So Of Course He Explodes All Over The Changing Pad Because We Hadn't Let Things Run Their Course

So one of the things about being woken up in the middle of the night is that you remember all these lovely dreams that would have gone unremembered had you had the misfortune of sleeping through them.

Here's an example: I was writing and performing a rap song with big producers — I want to say Dr. Dre or maybe Jay-Z or someone like that — where we sampled President Obama and it was about being a dad or something. And I was sitting on the floor just like when I change Squeaky's diapers telling this guy that I loved what he did for a beat but that it should have a faster tempo "so as not to sound too sappy" and he totally agreed and then we went on to perform on Saturday Night Live and Canadian music blogs wrote about me going to Canadian indie shows and who I've been sampling, etc.

So about this particular diaper change: Let's just say that the software hadn't had time to fully install before I shut down the system. Yikes.

I'm sure I dreamt all this because I had just seen two things on TV. One, Dan Le Batard on ESPN and he was interviewing Ice Cube and asking him whether the "good day" from "Today Was A Good Day" was actually January 20, 1993 (Mr. Cube's response was something along the lines of, "that's
for me to know"). Two, that colorful headphone Best Buy ad where Dr. Dre throws big globs of fantasticness at spry music lovers' heads. I had to ask Goober who it was; it looked like Dr. Dre but I wondered if it was Jay-Z; and no, I don't think all rap producers "look alike."

So now Squeak is fast asleep against my chest after getting a comfort boob from Mom, er I mean Jen, because as she keeps saying, I already have a mom and she is not her. I think it's safe to swaddle him and go back to my rap career.

Posted: February 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , ,

What I Saw At The Pediatrician's Office

One thing I never really fully comprehended when Animal was conceived was that I'd spend so much time at the pediatrician's office.

Don't get me wrong — we haven't spent all that much time at the pediatrician's office, at least no more than we should, knock wood — it's just that it was one place I never fully considered, never paid any attention to and never thought that would figure into our daily existence.

Jen is probably all SMH or whatnot, because choosing a pediatrician was one thing she definitely thought a lot about before Animal was born. And for good reason — we were lucky to find a good doctor within walking distance of Kawama. I can't imagine having to take the subway to the pediatrician's office, especially with a sick kid. So that's all good and etc.

But visiting the pediatrician's office is a brand new experience, which means it's something to overanalyze. I like, for example, what I perceive as this immediate camaraderie open to me now that I have a child. In short, it's basically OK to talk in the waiting room. To total strangers, I mean. Not something typical, especially in a large urban environment, especially for a male. I like the clear and present danger of germs in the waiting room; as long as Animal doesn't come home with a cold or worse, it's good to put yourself on guard, to stress a little. And most of all, I love the self-congratulatory feeling I get when the doctor tells us we're doing excellent because Animal is gaining weight. I don't think I've gotten this much positive feedback since middle school. It's a long-lost feeling.

So here's some stuff I noticed on our last trip.

1) I wonder if people tend to fib about their child's age, just as an aging socialite or an actor might fib about his or her age. I say this because there was this alleged one-year-old who was walking around upright like he'd been walking for years. I don't have much of a handle on child development yet, but Jen confirmed that it was unusual for a child who just turned one to walk so well. Then it occurred to me: Why not fib? "Just turned one" could mean a lot of things. I "just turned" 32, for example. This past decade, that is. You get my drift.

2) Outside, this medical specimen lab box pictured below. Dude, if you need to be told that all those little boxes contain is blood and piss, you're in a worse way than anyone previously thought.

Medical Specimen Lab Box, Astoria, Queens

3) A Penn State diaper bag. I know it hasn't been all that long, and I know that it's wasteful to get rid of practical items, but if there's one thing I've learned since Animal has come into our lives it's that child rape is no laughing matter, and it's better to remove reasons for people to talk.

Posted: February 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , , , ,

And As Soon As I Write This He Cries Uncontrollably, For No Apparent Reason At All

I really dislike fall. I know it's pretty and stuff, but it's so fleeting, and falling leaves only mean one thing: The inexorable slide into winter.

I was thinking about this as I held Animal the other day. It was either early in the morning or late at night or some time that completely escapes me even though it was less than 24 hours ago and my memory of stuff is suspect because of a lack of sleep these last two-plus weeks.

Animal was born just before the end of the year. Animal is not Animal's name. Animal has a Human name but Animal was what we called Animal in the second and third trimester. Animal's full name is actually "Operation: A.N.I.M.A.L." for "Aquatic Nugget Inside Maternal Abdominal Lair." This name followed "Project: Varpu," Animal's first trimester name, which came from an article Jen read in a design magazine, where a young Finnish couple named their child "Varpu."

Anyway, late into the third trimester, "aquatic nugget" seemed a little understated. In retrospect, it should have probably stood for "Amniotic Nestling Inside Maternal Abdominal Lair."

I didn't quite know what to think about Animal before Animal earned his Human name but as I lay there with him sleeping on my chest, I thought of how fleeting this moment probably is. A lot of the last two-plus weeks have been a blur, an endless stream of burping, dirty diapers, laundry and generally trying to figure out what Animal needs, but the other morning (or night) was something different. Jen was asleep and Animal was asleep and I just touched his soft peanut self as he lay flopped out on my chest. It was overwhelming, this fourth-trimester being sleeping innocently on me. And then I started to think about what I hate about fall.

Right now, the day-to-day regimen of raising a child hasn't been too difficult. Yes, there is sleeplessness (more so for Jen than for me) and yes, there is the whole adjusting to constantly having to ensure the well being of another life, but for now we're at the point where Animal is more of an accessory than a child — at least that's how he looks when we strap him in the carrier and strut around the neighborhood. And when he cries it's only because he's either too hot, too cold, too wet too gassy or too hungry.

Not that it was easy to get to this super-advanced point in child rearing: You should have seen the first night at the hospital, when Animal was shrieking and our suitemate had to subtly suggest that we burp him (at least that's how I interpreted the disembodied "burp" suggestion from behind the curtain, followed by the telltale hollow thump sound against her own child's chest; "Oh," I realized, "We haven't yet burped him!").

For now, it's just that beautiful baby smell and soft skin and talking all manner of bullshit to this beautiful little creature whose brain is still not formed enough to make sense of what's going on (beyond the aforementioned heat-cold-wet-gas-hunger consciousness). And for the moment I'm putting out of my head the inevitable neuroses about raising a child to become an independent minded, relatively modestly productive member of the world. We already made it through the scary first part — we have a healthy child who is gaining weight. The next part is the big unknown — and it's kind of spooky. I see middle school students roughhousing and hope Animal will be OK. I hear about a sociopathic case and hope his brain is OK. I hope we're able to provide him with a solid education. I watch Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable and hope we have a similar father-son relationship, full of gentle ribbing and smart sports-related opinions.

But all of these things are years, if not months, away. For now, when I'm not expertly changing diapers, I'm basking in the glow of my own whispered, wonder-filled life insurance commercial.

Posted: January 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: ,