Positivity Index: Old Friends Edition

Here are some of the good things that happened this week:

First and foremost, my Texas family is all safe and sound. Most of them are in Austin, but my father-in-law and his wife live in Bay City on the coast. They drove up to Austin to wait out Harvey, and it turns out that their house is just fine. My brother-in-law and his family were all in Louisiana visiting his wife’s family, and they drove back a couple days after landfall and got waylaid in Houston due to the flooding. One hotel stay later and they’re back home in Austin as well, so we’re all very thankful that worked out well. I can’t begin to wrap my heart around the stories and images coming out of Houston.

The rest of the week seems like kids’ stuff compared to that, in some cases literally, but the point of these posts is just to inject some positivity into the world so here we go!

In the beginning of the week I got to spend time with one of my oldest friends, Ty, who was in town for a conference for a couple days. We haven’t seen each other for actual years, thanks to life and families and moving, so it was great to pick up where we left off. He’s been a part of my inner circle since we met in Mrs. Gray’s homeroom class the beginning of sixth grade. Here’s a picture of him doing what he does best, carefully deliberating over baked goods:

After Ty left I got to see my cousin Mike, again someone I haven’t seen in years. He got to meet Del and catch me up on the family, and he told me a story about my dad, Del’s namesake, I hadn’t heard before. We have a vinyl copy of the soundtrack to Stand By Me, Amy’s favorite movie, on our wall. He said when that came out he loved the soundtrack too, and one time at my grandmother’s house he told Dad about this album he was listening to. He told him all the tracks and Dad said “that’s all stuff I grew up on, let’s go out to your car to listen to it.” So they cruised around Greenbrier, Dad’s hometown, listening to music from his childhood while he pointed out to Mike all the old places he used to hang out and the history of the town.

In baby Del news, he’s sitting up really well now and generally engaging with the world, so we get to do things with him. We’ve taken him to Central Park a few times, awake for a change, and he’s enjoyed his first playground swing. We’ve taken advantage of the mild weather and spent time there and on the Hudson. Since he’s sitting up it makes for better photo ops too:

And we’re in a swim class! Del loves the water and it’s a really fun thing to do with him. I never took swimming lessons so I’m glad we’re starting early with him.

And we finally, finally got a jogging stroller on Craigslist. I took Del down to the West Village yesterday morning to pick it up, wearing my running gear, and after inflating the tires at a gas station we hit the Hudson River Greenway and ran home. It was glorious. Every time I ran down the river or in Central Park since finding out Amy was pregnant over a year ago, I’ve imagined spending time in the park with Del or jogging with him and now those things are finally happening.

Non-baby-Del news: we finished the first season of GLOW this week and I enjoyed it. It was a slow start and overall it didn’t blow me out of the water, but it had a ton of heart and I found myself pulling so hard for the women to make their show happen. I’m looking forward to the next season.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

Dad Blog: What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?  With regards to Mr. Shakespeare, kind of a lot, actually.  Before we knew my son’s gender, before a child had even been conceived, we knew he or she would be called Del.  My father was Delbert, went by Del.  He passed away in 2005 on Christmas morning.  He never had the chance to meet the woman who became my wife and mother of my son, though when I got home for my break that year he got an earful about this person I’d decided I was crazy about, and he saw her picture.  “Long necked thing isn’t she?”  He meant it as a compliment.  He never got to see me as an adult, really, out of school on my own in New York City (didn’t miss too much there, Dad).  And of course he never got to meet his grandson, and his grandson will never meet his namesake.  But he will know him, because he will carry his name for the rest of his life and we will teach him what that name means.  Humility, kindness–especially to those who need our help, loyalty to those we love, common sense, a quick laugh–even if the joke’s on you unless you walk into a screen door in your hotel room because you thought it was open and God help anyone in the room who laughs at you, gentleness, just a hint of rebellion.

Del’s middle name is William, after his living grandfather, my father-in-law.  Del will get to see firsthand how great a guy he is, so we know those bases are covered.

My dad was named after a Delbert as well, Delbert George Adamson.  My grandfather (“Pawpaw”) met him in boot camp after enlisting in the Marines the January after Pearl Harbor.  They became fast friends and Delbert and his wife Merna were witnesses to my grandparents’ wedding while my grandfather was on leave.  The men were part of the initial assault on Iwo Jima.  My grandfather made it through the battle, but Delbert did not.  Pawpaw named his next child after Delbert, and the following child, my aunt, after Delbert’s wife Merna.  

There is a legacy and a weight to this name, and I will teach my son how to carry that weight gracefully.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

Positivity Index: Eclipse Edition

This week we had an eclipse. It was the best thing that has happened to America in a long time. Listen to the opening of this Radiolab episode for an example of people’s reactions all along the path of totality. Everyone went outside and looked up and turned into children for five minutes. It’s a common occurrence that everyone on Twitter converges on to one topic, usually to trash it; today seems to be something about Taylor Swift, but I have a strange disease where whenever her name is mentioned I stop listening. This time, we all marveled at the same thing in person, a natural phenomenon that made us reexamine the world in literally a new light, even if just for a few minutes. Here in NYC I took my son to the Great Lawn in Central Park and set up shop on the north side, in a nice shaded spot with a great view of the lawn and the city below. My wife used her lunch break to run up and join us. It was busy but not crowded. Everyone was there for the same reason, and lots of smiles were exchanged between strangers. We only had a partial eclipse, just under 80%, but it was still enough to cast a strange light across the city and cause people to applaud when the clouds parted just a few minutes before the peak. As I said online, everyone cheered at the sky. I wish that happened more often.

Later in the week on a walk with my son I went up the Hudson. Coming towards me on the path was a kid with a little Maltese on a leash. The dog spotted a man sunbathing just off the path, propped up on his elbows reading. The dog did that classic dog move of walking up to him to be petted without really asking if he’d pet him. Like he made himself available if pats were on the table. The guy smiled at the dog and that was all he needed; he ran up into his face and started licking him like crazy. The man and the boy laughed. A few minutes later I passed an older woman on a bench with birds and squirrels gathered around her. She tossed a peanut to a squirrel, who immediately put it in his mouth with his front paws and ran off. The woman and I made eye contact and smiled.

I shared experiences big and small this week with strangers, and my week was better for it.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

Farewell to Political Posts

I need to change my ways.  My internet habits are no longer enriching my life, mostly thanks to Twitter with a little Facebook thrown in.  Donald Trump has absolutely ruined the internet for me.  My echo chamber is loud and panicky.  Rightly so, because he is hands down the last person who needs to be in that office, but I knew that when he announced his candidacy.  Everything that has happened since has only served to make me feel worse about  the world.  Without conscious effort I veer into cynicism without a bottom, pessimism that would freeze Leslie Knope’s heart.  As such, I’m going to redouble my commitment to that effort.  I am going to do my best to refrain from posting about politics, and I’m going to have to avoid Twitter I guess.  I don’t know any way around that; I suppose I can mute half the English language to avoid coverage of this administration there, but what’s the point?  So, I will stop talking about it, because I think you probably agree with me if you’re reading this and if you don’t, I don’t think I’ve done anything to change your mind.  Dear god, what could change your mind at this point?  

I want to make a few things clear.  I’m not turning my back on the news, and I’m not turning my back on speaking up when I see something that I think is wrong.  But I want to withdraw myself from this social media cycle, because it is not helpful.  Ranting at your friends on Facebook is not speaking up.  It makes you feel like you’ve spoken up, but it costs you nothing and it changes nothing.  It is insidious.  I want to inject more positivity into the world, and I can’t do that if I’m talking about Donald Trump.  And because I really want everyone who cares enough to read this to understand my feelings about the current situation, I have to write one more barn burner about this goblin who convinced a minority of suckers to usher him into the highest office in the land.  I need this on record, because if I’m not going to comment on the news until we have left this hellscape, I want there to be no doubt whatsoever about where I stand.  

Let me start by telling you that I am obsessed with truth.  I mean that quite literally.  If I sense that someone is being deceptive, if I hear a blatant lie or incorrect statement float into the air without challenge, it snags my consciousness and hangs there until I address it.  I cannot watch commercials, mostly for my wife’s sake.  I have absolutely become the sort of person who talks back to the television.  “Yeah, you don’t use hormones in your chicken BECAUSE IT’S ILLEGAL TO USE HORMONES IN CHICKEN.  You’re not saints, Hormel.  You’re no different than the competition.”  This sort of obsession actually leads me to speak less, because often I don’t know if what I want to say is true so I don’t say it.  So you can imagine how difficult it is for me to listen to Trump for more than five seconds.  The man lies like it’s part of his autonomic nervous system.  There’s a structure in his brain sending these signals: breathe; heartbeat; peristaltic contractions; fabricate a call from the leader of the Boy Scouts.  It’s not just that he lies.  All politicians lie.  I have no illusions that Barack Obama was a paragon of truth, and I expected Hillary to bend reality to her needs from time to time.  But most politicians lie to obscure a deeper, more problematic truth, or mask their intentions from their opponents, or simply just to tell a voter what they think that voter needs to hear to mark them down on the ballot.  Donald Trump lies because, I don’t know, it’s Wednesday?  He lies to make himself look better, because he’s a scared little child.  He lies to try to cut his opponents down, because he’s a scared little child.  He lies to frighten his followers into submission, because he needs followers because he’s a scared little child.  A theme emerges about this man.  I have no room in my life for anyone with such disregard for the truth.  Neither should America.

I could go on.  I tried to, I started a paragraph about how Donald Trump is the Platonic ideal of a philistine.  I had notes to make sure I hit his horrifying attitude towards women, his complete lack of empathy and basic human decency, his pettiness, his spinelessness, his inability to admit error or weakness, his toxic and childish idea of masculinity, his lack of intelligence about the most basic facts of the world around us (google his attitude about exercise, or what he thinks clean coal is).  I don’t have the time.  He doesn’t deserve the time or the headspace.  That’s what this is about.

So I will leave it at the fact that Donald Trump is the antithesis of everything I have tried to be in my life, and I am stunned that he is our president and will be for the rest of my life.  I cannot believe we have come to this, I cannot believe people were tricked into voting for him, and I’m not sure I can ever forgive the people who did.  I don’t want you to take my radio silence on this topic as a sign of inaction.  I’m going to keep calling my congresspeople, I’m going to keep signing petitions, I’m going to do everything I can to limit the duration of this administration.  

I’m also going to make things, something Donald Trump hasn’t done one day in his life.  I’m going to try to add positivity to the world, and the only time Trump will be able to do that is the day he stops being president.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

The Adventures of Li’l Donnie T: The New Student

One day, after Li’l Donnie’s driver dropped him off at school and Donnie had put away his golden lunchbox filled with Diet Coke, ketchup and cold hot dogs, and he sat down at his seat between his two best friends Steve and Vlad, the teacher told the class that they would be joined by a new student.  At that moment, the door to the classroom opened and in walked a little boy Donnie’s age.  Only this boy wasn’t like Donnie.  In fact, he wasn’t like any of the other children in class.  This boy’s right elbow and wrist were bent very sharply, and his arm was skinny.  Donnie’s arm, on the other hand, was so plump that his golden watch barely closed over it.  The teacher said “Oh, hello Serge, welcome to our classroom!  Everyone, please say hello to Serge.”  Everyone in the class said hello except for Steve and Vlad.  They just snickered.  

“What’s so funny?” asked Donnie.  He always had a hard time understanding why people laughed.

“What do you mean?  Look at that kid!” said Steve.  As usual, his nose was covered in Pixie Stix and he smelled like mouthwash.  He looked like he had been crying but Donnie knew he hadn’t because Steve once said he didn’t feel emotions like other kids.

“Yes, this boy, he is very weak,” said Vlad.

The teacher interrupted them.  “Boys, say hello to Serge.  Vlad, put your shirt back on.”  Vlad did not like to wear shirts.  He and Steve mumbled hello.  Serge sat down in the back of the classroom and the teacher began the day’s lesson.  It was about numbers or lions or something.  Li’l Donnie stopped paying attention very quickly.

Finally, it was recess.  All the children ran out onto the playground, while Vlad and Steve pushed Donnie in his Big Wheel.  It was painted like the American flag, and Donnie rode in it everywhere.  He didn’t like to pedal it though.  They went over to where the girls were playing kickball, so that the boys could explain to them why they weren’t good at it because they weren’t boys.  On the way they passed Serge, who was sitting alone.

“Hey new kid,” said Steve.  “What’s up with that arm?”  He belched.

“Yes,” said Vlad, “back at my home, such an arm would force you out to be food for wolves.  Why are you not eaten by wolves?”  He flexed.

“Yeah,” said Donnie.  “If I had an arm like that, my daddy would love me even less than he does right now, and he barely loves me at all.  I bet your daddy doesn’t love you huh?”  

“My dad loves me a lot,” said Serge. “He always tells me how smart I am and how good of a writer I am, and he tells all his friends about me.”   

“You’re lying,” said Donnie.  “That’s not how daddies are.”

“Well, it’s how mine is.  And my arm is like this because of a neurological condition called arthrogryposis.”

Donnie stared blankly at Serge.  “You made that up.  That’s fake.”

“Is not.  The doctor said so.”

Donnie bent his arms up and shook them and made himself sound like a stupid person.  “Uh, uh, doctor said so!”  Serge got up and ran away.  The boys all laughed.

After recess the children all came back into the classroom.  The teacher was standing by the door, and when Donnie, Vlad, and Steve walked in she asked if she could talk to them.  “Boys, Serge told me that you were all very hurtful to him at recess, and that Donnie especially was mean.  Is this true?”

Donnie said “Serge is a great kid, really fantastic kid, just one of the best kids.  We have the best kids in this class, really, the best–”

Steve cut him off because he knew Donnie could keep going until school ended.  “What we’re dealing with is a conspiracy between Serge, the principal, and certain members of the school board who don’t work on Saturdays if you know what I mean.”

Vlad said “I will pay someone to poison this boy’s father.  This will not be a problem in one week.”

The teacher said “Well, whether you did it or not, it’s important that you welcome Serge.  He’s new here and he doesn’t have any friends yet, and I know he seems a little different but you shouldn’t judge people.  You should always be nice, because it makes the world a better place.”

Donnie thought a lot about this in the back of the limousine on the way home, while he ate his after-school snack of fried tacos and old chicken tenders.  When he walked into his house he found his mother drinking her afternoon drink in her study, a room that was all gray and very cold.  He told her what happened and asked her if what the teacher said was true.

“The world is a better place when everyone is nice, because when everyone trusts you it’s very easy to get what you want from them.”

Donnie thought about this, and asked “Is that what the teacher meant though?”

Donnie’s mother refilled her glass.  “Oh god Donnie I don’t know, go ask your father.  I have a headache.”

Donnie went upstairs to his father’s room.  He thought about telling his father what the teacher said, but he didn’t think his father would like it.  He knocked on the door.  “What?” shouted his father from inside.

“Hi daddy, it’s Donnie.  Today I made fun of a new boy whose arm is bent all funny.  Do you love me now?”  There was silence on the other side of the door.

Donnie waited in the hallway for an answer.

Dad Blog: Small Victories

Having a baby is all about the small victories. I think these small victories link up into a chain that forms a walking talking person who votes and secretly likes bad music. We’ve watched Del form several of those links in the five months he’s been here.

Side note: time post-baby turns into a strange taffy-like substance. He’s been alive five months. That is a very short amount of time, but it feels like he was born when I was in my 20s and I’ve watched him become a completely different person in those five months. I feel like five seasons have come and gone in that time. This could all also be due to the Trump administration, not sure about that yet.

Anyway, when we first brought him home and the doctor told us to start working on tummy time with him after his umbilical stump came off (he had a stump! I forgot about that! That was back when Truman was president!), we’d put him on his little play mat on his belly and watch the epic struggle that ensued as he tried to turn his head from one cheek on the floor to the other. He couldn’t stand it and we knew we were supposed to build up to 30 minutes of this a day. How in the world would that happen?

Well, here we are:

But those head-turns were epic achievements! Same too when we first saw his eyes track an object we were moving in front of him. For days (weeks? who knows) he just blankly ogled everything around him, swimming in some weird visual soup. Then slowly it became clear that he was looking at something specific, and he gained the ability to follow that thing. He was seeing the world!

Another victory: sleeping. One night he just slept for eight hours straight. It happened too early and it didn’t stick at the time, but it was the first night in which we glimpsed a future that contained something resembling normal sleep. We didn’t sleep at all that night. constantly popping up in bed to make sure he was OK, but it was a solid proof of concept. It was also a banner day when he took a nap somewhere other than our chests. I loved having him sleep on me, and I certainly miss parts of it now, but spending 15 hours a day under a baby between the two of us (moreso for Amy since she was feeding him of course) takes a toll. We had this lovely swing sitting in a nook in our apartment just waiting to wrap him up in its sleepy arms, but noooo. Put him in that thing and he’d lift the roof with his cries. “The swing’s a lifesaver,” people had told us. “Gotta get the swing, top priority,” they said. They seemed so wrong and we didn’t know what we would do. Then, one day, almost on a whim, I decided to give it another shot. He had gotten drowsy on me so I transferred him into the swing, buckled him in, started it rocking and…he slept! For an hour! We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. So much time for activities! I think we spent the whole time talking about how free we felt and never got around to actually doing anything. But a window had opened!

Right now he’s on the verge of crawling. He’s gotten far too wiggly to leave anywhere but the crib, the floor, or maaaaybe our bed if he’s right in the middle of it and I keep sharp tabs on him. Today he was in his crib while I did some dishes, and while doing them I poked my head around the corner three times to check on him. He was in a different part of the crib, in a different position, every time. I know there’s much more to come: crawling, walking, teeth, solid food, words, school, homework, heartbreak, college, career. Based on how time has gone so far, I assume he will graduate high school both next week and in 57 years.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

Charlottesville

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do on a day like this. I read something online, someone said “You want to know what you would have done during the Civil Rights Movement or WWII? What you’re doing today.” Today I was injecting a steady stream of reports of the vilest qualities of Americans. I couldn’t stop. I’d refresh Twitter, catch up, go to the Washington Post, see no new updates, check Facebook, go back to Twitter, watch our president bumble his way through the most generic statement possible regarding domestic white supremacist terrorism, get infuriated, whisper shout to my wife about how much I hate our leadership (because our baby was sleeping in the next room), rinse, repeat. Oh, I tweeted. I retweeted! I posted on Facebook! I told everyone how upset this makes me! That’ll show the bigots!

A day like today stirs in me the need for some sort of action. I see white supremacists soiling America and I feel like I need to take a direct action to stop them. I see a young woman murdered by one of them and to be perfectly honest, I do not want to take this to the streets. My son is not yet five months old. I will not risk my life in front of these impotent, frothing mediocrities. I didn’t vote for the president who enabled this. My senators and my representative are notable progressives. They called today’s actions out for what they were: white supremacist terrorism. I’ve denounced things like this on social media since they entered the news cycle, which lines up surprisingly well with when Donald Trump became the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. I live my life in a way that, to the best of my knowledge, would never empower any of the young men who showed up in Charlottesville today. I will do everything I can to make my son understand that people like this are wrong, they need to be resisted, he should never become one of them. I don’t know what else to do because none of this feels like enough.

I have words. I can talk about a thing, shine light on it. For whom? Who will read these words that doesn’t already know what I’m going to say, doesn’t already agree with me? I learned recently about Justice Brandeis’ quote from 1927, that the remedy for hate speech isn’t silencing it, but “more speech.” I can speak. I can put thoughts down and share them. To what end? If there were some secret code that needed to be written to solve this problem, I would write words until that code broke everything open. There is no code. There is no magic saying that will enter the brain of a man who thinks that white men are endangered and make him realize how incredibly shortsighted and ahistorical his thinking has become. Every single thing I’ve ever been taught my entire life, the most basic lessons we give our children, all push against what happened in Charlottesville today. They push against everything that has happened since November 8th. How can you change someone who never absorbed the fundamental lessons about what it means to be human, who can’t see themselves in anyone with a different shade of skin? I am a single person standing in front of a rushing wave of human filth and I can only throw my hands out and say “stop.”

I want to be funny. I want to write the most cutting satire of these people and their enabling leader, Donald Trump. I want to pummel them with my words and yank their pants down and show the world their silly, pasty asses. I can’t be funny. I’m too furious and too sad. I’m too embarrassed by my country and its leader. I knew things like this would happen, I knew it would be bad. I never knew it would be this bad. I never imagined our president would fumble over condemning white supremacist terrorists. I never thought anyone could be so weak. I couldn’t begin to imagine how embarrassing he would be. This poison sits in me and festers and I fume over the dog’s spilled water dish, my laggy internet connection. I misdirect this aimless fury at the scared children terrorizing our country and the feckless mushy stooges who hold office over us, I aim it at the mundanities around me that don’t go my way. I look at my son and I smile, and I kiss his head and tell him I love him. I tell him I will try to make this better for him. I tell him that lie and hope it becomes true.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

Unabridged Dicktionary

When I was a kid, my elementary school library had a big unabridged dictionary open on a pedestal. Once we learned what swearing was, we’d always look up the words we knew and giggle when we found them in there. It never disappointed.

Today the internet is for kids what that unabridged dictionary was for us, but in addition to swearing there’s also a lot of bizarre sex acts, videos of people getting murdered, Nazis, and Donald Trump. I’m not too sure how good I feel about our chances.

I’m not one of these “you kids today” people, generally, but I think there’s a pretty marked difference in the information available to children today vs. every generation preceding them. It concerns me as a parent (good lord four months in and I’m already that insufferable person it hurt so much to type that phrase) because as a person who got the internet in high school, I’m aware of the flimsiness of parental controls. I guess I can take some assurance from the fact that by the time my son knows how to bypass things like that, he’ll be old enough to have some idea of how things work and a value system that can accept or reject what he finds behind the gate. I have to equip him with some common sense and at some point let him loose upon the world and allow it to drench him in its sticky residue. But like, is it asking too much for him to make it through junior high without watching two women eat feces for money? Is that something Ward Cleaver ever worried about? Probably not, because he was naive enough to call his son Beaver.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

Dad Blog: Expectations vs. Reality

I knew the reality of having a baby wouldn’t match my expectations, but even the ways in which it doesn’t match are surprising. I’ve mentioned the relentlessness of being a parent already. I knew that intellectually, but to actually have this new human being in your house for whom you are legally and morally responsible is…heavy. Fun, totally worth it, but sometimes when I’m holding him I’ll completely space out for several seconds and does this mean he’s going to hate me when he’s in his 30s? That sort of heavy.

Anyway, getting ready for Del we were concerned for our neighbors. We live in a smallish building and the walls are thick enough, but certainly not soundproof. I had visions of a screaming child waking the building up at 3 AM every night. We talked about Amy baking something for our neighbors across the hall, but it turns out when you’re ready to have a baby at any minute, or you’ve just had a baby, that falls very low on the list of priorities. I did, however, put an eggshell mattress topper under the decoration we got for the wall we share with them, where we thought the crib would go.

It turns out Del isn’t any louder than anyone else in the building, but we’re the idiots making noise that is surely driving our neighbors up the walls. Del starting giggling a week or two ago, and every time he does it we repeat whatever happened last at the top of our voices to get him to do it again. Turns out baby giggles are in the methamphetamine family in terms of addiction. So there are lots of scenes like this:

I’m sorry, neighbors.

I mentioned where the crib was supposed to go. That’s another expectation that was swept aside by reality. We have this little nook in our living room and it makes the most sense, floor-plan wise, to put the crib there; however, that is incredibly inconvenient lifestyle-wise. We’re sneaking around our apartment like ninjas in training whenever Del is asleep, so to put that in the living room would mean going to bed around 8 or 9 PM, or at least getting ready for bed and then staying silently in the bedroom until we fell asleep. Not my tempo. So, the crib is at the foot of our bed. This is also a result of the first several weeks of both of us shooting upright in bed in the middle of the night, looking desperately at the baby to make sure he’s still breathing. It’s a lot easier to do that when the crib is at your feet. More importantly it made the night feedings a lot easier. So, that’s where the crib is staying for the time being. Of course, his swing where he naps is where the crib was going to go, so we’re still creeping like ninjas through the house several hours of the day.

Before Del was born, we were concerned that our cat Tommy was going to be a real problem. He loves getting into things, chewing bags or plastic or wood or anything really, waking us up in the middle of the night with this. Also what if he tries sleeping on or near Del in the crib? Have you ever tried keeping a cat away from something? It betrays basic laws of physics. I was legitimately worried we’d have to give him to someone else. Turns out Omar is a way bigger threat to Del’s sleep because he is the noisiest dog in creation. Snorting, snoring, panting, shaking, smacking. He’ll come in from a walk, sniff Del’s feet as he sleeps in the swing, then shake right in front of him like a walking fire alarm. He sleeps at our feet in the bed, which as mentioned is right next to the crib. He sits up smacking in the middle of the night, or he’ll throw himself over on his other side and heave a great snorty sigh as he settles in to his new position. Tommy meanwhile is just napping in a corner. He has become a different cat, a sweet cat. He saw the writing on the wall.

And finally, breastfeeding. I can only speak to this as an accomplice of course. Before Del was born people would ask us if we planned on breastfeeding, and we’d say yeah duh like they’d just asked us if we planned on bringing him home with us, or giving him a name. We never understood why they asked. Then Amy started feeding him. It’s one thing to think you’re not going to get any sleep because your child needs to wake up and eat every few hours. It’s another thing when he’s cluster feeding and he has to eat every hour and it takes him 30 minutes to eat and you know if you ever leave the house his food is leaving the house and what if he gets hungry and he can’t eat and it was a lot for Amy. It’s a lot for anyone. Some really great moms who’d forged a path before her helped her get through it, particularly sister-in-law Sara, and after several weeks she was totally on top of it. Then we found out he’s allergic to something and she never could eliminate whatever it was from her diet and he’s on formula now. So, go figure.

I also expected fatherhood to be a deeply moving experience but the reality is even deeper. Looking at him looking at me as we both figure each other out, then having him decide that he likes what he sees and he smiles at me, that’s not what I expected. The instantaneous new life goal of seeing him happy and knowing I would do whatever I have to in order to keep that going, that’s not what I expected. The abandon with which I wade into all of his bodily fluids to keep him healthy, that’s not what I expected. Watching this sweet little boy take in the world and figure it out, it’s not what I expected at all.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

Dad Blog: Spoiled

I was that kid in my childhood. If there was a toy you wanted but your parents wouldn’t get it, I had it. There were just a couple of things I had the good sense not to ask for–G.I. Joe’s aircraft carrier, He-Man’s Eternia playset, maybe that’s it?–because even as a child I could tell when I was being hustled. But I had everything else, and all the game consoles, and dozens of games for each one. I’ve spent way too much time going down old toy rabbit holes online and I discover entire lines of toys that I completely forgot about and I had all of them.

I’m not bragging. I’m setting the stage.

So as I entered adulthood, I realized that I had been completely spoiled by my parents and grandparents. I found it a little embarrassing, though of course I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But when I started my first job, working at Toys R Us (of course) in my hometown, I started to get disillusioned by the whole enterprise. I saw the toys at face value, these pieces of plastic in the shape of licensed characters, and I saw these kids begging their parents for them and getting so upset when they couldn’t get them. I told myself I’d raise my children differently, teach them that material things don’t complete you, only you can fill the void inside yourself, you owe no allegiance to these corporate mascots.

Then we bought our son a Fisher Price jumperoo and he loved it so much that I want to buy him absolutely everything in the world for the rest of my life. I want to see his face light up like that every waking second. And once again I understood my parents a great deal more.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.

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