Archive for the 'Awesomeness of my mother' Category

Birthday karaoke

March 7, 2011

Andrew Hicks

I turned 33 a week ago. It can be a tough age, 33. It claimed three of my heroes — John Belushi, Chris Farley and Jesus. All of whom exhibited an above-average fondness for prostitutes.

All things considered, this was the best birthday I’ve had in a long time, and it came together at the very last minute. The past few birthdays, I’ve tried to put together epic parties by hyping the event weeks ahead of time then spending most of the event itself wondering why everyone didn’t show up. And the truth is, no matter what type of social event you’re planning, only about half of everyone you invite will actually come. It’s like election voter turnout — you can MTV Choose or Lose it up all you want to, but 50 percent of the population is still going to stay home.

This year, I kept it noncommittal and low key. My wife’s birthday — earlier this month — and Valentine’s Day both were underwhelming for us, thanks to a lack of money and an abundance of baby demands. So I was either going to have no birthday, have a few people over on my birthday, or just go up to karaoke.

Karaoke night has been a social tradition almost since I moved up here. Every Thursday evening, the Mexican-themed restaurant I used to work day shifts in has karaoke in their bar. It’s right across the street from the Australian-themed restaurant I used to work night shifts in, so it’s easy to get old coworkers to stop in, have a few drinks and maybe sing some Roxette or something.

Once a month, they have karaoke on Saturday, and I found out Friday morning that the next night, my birthday eve, would be February’s Karaoke Saturday. I asked Tiffany about me going or us getting a babysitter and going. She was willing to drive the kids to St. Louis, drop them off overnight with a grandparent or two and then drive back so we could go together. I called my mom to ask about keeping the kids. My mom offered to come up to Springfield, get a hotel room and babysit there. Bing bing bing! Jackpot! Instant winner!

The hotel chain of choice for grandparents on both sides of the family is Drury Inn. There’s an indoor pool — which means Sarah can put on her floaties and cruise the perimeter with adult accompaniment — and a free happy hour. Three drinks per guest. None of the visiting grandparents are drinkers, so on a couple occasions, I’d sit and slam a six-drink happy hour while talking about family stuff.

These days, Dry Andrew can still enjoy the spread of free food at the Drury happy hour, which on various days includes microwaved chicken tenders, the microwaved contents of a giant can of chili, microwaved baked potatoes cut in half, microwaved hot dogs that are lukewarm and gray, iceberg salad mix, Ruffles in a bowl, and carrot and celery sticks.

On my birthday eve, Sarah laid waste to the carrot sticks, neglecting the chips in the process, which surprised and pleased me. Tiffany happened to call from home during Sarah’s carrot binge, so of course I bragged about it. Then Tiffany told me carrot sticks are a choking hazard to a 2 year old. One more lesson learned by New Dad after the fact, but wouldn’t it make me seem like a better parent if I told the attending physician my kid choked on a carrot and not a giant deep-fried meatball?

Sarah spent the night at the Drury with my mom, while I went to karaoke and Tiffany stayed home with Silas. I’d invited people up to karaoke the night before via Facebook, with the tantalizing promise that my elusive wife, who was pregnant for a total of a year and a half, would be joining in the festivities. When she changed her mind and didn’t show, there were grumbles of disappointment, but I was glad she was staying home to protect our valuable. (That wasn’t a typo. We only have one valuable.)

Had Tiffany come to the party with me, it would have been a more cohesive social gathering. As it was, probably 15 people were there because I invited them, but they were spread all around the room. Not everyone knew everyone, and a couple people didn’t know anyone but me, which meant some people weren’t having the best time possible.

On a selfish level, though, it was great for me, because I love to work a room when I can. I was trying to keep up with three separate crowds, which kind of reminded me of that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where Robin Williams has to go to dinner with his family as the British nanny and do a job interview in another part of the same restaurant as himself. Minus the dressing up like an old lady, in my case.

At midnight, it was my birthday. I was invited out to the 3 a.m. dive bar people were headed to next, but when you’re 33, and you don’t drink anymore, the Taco Bell drive thru sounds like a way better idea than the afterparty.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah always laughs at my jokes.

Advertisements

Single parent, married parent

January 19, 2011

Andrew Hicks

A Facebook friend from my Christian school days posted a link on her wall to a blog entry by Single Dad Laughing, whose popularity went viral virtually immediately. One of her friends — in the comments section underneath — posted “Google this guy and ‘fake.’ Too sad.” So I did, and I read a couple other bloggers’ accusations that SDL somehow faked the high volume of his readership and is shamelessly provoking sappy emotional response so he can get on Oprah and sell books. Making most of this crap up, in other words.

But the dude posts every day and frequently writes the kind of crafted, detailed, argumentative essays that would get you an automatic A in any writing class. Whether he’s an opportunist or just an amazingly disciplined, passionate father, I am one segment of this man’s target audience. (Every other segment? Women, women, women.) I’m at home every day with two small, beautiful kids I adore.

The Single Dad Laughing post linked by my Facebook friend from Christian school was called “Real Dads Don’t Leave.” Now that I’m the main companion of a precious 2-year-old who is growing into her own personality and obviously adores me, I absorbed the following words, written about an absent father:

He’ll never know of the hundreds of Saturday morning snuggles that could have been his. He’ll never know of the hundreds of colorful drawings his child would have handed him over the years, made with tiny loving hands just for him. He’ll never realize that he left behind so many trips to the park or the zoo…

Even more sadly, he’ll never realize that he left behind a tiny person that would have looked at him as his hero. He’ll never know that he left a child who would have trusted him and loved him more than any other person reasonably should. And he’ll also never know that he left a child who would have done anything to be like him. To be like his daddy.

I was raised in a single-parent household for the majority of my childhood. My mom and dad divorced when I was in kindergarten or so. My brother Matt and I stayed with our mom, while Dad sometimes lived in town and sometimes didn’t. Looking back on memories, it seems like I saw my dad a fair amount until the age of 14 or so, but the vast majority of the parenting burden fell on my mom. Now that I’ve got kids, I can’t imagine taking care of them all by myself. My appreciation for all the hard work my mother put in with her two children has grown in leaps and bounds.

It’s also been the perfect time to get to know my dad as an adult. I mentioned a few weeks back that we’ve been having long phone conversations. I talk to my dad at least twice a week, usually for at least an hour. I hear the old stories and the years of practical and philosophical wisdom that can be applied to anyone’s life, and we tell each other about our lives today. He didn’t want to leave, he reminds me every now and then. His marriage failed, and he lost his family. It was tragic. It was heart-breaking. He wants to do everything he can for me to make it to the finish line as the Dad Who Stayed.

I have a wealth of love, support and sounding boards these days, from my immediate family to my parents and my wife’s parents, from old friends to new friends, from writing a blog to writing standup routines to writing and editing an online comedy magazine. I need to give back as much as I get, to my kids and everyone else who’s important to me.

And laugh as much as possible.

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

2011: A blog a day, I promise

January 1, 2011

Andrew Hicks

Ankle break aside, 2010 was one of the best years of my life. My second baby was born, my first baby really began to grow into her personality, I started this blog, I quit drinking, I made inroads into standup comedy, I met some great Facebook friends, I continued my slooooow progression into adulthood, and I steadily seemed to enjoy everyday life more and more as the year went on.

I didn’t manage to achieve my simplest goal for this blog, though — I want to update it daily. Well, 2011 will be the year I post every day, and to hold myself accountable, I’m participating in the WordPress Post a Day 2011 campaign.

I’m already going to have to cheat and backdate the post time, though, since my blog dashboard seems to think I live in London. Blog time is six hours ahead of actual time, so I’ve already missed January 1st by that definition. I don’t know if that’s the international dateline or if I could easily change the setting to central time with a little poking around. That’s not my concern. My concern is writing every day, even if it means writing about time zone settings I can’t figure out how to change or if I can change. Quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality, people. First things first.

The highlight of New Year’s for me was spending a total of two hours on the phone with my mom and dad. With the time consumption of the Wife-N-Kids life plus my own lazy procrastination and antisocial behavior, I haven’t devoted enough communication time to either of them over the years. And each, I think, has been too considerate to be the social aggressor in initiating regular phone calls.

I closed out the year with separate high-quality dialogues with both parents. My mom I’ve known all along, but my dad and I have been incommunicado for about half my life. I’m only now realizing he’s twice the talker and thinker that I am. I laughed harder at his end of our phone conversation than I have at any movie or TV comedy since I stopped drinking. I’m at the perfect stage of my life’s journey to seat my parents up toward the front. The peak of my relationship with each has yet to come, and it’ll be a lot of fun climbing to the top.

Speaking of family, today is my stepson Josh’s 18th birthday and the first time I’ve mentioned in my blog that I have a stepson. (He has red hair, too, though I long ago tired of cracking second-rate “redheaded stepchild” jokes.) When I started the blog, I made a decision that I wouldn’t write about Josh until he got to legal voting and smoking and lotto-gambling age. It’s one thing to tell stories about my own kids. Neither of them is old enough to read, write or kick my butt. But I wanted to respect Josh’s privacy. Now that he’s legally an adult, I can feel free to bitch to the world about how he pees on the toilet seat sometimes.

The number-one question I’ve been asked — when it becomes apparent to people that I’m a 32-year-old man with a 38-year-old wife, an 18-year-old stepson and two kids age 2 and below — is, “Isn’t it weird?” And you’d think it would be. When I was 14, and my parents had been divorced a few years, I don’t think I would’ve welcomed having a stepdad living in the house with me and doing my mom. Much less a stepdad who met my mom in April, got married in July and got her pregnant the following March. But the situation, as it developed, seemed natural from the beginning. Okay, I often feel much more like Big Brother than Dad to Josh, but it’s obvious that he values my opinion and my presence. Both good things.

So, anyway, you can find new words right here tomorrow. And every day this year. Who knows? I might even write something funny next time.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Josh holds Silas on the day he was born.

Twelve new Christmas memories

December 31, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I’m gonna blame Christmas for making me lazy this past week. My family and I spent three days and two nights at my in-laws’ house for the holidays, and even after getting back, the combination of cheer and leftover seasonal junk food left me glued to the recliner.

Now there’s one day left in 2010, and I’m finally getting around to writing about Jesus’ golden birthday. That’s right, Our Lord turned 25 this year. Again. While 25 was a depressing birthday for me, it wasn’t for Jesus, because he knows he’s got the best seven years of his life still ahead. Dude loves the number seven, what can I say? Anyway, here are:

 

TWELVE NEW CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

1. It’s noon on Christmas Eve, and we’re driving down in a snow storm. It almost looked like we couldn’t be able to come at all, but skipping Thanksgiving proper and Christmas the same year would feel like a cardinal sin. Luckily, it’s warm enough that the snow is melting instantly as it hits the ground. We stop at a gas station, and Sarah and I head in to find a little junk to hold us until the in-laws’ roast is ready at 4 pm. I find some Dill Pickle Pringles, and Sarah’s full attention latches onto the impulse bin of Charm’s Blow Pops at foot level. I decide, what the heck, it’s Christmas, and I get her a Blue Raspberry sucker. When we get back to the car, I unwrap the Blow Pop, and Sarah is overjoyed as she holds it, takes a couple tentative licks then goes to town on it. Many productive minutes pass as Sarah enjoys the second lollipop of her young life, then we start to notice she’s putting it in her hair and all over her forehead. It’s a parental moment where you want to stop the problem behavior, but you can’t stop laughing, and your laughing only makes your giddy toddler go to further extremes. Sarah is most amused by the practice of jamming the sucker into the recesses of her neck. She is a streaky, sticky blue mess for the rest of the car ride.

2. Just before two, we decide to stop into a 24-hour Mom and Pop restaurant in our hometown that I’ve previously visited well over a hundred times, though this may be my first time visiting when not drunk or hung over. We still have that roast ahead of us, so we just order their amazing house salad — lettuce, red onion, pimento, bacon, provel, house cream dressing and homemade croutons — and potato skins. The skins are basically full-sized potato halves of the daunting Russet variety. Sarah has some fries and water, our waitress is tattooed and strange, and it’s just quick, fun family time.

3. Some might have received my proclamation that my family would start our holiday shopping on Christmas Eve as a joke, but this is what in fact happens. The snow is still swirling from the sky as we spend well over an hour stuffing a Wal-Mart cart with our entire haul of presents. We pick out a couple things that we want for ourselves under the guise of, “This is your Christmas present to me,” and we later get a big box of bargain Christmas cards from Walgreens. I used to have a cheat sheet listing which relatives received which bargain cards (“Grandpa = puppy in stocking, 2008,” “Tiffany’s sister = winking snowman, 2009,” etc.), but now I get to experience the rush of possibly giving the same relative the same card several years in a row. Will they call me out on it? They haven’t yet.

4. With the wife and kiddies asleep late on Christmas Eve, I go on an iTunes binge with some freshly purchased gift cards. I’ve kept a list of songs I want to get my hands on for months now, so the choosing is easy. The logging in is damn near impossible. I have three basic passwords I use, and none of them hits. I also somehow manage to mis-answer my security question three consecutive times, so my account is frozen for eight hours. I then create a new account and get locked out of it somehow. Bells are ringing. Silver, angry bells. But I get my music.

5. On Christmas Day, Tiffany and I each open a mound of presents for Sarah. I’ve just figured out where to put all the toys she already has, and now she’s doubled her plaything inventory. She gets an indoor princess tent, a bookcase with dozens of books to put in it, a stagecoach wagon loaded with Lego blocks, and three coats. The grandparents seem to have done the Toys ‘R’ Us equivalent of the old “Supermarket Sweep” TV show, and we love them for it. Days later, hanging out around the house, I’ll still be happening upon individual Christmas gifts given to Sarah. Thank you moms, aunt, uncles and dad.

6. This is my fourth Christmas at the in-laws’, and it’s the first time my brother Matt has met Tiffany’s side of the family. While eating roasted pork sandwiches and a cornucopia of hors d oeuvres (thanks for having my back, Dictionary.com), I get to hear Matt and my father-in-law talk excitedly about classical music and opera. One of my simpler joys in life is watching people from different corners of my social and family sphere interact with each other. This is no Christmas miracle, but it’s pretty unique in its own right.

7. After my mom and brother leave, our family Christmas moves downstairs, and the younger generation takes turns playing Just Dance 2 on the Wii. I beg out of participating — the broken ankle excuse will hold me for at least three more months, and I will use it when applicable — but Tiffany and her older sister tear up some Rihanna and such. The highlight of all this is watching my mother-in-law hold her own by dancing along to the Ike and Tina version of “Proud Mary.”

8. I spend several hours on Christmas night hanging out at Harrah’s Casino with two of my best friends and partners in crime from my single days. They rack up a huge bar tab in a restaurant just outside the casino while I binge-drink Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew and smoke cigarettes like I’m one of Marge Simpson’s wheezy sisters. Inside, we gamble. I bet small and play for hours on the same money. I turn my last three bucks back into $25 then make my friends go to the roulette table with me. They’re drunk by now, and the slowest, rudest dealer in history presides over our table. The time between spins is at least 15 minutes. None of the other roulette players at the table speaks any English — there was an Asian Concert* event earlier tonight — so my friends kill time and crack me up by loudly complaining about how much the dealer sucks and how much roulette sucks and how much it sucks that no one at the table speaks English. I win $40 on the next spin and am kept waiting another 15 minutes to cash in my chips.

9. Apparently, when you drink a dozen plastic cups of soda really late at night, you have a hard time falling asleep. The magic of Christmas does nothing to change this immutable law. I slide into bed around 3 am and am kept in an exhausted state of alertness until after the sun comes up. So it is to my great relief that my in-laws are enthusiastic about taking infant Silas upstairs and watching him while Tiffany and I sleep and lounge in bed until noon. It’s a great slow wakeup, lying there and talking and watching an episode of “Monk” on Netflix Instant.

10. One of Sarah’s gifts was a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse instrument set. It had a drum, drumsticks, maracas, plastic finger cymbals, nonfunctioning harmonica (thank you for the broken harmonica, Disney, seriously) and a recorder. You know, like the kind they give you in third grade band class if you don’t appear to have any other inborn musical talent. Sarah keeps putting her mouth around the recorder and making trumpet fart noises into it, while I’m demonstrating and telling her to just blow into it. Finally, her grandma tells her to blow it out like her birthday candles, and something clicks. It’s beyond cute to watch that little girl’s eyes light up when she realizes she just accomplished what she’d been trying to accomplish.

11. The day after Christmas, I talk to my dad on the phone for the first time since September. Our relationship the past couple decades has been sporadic to nonexistent, but we jump-started our communication this year and got to know each other as adults. Which was a great gift. We talk for a half-hour, and it’s great to hear the excitement in his voice as he describes his Christmas dinner spent with two Harvard PhD’s and how he’s been eating nothing but natural health food the past few months and feels better than ever.

12. Sarah’s gift motherlode included a full snowsuit and an orange plastic sled, and when we get back home, I take her outside in the snow. There’s a small hill at the end of our driveway that leads down into the backyard. I put her in the sled, have her count to three, then I send her on her way. Her reaction is one of sheer delight, and she joyously demands to go, “Again! Again!” until her out-of-shape dad is wishing he hadn’t chainsmoked all those cigarettes on Christmas night.

*Asian Concert was the official name of the event. No actual performers were billed. I assume when you live in the Midwest, and you are Asian, you’ll show up to an Asian Concert regardless of who appears because there really aren’t any Asian Concerts booked in the first damn place.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Power Chair races

October 11, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Columbus Day, 2010, and I’m celebrating by taking the day off work. For those of you just joining my blog, that’s a joke. A very elementary-level joke. I broke my ankle a month ago, and I haven’t been able to work a day since.

But, while both babies are taking naps, and I’m able to sit outside and enjoy the quiet peace of an 80-degree October afternoon (it’s an Indian summer without the Indians — Columbus would be pleased), it’s a good time to reflect on the sum total of thousands of years of human ambition and folly. Yes, I’ve come a long way in my personal life, and I’m writing words I’m really proud of. Yes, I also can’t walk without crutches. There’s good with bad.

Oh, and the other night, I spilled about a half-ounce of baby formula into my computer keyboard. That was clumsy and dumb.  My space bar is no longer functional. ThisiswhatmysentenceslooklikebeforeIgobackandmanuallyinsertapastedspacebetweeneachword. I’d like to hide behind a claim that it’s deliberate, and I’m updating the printed word into its next grand innovation by reducing its bulk up to 20% and bringing each sentence in at a hyper-efficient one-word maximum. Truth is, words with no spaces between them givemeabigassfreakingheadache. Please stand by while I pop a handful of Tylenol with codeine.

There, that’s better. A whole lot better.

I’m entering my fourth set of weekdays spent away from my wife, Tiffany. The kids and I are still staying with her parents. The child-care situation is becoming a well-oiled machine. Saturday morning, for instance, I stayed up with baby Silas through the night, then my father-in-law took him around 6 am, then my mom came over to watch Sarah and Silas at 8, then my mom passed the kids off to Tiffany around 9:30. A couple more sets of hands, and there might be an actual village raising my children.

Sarah's horse moves especially slow on grass.

This neighborhood seems to be populated mostly with retirees, so I don’t feel overly self-conscious playing outside with Sarah in the common areas. I’m getting around on crutches and a space boot, Sarah’s pushing around this pink, four-wheel horse toy, and kind old Mr. Gunnaker is wheeling his walker out to the mailbox after the USPS mail truck putters by at 3 mph. We’re all taking it slow around here. The fastest thing moving is Mrs. Fishman’s Power Chair down her six-degree driveway decline.

Sarah is learning new words every day, and in the spirit of Columbus and America at large, her two most-used sayings are, “More?” and, “I want.” This girl is skin and bones right now, but she loves carbohydrates. Immobility has led to my couch homebase being laced with carby snack food bags and boxes. I usually try to hide it all when I hear her coming downstairs — I get about a 20-second soundbite headstart of an unseen Sarah saying, “See Daddy? See Daddy? I want! See Daddy?” before her actual arrival. But there’s always something peeking out. Crackers, chips, popcorn, the occasional loose Pop-Tart. When it comes to spotting junk food, my daughter’s vision exceeds 20/20. First comes “I want,” then comes, “More?” repeated ad nauseum.

Returning to normalcy is within sight. I’m close to getting freelance writing work. I’ve been putting slow but steadily increasing weight on the bad foot. I can take showers again, which is fantastic. And I’ve got a refrigerator, freezer and microwave setup in my little studio apartment area. I’ve acquired a modest, humble inventory of groceries. I have lunch meat, salad mix, bread (both kinds — slices AND heels!), cottage cheese, restaurant leftovers and pickles. I mean a ton of pickles. Every plate I make, breakfast included, gets a robust pickle garnish.

Sarah’s naptime is up, and I need to go wake up Silas. Every minute he sleeps when I’m awake is a minute he’ll be awake later when I have other plans.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah, surrounded by exciting things like leaves, fences and storm drain sewer caps.

DrGimpy’s dirty dream

October 2, 2010

It’s been almost three weeks since I went into surgery for my broken ankle. Still visible – on the outside of the big toe of the foot that was operated on – is a black Sharpied X, smaller than the size of a quarter. A nurse drew that on there as a visual aid for the doctor. So he’d know which foot to operate on. You know, I think the inked-on X was much less of a beacon than the bloody ankle bone protruding three inches from the foot that was hanging limply to the side. But  thank God for the X. Imagine if he’d operated on the good foot and left  the bad one hanging. Seven-figure-settlement territory there. Instead, I’ll probably go into medium four-figure debt over the incident.

I’m still not quite able to bear weight on the broken ankle. I go back to the doctor on Monday. Meanwhile, I can tell you without a doubt, do not Crutch While Intoxicated. I had free tickets to the Funny Bone on Wednesday night, and I shattered the two-drink minimum. It was the dumbest thing I’ve done since the ankle break itself, and I owe my mom a pile of guilty apologies. Still, really quite a good time, right up until I had to negotiate the staircase into my mom’s house. She ended up keeping the baby in her room that night. Bad adult child.

Turns out I was also Facebook friends with the opening comedian. Never underestimate the power of Facebook. It can make you a billionaire at age 23 or it can get you the two tables right in front of the stage for a Wednesday night comedy show. My cast leg was propped on a chair and hanging over the stage itself. Headliner Mike Lukas spent probably ten minutes working jokes about my broken ankle into his set. My cast got more stage time than the emcee. My cast really should have charged a performance fee.

Baby Silas is having his mid-evening nap so he can stay up until 4:30 am. Tiffany’s driving up to meet me right now. I’m looking forward to seeing my Sarah for the first time since Sunday. I love that little girl so much. I think Sarah already has a 21st century attention span. She’ll bring a book to me and beg me to read it to her, but then she wants to flip the  pages rapid-fire. So we hurry up and get to the end, then she immediately wants to start over. And I’m thinking, “Sure, you want to start over. You didn’t catch any of that the first time.”

I’m eager to get back to a normal life, walking and working and having my family all together at my house. I’m starting to go crazy from too much time spent non-productively at odd hours. There’s only so much you can go hunt down on the Internet. I got bored and searched Facebook for other people with the same name as me. My wall reads “Andrew Hicks and Andrew Hicks are now friends,” like I’m finally at peace with myself.

I’ve been looking at my own blog stats a bunch too. My site is still largely a secret – it’s not that I’ve kept it a secret; it’s just that no one talks about or visits it – but it’s getting linked from what look like junk personal finance sites run by bots. Does anyone else know about this phenomenon? Does WordPress just blindly release links to their blogs for these automated websites to put up in the corner under the “Support This Site” header? I don’t have a joke for this, I genuinely want information.

The blog stats also show me what terms people have searched for to find their way to my blog. One person found their way here by searching for “leg cast stories.” Now, I was bored myself and searched for “leg cast stories,” and I was surprised to learn there’s a percentage of Internet users who are into, well, dirty leg cast stories. By dirty, I mean erotic. And according to their stats, they’ve got more readers than I do.

Someone with the screen name CastBytch even writes sensual cast-themed poetry (“My heart skips / Breath shallow / Our eyes meet / Over fiberglass”). I’ve never thought of my condition as anything but an inconvenience. It’s Fracturophile and DrGimpy’s ultimate fantasy. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I wonder if user Wantabrokenankle would help pay my mounting medical bills if I attached a couple provocative closeups of my leg cast and hairy toes, complete with Sharpied X. Desperate times, desperate measures.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah chomps dad's hat

Psych-sleep at the gum show

September 24, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I’ve been staying at my mom’s for five days now. She’s been a wonderful, selfless companion this entire week, and it’s been good to reconnect with her wisdom and humor on a daily basis. After she read the Misery sledgehammer post, my mom actually burst through the door with a sledgehammer, demanding to know if I’d been out of my room. That’s prop comedy! I didn’t even know there was a sledgehammer in the house. Don’t mess with mommy, man.

My grandma, her mom, used to make my mom call her every night at 5:30 to check in and tell her about her day. My mom takes a more laissez-faire approach to her adult son (me), and both of us could be better at staying in touch on the phone. It’s great not to feel like a smothered mama’s boy, but my mom is probably my greatest underutilized resource. Her opinions and advice are like gold to me. I need to go to the well more often.

This week is by far the most consecutive time I’ve spent with 12-week-old Silas. We’ve occupied the same perches since Monday – me on the bed, pillows propped up behind my back and under my cast leg, him in the car carrier atop Sarah’s old baby stroller. The 20/20-ness of hindsight* makes me wish we’d picked a more gender-neutral design for our baby travel set than the flowery pink of the Graco “Emilia” pattern, but the stroller serves its function nonetheless.

I have just enough mobility to reach for Silas, reach for a nearby diaper and wipes, reach for the hand sanitizer, then reach for the baby bottles with pre-measured distilled water so I can add the pre-portioned formula. We eat, burp, use the bathroom, sleep, and repeat.

Silas this week has turned into a big smiler, too. He’s becoming a master of the tight-lipped grin, the one-sided smirk and the full-on gum show of delight. He smiles at dad, he smiles at grandma, he even smiles at the goofy stuffed frog with the see-through bubble belly full of what look like mini-Chiclets.

Baby Silas is also a master of the fake-out nap, or as my wife Tiffany calls it, psych-sleep. He eats, I hold him, and eventually he gets fussy, which he always does when he’s tired. I put him down, rock the stroller back and forth, and his eyes shut in peaceful slumber. I rejoice, and I pull out my laptop and get ready to hunker down to some serious writing.

Ten minutes go by, I get about half a sentence in**, and Silas wakes back up. “Surprised, daddy? I was resting my eyes, ya gullible galoot! Your job’s not done by a mile! WAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!” He builds up to his big cry, actually. It’s more like whine, whine, silence. Whine, whine, silence. Whine, whine, whine, WAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

Taking care of a baby that weighs less than a United States Bowling Congress regulation ball*** is mostly busywork. So one thing I’ve been able to do this week is watch a whole lot of DVDs on my laptop. There’s no TV in the room, which means no sitcoms, no reality shows, no commercials and no complaints from me.

I’ve been raiding the archives of the county library, which so far has turned out to mean “mostly lower-profile movies from two years ago in the C+ to B+ range.” I haven’t seen one that’s truly brilliant or mediocre yet, just in between. Which is satisfying enough. If anyone’s interested, this is a list of what I’ve watched, from best to Still Pretty Good: Get Smart, Taking Woodstock, Outsourced, Extract, Baby Mama, Swing Vote, Charlie Bartlett. I could write a nice, entertaining paragraph on each, but that would make this post overlong and way off-topic. And Silas is going to wake up very soon, I’m sure of it.

Before I sign off, this is my tenth post, which makes me a double-digit blogger. I really couldn’t have done it without my amazing family and the, what, like 20 of you that actually read this. Thanks to everyone who’s supporting me and offering feedback on this creative endeavor.

In celebration, it’s time to introduce the following feature to Dad’s Daytime Diary:

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Silas, never too young to rock

* = Tiffany and I were pleasantly surprised to get pregnant together once. We were never expecting an encore. Apparently, that’s what happens when you don’t use any form of birth control. Tell your friends.

** = Yes, it takes me ten minutes to write a half-sentence. It’s a run-on sentence, okay?

*** = Use a baby to bowl a 300 game, and you will receive a USBC patch. And a lengthy prison term. And probably many well-deserved beatdowns.