That’s her new thing. Harper has learned that clapping signifies happiness. Perhaps I am overly concerned with cognitive and physical development in my child. I imagine most other first time parents are as well. You’re just incredibly eager to see your child progressing as quickly as possible and at the same time terrified that you will miss a milestone. So seeing Harper clap for a specific reason, and the specific reason being to express pleasure pleased me greatly.
The fact that it was me who made her happy is the real lede, however. I bust ass to get home from work before she goes down for the night and most nights I manage to make it. When I open the door I hear the wife saying: “Guess who it is, it’s Dada. Dada’s home”. Then I walk in and Harper looks at me. She turns away quickly then methodically pivots back to look me right in the eyes. There’s a moment of complete incomprehension that breaks my heart every time. Then she breaks into a big grin, laughs and starts clapping her hands like a lunatic.
Cannot get over what a wonderful day yesterday was. Harper was baptized, receiving her first sacrament and officially becoming a Catholic. As joyful as that was the real payoff was being amongst such wonderful friends and family. My closest friends from high school all made the trip to join us which nearly brought me to tears. My best friends from college were there with their families as well, and my Sister stood up as the Godmother. My mentor and his wife attended as well as most of Elaine’s lovely family. The reception dragged on way past the scheduled end as we all had such a nice time eating, drinking and socializing. I had times in my younger days where I was estranged from my family and felt like I was completely alone on this planet. All the more reason that yesterday was one of the happiest in my life. Being surrounded by people you love is a wonderful thing indeed.
Harper is 6.5 months old and finally developing a personality. Til now I would grade us an A- as parents. She’s had the best healthcare and nurturing possible. H has been cared for and loved by many people. We have a great nanny and truly helpful friends and family whose accumulated wisdom has been immeasurably helpful. She attends church regularly and has never watched television or looked at a electronic screen of any kind. We play her a carefully curated musical library consisting of Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, The Ramones, Dave Van Ronk, Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong and Arlo Guthrie. We regularly read to her from both children’s books, adult books, newspapers and websites. The baby food is all homemade. With the help of our Vitamix she gets fresh organic food pureed to a deliciously slurry consistency…
But still, I read articles quoting people like this:
"Both our children - age 3 and 5 now - are top in their preschool classes in their Mandarin language abilities (as well as English)"
and think what the fuck. How hard do I have to push, what is appropriate? This is all going to be a messy work in progress.
edit: Need to add something on the positive side of the ledger. For 48 hours every week she is cared for collectively by the wife and me, her parents, her grandmother and at least one additional aunt or cousin of some sort. Above all else H benefits from such an extended loving, hands-on family.
We were having lunch with a friend’s family when his eight year old son sat down across from me.
W: I have two separate and unrelated things to tell you.
Me: Okay, shoot.
W: First, I’m writing a book.
Me: What’s it called?
W: Ninja School. I have the first page done, which coincidentally is also the entire first chapter.
Me: Cool. What’s the second thing?
W: We’re having apple pie for dessert.
I know it’s too early for this really, but…
Harper is surrounded by rather ample-chested women. Her mother, and her mother-in-law, and now her Nanny. Genetics and all considered the odds are in her favor but for fucks sake what if she isn’t overly endowed?
ironically I’m much more of a booty guy and the whole chest thing…well I fell in love with E because of who she is. The rest is like, well, okay, great and all. But I’m raising my daughter amongst the cast of extras from a Russ Meyer film and I just don’t want to mess with her head.
Me: So you see Harper, by agitating the glass you increase the surface contact the vodka makes with the ice cubes therefore chilling the liquid faster.
Wife: Well that’s it, she’s clearly going to Stanford.
Had leftover roast pork from yesterday’s dinner so I tossed it in the Vitamix with a couple dried jalapeños. Ground them to a near slurry, added water and slowly simmered. Whipped up some arborio rice with cilantro, refried beans and shredded some sharp cheddar. Wrapped the whole deal in some lovely flour tortillas that I buy out of the back door of a factory in the South Bronx and dotted it with homemade guacamole and some green chili sauce I get from a guy off the Grand Concourse and sat down to eat.
Despite being silent during the three-four hours it took to prepare dinner Harper decided to wail like she’d been gutshot just as the first forkful approached my mouth. Fuck. Not convinced I am cut out for this.
for pulling to the curb on Fifth Avenue right in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, throwing on your flashers and changing your babies diaper on the tailgate of your SUV? If so I earned it yesterday.
The Nanny search has begun
Me: Jeez, in that pic it looks like she’s about to blow someone.
Wife: Isn’t that what you want, a Nanny who will blow you?
Me: Well yeah, but not if she looks like that…
Wife: WRONG ANSWER.
Nurse: Okay grab your…where’s your diaper bag?
Me: We don’t have one
Nurse: You need a diaper bag.
Wife: We looked for months but couldn’t find one we both liked. Have you seen how ugly those things are? Anyway, I finally found a Kate Spade design we loved last week but my husband hated the color scheme. We special ordered a custom version in black on black but it’ll be another week before it ships.
Nurse: (blank stare)
Nurse: You need a diaper bag.
I’m pretty new to this whole expectant father bit, so I’m finding my way as I go. Baby steps. One thing that has become apparent is that it is bad form to say “I would so totally wreck that” when you are in bed with your pregnant wife and an attractive woman appears on your television. Guess its a hormonal thing. Lesson learned.