Archive for the 'Fake-out naps' Category

Insert Swede/sweet pun later

October 26, 2010

Andrew Hicks

“Nightline” did a story last week about paternity leave in Sweden. The crazy collection of blond heads and blue eyes that comprise the Swedish government requires new fathers to take two months paid paternity leave and split another 12 months of compensated leave with blaarfengar. That’s Swedish for “mom.”

Even better, Swedes can drop their kids off for free babysitting at the nearest elected representative’s house for up to 20 hours every week. Seriously. You can quote me on that, but don’t, because I just made it up.

On a selfish level, I love the sound of this. It’s so anti-Tea Party it hurts. Pay fathers to change diapers and bottle feed while mothers sport power suits and bring home the bacon. On an even more selfish level, though, I hate the sound of this because every second dad would be writing a blog about baby pee and poop stories. That’s my turf. The rest of you American guys just keep, you know, driving bulldozers and watching football all day on Sunday.

Today was my longest day of childrearing since The Event*. I was up at 7:45 to fly solo with both kids practically until naptime, when I took off my boot and dove into unconsciousness for a couple hours. Then back up for outside play, dinner, bathtime and bedtime. It was exhausting, but mobility-wise, I’m finally back up to the task.

My in-laws’ (God bless them) have Sarah in a solid routine where she gets her nap and goes to bed at roughly the same time, but baby Silas is still a little erratic. I was just reminded of a bad ’80s slasher movie cliche with Sarah. Now it feels like Silas, as he falls asleep for the night, reenacts the climax of all the old Halloween and Friday the 13th movies. He’ll close his eyes, I assume he’s down for the count, then a few moments later he shoots back to life for one last stand before succumbing to the inevitable.

The Little Guy is carving out a good AM/PM routine as well, but I’m still having body clock issues. With being on unpaid disability, mostly apart from my wife and having my in-laws take care of the babies in the morning, it’s been like high school summer break around here. Drinking Mountain Dew, microwaving tiny frozen pizzas, watching crap on TV until practically dawn. And writing sometimes, too.

I’ve often said 4:30 is the true witching hour of the day. Not even farmers are up that early, and not even tweakers are up that late. It is, however, the best time of day to watch local news. I saw a great investigative scare-tactic report about how small children can drown in just one drop of water. On the noon or evening news, that story would seem sensationalist and implausible, but at five in the morning, it had the ring of gospel truth.

I’ll stay at my in-laws’ a few more days to complete the transition from bedridden to functional. Then it’s back home. Tiffany and I dropped the kids off overnight at my mom’s on Saturday and drove home for a night. It was my first time back since just after The Event, and we spent a few leisurely hours watching the new SNL and playing Wii. A nice, low-key date night that even ended with me getting lucky. Excellent night, in fact.

When married couples have sex, the angels in heaven rejoice. It’s true. I saw it on local news in the dead of night.

*Kind of late in the game, I know, but I’ve decided to retire the term Ankle Break 2010 and its godawful acronym AB2KX and just refer to my injury as The Event. It’s a timely meta-term because there’s a new NBC series with that name airing Monday nights at 9/8 Central. But it’s also homage to my new favorite blog of all time, Right Behind, an exhaustive and amazingly funny page-by-page dissection of the Christian Rapture novel Left Behind. I’ve practically spent entire days reading Fred Clark’s posts; I don’t feel too bad, though, because he spent five years writing about the same crappy book. That’s dedication.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Dad and Sarah at the hospital the day she was born.

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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.