Posts Tagged ‘Nightline’

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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Baby pee, poop and puke

October 15, 2010

Andrew Hicks

NOTE: Today’s post, while baby-related, is all about bodily functions, a subject with which every parent is very familiar. If this disgusts you, go watch a PG13-rated Mike Myers movie.

Parenting is known to toss an array of bodily fluids at the nostrils, hands and clothing of moms and dads. There’s the expected and the unexpected. Poor Silas threw up all over himself a couple hours ago. That’s unusual for him, as he generally throws up all over whatever clean shirt I just put on.

Baby accidents happen, but I’ve gotten pretty lucky. Only once with each child have I had the diaper off for that crucial, “I’m still not done peeing,” burst of yellow liquid. Sarah’s was a kind of slow, pooling eruption, while Silas had the loose, haphazard spray of a spastic, one-armed-clown lawn sprinkler. Each equally messy in different ways.

Then there’s the poop. Sarah’s getting close to the potty-training stage, which will be completely foreign to me. I’m going to have to take notes from the Elmo Goes to the Potty* DVD my mom bought my toddler. “What’s that, Elmo? You sit on the toilet and then you go potty? Slow down, dude. You’re going too fast! Rewind!”

Sarah reached a personal landmark achievement a few months back. She had her first poop that was so big, it clogged the toilet. I swear, I see more and more of myself in that little princess every day.

Yeah, her poop is usually a nice, healthy turd-ball. Sometimes, Sarah grunts and makes the poop face while she’s wrestling it out of her body. Other times, she just walks up to me, my nose wrinkles, and I check her back-pocket area for that telltale lump. We’ve been doing this since her lump was the size of a chicken nugget. Now, more often, it’s that one mutant chicken finger that looks more like a chicken fist**.

We’re brand-loyal to Pampers for both babies. Diabolically enough, when Sarah’s in the store, the Pampers draw her attention because there’s a little cartoon Elmo on the bottom corner of each side of the box. It’s about a half-inch tall, like a quarter the size of the UPC, and I never would’ve noticed it on my own.

They are super-absorbent, though. Many mornings, when I’m changing Sarah out of the overnight diaper, that thing’s sagging at a bowed-down angle like a tightrope with three fat dudes in the middle. I’ve tossed some five-pound pee diapers in the trash.

A collander

I saw a five-minute report on “Nightline” about which generic equivalents of name-brand items are just as good and which are inferior. If you’ve ever had generic Ruffles***, you know what I mean. The TV report didn’t mention diapers, but I’m here to tell you, spring for the name brand. Generic diapers are like collanders. They leak from every possible angle. You’d swear you wrapped a thin layer of cheesecloth around your baby’s privates.

Now Silas, he’s on a strict diet of formula. He’s still a few weeks away from the varietal switch-up of rice cereal and, if he’s a really good little boy, oatmeal cereal. So his poop has that look of soupy guacamole that’s been exposed to a little too much air. Tiffany breastfed the first month or so, and Silas’s poop almost smelled like roses. (Well, you know, plastic roses.) Switch to formula, and that poop smell goes way downhill. Today’s batch of stale, tableside diaper guac was twice as rank as usual. Either he had an upset stomach, or it’s time to start feeding him name-brand formula. Which was also not mentioned in the “Nightline” report.

This post isn’t going to win me any Pulitzer prizes, so I might as well close with a poop story of my own. Last month, when I was in the hospital and the nurses were tossing stool softeners**** in my paper pill cups, I asked them how much warning I’d have when the SSs did their trick. Because, you know, I was bed-bound with no crutches and no bedpan. They laughed.

An upside-down Douglas fir

“Oh no, you won’t poop for days. This is just to make it softer when you actually do.” They were right. I was checked into the hospital late Saturday night. Nature didn’t finally answer the call of the stool softener until Friday. Now, normally when pass a tough bowel movement, I compare it to pooping out a pine cone. This was like pooping out an upside-down Douglas fir.

Okay, thanks for reading. You are hereby dismissed. Hope you get your appetite back before Thanksgiving.

*I don’t think that’s the actual name of the DVD. That name sounds like it could be misinterpreted by the less than pure among us. Such as, say, me for suggesting it.

**If a chicken could make a fist. It’s Friday night, my evocative, poetic imagery is spent for the week. Besides, I’m writing about crap here.

***Ruffies, right? Or are those trash bags?

****I accidentally typed “stool samples” first. Which, gross.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah's hesitant look means it's time for Daddy to stop talking about yucky things.