Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Adventure

First of all, let me say this: everyone is fine.

A couple days ago, Kate went to the lactation consultant because she was having problems breastfeeding. In short, any time Aislin had to eat Kate had to cry because it was uber painful. Blisters. Swelling. Cracks. You get the idea. The consultant suggested trying a different type of bottle, nipple shields, and a topical ointment called gentian violet. It was kind of funny after Kate put this stuff on because Aislin looked like a little goth baby with a purple five o' clock shadow. We got some pictures and I'll add them to my facebook page once I've reclaimed some of my lost rest.

Last night it got interesting.

At midnight, Kate was in bed and I was awake finishing a video game I rented from Hollywood video (Prince of Persia -- a decent game, but I felt the ending betrayed the mood of the rest of the game. Still impressive and bold in it's choice, and I was afraid it would be something like this... anyway.) plus Hollywood video is bankrupt so I wanted to get the game back to them before the doors closed forever. Why don't I just keep it, you ask? Because I have too many games already, jackass. Now shut up and let me tell you what's really important.

Aislin starts to cry. I try to feed her, but she is none too interested. Aha! Diaper. I go into the nursery to change her diaper. As she is lying on the changing table, she vomited a little bit. Blood. My baby girl spit up blood. Never a good sign. I woke up Kate who called Ask a Nurse who said "take her to the ER." So we did. Five hours later, all her blood work, ultrasounds, everything is coming back ok. Meanwhile, Aislin is totally chill. Not the least bit distressed until they start poking her, rubbing cold gel on her, or otherwise detaining her from eating. The doctors are afraid she could have internal bleeding. Kate is convinced it's actually HER blood (remember the cracks on the nipples?), but there's no way to be sure without checking out her stomach lining. I suggest just test the blood she spat up and see whose it is. The only problem is this is real life, not CSI. Stupid Steve.

There's only one option: go to Doernbecker Children's Hospital in Portland. For those not in the know, it's a section of OHSU. It was 5:00 AM. We'd been at the hospital since midnight and I hadn't slept at all. Kate had slept for about two hours. Doernbecker is a scary place for Kate because that's where her sister was treated for her brain tumor and ultimately died. On top of this being a thoroughly exhausting trip, both physically and financially, it becomes incredibly stressful emotionally.

I drive most of the way, but find myself nodding off north of Salem so we switch. In five minutes I'm asleep. We get to the hospital, they run some tests, my parents come up, it's all very exciting. Kate and I also get some sleep on a single-size bed they have in the room. Aislin's totally chill. The doctors and nurses are a little freaked out by her purple mouth. After more tests and blood work, they conclude Aislin's just fine. That means the blood is Kate's, and we can't have Aislin drinking her mommy's blood. That's just not ok. So, we decide to have her frenulum snipped to loosen her tongue. This should improve her latch and make everyone more comfortable; it will also decrease her chances of developing a speech impediment later in life.

We got home maybe an hour ago. It's nearly 6:00. Not ok. We're encouraged by everything, but the possibility of bankruptcy looms in my imagination. I heard Kate telling her mom (who was worried sick for completely understandable reasons) that it was over. I thought in my head that this trip is over, but we'll have to see if the problem is truly solved. Plus this trip will have repercussions we'll have to face soon. Gulp. Over? Probably not.

But we're all ok and Dad's buying us pizza. It was quite an adventure but I'm glad to see the back of it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nights out, sleeping patterns, and idiocy

Today Mom and Dad offered to babysit Aislin while Kate and I have dinner out on them. It was way too good an offer to pass up. We talked about going to Big River or Aqua, but we ended up going to Applebee's. I nearly ate myself sick. It was a fantastic time. Afterwords, we went to Francesco's for gelato. Mom and Dad were sorry to see us return "so soon." Apparently, Aislin had slept a majority of the time except for what sounded like a very exciting episode where she woke up and cried. Mom changed her diaper and fed her, and Aislin went back to sleep. Sage, my parents' dog, didn't know what to think of Aislin crying. The dog started barking along with her. And then, Dad held Aislin while Mom got a changing station ready, and Sage didn't think too highly of the alpha male in the group holding a baby girl. It must have been funny. I'm kind of sorry I missed it. Mom and Dad say they'll have to do it again so they have more time to spend with her. We're all for it.

Kate goes back to work next week, and I'm a little nervous about it. Not so much because I'll be at home alone with the baby, but -- this sounds kind of silly I guess -- our circadian rhythms are off. We've gotten kind of used to staying up past midnight, in my case up to 3:00, and then sleeping in to the afternoon. Last night I tried to go to bed early but I ended up tossing and turning for hours and I still slept in until noon. Come next Wednesday, Kate will need to be at work by 8:30. If things stay the way they are, she won't make it and I'll be dead to the world.

In other news, I read a review of the new Prince of Persia game (which I totally want to play) on IGN. The reviewer sounded pretty competent and I would have taken his advice if he had known how to use an apostrophe. He kept saying "player's" when he meant "players." It wasn't once, either. He was convinced these players owned something, not that there was simply more than one. Dude. How did you get a job writing for a serious, award-winning video game website and I'm unemployed in a crappy two bedroom apartment in Corvallis Oregon? More justice, please.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Her father: the vomit receptical

Alright, so it's been a while but I haven't really had anything exciting to report. Until now. Aislin's growing bigger day by day, and the bump on her head is entirely gone. She's learned a new trick though. And I don't like it. She pukes on me. For the past few times, in a row, she's puked her entire last meal all over me. I'm not bouncing her or squeezing her or anything. She just... explodes. First, it happened this morning. It got all over me and my favorite chair. I decided to just shower and stay up. It gave me some quality "Mass Effect" time. Peggy and Leland visited and brought us some food, and when they left it happened again. This time it happened all over my Troubled Hubble t-shirt. Tragedy. Ah well, at least it wasn't poop. That will stain, but I'm pretty sure this curdled milk will just wash out. Still. Twice in a row -- it makes you think. Hard to cope with the implications that hurls your way. Ooh. Vomiting pun. Was it intentional? ...Sure?

What do I say after that? What could I possibly follow that with? She's getting so big that last night I had to put her down because my arms and back were getting tired. I consider that a landmark. Anyway. I'm so sleepy. I'm calling it good. I'll post again when I get the chance.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bored, with highlights

Today was a boring day. Ask Kate. We sat around today being bored and boring. I did go over to Ted's place and got to try my hands on the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta and got my butt kicked so hard I cried. One of Ted's friends asked him what was up with me -- do I have an Xbox? Have I ever played Halo? Jeeze. I'm kind of sad about how much I suck. PLUS it was Ted's birthday -- surprise! Had no idea. I suck, AND I'm a bad friend. See? Not really a good day.

Aislin spent just about the entire day eating. That was a large part of why we were both so bored today. We were totally incapacitated. Here's a funny story: Kate went to take a bath, so it fell to me to look after Aislin. I was holding her in my lap and about to read her some Yeats when she pooped all over me. It got on my shirt, my pants, and soaked through to the skin. Unpleasant? Yes. Did Kate laugh? Very yes. After we both changed clothes, I put Aislin in the sling and read her Yeats while Kate went for a walk. In true poetic fashion, Aislin was asleep by the third poem.

I applied for a part-time job today at CHS. After I told Kate, she said we'd have to pay for child care if I got it. That's probably true; I think I'd be making more than we are right now, but probably not. Don't know. We'll see.

Tomorrow we see Iron Man 2 and hang out with our friends Nick and Destiny. It'll mark two landmarks in our short parenting career: first, it'll be the longest car trip we've taken with her; second, it'll be the longest period of time we've spent away from her together. We're leaving her in Peggy's care, so I'm not worried about her safety or anything. It'll be interesting to see how the day goes. It'll also be interesting to see if we get up in time. Speaking of that, I need to hit the sack.

And no comments? What's up with that?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A slow day and I need to get out more I guess

Not much to report today. Aislin slept well last night; she only woke up a few times and demanded our attention. It did throw our pattern out the window though. Kate and I dealt with her together a majority of the night. I expect tonight will be different though. It's 11:30 at night and I just now finished my last cup of coffee. Whoopsie daisy. Ah well. Kate's been scowling at me every time I mention the phrase "video games" so maybe I'll take advantage of my irrational caffeination and play a little while she saws logs. And I'll take care of the baby too, of course.

Today I bought Mother's Day gifts. I got Mom a frame that has two pictures of me during graduation. I bought Kate some stuff too, but I'm afraid of posting her gifts on the internet for security reasons. I'm sure you understand. It seemed like a good day for it, because Kate had a bit of a hard day. She's been trying to cut back on the ibuprofen and she had a hard time breastfeeding today. All in all, it was hard on her, so conditions were perfect for me to dote on her a little. She won't know it until Sunday. I doubt the things I ordered will arrive by Sunday, so she'll even get to enjoy the anticipation of awaiting packages in the mail.

Last night I finished Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and it was alright. The obvious problem proved more difficult: what to read next? I thought about reading a book called The Beauty of the Lillies by John Updike, one of my favorite authors, but it was almost 500 pages long and I thought I had better work my way up to it. I considered As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, but I thought something less cerebral would be better. 1984 seemed like a good choice, but I opted out at the last second and chose The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. I made it to page three and put it back. Finally, I settled on A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. If it's anything like his other book, The Kite Runner, the length will have little to do with the time it takes me to read it. I read that book in about a week, I think. Maybe four days. OMG like you care. Ok.

Basically, Aislin slept today, ate today, and was extremely cute. I found a new book to read, and I'm going through Mass Effect withdrawls. That's it. That's all I have to report.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dinner, light reading, and general catching up

Today our friends Joel and Heather came over and made dinner. It was really nice to see our friends. They hung out for a while and we all caught up; it was a good time. I loaned Heather more of my comics EVEN THOUGH she still hasn't returned the ones I loaned her last time! I'm just kidding; it's not a big deal. Aislin slept through most of their visit.

As a matter of fact, Aislin slept through most of the day. That doesn't bode well for our nighttime. She had an active period earlier today which was assuaged by a timely bottle intervention, and soon afterward she was attached to Kate for hours. She does this trick I'm pretty sure I've talked about: she fusses, then eats, falls asleep, wakes up when we move her to her bed, remembers she was eating, repeat. Sometimes she's hysterical enough to have a hard time latching on. That sounds like it may be the case at this moment. My friend Luke said she was a quiet baby: even when she screamed it wasn't as loud as he's heard other children. The girl working at our landlord's office, Heidi, said that there hadn't been any complaints from our neighbors. Both nice things. But for us, when she screams it's pushing it. She's terribly cute when she screams. She scrunches up her face and opens her mouth as wide as she can. If only she were more easily comforted.

I'm plowing through Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and finding it enjoyable. There are parts that are just too silly, but other parts that are more history textbook. Of course, I guess that's what I bargained for. I'm sure Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is part too silly, part serious literature in a similar vein. I'm just over halfway through this book now, and pleased with my progress. I'm trying to decide what to read next. I want to read Angels and Demons but I think I should see the movie first. The book is normally better, and with The DaVinci Code that was certainly the case. If you read the book first, therefore, it ruins the movie. But if the book is better anyway, you lose very little by seeing the movie first. Ha! Foolproof logic, right there. You're welcome.

Haven't heard anything on the job application. I requested more letters of recommendation today from some of my favorite professors. Whatever they have to say on my behalf could only help. The whole thing has made me anxious. Hopefully it'll work out. I'll keep you posted, avid readers.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Job application jitters

So I just applied for two full-time teaching jobs. Yeah. Freaking out. One is Language Arts teaching, which I'm totally down with, but the OTHER is Language Arts/Drama. Me oh my. Full time, totally paid like a real-live person. It would be awesome to get a job that would support a family like a real responsible dad. We'll see how it goes. More to come (hopefully).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Dad Old Dad and Trips to Lebanon

Yesterday was a day of debauchery. I'm sorry to our normal fellow-debauchees; it was very spur of the moment. My friend Luke came over and brought two pint bottle of beer: we shared. He also brought a bottle of Spanish wine: we shared and split with Kate and our friend Ted. Then, Luke, Ted, and I did something I've been wanting to do since St. Patrick's Day: Irish Car Bombs. All of that on a stomach filled with only a little sheep cheese. We then watched The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. That movie was weird. Totally good, but weird.

What a wonderful topic to discuss on a blog about being a new father. Yes, well... just because I'm a father now doesn't mean I can't have fun anymore. Did I talk about this article Kate read that ticked me off? I think I did. It asked the reader (Kate, in this instance) whether or not the father (me) is mature enough to be a suitable father. The example that it gave was of someone quoting "Family Guy" to the in-laws. Ok. I'm prudent enough to not quote it, but does this article expect me to stop enjoying it? I have three volumes of "Family Guy" that I'm not giving up. I'm not going to give up drinking occasionally, playing video games, reading comic books, and dorky television just because I happen to be a parent now. Kids rule their parents' lives. It's true. That doesn't mean the parents have to become ascetic. Having things around that you enjoy becomes even more crucial when you're a parent, IMHO. You need an outlet that is totally your thing. Something that you identify with; your identity is on seriously shifting sand -- it's good to have something that is a constant to bridge the time spent before you were a parent and the time now that you are a parent. You're not a totally different person. Why make the transition harder than it already is? Stupid stupid stupid.

Today we visited Aislin's Great Grandmother in Lebanon. She was very surprised and excited to see us. My parents planned it as an early Mother's Day present for her. She didn't expect us to be comfortable with the trip, but we totally were. Even stopped at Burgerville on the way back. Totally got sick. Oh yeah. We're awesome. Aislin was super good over there too. She was peaceful for the majority of the time, and then she got hungry and let us know. After Kate fed her, she was awake and looking around and showed off her growing neck muscles. Grandma held her as she squirmed and looked around. It was a very special moment. Mom got lots of pictures.

I'm over halfway through Abraham Lincoln too. The thing about history books that is different from fictional literature is that you're really only challenged with remembering who all the names belong to. In fiction you're constantly on the lookout for symbolism and irony and themes; it's a much more active process. Reading history books is a much more informative pastime.

Well I'm sure this is a very enjoyable blog post. Here: I'll redeem it by talking about Aislin some more. She smiled at me again today, and this time Kate and Peggy saw her do it. Heh heh. Actually, it's not that funny because I think Kate is seriously jealous of me now. She was talking to me about it and laughing, but I could tell she was welling up a bit. Damn but I got to keep the postpartum off. Plus she's told me time and again: she laughs when she feels anything -- any type of joy or pain. She laughed when Bina died. It's not to be taken lightly.