Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Reading directions can be a tricky thing when your soul suddenly turns numb.

As I was getting settled back into my house after two days in hospitals, I realized that the CPR paper that I was attempting to read while my 10 month old son was seemingly clinging  to life had been flipped to the wrong side.  The 911 operator gave my wife the gist of it and soon he was screaming again.  He didn't stop long after the EMT's had left, so we decided to take him to ER number one.  Now when I say number one, it is in no way a reflection of its ranking among ERs -- far from it.  It was just our first with our little boy.

They said things were all clear as well, but we knew differently, especially when he couldn't move his left arm the next day.  The condition worsened by the time we had made it to our second ER the next day and Jude could not even sit up on his own.  The day before he stood completely on his own.  This is the part of the blog where I give readers the chance to guess the mystery medical condition before moving on.  Anyone?  You sir with the degree in Neurology, any guesses?  How about you, team of young, eager med students?  Stumped?  Well then, lets see what the CT scan has to say...  NOTHING...  How about you MRI?  NADA!  Surely good ole' X-RAY... NOPE.  This game was played out over 24 excruciating hours of our lives.  Fortunately, we did get free Gatorade.

So the Dr. on call came in and released us, saying that all of the tests revealed nothing but a healthy little boy, who didn't have a seizure, stroke, spinal trauma, or anything that could possibly haunt us in the future.  That was a huge relief, prayers answered, and all around good news.  Jude had started moving his left arm again and his motor skills were slowly returning.  After we got home, he started to crawl.  The next day, he stood with help.  The next day he pulled himself up and started cruising again.  The emotional wounds for Mom and Dad were all that really remained...  What was it?  Why did this happen?  Will it happen again? ... Are you really sure?

Now this is the part that you may have been waiting for medical mystery fans...  Turns out, it was likely Botulism, caused by raw honey.  It may have come from the white rice we fed him the night before at a restaurant, or from somewhere else, that is still a bit of a mystery.  It seems to match dead on with symptoms and recovery.

I've been thinking about why it was important for me to write all of this down.  I have been pretty horrible about documenting months 3-10 of Jude's life.  Maybe it was to get it out of my system, however, I have told variations of our horror story about 50 times in the last week.  It could be because of the excitement and intrigue of this story that has overshadowed some of the normal baby stuff that has been going on in those months.  It could just be to warn parents, that honey is similar to anthrax for babies.

I think the real significance for me though, was that in that one panicked moment of reading a CPR guideline upside down I realized that I could not breathe without my son.  I loved him before he was born, but in these 7 months that have been away from this blog, I have fallen deeply in love with Jude.  He growls now.  Did I Mention that?!?  The kid growls like a dinosaur!  He tries to crawl head first off of our bed and thinks it is hilarious.  He eats cereal like some deranged cartoon character on the box.  He whispers da-da and cries MA-MA.  He thinks giving me 5 is one of the best things in life, besides Mickey Mouse.  He loves gravity and The Office theme song.  He greets everyone with a smile.  We grow closer every day.

Now that's progress.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Appreciating the Finer Points in Life

I want for Jude to have what I had growing up.  I want him to appreciate the same things I did in the same ways.  For instance, I want him to watch Star Wars in the real order, not the numerical way.  I want him to realize that Chewbacca will always be way cooler than Jar-Jar.  

I want Jude to play the original Nintendo before jumping headlong into the world of Wii.  There is the alarming fact that this generation of kids will in no way know that to fix any video game, you just have to blow hard enough on it for it to work.  I want to watch his face the first time he sees Mario in three dimensions after playing his 8 bit predecessor.

I saw something shocking the other day and it made me a little sad.  There were at least 8 young guys on my street playing tackle football in their yard.  The sad part was that this was the first time ever I had seen this in my neighborhood.  I want a few skinned knees and dirty jeans for my boy.

I was six years old when I first went to Walt Disney World.  It was the most magical, amazing vacation of my childhood.  It would be at least ten years before I would go back.  When I was young I would actually dream about living there.  

Now I do.

Well, about thirty minutes from it, but you get the point.  I have been there at least twice a year for the past four years now.  It is still magical, but I think it may be that way because of the nostalgia of my first experience there.  I want this magic for my son.  I also want him to realize that most of the families there that look totally exhausted are that way because they have been on a nonstop marathon of magic to get as many memories in four days as possible, because that will be it for their kid's childhood.  Those kids from the middle states, will only get to see Disney World again from the commercials and family photos.  They will soon forget the way the water in Pirates of the Caribbean smells, but if they are anything like me, they will hold on to the appreciation that for one week in their childhood, their parents made it completely about them.

So how do I differentiate Mickey Mouse from Chuck E. Cheese?  I actually thought of convincing Jude, until he is about 5 years old that Disney is 1,000 miles away and then one day waking up and say that we're going to Disney World.

The truth is, I don't have the time or energy to create a Truman Show-like bubble for my child in the next five years.  He has been to Universal Studios within the first 60 days of his life.  He has caught more than a couple of glimpses of his Dad playing Mario Galaxy 2, and he may even grow up to think that pod racing is cooler than the Death Star.  I want the standard things of my childhood to impress Jude as much as they did me, but I guess that is not realistic.  Maybe it is not a bad thing though.  Maybe some of my favorite things will rub off on him.  Maybe a few of his favorite things will rub off on me and I'll be a more well rounded person.

If he doesn't like The Beatles though, he might go to boarding school. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Horror! The Horror!

Before Jude was born I was warned of the first poop. I had heard of its swamp thing like texture. So when that first poop diaper came my way in the hospital, I handled it like a champ. I had never changed a diaper before, but I had energy and excitement on my side and could handle anything. I had also heard that little boys have the ability to pee on you from a mile away. The accuracy in which my son could do it to me and ONLY me for the first two weeks was surprising, but maybe that meant he just liked me, right? The first time he got his Mom good kind of made me happy, I must admit.

Now what I wasn't prepared for at all was having a kid with reflux. That's right dad, the same thing that happens to you after that fourth slice of pizza at midnight happens to my little boy all day every day. Except your pizza doesn't come back up. Apparently breast milk is just the right weight and consistency to come flying up after any feeding.

My t-shirt collection has never been the same.

I am convinced that the number one way that dad's bond with their sons in those early months are lifting them high over their heads like Superman or carrying them around the house like a football, briefly doing the Heisman pose in front of the mirror before Mom makes us stop. Well, this is fine and dandy for children that don't have to take Zantac three times daily. The first time I got got good was doing the aforementioned Superman or as I call it "SuperJude" pose. Like a stealth fighter pilot, Jude hurled warm, curdled milk (To quote The Hangover) "In the face! In - the- Face!!!" He tried this one other time and I was shocked and a bit proud of my Matrix like ability to dodge the oncoming assault.

The bedsheets have never been the same.

The cream of the crop, literally, started off very sweet and well intentioned. I was just going to go in for a little kiss from my sweet boy and Sweet Lord. The timing was astounding. I hope that this is just a signal that my child with have an awesome sense of humor like his dad (hey he already laughs at his own farts) and not a signal that I am being punished by the God of Goo. I thank God everyday that I didn't have my mouth open. Just the shock and awe of receiving my first vomit kiss was enough though.

My psyche will never be the same.

So that is just a highlights reel of this remarkable season of goo. Other notable one would be the time he pooped on my leg. Which brings me to my tips for the day:

1. Diapers, like condoms always have a 1% chance for error.
2. Bob and Weave.
3. If you hear the word reflux come from your pediatrician's mouth, buy stock in burp clothes.

Until next time, stay dry dads.

"Look at the stars, look how they shine for you"

This was the first line I ever sang to my son as I held him all alone. WAIT GUYS! I know that first line may have lost all men because of the pure sap that dripped out of it, however it is the truth. What was also true was I was all alone with my boy, our eyes locked, eerily quiet. I think we were both thinking the same thing: "Why on earth would the nurse just leave me alone with this guy?" We sat there for about 15 minutes trying to figure each other out. I think we figured out the same things in those moments. A. Dad can't sing. B. We are both glad Mom is never too far away. C. I've got a brand new name from here on out: Jude's Dad.