What Are We Doing

I was at a dance class with my young daughter. She is about to be 4 years old, and in about a month she will debut in her dancing career as a beam of sunshine. Cassie, the teacher, needed audio of each child saying their name for something she was putting together and each one of them needed to say ‘Hi, my name is…’ and finish with their name. So Cassie brought them all in to the office, which left me and the rest of the parents sitting by the wall as we do, waiting for what was barely 5 minutes.

And within 30 seconds, everyone had a phone in their hands, checking email or snapchat or Facebook or whatever it was. There was a mother close to me with a daughter in the class as well as a 1 year old son, and he and I caught each other’s gaze because there was no one else to make eye contact with. I smiled at him, and waved, it was a sweet moment but also sort of a sad one because he seemed perhaps a bit lonely right then.

A few minutes later, all the children filed back out of the office and the room livened up again.

Now, right here, I want to be clear that I am not trying to shame or blame anyone. I too am a parent, and even just a few minutes of respite is a non-trivial thing. The truth of it is that messages do need to be checked, and notes need to be taken, and text messages don’t write themselves. We can’t just stop doing it. The fucking light is blinking.

But know that when we all do that, all the time, there will certainly be more cases where a tiny little person is looking out at the world, trying to connect and finding nothing.

I think we can do better.

cross posted to

Happy New Year

Here we are, 2016. Wow.

I just lost a long post that I wrote and it’s a tough thing. I love writing online but there we have a very good reminder of what the cost is. Honestly ten years ago I would have been more likely to have kept that draft. The fact that Squarespace does not have an auto-save function is a real tragedy.

It breaks me up because I had just written a wonderful testament to the new year, to fatherhood, to my amazing wife, and now of course there is no way for me to even start to recreate it exactly. I just have to go at it again completely and man that’s a rough waste of an hour.

I started out talking about how grateful I am. I just refinished my office and I am super happy about it. It feels like I finally have the office that I wanted. I used to dream about an office in DT Los Angeles and living in a loft nearby, and now I have a sweet home office with a view of the mountains and I think I just didn’t really know what I wanted until now.

the view from my office on a snowy morning.

the view from my office on a snowy morning.

the new floor in my office, just before the baseboards went in. So much better than that carpet!

the new floor in my office, just before the baseboards went in. So much better than that carpet!

This will certainly be the year of the affordable flat screen. I found this one for less than $300. You wouldn't want lay out a Photoshop project on it, but you have to respect the real estate. For Terminal, Sequel Pro and TextMate, it's a game changer.

We are getting ready for the new guy. I have been reassembling baby seats and rearranging the storage shed, all so we don’t get caught off-guard like last time. This is my first son, and the only thing I keep thinking is how will it be possible to love another human being as much and as completely as I love my daughter? The answer of course is that I will find a way but I find it interesting to think about how children basically make your heart bigger. Your heart may be full but they just get in there and make room.

 Last year this time we were scrambling to get the heat and the AC working, I was chasing paperwork and policing our horrible contractors and I lost 6 months to that. This year, I feel like we are ready for the new year. We are prepared. This feels like the first time in a long time that I am where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing, with the people I love. And that is a blessing and an inspiration to me every day.

The band is coming along, we lost some momentum over the holidays but I am ready to get going again. I am excited to start playing shows again. It has been a while since I’ve had a regular gigging schedule and I miss it. I have decided to not mix the tracks myself, however. I love writing songs; I love producing them. I love writing code. I love studying math. I love being a husband and a father. I can only just barely stand mixing songs and my gear is pretty much inadequate at this point. I DO NOT feel like throwing more money at Avid so I think I will defer to the engineer that I have found out here. His name is Sean McCoy, and he is going to do a better job than I could. So we just need to nail the last vocal parts down and get in there and he can just do the rest. I want this album to be very strong. Sometimes you got to leave it to the experts.

Anyway, life is good. I’m on the right track. Every day I am grateful for my family, my work, and my home. I have created the life I wanted. Also, my wife is amazing. My daughter is amazing. I am blessed. And I love my dog.

Mooshoo is a Millennial but she identifies closely with the Beat generation.

Mooshoo is a Millennial but she identifies closely with the Beat generation.

Addie Fashionista

Addie and I have breakfast together quite often. It just works with my wife's schedule for me to take Addie out for a few hours in the morning, and most of the time we end up eating outside somewhere. Although we occasionally end up at Brothers or Breadboard, there is no question that out favorite place to go is Greenleaf. They have outdoor seating by Ashland Creek, their prices are just slightly lower than anywhere else, and the food is delicious. Plus, at this point, I think it is safe to say that Addie is a bit of a celebrity now with the Greenleaf crowd.

It's great because she is a bit shy, so having places where people know her and recognize her helps her feel more comfortable. Plus, today she was sporting her sunglasses so she got more comments than usual.

So if you are looking for a place to have breakfast in Ashland, those are pretty much your options close to downtown. Morning Glory is also good but it's a long walk for us. On the weekends you might have some more brunch options, because some of the downtown restaurants will do weekend brunch, like Loft and I think even Brickroom sometimes serves brunch.

And then, of course, when you are done you can walk to Lithia park to see the ducks. Addie will tell you all about them. The big one is the papa, the white one is the mama, and the little one is the baby duck.

Rules for baby handoff

So it occurs to me that my wife is not particularly versed in how to set me up for success with the baby handoff. Sad but true. She is a wonderful mother and a great wife but I guess finds it hard to see things the way a father would. I would like to set three rules for successful baby handoffs.

  1. Give her to me the way I need her. This one is hard for mommas because I think their world is a bit more flexible. As a father doing one-on-one parenting, I find step one is forget about momma. Mommas don't need to worry about this one - but for daddies, a momma-obsessed baby is going to cry pretty much non-stop without momma around. So as fathers we establish first that life without mommas is not so bad. A seamless transition helps with this. If I need to take her for a walk, give her to me already in the stroller. That will lessen the trauma of the handoff.

  2. Set me up for success. It's an imperfect world, but please try. I want to know where the changing stuff is, where the water is, snacks, wipes, toys. All of it.

  3. Don't help me unless I ask. This is the hardest one, I think. Just because you hear your baby crying, does not mean I need you to break my flow. I find that talking my daughter down from a booboo, or hunger pangs, or separation anxiety, follows a different trajectory than the way she is comforted by my wife. Sometimes she cries for longer (by comparison) but it is still important that she learns to be comforted by her father independently. Please respect this and give me space.

I adore my wife and my daughter, and this is not meant to be critical. We are all doing the best we can and my wife does an amazing job with her. That being said, I do think it is important for mommas to hear about this stuff from a father's point of view.