Memo from Your Child
1. Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not have all that I ask for, I'm only testing you.
2. Don't be afraid to be firm with me, I prefer it. It makes me feel more secure.
3. Don't let me form bad habits, I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
4. Don't make me feel smaller than I am, It only makes me behave stupidly big.
5. Don't correct me in front of people if you can help it.
6. Don't make me feel that my mistakes are sins, it upsets my set of values.
7. Don't be upset when I say "I hate you", it's not you I hate, but your power to hinder.
8. Don't protect me from consequences, I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
9. Don't nag, if you do I will need to protect myself by appearing deaf.
10. Don't make rash promises, remember I feel badly let down when promises are broken.
11. Don't tax my honesty too much, I am easily frightened into telling lies.
12. Don't be inconsistent, that completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
13. Don't tell me my fears are silly, they are terribly real to me and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
14. Don't ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me to great a shock when I discover that you are neither.
15. Don't forget that I can't thrive without lots of love and understanding, but I don't need to tell you that, do I?
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I ran across a couple of very insightful passages on parenting recently in a couple of books that I am in the middle of (character flaw: I'm very good a starting many books, but struggle to get to the finish. I'll put them down and sometimes don't pick them back up for years . . . note to self: read discipline remarks below):
- In Wayne Dyer's "What Do You Really Want for Your Children?" he states that when asked this profound question, parents almost never talk about wealth or fame or problem-free lives. Instead their comments include:
- I want my children to be happy, and free from hang-ups in life.
- I want them to know how to enjoy life and appreciate every day as a miracle.
- I want them to feel successful and significant as people regardless of what they do.
- I want them to have positive feelings about themselves and about life.
- I want them to grow up knowing how to avoid having the inevitable problems defeat them in any way.
- I want them to avoid being depressed and miserable.
- I want them to avoid growing up to be neurotic.
- I want them to have a strong sense of inner peace that will sustain them through difficult times.
- I want them to value the now: to take pleasure in life's journey, avoiding overemphasis on a destination.
- I want them to know that they are the designers of their lives, that they have the power to choose and change their lives.
- I want them to be sensitive and responsible to, and have a reverence for, nature and humanity.
- I want them to find and explore their potential and feel satisfied and challenged with a purpose in life.
- I want them to feel loved and loving.
- I want them to find the opportunities that are hidden in life's inevitable painful experiences.
- I want them to be on friendly terms with health-physically and mentally.
- Dyer goes on to say that the chief aim of parenting is to teach children to be their own parents. He states that parents need to "Guide, then step aside"
- M. Scott Peck makes several parenting references in his book "The Road Less Traveled". He states that our greatest responsibility as parents is to teach our children discipline. Discipline prevents neurosis and is comprised of 4 fundamentals:
- Delaying gratification: Sacrificing present comfort for future gains.
- Acceptance of responsibility: Accepting responsibility for one's own decisions.
- Dedication to truth: Honesty, both in word and deed.
- Balancing: Handling conflicting requirements.
Friday, May 28, 2010
- I'm getting ready to leave work for a long Memorial Day weekend. I can't help but think of my time in the Army. I was in the Dental Corps (I like to call it Army Lite), therefore my sacrifice was minimal. But, I have many memories of soldiers as they we're deploying to war zones and coming back home. These brave men and women would spend sometimes a year+ away from their family and friends. Imagine having a 3 year old at home and knowing that you've been there for only one year of his life because you've been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan the other two. Imagine being 18 years old and having perpetual nightmares about pulling the trigger when the "bad guy" was lined up in the cross-hairs of your rifle. Some lost their innocence, some lost precious time away from their loved ones . . . and of course, some gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms and lifestyle we have as Americans.
It's the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine, who salutes the flag, who serves others with respect for the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the Flag.
And who is the veteran?
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.
She is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Danang.
He is the Parris Island drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks, soft suburbanites and even hardened gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the career Quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by, but keeps the supply lines full.
He is the three Anonymous Heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
He is your quick-to-anger golf buddy with a Semper Fi bumper sticker on his truck, who cusses a blue streak and throws clubs ... because he has three blown discs and fused vertebrae in his back from combat; one for each of his tours of duty in Vietnam.
He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known
Thursday, May 27, 2010
- At three weeks, he's becoming much more alert and strong as heck. He almost frog-kicked himself out of my arms today.
- He generally wakes up with a whimper or solid cry. This afternoon he was all smiles as I lifted him out of his crib. Now, that's an phenomenal feeling! (Smile on my wayward son :)
- RIP Mr. Linkletter. You were absolutely right, kids do say the darndest things (& craftmatic adjustable beds look amazing!).
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
- Bennett saw his dentist (me) today for an oral evaluation. He was diagnosed with Epstein's pearls: small, white, pearl-like spots that appear on the roof of the mouth of 70+% of newborns. These bumps are harmless and tend to disappear within a few weeks.
Social Security has been a pyramid scheme from the beginning. Those who paid in first received money from those who paid in second — and so on, generation after generation. This was great so long as the small generation when Social Security began was being supported by larger generations resulting from the baby boom. But, like all pyramid schemes, the whole thing is in big trouble once the pyramid stops growing. When the baby boomers retire, that will be the moment of truth — or of more artful lies. - Thomas Sowell, Economist
Sunday, May 23, 2010
- Bennett and I just learned about courage. "The Value of Courage: The Story of Jackie Robinson" taught us that having courage means doing the things that are hard to do - even things that we're afraid to do. Jackie Robinson had the courage to serve his country in WWII and to be the first black player in professional baseball. Branch Rickey had the courage to bring Jackie to the big leagues. He signed Jackie to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch told Jackie that he was looking for a player that had the courage not to fight back (when he was called names by fans or cleated by opposing players). The Value of Courage helped Jackie Robinson change professional sports . . . and the country. Now, Bennett understands that nothing can stop him if he has courage.
- "Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life." -Jackie Robinson
- "If things don't come easy, there is no premium on effort. There should be joy in the chase, zest in the pursuit." -Branch Rickey
- Bennett saw the pediatrician yesterday. Everything is going well and we won't have to go back until the two month mark. He's still on the oxygen (just a little bit) because his levels (technical term: oxygen saturation percentage) are somewhat erratic. The sleep in his eyes from the blocked tear duct is also erratic, but seems to be getting better.
- My mother-in-law just left after being here just over a week. I'll pass on the ma-in-law jokes in order to say that we are thankful for the help around the house, for the opportunity for Karah to spend some time at work, and to go out with friends on Friday. We appreciate it Cinda (& Keith)!
- Okay, I lied . . . Q: What is the difference between outlaws and in-laws? A: Outlaws are Wanted.
Friday, May 21, 2010
- As rookie parents we had our first health "scare" on Wednesday night. Bennett's left eye looked something like Mike Tyson's after the Buster Douglas fight (Iron Mike, You were the baddest man on the planet. How did you let that K.O. happen??? I've been heartbroken for 20 years. Love, D P.S. I loved your documentary and nice try in the Hangover). Okay, it wasn't that bad. But, I was certain he had an eye infection that would lead to infant blindness (read above: "freaked-out, first-time father"). So K called the on-call doc and he assured us that pinkeye was uncommon in newborns. But, a blocked tear duct (dacryostenosis) occurs in around 20% of newborns.
Tears help clean and lubricate the eye and are produced in the lacrimal gland located under the bone of the eyebrow. Tears from the lacrimal gland flow over the eye through tiny ducts along the eyelid. Tears drain away from the eye through two small openings at the inner corner of the eyelids, then drain into a larger passage from the eye to the inside of the nose, called the nasolacrimal (tear) duct. In some babies, the openings into the nasolacrimal duct have not formed properly. This causes a blockage and the tears have no place to drain.Bennett's eye just cruds up every now and then. It looks like the Sandman (not #89 Broderick Thomas. I'm talking about the mythical character in Western folklore who brings good dreams by sprinkling magical sand onto the eyes of children while they sleep at night.) has been working overtime. (uh oh, now I have Metallica playing in my head . . . Enter Sandman). I digress (again). Anyway, the duct generally opens on it's own. We just have to keep the eye clean and massage the duct with a warm, moist cotton ball a few times a day.
- I read that in their second week many babies can already mimic your facial expressions. Many ridiculous faces later, I can tell you that Bennett can't perform that trick just yet.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This song about fatherhood randomly came up in conversation today. I probably haven't heard it in 10+ years. But, when you hear the lyrics, it's really timeless . . . "From the first time the doctor placed you in my arms, I knew I'd meet death before I'd let you meet harm":
- Most popular question these days: "Are you sleeping?" (it's like listening to a perpetual "Frere Jacques" round). The previous most popular question was, "Do you have a name picked out?" I'm assuming, "When are you having another?" is in our near future.
- Karah's on a war against nicknames. It's not Ben (we've already got a couple of those in the family) and it's not Bennie (unless we're listening to Elton John . . . "B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets"). Regardless, Bennett's Uncle Matt is calling him B.D. -- not for Bennett Davidson, but for "Big Deal". (Not to be mistaken with B.F.D. which stands for Biden's Health Care Plan)
- I was just reading about high-need babies (demanding) in my "Father's First Steps" book by Dr. Sears and Dr. Sears. I can tell you that Bennett does not qualify. He cries when he needs a change of surroundings (i.e. diaper) and when he's hungry (or when his little baby beanie gets pulled over his eyes and when the nasal cannula for his oxygen finds its way into his mouth when he's trying to sleep). Other than that, he's either sleeping or looking at the world in wonder. He's just a great baby. The book says that his temperament won't change much (can I get a guarantee, Drs. Sears?).
K. suggests that this is God's way of thanking us for raising a whiny, high-energy, overly athletic, need-freak boxer named Brux (the insult comic dog).
- Bennett is 2 weeks old today!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
• I went back to work yesterday. What a feeling to come home to your family (smiling wife, happy baby, and a dog wagging his tail off).
• I used a cool trick of shooting a few drops of breast milk (from a bottle, not directly from the breast) up Bennett's nose to clear out his blocked nostrils. A bulb syringe and a couple sneezes later he went from whistling through his nose to breathing free!
• A couple of fellow fathers have told me, "Life begins now." . . . I believe them.
• I'm working on my diaper change time (ala nascar pit crew) . . . doodie is my duty.
• I feel like having a baby minimizes the browser on the rest of your life.
• I look back at the last nine months in disbelief. We've moved 1700 miles, remodeled a commercial space, started a business, and (most importantly) all this has happened (save the last minute):
Monday, May 10, 2010
- I picked up our boxer, Brux, from boarding yesterday. I've been concerned for months about how he would react to the baby's arrival. If you haven't met Brux . . . to say he's social is the understatement of the year. In fact, he loses his mind when he meets someone new (think Taz, the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons). Brux has followed Karah's every move (including patiently sitting next to the toilet when she's going to the bathroom) during the pregnancy. So, he had sensed the changes. He was amazingly sedate during the introduction. He's calm, but curious. He's somewhat jealous, but I think he'll be Bennett's protector. He definitely wants to be the first on the scene when he hears a cry.
I really like helicopters. Mommy, thanks for the ride.
And thank you again, for taking care of me when I was inside.
Wednesday was my birthday. You welcomed me to this life.
I’m sure glad you didn’t have to go under the knife.
Mommy, I’m sorry if I scared you and made a display.
I just really wanted to be here on this Mother’s Day.
I love you bunches,
Bennett had a new baby check with the pediatrician today. He is doing great! He'll probably be on oxygen for about a week because of the altitude (that's almost customary around here).
I made the mistake of allowing Brux to approach Bennett when he had pajamas with lion feet on (see photo). I quickly found out that those feet looked a little too much like a dog's chew toy. Brux was much too interested in those lions.
. . .The lion sleeps tonight
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
- Bennett was taken off his oxygen yesterday and then he was moved up to the graduate (summa cum laude) NICU last night. We are so happy that he is healthy enough to move up to the 7th floor. Rumor is that he may move down to the first floor nursery today or tomorrow. The great news just keeps on coming. At this rate, Bennett will be in his car seat in no time.
- Karah will be discharged in a few hours. To go from life-threatening illness to walking out the door in less than 3 days is incredible to me. I once saw her limp to the finish of a marathon and thought that was her strongest moment. Now, I think her strength and courage has no bounds.
- We've received red carpet treatment here at Presby St. Lukes . . . EVERYONE (doctors, nurses, housekeeping, etc.) has truly taken care of us. They just made reservations for us at the Ronald McDonald house nearby. I've believed in the Ronald McDonald House Charity cause and been a donor for years. I never thought I'd be a recipient of their kindness.
- A special thanks to Kelli, Karah's friend from St. Francis! She ran a USB cord up to the hospital so we could upload pictures after she read on this blog that I had left ours at home.
- The kid can eat. I just fed him and he slurped that whole bottle right down.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
- Sounds like Bennett may be out of intensive care soon. Although, he looks big, strong, and alert . . .the doctors say that they have to remind themselves that he is premature. So it's just a matter of making sure his oxygen levels, blood sugar, temperatures, etc. stay where they should be. He's doing amazing.
- Karah's strength through all of this leaves me in awe. She was taken off the IVs and took a bath late last night. I was able to wheel her into NICU about midnight. She hasn't got to spend much time with Baby B. She was so happy to have him in her arms at the moment he turned 1 day old.
- My mom and dad were able to go in and feed him last night . . . that was a special 1st grandparent moment.
- I've had a bottle of Dom Perignon that I've been saving for a couple years for a special celebration. I popped the cork last night. Karah, I and Bennett's 4 grandparents raised a glass (plastic hospital cup) in a toast to Bennett.
- Karah and I appreciate all the well wishes and prayers. The support has been overwhelming (No doubt we have the best friends and family on the planet)
- I have tons of pictures (he may have sunburn from all the camera flashes). Unfortunately, in the haste of Tuesday evening . . . I forgot to grab the USB cord to upload them.
- Karah just got out of her gown and put "real" clothes on. Time to spend some q.t. with our cutie.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
- Well, in my last post I was talking about going to a "routine" doctor visit. Karah had some blood work done and an ultrasound. We left the hospital and Karah was feeling great. We had dinner at Mi Zuppa in Vail. On the drive home, we got a call from the doctor asking us to turn around and come to labor and delivery STAT.
- Turns out that Karah had HELLP syndrome: HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening obstetric complication usually considered to be a variant of pre-eclampsia. Both conditions occur during the later stages of pregnancy, or sometimes after childbirth.
HELLP is an abbreviation of the main findings:
Elevated Liver enzymes and
Low Platelet count
- Karah got a magnesium IV (to prevent seizures) and a nice helicopter ride (Donald Trump style) over the Rockies to Presbyterian St. Lukes in Denver. I drove home, grabbed some things, and hit the road to Denver (long, lonely drive). At the time her flight left, it sounded for certain that she would have a c-section as soon as she arrived in Denver. I wasn't sure I'd be there for the delivery.
- Karah arrived in Denver and the doctor decided that because her symptoms were minimal that they could try induction. If that didn't work then Karah would go the c-section route. I arrived a couple hours later. Things stayed calm and the doctor was optimistic that we may be able to deliver naturally at 3 or 4 AM
- Karah started getting strong contractions about 11 pm. At 12:30 the nurse checked her dilation status. The look on her face was one of shock. She checked again. She went in the hall and asked another nurse to check. Yep, she was ready. An army of nurses and the doctor marched in. Karah made it look so easy. No drugs. No problem.
- At 12:54 Bennett Davidson Maloley was born. 6 lbs. 15 oz., 20 lbs. The cutest little thing you ever did see. Quite large for his premature status. It was a day of a lowest low and a highest high. When Karah left for Denver I never could have dreamed it would end so sweet and easy. I know there were lots of people praying for us . . . thank you, it worked!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
- I'm so glad that Karah is feeling better today. She spent the better part of the last few days in bed or in the tub (I call it the Bed, Bath, and Beyond exercise circuit) trying to feel better. Fevers, aches, and sleepless nights. Her boss was nice enough to give her a couple days off. What a guy!
- This is a completely random thought and has very little (if anything) to do with fatherhood (although feeding it to a child should be considered abuse) . . . but the KFC Double Down (sandwich?) is the most disgusting piece of sustenance I have ever seen (it should come with a side of cardiac surgeon).
- We are entering week 37 . . . the baby is about 6.5 lbs and almost 13.5 inches. He's technically "full term" now (hopefully he'll marinate in there for a few more weeks).
- "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." ~Mark Twain
- I've been reading "Father's First Steps: 25 Things Every New Dad Should Know". A very insightful book written by two brothers who are also pediatricians and dads. Highly recommended for first time fathers.
- Off to the doctor (again) in a few minutes. We've been going every two weeks, but I think it will be weekly until he arrives (I need to raise my fees or get a night job).
Sunday, May 2, 2010
- K has been working very hard in the practice and at home with nary a complaint for 36 weeks. We've been blessed with a very uneventful pregnancy. Starting last weekend the abdominal, back, and shoulder pains have really kicked in. Maybe the little guy is getting us ready for the sleepless nights yet to come.
- In case you were wondering, that (karate chop to the gut) picture isn't Karah or the baby or real.
- Isn't the 9 month pregnancy a myth? Enquiring minds want to know. 40 weeks in a full term pregnancy. There are 4 weeks in a lunar month (new moon to full moon to new moon). That's 10 months!!! (that's right up there with Enron (BTW, I don't believe that Ken Lay is dead), Madoff, and Balloon boy as one of the greatest frauds in history)
- Within the next 3 days, the baby's head circumference will roughly match his shoulder and his hip circumference (don't be getting a big head, kid).