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Archive for February, 2011

Nate will be 4 months old Monday.

According to What to Expect: The First Year, he . . .

. . . should be able to:

lift head up 90 degrees
laugh out loud
follow an object in an arc about 6 inches above the face for 180 degrees (from one side to the other)

. . . will probably be able to:

hold head steady when upright
on stomach, raise chest, supported by arms
grasp a rattle held to backs or tips of fingers
pay attention to an object as small as a raisin
reach for an object
squeal in delight

. . . may possibly be able to:

keep head level with body when pulled to sitting
roll over (one way)
turn in the direction of a voice, particularly mommy’s
say “ahh-goo” or similar vowel-consonant combination
razz (make a wet razzing sound)

. . . may even be able to:

bear some weight on legs when held upright
sit without support
object if you try to take a toy away
turn in the direction of a voice

Nate’s able to do every single one of these, even those from the “may even be able to” category, except . . . drum roll . . . laugh out loud. That’s right, of the 3 things Nate “should” be able to do, he can’t LOL. Leigh Ann has tried just about everything — funny faces, tickling, knock knock jokes. But the best we ever get from him is a little George W. Bush-esque snicker which, considering the voting records of his parent, is unfortunate.

In truth, I think it’s a good sign. We have a kid with a very discerning sense of humor. “You think you’re funny, Daddy? No, you’re not.” Yes, we’ll have to bring our A game at birthday parties and the like. But knowing Nate will never laugh at Two and a Half Men is the worth that effort and more.

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Everyone knows that moving is hard. But there’s no truth to the rumor that this is how Nate got through our move to Woodland Hills:

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Ever looked around your place and wondered, “Hey, do I really need all this shit?” Like, say, that chest of drawers your grandmother gave you? Or the theatre chairs you rescued from a movie theatre in Selma, Alabama? Or that six-foot-tall carpeted cat tower that none of your cats will even sniff, much less sit on anymore? Well, here’s a good way to find out (whether you really need that shit).

First, decide to move yourself without hiring any outside help. Borrow a friend’s pick-up truck rather than renting a 20 foot U-Haul. Why? Because you are a MAN and you are SELF-SUFFICIENT. Now carry the belonging in question down a hallway the length of a football field and, after a hairpin corner, try to squeeze it into the elevator or down the stairs. Then drag the item through your parking garage, load it into the back of the borrowed pick-up, and attach approximately sixty-five bungee cords to secure it. So far so good? If so, rest your head against the steering wheel until the heart palpitations stop. Now drive the belonging in question 15 miles northwest (an hour and a half in Los Angeles traffic) to your new apartment. Unhook the bungee cords and haul your chest-of-drawers-theater-chairs-cat-tower through the parking garage and up a set of half-turn stairs (there’s no elevator here, sorry). Finally, lug it down another walkway and into your new living room, unless it goes upstairs, in which case you’ve got another staircase climb.

If you got through all that, congratulations: you and your belonging were meant to be. Like, say, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon Courteney Cox and David Arquette Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy Romeo and Juliet. But if you didn’t, if at any point you looked down in contempt at this “thing” you were transporting, if you ever began to conceive of it as a symbol of human waste and consumption, if you pulled up to the first industrial dumpster you saw and threw it headfirst into the abyss, then your answer is, “No, you didn’t really need that shit.”

p.s. Hello, Woodland Hills!

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It’s Official

We’re moving this weekend. From West Hollywood to Woodland Hills. Which means we’re trading friendly gay people for more square footage.

Sometimes them’s the breaks.

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So Nate and I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday. While the game was fairly entertaining, I must say the commercials sucked. I mean, like, hard enough to make Nate cry. “Daddy,” his tear-stricken eyes said to me, “There are 10,000 unemployed screenwriters lining Sunset Blvd and this was what the ad companies decided to go with? I don’t understand!”

Poor little guy.

But, then, like Jesus rising from the corruption of Rome, two commercials brought us hope for a better day:

I know people are upset about these. But this is us America. This is conspicuous consumption. This is our national obsession with watching a bunch of overpaid womanizing steroid freaks break each other’s noses in the name of sport. It’s not a crime if someone reminds us of it.

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Something terrible is happening at our house. It’s been going on for weeks, but I’ve just now found the words for it. “Daddy” is becoming synonymous with “super fun playtime” and “Mommy” is becoming synonymous with “eating and sleeping.”

What’s wrong, you ask, with having your kid think you fart rainbows? Well, the problem comes when Mommy is already passed out and it’s time to put Little Man to bed but all he wants is more rainbows. And more rainbows. And more and more rainbows.

The other night, a sleepless Leigh Ann brought Nate out for his 1 AM feeding, and this was approximately our conversation:

HER: Don’t look at him.
ME: Oops, too late.
HER: Well don’t smile at him then.
ME: Why not?
HER: Because if he sees you smiling, he’ll spend the next two hours waiting for you to play the ukulele.
ME: What if I play the piano instead?

Leigh Ann was not amused. And, in fact, she was right about the next two hours. But that’s not the point. The point is that I have been stereotyped by my own son. And as someone who has struggled his entire life with the profound disadvantage of being a college-educated white male, I’m sick and tired of it. I’m a human being, for God’s sake. I deserve better. And I will not play another chord on the ukulele, or fart another rainbow until Nate smiles at me.

All right, then. Amazing Grace or Oh When the Saints?

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According to a study from the University of Texas, a father’s diet directly affects his offspring:

A father’s poor eating habits could make his future children sick, suggests new research on mice involving the University of Texas.

The study, recently published in the journal Cell, found that male mice who ate a low-protein diet passed on to their offspring cellular changes in their livers that affect fat and cholesterol metabolism.

This passing on of traits linked to an environmental factor such as diet, using sperm as the vehicle, is one of the theories championed by researchers in the relatively new field of epigenetics.

So there. My crappy cholesterol has nothing to do with all the Ben & Jerry’s I’ve consumed, or the Reese’s peanut butter hearts/eggs/trees, or the Cadbury Creame Eggs. It has to do with the fact that my father starved himself from ages 14-18 in order to make weight for the wrestling team. Nice work, Pa! Sure, you made the state finals. But did you ever stop for a second to think what you were doing to me?

But, seriously, if you’ve never heard of epigenetics, here you’re chance to Google something besides “PETA Veggie Love commercial.” This article from last month’s Time is a decent place to start. Or, if you don’t like reading paragraphs with more than 3 sentences, or sentences with more than 3 words, check out the NOVA series called “The Ghost in Your Genes”:

You know how we laugh at the medical information our parents took as fact?

Well, our kids our going to repay us in kind.

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