Tuesday, May 24, 2011

They grow up so fast

Well it's been a little while since my last blog post but so much has been happening I thought I'd wait and combine Harper's adventures of the last few weeks. She has grown so much it is really amazing. She gets longer and heavier and every day is more and more alert. She really studies Amanda and me now and I think the smiles are becoming more and more genuine. Still, we are all figuring out how to communicate with one another. The "hungry" cry is much clearer now but some of her other fussy outbursts still baffle her mother and me. Clean diaper... check. Full Belly... check. Trying 30 different kinds of holds... check. And still we will have big cries. Amanda thinks it might be growth spurts and with the speed at which she seems to be growing I would not at all be surprised if those bones hurt as they stretch out.

We had our first lengthy road trip to Amanda's parent's house in eastern NC. Usually the trip takes right at 5 hours but with two stops for feedings it took us about 6 which is actually a little less than we expected. We are fortunate that Harper does well in the car. She just kind of shuts down and is very quiet and still riding in the back seat. After the second feeding and more than 5 hours into the trip though I think she had hit her saturation point. She did not want to go back into the seat and wailed for about 1/2 an hour down the road. She can't really stretch in that car seat and it was too much. She is very much like her mother in that regard. When it's time to be done with the car it is TIME TO BE DONE WITH THE CAR!!!

Thankfully we were on the last leg of the trip and she was soon stretching out in her Grandaddy's arms on the recliner. Amanda's mom and dad are such natural grandparents. They love Harper so much and just want to rock her and talk to her every moment. Mama took off from work for a few days just so she could spend time with her grandchild and was such a proud Grandmama showing off the latest addition to the family.

All in all Harper did very well. We were worried that the unfamiliar new place and the excitement of seeing so many new people might set her off but she was for the most part a little angel. On Friday however we did have a moment late at night. For some reason the child slept only about 1 hour out of 14. We could not get her to take a nap all day. Mama's sister Eleanor had come for a visit as well as her Aunt Pam from across the street. He Aunt and Uncle and cousins came over and it was just so much stimulation Harper got really wound up in the evening. Once it was bedtime she was not going down and we had to try and soothe her for hours as she wailed and wailed. I felt bad because we didn't want to keep everyone else up in the house but eventually she went down and slept all the way through the night.

That was really the only issue of the whole weekend. The drive home was fine although we pushed it by only feeding once and by the time we were a little over 20 minutes away from the house, Harper let loose with hunger cries. As soon as we got in the driveway Amanda took her out and upstairs to feed.

The Monday after we got home our family friend Kristen Garvin and her husband Pete came down to dinner with my parents. They brought their dog Moxie with them and their 16 month old son Max. Max was the coolest little boy and gave us a good idea of what to expect in a little over a year. He was wide open, always looking for something to pick up or bang or play with. Our house it seems is already fairly well baby proofed. There was not much he could get a hold of that was too breakable or he could pull down on himself. Don't get me wrong, we need to plug the outlets and move my guitars, etc, but still I think we are off to a good start. It was also nice to have a dog in the house and I hope in a year or so we may look to get a canine.

Amanda's sister Steph came for a visit on Wednesday and stayed for five days. It was great for both Harper and Amanda. She and Amanda rarely get time alone with each other as when ever we get together it is always a family affair. It was tough as Amanda had to feed often but they were able to get away for a few hours each day to shop and hang out. It was also a great opportunity for Harper to get to know her Aunt in a relaxed atmosphere where she could hold her to her hearts content. I'm really glad she came as the next time she comes it will certainly be with Alex and Abby and the trip will be non stop excitement.

Amanda and I were fearful we were boring Steph to tears. Harper is growing so much she is feeding about every two hours so it meant we couldn't really do a whole lot far away from the house. Almost every night Steph was here Harper would have a spell from about 10pm to 1am. It was really tough and very draining on Amanda. For whatever reason at night Harper would just not want to eat and was fidgety and upset. We just didn't know what to do. During the day she was perfect and quiet and then like clockwork every night she would fire up and nothing we tried seemed to help. These are the moments that you hear about from other parents. The battle scars of parenting.

Lately though she has gotten a bit more fussy during the day and is settling in at night. She actually slept for over 7 hours last night. It was a bit unnerving to wake as the sun was coming up and hear Harper's early hunger whines. I asked Amanda if she fed her in the middle of the night and she said no and was as surprised as I was. She looks healthy and ate fine this morning so I think everything is just fine. Amanda is going to try and start pumping this week so we will get a good idea of how that will work and I can start feeding and hopefully take some of the burden off Amanda.

Oh yeah, I gave Harper her first bath!!! I will admit I was very nervous. So much to be aware of from not getting water or soap in her eyes to being vigilant about keeping her heard above water. Not to mention worrying she is going to poop in the baby tub. But all went really well. The first time Amanda watched me and guided me. It is tough for me as my height makes it hard to bend down to the sink to wash her hair or bend way over into the tub to scrub her body. I will have to figure out my own system. The second time Amanda was taking a shower so I bathed Harper all by myself. We had a lot of fun and talked to each other and laughed and smiled.

Well, I just heard a diaper explosion so I've got some changing to do. Looking forward to what Harper will teach me today.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

1 Month Old

Time is very different these days. In many respects it goes by very fast. Often, Amanda and I both remark as the sun goes down, "where did the day go?" And at the same time it has been a VERY long month.
The nine months leading up to this angel seemed to fly by and now it is hard to believe it has only been four weeks since Harpers birth. Long weeks, but wonderful weeks.

Today we took Harper to my student Tina DeSoto's graduation party at a vacation spot her parents own called Bear Lake. It was a beautiful day and the venue was gorgeous. It was a small gathering of Tina's family and some friends and other teachers and we could not have had a better time. The BBQ was quite tasty and there were lots of laughs. Amanda told the story of my ibuprofen overdose and brought the house down. She doesn't think she tells a good story but she had everyone in stitches the whole time. This is definitely one of those yarns that Harper will probably have to endure her entire life. The sort that she'll hate when growing up and then share with her own kids as an adult.

Harper wore a very pretty dress and her new shoes she got from some Smith (Kropp) cousins but unfortunately (or fortunately) she slept the entire time in her stroller and we never got a picture of her or the party. Maybe Tina's brothers who were taking lots of photos got a couple of choice shots. The picture we took of her before going to the party will have to suffice. Still, she was the hit of the party even in her sleep.

Tomorrow is Mothers Day. It already feels like it has taken on a new meaning for me. I have a greater appreciation for my own mother now that I really understand the trials and tribulations of pregnancy & childbirth as well as being amazed at Amanda's courage and fortitude as she rears this child and is in a constant cycle of feeding and sleeping. It really is amazing. I think the only reason that men have been able to maintain their "power" in the church or business or politics or whatever is by the sheer fact they have more time. Fatherhood and motherhood are certainly not equal terms.

But still... fatherhood is pretty good:)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bad Man Dead


As I imagine (and hope) that you will read this as an adult and maybe share with your own children, I think it is important to not only document the milestones of your own life but also those moments in history that will no doubt shape the world you live in.

Late last night as your mother and I were watching TV, your mom who was checking Facebook on her phone (you may have to look those things up) let out an audible gasp and informed me that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I have no doubt that his name, like Hitler's, will forever be associated with the worst sort of evil and that you will study his terrible deeds and our country's dark moments and great triumphs in your history classes.

I think the only reason I mention it is that as we watched the 24 news cycle cover his death today I often stared at you sitting in a state of blissful ignorance only getting upset at an oncoming poop. Many months ago your mother and I talked about whether it was right to bring a child into this world. A world where such an evil man could exist and where there was so much hurt (wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), devastation (tsunami's in Japan and tornados in Alabama), and political turmoil (don't even know where to begin). But as I stare into your precious, uncorrupted eyes I know that I am responsible for leaving a world to you that is the best I could have made it, and that your mother and I are responsible for raising you in such a way that your moral core is free from evil and judgement of others.

There will be more bad men in the future. There will be more wars and terrible natural devastation. You will see things that will make you inextricably sad, but as you will learn from your DeDe as you grow up, there is much more hope and beautiful things to live for and revel in.

You have the power to create the kind of world you want to live in.

Your mother and I created the world we want to live in.

A world with you in it.