Monday, February 20, 2012

Grampa and the Slump-Buster

Our baby is enormous. It felt like he'd grown ten pounds in 2 days.

Then we weighed him and he's seemingly 11.6 pounds total, but the point is his relative massive girth, as compared to say, last week.

He gets this way because he eats CONSTANTLY. Sustenance is the best thing ever, and his endorphins kick in hardcore for a post-feeding pass-out. My own food issues somehow clarify just a wee bit more.
(Rubin in his handsome Green Apples sleep sack)

Tonya calls this "Rubin's World."

He spends some time mildly sneering at whatever discomfort is the current issue.

There are intermittent smiles (not gas we think), and myriad other moods/faces. But the sneering and sideways eye kill me. It's amazing how natural and ingrown our facial expressions are.

A work trip to New York meant an opportunity to see family too, so a wife and a 4-week old get on a plane. You know that jamoke whose infant won't stop screaming on the plane? I didn't want that to be me. So we strove to feed him on takeoff and landing to relieve the air pressure, and figured we'd ad lib the rest.

I hate when people brag about their kids, I really do...find it annoying, arrogant and unseemly.
That said, I have the most perfect baby in the history of babies. This is different than you and how you feel about your children. You see, my opinion is objective here; I feel I can be emotionally detached, and from a distance simply report on Rubin's brilliance and superiority.

He flew like a champ, quiet, calm, and mostly sleeping. Upon a routine landing, inherently abrupt and violent, there was an intensified version of the side-eye above for about 5 seconds. And then resignation and resumed calm. For us, all the baby travel accoutrements procured in recent weeks or months performed pretty well. His existence getting us through security and first to board was excellent; way to make a contribution to the group, kid.

Rubin's first sporting event, out of the womb anyway, was Blackhawks-Rangers at Madison Square Garden. That'll be a fun game to rattle off conversationally later in life...not even sure what my first was.

He's digging it. At least the air and sounds of it.

I request this feeling for the next 30 years please.

It was joy in him, but also pride that Tonya and I decided to do it, and made it work. Normal everyday functioning is challenging enough as it is. The audacity of the whole trip made my chest puff out.

The Blackhawks had lost 9 games in a row going in, while the Rangers were the best team in hockey, coming off a 3-0 road shutout of the defending champion Bruins. But Rubin proved to be the slumpbuster, as the Hawks scored 4 goals in the first ten minutes. There was much talk of finding a way for us to go on the rest of the road trip.

East coast Spiegels, represent. Aunt Mary, and cousin Rogan check Rubin out.
Cousins Sam and Saran smile to camera well, don't they?

Rogan fought with Mary for holding time.

Grandma Joan kissed some noggin.

Sometimes you wait your whole life for a picture.

Grampa Herb meets his 7th grandchild.

Here's to decades more of these two checking each other out.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Week 3; Divide and Conquer.

On Monday, the first day back at work for me, the first day of my wife being alone with the needy shorty for a work day, I felt unbelievably guilty to leave. And I didn’t want to leave. My now deeply ingrained mission is to be with him and her…the family unit. I have roles to play you see, hands to utilize as needed.

But I had to leave the cave, go kill a wild boar, and drag it back home. I have to do that most days, in efforts to maintain high cave quality.

Upon returning after a mostly excellent, if mildly distracted, day at work, Tonya looks at me, smiles wanly, and hands me the baby. She washes her hands and face, and gets the hell out of the apartment. Smart girl. A long walk to a park near Chinatown (a hidden Chicago jewel) head-clearing alone time, a market errand that may or may not have had to happen just then. Tasks. Adult autonomy exercised. She returned happier, calmer, refreshed. And I in turn was able to feel useful, caring for him and allowing her to get back in touch with self.

I’m realizing how essential things like that are going to be. Divide and conquer. Give each other a break, ‘cause that dude is NEEDY. And growing fussier. We started keeping a log of eating times and amounts, sleeping times and amounts, and diaper changes. We’ve given up on logging the diaper changes…they’re just too plentiful. That man craps his pants better than anyone I’ve ever met, including my Uncle Sully. I mean, really skilled. And oh the varietals. Details spared.

Sleep in increments of 2 or 2.5 hours max is quite something, huh? We'll give each other a break and get 5 sometimes...and that feels other worldly. Friends tell me it gets better. Honest friends tell me it doesn't, and that you just..get used to it. It's amazing, our human ability to assimilate to absolutely anything. We're really well built organisms.

On Wednesday I had a Tributosaurus sound check, and then we did 2 gigs as Stevie Wonder.

This is C-Mo, not on stage.

This is Jon Paul, similarly not on stage.

Rubin knows people.

Need to get Danny over here, and then the whole core will have held shorty.

Tonya miraculously came to the first show, with the trusted first babysitter being Aunt Adrienne. It had to be family first, or it wouldn't have even happened at all. Pretty amazing that my wife came out sans child at 18 days old, but again..must feed the self, and the relationship. Grab that oxygen mask from the top of the plane for yourself before giving one to your child.

So, she came, looked gorgeous, hung out, then went home. Successful journey into the world.

I was gone for a total of 11 hours, got home at 3, and couldn't stop looking at this little man. He looked completely different than when I'd left earlier in the day. His head is rounder, fuller. His face is evolving, looking less Chinese and a bit more mature. I missed serious development. He was potty trained, and skilled at Algebra.

I mean my god, is that going to happen every time? Cue the damn Harry Chapin music if it's going to feel like that.

Still much to learn. Feel like we're kind of just winging it, keeping homeboy alive, giving him love, and trying to survive. But maybe that's the way these first three months feel no matter what. We've got the books and resources to guide us, and will dive in more as we sleep better.

Pretty content right now to stare into his face as much as possible.

The best times are when he's just been changed, just eaten, and doesn't feel sleepy just yet. Needs are met, so he might as well hang out and look around. (Video below) He makes a million faces, and they're all really big. A bit over the top truthfully, like Jim Carrey on In Living Color. Tone it down kid, learn some subtlety.

Due time.