Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Keeping Up With the Hannas

Tonight, as I write this, Dylan is in her crib, wearily mumbling, "Hiiii Ah-ki," (translation: Hi, horse) too exhausted to sleep. It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for our baby, starting with her first steps, followed by, but not related to, her first black eye, then her first birthday (and party), visits from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and finally, today, her baptism (and party).

Needless to say, the Eastside gang are all a little rummy. In the past few days, I've tentatively stepped into Corrigan's for the first time in a year, stayed up past my bedtime on three consecutive nights, neglected my work on the ranch, been sunburned, learned that Bruce Jenner is the dad on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," and have stuffed myself with Brazilian food and light beer.

While her parents are a little frayed around the edges, Dylan has handled it all with grace. She actually smiled when the baptism water hit her head (and stuck out her tongue to catch a falling drop). She then waved to the congregation like a prom queen. She buttered up her grandparents with over the top cuteness, and opened all her gifts with just the right amounts of glee, appreciation, and surprise. And she still found the time to prepare for the 4 Meter Walk in Beijing this summer.

And now, finally, we've turned out the lights and the party's over. If I stay up another fifteen minutes, it'll make four late nights in a row (unheard of since my college days). Dylan is quiet in her bed now, getting her beauty rest and, most likely, fully expecting another huge family gathering in her honor by tomorrow afternoon. We'll keep working on pronouncing "horse," and will keep practicing walking. And if Bruce Jenner wants to leave trash-TV and make an Olympic comeback, Dylan will be there, in China, ready to beat his ass.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Portland Tour Guide

Last weekend, the Eastside Gang packed up and took a trip to Portland. How nice, you might be thinking, Portland's lovely this time of year. And you'd be right: it is. But this weren't no Forced Family Fun -- this was business. Okay, Regina was in a bachelorette party, but that's business, right?

It was Daddy-n-me time for Dylan and we did it right. Sort of. I took her to the zoo and Dylan got a nice look at the parking lot as we passed the hoards of people lined into the street. So we skipped the zoo and went downtown. I figured, I love Powell's Bookstore, Dylan might too. At least she could have fun pulling books from the shelves. So we parked behind the store and I waited while Dylan napped. And I waited, and waited, until finally I just felt like a bookstore stalker and left. So I decided to take Dylan swimming ... one of Bean's favorite activities. The sign read, "Pool Closed," but I didn't really believe it. We played on the the top step until we were informed that, yes, the pool really was closed because it had been shocked with a massive dose of chlorine. We left and took a nice clean water bath as I checked Dylan for chemical burns.

What does a good father do when everything he's tried has failed? I'll be sure to ask one when I meet him; instead, I took my daughter to Hooters.

I'll tell you this: bringing a baby to Hooters draws more attention than a puppy at the park. And the place was hopping -- hula hoops, loud music, wall to wall televisions, balloons, and maybe even a waitress or two. Dylan was in sensory heaven. The waitresses ogled over Dylan and passed me more napkins as I gorged myself on hot wings and Guiness. "She's a cutie," one hot-pantsed waitress exclaimed, "Where's her mommy?" Sensing an opportunity for some free hot wings, I wiped the bleu cheese from my chin and choked out, "There was a terrible fire ..."

Okay, I didn't say it, and the only thing any waitress said to me, aside from,"Here's another napkin," was, "Maybe she'll be a Hooters' girl someday." I looked at the sheer joy on Dylan's face as she tried to eat her balloon. Yes, girl who wrote her name on my napkin for no apparent reason, maybe she will.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bo and Che

Sometime during my fifth or sixth year of high school, I took a course called "CHE II." To this day, I have no idea what "CHE" means. Maybe I was in my revolutionary phase and mistakingly thought it was a course on Che Guevara, or maybe I thought the school secretary misspelled PE II, but for whatever reason, I took it. Obviously I'd passed CHE I and felt I needed a little more CHE-ing.

The two assignments I remember from the semester both reflect poorly on my parenting skills. The first was "Baby Egg." Modern high school students pack around realistic looking infants which can be programmed to be anything from colicky to constipated. In the late 80s, baby technology was still in its infancy and, for our parenting unit, we were supposed to care for a raw egg as if it were our own baby. I put mine in my jacket pocket and immediately broke it.

The second assignment was a letter to our first child, and mom kept this until the birth of Dylan. The outside of the coffee-stained envelope reads: "To my first child -- Bo Rowdy Hanna." It was written at the time when Bo Jackson was kicking-ass as a Raider, so I thought the name to be perfect. Obviously, I was expecting a boy.

I have the letter in front of me now and I'll share some pearls of wisdom from a seventeen year old. First, under no circumstances would I be strict. I decided that letting "you make your decisions on your own" would be wise and that I'd be around, somewhere, for support if little Bo needed it. Secondly, I wrote that I wouldn't set any expectations for Bo Rowdy. Even as a high school senior with a mushy brain, I saw the flaw in this thinking, so I changed it to, "I'm not going to set many expectations," because, I didn't want to "interfere a lot."

I think I'd envisioned fatherhood much like raising a kitten. Set out a little food, a dish of water, and a litter box, and next thing you know, little Bo is graduating from high school and we're all so proud. I ended the masterpiece with, "I better jam. See ya in a few years."

Fortunately, a few years turned into eighteen. Barely enough time to correct some of my flaws in fathering logic, but my ideas about a hands-off approach seem pretty stupid now. Although, I do still like the name "Bo-Rowdy."

Well, I'd better jam.