Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I am thankful that I live now, as opposed to some moment in the future when parents will be able to order up their kids from a menu. It might have been nice to be able to order up blue eyes, red hair and every bit of height we could muster, but I like Dipity the way she is. Besides, she's 90th percentile in height, has blue eyes, and occasionally if the light is right there appears to be a hint of red in her hair. And most importantly, if my wife and I had been faced with a menu of options to choose from for our first child, we'd still be choosing.

I just finished putting a first coat of Vienna Beige paint on a wall in our front hallway. It was the first coat of Vienna beige, but not the first coat of paint. The first coat, actually the first three, were primer. Fourth and fifth were a very light blue. Sixth was a pea soup green. Seventh was primer. Eighth was an orangey shade that looked nice in our office, but turned out to be very bright and very orange in the hallway. Ninth was primer. Which brings us back to Vienna Beige. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe, if we could make our kids to order, we'd have four or five by now. Maybe in the distant future you’ll be able to adjust your kids as they grow up. If that's the case, we might be OK there. For now, though, I'm going to believe that we were lucky to have this decision taken out of our hands.

As a father of a girl, I am beginning to find the Democratic Primary just a bit troubling.

As Obama has gradually ascended to front runner status, I have been mostly happy. I have liked Obama ever since I first heard one of his speeches on television, back when he was running for Senate. I have also always had a great deal of ambivalence when it comes to Hillary. I find her approach to be too partisan, combative, and polarizing; her governing style to be a little too back roomesque; the record of her husband's foreign policy team, likely to be hers as well, to be good only in comparison with the last eight years; her campaign style to be decidedly too nasty; and her husband to be constitutionally banned from having the third term he appears to aspire to.

It certainly is refreshing that Obama is now capturing as much of the white vote as Clinton. What is less refreshing is how much of the white male vote he is capturing, and how many of those white males say they would vote for McCain over Clinton. White women voting for Clinton would mostly support Obama in the general election. Why is the same not true for white male supporters of Obama? It seems that while the country is ready for a Black President, it may not be ready for a female one. There may even be a grain of truth to the idea that Clinton is in jeopardy of losing the Democratic nomination to Obama because she is an assertive, capable, and even nasty woman. These are all qualities traditionally sought after in male leaders, but not so valued in women.

I knew that Dipity would grow up in a world filled with sex happy boys, and predatory adults. I figured that she would have to navigate stereotypes and expectations. Hell, the pink clothing was piling up before she was even born. I'm not nearly naive enough to think that women will have solved the career vs. motherhood conundrum by the time she has to start worrying about it. I certainly know that the prospects of her becoming a professional athlete and supporting me in the style which I deserve to be kept and to which I could easily become accustomed were less than if she were a boy (and less if my wife had gone along with my plan to ask Michael Jordan for some of his sperm). I figured, however, that female leadership in all walks of life would be accepted and acceptable to the majority of Americans. I knew the idea of a woman as President would bother more than a few men. I didn't think that very many would be threatened enough by the idea of a woman as commander and chief not to vote for her, even if doing so compromised their values. Obviously I have been a little naive, and my wife and I will have some extra explaining and warning to do in a decade or two.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chef Dipity

Dipity and I attend a music class once a week, or at least that is what we aspire to. Given ear infections, bronchiolitis, and a febrile seizure, regular attendance has been a little tough. When we do make it, Dipity has a great time. She loves dancing, and she loves all of the props that are given out. She shakes the rattles, dances with and swims in the scarves, slaps and drums the sticks, rolls and throws (and sometimes kicks) the balls, and plays with and occasionally kisses the flashlight. Every week the kids have the opportunity to simply play along with an instrumental number, and don't have to worry about dancing, singing, or making hand gestures. Sometimes the big bin that is dumped out on the floor contains a great variety of 'official' musical instruments, and sometimes it contains instruments concocted out of pots, pans, whisks, and plastic fruit and vegetables. Dipity knows exactly what she is supposed to do with the 'official' instruments: shake them for all their worth, grab them out of another kid's hand, and occasionally hit someone in the head. She knows exactly what to do with the kitchen stuff too, but unlike all the other activities what Dipity does is not what everyone else is doing. All the other kids make music. Dipity makes a soufflé. She stirs, mixes, and tastes. What else are you supposed to do with pots, pans, spoons, and bananas? She loves music and music class, but maybe she needs another kind of outlet. Cooking class here we come?

Friday, February 15, 2008


Valentines day was a rough one. Dipity is still sick, although better today. Yesterday she was incredibly grumpy. She was both tired and tired of me torturing her with medicine droppers and nebulizer treatments. Two blocks before the conclusion of our diaper run, the day and the week caught up with her. I brought her in and laid her on the floor, and for the sake of postreity I took some pictures.


E-mail is a funny medium. I am a funny person. Combine the two and the result is a little odd.

Some people type e-mails quickly, focusing on the substance to be conveyed rather than the style with which it is conveyed. That wouldn't be me.

First of all, I run spell check on every e-mail, even if the e-mail says Thanks, I'll be there. Of course, I'd never just write "Thanks, I'll be there," but if I did I'd make sure it wasn't "Thnks, I'll be there," or "Thanks I'll be tere." And I'd take a look at it to make sure it wasn't "Thanks, ill be there," or "Thanks, I'll bet here."

Second, even if you do receive an e-mail from me along the lines of "Thanks, I'll be there," be sure that I spent some time writing it. It might have started out as: "Thanks for the invitation. I wouldn't miss it. I do so appreciate being included. Let me know if I can bring anything." Then I would have taken out the sentence about bringing something and replaced it with "Let me know if I can help with anything." Next I would have dropped the offer of help all together. After that, some scrambling of ideas and phrases would occur. "Thanks for indicting me. I wouldn't miss it for the world." "The invitation is awesome. I'll be there." "It was nice of you to send off an invite, I'll be there." "Thank you for the kind invitation. I'll certainly be attending." Some of this, like "I wouldn't miss it for the world," I would type out knowing full well I'd never include it in a million years. Eventually I would settle on "Thanks, I'll be there," or "Thank you, I can't wait," or "Thank you, it sounds like a fun time," or maybe even "I'll be there. I can't wait to see you."

If the e-mail is truly the stuff of contemplation, then I will take half a day to send it. That is, after all, what the drafts folder is for.

What I find most intimidating about e-mail is the marked absence of tone. What I find most interesting is all the lost dialogue, the facts, tidbits, arguments, or words of encouragement that go unsaid. Whole conversations go unsaid, or at least that's the way it is for me. But, I'm kind of funny.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Decision Making

I am still unsure of who I will vote for in the suddenly meaningful Pennsylvania primary. I'm leaning towards Obama, but I haven't totally made up my mind. I have been paying close attention to endorsements. I haven't, however, heard from the characters that are most influential in my life now. And they are unlikely to speak up before November, let alone April, so I will have to make educated guesses as to how they might vote.

First up is Curious George. He is an African American in the truest sense of the label, so that would seem to point towards Obama. Given the popularity of reality television and the fascination of American humans with the lives of people like Brittany Spears and Lindsey Lohan, George may want to distance himself from any connection to people. Thus he might denounce evolution, making Huckabee his candidate of choice. But, he shares an apartment with a man that wears a yellow hat. This alternative lifestyle might make it hard for him to vote for any Republican. He is curious, which would make one think that he would support change. So, George would probably endorse Obama.

Mother Goose has to be a Clinton supporter. She is an old white woman.

Maria and Luis are old Puerto Ricans, so they would be right there with Mother Goose. Gabby, as a young Puerto Rican, probably would go for Obama. Gordon and his family would be likely to be in Obama's camp. Oscar might be at a loss if he had to choose from among Obama, Clinton, and McCain. All three stress the importance of protecting the environment, and Oscar loves "anything dirty or dingy or dusty." Elmo just strikes me as a Ron Paul supporter. He probably gets his voting guidance from Mr. Noodle's brother Mr. Noodle. Paul seems the right choice for Mr. Noodle. Baby Bear is a bit of a schemer. He also is willing to step on his friends to get ahead. He stole the triangle lover award away from Telly, despite the fact that he wasn't a triangle lover and he knew that his best friend Telly was a triangle lover and was hoping to have the honor himself. Baby Bear sounds like he might be a Clinton, and with the way Bill gets around ... well Goldilocks might not have been the only one trying out the beds.

Clifford was a runt that became the biggest dog around, so Bill Clinton's story might resonate and a third term might be an attractive thought. He does show an ability to work with other species, though, so this might be another endorsement for Obama. Since he's a dog, he's colorblind. I'm not sure who that favors. He may be right to life given his status as the runt, which could point in the direction of McCain or Huckabee. If he's a Republican, his vote may depend on the geographic location of Birdwell Island. It's important to remember that Clifford lives on an island connected to the mainland by a ferry. He is isolated from the real world, and thus might be a Ron Paul supporter. Clifford's might really be the endorsement to watch for given the fact that each candidate has some potential pull.

Well, I'm not sure this has helped. I think I'll have to go get Dipity's Richard Scarry books out, and look for clues as to how Huckle and Lowly might vote.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dipity has been sick for a few weeks now. In this blog I will describe the last few weeks in two ways. First I have simply listed the major medically related events. Second I have written a poem.

Dipity has a cold
Dipity has a cough
It’s in her lungs
She needs a nebulizer
On the follow-up visit, the doctor discovers ear Infections
She gets and successfully takes a 10 day course of antibiotics
She transitions down to two nebulizer treatments
Two days after said course is finished, she begins running a fever
A different and more choke like cough appears
Fever rises
Febrile convulsions
We go to the emergency room with a fever of 104.8
We get antibiotics
Dipity stops cooperating with the administration of medicine
We see our doctor the next day
Our doctor wants us Dipity to take a different antibiotic
The fever hits 104 again, but no convulsions
We master the sit on your child and ram medicine down her throat technique
Things begin to improve
We cross our fingers as night comes again


I’m sitting on her
Her head is wedged between my knees
My wife is kneeling in front of me
Syringe in one hand
Looking down at our daughter

Our captive looks to both of us for help
Eyes passing back and forth
As she calls out our names
And then
As I attempt to reason with the twenty month old
Alternating between sobs and screams
Gives me back my arguments
“Sairahhs medcine”
“Own good”
“Sohhhy Sairrea”
“Get bedder”
“No feeing wehh”

If it was funny
It’d be hilarious

If all the “medicine” wasn’t on my leg, the carpet,
And the prisoners hair
I’d laugh

My wife leaves to refill the syringe for another attempt
The detainee watches me from behind sobs, medicine, and bubbling mucus

I’m still sitting on her

Monday, February 11, 2008

What A Difference A Year Makes

Last week my wife had a work-related conference to attend in our nation’s capitol, so she brought Dipity and me along for the ride. While she was working, Dipity and I hit the mall and the museums. We did the same thing last year ... but being that last year Dipity was 9 months old and now she's 21 months old, it really wasn't the same thing.

Last year she went everywhere in either her stroller or her baby bjorn, and I went in and out of museums, and bag check and metal detector lines, with a large and theoretically moveable pile of stuff. This year I had less stuff, and carried every bit of it ... including Dipity, for the vast majority of the time. Dipity's favorite phrase was "dada up."

Last year there was less Dipity.

Last year I had three or so hours of pushing a sleeping infant in a stroller, a wonderful time in which I was able to view museum exhibits at my own pace. This year I had forty five minutes of carrying a sleeping toddler, during which I did indeed move slowly through the exhibits.

Last year it was clear that her favorites were the planes at the air and space museum and the animals at the natural history museum. This year she had the exact same favorites, but was much more vocal about it. My favorite moment was when she shouted "Panda."

Last year all the time when Dipity was asleep and we weren't had to be spent in the bathroom or in the dark. This year ... it was the same. I am still sore from the two hours of typing, and thirty minutes of unplanned napping, I did on the bathroom floor.

Last year we went to dinner at a restaurant that was close and loud, this year we did the same.

Last year we forgot all of Dipity's food, bowls, bottles, etc. This year we didn't forget anything.

Last year we ended the trip by spending the night with my wife's aunt and uncle in Maryland. This year we did the same thing, and again had a great time and great food. We also had the chance to meet someone my wife met through her blog. Technology is a strange and wonderful thing.

Some stuff remained the same, but so much changed. Next year should be interesting, maybe in more ways than one.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Hopeful Note

I just had a thought that made me smile, so I'm sharing it. Maybe McCain will win the Republican nomination, and maybe it will be the first step in re-marginalizing evangelical Christians. I am happy to let them believe what they want to, but it would be nice if they didn't wield power out of proportion with their numbers and way out of proportion with the amount of analytical thought put into their positions. It would be nice if what I saw on television was true, and many evangelicals were putting their focus off of politics and onto helping people. Wouldn't that be a novel thought? It's not like Jesus (their prophet, lord, and leader) tried to help people during his life. I mean, he didn't feed the hungry, or heal the lame, or ... wait he did? Evangelicals might even find the world changed to their liking where they to put more effort into battling poverty, spread education, provide jobs, etc and less efort into picketing and proselytizing. Less poverty and drug abuse and more emphasis on education might mean fewer abortions, for example. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or tutoring a low income child might prove more conducive to change than picketing an abortion clinic? It would be cool if family food would trump family values. It would be nice if nuance entered the evangelical worldview.

Maybe I'm dreaming, but it's a nice dream. Of course, picturing McCain as a liberal on social issues, or even as a moderate, would be dreaming too.

I asked Dipity what she thought about the future of evangelical Christians in the United States. She said "dadas bawl." So there you go.