hkellick: Fatherhood (Fatherhood)
I won't claim to be an authority on fatherhood. Being a stay-at-home dad has certainly given me a certain set of experiences and a certain viewpoint. Or maybe it's just reinforced a certain viewpoint. But once in a while I have to sit there, smack my forehead and wonder what the hell these people were thinking.

So R and I are at the park today. It's gorgeous out and this particularly park is pretty busy. Lots of parents with their kids. Down in the ball field, a grandpa is playing tee ball with a 4 year old and a bunch of kids are running around having a fun time around the playgrounds. Except for R. He's playing in the dirt, ignoring the ball I brought for him, thinking he'd enjoy playing with it.

And as R is playing in the dirt, I hear a mom say, from the bench "Get off the Swing and Go Play!"


What is wrong with playing on the swings?
I suspect I know. Mom was hoping kid would burn off some energy. Because as we all know, kids are a fount of energy. But that said.. why is the swing less acceptable than playing?

I suspect mom has a problem. It's a common parent disease called Mywayitis. It's a mental disease that makes otherwise good parents believe that there is only one GOOD way to do things.

Come to that.. it isn't just a parent problem.

There are certain actions that are negative, period. Hitting your peers will not help you make friends and driving on the wrong side of the road is a good way to get into an accident. For most activities, though, the boundaries of acceptable are decidedly murky. There's nothing inherently WRONG with reading the last page of the book before the first one if you don't care if the story is spoiled. And while it may not be the most efficient way there, if you want to drive to work without taking a single left turn, you can do so.

And yet the number of people who think there's only one correct or acceptable way to do a task is saddening. And when you broadcast that kind of attitude to a child, you're just teaching them to be judgmental and critical, not things I'd like to teach my son.

It's not that I can't understand the desire to have your kid burn off some energy, but the sentiment behind the statement.. and the criticism inherent in it.. that swinging is not acceptable really bothers me.

So dear mom on the bench, may I offer some humble advice?
Firstly, loosen up. A kid is gonna be a kid. You can't force a kid to do the things you want. You can entice, persuade, teach the value of, or just model the things you want, but let a kid be a kid. And that's it. At the end of the day, if the kid wants to be silly, wants to play in the dirt when you wanted him to play with the ball, paints the puppy purple instead of brown.. is that really so bad you need to criticize it?
Secondly, if you want the kid to do something, try another tact. Try redirecting him to that group playing around the playground or better yet, bring your own group so he can play with people he know. Or play with him yourself.
And finally, remember, always, that a child is always learning from you. Not just what you WANT him to learn, but other things such as how you treat your family, how you treat the world, how you act when you're in a group and when you're home alone. Wouldn't you rather most of what he learn be positive?
hkellick: Fatherhood (Fatherhood)
One of the things that my wife and I are currently struggling with is... a semblance of equality in the household.

I got the chance to stay home two weeks (meaning.. really one week with K and the boy as the first week was in the hospital or going back and forth to the NICU.) I thank my lucky stars I had that much PAID time off and could take it.

And then that was it. Two weeks went by faster than you could believe (and it certainly WAS a blur) and back to work I went.

Double the responsibility, double the stress. Now I not only had to do right by my family, but right enough by my employers. Work has, in general, been understanding of the fact I'm not at my peak, and I'm lucky that my deadlines aren't exactly coming at me at breakneck speed, but work stresses me out. It always has and it likely always will. It's alot of responsibility and while work might be tolerant of being a bit less with it, they are entirely intolerant of me screwing up, so I better not.

Meanwhile, K's mom came down for a couple weeks after I went back to work and helped K keep up with things, and that was.. a mixed blessing. We all knew K's mother was driving me crazy because it wasn't enough that I'd work all day and then come home and have to help K take care of the Squirm, but she had LISTS of things I "had to do".. which led to some resentment.

Now K's mom is gone and, honestly, that's just as well. It gives us a chance to find our own equilibrium. Some things are not as clean as they used to be when K's mom was here, but.. HELLO.. NEW PARENTS! I'm OK with that. We're getting the major stuff done.

But now that we're stuck trying to find equilibrium, there's a question of.. a sort of broad equality.
At least, I look at it on the broad side. K stays home and watches the baby all day. I go to work all day. K stays at home all night and takes care of the baby (with some help from me. I don't leave her stranded all night as well.), I take care of the cooking, the cleaning, most of the laundry, the garbage and cat litter. AKA: the important stuff.

Sometimes that's not enough for either of us. Usually when we're both low on spoons and barely coping. That's when the grumpies and the small fights happen.

I guess we're all waiting for that miraculous future day when things get, as everyone says they will, better. When the Squirm sleeps in the cosleeper instead of having to sleep on K or I. Sleeping longer than two or three hours will be nice too, but, really, we're waiting for the day K can PUT HIM DOWN for an extended period of time.

That day.. will be a very happy day.
hkellick: A New Sims Sheep - For Sims Fans :D (Sim Sheep)
Firstly, I don't think there's anyone who reads this who doesn't have a DW code if they want one, but if you do, I have, like, a metric butt-ton of them.
OK, it's really 13, but it feels like a metric butt-ton.


The Sims 3: Ambitions is scheduled for "Summer 2010". It looks like a career-based expansion pack. Needless to say, I'm very interested.
However, there's been a small problem. As I think I mentioned, a couple months ago, my motherboard died. We got it replaced with something similar to the one I WAS using, so most of my hardware would work with it, but.. for reasons I couldn't understand, after installing The Sims 3, it would not run.
It would get to the starting screen, the screen would go black and then.. back to my desktop, with no error messages, nothing.
With the next expansion coming, I realized I REALLY wanted to play Sims again.
So I tried calling EA support to help me figure it out.
After being on the phone for an hour and a half and being kicked off their chat thrice (the chat would claim to be looking for people to help me, but when I was finally in queue, I got booted with no explanation but that no one was available to answer the Chat.), I finally gave up, frustrated. K suggested I try again yesterday morning.

So, I did. I called.. well, 10 minutes before their phone lines opened and then again 11 minutes later and after waiting over 30 minutes (and being kicked out of Chat once again), and just as I was bitching at Kristen how PISSED I was at EA Support, I got a nice lady from Texas who helped me figure it out (I needed to update my video card driver. Duh.) and, in short, I finally have Sims 3 up and running again. Woo!

So... I poked around with Sims 3 as I could during the day.

Meanwhile, little boy had given us a long night of not sleeping much and a longer day of.. still not sleeping much and K and I were getting cranky at each other. Luckily, I'd had an idea the day before, which was.. since K's parents were here and coming over, maybe we could ask them to babysit for a couple of hours and we could both go see "Alice in Wonderland."

They agreed, and we both made it to the 3:30 showing. We were out and free and it was great! We both really enjoyed the movie (but then.. it was Tim Burton. Tim Burton seems to have this thing for Johnny Depp, but past that, I love his stuff ;) )

It was date time, something we hadn't had in a month.

Came home, dealt with cranky baby, but both still a little happier for getting out.

Then I played a little more Sims 3 til we went to bed and LAST night, the boy slept. So thank goodness for that.

And that was my weekend so far. Not bad at all, all told. And I have my Sims running again! :D Woo! :D

The Briss

Mar. 1st, 2010 07:49 am
hkellick: (Jewish)
Sunday was Robert's Briss

Cut for Length )
hkellick: Fatherhood (Fatherhood)
So I'm back at work today. I'm looking back at the last entry since the little boy came home and the last week is just this blur.
I can't tell you what I did in the last week. And I'm sure in a year, I'll be able to tell you even less.
The first couple days were OK.. he was used to the NICU schedule so was sleeping and waking up every couple hours but as we let him set the schedule, things sort of went to hell. We both had some ugly mostly sleepless nights. K is still struggling with that. The last few nights have been better.. not necessarily great, but better. I'm getting sleep.
Somewhere within the last week, K and I both got bad head colds. It led to us having a pretty awful week, trying to deal with a newborn AND a head cold.
Then K's family came this weekend and helped clean the place up, which it desperately needed, especially with the briss coming up.
Now I'm back at work and K's at home. K's mom will be here during part of the day to help out however Kristen needs. And.. we'll all adjust again, to me being at work and K staying at home and us both dealing with a newborn.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
I didn't write this morning, but the news was generally good.

Instead, I'm going to write about today.
We got to the hospital about 11:50 or so, went up and little Robert is no longer in an isolette unit, but a bassinet (a plastic one, but..)
And he had gained weight and was now over his birth weight. Hooray for Robert!
Oh, and for the first feeding, the hearing specialist was there and little Robert can hear!

But the best news of all.. he was likely to be discharged. Today.

It was extremely hard to not get our hopes up. All we needed was the doctor's OK.

So 3:00 comes and we're trying not to be over the moon, and we see the doctor who checks him out and gives the OK. So we go through the discharge process (make sure to do this for baby, make sure to do that, etc.) and an hour and a half home, we're all going home.

Holy shit, there's a baby in the house!

.. tonight is going to be a looooong night.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
One of the negative things about having your newborn in an intensive care unit is that the child does not have the ability to set his own schedule, or even try to. Every three hours, you get your half-hour "hands on" time. If you're sleeping, you'll get woken up to have your diaper changed and temperature taken. And then fed, whether you're awake or not.

Mr. Robert had at least one feeding where he clearly wasn't awake and got cranky and tired because he has to be up AGAIN to feed, et. al.

Add to that that Mr. Robert simply doesn't understand that he's being fed, in part, by an IV tube and he CAN'T have as much food as he wants, only that he isn't getting as much as he wants.

So Mr. Robert was Mr. Inconsolable after ever feeding. I want MOOOORE. I'm HUNGRY!
Perhaps that's good in a roundabout sort of way because he had a couple of feedings of 20 ccs and then got the OK to jump up to 25 ccs for his 9:00 feeding. And if he keeps showing he can handle 25ccs, they'll probably up him to a full ounce and so on and so forth.

K and I are home. That means we got to sleep in our own bed (at least until the alarm went off telling K it was pumpin' time again, but.. I guess that's maybe practice for Robert's arrival. Wake up time! Robert's hungry again!)

The snow isn't as bad as we feared over here. It's melting pretty well (which unfortunately also means it's turning back into ice all over our steps at night too, but... oh well.) and the roads are clear enough, so...

Today, we'll be back at the hospital by noon and stay probably until dinner (his, then ours.)

We're trying to figure out Valentine's day as well. Assuming the status quo continues, we'll probably go have a meal at Bertucci's, a favorite restaurant of ours, either before or after visiting Mr. Robert and just.. try to enjoy each other's company.
I think desert was mentioned as well ;)

And that's the news. Not much, but in this case, we're not expecting any huge news until he gets to come home anyways.
Then we shall have a party. And by we, I mean K and I.. he'll probably zonk out.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Let me start by saying that, weather-dependent, K is scheduled to be discharged today, and I am glad for it. Not to say it'll be easy to leave the hospital and easy access to Robert, but that I NEED to go home, to a bed I can SLEEP in, to a non-flaky internet connection, to the things that make home comfortable.

We'll deal with getting in to see Robert day by day.

Once K is officially discharged, I'll call our friend Adam and see what the situation back home is. Lynne and Adam live a couple of blocks from us, so chances are they know things such as.. are the roads even plowed. If the roads themselves are passable, Adam has offered to help me get into my own driveway, and that help is sorely appreciated. And I can always leave K in Lynne's care while Adam and I clean out the road, so.. we'll get it figured it out.

But what about Robert? )

Our little boy is doing very well and I'm proud of how strong he's getting. Hopefully all this good news means he can come home soon.
hkellick: Fatherhood (Fatherhood)
I went home last night, to take care of the cats and the house, take care of laundry, etc. The sleep was nice, but I woke up twice thinking I heard a baby cry, probably a mental recording of ones of the kids in the NICU... weird.

Got here about 11:00 or so, said hello to my wife and went downstairs to check up on Robert. The nurse said he'd had a good night. He was still spitting up a little, but they weren't concerned about it. Then I got asked if I wanted to feed Robert.

And things got better from there, generally... )

But all in all, a better day.

I am still overcome by how much support we've gotten. Our families, whom we don't always see eye to eye with, are supportive and there and helpful. Friends are doing their best to offer help, K's church contacted her to offer assistance (and some helpful tips to deal with the NICU), and people we're friendly with even offered us a place to stay that's closer to the hospital.

And, btw, to those people who'm I've yet to meet but posted to this journal, thanks, I'm not ignoring your comments. Just don't have the time yet to respond..

Good night. Hopefully tomorrow continues to be a little better than today, even if Snowverkill does rage on out there.
hkellick: Fatherhood (Fatherhood)
It's been a long day and I haven't gotten alot of sleep.

I considered writing a long post about the day, but it doesn't feel half as important as yesterday's post. Yesterday was a DAY. Today is just dealing with the effects of yesterday.. mostly.

The Return of Snowmageddon is expected tomorrow night and Wednesday. This really threw me for a loop because I couldn't figure out how to get my parking spot dug out before I need to take K home, and also have the cats taken care of if I were to be where I WANT to be, the hospital.
Thanks to a friend, I have a plan. If I'm lucky, one of K's family's friends may be even more help as he's offering plow assistance.
One way or the other, I'm allowing myself to get snowed in at the hospital and hoping the cats can take care of themselves for a day.

I feel guilty about this, but I wouldn't be happy trying to stay at home.

The hardest part of the day was hearing that we'd likely be leaving the hospital without our baby. All signs seem to suggest that despite a rough start, Robert's doing A-OK. He's alert, he's got energy, he's doing everything a child his age should be doing, as far as I can tell, but the doctors are cautious due to his small size and want to take the time to introduce milk to him slowly so he doesn't end up getting bodily damage (I guess, at his weight, a real concern is that if they let him drink too much too quickly he might perforate his ulcer.)

I've fallen in love with my little boy, faster and farther than I honestly expected coming into this. He's so tiny and helpless and it kills me (and Kristen) to have to leave him at the hospital while we go home. I know he's getting good care and I CAN'T fault the doctors their caution, but it still sucks.

Add to that being way overtired and the logistics of sorta managing the household while wanting to be in the hospital in the middle of a snowstorm, and it's just been a Long Day.

But... wow, as I said to Kristen.. somehow, in the past 36 hours, I FEEL like I've gained a family. I mean, I always had a family, of course, but... I look at my wife and my little boy and THAT, That is my family.

I'd love to post more, but I think it's time to try to sleep.

Catch everyone on the flip side. I'll probably post from the hospital tomorrow whilst I let myself get snowed in. Thank god for friends willing to help out the best they can.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
The plan for today was to get up, try to get out and shop, do laundry, make lunches and at least WATCH the superbowl, if not go to a party.

But life has a way of laughing at plans )

And now, here I am, half watching the superbowl, but mostly here, posting about a very traumatizing day that may end up being one of the best days of my life...

I still think the kid should be named Murphy... It feels.. appropriate...


Dec. 11th, 2009 07:27 am
hkellick: (Jewish)
Tonight, as some of you no doubt know, is the first night of Hannukah. Tonight's plans aren't big. When K comes home, if we can find the menorah (my job when I get home), we'll light the candles and open the gifts from Dad and Elaine.

Tomorrow will be a little more complicated since K is going to make some Latkes.

With a child being in the forefront of my thoughts, I keep wondering what holiday time in the Kellick Household will be like in.. 3 or 4 years, once the child is old enough to begin to understand.

I've never been the most religious Jew. I don't go to temple on the high holy days and don't belong to a temple, but Judaism is still a part of my heritage and I try to respect that, but I'm not sure what sort of .. expert I'd be to my children to teach them, if they want to know, what it is to be a Jew. I know traditions. I even follow some of them, because they're still important to me to feel connected to.. the memory or fantasy, maybe, of my childhood (not the actual thing, of course.)

And yet it's important enough to me that I do want them to understand the story of the miracle of the candles, to understand the importance of lighting the menorah, to understand, as well, that Hannukah is a minor holiday and not a major one like Passover.

I'm not sure how meaningful that is without the religious aspect. My child will probably not go to temple, since to do that he'd have to be Jewish, which he won't be, since I don't see us, as a family, agreeing to him being converted unless I REALLY pushed for it. And I'm not sure I'd do that since, except for right now, I've just never cared too much about my religion. It's more of a part of how I was raised than who I am now.
And to be honest, I'm only marginally more comfortable in a Jewish temple than I am a church, even K's UU church which is to say, when a religious service is going on, I'm not.

I'm not sure why this is bothering me now. Maybe it just sort of struck me. How meaningful is a tradition like lighting a menorah without the understanding of why this is supposed to be important?

I don't have an answer to that. It probably depends on how meaningful K and I make it. I think, as I said above, it mostly just sort of struck me. It maybe won't matter in 3 or 4 years, or maybe I'll find my answers by then.
hkellick: Fatherhood (Fatherhood)
I am officially talking publicly about this.

Kristen is about 8 1/2 weeks pregnant. Estimates date of delivery is somewhere in late February, which means we get our very own Aquarius.

To be perfectly honest, I have.. alot of different feelings about what it's going to mean to be a person. At first, once it was confirmed, I was terrified. My life, such as I knew it, was about to change significantly and that's still, honestly, very scary. I don't know... well.. alot of things.

But... having had some time to think about it, I'm feeling pretty stoked. I don't think I have words to explain why, though I suspect every Dad reading this post knows exactly what I mean. It's simultaneously frightening that we're about to deal with a BABY but at the same time, one day that Baby will grow from... Level 0 Dorklet that eats, poops, cries and sleeps to... a full fledged Dork with mad leet Dork powers.

So... yeah. Everything changes. Everything's BEEN Changing, but this definitely puts a point on it.

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