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Headbangers’ Ball

As a poppa, I never want to see little YY get hurt in any shape or form – physically, emotionally, spiritually, or anything-ally.
But there are moments where you can only do so much as a dad or a mom to ensure that your little tyke doesn’t cross into harm’s way.
I admit, due to simple, dumb negligence – or even an underestimation of little YY’s ability to cover great swathes of ground in a matter of seconds – I have allowed little YY to bash his head into the concrete floor in one incident and into the metal base of a sitting stool in another incident just one day later.
This, of course, doesn’t ever go over well with X, whose confidence in my ability to be a dad is usually unwavering. X will look at me and think, as a mother, that there is nothing I can do to reach her standards of parenting and ensuring safety for little YY, and I don’t blame her.
As a momma bear, driven by animal instinct wholly dedicated to the survival and strength of her young’uns, she’ll have a difficult time trusting others’ ability to be a surrogate parent to little YY.
And I’m not a surrogate parent myself – I am a biological parent, one half of the two responsible for the creation of little YY – but still, I know she really wants me to do better at times.
And this happens especially when I’m with YY alone, and somehow he crawls off the mattress and goes headfirst into the concrete floor with a little thunk. Not nice to see at all.
And second, he’s right at my feet, crawling towards me until he slumps forward and his forehead clangs right into the metal base of said footstool.
Nasty business, and equally nasty is the little bruise on his forehead, a reminder of my shortcomings and perhaps a tinge of X’s disapproval.
But I know she doesn’t mean it – in fact, good for her for caring so much, and good for me for caring so much about YY and about X’s feelings and perception of the world.
But when it really boils down to the essences, I do want to be better. I don’t want little YY hitting his head so often at such a young age – let him do it when he’s 15 or 20 when listening to Sabbath or Iron Maiden.
But not right now. Too soon for that.

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Crazy baby dreams

Seems that since little YY was born – and more so in recent months – I’ve been having weird dreams almost entirely to do with YY’s personal safety and health.

It’s not at all like the dreams that Michael Shannon had in Take Shelter, where he had terrifying nightmares of his dog attacking him and bizarre sagas of impending doomstorms. Rather, my dreams are almost all about little YY being in bed with us – as he often is – and I’m suddenly in some strange somnambulist state where I sit up terrified that he’s somewhere on the edge of the bed and I’m pushing him off with my legs. It takes a few moments of grasping blindly in the darkness at the spot where I believe YY to be, only to realize with grim humour that I had dreamt it all and that he’s safe and sound in his crib in the next room.

Twice in the last week – once in the guest room at my aunt and uncle’s place in the Okanagan and once at home – I’ve grabbed at X next to me thinking she is YY, and pulling her away from her edge of the bed, thoroughly believing it’s YY about to roll off the bed. And of course, X would pull away from me in sleepy frustration as she just wants to sleep, and I just grab her and pull her back again.

And last night, a similar occurrence, where I’m petting her on the head and “calming” her, and letting her know it’s all good, all the while with my eyes open and looking at her face in the darkness and seeing YY’s face and thinking it’s him.

Very strange and particularly eerie in the moment of realization as I wake up for real and see that I was dreaming all along.

Variations include thinking YY is between us in bed and freaking out when I see X roll over onto him, when it’s actually just bunched-up blankets and pillows squashed in between us.

Reminds me also of the moment I’m driving in the van on our road trip last week, and seeing X in the back seat with a momentary glance on her face that told me (erroneously) that something dreadful had happened and that she has dropped the baby onto the floor. My physical reaction to this was vividly visceral, and I found it took a little time to calm down and realize it was simple paranoia on my part.

What does all this mean? A very subconscious concern for YY’s well being? An intense worry that he might get hurt? Probably. Life as a father certainly has its way of creeping up on you and shocking you at given moments, especially in the dark of night.

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First attempt at camping

Just got back from six days away, a road trip from the coast out to the Okanagan to spend two days with my aunt and uncle on the lake, then south across the border and stopping in Winthrop for two nights of camping, then Baker Lake for a third night of pitch-black night-time awesomeness.

And the big thing for X and I was whether or not little YY would endure such a huge trip – his first big trip out of the city apart from regular jaunts to Saltspring Island. It was a rip-roaring success. In fact, as is the norm, X would feed YY just before he goes to sleep, and once he is done feeding, he’d be out like a light. But often, at home, he’d come to and start baying for blood for awhile and one of us would need to soothe him for 10-15 minutes, stroking his back until his eyes finally droop shut.

But this time, on our camping trip, it was a breeze. He’d be out instantly and wouldn’t wake until morning – or at least for his middle-of-the-night feeding. Even more interesting, X and I and little YY all slept side by side in the camper van, in a bed barely wide enough for two adults to sleep in, let alone three actual human beings. But it was fine. In fact, more than fine. YY was fascinated by all the nature, the birds, the animals that scurried around, the rustling leaves, the wind, the lakes, everything. He took it all in wonderfully well.

And he slept great too. Our very first camping trip with the little guy, who is rapidly approaching the completion of his eighth month on this planet. Still can’t hardly believe he’s already getting to this age, it feels like not so long ago that he was born. Really looking forward to more and more camping adventures with him, especially once he’s older and more able to really experience nature.///////////////////

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Crying fits

When we first started our lives as parents, I found little man’s crying to be strangely appealing. It was cute and had just the right pitch that sounded like a little kitten crying out for food.
I commented as such on Facebook, and a good friend of mine – who is a few years further down the road in the parenting game – said it gets tired reaaaaaaaal fast.
Now, little man is upwards of 7 months old and instead of crying less, he’s actually crying more. He’s a lot more fussy, a lot more demanding and very much active from sunup to sundown.
I’m not complaining though. Patience has its virtues and its my virtue that I am a patient person. It helps that its my son and I am his father, and I have no choice but to be patient. That makes it easier rather than harder.
However, he does cry a lot. We wonder why. Maybe its coffee that X is drinking in the morning? But its instant coffee, simple cup in the morn after little man’s first feeding of the day. Maybe its diapers? But he’s changed regularly. What could it be?
I have two thoughts. First, that perhaps this is just his personality. He’s a very loud, energetic one and very, very driven to do things. He grabs at everything within reach – my glasses, the buttons on my shirt, the toys on the floor, the smartphone or remote control in my hand, and everything else. He is an immensely curious baby who demands stimulation of any and all kinds. Kinda like both me and X.
The second thought I had is this: will this continue? What will he be like during the terrible twos? What about as a teenager? Is this going to be a rough ride?
Could be. I sometimes worry. But worrying doesn’t do much. I can only just be here for him and be strong, and be patient. And like I said, because I am his dad, its easy to be patient and watch him grow and develop and to do it with him.