1) Babies are noisy. And I’m not talking about the crying bits; I was totally ready for that. What still throws me is when Grace is asleep and completely calm, she’ll turn her head and honk. How does someone so tiny get so much volume?
2) God, I love putting her in the sling and walking around. If this feeling of peace and contentment as my daughter snoozes against my belly means that I get my Man Card pulled, tell me where to mail it, man. You can keep your card; I wouldn’t trade this time with Grace for anything.
3) You can’t burp out a fart. Yes, I can rub her tummy or bicycle-kick her legs, but, dammit, I want some brilliant pediatrician to find the magical spot on my daughter’s body that I just have to pat a few times to relieve all that gas that’s making her cry like it’s the end of the world. Whoever finds this spot will get the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Probably the Peace Prize, too.
4) For the first three weeks, Grace has had two facial expressions: Asleep and Serious. Then, in week four, when her neck had gotten strong enough to hold up her head, she added a new one: Curious. We’ll get her on one of our shoulders, and she’ll look around with this wide-eyed face that looks like she’s saying, “Hey. I like this. This is cool.” The pots and pans above our sink? Fascinating. The tree outside the living room? Incredible. She’s looking around and drinking it all in, and we love it.
5) I thought my heart was going to burst the night she was born and I first held her. Turns out that feeling was nothing compared to the first time she smiled at me. Oh, man…
6) While baby photographers are great and kind and professional, the companies they work for? Pushy.
7) I know every father since time immemorial has felt these things, but I still want to tell everyone I know. I want to stop strangers on the street and say, “Here, you! Look at my daughter! Isn’t she the greatest thing ever?” I have to make sure I don’t babble about the things she does (tummy time! Laughing in her sleep! Grabbing her bottle!) so I don’t become That Kind Of Dad.
8) Actually, I am That Kind Of Dad. I should just admit it.
Grace is snoozing away in Anne’s arms while our lunch (rice and dumplings) and dinner (roast chicken with pesto) cook away. This will be the first non-hospital food we’ve had in two days, though I recall us sneaking in a patty melt and milkshake from Izzy’s the night she was born. Really, this is all a blur of plastic bassinets, rotating nurses, and a tiny, tiny person with a mighty grip.
Grace Laural Rakunas was born at 6.24 in the evening on Boxing Day, 2009, and it was so fast. One minute, I’m holding our birth mom’s hand as Roy Silver, our friend, walked into the room and into his scrubs; the next, there’s this little girl slipping out like she was on a waterslide (which, in a way, she was). I cried, Anne cried, Grace cried, but only a little bit (Grace, that is. I bawled my eyes out and lost a contact lens, so I was literally half-blind as I cut the cord). After she was warmed up and rolled into the nursery, we got to hold her and feed her and I understood what my mom meant when she said this cord was just going to spring from your chest and wrap itself around the kid and never let go. It tugs whenever Grace cries or sleeps or makes one of those big baby sighs.
We got through the first night by swapping off shifts and learned a few things right away:
1) She loves eating
2) She’s not a fan of pooping
3) She sleeps best when we’re holding her
We are over the moon about all of these things. Even the poop, though I’ve now upped our weekly order with Dy-Dee Diapers.
I think the best part of all this has been the ridiculous outpouring of love from our family and friends. Every email, Tweet and Facebook update about her has melted the both of us, and it’s going to take a while to thank everyone with the individual notes you all deserve. I’m especially thankful for every one of you who’s shared that you were adopted (or are married to someone who’s adopted, or has parents or siblings or cousins who are adopted). Grace is in a club with some pretty awesome members, and I think it’s going to make for some very happy birthdays.
Our moms are coming Tuesday, and we’re going to start receiving other guests on Wednesday (I wish there were an app to make scheduling this all so much easier. Is there?). The first of the pictures are up on Flickr here, and there will probably be a ton more.
And now I have to wipe my eyes and blow my nose and inhale some food and do laundry while I can. Grace will be up soon, and I’ll be too busy staring at her while she feeds and burps and sighs to do anything else.
Welcome into the world, Grace. We love you so much.
Anne and I are adopting.
This, I’ve found, means meeting interesting people, attending classes, and filling out paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. So much that I’m going to go to every red state and pitch Rev. Rakunas’s Sure-Fired Pregnancy Prevention Method, which entails making kids fill out so many forms that they lose all interest in sex. Look for me on Dr. Phil later this year.
We’re going through an agency called Vista del Mar, and the experience has been very educational (have I mentioned the paperwork?). So far, we’ve got one class down, with three more to go (including water safety, which Anne and I find funny as hell seeing how we swim in the ocean for fun). Then a social worker comes to our place and studies us and our apartment (which we’ll likely have to cover in several layers of protective foam), and, if we’re deemed worthy, we wait until VdM matches us with a birth mother. It could take eighteen months. It could take a few days. We get to be expectant parents, though I get the feeling I won’t stop holding my breath until the whole thing is finalized.
(This is the point where my parents pipe up and say, “No, you won’t stop holding your breath *ever*, smart guy.”)
I will be writing a little bit about this, but it will mostly be from a nuts-and-bolts process point-of-view. Somewhere along the line, this will stop being our story and will become our kid’s, and it’s not my place to tell that story here. I trust that you’ll bear with me.
Right. That’s all from me for now. Back to the paperwork.
If you were a member of the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver last year, or if you’re a member of the Montreal version this year, you can nominate stuff for the Hugos. Did you know this? I sure as hell didn’t the first time I went to a Worldcon, probably because I was more concerned with avoiding the outrageous parking fees at the Anaheim Convention Center than voting and nominating and such.
Ever since, I’ve tried to get the people I know on the ballot, for both the quality of their work and the novelty of saying, “Hey, I know that name!” It hasn’t worked out as well as I’ve hoped, but no one said World Domination was easy. That’s why I hope this little nugget will spread from my site to Facebook and Twitter and beyond. You gotta start somewhere.
So, if you can nominate stuff for the Hugos, please take a look at these works. If you like them, please tell people about them. And if you really like them, please nominate them.
Best Novelette: “The Elephant Ironclads,” by Jason Stoddard. The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Del Rey, April 2008.
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The sun is shining, the tomato plants are full, and the Israeli kids next door are whining and crying.
Yes, it’s good to be home and find that nothing’s changed.
Exhausted. Full of curry. Ready to come home. That’s the problem with trying to do travelogues: you do so much that when you have time to update, you’re too damn tired.
All panels were excellent, and I feel lucky as hell to have talked about blogging, virtual worlds and the future of searching for ponies on the internet. Made some new friends, passed around a lot of business cards, and the food. Did I mention the food? Good God, I wish we could stay just to keep eating.
But I’m ready to see the garden bloom, eat the last of the tomatoes, and get back on the bike. See you in eighteen hours, Los Angeles!