Monthly Archives: August 2008

Sunday afternoons

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

There will always be something special about Sunday mornings.

It’s the only day off that MJ and I both have during the week, which means we can both sleep in a little and enjoy each other’s company. Even though Will decided to get up unusually early today, we still managed to settle him down eventually and sleep in until 8:30. With Will sprawled out and entertaining himself on a blanket on the floor, MJ and I rifled through the Sunday newspaper and had our bowls of cereal. Eventually I went for a run and then came back and took a shower.

When I got out of the shower, MJ was in bed with Will trying to get him to take a nap so he wouldn’t be in a bad mood for the BBQ later this afternoon. But she was having trouble because Will’s tooth is bothering him and he was restless. So I turned the lights in the bedroom off, closed the shades and turned on the ceiling fan. We laid in bed — with Will in between us — and we each held one of his hands. He looked at us, his eyes darting between me and MJ, and a very contented smile spread across his face. That led to MJ and I looking at each other and without uttering a single word, we both conveyed a world of emotion as if to say “Can you believe this beautiful person we created?”

I could see Will wanted to drift off to sleep but he was too happy that both his mom and dad were lavishing all their attention on him. So I began to do what I always do when I want him to go to sleep. I sang his favorite song called “Share the Darkness” by the Saw Doctors, one of my favorite Irish bands.

As I sang the familiar chorus his eyelids got heavier and heavier, until finally — just as I finished the last note — he drifted off to sleep. I put mom to sleep too.

If you’re not a parent, there’s probably no way I can describe that feeling. But it’s just…beautiful. Singing to your child and holding his little hand as he stares at you with huge eyes filled with nothing but innocence and love, knowing that it’s OK to fall asleep because Daddy will always be there to take care of him. And you just stare at your little boy in absolute awe wondering how, with all of your glaring faults, you could possibly create another human being this perfect.

The house is dead silent right now save the clicking of the keyboard. Even the dogs and cats are asleep. And when I’m done writing I’ll sneak back in to the bedroom, as I do most nights, to watch Will sleep. His little chest rising and falling, his tiny mouth making a sucking motion (the kid is thinking about eating even when he’s asleep) as he lays next to my beautiful wife. I’ll look at them and feel reassured that I am the luckiest schmuck on the planet.

And for what it’s worth, if you have never listened to the Saw Doctors do yourself a favor and give them a try. They actually play at the Cape Cod Melody Tent every year and they tour the US annually too. Here are the lyrics to “Share the Darkness”:

Hey I can’t I say that I love you
I cant’ say that I don’t
I cant say that I couldn’t
And I won’t say that I won’t
But I really like your company
I’m enjoying myself no end
But I can’t keep from thinking
Why don’t we share the darkness tonight
Make it warm and burning bright
I’ll not say nothing
I’ll be polite
Why don’t we share the darkness tonight
Ta an dorachadas ag teacht anuas (Darkness is descending)
Tar abhaile liom a gra. (Come home with me my love)
Ta an dorachadas ag teacht anuas (Darkness is descending)
Tar abhaile liom (Come home with me)

Ah life’s too short for wasting
For ifs and might have been’s
Life’s too short for wondering if
You could have lived your dreams
And its way too short for loneliness
We don’t have to be
Now that we trust each other
Why don’t you stay with me?
Why don’t we share the darkness tonight
Make it warm and burning bright
I’ll not say nothing
I’ll be polite
Why don’t we share the darkness tonight

When the world belongs to distant dogs
And the air is dark and still
And drunken conversations pass beneath the window sill
And there’s someone singing
Elvis songs as they make their way back home
and all your fears and worries
attack when you’re alone
when you’re alone, when you’re alone, when you’re alone

Why don’t we share the darkness tonight
Make it warm and burning bright
I’ll not say nothing
I’ll be polite
Why don’t we share the darkness tonight
Ta an dorachadas ag teacht anuas
Tar abhaile liom a gra
Ta an dorachadas ag teacht anuas
Tar abhaile liom
Why don’t we share the darkness tonight

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We Have a Tooth!

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

It wasn’t there last night when I left to go to the Patriots vs. Eagles preseason game, but lo and behold it’s definitely there now.

Will cut his first tooth. It’s a tiny little razor on the bottom and I noticed it this morning when I was letting him chew on my finger. At first I was freaked out because I thought he had something sharp in his mouth that shouldn’t be there, but then light dawned on marble head and I realized he had his first tooth.

I got really excited over this. But then I thought about it and I’m not sure why it’s such a big deal. I mean it’s not like he can control it. He can’t will his teeth to come in faster by concentrating really hard. They come when they come. But nevertheless it’s another milestone and it says in the Official Parent Handbook that you have to call every single relative you have and scream “WILL GOT HIS FIRST TOOTH!” as excitedly as possible. I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

And frankly I’m thrilled to have good news because last night’s Patriots game was just awful. They sucked so badly against Philly I wanted to gouge my own eyes out with a dull, rusty spoon. And we had great seats thanks to my Dad’s boss 22 rows from the field on the 45 yard line too. What a waste. Not to mention the Sox are currently getting hammered by the Blue Jays 9-0 so I’m not a happy camper. I also had beer for the first time in three months last night so the stomach is still a little unsettled.

And I’m sure you wanted to hear all about the intricacies of my digestive maladies didn’t you?

Off to work now and then a BBQ tomorrow with some friends and family I haven’t seen in awhile, so don’t count on a post in the next 24 hours. Sorry…

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Worlds are colliding

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

Without getting into specifics, my blogging universe is somewhat merging with my real life lately.

I’m not mentioning names just in case these people don’t want their true identities known, but one really cool person who reads this blog will likely be hanging out with Mrs. Daddy Files in the near future. And this morning, as I arrived for an interview for a story I’m working on, another very witty and funny reader of this blog recognized my name and we were able to chat for a few minutes. It’s really nice to be able to put a face with the dozens of witty comments. I wish I could meet more of you guys. How fun does a Daddy Files beach BBQ sound??

If it really is a small world after all then the Cape is downright tiny, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m running into people like this. But the fact remains that I am absolutely blown away that 1) Anyone actually reads my stuff, and 2) that I am recognized AT ALL. I understand no writer ever thinks their stuff is any good. But I really, truly believe that and so I’m flabbergasted that this site gets more than 2,000 hits a week. That may just be a pittance compared to other nationally recognized sites out there, but for someone who started this blog on a whim and thought only some of my family members would read it…well, it means a lot.

So thank you all for reading, for passing the link on to friends and helping to get me somewhat noticed. Hopefully within the next two weeks I’ll be able to announce some exciting news, but for right now I’m keeping it under wraps because things aren’t finalized and I don’t want to jinx anything.

But seriously, thank you all…

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Remember the Things You Love

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

Will has been extraordinarily fussy lately.

I was home with him all day yesterday because I didn’t have to work, and it seems like he’s constantly uncomfortable and whiny. Normally he’s been all smiles all the time, so I’ve become really, REALLY spoiled. Sure he’s had crying fits and nights he didn’t want to sleep, but most of those were in the weeks after he was born and even they weren’t all that bad. I’m accustomed to the smily, happy, cooing Will and now there’s this 4-month-old angst going on.

And I especially hate it when he has a case of the “Arggghhhs!” For those not in the know, the “Arggghhhs” consist of a series of pissed off baby grunts that come in 30 minute intervals. I’m not kidding, he’ll grunt and whine repeatedly for up to a half hour stretch. I think I’d actually prefer the maniacal screaming fits to the “Arggghhhs” because at least he’ll wear himself out after all the yelling. It’s like when it’s drizzling rain, I hate that. I’d rather see the deluge come so it can be done and over with.

Yesterday he had an especially bad case of the grunts and I was more annoyed than usual. Actually that’s putting it lightly. I was pissed off and irritated! I mean here I am, a concerned father with the day off trying to play Tiger Woods golf on the Wii spend quality time with my son, and he is in a state of non-stop irritation. But just when I hit my breaking point and felt like screaming at him, the little bastard smiled at me. And that’s when I realized you have to remember the things you love about your kid and your life, or risk being enveloped by all the negativity and troubles in your life.

So, without further ado, here are the little things I love about my son:

– He wakes up every morning smiling and happy to see me
– When I get home from work he recognizes my face and gets ridiculously happy
– He makes us and everyone he comes in contact with deliriously happy
– After he sneezes, he laughs hysterically in a high pitched voice
– Sometimes he still scares himself when he farts, just like the dogs
– He grabs my face when he’s in a good mood
– He looks very cute when his face is covered with peas
– When he smiles really big his nose crinkles and he resembles my father
– He is still sleeping at least 8 hours a night, sometimes more
– Yesterday he managed to extricate himself from his bouncy chair (no falling or injuries)
– His sheer delight when he bangs as hard as he can on the computer keyboard
– He now recognizes the bottle and when he sees it he’s as excited as I am for sandwiches
– The contented “ahhhs” and “gooos” sounds he makes when he’s perfectly at peace

The list could go on and on, and I try to remember each and every one of them when I lose my patience. The best part is that as he gets older, the list will only get longer!

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Milestones

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

All new parents are competitive when it comes to their babies.

I blame all the stupid parenting Web sites, books and magazines that list out developmental milestones that each baby should reach by a certain age. And even though they all say not to hold hard and fast to each and every milestone because babies develop at different paces, parents do use these as measuring sticks and for bragging rights.

Hell, I’ve been guilty of it myself. “Can your baby roll over? No? Oh, that’s too bad. Mine’s been doing it for two weeks now!” I’m even competitive when it comes to height and weight. But even though I realize it’s getting a little ridiculous, I just can’t help myself. I want Will to be better, faster and smarter than every other baby.

To showcase what I’m talking about, here are the milestones to be reached in the 4th month:

The typical 4-month-old should:

  • Show a slowing of weight gain to approximately 20 grams per day
  • Demonstrate the fading of the infant reflexes (Moro reflex, asymmetric tonic neck reflex, rooting reflex, and Perez reflex)
  • Have almost no head lag while in a sitting position
  • Be able to sit up straight if propped
  • Raise head 90 degrees when placed on stomach
  • Be able to roll from front to back
  • Try to reach objects with hands (may commonly overshoot)
  • Play with rattle when it’s placed in the hands, but won’t be able to pick it up if dropped
  • Be able to grasp rattle with both hands
  • Be able to place objects in mouth

SENSORY AND COGNITIVE SKILLS

A 4-month-old is expected to:

  • Have well-established close vision
  • Have beginning eye-hand coordination
  • Be able to babble and coo
  • Be able to laugh out loud
  • Anticipate feeding when able to see a bottle (if bottle-fed)
  • Begin to show memory
  • Demand attention by fussing
  • Recognize parent voice or touch

 

I’m happy to say that Will has not only met these goals, he has surpassed them. For example:

Will doesn’t just roll over. He rolls over, spins in a 360-degree circle and starts to breakdance.

Forget cooing and babbling, Will is already talking. And not just talking, he’s speaking in iambic pentameter and yesterday he came up with a haiku. It went:

I am so hungry

Daddy sucks at feeding me

There’s food in my eye

I left a pencil near Will today and he didn’t just manage to pick it up, but by the time I came back to him he had solved a quantum physics equation, balanced our checkbook and written a very poignant letter to President Bush calling for the immediate removal of our soldiers from Iraq.

He changed his own diaper yesterday and dressed himself.

I thought he just liked banging on the keyboard when I sit him at the computer, but I realized he was able to refinance our mortgage.

He is not only able to pick up a rattle and hold it, he has started a band in which he plays the maracas. They call themselves the Baby Shakers.

 

So what can your baby do?

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