lawnrrd: (kitty)
I have been fighting inertia for most of the summer, if not longer. I wish I could say that I've been winning. I’m sure that there was a reason for the initial slowdown, but I have no idea now what it was, and now it’s just feeding on itself: inertia leads to anxiety, which leads to avoidance, which leads to inertia. Lather, rinse, repeat.

For all that, I’m also happier than I’ve been in decades. I don’t know whether I can describe what K means to me in any kind of way that makes sense. It feels as though I’ve spent my whole life to this point trying to find a part of the world that feels as though I belong there, and now I have: it’s a bubble that has K at the center.

K and I were married in March, and she’s been pregnant for most of the time since then. The baby is due on New Year’s Day, but we both think she’ll deliver before then.

K has stepped up her efforts to break me out of my do-nothingism. At her urging, I’m getting up early tomorrow to go rock climbing—one of the few times I will have done it without her. At this moment, I think I’d rather sleep in and piss the day away playing computer games. But I know that if I do that, then I’ll be annoyed with myself tomorrow night for having pissed away the day with computer games.
lawnrrd: (kitty)
Hello, LiveJournal! It's been a while. The only way that I was able even to start this post was to give up on the idea that I could catch up, so I won’t even try. The highlights, though, are:

  • I’m still not dead. I’m actually reasonably healthy and quite happy.

  • K and I are still engaged. We still plan to marry in March 2014. Now you know roughly as much about our wedding plans as we do.

  • The boy is doing well. He is nine years old and in fourth grade. He does fourth-grader stuff.


Last weekend, I think I set a personal record, in that, for three nights in a row, I attended parties with cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres. I am a sucker for cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres, so I consider that a big win.

Thursday night was a cocktail reception for the opening of AMNH’s Poison! exhibition. The evening began with a slide presentation that I arrived in the middle of—the second half, at least, was interesting and entertaining. We then walked through the exhibit itself, but it was hard to see anything: the space was filled with the sort of people who would go to the opening of an exhibit in a science museum, which meant that we had to wait a long time to get close enough to any individual exhibit to see or read anything. K and I agreed that the best strategy would be to come back later when it would be filled with normal people, who wouldn’t get in our way.

The cocktail reception afterwards was moderately fun, as the museum’s exhibitions tend to be. We sort-of dodged the couple that always gloms on to us at these things. We first met another couple, who seemed to be trying too hard. After that, we chatted pleasantly with a third couple, which included a man who seemed to want me to put him through school.

Friday was quiet at work because Friday night was my firm’s annual holiday dinner dance. They like their parties at my firm, and it shows. The party was at an old private club near our office, in a beautiful old room that no one could afford to build any more. The evening is also a chance to catch up with my partners’ partners, and K came. We drank moderately, danced to the live band, and went home before we got too drunk.

Saturday itself was a busy day, during which I baked six pies for a school fundraiser. While they baked, K and I played Just Dance 4. As for Saturday night, well, that’s another post.
lawnrrd: (kitty)

After getting up this morning, I (in chronological order):

  1. Fed the boy breakfast.
  2. Walked a mile to get the car.
  3. Dropped off the car for its overdue annual inspection.
  4. Walked home.
  5. Fed myself and K breakfast.
  6. Walked to the boy's baseball game.
  7. Talked with K while looking at the boy's baseball game.
  8. Walked home.
  9. Reheated leftover BBQ for lunch.
  10. Bid a sad farewell to K.
  11. Walked with the boy to pick up the newly-inspected car.
  12. Drove to the storage space.
  13. Brought to the car two window air conditioners and three large bins of crap that I need to sort.
  14. Drove to Garden City in more than an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  15. Bought a hockey stick for the boy.
  16. Ate dinner at the food court.
  17. Bought nearly all of the Monster Rehab that the Target in Garden City had in stock.
  18. Drove back to Brooklyn.
  19. Reinstalled the A/Cs in my ex's apartment.
  20. Drove home.
  21. Carried the three large bins of crap and 32 cans of Monster up three flights of stairs.
  22. Got the boy into bed.
  23. Decided the best way to get off of my own case about everything that I needed to do today, but didn't, was to make a list of everything that I did.

Besides the above, I repeatedly throughout the day:

  • Giggled to myself at the name "Dicks Sporting Goods".
  • Missed K.
lawnrrd: (Default)
The boy is back home from summer camp, and he's brought back some interesting vocabulary, mannerisms, and questions. I'm trying not to be too strict for now, but whenever it comes up, I nonetheless make clear that he's being inappropriate.

As for me, now that he's back home, I'm spending more time at home, too. I'm happy to see him and to have him home, but it does mean dialing back, for a little while, on some of the things that have made this the best summer of my adult life. But life is about change, and his being here is also part of dialing those things back up for good.
lawnrrd: (spot)
It is expected that your child will ask difficult questions. You know, like, "Where do babies come from?", "What happens when you die?", and "Why is Snooki?" As it turns out, these questions can be dealt with, although they are sometimes a little awkward or embarrassing.

There are questions that leave you totally at a loss, though, and they're not the questions that you might expect. Take for example this one from the boy: "Dad, what's the smallest mountain?" I tried to explain that the question didn't really have an answer, but he would have none of it.

This morning, he asked my wife, "What's the most un-celebrated holiday?" At least I might get a Top Ten list out of that one.
lawnrrd: (Default)
I have heard reports of moms in our social circle being impressed that I, a mere dad, managed all by my self and on my own initiative to put together an overnight trip to go skiing with the boy. Dude, it wasn't all that hard, and it's kind of disappointing that expectations are so low.

Then again, I like being impressive.
lawnrrd: (Default)
After skiing on Saturday, yesterday was a quiet Sunday at home for me and the boy. We were both tired, he was a little sick (he had been pretty snotty in the car on the way to the Poconos; good on him for having fun skiing anyway), and it was awfully cold. We played video and board games, watched TV, and cleaned up a little in anticipation of his mother's return that afternoon.

I'm still sore, mainly in ways and places I didn't expect. My ankles and lower shins are blistered and bruised from the ski boots: I'll have to wear thicker socks next time. I have a low-grade stiff neck, and my lower right leg is also a little sore and stiff. Some of this is doubtless due to unfamiliar strains on various parts of my body, but pushing the boy around likely strained muscles and joints in ways that are unusual even for skiers.

My left elbow is also still a little sore, probably from climbing last Tuesday with the boy, [livejournal.com profile] regyt, [livejournal.com profile] novalis, [livejournal.com profile] kinfae, and another munchkin. At the boy's insistence, I tried a dynamic move a couple of times while bouldering, and I may have strained something while trying to catch the next hold.

Then again, also while bouldering, I fell off the wall and, while falling, noticed that the small persons had somehow wandered into my landing zone while I had been paying attention to the wall. I had to twist to avoid squishing them and landed badly. Maybe I hurt it in the fall.

Whatever the cause, any joint or muscle pain is making me unduly nervous these days and probably will do so for the next few weeks or even months. I came down with a throat infection of unknown origin shortly after having finished a course of antibiotics for something else. Because of that history, my doctor prescribed a second-line antibiotic of doom, which had interesting side effects on me such as fatigue, dizziness, and anorgasmia. What is more pertinent is that other side effects can include tendinitis and even tendon rupture. Whoopie.

I am going to try very hard not to get any more infections ever again.
lawnrrd: (Default)
I got a lot of exercise last week, including climbing and a lot of various forms of cardio, and culminating with skiing yesterday in the Poconos. Today, I'm a little tired and sore, and I've been famished all week.

This was the third time I'd ever tried to ski. Cut for length . . . )
lawnrrd: (Default)

The boy has been taking karate for about six weeks now. Yesterday he passed his test to become a "high white belt". I don't think he's ever been prouder of anything else in his life.

lawnrrd: (spot)
The boy is in first grade now (if you can believe that). That makes this his third year of going to school for five full days every week. From the beginning, he's been fine with it.

So it was very odd, this morning, when we dropped him off. We entered the building together, the three of us, said our goodbyes, and then he walked off towards the stairway to his classroom. I turned to go, but before I'd taken my first step, I felt a small person grab me from behind.

The boy was crying, saying that he'd miss me.

I sat on a nearby step and hugged him. I was able to console him, promising to be home tonight in time to read to him in bed and tomorrow night to get home in time for us to play some video games. And then he went his way, and I went mine.

It was moving—it is moving—and literally awesome to be that much to him. I still have trouble sometimes seeing myself as capable, not just of fathering a child, or even raising one, but of being his daddy, with all that implies.

There's another thing, though: parenthood means nothing if not worrying about stuff, and he's never done this before. So maybe he was just unusually tired, sad, or lonely this morning and needed a hug. But now I'm worried that something else may be wrong.
lawnrrd: (Default)
Today has turned into an extended playdate for the boy and a friend, which is our attempt to deal with the rainy day. The friend, a former classmate, came over with his mother and two-year-old sister for breakfast. Their father was unavailable for the day, and Mrs. Lawnrrd had plans to go to a baby shower.

So, they got here at around 9:30, and I made waffles and bacon. Mrs. Lawnrrd supplied a fruit salad. Everything was delicious, in my unbiased opinion.

While I cleared the table, my wife started praising my domestic skills. "He cooks, he cleans, and he's handy," she said. This impressed the friend's mom, whose husband does and is none of those things. My face must have shown the thought that flashed through my mind, because my wife asked me, "what?"

I shook my head, but she wouldn't let it go. "He must be good in bed, right?" I said, "Something like that, but fairly crude." "What?" she asked.

I gave in. "His tongue is a foot long, and he can breathe through his ears." The friend's mom was thoroughly squicked, and I hope my wife has learned her lesson.

Mrs. Lawnrrd left for the shower first, and then the boy, his friend, and I started playing the junior edition of Monopoly. After a while, it was time for the little sister to nap, so their mom walked home with her, while the boy's friend stayed here and kept playing with us. After the game, which the boy won (for which he demanded a cash prize that was not to be forthcoming), we made popcorn and sat down to watch Ratatouille, which is one of our favorite movies.

I suppose I am domestic, after all.

After the movie, it was time for a snack. By then, the little sister had finished her nap, so the friend's mother came over and has taken them out for pizza. And now I have some time to myself, which may include a nap and maybe even some writing. Depending on Mrs. Lawnrrd's schedule, I may even make it to the gym.

And so it goes.
lawnrrd: (Default)
It's 9 PM on a Saturday, and all I want to do is sleep.
lawnrrd: (spot)
Everyone knows that raising a child is hard. No one talks about the biggest reason why.

As some of you know, Leo was born with a skin condition: a giant congenital melanocytic nevus with satellites. That is, he was born with a single bumpy, hairy, dark brown mole that covered about 80% of his back and about twenty-five other moles, roughly between a dime and a quarter in size, on the rest of his body. Although congenital nevi are merely uncommon, giant ones are rare, estimated to occur only once in every 500,000 births.

Most of the time, the consequences are mostly cosmetic. The condition is associated with a slightly elevated risk throughout his lifetime of melanoma. There can be some other concerns, since, among other things, nevi lack sweat glands, so kids with even larger nevi than Leo's are sometimes at risk for overheating. He still has the satellites, and, like most of us, he gets new, smaller moles from time to time, but the giant nevus was removed from his back in a series of seven operations, the last one on his second birthday. (Happy Birthday, Leo!)

There's a support group for people with nevi and their families. The rarity of the condition makes the group relatively small, and you get to know people. There's a conference in Dallas every two years, and the next one is coming up in July. We're going, and we're taking Leo.

Sometimes, though, this rare condition has an even rarer complication called neurocutaneous melanosis (NCM). In this condition, pigment cells, sometimes cancerous (that is, melanoma), grow on the spinal cord, brain, or both. Symptoms can include seizures, hydrocephalus, and other things. Symptomatic NCM is a bad sign, although it is no longer regarded as an automatic death sentence. If NCM progresses, though, it is inevitably fatal, whether the pigment cells are technically melanoma or not.

Leo had an MRI as soon as he was old enough to tolerate general anesthesia, and it showed no signs of NCM. But not all kids and parents are that lucky. Riley died this afternoon at home, just a few days after his ninth birthday.

I had followed Riley's story, sometimes in tears. I hurt for his parents. The pain is just a little keener, though, because, clean MRI or no, we can't be completely sure that won't happen to Leo, and that we won't be the parents who have to find a way to live during and afterwards.

But then, really, who can?
lawnrrd: (spot)

I'm pretty sure that Leo has already played more games of catch with his father than I ever played with mine. That should help to explain something, although I'd be pressed to explain precisely what.

lawnrrd: (spot)
As of today, I am the father of a three year old boy. And with each passing day, one thing becomes increasingly clear to me:

You people are so screwed.
lawnrrd: (spot)
I keep coming with with obscene lyrics to the theme from Caillou.
lawnrrd: (gah)
It's only fair, I suppose. I left Mrs. [livejournal.com profile] lawnrrd alone with Spotacus last weekend so I could eat, drink, and be merry. This weekend, I am looking after the small person while she jets off to the Caribbean.

This would ordinarily be just fine. We'd hang out during the day, hit the playground and so forth. For the evenings, I'd get a babysitter and make social plans with friends I haven't seen in far too long. Violent computer games and naps would take up any slack time.

Sadly, I need to work basically all weekend to finish a brief on time. Finishing it late is not an option because we've already used all the extensions that we're allowed.

Oh, and I have to finish our taxes. I think that we owe the feds about $10k.

And put the new bookshelf together.

And go to the supermarket. And the gym.

And take the small person to the zoo. And bring him home with me afterwards.

If I can't get daytime babysitting at least one day this weekend, I am well and truly fucked. In a bad way, I mean.
lawnrrd: (spot)

Raising a kid is hard work. It requires a radical rearrangement of your life and your priorities. It is exhausting, frustrating, tedious, messy, expensive, and darned inconvenient. True, there are some significant rewards. But, in the end, you, as a parent, have a job to do, you need to do it, and that's that.

As a public service, I present the following (extremely abbreviated) list of actions that constitute failing to do the job:

  • Flying overseas for three months a few days after you give birth to your child, leaving your newborn in the hands of hired caregivers.
  • Leaving your toddler in his car seat in the car that you have parked outdoors on a sub-freezing night while you booze it up inside the local tavern.
  • Trying, through rational discussion, to get your toddler to stop screaming, sit down, and put on the seat belt so the nice airplane can take off.
  • Trying, through rational discussion, to get your toddler to stop screaming.
  • Trying, through rational discussion, to get your toddler to do, or to stop doing, anything.
  • Leaving your toddler in his car seat in the car that you have parked outdoors in a sunny parking lot on a blazing August afternoon while you booze it up inside the local tavern.
  • Allowing your eight-year-old to barricade himself in his bedroom and then calling the police, telling them that they need to get your suicidal eight-year-old son out of his bedroom.
  • Demanding that your child engage in sexual intercourse with an adult.
  • Demanding that an adult engage in social intercourse with your child.
  • Failing to keep your kid out of your stash and, conversely, failing to keep your stash out of your kid.
  • [Insert your own Michael Jackson comment here.]

In the nature of things, a list such as this can only scratch the surface, of course. I nonetheless hope that these pointers can, in some measure, improve the general quality of child-rearing in America today.

lawnrrd: (Default)
In other news, I am sick again, coughing up all sorts of multicolored surprises. Leo has a promising career ahead of him as a disease vector.
lawnrrd: (spot)
I gave Leo a chunk of a Carr's Table Water Cracker because he said he wanted to taste it. Once he had the chunk, he looked at it for a moment, and then he dropped it into my glass of water, looked up at me, and exclaimed "goldfish!"

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