The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Parential Discretion Advised

On Sunday we went to our friends son Milo's first birthday party. As we were mingling I got several, "Oh... it's like I already know you from your Blog." (!!!)

People actually read what I write? Nice, sweet parents of these adorable kids? Maybe I should reconsider the things I write about, and curb some of my cynicism. Honestly, I'm a really nice guy, it only seems like I think everyone is an idiot.

So the first thing that raced through my mind after meeting some of my readership was, "Maybe I better not publish my last post." So I've been sitting on it for a while, thinking about toning it down. Maybe I will roll it back a notch for future posts, but this one was already written, so here goes.

Yesterday afternoon we gathered around the TV to spend a little family downtime together. Much of the day was spent setting up our new home, watching The Boy, unpacking boxes, watching The Boy, installing a coat rack, watching The Boy, rearranging some furniture, playing with The Boy, sweeping the floor, moving The Boy to a safer location. I've never unpacked so slowly before in my life!

Back to the downtime. I usually don't turn the TV on when The Boy's around. I know that he will be exposed to thousands of hours of television before he's even twelve years old, so the longer I can hold off the better. P and I aren't necessarily anti-TV, we probably watch on average about five hours a week, but right now he can be so easily entertained with a metal bowl and spatula so why turn the TV on? Not to mention how transfixed he gets whenever it catches his attention, he'll stop whatever he's doing and stare blankly at the screen, and that scares the hell out of me.

But it was a busy day, and I'm too tired to chase him around, so I'll make exception and spend a few minutes watching Tree House with him. Tree House is a commercial-free kids station, if The Boy is going watch TV, I'd rather it be this.

There are two women on the screen talking in high-pitched voices, The Boy seems taken with them, but they are driving me crazy with their kiddie-talk and antics. "Should I put the bird-feeder in my pantry?" "How about under my bed?"

Me: Y'know, that blond one probably takes it up the ass.
P: Uh huh.

(Sometimes I think my delightful wife just agrees with me as a way to avoid listening me go off on some 20-minute tangent. It works!)

What compels someone to become an actor on a kids station? And what sort of demo reel are you going to build with a painted face, mop-top wig and high-squeaky voice? Unless they've had their sights set on becoming the next big childrens entertainer, I'm sure Tree House was the last thing on their minds as they graduated from Juilliard.

I guess you've got to pay the bills somehow.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mobility Update

The Boy crawls! He took his first few 'steps' yesterday and hasn't looked back. While this is a thrilling milestone to reach, it couldn't come at a worse time. Right now we're up to our armpits in boxes, we've got hundreds of square feet of wall to paint and lots tasks that involve power tools, sharp implements and pointy bits. Not the ideal environment for a baby on the go.

Fortunately he uses his new found freedom for task oriented goals, like reaching a particular toy then sitting down to play with it, instead of exploring. So while he can move around, he still doesn't go too far - thankfully.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

10 Month Review


Finally The Boy falls asleep! An unfortunate development in the past month is a sudden reluctance to lay down in his crib, either for a nap or bedtime. Lately when we put The Boy down and he'll pretty much start crying right away, eventually sitting up on his mattress bawling, and he ain't falling sleep sitting on his ass.

So our new bedtime routine is we lay him down. He cries and sits up. We lay him down. He cries and sits up. We lay him down. He cries and sits up. This goes on until eventually we lay him down and leave the room. Soon the bawling turns to sobbing, deep sobbing. It breaks our hearts but we let him cry it out for a while. After a few minutes we'll go back into his room, lay him down again, sooth him and watch him tearfully fall asleep.

It's exhausting!

Not to mention we feel like the worse parents in the world leaving our son to cry alone in his room. Here's hoping this is just a phase The Boy will outgrow, because this routine will really suck if he keeps it up till he's sixteen.

Other than this getting-to-sleep issue, The Boy is pretty much always in a good mood. The past month has been filled with lots of laughs, squeals, smiles and uncontrollable arm flapping and foot shuffling. He'd would probably be crawling by now if not for one big flaw in his technique -- whenever he pushes with his legs forward, he plants his face on the floor, seriously impeding his forward momentum. Personally I still think he's walk before he crawls, he's already pulling himself up on anything that will support him.

The Boy is now close to 22 pounds, and has really gotten taller the past month. It's been really cool to watch him go from a gigantic-headed, chimp-armed, barrel-chested infant to wider, longer and better proportioned baby. Like a Chia-Pet, if you nuture and care for him, he'll grow! Now that would be a parenting book I'd buy - Raise Your Child Like a Chia-Pet.

His cognetive development really ramped up the past month as well. Now he actually plays with his toys, instead of just slapping at them or whipping them around the room. The downside to this though is that he's way harder to distract. Once he puts his mind to getting something like say the kitchen knife or bag of nails (Note to self, don't leave the kitchen knife on the floor) you'd be lucky to get his mind onto something else. Not looking forward to baby-proofing our home that's for sure.

He's taking a keen interest in other people. Stranger anxiety is definitely not an issue with him. He'll smile his big grin and call out "Eh" to anyone in earshot. And keep it up until they finally smile back or walk away (which almost never happens because he's so freaking cute - in my humble opinion). He especially likes other kids. If they're anywhere near him he'll reach out to touch them. If they're too far away he'll just gaze in awe. Young kids, old kids, infants, whatever, he's just fascinated with his contemporaries.

The Boy has discovered a new way to look at the world, with his head tilted sideways like a Jack Russell Terrier. Now if I could only get him to bring me the paper we'd be set. P has faithfully been cooking baby food for him, trying out all sorts of combinations. A meal usually starts with her tasting her latest creation, which completely grosses me out seeing she mixes her breast milk into the food -- it's like eating a part of yourself. Ugh!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Hello From The Middle of Nowhere

We're in! Two trucks, one van, five men, over eighty boxes and one lost Internet connection later we've moved into our new digs.

Truth be told we only viewed the place once before we bought it, so as the day drew closer we started being filled with anxiety, "I never really did get a close look at the open house." "The place could be a piece of crap." "What if there are no toilets?"

I'm pleased to report that the place is not a piece of crap, and there are indeed toilets. Four toilets to be exact. There are so many toilets in our home we each of us could take a shit at the same time, and still invite our neighbour over to join us.

While it may not be run down, the decor on the other hand, whoa! It's like we took a time capsule back 25 years and landed in the home of someone with bad taste. Tiffany swag lamps in the bathroom, salmon pink walls throughout the main floor, crystal chandelier in the dining room, hideous tiling. How can anyone live this way? We were hoping to be able to move in, unpack and live again, but it looks like we've got some work ahead of us.

The Boy took the whole move in stride, barely skipping a beat. The first night he was a little weirded out, but since then he's completely taken to his new surroundings. P and I on the other hand are going to take some time to adjust to our new neighbourhood. We miss the energy and convenience of nearby shops, cafes and restaurants. Now we walk out our door and... nothing. Barely a soul on the sidewalk let alone anything even remotely resembling a coffee shop. No question we are definitely in the suburbs. Might as well be the moon, but the area is actually called Killarney.

We moved here for The Boy though, and Killarney is a better area to bring him up. No more needles in the stairwell, sex in the alley, drug dealers and hippies, or more accurately hipster-doofus-wanna-be hippies. Bongo playing, baggy pant wearing hipsters - I can't stand 'em. I'm fully behind the hippie ideal that everyone should work together to make the world a better place. Wanna-be hippies only pay lip-service to the good hippie ideals, and embrace all the bad hippie traits like tie-dyed clothes, freeloading and twirling; ceaseless twirling. What is it with hippies and twirling?

Hmmmm... so no hipsters. When I think about it that way, I love my new neighbourhood!