Archive for the 'Feeding stories' 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.

Bean love and hair ties

February 15, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog post for Tuesday is being written on Thursday.

Domestic triumphs seem really trivial when you inject them into adult conversation. (“I closed on a house today.” “Oh yeah? Well, I finally cleaned the baseboards in my kitchen this morning. Red letter day all around, huh?”) But inject them I must. So here goes:

— Sarah loves beans! Eating-wise, it’s been tough to get Sarah to repeatedly consume foods that are healthy and well-balanced. She does love fruit, but otherwise her favorite food group is processed potatoes. Today, she peeked in on a big salad I was eating, and she wanted some of the crushed Saltines off the top. I tried to get her to eat a black bean from my salad, and she offered no hesitation. Actually said, “Mmm, tastes good.” After every bean, even! Then she asked for more beans. I had to open a can of kidney beans, since all the black beans had gone into my big salad (which was, in fact, rather large). Sarah loved the kidney beans, too. Her fiber intake is going to triple. This is the happiest food news around my house since they brought back the McRib. #jokesthatweretired4monthsago

— After numerous embarassing episodes occuring over a series of months, I can finally, successfully put Sarah’s too-long bangs up in a hair tie. I never had any little sisters, nieces or girl cousins, and I was never a dirty hippie, so I know nothing about long hair. That lack of knowledge extends to scrunchying up hair with that two-handed, quadruple-banded trick that my wife makes look so easy. I was never in Boy Scouts, I tie my shoes via a sloppy shortcut taught to me by a mentally challenged 9 year old, and I can’t properly shuffle a deck of cards. Mastering the hair tie was, thus, a major accomplishment.

Next thing I need to learn to master — posting this blog on time.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

A sleeping Silas surrounded by pink hand-me-downs.

Super Bowl kids

February 6, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: Andrew once again dashed his daily productivity goal and did not have this blog posted before midnight. The culprit this time? Super Bowl XLV. Now, don’t assume for a second that Andrew cared a thing about the game. He had to double check which teams were playing before the game started so he wouldn’t look like a moron at the party. Andrew never watches football and, in fact, spent most of his high school years at a Christian school whose homecoming game took place on the soccer field against schools with names like Because He Died For Us Central.

Let’s not forget, though, Super Bowl is one of the major party days every year, and until just a few months ago, Andrew was a major partier. Super Bowl is only partially about the game. It’s also about gathering, eating a ton of food and talking over the game. Andrew estimates that this Super Bowl, the first since he quit drinking, he paid less attention to the game than when he was matching Anheuser Busch ads one beer per commercial.

The domestic takeover of Andrew’s life, though, was ever-apparent at this year’s Super Bowl party. He went with his wife and kids to the next-door neighbor’s house. Andrew’s two kids plus the neighbor’s four kids plus the neighbor’s best friend’s two kids plus another neighbor’s kid outnumbered the adults in attendance. Seven adults, nine children, and it was a completely new experience for Andrew to have his child playing in another area of another person’s house with other kids.

He had to frequently quit watching the game — no major sacrifice, but still — to go upstairs and check on his 2 year old, who was perfectly safe the entire time. Oh, and when one kid climbed up on Andrew’s shoulders during one of these visits and begged Andrew to take him for a ride, Andrew obliged him, not realizing that all the other young kids were going to see this, think it was awesome and each want their own turns. Then beg for second turns directly after completing their first turns.

Andrew quickly felt every bit of how out of shape he was, which he supposes is some kind of basic irony, considering Super Bowl is supposed to be the ultimate show of the atheletic strength and agility of the few contrasted with the passive, indulgent consumption of the many.

Oh, and Andrew wants to add that he was tired of people talking about Christina Aguilera messing up the national anthem immediately — partially because he couldn’t come up with an easy, decent joke about it. He is grateful, however, that the Aguilera incident caused entertainment gossip shows to dig up a hilarious 2003 clip of Michael Bolton having to check the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” that he wrote on his palm. Funniest part was, people were still asking Michael Bolton to sing the national anthem at major events in 2003.

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas, ready for transport.

Spoon-feeding breakthrough

January 5, 2011

Andrew Hicks

Silas and I had a breakthrough spoon-feeding moment. This is what passes for front-page news around the Hicks household right now. I’m excited about it, anyway.

I spent our first few feeding sessions trying to just jam the formula/cereal/baby food swirl into Silas’s mouth, and most of it would get pushed right back out and glop down his chin. Tonight, I realized I should just feed Silas each bite as if it were a spoonful of super-hot soup. Tiny bites, lots of patience and caution, spoon strategically positioned just outside his mouth until the exact right time to slip him the baby food.

The timing element of baby feeding — waiting for Silas to open his mouth and roll his tongue out just right — reminds me of the old Jungle Jive arcade game of chance. The coins hang tantalizingly on the end and, if you drop another coin down at just the right time, you win the coins that get pushed off the ledge.*

The small, well-timed bites got my little guy nice and full and asleep hours earlier than usual. Which was great until he decided 4 a.m. would be his ideal wakeup time for the day. Have you ever had to get up at four in the morning? It’s a strange, dark wasteland. The biggest personality on television is a Headline News anchorwoman who looks like a porno Sarah Palin.

The ending for this blog post has yet to be written.

*If it’s a Montana gas station or cruise ship, the Jungle Jive pays you actual quarters. Back in the day, at Tilt in the mall, you could win game tokens. Nowadays, at Dave and Buster’s or wherever, all you win is tickets. People gamble on it anyway. I know. I’m married to one of those people.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah, tightly cropped.