Monday, November 30, 2009
One of my funny dad friends, for lack of actually remembering let’s just say it was Max and Mile’s Matt, described the arrival of baby #2 in basketball terms. It’s best to use man to man defense. When baby #3 comes (when Hell freezes over) you go to zone D.
Since my breast milk hasn’t come in yet, Diana has decided to take Luca. I’m taking Elijah. While he’s faster than me, I’m still tall enough to block his jump shot.
Diana actually sleeps downstairs with Luca and I sleep upstairs with Eli. Did I mention Diana is the most wonderful person in the world?
A word on how Eli is dealing. Pretty darn well for someone who just experienced a coup d’etat. He’s dubbed himself the Official Person Who Announced When The Baby Is Crying.
So it’s up to me to entertain Eli while his mom is otherwise engaged. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Diana is amazing. I don’t know how she was able to entertain this kid for the last 2 ½ years. Eli has the attention span of a gnat. There’s a part of me, 99% of me, who is tempted to turn on the TV at 7am, plop Eli in front of it, and go hide in the basement for the next 12 hours.
Yesterday, I decided to take Elijah on the subway for entertainment. Yes, that mode of transportation that I loath for two hours every week day. But he loves trains and for a $3 investment I could guarantee he couldn’t escape unless he overpowered the conductor.
He was mesmerized. Looking at it through his eyes, it was kind of awesome. There were germs. There were stinky people. There was a lot of weird noises. There were doors that opened and closed by magic. There was a lady yelling into her phone. What more could a two year old want?
CUT to several hours later after Eli went to bed. Luca is currently famished all the time. So Diana unfortunately has turned into some kind of half woman, half baby. Last night, there was a rare five minutes when Luca wasn’t attached to her and a little fussy.
So I attempted to occupy him for a half hour so Diana could sleep. I looked at old blog entries and remembered the old “Walk Around The Room In A Figure 8” trick. I turned on the TV and found the groove I had worn into the ground from Eli.
Richar Pryor’s “Live At The Sunset Strip” was on. I spent a half hour laughing myself silly while Luca peered into the darkness. Suddenly, I snapped off the TV. I realized that over the course of that half hour Luca had heard every single swear word in the English language.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
About a week before Luca was born, I conducted a test of the emergency baby system. I called Steve at about 8:30 to see how fast he’d respond. But also to see if he wanted to get a beer.
No answer. The message I left was, “This is a test of the emergency baby system. You failed.”
However, Steve answered on the first ring when it was really Luca Time. And he basically offered to watch Elijah for the foreseeable future, including taking him to his in-laws for Thanksgiving. He also promised to bring along his favorite person in the world, cousin Finn. He saves his magic for game time. Practice is for bench players.
After the blessed event Wednesday night, Luca was exhausted and expected to sleep for 24 hours. And the hospital began pumping Diana full of Magnesium Sulfate (Or is it Sulfite? Weigh in, Jolene Hamann) for her Preeclampsia. Mag Sulfate (ite) is essentially a neurological inhibiter. Which essentially causes the symptoms of being at a Grateful Dead concert without the ability to do that dance where you swing your arms over your head. She was knocked out.
Given the choice between watching Diana become “The Walrus,” or going home for my last night of sleep, I chose sleep.
It was 11pm when I unlocked the front door. It looked as though a bomb went off in the living room. There were toddler clothes everywhere. Macaroni and Cheese was caked on every surface and a donkey was tied to the radiator in the kitchen.
Yet, all the beer cans were neatly stacked in the recycling bin.
Any worry I had that Eli would be sad while we were gone disappeared immediately. His uncle Steve knew how to show a good time.
The next morning, Finn woke me up and forced me upstairs to release Eli from his crib tent. Eli ran right past my outstretched arms and continued his fierce laser gun battle with his favorite person in the world.
Attached are photographs of Eli and Luca at almost the exact same time on Earth. Can you tell who is who? Eli’s the one who will refuse to take a nap 2 ½ years later.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Introducing Luca James Hamann! Seven pounds, nine ounces. Oh yeah, and that photo of Diana? It’s the AFTER picture.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start this story right. By talking about me. I was at work yesterday trying to tie up loose ends on a big pitch. I was getting ready to write a whole bunch of scripts when Diana called.
“Come on home. I have Preeclampsia again.”
For those of you who are new to HamannEggs, Preeclampsia is a semi-dangerous blood pressure condition that requires quick getting out of the baby. Di had it with Elijah and it resulted in a pretty nasty labor plus some major side effects from the Preeclampsia drugs.
I took a cab home and found Steve already at our house for Eli duty while Diana was upstairs packing. I was feeling good. I’d been through this before. I bent down and tried to explain the situation to Eli. He simply said, “Please come with me.” My heart immediately ripped in two.
Then Grover ripped my heart into fourths by looking at me and whimpering.
Diana casually walked down the stairs and said, “My doctor forbade me from coming home because Preeclampsia gives you seizures.”
I’d had enough of people trying to give me a panic attack and guided Di to the car.
The doctors were not terribly concerned with Diana’s blood pressure, but got the labor ball rolling with some drugs. They inquired about if and when Diana would like drugs for the pain. We explained that with Eli, they screwed up the epidural and Diana experienced labor like Scarlett O’Hara. She would be taking the drugs, thank you very much.
The delightfully nerdy Anesthesiologist arrived and proceeded to make Diana’s back look like a piece of Swiss Cheese attempting to get it right. We appreciated his perfectionism, but watching him attempt to yank Di’s spine out (in my mind) made the outer edges of my vision get mighty fuzzy. I thought passing out before the labor really began would make for good blog material, but I opted for staring intently at the wall clock until it was over.
Di, of course, repeated over and over, “It’s…better…than…the…alternative.”
I went back to writing my scripts. Oh yeah, I was writing scripts in the delivery room. I’m not sure if that makes me really dedicated or sick. I’m going with sick.
At about 7:15pm, Diana got really uncomfortable. Really. Uncomfortable.
She called for the nurses. I asked, “Hey, have they checked your, you know, gear down there?” Di thought for a moment. No, they had not, in fact, checked her since we arrived 8 hours earlier.
Look, Labor and Delivery nurses don’t come down to my advertising agency and tell me how to wear short sleeve t-shirts over long sleeve t-shirts. But Diana was at the point where she was about to yank the bed railing out for use as a weapon.
So they took a look.
I’m not kidding here people, it took longer for me to get to this point in the blog entry than it took Diana to get Luca out. As the nurses cleaned up my beautiful, beautiful son, there was a little bit of a “that was it?” feeling in the room. Hence, the photo.
Diana was so awesome, so unfazed by the whole thing that she got into a really deep conversation with the doctor about her placenta. And then took a picture of it. If you want to come over and take a look at the photo, be my guest.
I love that woman. I love my son. Happy birthday, little guy.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I’m not much of a fighter. Aside from a couple drunken brawls in college, I haven’t raised my fists in anger in my adult life. However, I’ve been a black belt in the ancient martial art of “Withering Sarcastic Comment” for quite a while.
So imagine my surprise at learning that Elijah has been doing a bit of the punching and the kicking lately. I asked him how his day was last Thursday night and he proudly exclaimed, “I kicked Finn!”
Much like trying to explain to a dog why he shouldn’t defecate in the house hours after the act, I sat him down and, “We don’t hit or kick, buddy. It’s not nice to hit and kick. We’re nice guys.”
He responded from planet Mars, “Okay.”
I said, “Why did you kick your favorite person in the world, Finn?”
“I wanted him to move.”
“Couldn’t you just tell him to move?”
“I also hit Mommy. And I kicked Grover!”
I suddenly felt left out that I had yet to be the object of baby violence.
I need to lay down some hard core discipline. But I’m not really sure what to do about it if I don’t catch him in the act. And of course he has been an absolute angel all day today.
So I’ve been trying to get on his nerves. You know. Yanking toys out of his hands, poking him in the chest. Making fun of his favorite sports team. Telling him Curious George is his evolutionary relative. But no go.
He simply says, “I want to dance!”
p.s. Here is a photo of his victim. He clearly had it coming.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I came home the other night and was greeted by the usual greatest greeting in the world, the shrieks of my boy, the agitated leaping of my dog, and the far less crazy, but equally delightful kiss from my wife.
Elijah began chattering about robots. Not knowing what in blazes he was talking about, I asked the translator.
Diana said, “We made a robot suit out of a cardboard box today.”
I was overcome with love for my wife. As a card-carrying nerd, I am hopeful Eli will follow in my footsteps as a marching band/Star Wars dork. Ask Bill Gates if he prefers being a nerd to a jock. He’ll more than likely throw a stack of thousand dollar bills at your head.
Diana, on the other hand, would prefer our son to be football star/prom king. That’s because she, unlike me, was part of the prom court and knows the benefits. The benefits being telling your non-prom court husband you were in the prom court. Do I sound bitter?
Anyhoo, Diana helped Eli make a robot out of a big old cardboard box. He put it on and did a series of beeps and boops.
I took a closer look at the robot box (I’ve attached a photo for your review) Along side an Eli-drawn series of scribbles, which I assume were meant to be wires, was Diana’s rendition of…a bar graph.
A bar graph?
What kind of Robot has a bar graph? Was he supposed to be the POWERPOINT 2000?
“SALES FIGURES DO NOT COMPUTE. WARNING! WARNING! 2009 PROJECTIONS LOOKING GREY…”
I guess I can’t expect the prom queen to know robots need, at minimum, metal pinchers, a couple laser guns and an “evil/not evil” switch.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We’ve been slowly but surely preparing for the arrival of Bruce. You know, nailing up plywood over the windows, surrounding our house with sandbags, stockpiling Pinot Noir. The usual.
Last weekend, we decided everyone in the house needed a haircut. We didn’t want to look like the Manson Family six months from now. So Diana headed off to her fancy salon, I went to my $13 haircut chain and then I took Elijah to his kids haircut joint.
After countless commercials showing kids crying while getting their hair cut, I was a little nervous. But Eli was happily chirping in his car seat, so I was already ahead of the game.
We arrived at the shopping plaza and found the Kid Cuttery. I was instantly impressed. Each station had a boat or a Humvee or an airplane for the kid to sit in. Plus, there were TVs everywhere playing Elmo or Disney’s “Sexually Charged Teens.”
We had a few minutes before Yolanda, Eli’s hair cutter, was ready. So we explored the salon. I started to notice that everything had a thin layer of baby goo mixed with tiny hairs. My skin started to crawl. We had turned away from Evanston’s overrun H1N1 inoculation line earlier in the day. I could almost see the tiny, fuzzy green germs waiting for a chance to hitch a ride home with us. I grabbed Eli and hissed, “Stay away from us,” loudly enough to get the attention of the owner.
Finally, Yolanda was ready. Eli climbed into her pick up truck chair and she invited us to pick a DVD from the shelf for Eli to watch. I grabbed an Elmo movie, which was covered in hair, and held it by my fingertips.
While Eli was entranced by the skipping, stuttering movie, Yolanda asked what we wanted.
“His mother wants him to have a ‘surfer’ look. But I’m thinking something a bit more ‘Mayberry.’ High and tight.”
Yolanda looked at me concerned. “You should do what your wife says.”
I said, “Hey. I’m the one paying double what I spent on my own haircut. Get to work.”
Yolanda finished up and spun him around for my review.
“The bangs are too long. Hit him again.”
Yolanda said, “Your wife is going to make you sleep in the doghouse.”
After she chopped him, I realized I may have been a little hasty. He now looks like a little Dutch Boy mixed with Jim Carrey’s character from “Dumb and Dumber.”
Diana forgave me. But she’ll be shaving my head this afternoon as retaliation.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Now that Diana is nearly incapacitated with son #2 (Bruce) in her belly, she is finding it harder and harder to keep up with our constantly on the run son #1. Elijah got away from her the other day in front of the grocery store and by the time she caught up with him he had almost gotten inside a Northwestern University dormitory.
Now, while that would make a great concept for an 80’s movie “30 Drunken Men and a Baby,” chasing Eli wasn’t Diana’s idea of fun.
So this weekend, the first one I haven’t been at work at since the Clinton Administration, I decided to attempt to give Diana some “Mommy Time.” I tried to describe the concept to Elijah.
“We’re going to leave Mommy alone so she can read her books an play on the computer.” Which only made Eli want to read books with his mommy and play on the computer.
So I used another tactic. “Let’s go on an adventure!”
Eli became much more excited about that prospect. We left our house and said the only rule was Eli got to decide where we went. I followed him down the street with Grover. He decided his idea of adventure was yanking on our neighbors’ front doors. I began to worry he’d actually find an unlocked door, and possible a shotgun toting paranoid inside, so I established our only rule of adventure: No breaking and entering.
At the end of our block, we discovered a couple arguing in their front yard. They had made the mistake of buying a massive oak dining room table, but opted out of paying for movers.
I whispered to Eli, “Should we rescue them as part of our adventure?” He ran up to the couple and began pounding on their table. They seemed confused why a 2 year old had suddenly entered their argument, but also pleased that he was articulating their frustration.
I offered to help them move the table. The couple had that look of, “How much is this bearded weirdo going to charge us?” I explained that we were having an adventure and were looking for good deeds. The only payment was to hold onto Grover’s leash and keep my son from moving into a dorm.
I placed myself at one end of the table and hoisted along with the husband. As I heard my vertebrae fuse, I realized I should have made an adventure rule about helping people with 1,000lb furniture.
I exited the house, hunched over, to find Eli running around their front yard and the wife attempting to comfort Grover, who was whining at my lack of being in his eyesight.
We finished our adventure by observing the Christmas House. A house down the street that has no less than 20 of those massive blow up decorations. The constant drain of their electricity was causing repeated fuse blows, and repeated deflation/re-inflation of the decorations.
It held Eli’s attention while I lay on the cement trying to realign my back.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I’ve been putting in some awesome hours at work this past week, so I haven’t had a lot of Elijah time. I tend to race home in order to make it through the door at 7:45. Which gives me fifteen full minutes to whip my son up into a fevered frenzy before he has to go to bed.
The other night I got home and Eli attacked me (naked) when I got to the top of the stairs.
“I want money!”
I looked in my pockets and found a few pennies. I handed them to Eli.
“No! I want money!”
“What, do you want a check?”
Diana clarified, “He wants you to do ‘One for the Money.’”
Now, for those of you who aren’t two and a half and live in our house, “One for the Money” involves swinging Eli over our bed four times while saying, “One for the money! Two for the show! Three to get ready! And go!”
And then you toss him onto the bed, hoping he will not land on his head, or land on our headboard. Or land on the floor.
He prefers when I do “One For The Money” because I have less regard for his safety than Diana. Eli ended up on my bedside table a few weeks ago, but laughed like a hyena.
Given the fact that he is a good thirty pounds, it’s quite a workout. And since my schedule doesn’t allow eating, let alone going to the gym, I will do “One for the Money” as many times as my muscles will allow.
Diana, on the other hand, is currently carrying around another person. So her ability to accomplish multiple “One for the Moneys” is severely limited.
Yesterday, Eli was bugging her. “I want money! I want money.”
Diana said, “I’m sorry, honey. Mommy’s back hurts. I can’t do ‘One for the Money.’”
Eli looked at her cross and said, “You back is fine. I want money.”
It’s the root of all evil.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Elijah figured out a long time ago that when he gets a boo boo, his mom and dad will come running and kiss him. So we’ve entered a stage of “The Phantom Boo Boo.” He’ll call from the other room, “Ow! Ow! Mommy!” And when you run into the room he sheepishly says, “I got an owie on my finger.” Upon examination of the finger, at most you’ll find a slight discoloration.
Well, Eli has gotten tired of our less than enthusiastic responses to his Phantom Boo Boos. So he recently decided to enlist the help of the Evanston Fire Department. When he gets a Phantom Boo Boo, he’ll shout, “Mommy! Call the Firefighters! I need a Band-Aid!”
And now Eli has expanded The Evanston Fire Department’s role.
“Mommy! I need milk! Call the Firefighters!”
“Mommy! I have a poopie diaper! Call the Firefighters!”
“Mommy! I can’t find my car! Call the Firefighters!”
Diana has taken to pretending to call the Fire Department to pass along the requests.
“Hello? Firefighters? Can you bring Eli an apple juice? And can you bring me a Chai Late?”
Eli added, “And bring me some pink ice cream.”
And before Diana pretended to hang up he added, “And bring daddy some wine!”
Now that would be tax dollars at work.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Evanston city rules allow trick or treating from 4-7pm. Steve’s family arrived at 4pm on the dot, Finn dressed as a Star Wars guy and Rory dressed as an angry giraffe. Diana opened the wine and we put Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on a constant loop. Then we waited for the trick or treaters.
And we waited. And we waited.
After nearly an hour with no visitors, we decided to take the boys for their first official trick or treat outing. Now, through children’s books and intense one on one training, I had been coaching Elijah on how to trick or treat. Ring the bell. Say your line. Get the candy. Say thank you.
So we tried it out on our neighbors’ house. Ring. No answer.
Next house. Ring. No answer.
Next house. Ring. Answer! Eli and Finn shouted, “Trick or treat!”
“Sorry kids. I’m not giving out candy this year.”
Eli looked at me as if to say, “Way to build it up, old man. I crammed into a stinky monkey costume for this?”
Luckily, around the corner, we saw a house totally decked out for Halloween. Complete with scary music piping out of the windows. Jackpot.
We approached and the owner of the house said, “Head into the foyer. Candy is on the table.”
I knew this joke. Kid goes into the garbage bag lined foyer. Kid grabs candy. Masked dude leaps out. Kids scream. Parents purchase nightlights in bulk.
The boys wandered into the foyer, oblivious. I loudly announced, “We have a two year old and a four year old here, people!” I turned to see a guy dressed as “Jason” hiding behind the door. He very politely explained his blood stained intention not to scare our kids. His zombie with its skin half off co-conspirator leaned in from the window and said, “Have a great night, kids!”
After a few more successes on the next block, we went home and commenced the Halloween dance party. Star Wars Guy, The Man In The Yellow Hat, Curious George and Angry Giraffe danced the night away to “Thriller” over and over. While Grover, dressed as a humping dog, humped me ferociously.
In case you’re wondering. Diana, Steve and Pam went as a film crew for Halloween. They taped every hump for future use for when I run for office.