

4) Get out!  Seriously... get out.  Strap him in the mei tai and get out.  Take walks.  Explore.  Hit the market.
5)  VISIT MOM!  This one is very important.  We can easily take the train, get into the city and visit mom  at work where the 24 hour buffet will be open. 
6) Skype.  Call Mom, video chat, make sure she knows she's missed and is still needed.  Her voice alone soothes him. 
7) Poop comes from either formula or watching FOX news.  (I don't know... it's either an overabundance of shit or Sarah Palin's snarky voice...  I have not been able to figure it out.)
8) Poop is not something to freak out about.
9) Pee pee tee pees don't work if you've got a good solid stream... they fly right off.  It's hilarious.
10) If the Turtle falls asleep, let him sleep on you.  If you fall asleep, take it.  Your body needs it to keep up.
11)  Swoop him into bed.  If you try to lay him down slowly, his reflexes kick in and he flails and wakes himself.  Hold him firmly and swoop him in and he's fine. 
12) Read to him.  He finds your voice soothing and hilarious at the same time.
13)  Try to get one thing done each day... one non-baby related thing. I meant to write this blog posting on day one... but didn't.  However, I have today, so I'm done for the day!  Bring on the poop and soccer!
14)  Kids love the grocery store.  Lots of colors!
15)  Use that sling/mei tai/baby bjorn at home!  Go hands free.  (I now know four different carries for my mei tai... tummy to tummy (legs out and in), facing front, on the back (which he's too small for but will be ready for soon), and the side carry.  All are haaaaaandy... or haaaaaands free, as the case may be.
14)  Relax.  It's not as if these early months will influence the rest of his life... oh... wait... 

Uh oh.

My son, only 11 weeks old, repeated the words "uh oh" last night.  Five times he made the sounds with my wife and I and it was kind of a magical moment. 

As I watched the news - taking a break from our full series LOST marathon - I found myself saying "uh oh" a lot. 

I was once told that I would become much more conservative after I had kids. 

It was a lie.

I have become more progressive than ever.   I am angry at our backwards priorities, the useless culture war, the petty politics that get in the way of good policy, the winner take all game that is played out every day. 

I believe in a greater good for all of us.  That we all contribute to the society we get.  I believe that people should spend more time looking at their reality rather than stargazing, thinking "one day I will be a millionaire."  That's how most of us are duped to chanting for lower taxes for those at the top of the money pyramid - because one day that could be us. 

It won't be. 

I believe in living in this moment.  Life is a moment to moment exercise.  Looking too far ahead leads us to missing the very thing that is happening now.

I hope my son becomes a compassionate, fair person who not only believes in social justice, but demands it - fights for it.  I hope he is passionate about peace, but is realistic enough to know that some things are worth fighting for.  I hope he learns that compromising your truth, your principles, your core for a small victory means you do not have them to fall back upon during the big battles. 

I want to teach him that reason, facts, truth and knowledge will always trump ignorance, bluster and outright lies, no matter what the ratings of some morning shock jock turned comedian turned "cable news man" may say. 

What I really hope is that our age of greed and avarice will pass; that human beings, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth that feeds and shelters us will become more important than corporate profits and the bottom line.  

I hope that this time where fifteen minutes of fame last years, ends; that our addiction to cele-bu-tants ends; that we again can find that communal, progressive spirit that celebrates the individual when he does something that contributes to the greatness of us all, not just because of how much money he makes, how many crap albums she's sold or whose sex tape is now making the rounds. 

I hope my son never has to stand in front of the tv watching the news, holding his son, saying, "Uh oh."

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