Thursday, February 28, 2008

Internet Hero

I recently read that the ratio of internet users to bloggers is roughly 1:1. Of course, once that happens, people look to other forms of entertaining themselves (monkeys!, knitting!) and the novelty wears off. I knew the end was near when I started this one, way back in '07, so I gave myself a little direction: never use the word "blog," don't make the focus me, and keep it about Dylan and the ranch. By doing those small things, I thought I could singlehandedly topple Facebook and MySpace and bring blogging back to its rightful place at the top of internet supremecy. And here I am, breaking all the rules.

There are worse things than struggling to come up with a fresh idea to write about. For example, toxic mushroom ingestion, bloody noses, and overflowing diapers -- all topics that can fill pages, but not exactly what one hopes to write about. This week, I've waited for an event ... a new tooth, first steps, an original musical score. Nothing. And it would be easy to assume that, in looking for the forest, I'm missing the trees. But trees here at casa de Eastside are spread pretty thin and I've realized that's what this "assignment" has provided: a chance to notice what I might otherwise have overlooked.

These last two weeks have been dull by Dylan's standards. No ER visits, no hallelujah moments. But they have been full of hungry Hulk growls and pee-you diaper giggles, three second hugs (a record!), and small snuggles. I've dwelled on these moments and tried to memorize them. Moments worth sharing? Hardly. They're pretty much standard fare in the canon of fatherhood, but they are the moments that matter and what make being a dad, even a clueless one, so cool.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunshine and Suck Soup

I've mentioned lately, dear reader (that's you, Mom. Thanks.), that Dylan is now mobile. She crawls like she's being chased and if this were August, I'd put good money on her to win the diaper-derby at the fair. But, it's not fair-time and all of her crawling has been indoors. Until today.

Today we changed her training routine and thought it would be fun to see how she did on grass. Kind of like running an American Thoroughbred on a European track. It was the first sunny day we've had in weeks and not having to worry about Dylan crawling too close to the wood stove or eating hibernating flies seemed like a great idea. Outside was gorgeous: no clouds, the snow was nearly melted off the lawn, and even my sick wife crawled out of bed to soak up some sun. Perfect. Right up until we watched, but could not stop, as Dylan put a big piece of the weird mushroom that grows on our lawn into her mouth.

We cleared out what we could and I rinsed her mouth with enough water to violate a few treaties of the Geneva Conventions. When Poison Control told me that I should drive, just not too fast, to the hospital, I started to worry. And for the next five hours, all Regina and I could do was worry.

I'd hoped this entry would be about the dinner we had at an Italian restaurant last Friday. Dylan, even with a cold, was on her game. She brought the word, "Hi," back to her vocabulary from a two week hiatus and used it on anyone who looked our way. She commanded attention like a kind and cute Tony Soprano. Waiters and waitresses smiled and waved and Dylan smiled and waved back. She even earned us a free dessert. Awesome doesn't describe it.

Instead of contemplating how I'd write about our perfect dinner out, I listened to a doctor tell us he wanted to put a big syringe full of liquid charcoal (suck-soup, we named it) up Dylan's nose and into her stomach. Dylan, we learned, doesn't like things shoved up her nose and into her stomach. Who'd of thought? Even after two shots of animal tranquilizer (Regina recognized the name from her vet-office days), the tube would not go in. Dylan, we learned next, likes getting an IV in her hand less than a tube up her nose. But that was the only option left and we watched, pale and terrified, as our baby had a needle stuck into a vein and a big dose of sedative was administered. Then she got her beloved nose tube and a tummy full of liquid charcoal.

I know there is something to be learned here, more than, "don't let baby eat weird mushrooms," but this wound is still too fresh to contemplate. So, for now, I'll check in on her and make sure she's sleeping soundly. Tomorrow, I'll see what I can do to rid the yard of fungi and hopefully we'll avoid another serving of suck-soup.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The spawn of Ted Kennedy and Bob Burnquist

I'm always amazed at the callousness in which veteran parents react to their children's bumps and scrapes. I once saw a child with some bleeding injury show her father the wound and the father, who happened to be a medical doctor, replied, "Maybe you should see a doctor." The child stormed off and the dad just shrugged and took another sip of his beer.

New parents don't have that thick skin yet and so when Dylan got her first scrape (and bloody nose) this week from doing a header off a bed, I think most expected our reaction to fall between a Drivers' Education instructor in Thanksgiving traffic and a Baptist in Amsterdam on the shocked scale.

Surprisingly, Regina and I were unfazed by the news. Probably because we're both still in disbelief that we actually have a real baby. "Is she okay?" we both asked. Yes, was the reply, she is now.
"Okay? She could have been really hurt."
"She's tough," I said. "But she wasn't hurt," said Regina (the better and more appropriate response I later learned).

At first, Dylan's nose looked a little like Ted Kennedy's: red and swollen. Currently, she's lost that alcoholic Senator's glow and looks like a typical fourth place finisher in any X-Games competition. It's just a nice scab and is healing well. She's also quickly learning not to pick scabs and how to say, "Owww."

Dylan came home today with a fresh wound on her head. Did I mention that she's standing? And falling? Hence the head wound. The word today was that she didn't even cry over this one. "She's tough," I beamed, just before Regina cuffed me on the back of the head.