Tag Archives: Dinosaurs

A Baby Is Born . . . via Text Message

The first text came in around 9 pm.

The grandpa-to-be needed to update the family on what was going on.

K is in hospital waiting fur the baby to come. She has been there since one this morning. They are about to give her an epidural and then try to speed things along. Will try to keep you all up to date if I can keep my eyes open. 

This was grandpa-to-be’s first blood grandchild and to say he was elated would be an understatement akin to saying Mount St. Helen’s got a little burpy back in the 1980’s.

I’m sure that this is nothing new to the older relatives of children being born these days, but the sense of immediacy and connectedness that this engendered was amazing to me.

Way back in the old days when I first blessed this world with the spawn of my loins, things were a bit different. And I don’t say that just because of all the dinosaurs roaming around.

My dad was the only grandparent who lived out of the state and so we had to call him in advance and let him know we’d be inducing our first born on a certain day. That way, he could plan ahead and be there when his first grandchild came into the world. Everyone else we delayed because we didn’t want our entire family in the delivery room.

We had to plan. Then, once the proto-Sarcasmo was born, the only people who knew what he looked like were those who came to look at him directly in the face and be blinded by his astonishingly good looks.

Non-immediate-family had to wait until we had taken the first of approximately 7 gillion pictures of the boy, had said pictures developed at a local photograph store, picked up said pictures and then mailed them out to interested parties. It was weeks before everyone we cared about knew that we were parents, much less had seen the little dude.

This time, though, it was like we were in the delivery room with the AlmostMom is smiling because the epidural has kicked in real nice and she's feeling no pain in the delivery room as she works to birth her first baby.beautiful mother, older sister, smiling dad, amazing aunts and gobsmacked grandparents.

We received pictures via text message and then e-mails with more pictures and even a video or two. It was a connected birth the likes of which I’ve never experienced before.

Say what you want about the intrusiveness of modern communication, how cellphones and computers and the internet are forcing us apart from each other and into hiding behind screens of glass, but there are definite upsides to this.

Not only did I know that Scarlet Jane (also christened Baby Jake by her grandpa) was born, I was able to look into her adorable little baby eyes and see her mother smiling back at me, the same adorable face I’ve known since she wasn’t even a teenager.

Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma, Auntie L and all the rest for your great updates. Thanks for showing us how it’s done here in the 21st century. And welcome, Scarlet Jane.

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Of Course That’s A Camera In Your Pocket. . . And You’re Glad To See Me

We’re raising the most overexposed generation in history.

Starting around five years or so ago, just about the time that cellphone cameras became good enough to produce things that resembled people rather more than they resembled colored blobs, parenting has begun to undergo a seismic shift.

Back in the good-old-days, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I had to walk to school uphill — both ways — in the snow barefoot, while dodging alligators every single day, taking a picture of your little dude was a bit more of a production.

You had to get out the camera from the back of the closet, make sure there was film in the camera and it hadn’t gone bad. Then you had to make sure there was enough or it might run out in the middle of the photography session.

Once that was taken care of, it was off to find the perfect outdoor light because flashes back then were — at best — more inscrutable than instructive. Once the pictures were taken, you had to then wait until you’d finished the roll of film.

You’d take the exposed film to a camera shop, wait several weeks to have the pictures developed (without any touch ups or changes) and then eventually bring them home. If you were lucky, you got maybe one viewing of the photos. Maybe someone put together a scrapbook, but, once the pictures were in there, they weren’t coming out. Ever.

Cellphones, digital cameras and, most especially, the iPhone changed all of that. Suddenly, we had access to a camera all the time. Not only that, but we could take pictures anywhere or any time. Once it was taken, we could mess around with it, give ourselves mustaches, maybe change hair color or background or make it into a black-and-white picture. We could see it as many times as we wanted, send it to as many people as we wanted, do whatever we wanted as long as we wanted.

It was to photography what the free-love movement was to sex.

When I first started out as a parent, folks told me that we would take a bunch of photos of our first, much fewer of our next and, should we have a third, count ourselves lucky if we found one or two of that child.

Instead, we’ve got a lot of pictures of our first little dude. Of course. Not so many of our second son’s early years. Then, round about the time our youngest came along in 1999, things started to change. The number of photographs blossomed with the acquisition of our first digital camera.

Once we began to have good cameras on our phones, the number of photos slammed into an exponential growth curve.

Instead of it being a special occasion, now I take pictures all the time. Heck, when Hyper Lad and I checked into our hotel room when we went spring skiing, I took about ten photos of only the hotel room. Just to set the stage. In case I needed them for something.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even do much in the way of posing my subjects as I figure I’ll just start snapping away and eventually get the one I want without having to pose. Which is the good thing about digital iPhontography.

And the bad thing about digital iPhontography in that I have so many, it’s sometimes daunting to sit down and go through them all to find ones I want to save and see again.

Which is why all three of my young dudes flinch and start running away whenever I bring out the phone. They’re certain I’m going to start documenting them. Again.

And, for the most part, they’re usually right.

But the expense in time is well worth it. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent flipping through old digital photos, looking at my sons.

This might be the most overexposed, overphotographed generation in history, but I can’t make myself be worried. I love the idea that we’re going to be able to watch them grow up over and over again whenever we want to.

So, bring on Mr. DeMille because they’re ready for their close ups.

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Burning Fear

It smelled my fear.

I took a step closer, tentatively reaching our my hand toward it. Slowly. Slowly. Closer and closer.

It hissed, steam spraying from a previously hidden vent.

I jerked my hand back, barely controlling the urge to begin sucking on my fingers, dead certain they’d been parboiled by the vicious iron smirking on its board, so eager to take down a neophyte such as me.

I’ve begun to iron my clothing, you see. And, dudes. . . It is scary.

It wasn’t always this way. I mean, what’s the call for ironing when all you have are jeans, unnatural-fabric Hawaiian shirts, t-shirts, and the occasional polo shirt for when you’ve got to dress up?

Which, for the most part, was the entirety of my wardrobe through college and right up until I had to go out and buy a suit to interview at the various newspapers who would consider my application for an internship. So, of course, I went to the one place that was guaranteed to have a great suit: the Sears catalog.

Don’t look at me like that. I was young. And poor. And more than a little bit stupid.

Over the years, as I continued to have to go into work and didn’t win the lottery, I began to accumulate non-jean pants (nothing I’d call trousers, though), button-down dress(ish) shirts and many, many novelty ties (mostly with things like the molecular structure of caffeine, dinosaurs, wildlife and the like) (mostly because I figured if I had to wear a tie, I’d at least have one that would make me smile when I looked down). Things got worse, style wise, when I began staying home to raise the three young dudes, Sarcasmo, Zippy the Monkey Boy, and Hyper Lad.

Over the last couple of years, though, I’ve begun to not only purchase nicer clothing, but actually want to wear them when I didn’t have to do so. I think mostly it was due to my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Seen To Be Believed. She’s a sharp dresser and looks very, very nice most days. I think I got tired of being next to her and shoving into the faces of anyone who glanced our way that I married up in a big way.

I realized the extent of my sartorial change yesterday when I took several shirts and trousers out of the dryer, saw they were wrinkled and immediately began to iron them.

Iron them.

Me.

I mean, I didn’t even know how to iron. Anything. I thought about ignoring the wrinkles and putting the clothing away despite them, but just couldn’t do it.

Besides, I thought, how hard could ironing be. You just press a scalding-hot piece of metal that occasionally shoots out jets of steam onto an item of clothing. Eh. Dead simple.

Ironing is easy, was my thought.

Turns out, not so much, dudes.

I was right about one thing. Ironing is easy. Ironing well. . . That’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I can’t tell you the number of times I had to start over, resettling the shirt onto the ironing board so I could remove an appallingly large crease that I’d just pressed into the front of the shirt where there should be no crease. Or the times I made the collar stand up sideways.

And let’s really not talk about the number of scalded fingers I’m currently nursing. (It’s a significant non-zero number. Let’s leave it at that.)

Eventually, I had to just take a deep breath, let it out gently and realize that I didn’t have to get it perfect the first time. Or the second. Just take my time. Iron a little bit at a time and realize that no shirt is composed of infinite amounts of fabric. I’d get it right. At some point.

Which I did. Much later than when I started, but I now have clothing I can wear without being completely embarrassed about because of them looking like I’d crumpled them up, washed them and then let them dry while crumpled in a corner.

Someone remind me, please: Why, exactly, did I decide I’d like to dress more nicely again?

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