Bella Karolyi would be proud.

21 months now and she's down summersaults. She actually did one a few months ago, but lately wouldn't do another one without asking for help. It was pretty pathetic, she would put her head on the ground and start to tip over, but because her leg/head ratio is still that of a baby, it's hard to push over that head and roll onto the back. She can do it, but I'm constantly worried about her little neck snapping while she's balanced like a break dancer on her head.

One a slightly more somber note, I've decided to quit smoking (or at least try.) I was making dinner with Cheryl a few days ago and a sharp pain hit me somewhere below my rib cage. No radiated pain down the left arm, no shortness of breath, no nausea. It just hurt and wore me out. Now I'm freaked out about every little pain I have thinking it's going to be the last one. It's my biggest fear in life currently, that I won't be around for Rowan as she grows older. I'm sure there's a line when you have to say, "Ok, I don't need to be around for her anymore" like when they're 20 or so, maybe younger. But these next 15 years or so, I really want to be there. REALLY! The fact that I might not be because of a freak car wreck or heart attack or electrical mishap shakes my core to the foundation.

I'm sure to other parents this comes as no surprise, you want to be there for your kids as long as you can and are able to, but, you don't want them to die before you, making your duty 100% complete. You were there as long as they needed you, period. They don't need you anymore. Right now, if I were to kick off, I don't think Rowan would remember me or know I was gone. She's a bright kid, brighter than others I'm sure, but even still, she's not 2 yet. I don't remember what I was doing around that age. If one of my parents were removed from my life, I don't know that I'd have many memories of them. I don't want her to not know who I am, and I don't want to miss her growing up.

The thing that frightens me most is that it may be too late. Smoking for a good many years, not eating really well for those same years. I have more caffeine in my blood that white blood cells. Then throw in concerns about random brain hemorrhaging and you've got a perfect reason for acid reflux drug research. I'll worry about stupid shit like that until I've actually given myself whatever I'm worrying about. For such a "let it go" kinda guy, I'm a horrible hypochondriac. Now it's no longer that I think I'm going to die, it's that I really have a reason to live.


It's notepad time.

Seriously, I need to write down the ideas I have at 11 o'clock at night so this page doesn't start filling up with blathering rants on how wicked cool my kid is compared to the rest of the world. Luckily I had some backup in the form of The Haircut.

Rowan got her first haircut about a week ago. She was constanly pushing her hair out of her face AND trying to avoid all hair clips, bobs, pins, crimps, scrunchies and barrets. Her state of bliss seemed to come with wearing this striped knit cap and we just couldn't let her go around like that in public without making up some excuse about how her patriarcal DNA was to blame and we're hoping she can lead a normal life. So we got a few snips in while Spongebob was on.

We were both a little leary about it, although it was Cheryl doing the cutting while I sat acting very partisan to the whole episode. Contrary to what I thought, she didn't care much about the whole business. She's pretty hip on washing her own face and hands, helping getting dressed, and holding still while you put her hair up, so this probably didn't seem like the catastrophe we'd thought it would be. I was prepared for screaming and running with scissors while we tried to convince her that it wouldn't hurt (much like those shots at the doctors, which do hurt, so I can see her point) but that never happened. In the end, it took about 30 mins to make 2 cuts. Cheryl was more freaked out that Rowan was. Very gunshy about making her child look like Boo Radley, I can also see her point. My artistic sense would have kept me snipping until it was straight, and having never cut a toddlers hair, would have resulting in a bald girl, eek.

As you can see it didn't turn out bad at all. In fact, where before, her in pigtails was merely adorable, it's now severe enough to rule the world. Seriously, it's cute as shit and I'm not afraid to say it. It's also a sad day, like most are with a fledgling human on board. This is just another sign that she's not a baby, another milestone on her way to independent person. Cheryl wants her hair to be long, like her mother's. She's got a good genetic combination for some killer strands, so we'll see if the Crystal Gayle approach yeilds fruit or not.

On a developmental note, let's just say sometimes I wish she was confined to a bouncy chair again. Lately, we've become the bouncy chairs and it's anothe reason my parents are loving hearing about it. I'll try to remember what it was I was going to write for real and get to it later.


My kid can beat up your kid.

So I often talk with other parents about their kids. It never starts that way though. It always starts with "How was your weekend" or "Did you see this movie" and it always boils down to, "Well MY kid can read sanscrit and she was potty trained at 13 months." Is it vain to talk like that? I'm horribly proud of Rowan, just as my friends are proud of their kid. Even if our or their child ISN'T Mozart or Bobby Fischer, we still marvel at their accomplishments.

But that still doesn't fill the void in long distance calls when all the stories have been exhausted and you're left with "So what have YOU been up to?" You can usually tell the people who really have something to talk about because their conversations lack the retelling of events. What's your job now? Are you doing ok? How's your wife/husband/significant other? Did you get snow? I feel bad for them and I feel bad for myself. Are we at the age when it doesn't matter what we do anymore? Are our children now the masks we wear for the world to see? I can start to understand why little league sports are so big now, if the child does well, people will think well of the parents. That's rather deductive and hardly fair, but emotional attachment and social plays rarely are.

With that in mind I think parents should make a concerted effort to really try to get to know your friends more. I realize you have your hands tied with children, but if you can get a friend to open up to you with some bit of information that has nothing to do with their offspring, it's very likely they will cherish that exchange more and something more concrete can be form out of it. If not, continue to spew facts and data about your sons and daughters and you'll at least create a fan club for them and some possible baby sitters.

I don't want to sound insensitive about this, but sometimes I just feel bad for people that I tell Rowan's accomplishments to, especially those who don't have kids. To them, I might as well be talking about another hobby or ideal or genre of movie they have no desire to be involved in and it's rather alienating. So to be fair, since I can't always control who has kids and who doesn't, why not play to the other side. It's not a good side or bad side, and I don't want them to feel like they are less for not having kids, and that's the point. It's like ruining the movie if you talk about it too much.


Should old acquaintance be forgot...

Hey! Happy New Year! Goodbye 2002. I can't say last year was a bad year at all. It's come to my attention that this page is actually read by some people so a partial resolution this year will be to keep it updated. We will probably be spending some loot to host it somewhere so we can put up as many pictures as possible.

A lot of good things happened and very few bad things happened. It was the Even Steven Palindrome Year. 2003 looks to be just as promising. Rowan will officially be 2 in 5 months, although she's acting like a 2 year old now. We cleaned up our backyard after a few weeks (months) of neglect and were pretty impressed that she was able to climb up and slide down the slide her self. She also loves swinging but isn't tall enough or spatially aware enough to pump her legs. She smiles and says "wow" all the same.

Last weekend, a friend of mine brought his kid over for a play date. He needed ot give his wife a break from all the holiday hosting she had done so the two of them came over for some good ol' fashion playing with blocks. We actually watched some Wiggles and went to the park as well. This kid, Noah, just turned 3 and it's amazing how much a year difference makes. He responds to requests with actual words, he knows songs word for word, he knows how to ask for things. Just a year younger, Rowan is still in the low double digit vocabulary, cries rather than asks for things and still talks gibberish. It's conversational gibberish, so don't get me wrong. Maybe I need to take a correspondence course.

Another things I'm waiting for is attitude, personality. I know its there and perhaps I can't see it. We have another friend who's 3 year old is just a little bad-ass. He's always sort of calm and aloof and then every one in a while will go completely wacko and start talking nonsense. It's like Jack Nicholson as a tyke. I know Rowan is a happy kid; cheerful, gregarious, and always laughing. But I had always thought that all kids were like that. I'm coming to find out that they're not. A lot of kids are more mellow and even tempered (relatively speaking, not even tempered like you and me.) I expect that Rowan's personality at this stage is a good blend of her parents. She's got my childlike fascination with the world and social prescence and Cheryl's love of life and willingness to just laugh out loud. It's better than other trait mixes I'm sure.

I'm eager for her to grow up so I can see who she'll be.