Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vacation Day 1: Why you goin' to the airport? Flying Somewhere?

As promised:

We woke up at 5am to make our way to Newark Airport. Already, I am feeling anxious and questioning whether or not going on this trip is a good idea. This I think was brought on not only because we were going without Bud, but also because we were simply getting on a plane. See, sometime around 1999/2000, I developed a fear of flying. It didn't make sense, as I was a pretty regular flier averaging about 4-10 flights per year since my freshman year of high school. One day, it just came on. It wasn't so much of a fear that would keep me from my normal routine and planned trips, more of a dread that had me preoccupied for days prior to a flight. A trip to Europe in August of 2001 almost managed to break that fear; unfortunately my return flight on September 11 from London was turned around halfway across the Atlantic. That managed to set me back. It wasn't until a trip to Vegas for a bachelor party two years later that I realized I was pretty much over the fear.

While reading various 'fear of flying' books to help me understand why suddenly and for no apparent reason this fear developed, I came across a passage that suggested that new parents often develop fears of flying because they fear what consequences may befall their child should something go wrong on their flight. (That, of course, didn't answer my question, as I was not even married at the time, let alone a father). Although I didn't welcome back the full fear that I carried with me years ago, that thought definitely stayed with me until we touched down safely in Aruba.

Weed helped. More, accurately, I should say "Weeds" (the television show) helped; the first season of which I downloaded onto my iPod for the trip, at the suggestion of many. You were all correct: it's a great show. [Insert your best "Bud" pun here.]

Before dinner that evening we did our "call-in" at Newnana & Newgrampy's, who took the first babysitting shift. Bud got on the phone with a big "Da Da Da!" She didn't forget me. Yet.

Newmommy and I hit a sushi bar for dinner, and we ran into someone with whom I went to high school (although I don't remember him -- nor did he remember me.) Of course, he was with his wife and his eleven-month-old. Fantastic, these people found a way to bring their child on their trip, why couldn't I?

On the bright side: we had a great meal, and a fun night out without worrying about bathtimes, bedtimes or babysitters. Plus, I got some much-needed time alone with Newmommy. On the downside: well, I'm still missing my little girl, and battling the bad-father complex. And, on the really downside, the Red Sox just went ahead 2-0.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bad Parenting: Me?

I neglected to mention in my previous posts that at the conclusion of our move, Newmommy and I went away for four days to Aruba to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was a long-planned vacation that just ended up coinciding with our house closing.

It was also the first time we were away from Bud for that long. We had previous done one- and two-night getaways, but never a true leave-the-country vacation. So, naturally, as the months and weeks lead up to our departure, the question of whether or not this was "Bad Parenting" hit me pretty hard.

Very few people I know have left a less-than-two-year-old for five nights; but then again, Newmommy and I are in a unique position of having two local and extremely willing sets of babysitter-grandparents (not to mention a local aunt), so perhaps the trend is not a good indicator of whether or not I'm just a bad parent. What did bother me was the look on Bud's face when Newmommy and I came back from our first weekend away from her: the blank "I don't know you" stare. Heartbreaking. And the vision repeated on me while I determined whether or not to go. Still, I thought, that took no more than a few hours to fade away.

I managed to convince myself that going away was the right thing to do. Not only did it give me the opportunity to spend five days alone with Newmommy (which we hadn't done since September 2006, and even longer if you count little miss Kicky McKickstein in Newmommy's belly...), it gave Bud the opportunity to develop relationships with her grandparents without me and my wife hovering and criticizing their baby-tending abilities. Plus, it develops trust...Bud may get upset that mommy and daddy leave, but at least she'll understand that we come back. It also helps her develop some independence.

All good arguments which didn't do much for me dreading leaving my little girl. That's not to say I didn't have a good time...I definitely enjoyed (and needed) the time with my other girl. It's just hard not to think that, despite all of my PhD-level child psychology arguments, I'm not a bad dad for leaving my little girl for almost a week.

So, we will see how she reacts tomorrow morning, when Newnana and Newgrampy return with the princess. And, over the next few days, I will give you an even more in-depth look at Newdaddy's vacation. Don't worry...I am not posting my pictures from the off-road jeep tour; just focusing on the daddying topics.

(P.S. Another added bonus of the Aruba vacation was to be out of the country and, what I thought, out of the reach of major league baseball, during a time that I had a sneaking suspicion would not be good for the Yanks. Boy, was I wrong. If I didn't know better, I would have thought that our hotel was hosting an over-fifty-Red Sox fan retreat.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

DJ Newdaddy (or, Newdaddy Takes Requests)

Yes, I realize that I've used this title before. Originality: zero.

Parents of thirteen month-olds need to take on many jobs: doctor, psychologist, safety monitor (although I don't think you can get a degree in that), teacher. I never thought "disk jockey" would be on that list, but apparently it is.

Bud loves "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Whenever she wants us to sing the song, she'll do the hand motion. For those of you who were not born in the teach-kids-sign language age, the hand motion to Twinkle is opening and closing your hands. Or, at least I am assuming that is an accepted sign, because I didn't teach Bud that, and I don't think Newmommy did either. Nor the "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Yet, whenever she does the hand motion, and we respond with the appropriate song, she laughs with delight. Nice.

It's getting a bit repetitive. Bud makes the sign, I sing the song, Bud laughs, claps, and then repeats the hand motion. So, the song is sung over and over and over. Of course, I'm not one to talk about repetition: I've seen "Fletch" probably over one hundred times. "Cavanaugh? Is that Morris or Pierre?"

Oh, and she learned how to turn on the TV today. I don't know if that's good or bad. She crawled to the TV, stood up holding the entertainment unit, and hit the power button. At least she knows that the remote is not a toy for girls!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

'Cause We're the Griswalds!!

I am officially a suburbanite.

For those of you who don't know Jersey and only picture one giant suburb plus Newark, you've probably already pegged me as a suburbanite. However, my former home was so close to Manhattan on the Jersey side, that I was almost as much of a New Yorker as a resident of the outer bouroughs. No, I could not order Malaysian food at 3am as I was able to (and did) back in my Manhattan days, but my commute to midtown was under an hour. No more.

I am now sitting in my new home office in my new home deep in suburban New Jersey. Let me give you a taste: our closing was Thursday afternoon. Last night (Friday), our next door neighbors officially welcomed us to the neighborhood with an apple pie. That just does not happen in Manhattan.

Bud's been pretty confused, although I think she's starting to get comfortable. Her room looks almost the same as her old room; but I'm sure she notices the different sounds, smells and feels of the new house. Also, Newmommy and I, taking poor advice from a professional babyproofer (more on that to come...) removed the bumpers from Bud's crib, making her first night in a strange place even more difficult. The bumpers are back in. She's looking around a lot, she seems very interested in her surroundings and, with the added space of the new house, we're able to designate a playroom for her, which she's beginning to take to.

Oh, and we're now a two-car family, with the second car being an (ugh...) SUV. It's really Newmommy's car. Nevertheless, I think there's now no doubt that I am a true suburbanite having the ol' Family Truckster. (Don't worry, I did not get it in metallic pea.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Kid's Cuter Than Your Kid

Parents: does everyone think that their kid is genuinely unique and cuter than every other kid out there? I think that about Bud, but I'm sure every parent feels this way. But Bud is really, really cute. Check this out:
  • Yesterday, she was crying at the playground, so to calm her down I gave her my keys. She immediately got a huge smile on her face, and, for the next fifteen minutes, talked (babbled) to the keys and repeated "keeeeeeyyyyyy."
  • She also started saying "me" this week. Actually it's more like "me, me, me." I said, "who has the best daddy in the world?" She responded, "me, me, me!" How could you NOT love that?
  • She's a little scared of her "Baby Tad," this frog that sings songs. But, she loves the songs (and, in the age of "Music Together" and the Laurie Berkner Band, I'm glad they are the classics..."Itsy, Bitsy Spider" and "Twinkle, Twinkle.") Whenever I play the songs, she laughs, and climbs into my lap. (She also knows the hand motions to those songs...I didn't teach her, Newmommy didn't teach her....where the hell did she learn them?)
  • Right now, she is on the baby monitor calling to me to play: "Dada! Dada!" Go to sleep! (But, it's so damn cute.)

As I read this, I realize there is nothing highly unusual or un-thirteen-months-old-ish on here, but, I really do think she's the cutest kid in the world. I know it can't really be true, but, at the same time, I really think it is.

OK, enough with the puppydogs and ice cream.

The move is this week, and as soon as I hit "Publish Post" and watch this stupid video (to which, for some reason, I am addicted) one more time (yes, it's stupid...but, as the person who sent it to me said- watch it twice through), I am going to unplug my computer and pack it up. That means no posting until the weekend. Ohhh nooo!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And Now Back to your Regularly Scheduled Blog

And, just like that, the baseball season is over. All I can say about the 2007 ALDS is: Ow My Balls! Well, in the immortal words of the Dalai Lama, right after losing his golfball into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, "Goonga L'goonga."

We now return to your regularly scheduled blog.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday Morning Potpourri

I hear the criticisms that lately I have turned the focus of this blog away from daddying and towards the recent sporting tournament that has been going on. So, for those who need their fill of parenting thoughts, here you go:
  • Nothing is gradual. Non-parents sometimes make fun of those parents who follow their kid around with a camera all the time. The reason they do that is, for at least the first thirteen months of a kid's life, a major breakthrough can happen at any minute. For the longest time, Bud did not crawl. Then, within the course of less than two months, she crawled, speed-crawled, stood and climbed up the stairs!
  • Word of the Day: Key. Whenever Bud sees a key, she says "Keeeeey."
  • You know your life is over's 8:55am on a Sunday, you've already had breakfast, and you're on your way to Home Depot to buy towel rods. We may go to Bed, Bath and Beyond later, I don't know if we'll have enough time...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

An Open Letter

To Johnny Damon (1 for 9), Derek Jeter (1 for 8), Robinson Cano (1 for 7), Hideki Matsui (0 for 7), Jorge Posada (0 for 7) and A-Rod (0 for 6):

Friday, October 05, 2007

Visit Beautiful Cleveland

Sour grapes? You betcha! Two games in a row we got the ol' Cleveland steamroll...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

When is a Baby not a Baby? When she's a Toddler

Yesterday I asked, "at what point is [Bud] no longer "Baby Bud" and "Little Girl Bud?" (In retrospect, I realize that the grammar is incorrect, but how many English teachers out there are reading this?) The question is: when does a baby become a not-baby?

Today, I got my answer from my weekly e-mail from Babycenter, which was titled, for the first time "Your Toddler This Week." Previously, it was "Your Baby This Week."

And, as we know, the internets is never wrong.

So, there you have it. Bud is a toddler. And I am old.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

When is a Baby not a Baby?

As I watched my almost-thirteen-month-old climb up a set of stairs today (which she did for the first time while I was at work), I was struck by how non-baby like she is. She's got a full head of hair with curls in the back, she was wearing jeans, she is really communicating with what point is she no longer "Baby Bud" and "Little Girl Bud?"

Some thoughts, none of which I really like:
  • When she walks
  • When she speaks sentences. (Or, when she asks a question)
  • When she says 'no'
  • When she releases her first album
  • When she is 1 (or 2, or some other chronological milestone)
  • When she starts school

Any thoughts? (And, if she is no longer "Baby Bud", is it fair for me to still be "Newdaddy"?)

Oh, and when is a Yankee Fan not a Yankee Fan? Tonight? Here's my question: who do you root for in the Red Sox - Angels series? With the terrible track record (not to mention post-season track record) the Yankees have against the Angels, we'd probably rather see Boston next week than L.A. Also, if the Yankees and Red Sox meet up in the ALCS, we can avenge the tragic events of 2004.

On the other hand, what self-respecting Yankee Fan roots for the Red Sox under any circumstances? Plus, and I hate myself for saying this, what if the ALCS is New York/Boston, and it turns into a trainwreck-a-la-'04? Yikes.

Finally, and I'll write more about this in the coming weeks, the Newfamily is moving! The move is going to be in a few weeks. Don't worry Garden State, we're staying within the Jersey borders...however, Bud and her accessories take up a tremendous amount of space...and we need space.