Friday, February 11, 2011

World's Best Dad

Have you seen the Seinfeld with Lloyd Bridges about the competition for world's best dad based on heavy lifting and t-shirt proclamations?  It's funny.

But, I just wanted to let you know I have the world's best dad.  He made 2 trips to CVS pharmacy, and 1 trip to Walgreen's to try to find Charlie the elusive, generic Mylanta Cherry Supreme.  No one has the name brand because it was recalled due to a labeling error.  He also bought Charlie some Colic Calm as recommended by the Mayo clinic website.  Very sweet.  He's the best.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I think my sweet little three year-old has some of my hyper-sensitivity.  I've been told and have come to believe this trait is not a character defect, but can be troublesome.  He notices changes and details I think will escape him.  While considering pruning the refrigerator of "art" and various commemorative papers, I thought I had best take the items down and save them to make sure one of them wasn't, in fact, a prized possession.

My caution regarding his sensitivity reminded me of a sweet story.  My first pet, a goldfish, whom I think was named, Curly, as in Larry, Moe, and Curly, died when I was about 3.  I watched the Three Stooges every morning at 6 AM with my dad.  We both like the stories and predicaments the Stooges get themselves into, and ignore the slapstick stuff.  I don't remember becoming particularly emotionally attached to the goldfish, but, in an act of fatherly love, upon Curly's passing in the night, my dad went to Kmart to replace him, assuming I would not notice the impostor.  When I got up the next morning to feed Curly, I remarked he had grown - quite a bit.  I think my dad chuckled.  I don't remember being sad about Curly's demise, and I was perfectly happy with his successor, probably named Larry or Moe.  Even three year-olds can handle some changes without trauma or later need therapy.

I have a hard time seeing Hank get upset.  But I know, if I prevent all pain, I will be robbing him of valuable human experiences.  Better to go through pain with my support and carry that skill into adulthood.  It's such a knee-jerk and unconscious drive to want to immediately take away or prevent any discomfort.  But, I should give him credit that he has been stepping back from the ledge of panic sooner and with more ease when something upsets him, little by little.

It's also a balance between validating his wants and emotions with trying to help him put them in perspective and/or simply distracting him away from being upset.  When you spill milk for the first time, it IS a big deal.  But, on the 50th time, maybe we come to the realization that it's no longer a cry-worthy event.

The other day while schlepping food, drinks, and Charlie into Hank's room to play, Hank suggested we bring Charlie's pacifier "so he didn't cry."  Apparently the urge to prevent pain develops early.  (Of course, I understand it's also a matter of who gets the attention, but he did seem to have some genuine sympathy for Charlie).  I've been trying to remind Hank that when he was a baby and was upset, we tried to comfort him in the same way we comfort Charlie.  I hope that will sink in on some level at least for future reference.  (And not the memory that when Charlie came along, Hank became less important).

I don't at all feel like there isn't enough love to go around, but I do feel guilty that Hank has less of my attention than he used to.  But again, I think that's probably not a bad skill to acquire as a human, and what better time than when he is developing the hard wiring of the way the world works.  At some point we all move from being the neediest little person on the planet to becoming more and more self-sufficient and less in need or want of undivided attention.  That is, until 80 or 90 years later, when we do need someone's undivided attention, again.  Loss is still a ledge I don't even like to look at.  I just try to breath and enjoy the moment, rather than to stand on the ledge, looking at it, and worrying about when I will fall off.

Last night I stayed up past both kids going to sleep.  When I went up to bed, I had kind of an LSD-whoa that we have two little people who live with us and sleep with us, and all we did to get them was have sex.  It's pretty amazing that having sex one time leads to the creation of another human being who will call you mommy or whatever you tell him your name is, probably.  I think I'll go by "mum" with the next one.  Not really.   And I was not taking LSD last night, it just reminded me of the awes some people experience.  (Although 99.9% of the time the deep thoughts LSD inspires are totally stupid or totally incomprehensible the next day).  Or the idea scribbled on a napkin or toilet paper roll or forearm is illegible and lost for the benefit of humanity.  Too bad.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dear Zeus (or whichever One of you does the weather),

Since we are having winter this year, can we please have fewer bugs, and in particular fewer mosquitos in the spring and summer?  Spring and fall would be as perfect as winter were it not for those blood-sucking mother mosquitos.

Had Uncle TH and Aunt JH down for the first snow I have ever seen stick to the road in Austin.  They did have 2.5 days of nice weather.  We felt guilty about the snow.  Silly.  HH LOVED having them down.  I can see how it takes a village...because Brad and I were so much more at ease having some backup.  I want another baby, too.  It is such a miracle that at almost 39 I have an infant and a three year-old.  What a great way to prolong getting "old."

I am trying to figure out ways to work from/at home so that I can generate income enough for Brad to go to nursing school.  I am going to try insurance companies for wellness coaches.  More writing possibilities.  Personal training at home.  Maybe yoga and pilates classes?  If training is during the day, people have to be cool with a baby (or two) around.  I feel much more at ease with caring for a baby while working.  Just feed it, burp it, or rock it.  Or, it might even just be sleeping.  With Hank I felt very unsure of what I would do depending on what he would do, and I had no idea what that might be.  All of my personal training clients are women.  The vast majority have kids and like being around a baby.  The drawback is, sometimes a crazy night leaves me stupid.  I fight the urge to nap and hibernate, but I'm not a good fighter.  Ideally, I would like to write more, but I realize it's not my turn to find ideally.  Just to find an economical use of my time and expertise while being able to care for young children.

BH and I have seen Judith Sokolow from Jewish Family Services 2x.  We have one more time to see her.  She has given us some practical communication skills.  Skills I learned in group therapy, but am out of practice with and can't practice in a vacuum.  I feel very hopeful.  I am determined to model adaptive communication for HH and CH.  Not perfect, but adaptive.
For some strange reason I am awake at 9:50 PM, and everyone else is asleep.  For some other reason I don't like being awake alone at night, but love it during early morning hours.  It's an artifact from my past life, but I wonder why, after 15 years of piety, it still feels yucky to stay up late.  I guess it's just OK to be no matter what time it is.  And it's OK to say, well, there you go, silly.

This morning I remembered that I would never say, "you are a big fatty," to anyone.  Even to a big fatty.  : )  So, why would I say that to myself?  I am feeding a baby.  I am 11 weeks post-partum.  It doesn't matter what any other mother looks like at this stage of post-partum.  As long as all the parts are working, that's all there is.  That's what is to be grateful for.  Thank you.  It is such a gift to care for an infant.  So amazing and impossible to reciprocate.