Thursday, December 31, 2009

FIRSTS - Walking

Baby J is officially walking. She's been taking wobbly, hesitant steps for several weeks now but crawling has been her primary method of locomotion. Tonight, however, she spent most of her time on two feet so I'm making the call. She's walking.



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

COMIC - Sleep Styles

Baby J is very good at sleeping. Perhaps we should all try to emulate her many sleep styles.


--click to enlarge--

Listening To: Deftones by Deftones


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two Tween Girls in a Shopping Cart

Yesterday, I went to the supermarket. While I was there a man pushed past me his cart full of food with two girls, about 10 or 11 years old, perched precariously in the little place where you normally put a single, small child. The two girls, each holding a separate cell phone, were talking excitedly with one another and with whomever was on the other end of their respective phone conversations. They had fancy hair and clothes on and the man pushing the cart seemed placid and unperturbed.

These two girls were of the age that comes just after the cheerful chub of childhood and just before the sullen, awkward swagger of adolescence. Their hair and clothes and cell phones spoke of their adult trajectory but the way they were crammed into the cart suggested a need to feel small and childish.

After they'd gone by, I wondered about that group's dynamic. What conversation had taken place upon arriving at the store? How had these two girl convinced their father to put them in the cart and let them chatter into their phones? This guy must be a total pushover. Probably spoils these girls rotten.

From the outside, it would be easy to say that this man was spoiling his kids. They were old enough to walk by themselves. Furthermore, why would two kids that age need to carry on a conference call in a supermarket? It would be easy to look down my nose at this procession.

But I wonder what I'll be like as a father when Baby J is a tween. It's a strange age. Kids are expected to grow up quickly. Perhaps too quickly. Maybe someday I'll permit my daughter to play adult as I wheel her around in the shopping cart. Or give her a chance to try out being a grownup from the safety of her childhood haunts in some other way.

Maybe someday, in another 10 years, Baby J and I will push past you in the supermarket doing something you might think strange. But every family's different and the dynamic that emerges between family members is unique.

So screw you for judging us!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why I've Been Slacking with Posting

These last few weeks have been difficult for me to post. There haven't been many comics and the posts have been short. Here's why:
  1. Relatives visiting for the holidays - With folks coming and going it's been tough to find time to steal away about blog about Baby J.
  2. I'm sick - It's hard to be reflective on parenting when all you want to do is go to sleep.
  3. Monster Haiku - I've enjoyed making comics for Dawn of the Dad so much that I've started to branch out a little bit, started experimenting. Those experiments have yielded Monster Haiku, a four panel comic with monsters speaking to each other in haiku. Sound weird? It is weird. And weirder still, for some reason, I've been devoting all my artistic energy to it for the past few weeks.
If you read this blog regularly, you probably enjoy the comics. And if you enjoy the comics, you'll probably like Monster Haiku. So to make up for me shoddy blogging in recent weeks, here' s burst of cartoony goodness. It has very little to do with being a stay-at-home dad but the way I draw Baby J has influenced how I draw the monsters, especially the zombie.























Listening To: Bitches Brew by Miles Davis

Saturday, December 26, 2009

33.33333333333333333333%

My year as a stay-at-home dad is approximately one-third of the way through. And what have I learned from having this time at home with Baby J? Well, I can now truly appreciate how a steady paycheck makes life a lot easier. Yes, yes, watching my daughter grow is wonderful and amazing and special and all that but a steady income is also wonderful and amazing and special. Money v. family. It's a balancing act everyone has to face at some point. It's a shame that these two things have to be place in opposition to one another. If only we could get them to work together! Like the Partridge Family or something.

33.3%

Friday, December 25, 2009

Noisy Toys

Merry Christmas.

Baby J received a great many toys from relatives. Multiple piano toys that sing and light up and play songs. With such new and exciting noisy toys getting her to play with her old nicknacks will be a tough sell. I'm guessing from here on out there will be no more playtime with plastic coffee cup lids or fiber one bar wrappers for her.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nonsense Rant on Nationality and Babies

I woke up this morning thinking about what it means to be an American. I'm not really sure why. Maybe I was watching something last night about the Health Care Debate going on in Congress.

Anyway, Baby J is considered an American because she was born in America, right?. That's the rule as far as I can tell. And that means that she is just as much an American as I am. After all, we were both born on American soil. Or am I more American than she is because I'm informed on issues and can vote? Does that make me more American? Is anyone more American than anyone else?

Politicians love to paint themselves more American than their respective counterparts with subtle allusions. Ranking people according to their American-ness smacks of MacCarthyism. Being an American is kind of an either/or proposition. There aren't any gradients. I guess the right thing to say is that both Republicans and Democrats and all the sundry other parties are all equally American. And that they are all as American as Baby J.


I guess this would all make patriotism a sort of self-esteem linked to a person's nationality. After all, if all Americans are equally American, the only accurate way of differentiating between us is how we feel about our American qualities. If you feel good about yourself and your country, then you're a patriot. If you don't, then you're a...I don't know...a commie leftist pinko dirtbag? And if you have no clue like Baby J, then the whole point is moot.

So what have we learned today? Um...that's a hard one. Maybe it's that since nationality is generally based on birthplace and patriotism is a vague brand of civic pride, then no one is more or less American than Baby J.

In conclusion, pooping yourself and crying are equally as American as apple pie and baseball. And since all babies poop themselves and cry, they all exhibit American characteristics.

Maybe "American" is a meaningless term, denotes only birthplace and who you have to pay taxes to.

Listening To: Intuit by Ramona Falls

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All Bob Marley, All the Time

As reported here, Baby J has become quite adept at manipulating and old stereo we have in the living room. She once had a preference for Fergie but recently, it's been nothing but Bob Marley. There are three CD's in the carousel: Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By by Lovage, Loose Grooves and Bastard Blues by Tommy Guerrero, and Greatest Hits by Bob Marley. And Baby J consistently picks Bob Marley. I thought about switching the discs around and see if she still goes for reggae but I thought she might just get confused. So I'm leaving it how it is for now. But if I have to hear No Woman, No Cry one more time, I think I will cry. I'm totally sick of that song. It's way too long and full of double negatives. Drives me nuts.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cheerio Consequences

As reported here, Cheerios have become a new favorite for Baby J. She eats scads of them at each meal and clamors for more. Well, as I am finding out, she doesn't always eat these scads of cereal.

After we're all done eating and I remove her form her high chair, a few renegade Cheerios that didn't quite make it into her mouth fall to the floor in a quick flurry. A mini hailstorm of uneaten cereal. Sometimes, after she's been plopped back in her play area, still more Cheerios tumble out from the hidden folds of her outfit. We find errant Cheerios all over the place now. A few times Baby J's even had them in her diaper (whole Cheerios that have somehow slipped under her onsie and into her tightly fastened diaper!). More often than not, Baby J is happy to pinch one up off the floor and pop it in her mouth. I haven't quite figured out how to discourage this yet.

The stray Cheerios are about the same color as our carpeting and, on more than one occasion, I've stepped on these teeny land-mines plunging bursts of crunchy powder deep into the carpet fibers.

Just like anything in life, the introduction of Cheerios into Baby J's daily routine has pros and cons. As of right now, there seem to be more positive benefits to them than negative consequences. I can deal with a few devious diaper Cheerios so long as Baby J keeps enjoying their conventional counterparts at mealtimes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sleep Poop

Becoming a parent opens your eyes to a whole world on new things. But one of the most bizarre in my experience has been the sleep poop.

Baby J goes to sleep with a fresh, clean diaper. Later, I'll go in to wake her up and she has a humungous dirty diaper. Apparently, at some point during her nap, she poops in her sleep. It's the strangest thing. I can't understand how it happens. How can she sleep so peacefully with a heavy, sodden diaper?

Baby butts work differently than their adult counterparts. I guess I should consider sleep poop a blessing. It's not like she's waking me up in the middle of the night for a diaper change. Maybe sleep poop is a good thing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

COMIC - Gift

Here's a pre-Christmas gift from me to you. And, by the way, I think I'm all caught up now from my mini-hiatus.


--click to enlarge--

Listening To: Straight No Chaser by Thelonious Monk

FIRSTS - Snow

We took Baby J outside to play in the show today. She was nonplussed, just kind of sat there. It wasn't as fun as I thought it would be.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

COMIC - Fetch

This is how I spend a large part of my day.


--click to enlarge--



Early

Typically, I get up when Baby J gets up around 7:30. This is considerably later than I used to get up to go to work (5:30). For the three or four months I've been a stay at home dad, I've been getting more sleep than I did when I was working.

But with an impending snow storm and a ton of shopping left to do, I decided to get up crazy early today, get a jump on my errands. It wasn't easy getting out of bed but I rediscovered that early morning stillness I'd been missing these past few months. When everything is frozen and sleepy and the only people up are me and my skeevy neighbor who sits in his garage and smokes. Aside from him, I kinda liked it.

But, I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon. And I consider myself very lucky to have a baby who is such a generous sleeper. I'll wait to enjoy that morning stillness when I rejoin the workforce.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cherrios

Baby J loves Cheerios. It's great! Whenever she's the slightest bit unhappy, we can give her Cheerios and she's totally cool. She could eat them all day. She could be a little Pac Man chomping down corridors of Cheerios.



Listening To: Transformer by Lou Reed


Baby --> Parents --> Grandparents

I took a few days off from Dawn of the Dad because my parents were visiting us. We put them up in the room where my computer and art desk are so there was very little writing or drawing happening.

While they were here, my parents did all the stuff my grandparents used to do with me when I was a kid. Coo, play, tell me how smart and/or beautiful I was. At the same time, my wife said that she saw an awful lot of my father in me. At one point she even mistook me for my dad!

As I reflect on the few days my parents stayed with us, I'm most interested in the way we seamlessly transition into each new stage of life. Though they'd hate me to say this, my folks are making a transition into what my grandparents were when I was young. I can see it clearly because they aren't around all that much.

Also, according to my wife, I am very much like my father now. I guess someday I'll be like my grandfather since that seems to be the trajectory we all take.

Someday, Baby J will probably be like her mother. And then, someday after that, she'll probably be like her grandmother too.

Listening To: New Sacred Cow by Kenna


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

***TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES***

Dawn of the Dad is on a temporary hiatus due to the fact that I am not able to access my computer until Thursday. I know it's sad. First Tiger, now this! We'll be back soon and I'll make up for lost time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eeeeeeeeeeeee!

We try to eat our meals at the same time Baby J gets hers. As a family we try to share a peaceful mealtime. However, Baby J hates it if you are actively eating when she is not. Here's a snapshot of a typical meal.

Step 1: Place Baby J in high chair
Step 2: Sit down beside her
Step 3: Give her some of her food
Step 4: Give me some of my food

Right around step 4, when I start to eat my own food, she freaks out and kicks her little legs furiously. I know it's wrong but I can't help laughing when she does it. She bangs her feet on the underside of the tray and howls the letter "E" like Mini Me from Austin Powers 2.

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"



Maybe she thinks I'm eating her food. Or maybe she just doesn't like that I'm not feeding at that particular moment. Either way, this pageant happens regularly at mealtime.

Listening To: Together Again for the First Time by Pulley


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Two Cart Man

I went shopping today and filled two grocery carts! Much of it was baby diapers, baby food, etc. so I feel justified in posting about it here on Dawn of the Dad. I feel like I've crossed a threshold into a new stage of life, like I'm a new man now. A two-cart man!

Friday, December 11, 2009

COMIC - Hair Care

As part of a continuing series on Baby J's hair, I present today's comic on creative ways to use baby food.


--click to enlarge--



Thursday, December 10, 2009

FIRSTS - Tooth

Yesterday, I was feeding Baby J some of my applesauce which I was eating with my adult sized spoon. And, each time I gave her a teeny taste on the end of the metal spoon, I heard a small plink noise.

Today, I gave her some of my oatmeal with my metal spoon, and again I heard the plink. I guessed that this sound meant one of two things. (1) Someone had stolen Baby J away in the night and replaced her with an android, a synthetic robot designed to look like a human being of flesh and blood but which has the metallic inner-working os a regular robot and what I was hearing was the hinging mechanism in her artificial jaw. Or (2) Baby J is finally getting her teeth.

As it turns out, she is finally getting a tooth. My wife, the official referee on such matters, confirmed it today. After 11 moths of gums gums and more gums, our little rugrat has finally cut a tooth, a whole tooth, and nothing but a tooth.

Listening To: Clutch by Clutch


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mall Shooter

I was at the mall the other day in the big play area the have for kids to run around in. It was kind of nice. Padded floors. Happy children. Stuff to climb on.

There were two boys there, probably about 5 or 6 years old, careening about and having a merry ol' time. They looked like normal young boys. But then without provocation, one of the boys paused, turned to Baby J, cocked an imaginary rifle, and blasted her with imaginary ammunition.

Now, those of you who read Dawn of the Dad regularly know that I'm pretty good at sifting through the details of a story to find a deeper metaphor or a nifty little moral. But today, I've got nothing. I have no clue what lesson we can learn from the events of the day. Maybe it's that boys naturally want to shoot things - like babies. Or perhaps it was that our culture is utterly violence soaked. Maybe it's that young kids shouldn't play violent video games where they can role play killing things.

I don't know.

Whatever the underlying message here, I was deeply disturbed abd though his mother scolded him appropriately I'll probably remain creeped out over this for quite some time.

Listening To: Paniots Nine by Joe Maneri


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

COMIC - Feeding Time

I apologize in advance for offending any parents with children weighing 400 pounds. A big baby is a beautiful baby.


--click to enlarge--



Monday, December 7, 2009

Lovies 3

Have you ever had those Fiber One bars they sell in the supermarkets?



If not, you should try one. They're tasty and, what's more, they provide an ungodly amount of daily fiber. There's also a Fiber Plus knock off brand that's good too. But I'm not here to blog about these tasty morsels. I'm here to talk about their wrappers.

Baby J has always preferred strange lovies (like coffee cup lids and Kleenex Pocket Packs) and now she's added a new item to her bizarre collection of beloved bric-a-brac, the wrappers of Fiber One bars.

The other day, she got her hands on one and would not let it go. She turned it over in her little fists. She slurped on it a day spreading drool everywhere. Whenever she can get one, she plays with it exclusively.

At first I was a little worried but they don't tear, they don't contain and pieces she could choke on, and they don't have any allergens on them. So now she plays with trash.

My neighbors have a little girl about the same age as Baby J and their living room is decked out like some sort of baby Las Vegas with lights and sounds and sirens. I feel very fortunate that Baby J only needs some tissues and a few bit of refuse to be happy. Saves us a ton on batteries and little light bulbs.

Listening To: Greatest Hits by ZZ Top


Sunday, December 6, 2009

100th Post Retrospective

Dawn of the Dad has reached another milestone, the 100th post. To celebrate, I've compiled a short montage of recent comics (just like I did for the 50th post retrospective) over a song I recorded a while back. I hope you enjoy it.

video

Listening To: Tragic by Orange 9mm


Saturday, December 5, 2009

POEM - This Coming Month

I don't have much to say today so here's another haiku.

This coming month brings
her first Christmas, first New Years
and first birthday. Whoa...

By the way, tomorrow is my 100th post!



Friday, December 4, 2009

Moo...

There's a Greek myth (I'm not sure which one) about a meek boy who wishes to grow stronger. He seeks the advice of some mentor (or sage or oracle or seer or anyone of the other myriad omniscient beings that seemed to have populated Ancient Greece) and was instructed to carry a baby calf around a barn once each day. The idea was that as the calf grows into a cow, the boy would grow into a man and gain strength through a task that intensified gradually.

This legend, though only vaguely present in my memory, sprung to the front of my mind today as I lifted Baby J out of her car seat. I tend to carry her wherever we go since it's easier than rigging up that marsupial contraption and more maneuverable than a stroller. I thought to myself that this must be a good workout and that over time, I'd grow stronger from it.

But then, as my brain mulled this half-baked comparison, I started to see a second layer, a deeper metaphor that I hadn't thought of before.

My revelation went like this: No one gets stronger by hoisting babies. Even in Greek myths. If that were the case, there'd be baby gyms all around the country where you could bench press tots until your pecs were bulging. Maybe this myth isn't really about a boy growing physically stronger by hefting cattle. Maybe it's about developing inner-strength through self-discipline, through taking responsibility for another life. After all, if the meek boy didn't take care of the calf, he'd have to carry a rotting cow carcass around. And that's just gross. He needed to feed his calf, to make sure it was warm, to make sure it was healthy, etc. How long does it take to carry a calf around a barn? Ten, twenty minutes? I bet you the meek boy spent a lot more time worrying about his cow's welfare than he did lifting it. And that, my friends, is pretty much what parenting's all about.

Baby J sleeps away 75% of each day but her presence occupies 110% of my attention. Carrying around Baby J both physically and metaphorically has helped me grow a lot stronger. It's narrowed my focus, adjusted my priorities. Sadly, my pecs are not yet bulging, but there's plenty of time for that later.

Listening To: Ruby Vroom by Soul Coughing


Thursday, December 3, 2009

COMIC - Books

Today, we take a look at a few of Baby J's favorite books.


--click to enlarge--



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

COMIC - Changing is Changing

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose and...
changing is changing.


--click to enlarge--

Listening To: Stankonia by Outkast


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

COMIC - Loneliness

I blog a lot about loneliness (exhibit 1, exhibit 2, etc.) but, just for the record, I'm not suffering from any sort of isolation. It's pretty much standard to fly solo as a stay-at-home dad (or mom or whatever you stay at home and do). It comes with the territory but being alone does not necessarily mean a person in lonely.


--click to enlarge--