Thursday, September 27, 2007

First Cold

Elijah had another first yesterday. First bad cold. The studio audience goes, “Awwwww.”

I relieved Pam from her babysitting duties last night and opened a bottle of wine. Grover crept in and started whining. I’m not lying here, people. Grover cried and whined and walked over to the stairs. It could be coincidence, but Grover led me upstairs to our room, where Eli was hacking and wheezing and generally blowing snot all over his crib.

Not knowing what to do, I rolled him onto his back and went to my favorite baby reference book. Now, Diana and I differ on our baby books. She likes the old standard “What to Expect” books. My favorite book is by this New York doctor whose motto is “Laissez Faire.” Kid hits his head on the table? Kid learns not to walk by the table. Kid sticks his finger in a socket? Kid learns not to stick his finger in a socket. I exaggerate, but he’s kind of controversial.

So I look under the section, “Colds.” His recommendation? I kid you not, it’s “Ride it out.”

So I went back to my wine and TV. Content in my awesome fathering.

Diana arrived home several hours later and discovered our hacking baby. She was instantly concerned. I said, “Ride it out! Ride it out!” Grabbed the thermometer and I said, “Ride it out! Ride it out!” She inserted it (you know where), I cried, “Ride it out! Ride it out!” His fever was 101. Diana looked at me like I was an idiot. I whispered, “Ride it out?”

After a night of Tylenol and crying, Elijah seemed to improve this morning. But he’s still pretty sick. Elijah must be hoping to ride out my fathering for the next 18 years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The boy is learning how to be a good sleeper. We toss him in the sack at 6 or 7 and he usually arrives at Dreamland in 15 minutes. I imagine Dreamland for Elijah to contain giant piles of dog hair he can cram into his mouth, huge vats of applesauce and many many rattles he can bash himself in the face with.

But here’s the rub: Eli can’t sleep past 5a.m. You mathematicians out there have probably calculated that he is still getting 11 hours of sleep. But I’m talking about my sleep here, not his. Every morning at the stroke of 5, he chirps, spits and howls until Di or I get him out of the crib. Di and I silently fight over who has to get him up. I usually lose because she has a lightening fast uppercut. And, well, she always takes the 1a.m. feeding.

So I’ll put him in our bed and play with him until my official wake up time of 6:30. And by “play with him” I mean sleep with my finger dangling over Eli so he can yank on it.

Well, a few days ago I caught Diana staring at Eli with a thoughtful look on her face. I imagined she was checking the air for poo evidence. She looked at me and said, “I wonder if he’s hungry at 5a.m. Do you want to try feeding him tomorrow morning?”

Sure enough, during the next morning’s chirp a thon, I gave him a bottle and he went right back to sleep. And continued to sleep until 7.

We’re morons.

Monday, September 24, 2007

First Sand

Although she wouldn’t be able to pass a field sobriety test, Diana recovered enough over the weekend for us to at least start looking like a family and not a sideshow. Diana was even able to stay upright long enough to take Elijah to his first trip to the beach.

Anyone who knows me knows my fathering technique is an constant internal battle between overprotection and underprotection. On the trip to the beach, overprotection won by a landslide. I forced Elijah to wear a hat three sizes too big and a ridiculous pair of sunglasses. Both of which he hated. However, his eye hand coordination hasn’t progressed to the point where he can snatch said items off his head and throw them into Lake Michigan. I even positioned myself between him and the sun, so as to throw a shadow over his baby skin. And make myself look like an idiot.

But the beach was a relative success. In other words, Eli didn’t scream. Imagine being a baby and seeing the surf for the first time. He must have thought mom and dad took him to Mars for the day. He did quite enjoy what he could see through his safety sunglasses.

Grover enjoyed the beach as he always does. Although I caught him debating whether or not to bury his human baby brother in the sand. He chose wisely.

Keep your fingers crossed, gang. I think Hamanneggs is gonna be back to normal very soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

New Tricks

My big time fancy job seems to now include flying to different countries every week and scratching my chin in conference rooms while saying smart sounding things. All while the song “Louie Louie” repeats in my head. This week’s country was Atlanta, Georgia. If you want to argue Atlanta is not a different country, I’d like to refer you to my voting record for the last 4 presidential elections.

The bummer is Diana still hasn’t recovered from her ear. So I had to ship her and Elijah off to the Jackliches again. Thankfully, the Jackliches like Eli and have no problem with Grover destroying their garden.

Anyhoo (Diana hates it when I write “anyhoo” on the blog, but she’s still too sick to notice this one), I picked wife and baby up this morning only to learn that my boy has grown several inches over the last week and has learned several new tricks.

Apparently, he can roll over at will. Front to back, back to front. Over and over. Which means I can no longer place him precariously on beds, couches and roof tops. He also managed to shove himself backwards several inches while on his stomach today. Which means I can no longer leave shards of glass on the floor.

He also has figured out his hands. Anything within baby distance is worthy of a grasp, then a shove into his mouth. His favorite thing to snag is giant handfuls of Grover’s fur. For a good ten minutes today, Grover lay on his back while Eli had two fist fulls of his fur. Grover was very patient (good boy), but I could see in his eyes he was remembering that time he knocked over Eli’s stroller a few months ago.

Fear not, Hamanneggs reader. Di may still be sick, but she is feeling lots better. I think by this time next week I’ll be able to go back to one notch below Eli on the helpless meter.

p.s. We haven’t been able to take a lot of pictures these last few weeks. So I drew today’s photo. It’s pretty accurate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jail Bird

Until last week, Elijah slept in a co-sleeper, which is a mini crib tied up to our bed. It’s great because he can adjust to our sleeping schedule. Kind of. But it stinks because he’s right next to us all night, so every peep, poop and raspberry goes right into my ear.

So when I got back from Germany, we decided to move him into his crib. And his own room. He took to it alright. But, like every other father on the planet, I think he looks like he’s in jail whenever I throw him in there.

For instance the other night I checked on him and he was sitting there, playing his harmonica. He had a big pile of pacifiers next to him (pacifiers are the currency of the baby big house) and he was etching hash marks into the wall. Seriously, I do sometimes catch him grasping two bars in his sleep like James Gagney.

The one flaw in our plan is Eli’s bedroom isn’t air-conditioned (What can you expect from a house that costs 3,000% more than my first salary?). So last night it was a billion degrees in his room and the boy was not having it. Oh, and we left the co-sleeper at the in-laws. Because we’re morons.

We made an executive decision to put him in our air-conditioned room on our air-conditioned bed. Now, Diana flat out refuses to sleep in the same bed as Elijah for fear of smothering. So she slept downstairs. Yes, I know she’s sick and should have been in the bed, but I have to wake up with Eli. Stop yelling at me! To add insult to injury it was Di and my anniversary. Romance was in the air.

So it was me and Elijah all night. We both slept fine. But I woke up at 4a.m. this morning to find Elijah blowing spit bubbles and literally covering my face with his baby spit. And laughing like a child who covered his father’s face with spit.

I’m hoping for a cold front.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Go Bears

While in the midst of emergency packing for my trip to Germany, I snapped a cell phone photo of Eli in his awesome Bears jersey.

Before I had a son, I believed dressing your child in sports team memorabilia was a form of abuse. I mean, how do parents know their kid actually likes Michigan, or Notre Dame or Gonzaga? But now that I am a father, I know deep in my soul that Elijah is a part of me. And that part needs the Bears to cover the spread every week.

Once on the ground in Stutgart, I realized how desperately I missed my son and I was so very thankful I had the above photograph.

I’d sit in a stuffy conference room, fighting off jet lag and listening to marketing people compete in how loudly they could talk, sometimes in German. I’d pretend to check my cell phone for messages and then flash the Eli Bears pic. It was awesome. I’d make him dance, we’d have adventures under the conference room table, I’d even let him peek at confidential documents. Occasionally, a marketing guy would break my trance by asking me something. I’d reply, “As long as it’s worthy of PORSCHE…” And I’d say “Porsche” with reverence. Everyone would nod solemnly.

On a happy note, Diana is feeling better. I think she’s up to 65%. Which is much better than last Sunday when she was -14%. I’d personally like to thank everyone who called and emailed and wrote comments on the blog.

For those who comment on the blog, I love it when I get feedback or get a note from a reader. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to reply to you personally. Because my technological ability starts and ends with snapping photos of my son on my cell phone.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hamann Eggs Is Back On The Air!

I’m back from Germany, gang! Which means the HamannEggs hiatus is over. I’m not going to waste valuable blog space talking about my business trip. If you want details, go to my other blog: “” I missed the family desperately while I was gone, and of course, a ton happened with good old Elijah while I was across the pond. I’ll get you up to speed:

Eli now has a mustache. I don’t approve, but he says all the other 5 month olds have them.

He can bench press 350 pounds.

He learned Latin, and French. Oh, and he can write Chinese, but isn’t comfortable speaking it.

Eli built a perpetual motion machine in the Jacklichs’ back yard. But Grover knocked it over.

He had a brief role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives.” We have them on tape. I hear it’s juicy.

He single handedly brought the “Cha Cha” back into vogue.

He ate an entire Buick Skylark.

Actually, he spent a nice week at his Grandparents, where Don and Sheila doted on him helped Diana heal. She’s at about 60%, which means she can finally hug her son without puking. The Evanston crew kept our place from burning to the ground while I was gone. However, there is not an ounce of alcohol left in the house.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Herr Hamann

Hey Gang,

Things have been pretty tough here at Hamanneggs. Diana’s situation has gotten unbelievably worse. They decided to add migraines to her list of ailments. So she has to stay in a darkened room, listening to her baby, who she can’t hold, cry two feet away. It’s like a bad movie of the week. I think a much thinner Valerie Bertinelli will play Diana. I, of course, will be played by the guy who was Arnold Horshack.

Thankfully, the Hamanneggs universe has stepped up big time. Diana’s dad was full time daddy for most of the week. And Kitty/Pam have assumed the roll of mommy. And I’ve actually begun enjoying the night shift. In the same way people enjoy pushing thumbtacks through their fingers.

On a hugely conflicted note, we won the Porsche business. Which means I have to fly to Germany on Sunday. Effectively abandoning the family unit for one week at the worst time in our family’s history. Diana assures me that she’s cool with it. But I imagine that’s the drugs talking. We’re moving the family unit to Diana’s folks so little Eli can get 24 hour grandparent time. I’ll be buying them the largest beer stein I can find.

Two quick stories:

When Diana’s dad, Don, showed up early Tuesday to watch Elijah, I had an obsessive list of instructions for Eli care. Again, completely forgetting the man raised 5 kids. I was writing out how to change a diaper when Di’s dad called me from the living room. “Hey Ricky, check this out!” I ran in to see Don had taught Elijah to feed himself with a bottle. “Look at him go!” I tore up my instructions.

Last night, Diana was in our darkened room, slowly moaning. I tip toed in and tried to comfort her. I gently kneeled by her and stroked her hair and whispered how much I loved her. She looked up with one, blood red eye and said, “Can…you…go…brush your teeth?” And promptly passed out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Stephen Colbert, George Bailey, Vincent Van Gogh...

So yesterday I spent the morning thumping around the house, in kind of a pissy mood. I was pissy that Diana’s surgery was having complications, pissy that she was laid up for 5 days straight, and quite frankly, pissy that I was lugging around Eli since 5 in the morning.

Yes. I somehow managed to make Diana’s severe nausea and vertigo about me. It’s a talent.

Diana puts down the phone and looks at me, ashen. She said, “That was the doctor.” I said something supportive like, “Did you tell him to bite it, from me?” She said, “We have to go meet him at the emergency room. Right now.”

In my self-centered stomping, I failed to notice that Diana had officially lost her hearing in her surgery ear. Now, throughout the weekend, the doctor (who was really cool and called on his time off to check on Di constantly) said all of her symptoms, while sucky, were ok as long as she didn’t lose her hearing. Well, the worst-case scenario was staring us in the face. Or the ear.

Let me take a minute here. Di and I have it very lucky in Evanston. We’re literally minutes away from my brother’s family, my partner’s family, Di’s extended family, and scads of friends. Like Kitty. Who rushed over to take Elijah duty while we scampered back downtown to Northwestern.

Long story short. Diana was leaking fluid in her inner ear (causing nerve damage) and her doctor had to operate on her to save any chance of her hearing again. To emphasize the severity of the situation, the doctor drove into Chicago, on his day off, and booked an O.R. before we really had a chance to enjoy the blood and guts of the emergency room.

Well, operation #2 was hitchless. Diana’s feeling half as bad as she did two days ago, which is like saying she’s experiencing half a punch in the face. We won’t know if she’ll be able to hear for a couple weeks. She’s stuck in the hospital for a few days for observation. I’m at home, away from the love of my life, taking care of the other love of my life. No, not Grover. Elijah. Sheesh.

p.s. Diana’s dad, Don took over dad duties today so I could be at the hospital with Di. He’ll be the official husband/dad until Di gets on her feet or I get fired.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Improbably, Diana’s condition worsened overnight. September 1st, 2007: The night we will never speak of again. So Diana was couch ridden all day today, unable to move her head without barfing. But she was able to sleep, so I tried to keep her stockpiled with Gatorade and drugs and the keep boy away from scream distance as much as possible.

Eli can go, at max, 2 hours between naps. Naps being one hour. Which means, by my calculations, that I was responsible for one feature length movie’s worth of entertainment every three hours. This is a lot easier than it sounds. Because Eli is only 4 months old. Anything is interesting from the seat of a stroller when you have less memory than my ipod.. Today’s features?

“Trip to Starbucks.” A thriller about a dad who needs coffee, but is running out of time. Rated R for language.

“What’s that car doing?” A delightful romp featuring autos that run through stops signs. And the dad who flicks them off.

“Grover and Penn.” A romantic comedy about a hard working black dog, and the sexy tennis ball that is forever out of his grasp.

“Old Ladies at the Tennis Court.” This is a documentary. A sad, sad documentary.

“Steve and Finn at the Park.” This was a short because Finn got tired of being at the park and Steve had to leave before a fit was pitched.

“Grover and Penn 2: The Edge of Reason.” Pretty much a re-hash of “Grover and Penn.” I think Grover was taking a paycheck.

Okay. I know I asked everyone to send good vibes to Diana. But I really, really need you to send her good vibes today. She’s in a bad way.

p.s. Special Hamanneggs shout out to Pam and Steve, who rescued us by babysitting Eli when Di and I had to go to the E.R. yesterday. The downtown Chicago E.R. was exactly like E.R. on TV, except no one was good looking.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Michael Keaton

I’d always hoped that if my life had to turn into a Michael Keaton movie, it would be “Batman.” Or at least “Night Shift” (thank you Internet Movie Database). But somewhere deep down I always knew my Michael Keaton movie would be “Mr. Mom.”

Well, Diana’s recovery from ear surgery isn’t the yellow brick road we’d hoped. She’s pretty out of it. Having a grown man poke around inside her ear canal has given her a big plate of nausea. With a side salad of vertigo. Fingers crossed it will go away shortly. But she can’t sit upright without Carnies strapping her into the Tilt O Whirl. And that leaves me…(cue dramatic music) wholly in charge of the boy!

I’ll admit I was a little weary of being parent #1. Diana is the sole reason we have such a great baby. She’s hoisted the entire family on her hippie shoulders. I like to think of my parental role is that of Don Rickles on The Tonight Show. Swoop in, make ‘em laugh and get out before Joan Embery from the San Diego Zoo comes on.

But as of Thursday, I’ve been in the hot seat. Luckily, I was born under a good sign and Elijah is currently in a “I’ll laugh at anything” stage. Dad saying “Boo?” Hilarious. Dad pouring food into Grover’s bowl? Riotous. Dad getting poo all over his hands? Stop please, my gut is busting.

So, please put some extra love Diana’s way. I hate to see her like this.

p.s. If Eli is reading this in the year 2022 he’ll have no idea who Michael Keaton, Johnny Carson, Don Rickles or Joan Embery are. Poor guy.