Posted by: Harry | October 14, 2009

Lovin’ the 10 Minutes of Peace Before Bed

I’ve been avoiding the journal-type entires lately, mostly because the last three weeks or so have been hellish with Simone’s sleeping. To do a “Dear Daughter” type of thing might require me to call down the trials of Job.

Plenty of brilliant moments during the day, but each and every time I sit down to write–which for this blog is generally in the evening–all I can hear is Simone throwing a diabolical fit upstairs. Kicking the wall, shaking the crib, screaming until she runs out of air. WOOOOT parenting.

And poor Sandra–as if her life isn’t stressful enough. No more few hours of unwinding in the evening. Her “self” time is down to zero. Either she’s in Simone’s room, trying to soothe her, or she’s downstairs groaning at the lack of peace. Well, we do get some peace. About 10 minutes before our own retirement to the hallowed halls.

Sandra started putting a pillow and blanket in Simone’s room to lie on the floor until dear daughter fell asleep. This resulted in numerous games of peek-a-boo and an immediate habit where Simone refused to go to bed unless Mommy lay down too. Bad idea, in my mind. Not Sandra’s intentions, of course, but the habit part. Whether I’m right or wrong, I feel Simone needs to develop her own mechanisms for falling asleep–something I thought she had until three weeks ago.

Come to think of it, this probably started while we were in Tofino and Sandra and Simone slept on mattresses together in our little hut.

So how in the blue hell does someone go from falling asleep within five minutes to writhing in horror whenever “sleepy time” is even mentioned? I did some research online and clearly Simone is not unique in this regard. Lots of parents go through it. But I’ll be the first to admit I don’t give one hot damn what other parents are going through at this moment. All I want is a healthy wife, sleeping kid, and some time to collect my thoughts in the evening. My online searching brought up various concerns: earache, night terrors, in need of a change of scenery.

I like this last one. The first two don’t seem to apply, as Simone sleeps pretty good throughout the night. Maybe Simone is done with her crib and needs to hit the ol’ mattress on the floor. Of course, this could lead to her racing down the hall all night and refusing to go to bed. Most likely it will.

I think a more sophisticated regiment is in order. We’ve been reasonably good with routines so far. Bathtime, snack, teeth-brushing, stories, and then bed. But our routines end when she doesn’t go to sleep. We’re erratic and inconsistent, and sometimes not on the same page. It has to be far worse for a mother to hear her own kid calling her upstairs. Must pull at something deep and instinctual.

It’s gotta be a hard-nose approach–for our sanity as well as Simone’s. If she calls for us, we go in ONCE, tuck her in, make sure she’s comfy. No talking other than a shush or “sleepy time” comment. Then we leave. And she bawls and howls and rages. But she’ll fall asleep too…eventually.

That’s what I think, anyway. This only works when we’re at home and there are little disruptions. We’ve had a lot of visitors this summer, which has been great and exciting. But it’s also been shit for keeping a routine. Gotta be done now. Earplugs ready.

We need our evenings back.

And if anyone asks if we’re having another kid, I have a large, tread-worn object for you to insert into the orifice of your choosing.

Posted by: Harry | October 1, 2009

Website of the Day:

TeeFury SHirtsOkay, this site is too badass to not post about: Basically, the site takes designs from artists around the world turns them into T-Shirts, or Tee’s of the Day. Each T-shirt is up for one day, starting at midnight, and once 24 hours is up the shirt is gone–no longer available. Artists are paid per shirt and retain all rights to their original designs (a huge plus). And the shirts are cheap too, usually $9 (USD).

They had a promo on a few weeks back, 3 Tees for $15 bucks (plus $5 shipping). Shirt selection was random, meaning I could only choose my size and had no clue what shirts I would get until they arrived. But I figured, hell for $20–which is usually the cost of one good T-shirt, even if only 2 of the 3 were passable, I’d still be in the clear. All 3 arrived today and they’re all skookum.

What’s cool is that the shirts are completely original, not found anywhere else. And if you don’t like the shirt of the day, you only have to wait 24 hours to catch the next one. Great concept, promotes cool designs from burgeoning artists–and pays them based on sales.

Posted by: Harry | September 15, 2009

Day 438: On the Discussion of Anatomy…

Household Nudity has already been discussed, along with the cursory wiener-honking incident. But the topic of anatomy never really goes away. Amidst our tentative foray into toilet-training, Simone has taken a keen interest in watching other people use the bathroom. Parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors–doesn’t matter. If you mention that you’re going upstairs to spend-a-penny, Simone races up after–well, she usually passes you on the stairs and beats you to the throne.

Spending hours upon hours of time with Papa, she sadly bears witness to a much different urinating process than her own. She no longer points and asks what such a strange apparatus is. She simply calls it out in affirmation–which brings on a host of new questions, over and over and over. An example…

Simone – Penis!

Papa – Yes, that’s what it is.

Simone – Monie have a penis?

Papa – No, Simone has a vagina.

Simone – Jyna?

Papa – That’s right.

Simone – Mommy have a jyna too?

Papa – You betcha.

Simone – Mommy have a penis?

Papa – Um…no. Mommy’s a girl.

Simone – Monie’s a girl too?

Papa – That’s right.

Simone – Papa have a jyna?

Papa – No, Papa’s a boy.

Simone – Monie’s a boy too?

I’m sure you get the picture by now. A little slow on the draw, I should have recognized she wasn’t really learning anything by half-way through the conversation. It just goes on and on and on…until a loud truck goes by the bedroom window and her attention leaps elsewhere.

Posted by: Harry | August 26, 2009

Day 418: Vintage Vinyl

Grandma and Grandpa have arrived from Ontario bearing gifts. One box in particular contained vinyl splendid vinyl. Nostalgic albums for Mom and Dad, from when we were kids. Now to see if they mean anything to you. So far the only album you really love to listen to is Radiohead’s In Rainbows, the sounds of which cause you to jump up into my arms and request a dance around the room.

You’re a good singer, though–and I think you’ll find some good tunes on these albums too.

Music Machine

Father Abraham and The Smurfs

Sesame Street Sings

Disney Christmas Carol

Posted by: Harry | August 21, 2009

Day 413: Conversation du Jour

Simone is practicing somersaults off the couch onto the floor. I should be worried, I know—neck breaking potential and all. Still, after a particularly feisty roll she giggles and lets out a tremendous fart.

Papa – Simone! Was that you?

Simone – Yeessss.

Papa – Did you just fart?

Simone – No I didn’t; Papa did.

And my work is done here. Brings a tear to the eye when your own learn how to blame farts on others at such a young age.

Posted by: Harry | August 17, 2009

Day 409: What Goes Up…

A lesson in anger management. Your mother has just called to say she’s 10 minutes from the bus loop where we are to meet her. I realize I need to change your diaper and race you upstairs, two at a time, down the hall, to the change blanket. You immediately wrench yourself from my grasp, race to Mom and Papa’s bedroom, and hide in the closet. Normally this is a fun game, but I’m feeling the pinch of time and have no truck with your antics.

I storm after you, pull you out of the closet, chastise you, and prod you down the hall back to the change blanket. You fuss the entire way, sit, drag your heels, cling to the door frame. I get you on the blanket and in a fit of anger I pull your shorts down, tear away the diaper flaps and yank the diaper from your bottom.

Bad move.

I forgot it was number two.

A turd, the size of two or three Toblerone segments, launches into the air, wavers in its new found gravity, and with a perfect arc, squelches down onto the blanket to rest like a finely molded sculpture. I stare at it without comprehension.

I look at you. You look at the fresh nugget of shit, then back to me. You point.

‘Monie’s poop.

Quite right…’Monie’s poop.

You point at the diaper. My shoulders sag in defeat. Then the giggles start.

We are precisely 10 minutes late in picking up your mother.

Posted by: Harry | August 10, 2009

Day 402: The Sick Helping The Sick.

Sounds like a cautionary proverb. In some sense it is, as my sister had a nasty bout of flu at her place that required her caring for two boys in between bouts of her own vomiting. I had hoped to avoid that. Yet here I am, whopping fever and headache, trying to comfort an equally sick child who only wants her mommy at times like these. Not that I blame her. There are certain levels of comfort only moms can provide. In fact, it crossed my mind today to call home and talk to my own Mother because I was feeling so lousy. Sometimes one just needs to be soothed.

Out of all the “things one is simply not prepared for after a baby is born”, the increased frequency of illness sits high atop the list. I’m a wuss when I’m sick. Most men are, but I become the complete antithesis to stoicism. I have friends who are fairly stoic–or at least they try to give that impression. I am not like that. And when I get sick, I become the emotional equivalent to a high-school beauty pageant loser. I mope about, take slow, careful steps everywhere to emphasize my illness, I get weepy during commercials. Quite tragic when you think about it. Worse, today I got choked up watching Kung-Fu Pandawho does that? Honestly.

But getting ill more often is a concern for me. Pre-Simone, I maybe got one cold every one or two years. This year alone I’ve been sick at least four times–today being the worst yet. Quite certain other parents experience similar issues. How to combat it? Vitamin C? Echinacea? Strict eating habits (all I want to eat right now is Freezies)? Should I be getting a flu shot?

What say you? Oh, and note: when ill, you really notice when you need a new mattress on your bed.

Posted by: Harry | August 3, 2009

Day 395: A New Cousin For You

August 3rd, and you have acquired another cousin. Spencer James Dyck at a whopping 11 lbs 4 oz. That’s right, Holy Mother Mary 11 pounds! I’m guessing there are some rather tired individuals at Uncle Ken and Aunty Mandy’s household.

Grand total of cousins for you = 4. Females = 0. You are a rarity, it appears. Whether it be crazy cousin Josh or the fiendish brothers, Kale and Jaden, there is no doubt the majority of influence for you will be male. And now we can add Spencer to the mix too. Err…make that HUGE Spencer, eviscerator of planets. (FYI – eviscerate is one of the greatest words in the English language).

Such testosterone-oriented surroundings could lead to a number of results:

  • You become a tomboy who beats the living hell out of the neighborhood punks.
  • You take MMA training and beat the living hell out of neighborhood punks.
  • You become a quiet, demure socialite who loves tea parties…and beats the living hell out of neighborhood punks.

Either way, I’m not too worried about you being a push-over. Yay for new cousins and their safe and healthy arrival.

Posted by: Harry | July 22, 2009

Day 383: What to do? Three Options.

Embarking on year three, we hit a crossroads. Well, maybe I can’t call it a crossroads because it consists of three choices. What would it be then? Three-way stop? We’ll go with that one. Three new life changes to consider for Simone, in no particular order:

  • Weaning – No, we haven’t done it yet. I know I’ve mentioned it before.  Two years attached to her mother’s bosom is more than enough. Simone’s still happy to nurse, mind you. It’s her mother who I think has had enough. This one is tricky, too. Sandra being away at work all day finds a certain bonding in coming home and feeding Simone. Undoubtedly, dear daughter does as well. But there are strange hardships too…like not being able to venture more than ten feet after supper without Simone whining dookie tiiiiiime. Yes, dookie means milk, not the other thing.
  • Potty Training – This one scares me a little–and not the urine part. Simone has peed on the carpet on many an occasion after her bath. She’s a natural-born-streaker, bolting from one upstairs room to the next, giggling with pre-pee hilarity. Now, if she decides to shit her pants…well, God save us all. All I have to do is think back to our nasty car-vomit incident–the dry-heaving involved–and I know I’ll be retching like Linda Blair minus the rotating head.
  • New Bed Transition – Awhile back we were visiting friends in our complex. Their daughter, slightly older than Simone, had a lovely, white bed. Simone loved that bed. Crawled right in and tried to go to sleep. This past weekend we were in Ikea, gathering ideas. Simone went straight for another bed, crawled in, tried to sleep. I detect a trend.

Let’s face it. All three of these will occur. The question is, in what order? If I go for the potty training bit, Simone may get a little aggro with the Mommy-Booby time. If we opt to wean, we’ll have to hold out on the toilet training in case she gets a little stressed. Clearly we’re not going for the new bed thing until the other two are accomplished. I recall a story of my brother-in-law trying to change his kid’s diaper and the poor little bugger excreting the perfect coil on the edge of the bed. Yeah, the new bed can wait.

Anyone else tackled these three yet? What methods worked? Which option came first? And what of naps?

For July 18th (Simone’s birthday party):

Sullivan Park, where nary a single person has occupied the sheltered picnic tables next to the playground. For months the only tenants were the occasional drug dealer leaving an unmarked package for pickup, and yet…

Q – What had the potential to throw a planned birthday party at a said park, requiring said picnic tables, in disarray?

A – 150 Filipino church members celebrating 13 years of close contact with the supernatural. Tasty-looking food, though. And they had badminton.

Q – What was the backup plan?

A – A series of blankets and sleeping bags spread out on the lawn, a table taken from the home patio, balloons strung from nearby trees, one minor case of bemused cardiac arrest. Also worth noting: a quick sweep of the area for drug paraphernalia and dog turds.

Q – What to do with so many kids?

A – Not much, except let them run around and yell and holler and make their parents sweat in the sun and curse people who have birthday parties in summer nowhere near a lake or pool or water slide or even a garden hose. Honestly, who does that?

Q – Were there bathrooms?

A – Sort of? I mean, they existed, about half a kilometer away, near the baseball diamonds. They were locked.

Q – Can you give your kids sugar and still be considered a good parent?

A – That depends on who you ask. Simone had cake from Oma, cupcakes from Joanne, and fruit juice. She raced around as though all three products were laced with Red Bull. Other kids did too. I refuse to carry blame.

Q – And the result?

A – A prompt lying down in the grass and dirt at about 1:30, eyes closed, signaling to her parents she was done. A needle with insulin was kept handy.

Q – Was the party a success?

A – I think so. Plenty of people who didn’t know each other, so it felt a bit like a single’s mixer, only there were no singles, so maybe I’ve got that wrong. The kids seemed to have a good time, so I guess that’s what counts. Alexander, Sophia, Oscar, Ethan, Micah, Lucille, Taryn, Zoe–a finer assortment of well-chosen names you’ll not find.

Heaps of thanks to Mommy, Oma and Opa and Uncle Mat for doing so much work. The party’s success is owed, in large part, to them.

Passed out after birthday festivities.

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