Tuesday, September 22, 2009


As I type this, Stella is sleeping upstairs, Sarah is flying back home from a business trip in Minneapolis, and I've managed to keep Stella alive and happy for two days by myself. (Well, not counting our Nanny, Tirza's, help four hours each day.) Together, Stella and I even managed to run some errands together and go out to Alki to hang out on the beach. To some people that would be "no big deal," but to me it was no small accomplishment. Heck, five years ago, I would have considered keeping myself alive and happy for two days a feat. So, yay me!

I didn't think to take any pictures of us these last two days, but I'll post this one instead... just because it was so nice to have her fall asleep in my arms the other day. Which she rarely does any more. (Ignore my bed-head.)

Actually, everything went surprisingly smoothly. For the most part, it felt like any ordinary day. But, I think that Stella and I both missed Sarah when it came time for Stella's bedtime routine. If nothing else, I know that Stella missed Sarah's superior singing voice on "Little Stella."* But, seriously, while I felt good about how I managed these last two days, I think Sarah being gone reinforced two things: 1) How much I miss Sarah, and how lopsided I feel when she's gone. 2) I have nothing but the utmost respect for single parents who raise a child every day without the aid of a significant other. My hat is off.

While I will admit that I'm fishing for a "good job" and a pat on the back, just typing this reminds me of a conversation I had with several mothers on a comic book message board (you'd be surprised how many mom's post on comic message boards, and how rarely comics actually get discussed on some of them). Basically, the mom's in question were observing that their spouses frequently get praise for doing little things that the mom's did on a daily basis. For example, if the wife were to take the baby to the park, it would be met with a shrug. But, if the husband took the same baby to the same park, he'd have people commenting on "what an amazing dad he is!" Honestly, as a more-or-less stay-at-home dad, I can testify that this is true. So, it is worth mentioning that even though last night was my first night watching Stella without Sarah. Sarah's already watched Stella for three or four nights without me.

Sarah = Amazing mom!

Love them both!

That said, I thought I'd mention a situation that happened to me a couple weeks ago: Stella and I were at a Safeway, and since she is a quite capable sitter, I'd decided to try letting her sit in the shopping cart. This was a massive success with Stella, and just watching her beam as I pushed her around the store made my day. Then a middle-aged woman approached me...

"Oh, what a cute baby girl!" She said.
"Thanks!" I replied.
"Where's mommy?" She asked, looking around.
"Mommy's at work."
"Does mommy know she's sitting in there?" She asked, pointing at the shopping cart.
"No. I used some disinfectant wipes on it before I put her in though." I responded, a little confused.
"OK, I just worry about stuff like that." The woman said, wandering off.

As the woman disappeared down an aisle, I quickly because really angry. Thinking back over the conversation, I realized that the woman was basically implying that I'm the stupid Homer Simpson-esque father who didn't know better than to let his daughter ride in a shopping cart. And that, furthermore, she was basically saying that if Sarah knew what I was doing, I'd be in "big trouble." Even typing this now, I get angry thinking about it. So, if nothing else, the weird daddy double-standard cuts both ways. There a thin line between the Amazing Father™ and the Ignorant Father™. And, much like praising a small child on a successful trip to the bathroom, there's something a little patronizing in all those "good job, dad!" comments.

And, for the record, I still let Stella ride in the shopping cart.

Moving on to less grouchy things...

So, what have we been up to? Well, Sarah's brother and sister-in-law came to visit for a long weekend, a couple weeks ago. They'd both come to visit us about a month or two after Stella was born, but it was good that they got to spend more time with her.

Sarah, Stella, Tim and Jeanne at Kerry Park, where you can get the "Fraiser View": the Space Needle with the Seattle skyline behind it.

Also, last weekend, we drove down to Lakewood to see some of my family, including one of Stella's great-grandmas. Unfortunately, even though my Grandma and Aunt only live about an hour south of us, this was also only the third time they'd seen Stella, and the first time my cousin had met her.

The odd lighting in this photo is a result of the flash off my dad's camera (aka: the baby paparazzi). I actually sort of like how it turned out.

Luckily, with the Holiday Season approaching, it looks like we'll have a lot of opportunities for Stella to hang out with both sides of her family. Which is great, since it seems like something new is happening with Stella every day!

Speaking of which, what's happening with Stella these days? Well, for one, she's a crawling machine. And, has mastered the art of pulling herself up on stuff. In fact, she's so good that, one afternoon while unloading the dishwasher, I turned around for a second... only to turn back and find Stella standing on the open dishwasher door. She's ninja-quick like that!

Also, she's getting a third tooth in (maybe two, its hard to tell). This one is on the top of her mouth and seems to be bothering her a bit more than the lower two did. It also makes her bite a little more painful for us too!

Another sign that our little girl is "all grown up" is that she's graduated to her big girl car seat! Look at how proud she is!

Just look at that fancy cow print!

Also, she's fascinated by airplanes. As those of you who have been to our house know, we get a lot of air traffic overhead. And, recently, if Stella is outside, and a plane flies over, she cranes her head up and follows it as it flies by. So, airplanes are apparently interesting.

Finally, and most impressively, her unending stream of babble is starting to seem more and more like actual words. In fact, we are pretty certain that she knows that "Mama" is Sarah. And, while "Dada" still seems to be pretty much everything else, I'm hoping she figures that one out soon. Also, she knows how to say "kitty." Or, rather, "Git-ee." Whenever she sees one of the cats, she lets out an excited "git-ee!" And, even today while taking her for a walk around the neighborhood, she suddenly exclaimed "git-ee" and -sure enough- she was looking at a cat crouched in a nearby driveway. Craziness!

Now, if she can just get that "Dada" thing straightened out.


* Also, we've added another verse to "Little Stella":

Little Stella, you're so keen,
You're the Queen of the baby scene!
Little Stella, we're awfully fond of you.


Emily said...

Good job, Dad! And it's so nice to hear how much you appreciate your beautiful wife!

Kerwin said...

Wow! Not only are you an amazing writer, you are also a super cute family. I am so glad we get to read about your adventures through parenthood. It also makes us feel like we know Stella a little too. Thanks for posting. She is getting so big! Oh, and for the record, "good job dad"! xo Ang

The General said...

Thanks Emily and Ang!

...I think.


CalandStacia said...

I let Cleo sit in the cart too. Cal hasn't shared any patronizing dad stories, but now you have me curious.

That's so amazing that Stella is talking! For your sake, I hope she gets Dada straight soon - I can't think of a more deserving dad (besides Cal, of course).