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Friday August 31st
Today we had a meeting with our adoption counselor at the agency to sign some final paperwork.  Up to this point, we’ve been in a status called “fost-adopt”.  In other words, the State has considered us pseudo foster parents.  This is standard for all adoptive parents in California.  I suppose that's good because you have to pass all of the same tests that a regular foster parent has to pass.  But then again, in California, who knows how high that bar is?  Anyway, now that we have passed a number of milestones, we move into a different status called “post placement”.  All it means is that we are now closer to finalizing and have moved closer to being Caden’s official parents.

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Tuesday, August 28th
Caden had his two-month doctor’s appointment today.  Everything looks great.  He’s been packing on the pounds and is in the 75th percentile for weight and height.  That means that there are 75% of the kids below him in weight for his age and 25% of the kids above him.  He’s in the 25th percentile for head circumference.  He had a bunch of vaccinations today.  The nurses are pretty good and quick about it so it’s usually over before he even knows it.  He only cried a little bit this time.

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Monday, August 27th
Today is the first day of teaching at the paramedic school.  I was a little bit nervous.  You never know what the reaction of the students is going to be to you.  Who knows, they might ask a question you can’t answer and then all of the sudden you look like an ass.  Before you know it, they’re demanding to know who hired this yahoo to teach their class and well, chaos erupts.  Ok, I wasn’t really THAT worried. 

Today we talked about chemistry, tissues and skin.  Exciting?  I also spend the first day imparting my wisdom on them about how to succeed as a paramedic.  All in all, it went great and it felt good to be back in the saddle.  I love teaching.  This is an audience that generally soaks up the information too.

I headed back to my parents house after I finished to pick up Caden, walked in the door and the first thing out of my dad’s mouth was, “What are you doing here already?!”  Uh, it’s been 7 hours.  Caden was having a blast.  Compared to his last three weeks of sheer boredom, he was probably feeling like this was heaven.  Grandma and Grandpa were catering to his every whim and need.  And to think… we’ve got 5 more weeks of this!

Sorry Grandpa, but Caden has to go home now.

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Saturday, August 25th
We got to have dinner tonight at Mark and Jeanne’s house, John’s brother and sister-in-law.  When they first called to invite us over, I asked whether I should get a babysitter (i.e., was Caden invited) and Jeanne’s response was, “If you don’t show up with Caden, don’t bother showing up yourself.”  Ok then.

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Friday, August 24th
After I quit my job to become a stay at home dad, I knew I’d want to still do something career-oriented whether it be part-time or in a work-from-home arrangement.  Well, I guess the moons were aligned because shortly after I quit, the local paramedic school approached me about coming back to teach again on a part-time basis.  For the first ten years that I was a paramedic, I taught pretty regularly at the school.  It’s located in Santa Cruz and is one of the most highly regarded in California.  The way I got into teaching here is actually a pretty funny story that I won’t bore you with if you’re not interested, but see below* if you want to read more.

It’s been about six years since I taught paramedic students and my specialty has always been anatomy and physiology.  That’s what my college degree was in and that’s what they wanted me to come back and teach.  Since I’m not working on the rigs anymore, I feel comfortable with that since the subject matter is pretty timeless.  I wouldn’t feel ethical going back to teach something related to field operations or direct patient care right now. 

Anyway, I pulled out all of my old lectures and, being the perfectionist that I am, I realized I was going to need to put some significant time into “updating” my lectures and information.  These aren’t just 20 or 60 minute lectures.  These are 7 hour days for about 5 weeks.  The question is:  will I be ready in time for the first day of class on Monday? 

Well, I have the answer: almost.  I might just have to wing it a little.  The only problem is that I’ve spent so much time preparing that I think my average wage will probably turn out to be about 10 cents an hour.  It’s not that the school pays poorly; they actually pay quite well.  But I’ve literally spent the last three weeks solid re-writing my lectures, updating the information and putting everything into PowerPoint presentations.  Maybe by next term I’ll make a little more dough.

Poor Caden.  He’s been so bored the last few weeks.  We’ll see how everything goes on Monday!  Grandma and Grandpa Zenker are planning to watch Caden while I’m teaching.  I’m not sure who’s more excited… Grandma or Grandpa!

* I attended paramedic school in 1989 just after I graduated from college with a degree in physiology.  The paramedic school had been going through some transitions and it had to bring in a nurse at the last minute to teach the anatomy and physiology portion of the class.  Here I was, a hot shot, just out of college, sitting at the back of the class, feeling like the ultimate critic.  But what was worse was that this poor woman had no idea what she was talking about.  I don’t know if she just didn’t prepare or if she got her nursing degree through the mail, but everyday she made incredible blunders.  The rest of the students had no idea having never had A&P before.  After a few days, I would whisper to the other students things like “don’t write that down” and “she’s smoking again”.  Then, finally one day we were talking about Follicle Stimulating Hormone and she told everyone that it was the hormone responsible for keeping your hair soft and supple.  WTF?!  I’d had it.  I stood up in disbelief and said “That’s bullshit!  You’re wrong.”  And probably something more!  She started crying and left and never returned.  I ended up teaching the remainder of the A&P class myself and taught A&P at the paramedic school for the next 10 years.  Oh, and Follicle Stimulating Hormone has nothing to do with the hair.  It stimulates growth of the ovarian follicle in women so that the egg can develop prior to ovulation.  She was just a bit off.

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Thursday, August 23rd
I have formed a strange emotional attachment to people I don’t even know.  Now that we have adopted, I have this peculiar desire to encourage or cheer on those couples from our agency who are still waiting to adopt.  Does that sound silly?  Maybe it’s a guilt thing. 

Our agency, the Independent Adoption Center, has all of their waiting families listed on their website and it’s really where you can see, on a regular basis, who is getting matched with birthmothers and who is not.  And in some circumstances, you can see who has been matched – sometimes for a long time – and has become unmatched.  In other words, for some reason, their match has fallen through.  You can tell because their link becomes active again after they were showing as being unavailable.  People appear on the website based on how long they have been waiting; couples on the first page have been waiting the longest.  (There is also a page that shows the couples who have already adopted; we appear there somewhere in random order).

I find myself going onto the website a couple of times a week to see what has changed.  Of course, we always root a little more for the gay couples because we think they have it a little harder when it comes to matching with a birthmother.  The agency says that the wait is a little bit longer for gay couples than it is for straight couples.  The funny thing is that, despite all of these people being in the same boat; everyone is waiting and hoping to be matched with a birthmother and adopt a new baby, there is really very little communication between anyone.  The agency does have an open forum site on the Internet where their clients can go and post messages to each other, but only a small fraction of people actually use it.

In all of the time we were waiting – almost two years – I think we only communicated with about four or five other couples who were also waiting.  It’s weird.  You would think people would seek each other out to garner support for being in similar situations.  But then again, we are all competing for the same thing.  When you’re waiting, you can’t help but say to yourself, “why did they get picked and not us?” whenever you see someone who matched.

Anyway, I have taken to sending a couple of random, out of the blue e-mails here and there to a few of the couples who have been waiting a long time.  Just words of encouragement.  I think just to say some things that might have helped me at the time when I was in their shoes.  It wasn’t that long ago that we were in their shoes! 

Getting matched with a birthmother is such a random and unpredictable thing.  You never know how, when or why it will happen.  We always lived on the principle of “it will happen when it’s meant to be” and, despite the wait being pretty painful for us at a few times along the journey, I can’t think of how our match with Candice and our adoption of Caden could have been more meant to be.  Even though these people have no idea who I am, I’m pulling for them!  Their day will come too.  And hopefully soon.

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Wednesday, August 22nd
The chronicles of a movement, Caden-style …
Papa... I'm sure having fun playing with you but I'm feeling some rumbling down in my tummy. It feels crampy. Uh oh!  15 second warning.
Ugh.  I've got to concentrate. Push! Whew!  I'm glad that's over.
   
  Yippee!  Time to CELEBRATE.  
 

 

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Tuesday, August 21st
A lot of people ask us how we picked the name Caden.  John and I were watching a program on television several years ago and I think it was a documentary about a family – I don’t even remember the details of what it was about – but they had a little boy named Cade.  I remember saying at the time how much I really liked the name and that if we ever had a boy, we should consider naming him Cade.  I did a little research at the time and discovered that it was, according to baby naming sites, very rarely used.  There is a website that will give you a graphical representation of how popular a name has been over time.  Anyway, we liked the idea of naming our son Caden and then perhaps we (or his friends) could call him Cade for short when he gets a little older.

Anyway, several years later and we’re in the middle of the adoption process and trying to pick out names for our potential baby.   We each created a list of the boy and girl names that we liked and merged them together.  Very early on we settled on a girl’s name and pretty much eliminated all of the other possibilities.  That name is pretty much stuck at the top of the list because we like it so much.  Sorry, it is classified and will only be released when (1) we have a girl, or (2) Dick Cheney opens his man-sized safe.

The boy names were a little harder to pick.  There were several that we liked, although Caden continued to percolate up to the top each time we further narrowed down the list.  When we finally went back to those baby naming sites on the Internet, we were amazed to see how much more popular his name had become in just a couple of years.  On one site, it was listed as #2!  But on the site that really matters, it is #91 on the most popular list.  Ultimately, we decided on Caden and talked it over with his birthmother Candice.  She liked the name too, which was very important to us.  We didn’t share it with anyone else until the day he was born.

Now, 9 weeks later, we can’t believe how many times we hear about little kids named Caden!  I think people just tend to take note of the name when they hear it because it is rather unusual.  But we’re surprised how often people tell us about someone they know who has a little kid with the same name.

It’ll be interesting to see how many little kids share the same name when he starts school.  Then again, I doubt any of those kids are going to beat him out for the prize for the most unusual last name!

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Monday, August 20th
We passed another important milestone in the adoption process.  We were notified by our attorney late last week that the courts have acknowledged termination of the rights of Caden’s birthfather.  Our adoption agency has not been able to locate Caden’s birthfather despite doing extensive searching all over the United States.  After a certain point, the judge acknowledges that you’ve done everything you can to try to find someone and they’re considered to be “unable to locate.”  A petition is filed with the court stating that the person was unable to be located and the adoption moves forward based on that.  Last week, that petition was acknowledged by the court.  This is a pretty important step.

The part about Caden’s birthfather being “unable to locate” actually makes me nervous.  I’m one of those worst case scenario kind of people.  You know, one of those people who have analyzed every situation from the best to the worst possible angle.  I don’t lose sleep over it or anything, but these things do circle through my mind.  I have this fear that Caden’s birthfather is going to suddenly appear on our doorstep someday and we’re going to have to deal with the fallout from that.  John thinks I’m worrying too much but it’s just my nature.  It’s probably what makes me a good paramedic; I’m always thinking about what might happen next with my patient and how to react to it.  That’s all I’m doing here.  Thinking about what might happen and how we’d react or handle the situation. We do hope we can meet him someday.  I would hate to go through life never having the chance to get to know him. 

It would have just been easier to have him participate in the adoption process and know his intentions and know that he supported Caden’s placement with us.  From everything we’ve been told, we think he probably would, but who knows.  Parents have lots of fears about lots of things involving their children.  Parents who adopt have additional and different fears that are unique.  It just comes with the territory.

As far as we know, there is really only one last milestone left before the adoption becomes final.  Toward the end of the year, probably sometime in December, we will appear in court before a judge and he or she will decree the adoption final and Caden will be given a permanent birth certificate.

Plodding along through the process, that’s all it is.  It takes a lot of patience and you just have to have faith that it will all come together in the end.

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Sunday, August 19th
We woke up at the hotel this morning and the first thing out of John’s mouth was… “Call your mom and find out how Caden is doing.”  Hee Hee.  Daddy misses his boy already.  “Ok, ok, let me wake up a little bit first.  I will call her in a little while,” I replied.

He pestered me for the next two hours to call.  It’s a good thing we didn’t plan a two night stay.  He wouldn’t have been able to make it.  He had to get home and see his baby.  When we got home, I was half interested and half hesitant to get the full report on how Caden did while we were gone.  But even if he terrorized them over the past 24 hours, would Grandma even tell us the truth? 

Apparently everything went great and Caden had a fabulous time with Grandma and Grandpa.  I think Grandpa and Grandma had an even greater time.  The smiles on all three of them were as wide as I’d seen them in a long time.   

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Saturday, August 18th
Today is John’s birthday.  Since John and I met, we’ve always made it a tradition that we try to go out of town or plan some kind of trip for each of our birthdays.  In some years, we’ve done pretty extravagant trips like scuba diving in the Caribbean.  In other years we’ve just stayed overnight somewhere close by.  This year, when I asked John what he wanted to do for his birthday, he said that he wanted to go on a picnic.  “In what country?” I asked.  “You know, like at a local park,” he replied, oh so boringly.  Oh come on.  Just because we have a baby now doesn’t mean that we have to stop traveling!  In fact, Caden should have the chance to see the world just like we have.  That doesn’t mean we’re going to take him to some crazy third world countries or anything, but traveling is an amazing opportunity and I think people should do it every chance they get.  It’s one of the things that my parents really emphasized with us when we were growing up.  Be sure you seize opportunities to go out and see and appreciate the world and realize there is a whole other civilization of people out there besides you; ways of life and many different people outside of the insulated bubble of American suburbia.  And John agrees.  He’s also a great traveling partner.  We’ve been very lucky to have traveled to some cool places together in the past 14 years.

Anyway, back to John’s birthday.  I was surprised that he wanted to stay home.  I mean, I knew we weren’t going to plan some extravagant trip or anything given that we have an 8-week old baby at home, but we could at least do something a little fun.  I eventually convinced him that we should try spending a night up in the City, and perhaps go see a play and have a nice dinner.  It would mean we’d be away from Caden for the first time since he was born.

When I proposed it to my parents to see if they would be willing to baby sit overnight, I could already hear them saying, “Only one night? … now don’t hurry back … take your time … enjoy yourself.”  I knew they would be overjoyed.  Every time they “get to” watch Caden, they have withdrawals for two days afterwards because they miss him so much.

So, we went to San Francisco today and celebrated John’s birthday.  We had a nice dinner and saw a play, called Avenue Q, which I thought was awesome and John thought was good.  It’s kind of like a grown-up version of Sesame Street.  Edgy and funny and some good adult jokes.  We had a nice time and I think John had a nice birthday.  At least it wasn’t a picnic.

Happy Birthday John!  hApPy BoifDAY dADDy!  We Love You.

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Friday, August 17th
Caden is TWO MONTHS old today!  Here’s another little stat sheet summarizing the first two months of Caden’s life: 

Date

Sunday, June 17th

Tuesday, July 17th

Friday, August 17th

Weight

7 pounds, 13 ounces

10 pounds, 6 ounces

12 pounds, 7 ounces

Length

19.7 inches

23.8 inches

24.5 inches

Head Circumference

33 cm

39 cm

41 cm

Appearance

Cute As A Button

Cute As A Button

Cute As A Button

Poop Color

Greenish Black

Dijon Yellow

Gulden's Brown Mustard

Daily Formula Intake

16 ounces

30 ounces

33 ounces
Mug Shot

Since our last summary, Caden has been given 171 bottles, he’s had 116 naps, 151 diaper changes, pooped 49 times (how can it only be 49 times!?), he has drunk 6.3 gallons of formula, and I have been awake with Caden and the crickets for another 26 hours when we should have been sleeping (which is way better than 39 last month, so I'm not complaining!). 

* While the vast majority of this information is accurate, a little bit of it has been “fashioned” for your entertainment.  I don’t want you to think we’re weird or anything; we don’t really track all of this crap that closely.  We do have lives for Gods sake!

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Thursday, August 16th
Caden is not a pacifier baby.  At least not yet.  He certainly knows what it is and how to use it, but he hasn’t become addicted to it like some babies do.  I actually wish he would use it more because he might settle down quicker sometimes.  But, as they say, be careful what you ask for!  When we give it to him, he does start to suckle on it and seems to like it, but doesn’t keep it in his mouth for very long.  He just spits it out.  I even went out and purchased a couple of different styles to see if it would make a difference but it hasn’t.  The only pacifier addict in our house is our kitten LuLu!

I know I probably shouldn’t be pushing the pacifier thing but they do come in handy when you’re out in public and need to “put a plug in it.”  Like last night when he started screaming during the national anthem.  It’s a double edged sword.  We want the benefits of using a pacifier because it will help him pacify, but we also don’t want to get him addicted and have to go through some terrible weaning rigmarole later on when it’s time to take it away.  Like sending him off to the Betty Ford Center for Pacifier Addiction.  I’ve read all of these horror stories on some of the Internet sites about parents having terrible times breaking the habit; conducting pacifier removal ceremonies, tying them to trees, burning them in the fireplace.  Hilarious.

We’ll see if he starts to use it any more or less as he gets a little older.  We did decide early on that we were going to draw the line at 4 months and take it away.  They say that’s the best age to remove it.  If we can I’d like Caden to use it for a few more months.  But like I said before… be careful what you ask for.  I might be lamenting in two months why I tried so hard to have him use it!

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Wednesday, August 15th
We attended a gymnastics meet at the arena tonight.  We don’t really know anything about gymnastics but we thought it might be something fun and different to do.  It was a competition of all of the American gymnasts vying to make it onto the Olympic team for the Beijing 2008 summer Olympics.  We weren’t really sure but we think this event probably counted toward narrowing down the team to the top competitors.  Anyway, we did recognize several of the athletes who were competing, such as Paul and Morgan Hamm – the twin brothers from the last Olympics.  It is one thing to watch these events on television but to see them up close is pretty entertaining.  These kids are amazing.  They are really incredible athletes.

We took Caden along, in his car seat.  Because the tickets weren’t too expensive, I decided to buy him his own seat.  It was sure cute to see him sitting up watching the events.  He seemed to be able to see a little bit of what was going on.  I was explaining that the boys were jumping and tumbling and flipping in the air and that, someday, he can do the same thing if he wants to.  Both of Caden’s parents are under 5’7” tall, so he may not turn out to be the tallest kid in the world.  Who knows, he may want to be a gymnast some day.  He was pretty good during the whole thing except that he started screaming during the national anthem.  Oops.

Jack Lalanne was in the crowd and also watching the competition.  They interviewed him during one of the breaks.  What an amazing guy.  He’s 93 years old and still sharp as a tack.  While he’s in town, he'll be conducting a free community exercise class in one of the local parks tomorrow morning at 6:30 a.m.  Let’s just say that I didn’t set my alarm.  Sloth. 

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Tuesday, August 14th
Yes, I’ve been a little behind on keeping the website updated lately.  I’m sorry!  I am a little surprised how many people complained.  I got a lot of e-mails from people saying that they have been signing in for their daily or weekly Caden updates and were very disappointed that we had failed to keep things current.  Slackers.  Sorry!

There is no excuse except that life’s just been busy and hectic.  John did convince me that I need to change to a “real” blog program instead of using the “pretend” blog on the website.  So, I have been trying to get that up and running and it will take me awhile to get everything switched over.  It shouldn’t mean anything different for you – just a different click of the mouse and a different look and feel to the website.  The new blog site should be live in a week or two.  The part with the photos will remain the same.

Anyway, sorry for being such a laggard lately.  I promise to keep better up to date!

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Monday, August 13th
Caden is smiling and laughing up a storm these days.  He really recognizes John and I and he can sure brighten up a room with his smile.  He’s really getting in to socializing a lot and babbling and cooing.  He especially likes to tell stories when it is feeding time.  I think having the bottle in his mouth probably stimulates him to articulate more and so once he’s had enough to eat, well… then it’s story time.  He gets this really funny look on his face and he starts to babble and coo and tell you all kinds of things.  He even gets really serious sometimes, raises his eyebrows, points his fingers in the air and purses his lips.  It’s pretty hilarious.

We’re pushing some words and animal sounds.  Of course I’m trying to get him to say “Papa” before he says “Daddy” but just to spite us he’s probably going to say one of the cat’s names first.

Grandma and Grandpa Z. got to baby sit Caden for several hours tonight.  I had a meeting at the school and so I dropped him off at their house.  My sister Debbie and my nephew Connor also came over to visit him while he was there.  He apparently had a fabulous time and told them stories all evening.  He really turned on his charm during his visit.  He skipped a couple of naps while he was there but that’s OK.  Grandma’s house is where you can bend the rules.

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Sunday, August 12th
We have several of the Baby Einstein DVD’s and I usually sit him up in front of my computer and play them for him a few times a week.  He seems to really be engrossed by the music and the pictures on the screen.  (By the way, have you ever watched one?  These people have made millions of dollars out of making films with classical music and inane little pictures of inanimate objects on the screen.  Why didn’t I think of that!?).  Anyway, he will even see certain characters walk across the screen and will smile or laugh so I know he’s paying attention.  It seems strange that an 8-week old is watching videos already, but they say these things are good for them.  He usually only tolerates about 10 minutes of it and then gets bored.

Then, the other day, the news was on TV and I overheard them reporting a story about how you should never let your kids watch television until they are at least two years old.  There was some study done somewhere that showed that babies that watched TV too early had speech problems develop or something.  What?!  Oh Geez. Just from watching 10 minutes of a Baby Einstein video?  Of course they interviewed the Baby Einstein people and they vehemently denied that their products caused speech problems.

I searched online to try to find the study but couldn’t find it anywhere.  Who knows what to believe?  But like anything, everything has to be introduced to your children in moderation.  I sometimes wonder if the sound bites that come across the news reporting “the latest study” do more harm than good to our society since we seldom if ever get all of the information.

Until I get more information, Caden still gets to watch his DVD’s for a few minutes every week.  And we’ll certainly keep an eye on his speech.  Right now it’s about on par with George Bush’s, so I figure he’s doing pretty well.

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Saturday, August 11th
We’ve been trying to give Caden a little belly time every day.  They say you should put them on their bellies for about 10 minutes every six hours or so.  It’s really good for strengthening their neck and back muscles.  He doesn’t really like it.  He tolerates it for a couple of minutes but then he starts getting mad and frustrated.  But it’s also really cute.  He always has the cutest expression when he’s lying on his stomach.

This kid has a lot of amazing expressions.  There are times when I look at him and he looks so much older and grown up.  When we’re feeding him and he’s lying there in your lap, I swear he looks like he is 2 or 3 years old.  But other times I will hold him or look at him sitting up on John’s shoulder and he looks so tiny.  I think the photos reflect that too. 

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Friday, August 10th
Caden is sleeping through the night.  Yippee!  I am scared to even mention it because kids will make you liars every time.  But he has slept through the night every night this week.  He is averaging about 8-9 hours a night.  It seems to work best when we give him his last bottle around 10:00 pm and then he will usually sleep until about 7:30 or 8:00 am.  This is what we’ve been working toward for the last 7 weeks with all of our efforts around the schedule, so it is finally starting to pay off.

On the first night this week when he slept all the way through the night, I woke up in the morning again with one of those moments of panic and dread and immediately assumed that something was wrong.  Is he breathing?!  But thank goodness for the surveillance camera because I could just look at the monitor and see that he was just fine.

The program that we’ve been following basically says that 95% of their babies start to sleep through the night between 7-10 weeks and the remainder sleep through the night after 10 weeks.  As long as you are pretty religious about following the 3 to 3 ˝ hour cycle of feeding, activity and sleep, you should have success by the time your baby is 7-10 weeks old.  Well, Caden is now 7 weeks old and, well, we aren’t arguing!  Let’s hope this continues!  Go Caden Go!

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Thursday, August 9th
I’ve decided to change my name from Poppa to Papa.  I’m not sure why I ever decided on Poppa over Papa.  I like Papa better.  Plus it will probably be easier for Caden to spell eventually.  I asked Caden if it was OK with him and he didn’t seem to care.  So, this change will be effective immediately.  Daddy will not be making any changes to his name that I am aware of.  That’s all.

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Wednesday, August 8th
We attended our second adoption group meeting tonight.  We are required to attend five of these as part of the “post-placement” process during the adoption proceedings.  I guess it is primarily so that the agency can check in with you and make sure that you actually still have the baby and that you haven’t lost your mind or anything since the last meeting a month ago.

Things seemed to go much better this time.  Last month’s meeting was just plain weird.  The meeting this time was better facilitated and the discussion was better guided so there weren’t any crazy discussions or attacks like last time.  There were a couple of weird statements that made John and I give each other “the look” but I probably shouldn’t go into it here.  But I guess I just don’t understand why some people don’t recognize that; yes… adoption is a tough process.  It can be very hard.  Lots of ups and downs.  But eventually once you have adopted, it’s time to get over it and be joyful.  Life is too short to spend it being sad.

We wish there were some people at the meeting that we could meet that had some things in common with us.  We’d like to establish some long term friendships and there just didn’t seem to be anyone at the meeting that we really had much in common with.  We felt a little bit like the odd men out again.  But it is also a really artificial environment so how can you possibly tell people’s real personalities in a setting like that I guess?  We have several more meetings to go, so hopefully we will meet some nice couples in an upcoming month.

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Tuesday, August 7th
Caden has some really cool clothes.  He’s gotten a lot of really nice gifts.  I knew he would and I knew I was going to have to make an effort to get him into all of it before he grows out of most of it.  But I didn’t think it would be this hard.  Part of the problem is that it has been pretty warm here this summer so I mostly just keep him in a diaper all day.  Since we’re still swaddling him for most of his naps, I don’t want to have to dress him and undress him every time he takes a nap.  Plus, he’s got absolutely no patience for getting dressed.  So, he’s not really wearing many clothes unless we go out.

I’m trying to go out on more excursions each day so that we aren’t just staying home.  Once I start teaching again in a couple of weeks, we will be going out more too.  But I still worry about him getting good use of some of these clothes.  He’s got some really cute stuff.  Our niece Megan brought him an IYNY onesie.  He’s also got two very cool robes that we put on him after he takes a bath, one with matching slippers!  He looks like such a little spa monger with his robe and slippers on.  It cracks us up every time.

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Monday, August 6th
John has never taken a CPR class before and, obviously, it’s important for him to know what to do in case – God forbid – anything should ever happen with Caden.  I’ve taken and taught more CPR classes over the years than I can count so I know how painful they can be.  It’s not usually the class that’s painful, it’s the participants.  There is always one person in the class who makes it just unbearable.  The blah blah blah and ridiculous questions so that by the end of the class you just want to run over them with your car.  I’m not sure what it is about CPR classes but it happens every time.

Anyway, not wanting to put him through that pain, I wondered if there were alternatives in our new era of online education.  Sure enough, I found a whole kit you can purchase online that comes with a DVD and inflatable infant dummy!  It is sanctioned by the American Heart Association and it was cheap!  You can learn it at your own pace and practice your skills on your very own fake baby.  And you don’t even have to attend a class with an irritating participant (unless of course you happen to live with one). 

The box arrived the other day and we still haven’t gone through it.  But we need to soon.  It’s important stuff.  And the best part is that we can pass it around to family and friends if they want to learn it too.

Being the mean guy that I am, I dressed the dummy up as Caden today before John got home from work and put it in Caden’s crib.  Then, Caden and I decided to hide in the bathroom and see if he would freak out when he saw it in the crib.  Well, he didn’t really get that scared by it but Caden and I thought it was pretty fun.  We played a good joke on daddy.  I'm one of those people who is always lurking around the corner ready to scare you or jump out of the dark.  My guess is that Caden might pick up some of those bad habits too.

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Sunday, August 5th
We decided to attend a barbecue today that was sponsored by the local gay and lesbian center.  We have always tried to support the center and have attended a few events there, but John and I have never really “clicked” with any of the people that attend their events.  We thought perhaps, now that we have a kid, we should attend one of these family events and maybe we’d have an opportunity to meet some other dads or moms who are also raising kids in our area.

Surprisingly, there really aren’t any social groups around locally for gay dads.  We think there might be one in San Francisco, but it’s pretty far to drive.  We just want to meet some regular folks who are in the same situation as we are and who have kids about the same age as Caden.  It would be nice to share experiences and stories and create friendships.

Anyway, the barbecue was held at a local park and lake.  We arrived fashionably late and sat down in the shade next to some women who looked friendly.  We didn’t see any other strollers or kids.  We started eating and tried to strike up conversation but it was a little bit awkward.  There was one woman there who was really nice who had adopted about 17 years ago that we talked to for a long time.  But generally the people sitting around us – all lesbians – were, well, just rude.  I think we had more inappropriate questions and comments in the two hours we were at the barbecue than we’ve had in the whole past seven weeks.

I think sometimes when gay people are at an event together, they think they have permission to forgo manners and somehow have license to say anything they want to to each other.  It’s weird.  We got dumb comments like, “which one of you is mommy and which one is daddy,” and “who is breastfeeding.”  Just bullshit stuff.  These were not even women that I felt like giving it back to.  It was more fun watching them make asses of themselves by letting them make their stupid comments.

Anyway, we did talk to a few very nice people during the picnic but we were disappointed that there were not more families in attendance.  We know they’re out there.  We just need to do a little more searching and - who knows – maybe we’re going to have to start up our own social group some day.  There is one in our area for mommies.  Why can’t there be one for daddies?

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Saturday, August 4th
We still haven’t finished Caden’s room.  We’re almost finished but not completely finished.  I don’t think he really notices or cares quite yet, but that still doesn’t excuse his daddies from getting off the dime and getting the room done.  We chose an undersea, friendly sea creature theme.  Actually, the only thing we have left to do is to put up a cloth canopy thing over his crib.  Other than that, everything is pretty much done.  You’re supposed to feel like you’re under the sea when you walk in his room.  There are bubbles on the wall (which I painted each by hand, miraculously, since I have absolutely no artistic talent whatsoever), fish swimming in the air, and corals on the floor.  Yeah, well, that’s the intent.  You might have to use your imagination a little bit.  Caden loves staring at all of the fish.  He already has a lot of books and stuffed animals so we went to IKEA and got a bookshelf today.  It’s really cool and even has a light so we can light up all of his stuff for him at night.

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Friday, August 3rd
Our 4-month old kitten LuLu has this crazy fetish for baby bottles and pacifiers.  We have to be really careful not to leave any of them around where she can reach them because, if she does, they are toast.  She’s gotten a hold of a couple of Caden’s bottles after we’ve finished feeding him and she has this complete craziness that takes over her body and she just starts attacking the nipple.  Same thing with the pacifier.  You’ve never seen anything funnier looking than to see a tiny little kitten with a pacifier in her mouth.  Then when you yell at her to stop or drop it, she turns into an even bigger maniac, bolts and tries to keep it.

We’ve already replaced six nipples and two pacifiers.  It looks like we may be weaning two babies in the house this year instead of one!

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Thursday, August 2nd
I sit on a 15-member task force at the City of San Jose that is working toward developing an open government ordinance for the city charter.  This all transpired from problems we had with our last mayor, who wasn’t a very ethical guy and did most of his business in the back room.  Some of his shenanigans spurred on an effort to bring more “sunshine” to city government and improve citizen access to information.  Anyway, my city councilman appointed me to this task force about a year ago and we’ve been toiling away at this effort ever since.  We meet twice a month, in the evenings.  Tonight was our first meeting back after a break in July.

John was on for full Caden duty tonight, and, well, I had a plan.  More on that in a second.  John has this little habit, probably not unlike many working fathers who get home and ask their stay-at-home partners … "So, what did you do all day today?”  And even though you may have never sat down all day and may have not had time to eat lunch or take a crap, they have this innate ability to find the ONE thing that you didn’t get done that day instead of finding the 99 things you did get done.

He is getting better about it, but I have actually gotten to a point where I am starting to write down how I spent my day so that he can see just what I do all day.

Anyway, back to my plan.  I went off to my meeting and got back home about four hours later.  I walked in the door and there was John, sitting on the couch working on his computer.  AWESOME.  Caden was upstairs asleep and just starting to fuss and cry.  PERFECT.  Launch the plan…

“Hmmm... I see here that Caden has not been fed for three and a half hours!
And why are the dishes not done?
You haven't fed the cats yet?!
And you didn’t make any formula?!
Well, of course not, none of the bottles have been washed yet… Just WHAT DID YOU DO ALL NIGHT?!”

Oh, just being able to say that felt so good.  At first he actually thought I was serious and was stammering with “well, uh, I, uh, uh…”  But, I laughed and let him off the hook and made my point.  See!  See how it feels.

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Wednesday, August 1st
We are still swaddling Caden when he sleeps.  It’s seems a little bit like a baby straight jacket.  I don’t know; he seems to do better with it than without it, but you always question yourself and wonder if you’re doing the right thing.  Everything we’ve read about it says that it’s good for babies.  They say to stop swaddling at 3-4 months and he's not even two months old yet.  But how many things over the course of time have we seen changed or been reversed in child rearing?  I can just see in 20 years them saying that swaddling caused some irreparable damage to children’s psyche because they were too confined and didn’t have the freedom to move around.  I know, I know, that’s probably just crazy talk but it still begs the question about how many other things we are probably doing to our kids in this generation that will be proven wrong in the next.

There are so many things that our parents did – on doctor’s advice - with us as babies that are now forbidden to do today.  Car seats are all now in the back of the car, facing backwards, instead of the front.  Women used to drink alcohol way more than they do today, and even smoke!  Babies sleeping on their backs instead of their stomachs.  Medical science is really very imperfect.  But then again, I guess we all lived to tell about it!  And I’m sure Caden will too, swaddled or not.

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