5/13/09

Click!

Even if you don't count me writing this blog (a momentous occasion indeed), there's a lot going on right now. It's always this time of year that makes me feel that strange combination of exhilaration and panic, as Summer starts rolling along and the days get nicer and nicer more often and I simultaneously sense that on the one hand, there will be so much to do and, on the other, so little time in which to do it.

The sands of time are ever slipping through our fingers, homeboys and girls.

Why, just the other day, when Penny's mom pulled off an impromptu weekend camping trip for the family, and casually mentioned that she might like to do this *every* month, I raised an eyebrow, prompting her to point out that this would actually only be four more times. Four. After that, Fall will be back upon us. Four more measly chances to add to the precious trove of cherished family memories. Or not. And so it goes.

So I figure the least we can do is acknowledge this juncture, to at least take a moment to inventory the many intersecting occurrences going on as we speak, and to try and immortalize them in this very next paragraph. Or two.

Sunday was Mother's Day. That was fun. It also happened to be the official Frost-Free Date for our part of the country, a date eagerly anticipated by many a gardener -- us included. The Saturday before that was our 5-year Anniversary, though neither of us really posted anything about it this time. (It was great though, I assure you. A quiet date night with sushi and a mindless movie. Perfect.) Obama's been in office about 100 days now, which is kind of a historic occasion as well, and our dog Vince turned 6, which I still can't believe the media didn't cover. The cats, being one year senior to Mr. Vincent, are now 7.

What else? I'm sure you have your own little milestones, or not-so-little. I hate to leave them out of this, but I can't really not. I know our friends Ryan and Sarah have lost a couple of grandparents very close together very recently, and I'm sad for them. My sister Katie gets to go to New Orleans for the first time in a few days, and I'm happy for her. Our friends James and Jessica just got back from there, so I'm happy for them too. Penny's sister Lauren is about to celebrate her daughter Gianna's first birthday, and I'm downright ecstatic for them both.

So many noteworthy occasions.

Perhaps the one looming largest in our lives right now, or at least the one affecting it most dramatically day-to-day, has to do with Veda. She's officially three months old today. One quarter of a year.

New parents are told of this day in near mythical terms -- the moment at which "it gets a lot easier." At three months, they tell you, the baby will be more alert, more playful, more able to be reasoned with (well, comforted, at least) and more fun.

And I'm happy to tell you that in our case it's all proven true. Veda laughed for the first time the other day, and the second time yesterday, and the third time today. My goodness, my friends, it almost collapsed us. I myself laughed and cried at the same time, which doesn't happen every day.

So that alone is probably worth jotting down. She smiles now, and maintains eye contact, and notices things. She'll stare at the lamp in the living room for a good five minutes, just grinning and studying its shape. We think those two are going to be great friends.

"Well, is she sleeping through the night yet?" we get asked a lot. No, not so much. She still gets up a couple of times, usually around 2 and 5, but let me tell you this: she goes to sleep around 8 or 9 and wakes up around 6 or 7. Pretty much every day.

This consistency is a tremendous relief to Lope and me. Just to be able to get into some sort of schedule, rather than being on Constant Baby Alert, is such a load off that we hardly even mind the early-morning feedings. (Well, *I* don't. Lope, being much more parentally inclined and vigilant, still sleeps fitfully most nights and wakes up at the slightest stirring from Veda's room. I, jerk that I am, snooze right through it. Sorry, Lope.) We're just getting used to it, I guess, and you never really get used to the other way -- around-the-clock, mega-intense, oh-god-what-day-is-it new parenting.

Today is Wednesday; I know this for certain.

And it does seem to be "going by so fast," which is the other assurance everyone offers you. They say to enjoy these days while they last, and we're doing our best to do exactly that. It's hard to believe we're three months in already.

I actually remember the last few days of Lope's pregnancy, when she and I would walk (slowly) around the park and discuss what was just around the corner. I remember agreeing -- after an extended period of disagreeing -- about the upcoming event. She'd been saying she was ready to get this baby out, and I could certainly see why. She was swollen; she was tired; she wanted to meet our new daughter already. I did too, but I couldn't tell Penny I was ready yet. I made some lame point about how I wanted the baby to come soon, but not right this minute, because I still didn't feel quite prepared enough. And I told her that while Veda was still inside her, there was no way I could screw the poor kid up yet. Which was kind of reassuring.

Of course, Lope and I both knew that you never really feel "ready," at least not in our case, but we did agree on the feeling of *anticipation.* I *was* looking forward to the birthday, but with equal parts excitement and dread.

"Everyone says the first three months are hell, Lope. Everyone who's ever had kids. How could I be in a hurry to go through that?"

"You should be in a hurry because the sooner it starts, the sooner we can get through this."

And she was right. From then, I started feeling much better. It finally made sense in my mind that, no matter how hard those first 90 days were going to be, they, too, would pass. And that we really could do it, despite my personal doubts, because everybody's parents do it, or the six billion people who are alive now, well, wouldn't be. I changed my tune.

"Okay, Lope," I think I said, "Let's do this. It's not like we're going to change our mind or go back now, and stalling won't do us any good, so you're right: Let's just man (woman) up and *do* *this.*

And we did.

I'm proud of us. Mainly of Lope, I was going to say, since she's been easily the more amazing of our little twosome, taking on primary responsibility for Veda from Moment One and letting me fall into sort of an Assistant Coach role -- you help out as much as you can, of course, but it'd be silly to take credit for the team's wins -- but actually I have to say I'm equally proud of both of us. This was really hard for me.

I'm not a natural parent. I don't feel like I was well prepared for this challenge, and I wouldn't say that I met it with skill and aptitude at every turn. Not at all.

But I did it. 90 days down, the only first three months of parenthood I'll ever have to go through, done. I've been looking forward to this day for a long, long time.

So that's one more milestone to observe in this first part of May, 2009. Here we are, almost 32 years into my life, perhaps a few more into yours, perhaps a few less. (Only 6 into Vince's, so don't feel bad if you're a little behind.)

Five years into our marriage. Point-two-five years into Veda's life. And into Obama's presidency. And a day or two into planting season in Indiana.

I'm not quite sure what to make of it all.

But I know what I *did* make -- this post -- and I feel pretty good about that too. Glad to get it all written down.

And I'll finish with a snapshot of some pertinent facts about Veda's life so far, courtesy of a fun Excel spreadsheet (you'll never hear that phrase from me again) sent to me by my sister this morning.

You just put in your birthdate, which I suppose would be where you started, and it tells you where you are now. Then you gape in amazement that, for example, Veda's heart has beaten more than nine million times so far. And that she's got about 17,000 workdays ahead of her before retirement. (We'll see if we can't do something to shorten that for her a bit.) And that she shares a birthday with Chuck Yeager, easily a top-ten candidate for Coolest Human to Ever Walk the Planet.

It doesn't list things like diapers changed (about a thousand, by my reckoning) or giggles so far (three, and counting), or blog posts (16, and -- sure enough -- counting) or Flickr pictures uploaded (196, plus 21 or so videos), but I still thought it was pretty fun.

If nothing else, it's an interesting snapshot -- the click of a shutter, the posting of a blog, the processing of an Excel formula -- corresponding to a moment in time. The way things are right now.

And from where I sit, there's not much more you can say about anything besides that. But fortunately, that still leaves us with plenty to consider.

3 comments:

Megan said...

I love this post and find it comforting. My daughter is just over 2 weeks old now (my first) and am in the throes of exhaustion and "freak outs." I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel but it's little comfort when you don't know when it's coming. Each day is a new learning experience and I try to cherish every second. I just wish I could be more lucid to do so! :)

Hello, I'm Ryan Noel. said...

Man, this was some good stuff. And you had me humming right along up until I saw an Excel document, at which point my skin broke out into hives and my head exploded.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Ryan...that's my fault! Colin - I can't believe you referenced my dorky forward in your blog! It *is* kinda cool, though. For the record, I think you were one of the most prepared fathers I've ever encountered. You *never* go into things unprepared. Just because you couldn't "practice" doesn't mean you didn't prepare. You've been attentive, loving, doting, patient, accommodating, selfless and entirely invested in the whole process. That's what the people on the outside looking in see. I hope you see it too, someday. You're not just "muddling through," Col. You're conquering and triumphing over every hurdle...and doing it with grace. I hope I'm as good of a mom as you are a dad. Someday.

Love,
YS