Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Attempted Regression Therapy

Last Friday, I did something I haven't done in years; went to see a live band. A buddy at work gave me his CD a while back, and I really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to seeing them.

The only draw-back was that I couldn't find anyone to go with me. Most people at work had other things going on, one guy who wanted to go couldn't spare the cash, and another who planned to go wound-up in the ER with a bruised knuckle (she's a boxer who has broken knuckles before, and didn't want to risk having it unattended if it were broken – fair enough).

So here I am, a 35-year-old, going to an indie-metal show by himself, knowing no one but a singer in one of the bands. You may recall me mentioning that I'd played in bands before, and I remember a character at one of the bars, mid-30's, who spent the night chatting with the sound-man before riding his bike home. I kinda felt like that fellow.

The drink specials were well-advertised, so I thought I'd do the responsible thing, and take the bus down. When I got to the terminal, I continued my responsible thread, and checked when the last bus would be leaving. 11:15. On a Friday night. PATHETIC! So I only got to spend an hour there, but, kind fates, it was the hour when my buddy's band was playing.

In theory, spending a night enjoying live music in a setting I spent so much time in during my 20's should have been delightful. For the afore mentioned reasons, I was kinda glad to have an excuse to leave after an hour. Hopefully, I can muster a little more support the next time they play.

The next day, we fed Calli rice pablum for the first time (they're calling it “cereal” now, apparently). It was great to see our little girl developing into the next stage, and funny to see her with paste caked from neck to nose, and beyond. We're only a couple months away from goo-ified carrots & peas. This is my life now; not much applause, just as much puke, and less critique of my 'singing' (she heckles plenty, but loves my singing). As much as I miss playing in bands, I wouldn't trade for anything.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Micro-Managers: Bane of the Workplace.

My wife introduced me to the term “Micro-Managers.” They are the folks who who always know the right way to do things, and jump at the opportunity to share this wisdom with you. They are often seeking these opportunities while their own duties are neglected.

A prime example came when one such pain-in-the-posterior got a reprimand from a manager. What she caught shit for could have been considered a joke if she wasn't so full of self-loathing and bitterness. It came off as “herding the customers.” She spent about about half an hour telling every staff member she came across to not “raise your voice to customers.”

The disease these people suffer from (are they suffering, or just insufferable?) is closely related to the one some charity workers get: “Do as I say because The Cause is bigger than any of us.”
Therefore, it's difficult to call these people on their bullshit, their main defense being “I was just trying to be helpful.” So what's the difference between a Micro-Manager and someone who's trying to be helpful? (I'm saying this rhetorically, but any insights would be welcome) I think that truly helpful people wait to see if you need help, as opposed to jumping to coach people 3-7 times a day. Helpful people also speak more quietly, and don't broadcast their wisdom.

Does anyone else have defenses for these pompous asses? I think the main issue is their unassailable arrogance. That's why they hide behind Causes (charitable or corporate), to dodge arguments. Can't wait to hear what you have to say!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our little ray of sunshine

The other night, I got home to find Andrea giving Calli her nightly bath (I'm sure we could get away with bathing her every other night, but we're using a Lavender-scented bath to help her sleep. I'll never know if it's working, or if she was just due to start passing-out earlier, but I'm not messing with a winning formula!). Andrea said, in her most serious tone, “go ahead, ask us how our day was.” I groaned, then obliged her. “It was wonderful. Barely a fussy moment. This is what I'd hoped motherhood would be like.”

Andrea had found the pregnancy gods to be fair – no morning sickness, but gestational diabetes – so it seems the parenting gods are fair too. For every episode of contraceptive-inducing fussiness, there are days that we like her as much as we love her.

It seems that it may have been a developmental thing, at the tail-end of her miserable phase, she began grasping things more than ever. It's amazing to watch these developments, and to be just flush with pride when such simple things happen. I mean, when I make other people laugh, I'm a little proud, but when I make Calli laugh, I feel like the guy who cured Polio!

While she's always chewed her own hands, she has now taken to chewing on ours! She looks like a cartoon of a cave-dweller diving into an over-sized drumstick, with the appropriate “Aaagh” noise. In the last 4 1/2 months since she's arrived, I've been some-kind-of-retentive with my hand-washing, but now I've upped the ante. The last thing she needs is cinnamon heart residue. (I've eaten enough of those to make me afraid of burning red dookies).

Speaking of which, Andrea found the coolest shirt for her, it has a circle-controller like an iPod, but it says “iPooped.” Like a 13-year-old, I laughed my ass off!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


On Sunday, while at work, I had the feeling that I should call home before leaving. While I am a believer in extra-sensory perceptions, I'm also a rationalist, and wait for a second instance before calling it a premonition. When I clocked-out, it occurred to me again that I should call to see if there was anything I needed to pick up on the way home. I found my wife to be quite beside herself; nearly in tears. Her Facebook status says it best:

SOS....calling all parents. Having a hard time putting Callie down for any length of time, even to make dinner or a cup of tea. She just screams her fool head off and as soon as I pick her up she is fine. I have tried letting her cry it out (no go she has more stamina than me) and it is not because of discomfort, wetness or hunger. Any suggestions would be great.

We often call her Little Miss Curmudgeon-Pants (Would you believe my spell-check has “Curmudgeon”).

Of the five responses I saw, three were condolences, and two said something to the effect of “just keep talking/singing/dancing for her. Stay in her sight.” Well, thanks for the input, but perhaps you could read the post first, and then respond.

We think it may be because of a change in formula, but that explanation feels like straw-grasping. Our doctor thinks it may be a developmental thing, as in Calli's getting ready to express herself more, but doesn't know how, and is frustrated. (nurse practitioner actually, but anyone who's worked in the medical field will tell you that nurses do the lions-share of the work, anyway. Not to minimize doctors at all, they did go to school longer, and are qualified to sign more papers.)

We've tried Gripe Water. We've tried Tylonol (only once, and as a last resort). If any of you more experienced parents have any insights, I'd be grateful!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friends in Short Places.

I've learned from other parenting Blogs that much of the fun of parenting comes from the friends of our children. I'm kinda hoping to be the “Cool Dad,” even when my kids get to the age when parents are as far from 'cool' as they could possibly. To paraphrase Luke Skywalker, “If there's a cool center to the universe, my parents are on the planet that it's furthest from.” I'm sure that being a SciFi fan will win me some serious Cool Points in the eyes of my children. But if at least their friends think I'm cool, they can convince my kids to call me if they're in a serious jam.

When my sister & I were in elementary school, she had a friend who would come over all the time, and grew quite comfortable with our family. One night, we were getting pizza, and conspired to have a little fun with her. After dishing it out, we paused just a moment so she'd have time to start, then we picked up our knives & forks and after beginning a cut, looked at her like she was some kind of primate. We only let the gag go for long enough for her to be mortified for just a moment, her face falling at her faux pas. Her and my sister are still good friends.

I guess my last post was a little bit of a downer, but I'm sure that it just the first of the difficulties I'll have. I've said it before, and it bears repeating: whatever I'm going through, I'll likely look back and call it 'the easy part.' A perfect example is feeding. Right now, I put a bottle in her mouth (after 3-4 minutes of warming) and watch TV or play on the computer. Soon enough, we'll be spoon-feeding, which I'm sure will be much more focus-intensive. Then we get to deal with dietary pickiness. Whoopee. In the comments of my last post, Candance highlighted this wonderfully. If you haven't been to her Blog at Crazy Texas Mommy, go. Go now. Run, don't walk.She has my vote for Queen of the Silver Lining.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Night of the Living Deaf

Today, I sat with Calli in her nursery, having a quiet feeding. We were upstairs because Andrea was napping in the living room. As she gripped my finger and dozed, I just relished the sweet peacefulness of the scene, made all the sweeter because of the terrible evenings she's been giving me.

For some reason, in the window between six & seven PM, she transforms into some strange shrieking beast! So I pat her back until she burps or spits-up, or both, and she continues to freak the eff out! Often, she's just fussy until about 8 when Andrea goes up for a bath, then it's full-on banshee action!

Are you picking-up on the frustration, here? I'm told that I shouldn't take it personally, and I mentally don't, but when she's making my ears buzz from overload (really, that's not a poetic statement, they really buzz like an overloaded speaker!), I begin to think that she hates me!

Thank God she's just a delight for the rest of the day! I know that these thoughts are totally unreasonable, and that they'll all be forgotten when she takes her first steps, or says “Daddy.” But on these evenings, I need to hide sharp objects, or I'll unload my gun, so to speak.

Andrea: “How was she last night?”
Me: “Great, when she found out that she'd be an only child. Could you grab me a coffee? I should keep these frozen peas where they are.”

Of course, I'm just venting. For most of the day, she's great. Even when she's fussy, it doesn't get to that tragedy-pitch very often. Some believe that babies pick up on their parents stress. In that case, I can blame some others, outside my home, for their harassment campaign giving me grief! GET A NEW HOBBY, PH'KHOLS!

Well, that feels better to get that off my chest! Can I assume that it gets worse with teething?