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Posts Tagged ‘babies’

So, I am at home visiting the family for Thanksgiving.  My wife, and three kids braved the crazy airport scene to arrive in California where most of my family resides.  If you can avoid LAX, I highly recommend it.  We landed at 8:45 pm and did not get out of the airport until 10:15.  Here is the thing, we got all of our bags at 9:20.  It took us almost an hour just to get out of the airport, CRAZY!  The bizarre thing is that I was born and raised in LA, but now this place feels like a foreign country to me.

If you are from the Midwest, which now I must say I am a Midwesterner (You have no idea how sad it is to write that.  I am even looking at it now and thinking if I should erase it, but sadly, I can’t, the Midwest is my home now. Sad clown), you should consider a trip to LA for the experience.  I promise you, the city will not let you down.  It starts with the flight into the airport, where you will see more lights on the ground then possibly anywhere else on the planet (and I have been to a lot of the planet).  When you arrive, you will see every walk of life; black, white, hispanic, asian, muslim, greek, jews, gentiles, you name it, they will be there.  Also, foreign languages will be spoken all around you.  When I go to the grocery store near my mom’s house, the dominant language by far is Spanish.  You might find that odd, I find it very cool.  The bottom line is, despite having way too many people, too many cars, traffic at 3am, and times of smog that could kill a canary, I love LA.  However, I now must say, great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here.

Alright, now that was a huge digression.  I want to talk about family, my family, all of my family.  On Thanksgiving we ate at my Dad’s house. 

This picture is nothing like dinner at our house. First of all there are no ribs in the picture. Secondly, there is no can-shaped cranberry sauce (A must have. Don't eat, but must have). And who eats fresh green beans? Where is the green bean crap?

At the house were my father, stepmother, stepsisters and their families, my stepbrother and his family, my sister and her kids, my cousins, my family, some random people I didn’t know and my mom.  There was like 35 of us.  The dinner was planned and hosted by my stepmom and it was a great time.  There were babies everywhere and multiple generations.  We shared stories, laughed, and ate; we ate a lot.  Looking around the gathering I couldn’t help but think to myself, this is who I am, this is me.  All of this is what has made me who I am and if you are like me, I would encourage you to embrace that fact.  Your family and my family has made us who we are today.

My sister who tells a story of my father’s arrogance.  She says, “Am I right? He is arrogant!”  My father notices that no one is disagreeing with her.  Everyone in the room doesn’t say a word as everyone looks at each other and bust out laughing because we all know it’s true.  Even my mom chimes in on how my father has the ability to smooth talk his way through any situation, fully expecting to get his way. – this is me.

We share how my mother used to make all of us stand in line at the grocery store as she headed back into the store to find more items.  If she came back and we did not hold our position, or if the checker made us move, she would get mad at us for not standing our ground.  Always stand your ground. – this is me.

My father talked of not knowing his father and being raised by his mother.  It is very clear that despite not being raised by his father that he did not take that path.  He broke his cycle, and became a father to his kids, all of his kids.  You see, my sister’s dad is not my dad, nor my older brother’s, and obviously not my stepbrother’s and stepsisters’, but you wouldn’t know it in that room.  He may not be the father by blood, but he is father by action. – this too is me.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I hope you spent the time with your family.  Maybe it was stressful, maybe it was joyous, maybe your drunk uncle got out of control again, but remember this:  Your family has made you who you are, some for the good, and some for the bad, but all you, and if you take a moment, you will see the little origins of you in the faces and actions of your family members.

I could go on and on with family stories from this weekend, but what I will remember most is that we may not be the Brady Bunch, the Cleaver’s or even the Cosby’s, but we are truly the Modern Family.  They made me who I am.  And remember this, if your family is the best at pushing your buttons, you shouldn’t be surprised because they are the ones that installed them.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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I went golfing with my father, brother and stepbrother yesterday.  It was awesome.  So awesome we are going to try to do it every year.  The funny thing is we all complained of the cold.  I live in Wisconsin, so it made me laugh because the temperature was about 60.  I now know why I hate Wisconsin winters so much, I clearly have a California weather gene.  I’m just sayin …

I’m Just sayin … (Part II)

Is it just me or when you go home you walk through a time warp and the family dynamics become that of when you were a kid?  I’m a grown-ass man with kids, but when I am home I can’t help but wonder why it’s Thanksgiving and my mom has not made my apple pie yet.  I may throw a tantrum soon.  Wrong? Yes, but true.  I’m just sayin …

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So, a couple of days ago some good friends, Nick and Laura stopped by to see the baby.  They visited for a while.  Nick brought over a couple of cigars (I am very glad that he did not believe that this was a gift reserved for boy babies.  Good on ya Nick!) and a 4-pack of Guinness.  Laura brought something, I don’t know what it was, I was too focused on the stogies and beer.  I know it was pink and I am sure Violet will wear whatever it was at some point.  Anyhoo, after oohing and ahing over Violet we went out to lunch together and had some nice conversations.  The main subject of one of our conversations was prompted by Laura who asked us if we plan to vaccinate Violet and our overall opinion on the subject.  That particular conversation has led me to write this post.  However, before I do, I want to talk about something else: Is there anything more of a couple activity than visiting someone’s baby?  Seriously, unless you are married, no guy chooses to go see someone else’s baby that they are not related to.  And even then you are only going to go if it is very very convenient.

So, it got me thinking: What activities signify that you are in a serious, most likely to get married relationship?  Nick and Laura, the first part of this post is dedicated to you.

A la Jeff Foxworthy:

If you are a guy and you attend an event that has anything to do with babies, i.e., new baby, christening, baby shower, bar mitzvah, or bris … You might be in a serious relationship.

If you are at a wedding, and you are with someone and you are NOT wondering which bridesmaid or groomsmen you might be able to get with that night …  You might be in a serious relationship.

If you have to set your alarm to get your girlfriend or boyfriend to the airport on time … You might be in a serious relationship.

If the boys or girls say “Let’s hit the town tonight” and your response is “Sure, but let me clear it with my partner first.” … You might be in a serious relationship.

If a HOT guy or girl walks by, and you do NOT notice (more for guys), you sir, are whipped, and … You might be in a serious relationship.

OK, now back to our regularly scheduled program.  So, we were talking about vaccinations and how there is a population of people who believe that vaccinations have led to more harm than good in their children.  And it got me thinking about the human need to understand the cause of something.  We need to know why something happened.  We especially need to know why bad things happen.  Let me give you a few scenarios to illustrate this point.

If you take your car to the mechanic for an oil change and on your drive home from the mechanic your car breaks down, or you hear a knock, or something is clearly wrong, who are you going to blame?

If you are in perfect health, not a hint of sickness, and you take a trip to the hospital, and within an hour you are as sick as a dog, where did you pick up the bug?

And finally, if you have your child vaccinated, and within 24 hours of the shot your child appears different to you or is later diagnosed with autism what is to blame?

Please do not get me wrong, I have the utmost respect and love for parents raising children that have conditions that are not considered typical or are difficult to manage.  My oldest son has seen his fair share of professionals to diagnose and assist us with his development.  The point of this post is simple, although we need to know the cause, the cause is not always clear, and the “obvious” cause may only be obvious to us because of coincidence and our strong human desire to know the cause of an unfortunate event in our life.

We all address potential coincidences differently.  For example, I believe in prayer.  If I pray for someone to get better and they are miraculously healed, I will thank God.  However, if you do not believe in God, you will thank modern medicine or call it a coincidence.  For even I know that not all my prayers receive miraculous results, so it can be difficult to know coincidence versus Divine Intervention.  If the outcome is good, divine intervention, if the outcome is bad, other explanations are needed.  One must be careful, because you can not have it both ways.

In general, humans have major problems with randomness and mistakes.  We hate randomness because we need to know why things happen and we will go to great lengths to connect A to B.  We also hate mistakes, or more specifically, we hate accidents.  Why?  Because we need to blame someone or something.  If it is an accident, than it is no one’s fault, and we hate that.  Living in a no-fault culture is detrimental to health and well-being.  Everyone and everything makes mistakes.

A while back I went to the ATM to withdrawal 20 bucks.  The machine deducted 20 dollars from my account, but money did not come out.  This has happened once in my life.  Luckily, these machines have cameras, and I wrote a letter to the bank and the 20 dollars was placed back in my account.  So you see, even machines make mistakes.

I would hate to be a doctor for this very reason.  Doctors are humans, but they are expected to be perfect.  How can a doctor be perfect? Yet they are expected to be, especially if it is your child.  When something goes wrong during surgery, we need to blame someone.  Keep in mind, neglect is different from mistake.  If doctor is proven to be negligent, I get that, but I do not understand how someone can lose their job over a mistake.  But if it were my kid, God forbid, I would definitely need someone or something to blame.  I get it.  This is why I understand why so many have blamed vaccines for autism.  It also did not help that a now defunked scientific article was written about the time parents were looking for reasons for their child’s autism.

Approximately 10 out of 10,000 babies have autism, a relatively low percentage.  What is the likelihood that most if not all of them were caused by vaccinations?  But it can give a parent a reason, and that is important.

Let me leave with you one final example.  This is an example of how our minds work and our brain will literally create an image with meaning that may not exist.  In 1976, the following picture was taken on the surface of Mars.

A shape that is about two miles long near a region of Mars called Cydonia.

There was a huge uproar from the public regarding the meaning of this incredible “finding” and the evidence of life on Mars.  To put the situation to rest, NASA took pictures of the exact same site again in 2001.  This time with the benefit of better technology.

The picture on the right was taken in 2001. Do you still see a face?

Pictures were taken from http://www.msss.com/

We often see things that are not there.  Our brain is excellent at creating reason for everything.  I think a great movie to watch is The Invention of Lying (http://the-invention-of-lying.warnerbros.com/).  It will give you something to think about regarding beliefs.  Keep in mind, I recommend this movie as a believer in God.  Nonetheless, we all want to know why things happen, but unfortunately sometimes things just happen.  I don’t think everything is random, as matter of fact I think most things are not, but I do believe random plays a part in my life.  I know I certainly make mistakes and sometimes accidents occur where there is no one to blame.  You may like this post or not, you may agree or not, but one thing is for sure, I wrote it (Cause and Effect).

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Why is hair being disgusting so dependent on its context?  It is the same hair isn’t?  Fingers through someone’s hair, OK.  Finding hair in your soup, not OK. I’m just saying …

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So, my baby daughter turned one week old yesterday and she is the third example of a simple truth that I have come to know, babies are boring.  Insolence! Naysayer! He’s a witch, burn him!  You sir are a charlatan and a fraud!  You cad! Good day sir.  I SAID GOOD DAY!  That’s right, you read correctly, I said that babies are boring.  Don’t believe the hype.  Now here is the main point of this post, most people, maybe all people, with the exception of myself and possibly 20-year-old single heterosexual males think babies are awesome.  What’s so awesome about them?

Here is a day in the life of my daughter, Violet:

10:30-12:15 Awake
12:15-12:30 Feed
12:30-3:00  Sleep
3:00-3:15   Feed
3:15-4:15   Awake/sleep/cry unless I am walking with her in my arms
4:15-4:20   Feed
4:20-5:30   Sleep
5:30        Isaac wakes up Violet by poking her in the eye
5:31        Isaac denies waking his sister up, but since she is up, he asks if can he hold her.
5:31-7:00   Awake/sleep/crying
7:00-7:15   Feed
7:15-9:00   Sleep
9:00-9:15   Feed
9:15-9:45   Watch TV with Daddy
9:45-12:00  Sleep

When I use the term “awake” I use it VERY loosely.  She can’t focus her eyes.  When she “smiles” I am quite confident it’s gas.  And she can’t keep her head up on her own, she is basically a 10 pound bobble head.  Of course, if I flick her head like a bobble head I am a “bad” father.  Who makes up these rules?

The rest is basically a blur to me as I try very hard to sleep through the feeding sessions.  Before you condemn me for being a man, know this, I do NOT have mammary glands, and could not feed her if I tried.  My guess is that the inventor of the breast pump was a man, but its intention was not for humans, it was for cows.  The modifier of the milking machine most certainly was a woman.  If it was a man, he was punched by the nearest father once the ramifications of his invention became known.  I am also certain that after being punched and socked in the groin by a man with kids, the inventor got up and quietly said “I deserved that.”  Leah has a breast pump, but plans to breast feed for as long as I can convince her it is best for the baby.

The point is that babies don’t do nuthin’.  So, why are so many people crazy about them?  Ok they are cute, but what else they got?  Now don’t get me wrong, being cute is very important.  From an evolutionary standpoint, it is the one thing keeping the parent from killing their child. If you have children, you know exactly what I am talking about.  But when it comes to being crazy about babies, no one is worse than grandmothers.

My mom and Leah’s mom are chomping at the bit to see their granddaughter.  However, we made it very clear to them that we would not like visitors until September.  We don’t want to start out with craziness and I don’t care who you are, family, friends or acquaintances, visitors, especially sleepover visitors add stress to one’s life, especially mine.  So I assure you that no one was more surprised than me when our phone rang (I did not answer it) and over our answering machine’s speaker I hear my mother-in-law’s voice with many pieces of information, but only one important one, she and Leah’s niece are in a hotel 15 minutes away.  I clearly mis-heard.  My wife comes down the stairs, I say to her,”Hey Love, your mom left a message.”  “Yeah she called me on my cell as well, let’s listen to it.” she said.  They are in Milwaukee.  WHAT!?!?

Later, I made it very clear to my mother-in-law that this was not OK, but here is the thing, she drove SEVEN HOURS, paid for a hotel (didn’t knock on our door in fear of us not letting her in, also did not call us sooner in fear of us saying no to her visit) to see her granddaughter for TWO hours and then drove the seven hours back home.  Crazy!  Baby crazy!  Oh by the way, what was Violet doing during her visit?  Sleeping.  She would’ve got the same impact by holding a teddy bear with a picture of Violet’s face on it and saved the gas and hotel costs.  I know, I know, I can hear you saying it now, but Brett, it is not the same.  Really?  Really?  Would waiting two weeks (when she was due to arrive) make that much of a difference.  Baby Crazy.  It should be classified as a disease.

So, call me an ogre, callous, or say that I do not have a soul, but the bottom line, my daughter is about as exciting as the WNBA (Oh no he didn’t.  Do you know that WNBA games are going on now?  Yeah, neither did I.  Who is funding this league?  Why does the WNBA still exist?  I say play a game between the best high school students, and if they win, they get to stay on TV.  If they lose, we finally get to shoot that broken legged horse.  Am I wrong?)  OK, that was a long digression, I apologize.  Simply, babies are boring.  This won’t be true forever.  For example, my three-year-old provides loads of entertainment.  My son announces to his mom “Babies poop in their diaper and Isaac pees on the floor.”  My wife is despondent as she gazes at the very large puddle on the bathroom floor.  See, comedy gold. 

I am convinced there is a gene that causes people, mostly women, to go crazy over babies.  A gene that I am clearly lacking, but if it wasn’t for this gene, the human race would have probably died out long ago.  I love my daughter, and she is definitely the cutest little girl on the planet, but until she can show appreciation for Star Wars, throw a ball, tell a joke, or start pooping chocolate, she is officially and affectionately B-O-R-I-N-G, boring.  Oh by the way, did I mention that my daughter, Violet, is AWESOME!

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When do feet become ugly appendages and parts of the body that one would never, ever want to be placed in one’s mouth? Unless you have some kind of fetish, in which case you have issues that I would prefer not discuss here, you could place a baby’s foot in your mouth and no one would think of you as weird.  Unless it was a stranger’s baby, and then they would call the police.  But I just find it funny that baby’s feet are super cute and cuddly.  Daddy’s feet?  Uuuggghh, shiver down the spine.  I’m just sayin …

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So, if you are a regular reader of my blog you know that we just had a daughter.  My wife had a very long arduous pregnancy and we are so glad that it is over.  Besides the end of pregnancy we have our wonderful new daughter, Violet.  Violet is currently sleeping next to me as I type this, and hopefully she will let me finish it before the night is done.  Her mom is sleeping and getting some needed rest.  If you still haven’t read the detailed adventure of my daughter’s birth, I encourage you to do so (https://sincejuniorhigh.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/pregnant-no-mo/).

I love this picture of Violet. I think she has beautiful eyes.

While they were still in the hospital, recovering, my oldest son, Brett asked if we could celebrate the arrival of Violet.  I told him that is an awesome idea.  We bought flowers, cupcakes, and Violet had presents for the boys.  We decided to have a REAL birthday party.  A party to celebrate the birth of Violet.

I don’t know if other people throw birthday parties at someone’s birth, but they should.  I think this should become the cultural norm.  Our two boys open up presents.  Brett also opened an envelope containing ten dollars for winning the bet of when Violet would actually be born.  We all sang happy birthday and had a great time eating cupcakes.  And instead of the birthday girl getting gifts, since she is technically zero, her brothers get gifts from her.
Isaac receives a Batman and Sandman from his new sister.

It is kind of like a reverse birthday, but I think it is more of a birthday than a traditional one because someone was actually born.  It was very cool.

With the arrival of my daughter I am also struck by how soon personality seems to be evident.  She is already clearly different from her two brothers, and I know it is early, but I am certain that she is strong.  Another strong-willed person in our family may make the teenage years unbearable.  It will be very important to practice my good guy routine.  You know, me and her versus mommy.  That sounds right.  But it is got me thinking, how much of who we are is set at day one?
This is an old argument, right?  Nature versus nurture?  However, if you have kids, I am sure you will agree with me, personality began to show itself super early, maybe as early as day one.  It is also no surprise to me that girls are different from boys, something I plan on posting about in the future.  But for now, I will just say that we treat girls different from the get go.  For example, literally 95% of my daughter’s clothing is pink.  Who made this choice?  Why does a girl have to wear pink?  I am sick of pink already and she is only three days old.  I love my boys, but my daughter already gets more attention then they ever got.  Say what you want about gender issues, but we begin the process of differentiation as soon as we can.  I promise you this, if I buy clothes for my daughter, it will NOT be pink.
Well, I better go, she is beginning to stir.  I will leave you with this.  I love my daughter, but if you are reading this and you are considering having three or more kids, even a little thought that might be in your brain, believe me when I say this — “DON’T DO IT! IT’S TOO MANY KIDS!!!”  We no longer have one-on-one, but we are playing zone.  It’s crazy, but I love her.
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Every person that sees me has asked about the birth.  I’m at least glad she is born so I no longer get, “Is the baby here yet?”  But why are the details sooo important and why must we talk for five minutes about the birth?  I don’t know you and you want to know how long the labor was, how much she weighed, how long was she, did my wife tear during the birthing process.  OK, I made up the last one, (She did not by the way), but I am surprised at how much information people think they are entitled to when it comes to babies.  What’s up with that?  Oh and by the way, 7pm-3:13am, 8lbs and 11oz, 19.5 inches long.  You happy? I’m just sayin …

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So, this month we just celebrated the United States of America’s birthday and you know what I am going to buy the country? A Thigh Master (remember this?).  You know why?  We are too fat.  I know our First Lady is trying to get our kids in better shape, but it may be too late.  We have given up.  Yesterday, I went to a pizza buffet restaurant owned by a friend of mine.  I notice the same thing that I notice every time I go to an all-you-can-eat place, the people are huge.

Don’t get me wrong, I too am heavier than I should be.  I don’t exercise enough, I eat more than I should and my schedule can be extremely wacky.  To top things off, I am often seduced by the quickness and cheapness of McDonald’s.  A McDouble for a buck!  You can’t beat that!  I once posted on Facebook that I was going to rush down and eat the new Double Down at KFC  (http://www.kfc.com/doubledown/).  With pride I gave KFC credit for having an ad campaign as if to say “F#?k it, the country is fat, let’s ride the wave”.  And I went to KFC with the sole intention of ordering and eating a Double Down.  You know what happened?  I saw a big poster board of the sandwich and got to see it in all of its fatty heart clogging glory and couldn’t do it.  I chickened out (pun very much intended).  It just seemed wrong.  So, I lived vicariously through my buddy Corey, who said it is just god awful.  But the latest sandwich has inspired me to write this post.  What could be worse than a sandwich with chicken patties for buns?  How about grilled cheese sandwiches as buns?

That’s right, I give you the Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt (http://www.friendlys.com/whats-new/).  Really?  I mean really?  America, eat a piece of broccoli, grab some fruit, grill a breast of chicken, take a walk, go for a bike ride, GET OFF YOUR BUTT you big fat (insert expletive here!!!)  There, I said it, or at least implied it.  America, you are fat.  Now, I would never vote to make poor choices illegal, but at some point I just might have to walk over to the family of four with two kids under the age of 10 with a total combined family weight of 800 pounds making their fourth trip to the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, and slap the food out of their hands, slap the plates off the table, and then slap the parents.  I am sorry, but if your kid is 5 years old and weighs 100 pounds, you have done something wrong.  Am I blaming parents for childhood obesity?  You damn straight I am.

Now, to my friends, family, and myself, if you are overweight, I only ask one thing…

Don’t give up.  Yeah, it’s a struggle, but the buffets and midnight binges are not helping.  Seek help if necessary, not just a dietician, but maybe a therapist.  Be healthy.  Strive to live a life that is truly best for you and those around you.

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No, my daughter has NOT been born yet.  But the real question is why is everyone crazy when it comes to babies?  My wife looks 11 months pregnant and no one is more aware of that than her, but does that mean that every Teresa, Dina, and Harriet has the right to touch her, ask about her personal business, and retell their every known baby story on how Jane Schmoe also had a difficult pregnancy.  WE DON’T CARE!!!  I want the baby to be born because I am sick of everyone in the neighborhood asking me if the baby has been born yet.  See, this is what I get for talking to people.  I’m just sayin …

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