Time slips away. As John Lennon said, “life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”
Since Cam’s birth, I’ve barely had time to think, let alone to write. The result is that I’ve not worked on any of my books, haven’t really written any articles (business or otherwise), haven’t felt “productive”.
But the truth is that my job, today, is to raise my child. Which means that all of the other things that I thought were important, just aren’t. So I don’t write, unless it’s to record stuff about him.
Life, though, is DEFINITELY happening. Since the last post we’ve moved and I’ve switched jobs. More importantly, Tina and I shuffle things around on a daily basis to make Cam’s life better. My life is just about making his better.
And I love it.
I wasn’t sure I could do this parenting thing. He didn’t come with an instruction manual and I was hard pressed to understand why they would let us take him out of the hospital at 4 days old without any kind of certification, training or guaranty of our ability to keep him alive. But they did, and we have.
It’s taken lots of long, sleepless nights… and more money than one could ever contemplate. But it’s totally worth it the moment I hear him get up in the morning and ask Tina for “Da”.
There are a lot of things you do as a parent that, had someone told me I was going to do before Cameron was born, I would’ve never believed. Singing, dancing and talking in a high-pitched voice are just the beginning. Changing explosive diapers (you never saw poo like this before) is another. But perhaps the most challenging thing as a parent is getting your child to be calm when they’re losing their cool.
Interestingly enough, most parents learn to tune out their own child’s particular brand of whining. It’s a defense mechanism, I suppose. If we weren’t able to ignore it, there would, unfortunately, be more incidents of infanticide. Cruel? Absolutely. True? You betcha’.
In fact, there was event a recent study done that whining is, in fact, the worst sound known to mankind. Thankfully, it is at those moments when you also get to see parents at their absolute best. The creativity can be astounding. For the most part, though, they’ll cajole, convince and yes, even bribe.
So what can you do with a 16mo old who barely understands what you’re trying to tell him? Well, you start with toys. It’s ugly, but bribery is first on the list. Core to this is the belief that the child’s frustration is centered on the desire for something they don’t currently have. So you think it’s a toy and you’ll give them ANYTHING if they’d just stop screaming.
Driving down the highway with Cameron in his carseat today was no different. He started to fuss and without taking both hands off the wheel (and without looking at him, either – a learned skill I never really thought I would need), I reached back, grabbed one of several “car toys” and placed it in his lap. You could hear it a few seconds later, bouncing off the back of the seat in front of him.
Nope… that wasn’t the toy he wanted.
No problem – I’m prepared. I have more.
Crap. Not that one either.
OK. Maybe I can tickle him to take his mind off whatever’s got him frustrated. Still driving one-handed… still always looking at the road, I reach back and start with his feet. Tickling up his leg and onto his chest, I’m not getting any love in return. In fact, the screaming is getting worse.
Tina finally decides that maybe he just needs to be entertained (Yeah, remember Tina? She was sitting in the front passenger seat the whole time. Would’ve been nice if she’d helped the driver. But whatever. She was helping now.). Her idea? A napkin.
Somewhere, in the distance, I heard a 1950’s comedic rim-shot. A napkin. Pshaw.
Do you know how many problems there are with giving a little boy a napkin? The first place it’s going to go is into his mouth. Then we’ve got wet napkin. Wet napkin in the car, on his carseat, in his mouth. Which leads to wet napkin in his hair, under his fingernails (yes, they have them), probably in his nose, too… in short, everywhere. Tina realized this after a few seconds, too, and decided that perhaps she should use the napkin to entertain Cameron.
Her plan? Napkin Ghost Puppet.
Napkin Ghost Puppet
Holy crap. It worked. I want to make fun of it, but I can’t because it solved the problem. You don’t even need me to tell you it was successful – you can simply see it in Cameron’s face.
Flash forward a few hours later and we were back in the car. As it was close to dinner time and Cam again started the slow burn to complete meltdown. Given the time of day, we know this could get really ugly. So, we went straight for the jugular. We pulled out the baby crack and fed it to Cam like candy. Of course, I’m talking about the little red monster himself: Elmo.
I don’t know what it is about the voice, but Cam could be (and has been) in full temper tantrum mode and Elmo’s “la-la la-la” is the same as whipping out a Snausage in front of a golden retriever.
Crying? Over. Volume? Silent. Motion? Still.
And apparently parents everywhere know the Power of Elmo (PoE). From a recent episode of Cougar Town:
You just can’t argue with the PoE.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of Elmo on my iPhone. It’s my one iDevice I didn’t have the full range of Elmo already installed and we really needed it. Do you know what happens when you give a baby crack addict a taste of the good stuff and then don’t have any more? Yeah, it’s not pretty. Luckily we were close to home and got him fed and in bed just in the nick of time.
So I’m off to go load the rest of our Elmo collection onto my iPhone. In the meantime, if you have other baby crack items that you’re willing to share, we’re willing to try them out. Put them in the comments to share.
About 10 days until we’re at Disney World again. I simply can’t wait. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re going to take it easy on this trip… move slowly through the parks, not rush, not open (or close) parks every day. I’ll be interested to see if we make it.
It’s no secret that Tina and I visit Disney on a regular basis. One of the tours we took while we were there was “Keys to the Kingdom” which is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at the Magic Kingdom. It lasts for about 4 hours, includes lots of notable trivia bits and looks at the most secretive of places in the entire park (including the underground tunnels that traverse the entire property).
Two days ago, we were passing through Freeport, Maine, home to L.L. Bean. Tina’s had a purple pullover from there that was bought back in her freshman year of college… and in a manner similar to me going to the Apple Computer Headquarters in Cuppertino, CA, going to L.L. Bean was like coming home for Tina. The pullover itself has acquired almost mythical status… known simply as her “Bean”. It embodies all of the possible Beanness one item could have. She loves it and it loves her back, I suppose.
It’s almost hard to express in words the look on her face and her state of excitement when she realized that there were FOUR buildings that comprise the L.L. Bean flagship location… and that the main one is open 24/7/365! She simply was in awe of trying to figure out what would require a run to the “Bean” to buy a “Bean” at 3am.
I wasn’t willing to find out who visited at 3am, though, so we had to go at a more normal 1pm. After walking through all of the buildings and taking pictures of Tina wearing a giant backpack
(and getting in an even LARGER backpack),
we were ready to go. But not before getting the boot.
And as we walked away from the Bean, Tina simply inquired why they didn’t offer tours of their facilities (including their full warehouse a few miles down the road) just like Disney. “They should have ‘Keys to the Beandom’!”
I used to hate logic games. You know… there are 4 puppets, each is a different animal and each has a different name. Each puppet also has a chief puppeteer and an assistant puppeteer. Based on the sketchy following information, you now need to be able to know which puppet is which and is controlled by which puppeteers.
Man I hated those things. Then, during preparation for my LSAT, I discovered that I needed to learn how to do them successfully if I wanted a prayer of attending law school. So I learned how to do them. But that didn’t mean I was going to LIKE them!
Flash forward 12 years. I do Sudokus almost every day. I love puzzles (well, ok, I love almost all puzzles) and solving them gives me a great deal of satisfaction.
But logic puzzles still bother me. I never really liked them then and now they bring LSAT flashbacks. But tonight, Tina decided to play an online logic puzzle. Grabbing a pen and paper, I quickly decided that I wanted to join in and see if I could still do them.
“Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory thoughts. Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people. With one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!”
So I’ve moved my domain to just be a blog. About time, I know. And to mark the occasion, I’m going to try to attach a photo for the first time, too.
Man I really hate when someone tells me that they’re going to do something and then fails to live up to their promise. I hate it even more when it’s something that’s created excitement and a bit of longing.
Ok, so I was at the mall on Saturday. I talked with this manager of a cellphone store who told me that he could get me a new cell phone that I wanted… but that he had to work his connections with the distributor to get it. I was supposed to call him on Monday to make it happen.
I called on Monday… and he told me that the phone would be there on Wednesday. I am now excited and I work on convincing Tina that I really need the phone (not that there was much convincing to do as my current phone has been on a Peruvian Death March for several months now). But all in all, I’m excited that I’m going to get this new phone.
So I call on Wednesday. Phone’s not there (I had asked for 2 of them so that Tina could get one, too, so when the distributor told the manager that he only had one, the manager didn’t get the one). But the manager tells me that he’ll get in touch with the distributor and call me back in an hour.
Three hours later, no calls. I call the store. Manager’s gone home for the day. Store personnel have no clue what I’m talking about, but they give me the manager’s cell number. I call it. He’s not there and I leave a message.
But by this point, it’s now 3.5 hours after I was supposed to get a call back, I’m probably not going to get the phone today… and since I’m going out of town for the weekend, I won’t see it until Monday.
So I’m homeless at the moment. All my crap is in storage with the exception of my car, dog and computer (ok, and a few clothing items, too).
But it’s the PROCESS that I hate. I think it’s because I’ve done it too many times.
Starting from birth here are the moves that have involved 2 weeks or more in a given location:
1. Moved from home for unwed mothers (come on… it WAS the 70s) to Adoption Agency. 2. Adoption Agency to my parents home. 3. Parents first home to Texas (Dad had to do basic training). 4. Texas to Germany for Dad’s Army assignment in Frankfurt. 5. Frankfurt back to US (Flossmoor, IL). 6. Flossmoor to Valparaiso, IN. 7. Valparaiso to summer camp in WI. 8. Valparaiso to summer camp in MI. (4 times) 9. Valparaiso to private school in Bath, Maine. 10. Bath to home at the end of the school year. 11. Valparaiso to military school in Mexico, Missouri. 12. Mexico to home at the end of the school year. 13. Valparaiso to summer camp in Indiana. 14. Valparaiso to military school again. 15. Mexico to home when I was dismissed from military school (interesting story… ask me sometime). 16. Valparaiso to summer camp in Indiana. 17. Valparaiso to summer camp in Indiana. (yes, again… three summers in a row) 18. Reverse move… I stayed in Valpo for college… my parents moved to Northfield, Illinois. 19. Valpo to Michigan summer camp to work for summer between Freshman and Sophomore years. 20. Valpo to Indiana summer camp to work for summer between Sophomore and Junior years. 21. Valpo fraternity house to Valpo dorm. 22. Valpo dorm to first apartment. 23. First apartment to second apartment (1.5 years later). 24. Second apartment to NC (3 years after that). 25. NC extended stay hotel to NC apartment. 26. NC apartment back to Chicago for work. 27. Chicago to NC when work and personal life conflicted. 28. NC apartment to NC house. 29. NC house to NC homelessness.
Wow. I’ve moved almost one time for every year that I’ve been alive. I should really stop doing this. I have a good idea that I’ll be moving again in the relatively near future – becoming UNhomeless is my goal. 🙂
Feed the homeless here:
Tina and I went to see Duke play Valparaiso University (my alma matter) in basketball at Cameron last night.
Want to guess who won?
90-something to 50-something.
It was a slaughter. But we had fun there anyways! I received lots of stares as I was wearing a maroon Valpo sweatshirt. 🙂 Next year they’re playing at the United Center in Chicago. So Tina will look out of place in a Duke sweatshirt. Heh.
OK… time to get back to invitations. We have to address the INNER envelopes now, then put everything inside. Then lick, stick and send ’em away.