Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Daddy K solves our energy problems

Who needs Uncle T. Boone Pickens and Proposition 10? Just plug these guys into every power grid around the world and we're covered (no outlet converters needed).

And there's plenty of energy diversification as well:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And our children’s children: Solid as Barack

I got an email from my cousin this morning that basically requested friends and family to not watch Barack Obama's primetime coverage tonight at 8:00 p.m. PT (8:00 p.m. ET) titled Barack Obama: America Promises.

She's not happy about the excessive campaign spending that goes on and that if we all spent this same amount of time researching the issues on our ballots, or perhaps learning more about the candidates from a credible source, we would be more informed as an electorate.

While she definitely gave me something to chew on, and although I agreed with her in spirit, I would argue that a good percentage of the voting population (unfortunately) gets informed on politicians and issues via slanted, sound-byte T.V. I wish that weren't the case; I'm a big advocate of personal responsibility and being informed as objectively as possible from various reliable resources.

Until we have true campaign fundraising reform, private moneys raised will drive the candidates' messages (down our throats). It's a corrupt system, I know, but my wife and I support Senator Obama and have donated to his campaign, so I do hope the undecided electorate watches tonight.

I'm still pretty angry at the economic policy mistakes made by both sides of aisle since the Clinton administration about banking and financial service deregulation, and how the global pool of money incited riotous greed. Our children and our children's children will be paying for the multi-billion-dollar financial system bailouts (plus the 10-plus-billion-dollar-per-month illegitimate war bill).

That's excessive spending we're paying for whether we like it or not. And we don't like it.

Instead, we prefer being solid as Barack.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Daddy K and Mama A mix Mentos and Diet Coke

Like many babies, our Baby B loves motion and vibration; it helps her fall asleep (along with various natural sounds, light music and white noise). Her bassinet, swing and bouncy chair all have a vibrate mode and she really digs that. She also likes the bouncy effect of the bouncy chair, which I've used successfully for the past week.

And that means we dig it, because it helps her fall asleep. Of course, there's no substitute for swaddling and holding and cuddling and letting baby take in your scent (just ask Mama A), but anything inanimate that helps, helps.

We're fortunate so far though, because Bea is a pretty mellow baby on the colicky scale; she's not really colicky at all to date.

Last night started off as a mellow evening, but then we had a hard time getting Bea to sleep, even after what we thought was her bedtime feeding (full belly). Being the smart daddy I am I really thought that the bouncy chair would help, so I brought it up and put it on the bed to bounce Bea while we read.

Didn't work.

Then we all went back downstairs and I tried to bounce her there in the chair.

Didn't work.

Mama tried to cuddle and gently bounce her in our big cuddle chair.

Didn't work.

Exhaustion leads to frustration and we were pretty tired at this point. Bea finally dozed off and we went straight up to bed (it wasn't that much time overall, but it felt like it).

As soon as we turned the lights out and put her in between us –

Wait for it –

"Yaaack. Waaaaaaaaaaa!" (Baby B)

"Oh my God!" (Mama A)

Did I lock the back door? (Daddy K)

"She's throwing up!" (Mama A)

"Oh my God!" (Daddy K)

Projectile milk vomit all over baby and the bed in front of her. (If I would've had more warning, I would've held her hair back for her like the chivalrous daddy I am, but she doesn't really have much to hold back. )

We quickly took Bea and cleaned her up, drained milk from her nose and throat, and took her temperature (normal). Bea cried and cried and we were scared. Really scared. This was new for all three of us and we had no idea of why she got sick.

Until you imagine mixing Mentos and Diet Coke, or putting a whole bunch of crap in a blender and mixing on high with the lid off.

After we all got cleaned up, Bea was fed again (good sign being hungry after that), and we all went fast asleep. Thank God. Was it the bouncing, or was it something Mama ate, or was it the global financial markets sucking the souls of future generations?

We may never know.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baby B co-sleeps and Daddy K wears a cat cap

Baby B is now one month and 4 days old and we're finding that parenting time with a newborn is trans-dimensional: one day can disappear in a blink and stretch out to years simultaneously. It's an erratic metronome that bends time and loses sleep.

Speaking of sleep, or lack thereof, what are the best scenarios for living with baby? We've heard so many recommendations and where baby should sleep in the first year (and beyond), and the arguments for co-sleeping and crib-sleeping can be emotionally charged on both sides.

We get Parenting magazine and Mama A marks the pages she wants me to read (great pub with quick, easy-to-read articles for overworked, sleep-deprived daddies). She had me read an article titled Dad's-Eye View: The Baby in the Middle. It's funny and scary – another erratic metronome – and shares the story of sharing bed with baby and how long it can take to get them into their own room and bed.

We're taking the co-sleeping route with bed sharing as well. We're familiar with the SIDS and roll-over arguments (we do have fans going), and even the good folk I talk with at DadLabs mostly agreed to not have the babies in bed with you. But I'm used to sleeping on a sliver of bed on the edge of my side; our cat Chelsea had claimed the center and has recently tried to reclaim it as well.

Oh God, I know. We're making sure the cat doesn't sleep too close to Baby B, no worries there. But Chelsea and Mama A have kept me fused to my side of the bed for years – now there are three girls keeping the man down. (I need a shot of Life on Mars – great new gritty cop show with a twist.)

Bea didn't want to be born at home, but she sure as heck will share our room for at least the next 6+ months (which is recommended by the America SIDS Institute). And as we transition her to the bassinet next to our bed, we'll share the bed with diligence, awareness, much love and a 133-year-old cat.

So while the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned that bed-sharing was associated with an increase in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the work of James McKenna, Ph.D., an anthropologist shows SIDS rates to be lower in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, and the attachment-parenting theories of Babytalk contributing editor William Sears, M.D. (Both experts believe parents can -- and must -- co-sleep safely). More women do it that you think.

My hip and progressive Aunt Margene recently shared some incredible insight with us about breast feeding and bed sharing and one line that truly resonated with me was this:

An independent and self-assured child results from being accepted and allowed to be as totally and unequivocally DEPENDENT as they clearly are born to be.

I agree. Thanks, Auntie M. Baby B is a love child and we're her flower children. Somebody get the cat off my head.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary Daddy K and Mama A

Time stand still -- I'm not looking back

But I want to look around me now

See more of the people and the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment a little bit longer

Make each sensation a little bit stronger

Experience slips away...

--Neil Peart

This weekend we celebrated our anniversary – 5 years of marriage and 11 years since the day we met. As we do every year we read our vows to each other again, but this time we couldn't quite make it down to the lighthouse where we met on October 11 because we've got a little Bea in a our bonnet. So we stayed home, read our vows, and then played Scrabble. Good times.

Early Friday morning was even sweeter for me because Beatrice and I hung out and listened to B Notes, the songs we put together that sing the very essence of having a love child. Yep, love child. What else would it B?

The little bugger brought tears to my eyes. I cradled her in my arms and she studied me intently as each song played. I played the drums lightly on her behind and just as the tears pooled in my eyes, she pooped.

And then smiled and yawned.

Our friends Nancy and Mickey stopped by to visit on Saturday and then Dani and Nathan and their children Kevin and Kelly came by today (I always say Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly - from the old Cheers episode).

Tonight we went to one of our favorite haunts, La Mission, to celebrate our anniversary, 'cause you can never have enough Mexican food. Beatrice was a sweet as a little angel, sleeping away while we ate and talked.

Freeze these moments a little bit longer…

Birthday Announcement and what was in the news

Our birth announcement was in the Santa Cruz Sentinel today. Whoo-hoo!

Grossman – September 22 at 7:08 p.m., to Amy Lynn (Dahlen) and Kevin Wayne Grossman, Santa Cruz, a 7-pound, 8-ounce girl, Beatrice Dahlen.

Not really glamorous or the literary verbosity I prefer, but hey, it was free.

And speaking of newspapers, here are the stories from the papers we read – the San Jose Mercury News and the SC Sentinel – from Beatrice's birthday, September 22, 2008. (This may not do a thing for you, but it's something I needed to do for us.)

An Era Ends on Wall St.


In a move that fundamentally reshapes an era of high finance that defined the modern Gilded Age, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the last two independent investment banks on Wall Street, will transform themselves into bank holding companies subject to far greater regulation, the Federal Reserve said Sunday night.

The firms requested the change themselves, even as Congress and the Bush administration rushed to pass a $700 billion rescue of financial firms. It was a blunt acknowledgment that their model of finance and investing had become too risky and that they needed the cushion of bank deposits that had kept big commercial banks like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase relatively safe amid the recent turmoil...

Democrats push back on bailout proposal

The government's $700 billion plan to bail out the banking system might calm panicked financial markets, but its real value could be in buying time to address the root problem: the continuing slide in housing values.

The Treasury Department's rescue plan is far from a done deal, with Democrats saying Sunday that they would push for more relief measures aimed at homeowners facing foreclosure and for stricter oversight of the program that would allow the government to buy billions of dollars of securities tied to troubled mortgages...

Odd twist for law-and-order measure


California's police and prosecutors are asking voters for a guaranteed $965 million from the state each year and a slew of tough new penalties, but an unlikely figure is championing their anticrime "Safe Neighborhoods Act" on the November ballot.

The man who paid to put Proposition 6 before the voters now faces a possible 340 years in prison in a pair of indictments that accuse him of backdating stock options, supplying meth and cocaine to friends and prostitutes, and spiking colleagues' drinks with Ecstasy...

Sentinel Triathlon draws 1,000 on record-breaking day

Nearly 1,000 racers wearing wetsuits and smiles congregated on Main Beach early Sunday, bracing themselves for the 58-degree Pacific Ocean that awaited them just a few steps from the starting line of the 26th annual Sentinel Triathlon.

The frigid temperature didn't appear to scare any athletes off, though. Veterans and newcomers crowded the shore, as did cheering family members and hundreds of spectators who once again turned out for the race, an annual fundraiser for local schools that is now more than a quarter-century old...

Watsonville kids carnival supports cancer services

The Watsonville City Plaza was transformed into a miniature fairground Sunday for the 10th annual Kidrageous Carnival, sponsored by Jacob's Heart Children's Cancer Support Services.

Bounce houses, carnival games, live music and performances took place from noon to 5 p.m., bringing thousands of community members and families out to recognize Children's Cancer Awareness month and to celebrate life...

Cable's 'Mad Men' makes TV history


The sleek '60s drama "Mad Men" made Emmy history Sunday as the first basic-cable show to win a top series award, while the sitcom "30 Rock" and its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin also emerged as big winners…

Digital players go in for a tune-up

Just in time for late back-toschool or early holiday shopping, Apple, Microsoft and others have unveiled a new crop of digital media players.

Some have radical design changes. Many have neat new features. And most offer more storage space for songs, videos, pictures or games at a lower price...

After Raiders blow late lead, all eyes back on beleaguered Kiffin


Surreality, guy time and why men should be able to lactate

Colicky we are not. At least Baby Bea isn't. I'm probably more colicky than any of us. The surreal dimensional shift from no baby to crying pooping peeing baby hasn't been as painful as I would have thought – but it's still painfully surreal.

It was like we were shot into space for 9+ months, flipping and flowing in the zero gravity of a mellow pregnancy – still only two of us – and then the heat shield slipped during reentry.

Santa Cruz, we have a problem.

Now that we've almost completed week 3 with baby, we're all getting to know each other a little more every day. Mama and Bea have got the on-demand breastfeeding gig down. I've got the diaper changing gig down. Mama is cutting Bea's nails (I can't do it yet). Nighttime is still a little random; it'll take a few more weeks at the very least to get a better schedule going. Last night was great, though.

However, we are still getting to know each other every day. We stare at Bea and think what the heck is it, and Bea stares at us and thinks what the heck are they – oh, you're the one with the boobies. Come here.

We're not pumping the milk yet, but we'll start that soon and then I can help with the feedings, particularly in the early mornings when I'm usually already up working. We've got lots of new parenting books, but the one I'm currently reading is called Caveman's Guide to Baby's First Year. It's informative and fun for guys because it's not dumbed down; it's written for smart guys who are guys and are responsible and who have a solid sense of humor.

For example, of the top 10 reasons men should be able to lactate, the top three are:

  1. A new twist on the "There once was a man from Nantucket…" limerick

  2. A perfect complement to the man-gina

  3. Finally qualified to get that job at Hooters

Ain't that a hoot? Okay, some family and friend folk may not think it's funny, but considering I took a caretaking quiz in the same book above and scored high as a manny – one who can care for your kids as well – I need some guy time.

Go SJSU Spartans!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Daddy K and Mama A have a frickin’ baby

What a life-altering two weeks it's been. I haven't posted since the birth and the birth story and for good reason.

We have a frickin' baby. A beautiful, healthy little baby girl who to date has been pretty mellow.

Until earlier tonight. Beatrice got the hiccups that led to a gaseous supernova that led to a complete meltdown (for baby and parents) two times in a very short period of time. Listen, we're still getting use to day one with baby – but Bea is on day 13 – and we have no idea what we're doing.

Okay, not necessarily true. We've got our books and family and friends and spirituality and religiosity and trans-channeling and high-fructose corn syrup and –

19th century colic advice, "Put cotton in your ears and gin in your stomach."

The key is to trigger the calming reflex. We've been on the right track, just not consistent enough. Harvey Karp's The Happiest Baby on the Block tells us to follow the five S's:

  1. Swaddling

  2. Side lying

  3. Shushing

  4. Swinging

  5. Sucking

The fifth we're going to try to avoid if possible (no pacifiers or fingers). The first four work and we'll get better at applying them when necessary.

Time is so completely fluid right now; the five-minute baby meltdowns can feel like days when you're attempting to console baby (and praying it wasn't anything you did wrong as a parent).

To the five S's!