Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June 2, 2010

I’m slowly getting used to the fact that I wake up every morning to a shrieking banshee midget laying right next to my head. It sure doesn’t make for an easy night. In light of my son’s habits, however, I believe that some good fatherly advice is necessary to stop him from causing himself problems.

Cristian, you have a powerful set of lungs and I commend you for it. Your shrieking is always a ten-out-of-ten. Top notch, ninety decibels, and your grasp of the whole panic thing is excellent. When you cry, you could convince anyone that rabid demon hounds are eating your legs and eyeing your arms. However, I have to warn you against excessive indulgence in that talent.

You see, getting your diaper changed is pretty much an hourly event, sometimes more often than that. Anything that happens that often can’t possibly be so harrowing as to deserve a ten. Try a two for diaper changing. Otherwise when the boogie man comes in and starts pitching marbles at your eyeballs, I’ll just shrug it off. “Eh, your mother’s probably wiping his butt,” I’ll say.

Another favorite moment Cristian has to begin to scream is when he stops being fed. Being a perpetually hungry man as you apparently are, I must tell you that you’re going to spend a lot of your life not eating, much more than you’d like. Level ten screaming won’t help. Level ten screaming might make us wonder if you’ve been poisoned by the villains at Similac and melting from the inside out, but it won’t make us feed you into an unhealthy blob.

Most of the time your bath is also a shriek fest. While baths are less frequent than the other two activities, thanks to your other talent of pooping everywhere it’s rather common. So freaking out about it only hurts your cause. If you are left on the cold asphalt with pins stuck between your rolls and you shriek, I’m just going to think, “When is that woman going to finish bathing my son?”

I love this boy, love him to death, but I’m really looking forward to the part where he smiles once in a while, and babbles a bit.

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010: Excretory Adventures

In the grand tradition of sharing information no one wants to be shared, I am going to publish this so that my son has a very good reason to hate me in ten years. Mozart was a piano prodigy; my boy is an elimination prodigy.

Most recently my wife changed Cristian on our bed. I woke up and went to the bathroom. When I got back I learned that he had somehow squirted all the way across the bed and wet my pillow. Now that’s timing! Sure was glad I had got up.

This wasn’t the first time. Just a few nights ago as I lay in bed desperately trying to get a few moments of deep sleep, I felt a strange sensation on my arm. So I know he’s perfectly capable of excellent aim. We really need to start changing him somewhere other than the bed.

Even better was one time I changed him—in his pack and play—and lifted up his legs to slide the new diaper under. He squirted himself in the face. Poor kid was already bawling so hard he had no idea what happened.

But the most dramatic story came from a visit to the doctor’s office, which I wasn’t there for. Apparently the doctor needed to look him over, pulled off his diaper and immediately found a new level of regret. The poop began, and it went on, and went on. It was the longest ten minutes of my wife’s life. The only time I’ve pooped for that long was when I had a good book to read.

See? He’s an excretory phenomenon! I wonder how I could market this for him.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010

Here's everything that Cristian inherited from me.

The first thing that Cristian got from his dad was the capability to eat endlessly. I proudly own that. When Isabel is exasperated that he’s eaten for four hours straight and we’re all exhausted but he wants more, she accuses him of being my son. And I say, “Yes, ma’am, he is!” as I open the fridge for the fiftieth time that day.

The next talent Cristian inherited from me is his ability blow out of his diaper. Onsies and sheets wet and brown, sick and sad. We conclude that he got that from me because when his mother was an infant her poop was shaped like dainty rose petals and smelled like lime and mint.

His astounding flair for shrieking during the few precious hours God gave me to sleep also came from me and only me. It is important that I understand that because while Isabel is on maternity leave, I’m the one really suffering so I had better not blame this on her. I am told that Isabel cooed when she was hungry, squeaked happily when she was tired, and by the time she was six months old asked her mom, “Can I help out around the house?”

He got his blue eyes from me. Not that my eyes are blue, but I’m white, and that’s what our eyes do. So he’s got curly black hair and dark blue eyes. We’re very interested to see what color they end up being.

And hiccups. Which sucks because I hate hiccups.

Most importantly, Cristian need to squirm around and flex into positions that are nearly impossible to hold, that’s from me, too. My parents don’t have any stories to corroborate this claim, but it must be because when my wife was a baby, she would shift her body’s stiffness to match whoever was holding her. She was so easy to hold that sometimes her mother would say, “Oh, I forgot you were even there.” To that, baby Isabel would coo and smile warmly.

Actually, he’s sitting on my lap as I type this, staring at my Lego elephant. Good times will follow.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cristian Antonio Leif Patterson

This is a personal post. It is not whimsical, it is serious. I'm a dad.
At 29 I'm sort of a young dad, but I feel old for two reasons. The first is that I'm from Utah where the average age for fatherhood is probably about seven years younger, and the second is that I'm the oldest of four kids and have looked forward to having my own children since I turned about ten.

Cristian Antonio Leif Patterson was born on May 1st, 2010, at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He weighed 7 lbs 10 oz, was 21 inches long. He had a hairy head, dark brown, and huge bright eyes. As you can imagine, I thought he was the most perfect little creature ever in the world. That's a perfectly biased parent's opinion for you.

I am determined to raise him as well as possible. I'm convinced that he's going to have all the same weaknesses as I do, and since I've spent so much time battling them I know just how to help him along the way. I've also decided that he is going to be everything I wish I was: good-looking, tall, athletic, sociable. God likes to test my jealousy, and this is about as close as it's going to get.

His name is a bit of a story. My wife is Hispanic, and when we first talked about names, Cristian with no H was the first one she brought up. She's always loved it and always wanted to have a little boy named Cristian. I've only known one Cristian and he was this really cool kid in first grade, so I decided I'd go along with it. Considering that we both come from very different, very proud heritages, we always knew that we would give our kids two middle names, one from each side of his family. So Antonio is from her side, a Spanish name, lots of people in her family have it as a middle name. Leif isn't a family name, but Cristian is descended from Vikings on my side, so it was an appropriate reference. Half Conquistador, half Viking, this kid was born to conquer!

At the delivery, we could see the top of his head for a while, and I estimated the rest of his head was very small based on what we could see. It totally escaped me that babies' heads elongate in order to fit through the birth canal, so when the whole head came out it seemed enormous to me. At first it was just this long hairy head. Then his little features came, bloop, bloop, bloop, and there was a whole head sticking out. First thing he did was open his big, beautiful, eyes and stare around. Even before breathing. The doctor reached in and started twisting him and bloop, bloop, bloop, all the rest of him came out, long floppy arms and legs. Okay his arms and legs are tiny but at the time they were gigantic. Isabel's belly was pretty big but to think that something that size was in her was beyond belief.

Also beyond belief was how rough the cleaning crew was. He might as well have been made of asphalt the way they scrubbed him. Then the bath, which seemed soft but the way he screamed through it they must have been using wire brushes. Then the poking his feet, then the trying to get him to feed, then the awful trauma of being held by someone ELSE! Before we put him to bed on the second night I told him that he's a tough little guy, since he lived through everything the hospital had thrown at him.

Basically it works like this: I pull him off Isabel where he was warm and he starts crying. We swaddle him and hold him and warn him up, finally get him to make little content noises and then slip to sleep. Then the nurse comes in and wants to stick him in the foot and see where his glucose is now. Start the whole process over again.

And he has blue eyes. Very dark blue eyes but they've become noticeably bluer in the past day. His hair and nose are definitely from the Spanish side but his eyes are mine. They could turn any color under the sun so we'll see what they settle on.

I know this was long, but this is one of the most remarkable events in my life, certainly the second most anticipated event of my life. The first most anticipated event is when he comes up to me and says, "Dad, I want a Lego."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28th 2010

Things that don’t, it turns out, induce labor:

Long walks
Spicy foods
That one thing that always follows spicy foods
Jumping up and down singing “Have You Seen the Muffin Man”
Popping out from corners and screaming
Pretending to be asleep until your wife gets near and then sitting up and screaming
Pretending to fall asleep at the wheel
Throwing your wife on the bed
Pushing on your future baby
Reasoning with your future baby
Arguing with your future baby
Trampolines of any variety
Popping out from behind a truck and screaming

Pretty much, ain’t nobody having a baby around here. And Isabel doesn’t like me nearly as much as she used to. Maybe it’s all the popping out and screaming. ???

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 24th, 2010

So Isabel is eight months and three weeks along. Having a pregnant wife isn't all bad. I mean there's the moaning and the stretch marks and no room in the bed because her belly is taking up so much of it, but there's some opportunity for great comedy, too.

And by “comedy” I mean I get to tease my wife. This morning I touched her and said “The baby feels really lumpy, I wonder what this is.” I tried to look as serious as I could. She is exasperated, “Those are my ribs! What kind of a baby do you think I'm carrying?”

I say to her, “What if the baby comes out with three eyes?” Her reply was instant: “If he does then he got them from you!”

She's been great. Sometimes I feel like she's being grumpy or boring. But I've heard stories from other people, so I know what bad really is. She has a great attitude and a fantastic sense of humor. So I'm sure that this baby will have both a fantastic attitude and a great sense of humor.

Everyone expects the baby to be really cute. This puts stress on Isabel, who says, “I feel all this pressure to have a cute baby.” So I comforted her by saying, “If he's ugly people are really going to be disappointed.”

Any day now. Hopefully sooner than later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19th, 2010

I’ve been very hesitant to talk about this because I don’t want to get too excited before I get into it and find myself disappointed. I have a new job, and right now it feels awesome.

I’ve been working for IHC for the past four years. I got my AS degree in laboratory technology because at the time I was interested in the medical field and this was a secure job. And it has been. While some industries have been suffering and laying off people, the clinical lab has been adding jobs. People always get sick.

I got my BS degree in organizational communication because I actually loved that field. It was about teaching adults and technical writing and as most of you know, I love writing. I want to write for a living. So I’ve been applying for various jobs when they ever pop up. My problem has been a lack of experience.

So I was very excited when the chance to work somewhere other than IHC turned up. Of course I had my reservations. While a lot of people have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts, I’ve held steady. The lab has security. It gives me a convenient work schedule. I like the quirky people I work with. I even like the normal people I work with. It offers better benefits, decent pay, and it’s closer to my house than my new job will be.

But the new job offers something else: opportunity. At IHC I have none. They want people with bachelor’s degrees in lab technology to do their managing, writing, and training, even though as far as I’ve seen, they suck at it. I have a degree and am talented, to various levels, in those areas but they won’t consider me. They effectively turned this into a dead-end job.

The new job has opportunities. I get to learn things I really want to learn. I get to be challenged in ways I never have before. There is an actual corporate ladder, pay raises, lots of things. I will be writing and working with web pages beyond my present skill. It won’t be easy, but it will give me experience in the field I want as my career. More time at IHC will not do that for me.

Among the challenges are some that you might not expect. I’ve never worked in an office before, and I’m a little nervous about that. I’ve never worn “business casual.” I’ve always done manual labor of some sort, and this is computer-based and really different from my experience. So I have worse jitters about this than any other job I’ve ever had. I hope everything works out.

Wish me the best of luck!