Monthly Archives: July 2008

Best. Baby. Ever.

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

If you had asked me what my favorite day of the week was a month ago, I would’ve said Saturday because I have it off and it’s the weekend. But now? Wednesday. Unequivicobally Wednesday!

And it’s all because I get to spend Wednesdays with Will. Just the two of us, all day long. I have to admit, I was very nervous about the arrangement at first. I understood why we needed to do it, to cut down on daycare costs. But still…I would be responsible for my son? All day? Just me and no MJ?? I was really scared. But thankfully I think I’m getting this whole Dad thing down and now I love it. It also helps that Will is an unbelievable, wonderful, extraordinarily well-behaved and amicable baby.

Take yesterday for example. He slept through the night — again — and then we got up and had some breakfast. After we took the dogs for a walk, I decided that we’d drive an hour north to Norton because I needed a haircut. Why drive an hour for a haircut you ask? Because the only place I will get my hair cut is Tom’s Barber Shop at 195 W. Main Street (Rte. 123) in Norton. Tom and his son Dennis are not only great barbers, fun people and funny as hell, but they just happen to provide THE PERFECT atmosphere for a real barber shop. None of this salon stuff. They swear and tell off-color jokes and use the hot shave lotion with a straight-edge razor. I know I sound like an advertisement here, but if you live in the area and want a great hair cut, look no further than Tom’s. And even though Will is still bald, that didn’t stop the guys from gushing over him as he sat there like a perfect angel as I got my hair cut and shot the shit with the guys.

And while I was up there, I figured I’d make the rounds and visit my relatives. First it was off to my mom’s work where the entire office stopped what they were doing to come and play with Will. Now some babies don’t like a whole lot of people around them because they get overstimulated. But Will isn’t like that. He actually starts to show off and put on a show, smiling and laughing and giggling the entire time. This went on for 45 minutes and her co-workers literally couldn’t take their eyes off him.

Then we went to my dad’s work and it was more of the same. And even though I knew he was tired, I decided to chance one more stop to my grandmother’s house. He was asleep when we went into her apartment, and to my grandmother’s credit she didn’t wake him even though she really wanted to. She just leaned down and gave him a little kiss. But sure enough, as if Will somehow knew how badly she wanted to play with him, he got a second wind and soon he was wide awake and making cute faces at her, much to my grandmother’s delight.

I know I brag a lot and that may be obnoxious, but I love this kid so much and I love being a dad. I mean, you just have to see Will in action and how happy he makes people. My father is an absolute lunatic for Will. We literally cannot stop him from buying presents whether that’s books, Red Sox stuff, toys and even starting a savings account. My father may have a legitimate addiction to Will, as he cannot seem to put him down or look away from him for more than 30 seconds at a time. My mother is starting to get a little resentful as she recently told him “You didn’t pay this much attention to OUR kids when they were babies!” And my mom, despite being a little hesitant that she was actually old enough to be a grandmother, absolutely lights up every time she sees Will. Unfortunately for her, that isn’t often as my father will resort to physically accosting her in order to be the first to hold the baby.

But it was watching my grandmother interact with Will that was really moving for me. She’s getting up there in age and she doesn’t get to leave the house as much as she’d like. And truthfully, I’ve probably been a less than stellar grandson by not coming to visit her as much as I should. But when I surprised her with Will yesterday, she played with him for an hour straight and it looked as if she was suddenly 50 years younger. She was picking him up and as if on cue, he would smile and laugh and the two of them would giggle with each other for the next few minutes. And then they’d start the whole process over again. And all she could keep saying was “Oh Aaron, he’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

And she’s right. There’s something very special about my son. And sure the same is probably true for all babies, but this one is mine so indulge me here. I hear horror stories about colic, not sleeping, reflux, sickness and constant crying…but Will has had none of that, or at least very little. He’s legitimately the happiest baby I’ve ever personally laid eyes on and I can’t get enough of him. I play with him constantly and as soon as I put him down I want to pick him back up again. His smile is like a powerful narcotic, I simply need it to survive on a daily basis.

I think my favorite time of the day is the morning when he wakes up. I go into the nursery when he stirs and I pick him up. And he’s taken aback for a second, the sleep still lingering in his eyes. But then he recognizes me. He knows that his daddy is there and he smiles because he already knows how much daddy loves him and how he will always take care of him. It’s the most unbelievable feeling in the world and I can’t get enough of it.

I knew being a father would be life-altering. But I was so scared at first, because I had no idea what to do. No instructions, no manuals…it was like “Here’s your baby, raise him right” but how do you even do that? And would this baby even like me? Does he know how clueless and petrified I am? A part of me honestly thought I would be a lousy father, but instead I think I’ve found my calling. I love being a journalist and a writer, but I’d give it all up in a second to be a stay at home dad. I’m serious, no job I’ll ever have will compare to the satisfaction I get when I spend all day with my son. It’s a happiness I’d been searching for, but never quite believed I could attain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m deliriously happy with my wife and I love her to death. But love for a child is different. I don’t want to say more meaningful or powerful than the love I have for my wife, but just different.

And when I think about how someone could be a deadbeat dad or beat or molest their child, it completely baffles me and makes me sick. How could any man not love being a father? And how could any father even contemplate being abusive? While I don’t personally believe in the death penalty, I’m pretty sure I’d make an exception for people who harm children.

Anyways, I’d just like to say thank you to my son Will. Thank you for being an amazing kid. Thank you for brightening up my life like I never knew was possible. Thank you for making all the little crappy things I used to notice in life disappear. I love you buddy!

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Someone Call Harvard!

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

Look, anyone who knows me realizes that I am a modest, humble person who hates to brag. I would never toot my own horn and I certainly would never stoop to the level of one of those parents who won’t shut the hell up about each and every little accomplishment and milestone their child achieves. After all, having a child is not a competition…

But if it was a competition, Will would be kicking the frickin’ asses of all other babies in the world!!!!

Yeah, I know. Throw out that whole introduction and somebody get Harvard on the phone because even though I can’t scientifically prove it, I’m fairly certain I created the smartest baby on the planet. For starters, Will has been rolling over from his front to back AND back to front for the last 3 weeks. But now, he’s doing something else that’s noteworthy. Not even 4 months old yet, Will has already figured out how to hold his own bottle when we’re feeding him. And not just for a few seconds either. He holds a full bottle of formula for a good 2-3 minutes at a time and completely feeds himself. I repeat, the kid feeds himself.

He obviously gets his advanced motor skills from me. I don’t wanna show off or anything, but I have three years of junior varsity soccer, basketball and baseball under my belt. Yeah…I know. It’s no wonder he’s a man among boys already huh? But if that’s not enough, I swear the kid is going to walk any day now. I barely need to hold him up at all at this point, it’s insane. Yale is already starting to scout him for a track and field scholarship, but I think he can do better.

And if that’s not reason enough to believe me, I can further prove Will’s genius! Today, while visiting me at work, I sat him up at my computer and he immediately began pounding away on the keyboard. Within 30 seconds he managed to hit some kind of combination of keys and completely locked me out of my own computer. I needed to call for help to get back to the article I was writing. He’s already a practical joker, just like his old man.

So if any of you have any contacts at NASA, MENSA, any Ivy League colleges or the USA Olympic team (any sport, it doesn’t really matter) I suggest you let them know there’s a future superstar in waiting on Cape Cod.

It’s a good thing expectations aren’t too high for him huh?

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Congratulations!

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

A quick shout and congrats to frequent Daddy Files contributor Meri, whose daughter Danielle Rene was born last week weighing in at a healthy 8 lbs 2 oz, 20.5 inches long!

She’s a cutie.

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The Baptism Post

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

I know I promised I’d write this post at the beginning of the week, but I have been crazy busy with work lately. That’s actually a good thing because I’ve had some absolutely kick ass stories in which the state of Massachusetts is trying to decertify one of the largest general contractors in the state all because of questions I asked! But that’s beside the point.

The issue at hand is Will’s immediate spiritual future. Namely, his baptism and all the things that go along with it. And since we’ve gotten some new readers since I last broached this subject, I’ll start from the beginning…

I am not religious nor do I believe in God. Therefore, if it were up to me, I would not have Will baptized. My wife is Catholic and not only does she want him baptized, she demands that it be in a Catholic church. Which is funny because I’m willing to compromise with her about getting him baptized, but my only stipulation is that it NOT be in a Catholic church. But more specifically, she wants him to be baptized at a local church in the area that has a monument outside on the lawn that reads “To all the innocent unborn babies who have been murdered by abortion.”

OK, this is not a political blog but for reference sake, I am a democrat. I am a pro choice, anti death penalty, pro gay marriage democrat. And while I do not believe in religion at all, I do believe that one should associate himself with a church that shares similar beliefs and core values. And for me, the Catholic church represents the polar opposite of how I feel about most of the big issues.

I believe (very strongly) in a woman’s right to choose. The Catholic church is decidedly against it, even in cases of rape or medical necessity. I believe in equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation. The Catholic church is decidedly against allowing homosexuals to marry. I believe in not molesting innocent children. The Catholic church…well, we all know how that one goes don’t we?

But the fight MJ and I are having revolves around her inability to compromise. I feel very strongly that Will should not be baptized because I think religion is dangerous and is nothing more than a crutch. She feels very strongly that Will is born with her sins on his soul and if he died right now (a horrible thought!) he wouldn’t go to heaven. Therefore she not only feels he should be baptized, but that it MUST be done in a Catholic church. So basically, I’m willing to give in a bit. I’m willing to acknowledge that Will’s baptism is important to her, and therefore I’d be willing to find another church (Episcopalian, Unitarian, etc) where I feel a little more comfortable. But she adamantly refuses to bend and says it must be done in a Catholic church.

I think it’s unfair. It’s unfair because parents have to be able to meet each other halfway when they disagree. And I VERY MUCH disagree with everything about Catholicism and I do not want to subject my son to it. And the funny thing is, MJ doesn’t even believe in most of the tenets of the Catholic church. She’s pro choice and she’s for gay marriage and for women’s rights.

In fact, when she had to go back recently to get confirmed by the church when she was 8 months pregnant (long story), she complained for weeks because she had to take a class beforehand. And in that class she had things like creationism preached at her non-stop. As if evolution is simply some kind of silly theory. And this is the same church that won’t let women be ordained as priests, because a woman’s place is supposedly in the home. And MJ is a feminist at heart!!

It makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE that she demands a Catholic baptism yet she believes in virtually none of the practices of the church. And the fact that she believes my son has ANY amount of “sin” on him is ludicrous. He’s a frickin baby! He’s not even 4-months-old. He can’t talk and he can’t walk. What kind of sins could he have committed? I guess you could make a case for boob and formula gluttony, but that’s about it!

And what sucks is she wants to raise him in the Catholic church. And if that comes to pass, there is going to be an entire portion of his life that I am not involved in. And that stings. Now if he grew up and sampled different religions and then chose Catholicism, I’d have much less of a problem. When he’s older and can gain a better understanding of different religions then more power to him. But for MJ to demand a Catholic baptism really pisses me off, especially when I’m willing to meet her halfway and she won’t budge.

I understand this is a personal issue for everyone and it’s tough to discuss. And I also know I’m going to lose this argument. If she really wants him baptized Catholic then I’m sure she’s going to get her way. But how can I be a part of that when I won’t believe in anything they say during the ceremony? I asked MJ that question and her response was “Well you won’t be a part of it.” Oh great, so now I’m supposed to sit in the pews and not be part of my child’s baptism? It’s just a lose-lose for me and it’s not fair at all.

And I recently had an argument with someone, who asked me how I could possibly remain pro-choice after witnessing the birth of my son. And to that I say it’s very easy. I stand by my beliefs with the white hot passion of 1,000 suns and I think Roe vs. Wade was a landmark decision that — if overturned — will be extremely detrimental to society. I do not believe that life begins when the sperm first fertilizes the egg. Yes, it’s alive at that point. But so is a plant. Abortion is a horrible thing, but I also believe in many cases it is the right thing. Especially when talking about rape or a woman who may die if she tries to carry to term. Are there some people who have had 10 abortions? Probably. And that’s sick and unfortunate. But you can’t outlaw it just because of extreme circumstances. The results of banning it would bring about back alley, coathanger nightmares and besides, once the government starts telling you what you can and can’t do with your own body, you’ve started up a very slippery slope.

But I digress. It’s useless to start a pro-choice vs. pro-life debate because no one on either side is going to change his/her mind. So I’ll end with what is probably the most important reason for my son not be baptized…

MJ wants to put him in a dress. No-f#cking way will my son ever wear a dress!!!!!!!!

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I’m Such a Wuss

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

My aunt usually watches Will on Friday but she’s in Arizona for two weeks on vacation, which means we needed to find someone to take care of Will. Thankfully, MJ’s cousins Katie, Jeff, Shelby and Mackenzie volunteered to take him from Thursday night until this afternoon. Right now MJ picked him up about a half hour away and she’s meeting my parents for dinner. That means I haven’t seen him in about 36 hours.

Now I am not one of those parents who is way too attached to his baby. But I have to admit…

I miss him so much I had to have my mom take a picture of him with her cell phone and send it to me.

I know, I know. Pathetic. But I can’t help it. I miss the little guy. It sucks when I don’t see him in the morning. I miss it when he smiles at me as I go into his room to pick him up. And I’m not even sure how I started my day before spending an hour with him in bed as he happily kicks and thrashes about on the bed while laughing hysterically. Some people need coffee to function but I just need a daily dose of my son.

And I don’t care that I’m corny and tacky and a huge pile of mush. That’s just how it is now. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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