Feb 232012
 

That’s no mystery. Babies just happen. They start out as babies and spend the rest of their lives changing into something else. More to the point, how are parents formed? I suppose they’re usually transformed from mushy-headed children, with varying degrees of suffering and success.

Chilkat’s over a year old, which means I’ve been a father for a year and KrisDi’s been a mother for a year. I’ve felt like a dad for about six months, I think. I fuzzily remember the disconnected disorientation and disbelief when we got home from the hospital.

The first real emotional connection I had with Chilkat as another human being (versus a crying micturating defecating lump of responsibility with lots of potential) was probably when she laughed the first time (June of 2011). I was overjoyed. I cried (but I did not micturate or defecate). Now she has such a distinct personality and she’s so much more independent and she’s genuinely interesting (intellectually in addition to emotionally and cutenessally) and she’s sleeping better, which means I’m sleeping better, which means I’m only constantly tired instead of constantly exhausted, which means I’m better able to deal with frustration. Most of the time — and “better” does not mean “good” in this instance. It means “less bad”.  Although I do run on coffee. I go through about a half gallon of quite strong coffee a day, give or take. Usually less on the weekends.

I don’t feel like an utter failure as a father any more. I don’t feel like the best father in the world, but I feel like I have a handle on it for now. I know I can outlast her when she’s cranky but needs to sleep (or I can drop her in the crib and she’ll very likely go to sleep on her own now). I know she can’t make a dirty enough diaper that I can’t eventually get the mess satisfactorily cleaned. She’s home sick for the third day in a row, and while she’s upstairs napping, I’m downstairs worrying that she’s running a fever of 167 and is actually unconscious, not sleeping. When she’s walking, I’m worried that she’s going to fall and break all her bones, blind herself, and drive whatever is in her mouth through the back of her throat. When she’s at day care, I’m worried she’s starving and sitting neglected in a pool of her own excretions and being showered with infectious diseases. When she’s eating, I’m worried she’ll choke and go into anaphylactic shock and get struck by lightning. Et cetera.

Sometimes the little monster actually shows affection for me. On very rare occasions, she seems to prefer my company to KrisDi’s. Incidentally, KrisDi is an amazing mother, in addition to being an amazing wife and an amazing cook and an amazing woman and an amazing human being.

It’s strange to think about how different our life is now. Chilkat is in some way involved in every single thing we have done in the last year (more than that, counting pregnancy). We have taken 4,921 pictures and 244 videos of Chilkat since she was born (not even counting pictures we threw away) versus 3508 pictures of KrisDi and 2636 pictures of me altogether. I guess that’s approximate, because some grandparental pictures are included in that count. I talk about very little besides Chilkat and KrisDi. I clearly blog about almost nothing else.

I love her so much. I tell her, but she doesn’t understand yet. KrisDi made this nice video out of a small selection of photos of her.

Feb 212012
 

Chairman Mao sent us a framed Certificate of Achievement “For Unstinting Meritorious and Successful Achievement in the Glorious Effort to Preserve and Protect the Existence of a Human Child over a Period of no Less than One Year”. This is the third electronic communication channel through which I’ve sent the words “Chairman Mao” today, so I expect a visit from the FBI or the CIA or something any time now.

KrisDi and I have managed to keep Chilkat alive for one trip around the sun and 365+ trips around Earth’s rotational axis. Hopefully many more to go. Judging by the state of her face, no guarantees.

Poor little monster appears to have the ol’ double eye infection going on right now. First signs were at her birthday party on Sunday (little gum in the corners, some swelling and redness around the eyes), and it was probably agitated by getting cake and frosting all up in there. It got a little worse Monday, but when KrisDi got her up this morning to feed her before work, both eyes were completely gummed shut. Of course, trying to clean off the gum was an incredibly traumatic experience for all three participants. I’m staying home today because day cares are not fond of children with eye infections. She has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. She’ll get about five vaccinations (that’ll be fun), and hopefully the doctor will have something we can do for her eyes. All things considered, I think she’s doing incredibly well. She’s sleeping right now, which is why I was able to clean up a little after Sunday’s party and start blogging this here blog. I don’t expect her to sleep long enough to complete this without interruption.

—– Several hours pass —–

And that was as far as I got without interruption. It is now about 10 hours later. We’ve been to the doctor and back, and had dinner, and run errands, and administered the first dose of Vigamox. She has double pink eye. KrisDi will have to stay home with her tomorrow, because day care won’t let her back until she’s been on medication for 24 hours. She’s also gotten a couple vaccinations and been weighed and measured: they claim 19lb 8oz, 29 1/2″ tall, 18 1/3″ head circumference, but I think they mismeasured the head. Incidentally, this is nearly as large as GirlAndi’s second daughter was at 6 months.

Birthday party. Pictures say most of what there is to say: KrisDi made 30 cupcakes, 6 Big Birds, 6 Grovers, 6 Oscars, 6 Cookie Monsters, and 6 Elmos. She ordered a bunch of cake pops of the same characters. She made cookies and a red velvet cake. We brought in two varieties of fudge. She made Italian Beef sandwiches and ordered fried chicken from Ezell’s. She got cole slaw and made potato salad, jalapeno popper dip, and spicy sausage dip. She also made mac & cheese and deviled eggs, and also served cheese and crackers. This is what KrisDi calls “keeping it simple.” We had about 15 friends and family show up. The False Alarm family couldn’t make it because they spent the preceding night luxuriating in the hospital with a daughter whose temperature peaked at 104.9 degrees. What an overachiever.

Aside from that…it looks like I’m going to Japan in late May and Chicago in early May. Tufty and Ska Yo-Yo may visit in April some time for their 10th anniversary. Northwood and his special lady friend may travel out to North Dakota while we’re there for Tom’s wedding so they can see Chilkat. We may meet up with Wilmbo’s parents in Arizona when we’re there for KrisDi’s cousin’s wedding. E Dubs and Pixel Chick bought a house and P Dubs bought their townhome (both deals still in progress), but I’ll talk about that next time I post.

Behaviorally, Chilkat is becoming more of a mimic. She “cooks” — she’ll stir anything with anything. She’s more interested in feeding herself. She wants to sweep when she sees KrisDi do it. She’s picking up new stuff like saying “boo” for peek a boo, she’s getting sick of some of the old Sesame Street videos that she’s been watching a lot (C is for Cookie). She’s really starting to get the concept of blowing kisses, which is adorable (she was blowing kisses at the doctor today). She’s figuring things out at an alarming rate — today she grabbed the web cam and demanded that it be put on a lap top and then was very upset that the computer wasn’t talking to her.

Feb 122012
 

Chilkat is currently 356 days old. She’s also sleeping, and working on her eighth tooth. We haven’t killed her yet, or by negligence allowed her to be killed. So, we’re apparently doing a smash-up job of this parenting thing. Go us!

The little monster is now employing walking as her primary means of self-propulsion, with occasional regressions to crawling and rare nerve-wracking attempts at running. She still likes to be carried around (primarily by KrisDi).  She has learned that dogs say “Woofwoofwoofwoofwoof.” She really likes my hat. She’s remarkably good at delivering my hat. Once, as she was walking by me neurotically searching for her mom, I said, “Hey, can you bring me my hat?” And she looked up at me, turned around, went and found my hat, and then brought it to me. And then went neurotically searching for her mom.

At day care, she’s halfway through the transition to the toddler room. It’s a big change: stricter schedule, less attention, no Mom food or breast milk. This is the part that blows my mind: She’s already napping (in a cot) on command. Since she started this transition, she’s been a much better napper at home. What the hell did they do to our formerly sleepless daughter?

She eats off our plates a lot now. She loves cheese and onions. And pickles. She says “Hi” and “Bye” more appropriately and more often than before.

The False Alarm baby, M, turned one not too long ago (her birthday, surprisingly, falls one day after the anniversary of the False Alarm). We went to visit for the party and the toddlers had a good time playing together, especially pushing each other in M’s new doll stroller (which specifically and clearly and in all caps says not to put real children in the fake stroller).

We got “macro tubes” for the camera and took lots of pictures that we think are interesting (but most people probably think are boring).

We spent some money recently. We got a nice new liquor cabinet. Now we have more room for appliances in the pantry since we removed the liquor, more room for closety stuff in the closet since we removed the beer, and no bottles of wine Chilkat can attempt to steal or smash against herself or the house.

We got Chilkat a little bookshelf for little Chilkat books to be shelved upon.

We also got me a car. It’s a 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP, with about 7000 miles when I bought it. It has the Corvette engine (6.2 liter V8) and a six speed manual transmission. But it’s also a four door with waaaay more room than the Saturn and a lot more features (including safety features like traction control, antilock brakes, and fancier airbags). Driving it is a bit different than driving the Saturn. For instance, it gets only a little bit better than half the gas mileage the Saturn got, and it can go from 0-60 in under five seconds.

Grandma turned 95. That’s old. KrisDi made her a super simple no-bake-cake and we went up to visit. It was nice. She was pretty excited to see Chilkat, and she endured the rest of us.