Month: October 2008

Joy In Philly

And thus ends the World Series I’ve watched the least in the past ten years or so.

But that was a spectacular ending. Suddenly baseball is like the NBA, and you only need to watch the last three innings (or two minutes) to get the important stuff.

Despite my long-time hate for all things Philly, it was kind of cool that they won. I learned after the Series started that Ryan Howard’s brother is in the athletic department at KU. And Jimmy Rollins has always seemed like a good guy. So good for them and the other Philly players. Piss on the city.

I know Philly fans were emoting a lot last night, but was I the only one who wondered if Fox wasn’t augmenting the crowd sounds a little? The roars in the eighth and ninth innings last night seemed louder than anything I’ve ever heard at a baseball game. It’s not like they haven’t played fast-and-loose with the sounds and images from the field before.

As Evan Longoria batted in the ninth, I’m sure most baseball fans thought about the terrific potential he and the Rays have. But, I also thought about what if this is it for them? What if they turn into Toronto, a team that can win 80-90 games a year, but more often than not will end up behind New York and/or Boston in the division, and then miss on the wild card because a Central or West team played an easier schedule and get an extra 2-4 wins? It would seem a shame for them not to become a playoff regular, but sports can be fickle like that.

I’ll admit, I got a lump in my throat every time the showed Willie Wilson swinging at that high fastball from Tug McGraw to end the 1980 World Series. Man WIllie was bad in that Series. <a href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/yr1980ws.shtml”>6-26 with 12 Ks</a>.

I think I say this every year, but I wish postseason baseball records were offered with a per game qualifier. Sure, in absolute numbers Manny Ramirez is the all-time leading home run hitter in post-season history. But he’s had a lot more opportunities than players from earlier eras. So, tell us he’s hit 57 home runs (or whatever) in X games for .25 HR/pg. Then tell us how many Micky Mantle, Reggie Jackson, or George Brett hit per game in their postseason careers.

Monday I was switching back-and-forth between the first five + innings of game five and the shitty Colts game. There has been a discussion across the sports blogosphere about whether Fox might give up baseball rights, thus putting someone other than Joe Buck in the main announcer’s chair going forward. I couldn’t help but think he sounded bored and tired Monday. He used to be one of my favorite announcers, but his broadcasts often seem joyless now.

On to the hot stove league and counting down until pitchers and catchers report.

Chain Reaction

We had the girls at Target today and experienced an interesting phenomenon. We had just arrived, so L. was safely and snuggly strapped into her car seat in the main part of the cart while her sisters rode along on the back (we had one of those big-assed Target carts with the two seats that face forward behind the “normal” part of the cart. These things are awesome, except when you need to turn them.).

We were stopped at an aisle while S. picked out some toiletries. Another mother approached from the opposite direction and her son was screaming bloody murder. Apparently mom was not doing what he wanted. He appeared to be around two, so it was a classic two-year-old meltdown. When these things happen, I just look away, because I figure the parents are having a hard enough time without thinking everyone is judging them. Plus, I hope if I look away and ignore it, our girls will do the same.

They passed us, and of course the screaming woke L. up. I rushed around and worked to get her out of her seat and into my arms. I heard even louder screaming and looked up to see the tantrum throwing boy lying on the ground, face down, going nuts while his mother walked away.* All of a sudden, I notice that C. is crying. Either the tantrum kid or L. freaked her out. She had a bag of pretzels we brought with us in her hands, and was dropping them all over the place as she cried. So now we’ve got a total of three kids in about a 15 foot space screaming and everyone else is trying to get as far away from us as possible. And then M. started crying. I guess she just felt left out or something. Just freaking great.

S. tells me the mom did try to get him into the cart, which is what he wanted, but he refused so she just walked away and left him.
Fortunately, tantrum boy was removed from our vicinity and our girls calmed down soon enough. Not the way you want to start a trip to Target, though.

Things are still mostly good here. L. sleeps most of the day, although she is having some slightly longer periods of awake time. We tend to have a fussy period or two each night. Monday night was probably our worst night, and that just involved a couple strange meltdowns at 11 and 1:30 from her. We think it was just an upset tummy after a bottle, but she was screaming in a way she’s never screamed before. She seemed normal today, so hopefully we will not be repeating that again (knock on wood).

We have been having some issues with the older sisters. M. is just too wound up when she’s around L.. It’s as though a switch in her brain flips when she gets around the baby and she A) behaves in ways she knows are not acceptable and B) completely tunes S. and I out. S. and I have had some long discussions on how to better handle these moments, as we think our reactions don’t always help a whole lot. So we’re trying to get better, but as the rest of you with multiple kids know, it can be hard to be patient and calm when you have an infant and are sleep-deprived.

C., on the other hand, tends to do really well with L.. She has, in the last couple days, started acting a little more like M. around the baby. But in general she’s more laid-back around her than big sister is. C.’s problem is she’s ramped up the two-year-old behavior in the last couple weeks. I don’t think she’s jealous, as M. acted when she was born. I just think it’s normal stuff – tantrums for no rational reason, being physical with her big sister, being indecisive and then acting out when we don’t follow her little games – that comes with her age. We’ve been through it before (and get to one more time!), but again, we’re not in the ideal state right now to deal.

The real bonus, though, is that the big sisters have been waking up between 6 and 6:30 most mornings lately. We have no idea why, since the sun doesn’t come up in these parts until nearly 8:00. One or both girls will come get in bed with us. L. has usually just had a bottle, so she’s often with us. When M. comes in, she will steadfastly refuse to use a voice other than her outdoor voice. When C. comes in, she’s crying about wanting breakfast. These situations usually devolve into S. tiredly asking them to give her five minutes and she’ll go downstairs with them and me yelling at them both to keep their voices down. I’m not a morning person to begin with, and the breakfast table usually involves at least one meltdown from C. because you give her the wrong drink or too much cereal or something dumb like that. And now we’ve added this. I think I understand why I’ve been having a lot of headaches lately.

More than a few times lately S. and I have wondered how families do this with multiple babies, with more than three kids, or when they’re still having kids in their 40s like her parents did. Don’t get me wrong, things are mostly quite good here and we realize we’re lucky in many, many ways. But I think we were both hoping things would be a hair easier than they have been so far.

Not What You Think

So I bet you’re thinking, “Man, he’s got a new baby laying on his chest every night. He’s probably been watching a boatload of football and baseball.”

Wrong.

Unlike four years ago, when then three-month-old M. slept on me for hours at a time while I watched the Red Sox- Yankees and Cardinals – Astros do battle in their epic LCS, L. is a little too little to be able to hang on dad that long. Plus, with the whole waking every three hours thing at night, I’ve had to reign back my traditional night owl ways. Some nights, I’ve been going to bed around 10:30. Thus, I’ve hardly watched any baseball since the first week of the playoffs. I flipped by ALCS game five as I was on my way to bed last week and saw Papelbon was in in the 7th (I checked the game during Must See TV, saw the Rays were way up, and gave up). I thought that was weird but didn’t bother to stick around and see if he escaped without giving up any more runs. Of course, the next morning I wake up and see that I missed another epic game. Oh well.

I’ve watched a few minutes of the first two games of the World Series but have had trouble getting into it. Part of it is the teams involved. First, I have a thing with Philly teams. It all goes back to 1980. The 76ers lost to Magic and the Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Phillies broke my heart and beat the Royals in the World Series. And the Eagles beat the Cowboys in the NFC title game in January 1981. I’ve had little use for teams from Philly since then, unless they were playing a team I hated more.

As for the Rays, I should really be into them, right? Great story, proof that spending and drafting wisely can turn an organization around, and something that breaks up the Red Sox – Yankees – Cubs trio that ESPN forced down our throats all summer. Yet, I’m having a hard time getting into the Rays. It’s not because of this year’s team. It’s because they’ve been a horrible franchise with no fan support playing in the worst stadium in professional sports for a decade. As the Royals have withered on the vine over the same period, the Rays were the firewall anytime the word contraction got thrown around. At least Kansas City had a baseball history and a reputation as a good baseball town back in the day. If push came to shove, Tampa was one of two or three franchises that might get the ax before the Royals. So I’ve rooted for the Rays to be awful. While the idea of contraction seems to have been shelved for the time being, it is a scary thought if they can continue to be good.

As for football, between working the past two Saturday nights and not being able to sit in front of the TV for six hours anymore, I haven’t watched much. There is a bigger problem, though. The mental midgets at our cable provider and our local CBS affiL.te are in a pissing match over the rights to the CBS feed. Thus, we’ve been without CBS since L. was born. That’s three straight Colts game we’ve not seen. That’s three straight Saturdays without SEC football. That’ll put a damper on anyone’s football appetite.

Semi-Pro

I have been doing a little more than just making bottles, feeding the baby, and changing diapers. In fact, I’ve been out working the past two Saturdays. Each week I covered a soccer game, first a sectional final and then a regional final, both times covering the same team.

They won each time (apparently the curse of me covering a team and them losing has lifted) so it was fun to follow them, start to see patterns in their play, and have a better idea of how to frame my story the second week. In fact, my editor said the story I wrote this past week was probably the best I’ve written for him. It was also fun for the coach to recognize me and thank me for coming out the second week.

I’m headed out again this Saturday to follow the same team as they play in semi-state, which is the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 of Indiana high school soccer. They will not be favored in their first game, but should they pull the upset, I’ll get to watch them play twice on Saturday. Fortunately, this time the games are only about 10 minutes from my house, rather than the hour I’ve had to drive the past two weeks.

It looks like I’ll continue to get some Saturday assignments in the next few weeks, as long as teams from Johnson County continue to advance in the fall sports playoffs. And my editor has already asked if I’m up for being a regular basketball writer when that season rolls around. So, slowly but surely, I’m becoming a more regular sports writer.

Big Day

L.¬†got to spend an hour in the Baby Bjorn yesterday and got her first bath last night. She snoozed in the Bjorn while we were cleaning the house and trying to keep her sisters under control. She screamed like she’s never screamed before in the bath. At least she smells better now.

 

Market Correction

L.’s poop has started to smell. Other than that, things are dandy here. We’re still sleeping ok at night. I’m pushing to force her to eat five ounces at a time, in hopes she gets up to 10 ponds quicker and perhaps starts sleeping all night. The fact she’s been throwing everything up about once a day from just three ounces makes it unlikely my plan will be adopted.

It’s really annoying that even with the sun not coming up until around 8:00 here, M. and C. are always opening their door right around 7:00. S. and I could really use that extra hour of sleep since L. always crashes out after the 5-6 AM bottle.

I have a new way to torment the big sisters. I’ve changed the names in the Dora song to reflect the B. girls’ names. So, it’s “L., L., L. the explorer, C. is super cool explore with L…..M. no swiping, M. no swiping!” C. thinks it’s silly but M. literally starts screaming at me to stop. “THOSE AREN’T THE WORDS, DAD!” She just needs to understand I can torment her as much as she can torment me.

Although L. is very laid back, it’s hard to get a routine going around here. All three girls kind of move around on their own orbits, with different times to eat, nap, play, etc. It seems like we get L. taken care of and then M. & C. need the attention. Or when we get them to bed, then L. is going to have a belly ache and need to be held for an hour. We’ll get there.

Week One

It’s hard to believe L.’s been with us for a week now. It’s been a busy time, with two of my out-of-town sisters-in-law coming to visit, the in-town relatives coming over often, and of course many more visits from friends and neighbors. It’s been fun but we’re happy that things are slowing down and we can begin taking some deep breaths and establishing our new normal.

Here’s an attempt to update you on what we’ve experienced over the past week.

All went well last Friday. The c-section was smooth. It’s a great thing to hear your child screaming as she takes her first breaths. Things were kind of loose in the OR. S. had cherry-picked many of her favorite people and asked them to be there. I’m sure everyone is always positive when a delivery goes well, but there was a real vibe of happiness in the room, with everyone going over and checking out L. on the warming table, people coming over and patting me on the back, etc. I like to think it’s because my wife is a great woman first and a terrific doctor second and they were extra excited for her. Or perhaps it was because they knew we have good insurance and they’ll be getting reimbursed!

I’ll admit, in those moments when dad gets to wait outside the OR, I had a few bad scenarios go through my head. We’ve been so lucky with all three pregnancies, I wondered if, since this is our last pregnancy, we might be tempting fate and something could go wrong. I’ll hazard a guess that I’m not the first father, or parent for that matter, to have that thought. There was a monumental feeling of relief when we made it to the recovery room and all was well with both mom and baby.

L. was awesome on Friday. She hung out on the warming table in the recovery room and looked around for about half an hour. S. was working to get her pain under control so I got to give L. her first bottle. She took about an ounce, burped, and went to sleep for most of the next five hours. Seriously. This newborn shit is easy.

Friday night was pretty good, too. I stayed at the hospital that night and we were able to send L. to the nursery for a couple stretches. It was no fun getting up every 2-3 hours to feed/burp, but unless we had the nerve to change her diaper, L. mostly stayed quiet.

The big sisters were super excited to make their first visit on Friday afternoon. M. was off-the-charts excited. C. was excited, too, but she also had a look on her face that suggested she understood her world had just been rocked. “Wait, I’m not the baby anymore?”

Coincidentally, C. seems much older to me since L.’s arrival. When did she get so big?

We did go the hospital knowing that L. would be named L.. I’ll post in-full about the name selection process later, but it was a difficult process. We settled on L. about two weeks before birth. It was kind of a 90% choice for me, meaning I wasn’t completely sure about it, but now I love it. We chose well.

Of course, I keep calling her C..

Saturday afternoon was kind of fun. I came home in the morning and relieved the grandparents. I got the girls cleaned up, posted the first round of pics, and took them to the hospital. We came home and ate lunch. The lack of sleep was kicking in for me, and my already short patience with the girls was pretty much non-existent. They kept jacking around at lunch, refusing to eat, pushing food at each other, etc. Meanwhile, KU was getting pounded by Iowa State on the TV. I was tired, annoyed, and pissed. I looked out into the sunroom and saw M. picking up her plate and dumping her crumbs all over C.. I’m not sure what my first words were, but I did jump up and start screaming at her. At some point, as both girls cried, I said, “Everybody upstairs! It’s naptime.” Best three-hour nap I’ve ever had, and thankfully, the girls slept for three hours, too.

The best part, though, was when C. woke up at some point before M. and I. She was sleeping in her bed and M. and I were in my room. I heard C. walking around in the hall, crying. I wasn’t ready to get up so I kept yelling at her, “C., come in here.” but she just kept crying. I thought she went downstairs and I hoped she wasn’t climbing things or doing something else that could hurt her, because I was keeping my ass in bed. I finally woke up for good around 4:45. I looked in the hallway and C. was passed out on the floor outside our room. The door had been open the entire time, so I’m not sure what her deal was. There’s a pic of her on our picture site.

Everyone came home Monday. That night was rough. L. would only sleep on me, so I ended up being awake until 4:30 or so, with a couple 15 minute naps thrown in, as I let her sleep on me. Tuesday and Wednesday were great. Thursday night she struggled to go back to sleep after her 11:00 bottle, possibly because she was downstairs with me instead of up in a bedroom. I took advantage of her restlessness to make her watch the last half hour of The U.S. vs. John Lennon and the first half hour of the Classic Albums episode on John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band. It was the man’s 68th birthday and seemed like a good time to start brainwashing L..

L. came home at 6.2 pounds. She had a weight check on Wednesday and was back up to 6.7. Girl is growing just like she’s supposed to.

She’s had her first outing, a lunch-time trip to our finest local burger joint. She slept the entire time. She took her first walk tonight. We decided to let her stay at home while I took M. and C. to the pumpkin patch on Thursday. Next year she can pick her own.

So that’s kind of where we stand after one week. L. is very sweet, like all new babies. I’ve been calling her chicken because of a nurse S. works with who calls all babies chickens. M. was Tootie and C. was Stinky, so I think L. got the best first nickname of the bunch.

Cutest Saying Yet

Things are going well. L. has slept quite well the past two nights, waking to eat around 11, 3, and 6 each night and often going back to sleep quickly after each feed.

I’ve mostly kept the MacBook closed and in the office, but I have been adding some notes to a full update post on the events of the past week that I’ll share soon.

I did want to go ahead and share this story, though.

I was sitting on the couch the other night with L. in my lap and C. climbed up next to me. She had a big smile on her face and pointed at L..

“Dats mah baby sister,” she whispered.

“Yes it is, what’s her name?”

“Dats baby Wia.”

“Right. Can you tell her your name?”

“Hi Wia, mah name is C.. Ah your sister. Dats daddy,” she said as she patted my chest. Then she added this.

“We a family.”

As Carl Spackler said, “Tears in his eyes, I guess.”

I can’t say C. isn’t a bit freaked out by the changes in the house over the past week, but I hope we have many more moments like that ahead of us.

All Is Well

Brought the girls (mom and baby) home yesterday, right on schedule. Everything is going well with both. L. prefers to lay on us, rather than in her bed, which meant it was about 4:30 this morning before I finally got to sleep. And S. spent much of the night in bed with M. and C., who were having their own issues. We’re missing the send the baby to the nursery option.

But everyone is healthy. The big sisters are very excited that baby sister is finally here. In fact, they are a little too excited much of the time. And we’re having some predictable behavior issues with both of them because of L.’s arrival. They probably aren’t as bad as they seem, but when both parents are sleep deprived, and one is recovering from major surgery, neither of us has much patience for it.

As we get more fully settled and caught up on sleep, I’ll share more.

Beisbol

We’ve been busy around the house, getting everything cleaned, sorted, and stored in advance of the arrival of Baby Sister, some house guests, and the inevitable flood of visitors that will want to stare at the baby. In the rush, I forgot to put together my patented, much anticipated baseball playoff previews. As with my football previews, which are already about 75% worthless a month into the season, take these with a generous helping of salt.

American League

I said back in August that the Angels were going to win it all this year. I continued to think that going into the playoffs. Then, I woke up this morning and saw the Red Sox had beaten their ace John Lackey in game one. Maybe the Sox still have the Angels’ number in the playoffs, despite losing eight of nine to the Halos in the regular season. Still, the Sox are fighting a number of injuries. I think the Angels right the ship, even if Vlad never gets a hit (he did go 2-4 last night, so maybe he’s finally ready to perform in October), and win in five.

I keep writing off the Rays as little more than a nice story and they keep winning. I keep looking at the White Sox and seeing an old team missing some important bats. The Rays are the better team, but I’m still not a believer. Sox in five.

ALCS

Why pick against my summer prediction now? The Angels get some (over-hyped) revenge for 2005, winning in five.

National League

I’m not a Cubs fan. Never have been, since as a kid, when it was hard to find baseball on the TV, the only games I could predictably find were the always horrible Cubs and Braves. Moving into Cubs territory has not helped. So I was inclined to pick against the Cubs. All summer I kept saying it wasn’t going to happen, and Cubs fans would again be crushed. Then they kept winning, ran away from everyone in the NL, and I started to get worried. However, getting the Dodgers in the opening round is a bad match-up for them. The Dodgers have Joe Torre and the October Machine Manny Ramirez. Dodgers in four. I made this pick before last night, I promise.

Milwaukee is another great story, making its first post-season since 1982. A team built from within but not afraid to go get some horses to help them get into the playoffs. But they struggled to get this far and are another team facing injury issues. The Phillies are due to do some damage in the playoffs. Philly in four.

NLCS

What is this, 1977-8? Dodgers-Phillies in a throw-back series for all of us who grew up on afternoon baseball on NBC with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek. I don’t watch much NL baseball, but when I have seen the Dodgers this year, they’ve always looked good, even when fighting injuries early in the season. Since ESPN was always more interested in showing us three Yankees or Red Sox games each week, I don’t know that I saw the Phillies more than once. The Phillies seem deeper and more experienced. The key could be Brad Lidge. He was shaky yesterday. If he reverts to his old October form, Manny Ramirez may go all Albert Pujols on his ass at an inopportune moment. Yet, I’m going with the Phillies in six.

World Series

Fox misses out on the Cubs, Red Sox, White Sox, Dodgers, and Yankees. Instead, they get SoCal’s second favorite team and a team with a rabid home fan base but little beyond that. I bet they’re thrilled. The Angels have been here before (some of them), the Phillies are just glad to have finally advanced beyond the opening round. * Angels in five*.

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