Monday, July 30, 2012

Why are airports trying to kill my baby?

I'm flying out of Long Beach today to meet up with Lindsay and Addison. Alone. Thank you Lord.

Lindsay has flown with Addison a lot, mostly by herself. She's kind of amazing and insane that way. But I do hold the record for longest solo flight with Addison, from L.A. to D.C. To be honest, it was okay. But I prepared for that sucker for weeks, drawing up diagrams and schematics and outlining my carry-on inventory and refining it with test-runs (holding an item in front of Addison and seeing if she grabbed for it). For that four-hour flight I had crayons and little stuffed animals and about ten board books and coloring books and headphones and flashlights and finger-puppets and a bazillion snacks and three bottles of milk and  baby food and string and stickers and silly putty... and that was just one pocket of Addison's carry-on. You know that scene in The Royal Tenenbaums where Ben Stiller is having his boys do emergency training? Yeah, that was me, in preparation for the flight.

But today, I'm flying alone, which is like a breath of fresh air. I feel almost zen right now. My carry-on isn't stuffed-to-exploding with diapers or wipes or blankies. Just a few changes of clothes and a couple books. That's it. It's hard for me to accept how simple this will be. I might even try to take a nap.

Of course, the downside of not having to fly with Addison is that on our return trip to California, we'll be making a multi-day road trip with Addison in the backseat. Which, now that I think about it, might be even worse than the airport. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 27, 2012

On the first email exchange with my wife

Today, July 27, 2012, is exactly 2696 days (accounting for 2 leap years) from the day that my wife and I first emailed each other. 757 days after that first email, we were married. And 681 days after we were married, Addison was born. So, 1438 days from the day of our first email, Lindsay and I (mostly Lindsay) brought a little squalling creature into this world. The time between our first email and Addison’s birth is still slightly greater than the time from Addison’s birth until now. But in a matter of months, the “Addison” phase of our lives together will have eclipsed the “just the two of us” phase of our lives. To put it another way, it won’t be long before the “changing diapers” phase of our experience together has surpassed the “spontaneous road trip” phase. That’s a little wild to think about.
There’s nothing special about today that made me start crunching these numbers. It’s just that Lindsay and Addison are away for a few days, and I got bored and started going through my old emails. Apparently I have 2310 unread emails. I don’t care.

I realize that the only time I’ve really written something that was really focused on my wife or our relationship was when I won a reader-arbitrated cage-fight with Lindsay regarding bedtime hugs. So here’s something a little different. Because I’ve been missing her. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On phantom crying

Lindsay and Addison have been gone since Saturday. It's just me and Lindsay's dad here at home, and we're pretty much keeping to ourselves. The house is quiet, and that's pretty awesome at first. It feels refreshing and liberating and . . . hold on . . . Crap. I think my daughter may be haunting me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

On being home alone

Addison and Lindsay are traveling on vacation now, and I'm stuck here at home. Wait, reverse that. I'm on vacation here at home, and my wife is in another state away from all our comfort zones and routines, trying to wrangle our two-year-old and get her to bed on time and to eat something other than Cheetos.

It's sad that what I used to think of as "vacation" (traveling somewhere new, road trips, airplanes, relatives, visiting friends, exotic places) has now become the most dreaded part of my life, something filled with poor sleep, cranky kids, cranky me, no internet, and lots of anxiety. Lindsay always says I'm a worse traveler than my two-year-old is. I owe my wife something big for lopping a full week off of the amount of time I'm expected to be on "vacation" with them. I'll fly out and join them on Sunday, having taken one full week by myself to mentally prepare for multiple family reunions in different parts of the western United States. Don't get me wrong, I like some of my family. But squashing all those hugs and picture-taking and shuttling from one sleeping location to another into a few days is probably going to give me ulcers. Clearly, my anxieties run deep, and warrant another, bigger blog post sometime in the future. And maybe therapy.

Happy vacation, honey. You're the best.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Suspicious behavior

It dawned on me the other day that my daughter is getting too smart. She scrutinizes everything that I try to put in her mouth. She'll routinely pick out specks from her food that don't pass her muster, as though she takes for granted that I'm trying to pull a fast one, which is only the case some of the time.

As I'm preparing her food, she follows my every move, and if she finds something out of the ordinary, she unearths it with a single finger and holds it in the air for all to see. And then she gives me the stink eye for the rest of the meal. This all means that I have to accept that one of the great joys of fatherhood has now passed me by. On the other hand, before long, she'll be perfect for the "gullible"-on-the-ceiling trick. That one could last a good half-decade if my wife doesn't screw it up for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On drawing skills and admitting defeat

So, last Friday I posted about my daughter staging a quiet coup, to become the head picture draw-er in this household. Since she was away over the weekend visiting her cousins in Bakersfield, and I missed her, I took a little time to go through some of our home movies. And to my surprise (and chagrin), I found this:

She did this in April. Almost 3 months ago. Her bunny was clearly not a fluke. This kid's been prepping to steal my thunder for months now. Her next trick will probably involve drawing with her eyes closed. With her toes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

On eating faces

I'm cleaning up my daughter's room while she and her mom are away visiting relatives, and I'm trying to decide what to do about her mutilated Mickey.

My two-year-old ate the face off of her Mickey Mouse doll. It's like she was trying to be current or something. So now we've got this Mickey doll that she refuses to play with because he's got no nose and there's stuffing coming out of his eyes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The plague bunny, illustrated by my daughter

My daughter knows that when my wife or I are at our computer, we are doing "work." Sometimes my work looks a lot like shooting lasers at aliens, but in my daughter's eyes, it's all work if it involves typing on the computer or clicking the mouse. If Addison sees an unoccupied computer, she'll beeline towards it and get to "work."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On avoiding the plague

Addison loves her "dubby." So much so that trying to wash the dang thing becomes something like an episode of Mission Impossible. Sometimes we decide that it's too hard to sneak the bunny away from her, and we just let it slide. But when birds start dropping dead outside our house, it's either wash the thing or have the CDC get all "outbreak" on our heinies.

Why is it that toddlers think the greatest demonstration of affection is biting and gnawing? You already gave the poor bunny the black death; leave his stanky ears alone!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our 2-year-old's first nightmare

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about waking my wife up in the middle of the night as I loudly disciplined Addison. In my sleep. I made some conjectures about what Addison dreams about. Perhaps she does dream that she's a dinosaur, but I am still trying to gather concrete evidence of that. The best I can say is that sometimes she looks at me like I'm a ham bone. 

I wish could be a dinosaur in my dreams. Usually I'm just myself, but moving in slow motion, which is tedious and incredibly frustrating. Especially frustrating when you're trying to catch and discipline a toddler who squirms like a slippery fish. Even more frustrating, though less tedious, when I'm being chased by a dinosaur and I move like I'm wading through molasses. I'm not the only one with these dinosaur dreams, am I? I wonder what Freud would say . . .

Addison was as young as six months old when we first decided she was having nightmares -- she'd wake up sweaty and disoriented, not noticing me when I came in to soothe her. Her cries would be sharp and urgent, and she'd sometimes fall back asleep while I rubbed her back, without having ever looked at me. We always wondered what she was dreaming about, and hoped it wasn't anything too terrible. These weren't frequent occurrences, but just often enough to make me question my parenting abilities.

Although I'd never wish a nightmare on my daughter, I'm a little less anxious now because we've concretely identified the first nightmare that Addison has been able to express to us. It didn't involve monsters or explosions or bad men. It didn't seem to involve anything that I maybe shouldn't have let her see on TV (previews for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, anyone?).

Friday, July 6, 2012

On navel gazing (and failing at art)

My daughter was born with a belly button (for a while the button part was almost an inch long and had a clamp on the end of it. Really noticeable, in other words). But she didn't pay any attention to it for the first eight months of her life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012