Saturday, April 23, 2005

Can't take the pill?

When I was over at my parents house the other day, I noticed that both of them have devices that they use to prevent sleep apnea. If you don't know what that is, it's a condition where you actually stop breathing while you're sleeping due to the fact that you're not getting enough oxygen. I may be a bit off on that definition, but I know that this device helps by giving you more oxygen while you sleep and by that, it helps you sleep better.

One of the main characteristics of the device is the fact that it is a big mask that you have to put over your face.

After having a kid, one of the first things that the nurses at the hospital talked to us about was about birth control. It was an amazing thing to me, considering this was a catholic run hospital, but it's something that you really need to think about. I guess there are people that just can't wait to get back to business.

For me and Sarah, Gabrielle was birth control just by herself.

Seriously, if you have a young child, I don't know how you can even muster up enough energy to think about sex. I fell asleep last night at 8:30. 8:30!?! I haven't fallen asleep at 8:30 since I was 5 years old.

So, to stick with the religious theme of late, I have to say this.

If you're catholic and are looking for an alternative to birth control... have a kid. Either that or get sleep apnea. I can't picture anyone having sex with one of those masks on... although you would get all the oxygen you'd need.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Persistence of...

3 stories in one day? Someone notify the authorities... but don't tell my boss.

One of the interesting things about having a small child is the way that your own personal concept of time changes. Before Gaby was born I had my schedule down to a T. I could wake up at a certain time and know exactly how long it would take for me to accomplish all of the things I needed to do to get out of the house and get to work on time.

Now? I wake up at least 1 to 2 hours earlier than I used to and have no control over myself anymore.

Here's a brief look at my latest morning where I was taking care of Gaby by myself.

I wake up when I hear Gaby fuss in the morning. From there, I go to her nursery and make sure all is well with her. This morning, for example, she'd managed to spin herself out of her little padded elevated sleeping pad and had spun herself over to the head of the bed. Add to this that she had managed to get her left arm and leg stuck out of the rails and it made for an interesting start to the day.

(Side note: Ok. This is a bad situation for Gaby to be in. She's stuck, she can't move and she's getting a bit upset about the situation. What's the first thing I do? Go and grab the camera. Sure I could have fixed her issues quickly, but damn, I need all the pictures like this that I can find.)

(Another side note: Have a camera around at all times when your kid is with you. Sure they have lots of cute moments every day, but some are cuter than others and you don't want your spouse to miss something because they're not there at that moment.)

From there it goes to the diaper change. Diaper changes haven't been a big issue for us lately (for the people at daycare, that's another matter). Other than Sarah and I alternating who gets the duties when we're both home together, diapers have been a relatively painless process.

After that, it's feeding time. This is where the morning can really go out of whack. Gaby's bottle feedings with me can range anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes. It's all a matter of what she feels like on that given day. Today, she was done in 15 minutes.

(Side note: Can someone get HBO or Showtime to put something good on at 6AM CST? Due to a promotion that my wife and I got in on we get both of these channels free for 6 months and I believe I've seen 1 decent movie on at 6 in the morning. On the good side of the dial though, Discovery HD runs a great show called Sunrise Earth. Basically it's just HDTV footage of a sunrise. No music, no nothing. A very nice show for first thing in the morning.)

Once that process is complete and she's been burped, I can actually start "my" portion of getting ready. I put her in her bouncy seat, where she will hopefully entertain herself for a little while, and I head for the shower.

(Side note: Sarah and I have a kick-ass shower. If you're considering re-doing your bathroom or building a home, take some time and think about how you actually use your shower every single day. We went with a Water Haven from Kohler and it's easily worth the money we had to put into it. We put in a Whirlpool tub and I've used it exactly 2 times. Just to put it all in perspective. Seriously though, I actually look forward to taking a shower in the morning now. This thing rocks! )

After the shower things can get a bit tricky. Typically you would just get dressed and get started on things after that, but now you have other things to consider. You have to look at the fact that, while your child has been burped, you could be looking at a potential clothing disaster the next time you pick them up. This can lead to situations where you're walking around the house in your robe up to the last few minutes before you leave.

If you were lucky, you took a bit of time after getting your child into their car seat and actually grabbed a bit of food for yourself. Remember, your child woke you up to get breakfast, it's probably a good idea for you to follow their example.

So, your child is in their car seat and ready to go. Time to head out the door, right? Nope. Now you have to begin the process of determining what they'll need for the trip. In today's case, it was a light day for her. I just had to grab the diaper bag for Sarah, as we were doing a baby swap at my work place in the morning.

Day care days involve labeling all of her bottles, documenting her morning for the day care workers, and getting multiple outfits for her (for when she has diaper issues during the day.)

After that, you have to try and plan for yourself. For me, I had to grab my bag that I take to work. Add to that the gym bag that I had to take, because of a volleyball game later in the evening, and I couldn't forget my water bottle.

When you're all done and carrying all of these items to the car, you can't help but feel like you're a pack mule that is preparing for some sort of epic journey that could take months. Not a journey that would be taking you 30 minutes, by car, to your workplace.

What's funny is that I actually enjoy this whole process. Gaby.19w is really a very good kid and doesn't complain all that much. She makes my mornings alone with her go very well due to the fact that she doesn't mind being left in her bouncy seats and being left to entertain herself. Hopefully she'll see, in time, that Sarah and I are both very solitary people that also happen to enjoy each other's company, and maybe she'll find herself in that same isolated crowd as well.

So, to any of you out there that do not have kids yet, and are planning to, and think your schedule is busy now, you're going to be in for a lot of fun.

I'm going to get a very hot seat.

As soon as the pope passed away and I realized that they were going to have to select a new head of the Catholic church I came to the stark realization that my brain is too in-tune with television.

The first thing that came to my mind was a SNL or Mad TV sketch that I thought should be made called "Vatican Idol."

How tough would it be to throw a few actors in robes and have them give mini-sermons in front of a panel of cardinals and then post the numbers for people to vote on them. I'm sure that there is at least one African American comedian on both of those shows that could put together a Randy Jackson impression in no time. How do you say, "I'm really feeling ya" in Latin? They could have a fake MTV bit called "Rock the Pope." Damn, why isn't anyone hearing these ideas in my head?

Another revelation that came from the passing of the pope was the reported fact that he died in his private apartment. Who would have thought that the pope had a Crib?

One minute he's an old man withering away in Rome and the next I'm picturing him decked out in bling and hanging with Xzibit and talking about installing green neon deck lighting on the Pope mobile. Another great insight into how my mind works.

(As a side note. I personally think it's great that my spell checker caught my initial incorrect spelling of Pope mobile. Who would have thought it wasn't one word. It's like the Batmobile, isn't it? Well, without the cool jets and stuff... but MTV might be working on that.)

Where's Dom DeLuise now?

When the Pope passed away recently a few random thoughts popped into my head. Obviously this isn't the first time that random thoughts popped into my head, but they were pretty wide ranging.

The first thing that I thought of pertained to my religious upbringing. The next thoughts will be in a story later today.

Before we moved to New York for a summer when I was 8 years old, we lived in Madison for a year. One of the wonderful things about youth is the fact that you sometimes have little to no awareness about your surroundings. Back then, I thought that I just lived in a normal neighborhood in the middle of a "big city." Now, I know that we were living in one of Madison's poorest neighborhoods. To me, I never really thought anything of the fact that we didn't have much as children. I just went with it, which is what you do when you're eight. You just roll with the punches (Yeah, I did get beat up at school too... but that should hardly come as a surprise.)

My mother was raised Roman Catholic and so, by default, my sisters and I were raised that way as well. When I was a child, I actually liked church. I didn't mind getting up early on my Sunday mornings and dressing up and going to Sunday school. I can still remember some of the "classes" that I went through. I remember being taught all of the prayers that you were expected to know as a good Christian child. To me, this is strange. My memory is literally swiss cheese. There is massive holes and gaps throughout all of my childhood years. In fact, there are large holes and gaps throughout my memories of my whole life, but for some reason I can remember some portions of a Sunday school class where I had to memorize "Hail Mary."

There is one moment from that year that still to this day makes me smile. I think it's one of those moments in your life where, even though you're young and you don't know it, you really have begun to become the person you will be when you grow up.

My mother, my two sisters, and myself all went to church on one Sunday. To a young 8-year old boy in Madison, WI it was just one Sunday like any one before it. If it was summer, you just wanted to get home so you could go out and play baseball with friends. If it was winter, you just wanted to get home so you could cheer on the Packers and hope that just this once, they would actually win a game.

I can't recall what time of the year that this event actually happened, I think I was wearing a jacket, but I really can't be certain. It's not really all that important, but this is just the way my mind works when I'm putting a story together, so I figured I'd let you all share in the wonder.

Our church was a good deal more full than it had been on any other day that I could recall. Everyone was dressed better than they were on the average Sunday. I do recall seeing more people in suit jackets than I had seen on a regular Sunday before. I just figured that everyone felt the need to be a bit more "snappy" that week.

After a while, people began to quiet down and the organ began indicating the mass was about to start. People's heads turned towards the entrance to the building to watch the procession to indicate the beginning of the service. But today was different. There was a good deal more fan fare.

When you're eight and you're not really sure who or what you're going to become in your life, every event that you take part in could lead you in one direction or another. On this day, I believe that one of the seminal moments of my life occurred.

Everyone in the whole church was staring at the people walking through the entrance and I was no exception, but there was something that peaked my attention. There was one person that people were staring at more than any of the other people. Like everyone else, my gaze was firmly locked onto him. There was something that I just couldn't put my finger on though. I had no idea who this person was. I had been to church every week and this person had never been there. What was the big deal?

At this point, the whole church was silent. No music was playing. No one was talking. There is a certain level of stillness and quiet that I believe only a church can attain, and this was that moment.

I turned to my mother and said, quite loudly...


I think my mother's face found a new shade of red that day.

It wasn't the Pope, of course, it was just some Cardinal or Bishop and he was actually very good hearted about it. He just looked at me and smiled. There were a good deal of laughs amongst the rest of the people there that day as well.

I love the fact that when you're that age you can say most anything and get away with it. For me though, I think that moment really helped define some of my core beliefs and I also think it started me on the path to where I am today, as far as religion is concerned. I think it also started me on the path of trying to entertain others. Sure, I didn't know that what I was saying quite loudly was blasphemy, but I know it now. And now I find it extremely funny.