shit i'm learning as a parent pt. 1

how well your child sleeps through the night, naps, breastfeeds, eats, whatever has very little to nothing to do with what you've done as a parent and has everything to do with what kind of child you got. if your kid sleeps through the night at 3 months old (like mine did) it's because he allowed it to be so. there was very little that we did to make that happen: we put him to sleep in his crib and slowly but surely he woke up less and less throughout the night until suddenly he'd slept all the way through. we were lucky, that's all. my point is, don't beat yourself up if you've tried but your kid refuses to do it, whatever it is. you did not fail. recognize who your child is, accept the circumstances and go with the flow. at the same time, if your child does sleep and eat well don't go around patting yourself on the back like you're some wizard at parenting. just count your lucky stars. and above all else keep this in mind: it can all change at any time.

stay tuned for: comparing your child to others is an evil, evil trap.


An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Dear Steve,

I hope it's cool that I call you Steve and not Mr. Jobs. See, I'm Stephen and chances are you're either Stephen or Steven yourself. That being the case, we more or less have the same name (I don't care if you're "ph" or "v" though everyone knows "ph" came first) and so we're already closer than random strangers, even though we are in fact random strangers. But I digress, and I haven't even begun, so let's move on.

Steve, here's the deal: anybody who cares and/or is any kind of tech geek (what's up my brothers & sisters!) knows that the 4th gen iPhone is coming. Whether that dude leaving it in the German-themed brew haus was a genuine epic fail or a full-on publicity stunt doesn't matter (my money's on the latter), we know it's coming. (If you're not Steve Jobs and don't know what I'm talking about, please use the Google.) There's an established track record of a new phone coming out each summer since the 1st gen came out. And AT&T has apparently suspended employee vacations for June, which it did for the last 2 iPhone model releases.

See, the thing is we've got this kid. We'll call him Malcolm, because that's his name. Malcolm likes shiny, flashy things. He likes remote controls and buttons on the dvd player and to turn on the stereo receiver and crank up the volume more than it needs to be. He's very much his father's son, except for that deal with the volume--that's all mom. As you might have already surmised, he's a big fan of the iPhone. Hee-yuge fan. He likes it so much that he hates it when we don't let him play with one. How much does he hate it?

This much:

That's the Mrs.' phone and that just happened when she tried to get the boy to play with the phone on the carpet and not over the tiles just inside the front door. The same tiles that caused similar, but way lesser, damage to my iPhone. He got mad and threw the phone down. And by the way, the damage to the phone in the picture is a whole lot worse. You just can't see it so well because the photo was taken with an iPhone (and 2 overhead lights!). That 5 mp camera (with flash!)... I can't wait... which, again, is my point.

Why the waiting game? Let's push things forward. Help an Apple household out. You've got us, ok, we're hooked. I've never used a PC in my life (and never will) unless I have to get something off somebody else's computer or had to do something on my parents' computers, both of whom I've converted to Mac users. We have 2 iPods, 2 MacBooks, 2 iPhones and we'll probably get an iPad at some point in the future. If you ever release an integrated tv/computer and/or a la carte tv channel ordering, we're gonna be all over those too. But right now, all that really matters is the phone, yo.

And just so you don't think we're total dolts, when we first got our phones back in 9/08, we had covers, sleeves, phone condoms, whatever you want to call them. But after a while we each decided, on our own, to go commando (i.e. naked). Mine got dust caught under the face screen and the back got scratched whenever I'd take it off to clean the face. Pam's kept catching on the fabric in her purse or pockets. It just got to be too much for us. I know, I know... look at the situation we're in now. In our defense though, Malcolm is pretty strong. Maybe a case would have saved my phone because Malcolm was sitting when he dropped mine, but I don't think it would have done much damage control for Pam's because the boy threw it pretty hard. Regardless, they're both cased now, though it's really just to keep the glass from breaking any more and/or slicing our fingers. We know we could have prevented or at least lessened the damage if we'd had some protection, but we didn't so we know we're at fault here, but still, there's no reason to wait any longer.

So look, we're eligible for the discounted rate on new phones in May. (Our AT&T contract is up in September & we'd love to switch carriers--Pam can barely make a phone call in the house, and like I said, you've got us--so feel free to give it to Verizon sooner rather than later, too.) I know you're busy working the magic and everything but if you could find it in your heart to do not just what's right, but what's necessary, and just go on and release the 4th gen phone, er, excuse me, iPhone, that would be really, really sweet.

Stephen Light


The Boys

This is not a post about Jerry Jones' football team.

It is a post about Malcolm's testicles.

At the end of January, we took him to the doctor for a wellness check and to get a couple of shots. The doc noticed that his boys were not residing where they should be, but were in fact back up in the body cavity. Previously, they had been down in the sac.

As this had been mutually agreed upon between Pam and myself to be "my department," I felt bad for not coming thru for the boy. In my defense though, I thought they were in their home and the fact that it looked small was due to the fact that his balls were small. And it's not like any dude wants to be poked and prodded down there if they don't have to be. Nevertheless, gutterball for me.

The doc, Dr. Trester, wasn't super concerned, or at least didn't appear to be. He said it did happen plenty. All the same, he referred us to a pediatric urologist to get a specialist's diagnosis. Dr. Cortez is apparently a popular guy because his next available appointment was over a month away, in the first week of March. (No link b/c the lame website only has 1 url.)

So for a month and some change, we're nervous. Every single time we change a diaper, we look and feel, and they're still up. Not good. And it begins to seem like maybe Malcolm has noticed too. From the time he became aware of his body parts and his surroundings, he would often reach down and grab his package when exposed on the changing table. But now, it was seeming like it was happening more. At the beginning of the Month of Waiting, I wrote it off to every male's belief that the penis is generally awesome and none of us would want to be without one, so it's only natural to check and make sure it's there--"Yup, still there. Still awesome." Plus, at his age, he's gotta be wondering what this thing does. But then I too sensed it was happening more, and it was coupled with an increasing restlessness when getting his diaper changed. Our anxiety increased to dull roar level and we began to hope surgery wouldn't be needed.

Two days before the appointment, Pam gets a robocall from Dr. Cortez' office. It talks about a letter of referral being needed from the attending physician. A call to Dr. Trester's office gets one sent to us, though they assured Pam they had already sent one to Dr. Cortez. Parental nerves and anxiety are not helped when it says "I appreciate your taking a look at Malcolm to see what you think about surgery on him."

Appointment day arrives. We get there 15 minutes early, as requested, to do paperwork. Then we wait. There's no one else in the waiting room so Malcolm is able to run around. He smiles and laughs at the receptionists. He overturns plastic toddler chairs. He looks at the fish in their aquarium. We watch him and exchange glances filled with trepidation too often. 20 minutes after the scheduled time we get called back and they weigh and measure Malcolm. Then they deposit us in an exam room. We wait some more. Too long. The boy is hungry and overdue for his nap.

Finally, an hour and ten minutes after our appointment time the doctor enters. There is small talk. He has a 25 year medical school reunion coming up. I don't know if he can read on our faces that we don't care or if he is going thru the motions because that's what he does.

At long last, we pants Mal. Lo and behold the jewels are residing within their case. It's as if they knew they were getting inspected and wanted everything to be just right. Dr. Cortez isn't surprised.

"They go up, they go down. They're in, they hang out. That's what they do. Have them checked every year for the next few years. Dr. Trester can do it or you can bring him back to see me."

When we leave and discover that this office consultation just cost $317, we know that we won't be coming back unless it's a necessity. The walk to the car is almost like bouncing on air. There is no longer a huge weight on our backs, no anxiety and best of all, no need for surgery. The boy's boys are a-ok.


In the park behind Central Market

PS. These pictures are among my favorites of the boy. In the first one, the look on his face alone could tell the story but I also dig the blurriness of motion and his round belly. The second one is all about the sense of exploration.