The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My Future As A Hockey Dad

P and I were at a party a while back, one of the rare occasions we're socializing without The Boy. We moved through the crowd, meeting and greeting, before settling into a conversation with a nice couple clutching a baby girl. Naturally the conversation revolved around the cherub, the usual parent small talk, age, name, size, etc "... and she's sixteen pounds."

"Wow, she's a big girl"... you lying bastards.

Clearly she couldn't have been that heavy, she was a full month younger than The Boy, and from my perspective a full two inches smaller in height, width and depth.

And the rest of the night I was obsessed with this. "How can she be heavier?" "Did you get a close look, she was clearly smaller." "What sort of drugs are they on?"

"Well The Boy is part Asian," P offered, "so maybe he inherited smaller Asian bones. It's not a bad thing, I'm attracted to you."

Why thanks honey, and might I say you look hot in that pant suit too.

What really surprised me was how quickly I started comparing their baby with ours, and how easy it was start thinking that way. I'm really not that competitive, and I tend to demur instead of taking the limelight. So how did this happen? Why should I really care if the aforementioned girl was actually heavier than The Boy?

I guess as a parent you become so intensely proud of your baby (and if you're not, you really shouldn't be a parent) that it skews your entire perspective. We all think our kid is the strongest, largest, smartest, fastest, but in reality every child is different. The Boy is what he is, and he'll develop at his own pace.

Hey, maybe there's hope for me yet. Maybe I'll become a Soccer Mom instead.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Sun Neen Fi Lok.

There's Money In Here?

What Do You Mean You're Putting This In The Bank?

I'd Like To Put It In My Mouth Instead.

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

T-Minus Three Weeks And Counting

I walked past the calendar the other day. Actually I walk past it several times a day; our house isn't all that big and, in order to maximize calendar-effectiveness, we hang it in a really obvious spot. So let me rephrase that...

In one of my many encounters with the calendar the other day I noticed something written on it: P has started counting down the days till The Boy's six month birthday, the day we start him on solid food. It's his next major milestone and it appears she's excited.

The menu is all planned out. Rice pabulum with a rice pabulum demi-glaze, chased down with a big helping of breast milk. If everything goes according to plan, he will eat almost none of it, but we're going to have a great time trying.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bring on Summer

Last Saturday was the first decent day in weeks, so we decided to go out for a family walk. They're doing some major sewer work up our street, making it near impossible to maneuver a stroller. Damn inconvenient, but I guess that's the price you pay to ensure your shit flows free and easy. So it seemed like as good a time as any to try out the new baby backpack my brother-in-law gave us.

We strolled to get a coffee, then dropped in to visit the Diaper Dame, Dread Pirate Robert and their son Milo. P and the Dame are good friends, but I've never met them before. It was a bit surreal, I know them only through their blogs, but they are as entertaining in person as they are in writing, and they look like their pictures too. From there we went for ice cream before heading home. Good family walk.

All in all the backpack was an unanimous success. The Boy loved being back there, sitting up and being able to check out the world around him. I liked having my hands free and not being confined to only places large enough for a stroller; looks like the backpack is going to get a lot of use.

But while it was thumbs-up all around for the backpack, getting The Boy ready for the backpack was thumbs-down. We have to dress him warmly for the stroller, but that usually just involves a bunting bag and blanket, fairly straightforward. For the backpack we had to get him into pants, shoes, sweater, jacket and a hat, just too many pieces to pull his little arms and legs through, not to mention he's completely overheated by the time he's dressed. The Boy was pissed and started howling, and we hadn't even zipped his jacket up yet. I can't wait for summer - T-shirt, shorts, hat and we're good to go.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Standard of Excellence

I've commented before about how once you become a parent you discover all the things you never knew you could do one-handed. Carrying a babe in one arm you're relegated to doing everything else with the other. One handed typing (like I'm doing now), cooking, eating, housework - it's all possible. Last Sunday, I raised the bar.

The three of us were out for a relaxing mid-day brunch. Before leaving I thought I should change The Boy's diaper; it had been a few hours and we still had some errands to run. I head off to the Men's room, "Hmph no change table." Undaunted I duck into a stall for an impromptu toilet top changing - any port in a storm and besides it seemed cleaner than the floor. The Boy didn't care, he was having a great time on top of the toilet, laughing and flailing about. In fact he was having so much fun I started getting worried the other Men's room patrons, not realizing I was changing a baby, would think I let out high pitch squeals while I relieve myself. "Yeah I'm okay in here, just uh... concentrating."

Squealing aside I get The Boy changed, dressed and ready to go. I'm just about to step out of the stall when those cups of coffee over brunch catch up with me. What to do? Should I run down the stairs, navigate the crowd, hand The Boy to P and run back up the stairs to pee? Seems like a lot of work.

So while holding The Boy in one arm I manage to unhitch myself, take a slash, hitch back up, flush the toilet and wash my hands, all without spilling a drop. Now that's a new personal best!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Five Month Review

I'm a walking zombie. Before The Boy was born, people kept telling me, "If you make through the first six weeks, you're home free." Here I am, five months in, and I'm far more tired now than I ever was during those first six weeks.

Those were heady times back then. The sun was high, days were long and we were flushed with the excitement of being new parents. The Boy, like most newborns, was waking up every 2-3 hours for feedings. 1:00am, 2:00am, 3:00am, it didn't matter. He'd wake up, I'd go get him, check his diaper and bring him to bed, where P would feed him while she slept. The whole process - for me at least - took all of four minutes.

At 11 weeks he began sleeping through the night. Then at 16 weeks he began waking up again; only once a night but still we were perplexed. We know he can sleep though the night. He seems to have gotten the "middle-of-the-night-feeding" monkey off his back (a difficult monkey to remove, other parents have attested to). So do we a) reattach the monkey and start feeding him again or b) let him cry himself back to sleep? Late December we settled in on a hybrid of the two.

We don't jump up to get him right away, but we don't let him cry for more than 30 minutes or so. More often than not he'll fall back to sleep within 10 minutes, but if he's still crying after 30 minutes, or he's just going ballistic, I'll get up and feed him a couple of ounces from a bottle; enough to take the edge off and get him calmed down. This method seems to be working, he's slept through the night every day this week. The downside though; I'm up way longer now - either listening to see if he's falling asleep again or feeding him - than I ever was during his early days. I am tired!

While I'm dead on my feet, the last month has been watershed month for The Boy. He went though a major growth spurt, gaining a pound and a half in just three weeks (which might explain the night feedings), and has gotten significantly longer. Something I noticed after being repeatedly being kicked in the nuts by him on the change table, "Umph... ohh... och... Hey Honey! I think he's grown!"

The Boy has developed cognitively too, really concentrating, trying to figure things out and make things happen. He's also begun to roll over both ways and has started vocalizing, there's just so many things he wants to say. He actually sounds much like I do when I'm drunk, "aab, aab, aab, aab, aaaaaaab." Now that I think about it, I have hazy recollections of rolling on the floor both ways too when I'm in that state. And spitting up. Wow, the fruit really does fall close to the tree.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Meal Me Way of Life

Food Photography is becoming more and more mainstream! A recent article in the Globe & Mail on the emerging culture of snapping pictures of your food. Looks like we launched Meal Me at the right time. Thanks to Shona for the article.

MealMe is going strong after just five months. We get about 1500 visitors a month, but we need more correspondents. So hey, if any of you want in on this hot, new fad, grab your camera and get eating!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Better Baby Carrier

P is at the gym. I had laundry in the dryer. Carrying The Boy to the laundry room was easy, carrying him and a basket of clothes back, not so much. Either I dumped the clean clothes on the floor, or I dump The Boy. He was nonplussed when I put him in the basket, then he got pissed off, but we all arrived back safely. As a special bonus, when I picked him up he was "dryer-warm". As a double special bonus, he didn't soil himself on the clean clothes.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Goodbye Folks. Hello Freaks.

Spent a great Christmas holiday at our respective parents' places in Prince George and Victoria. Both sets of parents were thrilled to have The Boy around and lavished him with attention. Ceaseless playing and bouncing and cooing and jumping, and even though we were usually in there playing too, it was nice to be able to step back once in a while knowing he was in good hands. As an added bonus The Boy travels well. Yup a great holiday.

For Christmas The Boy gave us the gift of sleep. His middle-of-the-night wakings I've well documented, but on Christmas Eve he slept, and slept, and slept right up until 7:30 am! It didn't come wrapped in a stocking, but it was the best possible gift wet could ask for. Thanks Santa.

Between visits we spent a couple of days at home, and each time as we headed back into town the first thing that struck me was, "Wow there are a lot of freaks in Vancouver." As the province's largest city, I guess it attracts the largest population of those who live on the fringe or beyond.

Up in Prince George, aside from the fact there seem to be a lot of 'big' people there (just about every man looks like John Goodman), PG's crustiest citizen would fit right into Vancouver's ritzier neighbourhoods. Victoria isn't much different, the city attracts a larger share of the unwashed than PG does, but all in all it's a neat and tidy place to be.

But we love our city. It's that edge that gives Vancouver its energy, and makes my daily commute more interesting. Our neighbourhood in particular attracts more than its fair share of dumpster divers, addicts and squeegy kids, but we've never felt unsafe or threatened; just disappointed. So while the scariest thing about Prince George might be staring down the butt crack of the man in front of you at the Wal-Mart check-out (if you're going to wear suspenders - tighten them up) we'd still rather live here.

Looking forward to 2006, freaks and all.