New Dad Again

At the end of May, my second child – a girl named Beatrix – was born. Mother and baby (and A and I too, for that matter) are healthy and thriving. Already the pregnancy has faded from memory. The new normal feels like a forever-normal. The new baby fits our family perfectly, a missing piece finally found and slotted into place.

The experience of being the dad of new baby feels more comfortable this time around. That’s as it should be. The crippling anxieties have not reappeared. Finding our way – the feeding, the sleeping, all the routines and strategies – are easy. Or so it seems.

This time I took time off work to be home with J for the first two months. If you can manage this, I highly recommend it. It’s made everything relaxed and enjoyable. Well, there is still the normal stresses of running a household with children, but it has freed all of us from strict daily timelines and it’s allowed me to spend extra time with Ace – an important effort when there is a new baby.

Now that Baby B is here, she’s growing fast. Time passes quicker than I realize. It’s important to soak-in the little moments. Baby B won’t be a baby for very long.

Jacob and the Guitar Man

Today there is a YouTube video getting a bit of buzz. That’s not unusual. There are several videos that “go viral” every day, like a kitten having a nightmare or a zoo lion trying to eat a baby. Today’s video doesn’t have the raw viral potential of the most popular ones. But there is something very human going on between strangers that is captured perfectly:

Here we see an eight-year-old boy – blind and autistic – enraptured by the blues of a busker. The connection is obvious for us to see in the video. It’s something that the musician himself – Tyler Gregory – says he could feel:

It was an ordinary day, walking to my regular spot to busk, and playing music on the corner. When Jacob came over I felt excited about having another kid listen to the music. (Makes my day when kids dance to the music on the street and I already had a couple come over that day). However, unlike most kids that come up to me with curiosity, I felt so much energy coming off of him and I was completely overwhelmed. His hand on my leg was very powerful and about brought me to tears while playing. Not because he is blind or autistic.. but because of a connection I have never felt and one that is impossible to explain. A feeling that came from my toes all the way up my body and surrounded me. I can’t begin to explain it.

There is something infectious about that feeling. Even us as mere viewers can catch a shiver. Tyler Gregory’s voice – his rhythm, his song – is compelling. It is convenient for us that the camera moves closer, since we feel drawn to the music in the same way Jacob does.

Near the end, Jacob’s hand reaches out for the guitar tentatively. When he contacts the strings, the result is not discord, but a palm mute, a perfect burst of quiet in accent of that connection.

It is a very human moment made possible through art.

Ace

Little A has been growing up fast.

Well, he *is* two now, after all. Going for a walk can mean exactly that: walking. Not pushing a baby stroller, or carrying a baby. Actual bipedal movement.

Don’t get me wrong. He still wants to be carried sometimes, or pushed along in a stroller or trike. But he doesn’t need to be. Now he can walk, run and jump along.

And with such freedom comes added responsibilities – for his parents. Now we need to start emphasizing the need to stay on the side-walk and not running into the street. Oh, and don’t step in that little pile of dog poop. This is, I think, good advice for any age.

A Entertains

Friends hosted us for a cozy get together on New Year’s Eve. There was some conversation, food, wine and in a dim corner, an avant garde piano player plucked minimalistic improvisations late into the night.

A Year and A Christmas

Li’l A was too li’l back in 2010 to really understand this whole Christmas thing. And, he was still a bit too li’l in 2011 to get very excited about it. But he did pretty well with the unwrapping part:

There was a lot of change over the past year. A year ago, Atticus couldn’t even crawl yet! I hardly remember those days. And then, suddenly, he could crawl. Which led to the few days we spent in hospital.

I actually don’t want to write very much about that experience. That he fell down some stairs, that we were utterly terrified, and that it all worked out okay in the end is probably to say enough. It was a nightmarish experience. More enduring is my eternal sympathy and respect for parents with sick children.

Then there was a whole period of time when he was pretty much constantly falling over as he mastered walking, and climbing. He climbed everything. He liked to throw his hands up in victory when he finally ascended to the peak. Sometimes he’d dance up there. Given his earlier fall, this sort of behaviour made me very nervous. And I’ll admit to hovering perhaps a bit too close.

Nowadays, he’s really quite talented in his walking and running and climbing. He’s even started walking up and down stairs holding the handrail.

Atticus in 2011

Atticus in 2011 (click to enlarge)

Both J and I started new jobs in 2011, as well. And the months flew by. We went to quite a few weddings and celebrations. And then J graduated with her Masters’ degree. Li’l A didn’t take well to sitting still for a couple of hours, but he did wave to his mother before needing to be led away to the car for a nap. J and I also attended (what will probably be) the last annual Mess Dinner for my reserve uni: if having Atticus (or these grey hairs) didn’t already have me feeling old, realizing that I’ve been in the reserves for 17 years would do it. Oh, where has the time gone?

And we spent the last two months buying, selling, and moving homes. Moving is just about the last thing in the whole world I enjoy doing. So I’ve tried to enjoy the fact that this will be our last move EVER. It has all we need, with a great yard and deck. And it backs a school, and a park with two playgrounds, a wading pool, a sledding hill, baseball diamonds, soccer/football fields, and an ice rink. I’m sure we’ll get our tax-dollars worth out of them!

Although it was a whirlwind 99% of the time, I think we managed to get the better of 2011, in the end. Look out 2012: here we come!

The New Maison de Mowat

The New House

Cold Spaghetti

Yes, I know I’ve completely ignored this blog for awhile now. There’s something about juggling jobs and parenting and household responsibilities that just eats up time, you know?

Anyway, I spent a little while reviewing my blog entries here. I want to be clear that our child is hardly ever as clean as the previous images on this blog would imply. For instance:

 

A Noble Knight & the Magic Whisk

Watch as the young knight unleashes the power of the magic whisk upon his invisible foes!