Dadblog: The First Six Months

My Delayedbor Day Weekend consisted of hanging out with the kids, scraping old content from the shitbowl of Facebook’s archives while Cora was at preschool, and getting some sort of illness (food poisoning?) that had me barfing, pooping, and sleeping for a solid day.

Here’s something for Shitpost Saturday. It’s my online journal of being a new dad back in 2012. I didn’t write anything down on paper. Baby book? What baby book? I fed everything to the machine. My present-day notes are in brackets and italics where I feel it’s necessary. In unrelated news, I just watched a video of guys hunting feral hogs in Texas from a helicopter. I’m probably going to quit my job today and go do that for a living.


June 27, 2012
Birthdate +1

I am going to be “annoying guy who posts baby stuff” from now until the end of time, so just get ready. I’m apologizing in advance and I promise I’m not gonna post every time she takes a dump, but it’s gonna be bad. I’ll try to at least make it interesting… sometimes… and I’m not gonna spam 20 updates a day or anything. Also feel free to make fun of me. I deserve it.

June 28, 2012

So, today, while baby and I were telepathically communicating in Aramaic, we unlocked the secret to time and space and now we control the universe. Our first decree was to have the US Supreme Court uphold the Affordable Healthcare Act. I’ve noticed that this has rustled some jimmies, so our prescription is to stare at this image until you are overwhelmed by feelings of peace and love. Chooooooooommmmmmmm

June 29, 2012

Is there such thing as Father’s Instinct? I have been cleaning the house constantly since we got home and I seem to require minimal sleep. I would almost call it mania but I’m not having any negative weirdness that’s usually associated with that, I’m just working my ass off and loving it. I think it’s because this has been my goal for so long and now that it’s here, it’s game on. What an adventure!!!

June 30, 2012

Me and Corafishy are in the Man Cave listening to music. Any suggestions? Right now it’s Mott the Hoople.

July 2, 2012

It’s Classical Music Midnight with baby. ROSSINI MADE HER SPIT UP. Either that or my lack of burping and other incompetence (probably should have had her sitting up). BAD DADDY. We also messed up like three outfits in the span of 15 minutes and now she’s just sitting around with a bib on. And moo cow socks. How can you pee, then pee in the pee diaper while I am removing it, then pee on the clean one as I am trying to put that one on… then somehow get pee on the clean outfit I picked out when we were nowhere near it? I laughed for 10 minutes straight. I love you, baby.

July 8, 2012

Note to self: working all day then coming home to baby patrol for half the night does not justify consuming 2000 calories worth of pizza in one sitting. Pepto Bismol you are strangely delicious right now…

July 12, 2012
12:08 pm

In non-political-rant news, I have quickly grown tired of explaining “Coraline” to people I meet and have shortened it to Cora, which is what I call her anyway. Cora is an old lady name but at least people are like “oh okay!” instead of Coraline where for some reason the addition of “-line” freaks them out and some of the stares I get after I tell the name to people make me think we should have just gone with Lolita Tanqueray. Or Trixie. [I actually got away with this one later. Hello Beatrix. Hahaha!] IN CONCLUSION, I think I am going to start carrying a copy of the book around, or maybe some kind of certificate of authenticity from Neil Gaiman himself.

July 12, 2012
10:11 pm

So far when baby has been asleep she has been oblivious to EVERYTHING… except for Chris Griffin screaming on Family Guy. He screamed, she screamed… then she fell back asleep.

July 13, 2012

Ahahah oh man is there a phase where babies never stop eating ever? Because we’re in it.

July 18, 2012

It’s exhausting work taking care of a newborn, but one thing makes it all worth it, and that one thing is Anger Farts. Anger Farts will never stop making me laugh. Cora, you are the best!

July 24, 2012

The Ever Waking Pigmonster is four weeks old today and weighs 11 lbs. I am sure she is longer but I can’t measure her because the sleep deprivation prevents me from using even the simplest tools accurately. I love her so much! She’s full of demons SEND HELP ZCBHGCcvbgfx60+4»©€^

July 25, 2012

Rocked gassy baby to sleep singing Fleet Foxes songs and then somehow transitioned into Nirvana. It worked. Also, Bob Talbot Lullaby versions of Nirvana songs are pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Earlier on it was Queen and David Bowie. I think she likes pretty much anything as long as I’m singing it. [I still do this with Bea, mainly.]

July 27, 2012

Exhaustion is just your body’s way of telling you that you are terrible at everything and that everything is terrible. I love you Corafishy and I’m sorry you were fathered by Emodad. PS – as you can tell, world, the new dad mania has worn off. Now I have the month old dad horrors.

August 3, 2012

Prom Night Dumpster Baby has the Anger Sharts. She also loves paci but loves spitting it out even more. I’m assuming that strapping it to her face is a huge no no, but why do they put two holes in those things? When is she going to get the motor skills to pick that fucker back up? She already kinda struggles to keep it in with her fat hamfists. She is so pretty and obese like a big monkey grubworm I love her ridiculous face so hard. Her head is like a big dumb pumpkin with a mohawk sometimes I just like to chew on it. Tickle her brain. I expect a personalized Father of the Year award from each and every one of you. Sleep is for quitters. Or rehab. Yeah I think it’s rehab. Sleep is for Amy Winehouse. [Dat topical humor.]

August 15, 2012

In non revolutionary news [I was hard into workers’ rights agitation at this point], baby can now hold her head up LIKE A BAWS. She also likes playtime (mostly punching and chewing toys), writing songs with daddy, and wiggling around in a big circle (kinda like a gradual Curly Howard spin). Seven weeks and one day old. I love you Corafishy!

August 21. 2012

To the person who made a typo on my child’s birthdate on our insurance and caused every claim for the first month to be rejected and cause me to have to spend time having it fixed and having everyone refile claims and telling people no, I don’t owe you thousands of dollars: I know people make mistakes. Maybe you had a bad day or maybe you just suck, but know this: (ANOTHER COLON) I hope you stub your toe on your coffee table, hard. I hope the nail turns black and falls off and the new one that grows back is never right again and gets ingrown and then, months later you have to have a painful surgery to have that one removed which, while not life threatening is a severe annoyance, one that will make you paranoid for the rest of your life about coffee tables, toenail trimming, and minor surgery. I wish this for you. I, right now, am praying to anything that can hear me to make this happen for you. The world is going to be a better place after you are as moderately annoyed and inconvenienced as I am. [Check your paperwork, kids.]

August 26, 2012
7:07 am

Happy two month day to my Corafishy. I love you so much! I want this to be a better world for you and I’ll never stop fighting for it. [I wonder if this was my problem? Some sort of identity crisis brought on by fatherhood?]

August 26, 2012
5:53 pm 
[Two political screeds later.]

Having a good time at Upper Crust celebrating baby’s happy twomonthday. Baby is actually sleeping through it, victory!

August 26, 2012
8:19 pm
[After more screeds.]

I SWEAR TO ODIN AND ZEUS AND ALL THAT IS UNHOLY THAT I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO GET OFF THE INTERNET NOW AND SPEND TIME WITH MY DAUGHTER. [Yep. Crisis.]

August 27, 2012

Baby is somehow smile/laugh/frown/cry/hiccup wiggling all at the same time. Definitely a Talbot.

August 29. 2012

Corafishy is a little sicky poo from vaccinations. :((((

September 3, 2012

Spending some time with Corafishy before work. She is so funny! She does all kinds of neat stuff now. She can suck her thumb, smiles a lot, coos, I am pretty sure she just laughed… she’s also eating A LOT so I think we’re gearing up for another growth spurt. She is in the 75th percentile for size in every category so I think we’ve got a monster baby on our hands.

September 4, 2012

I love daddy-daughter time in the mornings because Corafishy always does new hilarious stuff. She is super happy and loves her Mr. Bear, and she’s laughed a couple of times. Maybe we’ll work on some geography. One of my current catchphrases is “Hey Cora… where’s Mali? IT’S RIGHT NEXT TO MAURITANIA!”

September 5, 2012

Horrible fat baby gained over a pound in a week. She, quite hilariously, took a giant dump and overflowed her diaper in her car seat WHILE we were in Ruby Tuesday. She pretty much slept through it. Needless to say, we’re doing XTREME LAUNDRY and giving baby a bath. We’re about to run to Sam’s to LEVEL UP on diapers. The current diapers are rated to 14 lbs but our 13.4 lb baby is taking epic Talbot dumps. Christopher [Clark], you’re about to inherit half a box of unused LVL 1 Pampers of epic +5 crapping the car seat.

September 6, 2012

Spending some quality time with Corafish. Mr. Bear is definitely her transitional object. I wonder if I can trick her somehow by attaching the Mr. Bear mobile to my head…

September 8, 2012
12:48 pm

Good morning! I’d just like to mention a thought I had yesterday while doing some shopping: It is very frustrating to see the “boy” clothes all dark colors and “rock and roll” themed and the “girl” clothes rack all frilly and neon pink and princess themed. We solve that problem by buying the clothes we like regardless of what section they are in. OR consider the damned hot pink kitchen set with a little girl on the box dutifully cleaning. Yeah, we probably will have a kitchen playset, but everyone’s gonna use it, boy or girl, so they know the importance of keeping a clean home (important for EVERYONE), and it’s not gonna be hot pink. There were a couple of more responsible ones that were normal colors with boys on the box, but even then they were GRILLING WOOOO A MAN’S GOTTA GRILL. Everything is terrible.

September 8, 2012
11:07 pm

I have determined that Cora has at least one word in her passive vocabulary. Unfortunately, it is “pretty”. Everyone has said it to her over and over so much that she reflexively smiles every time she hears it. I feel like I have already failed… I mean, she is pretty, but holy crap that is not supposed to be the first word you understand. Maybe she thinks it means smile or it’s her name?

September 16, 2012
[After a over a week of raging about politics.]

Okay… We are going to be driving a very long distance with what will be a three month old. We’ll split it up over two eight hour days… Any advice other than “NOOOOOOO DON’T DO IT”? I want to be prepared for this…

September 18, 2012

Corafishy is 12 weeks old today. She rolled over for the first time today! She can sit up assisted and has the basic position and fundamentals of crawling down when she is on her belly, she just can’t really get anywhere. She can hold a rattle, and she is super smiley and loves to play. She will also hold a bottle if we put it in her hands. The best part is when she attempts to roll over multiple times and fails, and then she gets The Talbot Rage.

September 22, 2012

Cora apparently loves baths so much that she’s willing to explosively overdump her diaper (AND DADDY) so that she can have two in one day. At least she’s having a good time!

September 25, 2012

Corafishy will be three months old tomorrow. She is so huge! She has doubled her birth weight (from 7 lbs 5 oz to 14 lbs 10 oz as of today).

October 4, 2012

New York City loves Coraline. We had so many random people tell us how pretty she is. She was also super good and she LOVED looking at everything. This week she’s gotten very squeaky and babbly and it got her a lot of attention.

October 7, 2012

I think Cora is happy to be home. She really enjoyed vacation as far as I can tell, but she woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and she seems excited to be with her things. Her object fascination has transitioned, from Mr. Bear and his Four Balloons of The Apocalypse, to Monkey Mirror. She is getting super vocal and somewhat grabby, but she still can’t roll over on purpose. I have a feeling she might be turning into a smart sack of potatoes (a Talbot).

October 10, 2012

Cora is at that stage where she has discovered that she can squeal really loud and she does it to entertain herself. I think it’s hilarious and I’ve been telling her to “sing me a song” while she does it.

October 13, 2012

I just taught Cora how to make espresso. I think she should have the hang of it within five years.

October 30, 2012

Her [Cora’s] first word, her first repeatable word, that she will respond to you with and do over and over… It’s a raspberry. A fart noise. She does it, I do it, she does it more, I laugh.

November 12, 2012

[The run-up to the election and the election itself had me super occupied, apparently.

Cora’s wild mood swings definitely prove without a doubt that she is my daughter. Also she looks just like me and she is a MASSIVE JERK.

November 14, 2012

At zoo alone. [As in, it was an overcast, cruddy day. Not many other patrons.] Had same zookeeper follow us around and talk about stuff. Got VIP sea lion show to ourselves. Giant silverback gorilla sat by the plexiglass and let us take photos of him from a foot away for 10 minutes. Zoo membership totally worth it, A++ would renew again.

November 15, 2012
12:24 pm

Cora has a huge birthmark on her chest in the shape of Puerto Rico. [It’s a hemangioma, actually.] I think this, combined with the potential statehood news, means something, and by “something” I mean that she is probably the Harbinger of Doom. I always knew I would spawn something special!

November 15, 2012
4:57 pm

ALSO broke every rule of parenting and took Cora to see Wreck-it Ralph, which was fine because there were only other three other groups of people in there and we knew one of them. I SAID I WOULD NEVER DO THIS AND I LIED. BOB TALBOT KING OF LIES. Also she really loved it and watched most of it, except for eating and a short nap. AND she didn’t make noise. I will only do this with kids movies I swear. OH and by the way the movie was fantastic (a few single tear moments), A++ would take a baby to again, and the Sugar Rush theme song is now my favorite song.

November 26, 2012

My Corafishy is 5 months old today. She can sit up on her own, she loves veggies and some fruit (if you mix it with veggies, haha), she loves her walker, can roll over, and still can’t crawl! I think she will probably pick the crawling thing up soon, though, because she is getting the arm part down during sitting practice. She loves to pet the cat! She’s probably the best thing that ever happened. I tell her that all the time.

November 29, 2012

Cora went to the park for the first time today. Nothing she could do on her own, of course, but she got to play with help. She LOVED the baby swings. It was definitely a hit with her.

December 2, 2012

Me and baby are hanging out by ourselves. Daddy time is pretty awesome. So far she’s peed all over the crib (not my fault, she likes to whiz in diaperless freedom) and there’s somehow butt paste on everything (probably my fault). Right now she’s rolling around in her walker, destroying the house, while I drink coffee. I could probably handle a couple more of these BRING IT ON.

December 26, 2012
12:22 pm

Cora got to play in the snow today. She was not ultra impressed. I’d say the giant snowsuit and layers of clothes put a damper on her spirits.

December 26, 2012
2:38 pm

I almost forgot! Today my Corafish is six months old. She is the best thing ever! She loves to play and can sit up well on her own. No teeth yet, and cannot crawl, but she can drive her walker around like an ace. The other day we did at least 20 laps around the kitchen/living room while she chased me. She’s getting better at communicating through her cavegirl grunts and screams, and although she’s not talking for real, we can usually tell what she is getting at. She’s super inquisitive and loves to play with her toys, bubbles, animals (stuffed and real), and gets super excited about it. I can’t believe that it’s been six months.

December 27, 2012

Corafish had her six month checkup today and she is HUGE. She’s proportional, so it’s okay, but she’s in the 90-99th percentile range in all her measurements. I swear we are not feeding her anything weird, just breastmilk and baby food. She’s wearing 12 month clothes!

Bea vs. the Worm

 

The kids had beaten me to the front yard. As usual, I hadn’t paused to put on my belt before I left the house, so I was busy struggling to keep my pants up while I juggled my 24 oz. Tervis full of ice water when I heard a high pitched yelp. I broke into a run as my jeans threatened to take me down at the knees.

When I rounded the corner she was already up. Cora told me that Bea had tripped on her sandals. She was fine, just startled.

I knelt and performed the inspection. Head, check. Knees, check. Hands, check. All good.

“Look Dad, a snake,” Bea said, without missing a beat.

“That’s not a snake, it’s a worm,” I said.

“It’s a worm. Aww, how cute.”

“It’s not cute, it’s dead,” I said.

“Eww, Step on it!”

I knelt again to snap a photograph. I was a bit letdown that I had cut off the top of her head. Bad form, Talbot. No skinned knees, though. I’m going to call that a win.

Bird

Today the kids and I ventured into the backyard and the first thing I saw was a robin hanging from one of my patio chairs by a string. Its leg was snared by some of the random playtime trash we have floating around back there. I immediately thought of the anti-pollution ads of my childhood, the turtles and seagulls tangled in beer can rings. I wasn’t in the past for long because the thing flapped when I approached. Even now I’m trying to make it an object by calling it a thing, as if it would stave the guilt of leaving kite line unattended. The bird had beaten the hell out of itself and it bled from the ass and the mouth. Fuck.

The babies regarded it with interest and not much alarm. They’re pretty brave when it comes to animals. Just a month ago, a baby bird on its first flight landed on Cora’s chest. She yelped for a moment when it took off, but she was otherwise fine. We had to chase the little guy around the garage for a bit and captured it and placed it on the neighbor’s shed. It hopped and glided from surface to surface until it made it back into our pecan tree. I wondered if this one was related to that one. Surely it wasn’t the same.

I ducked into the house and retrieved a rubber glove. “Ain’t no way I’m touching a random bird,” I said. The girls observed as I cut it loose with my small keychain Swiss Army knife. The robin panted and its eyes were half open. I’m not sure how many bones it had broken, but it was a non-zero amount. It didn’t attempt to fly away and I picked it up without any fuss. They followed as I carried it to the front yard.

I didn’t want to mercy kill this thing, especially in front of my children, but I knew it could not be saved. I sat it on a low branch in the oak tree in the front yard. Its good foot gripped hard and its eyes opened wide, then it fell straight down. I don’t know if it died in my hand or when it hit the ground, but when I bent down, it was dead. Huge eyed, floppy necked, wings folded, dead.

“Well kids,” I said, “time to get the shovel. We’ll bury it in the spooky forest.”

That’s what Cora calls the shady area between the place I park my truck and the back fence. There’s a large pecan tree there, and it makes a dark hollow even in broad daylight.

I dug a hole, which took a couple of minutes because the ground is dry, and told Cora that we had to bury it so it could go back to the earth. “That’s where we all come from,” I said. We’ve done this before. Her first was a roadkilled box turtle a year ago, so she knows the drill. Bea farted around in the background doing something or other. Cora observed. When I was done digging, I paused and said, “Isn’t it pretty?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Now we have to put it underground,” I said, and I did.

When we do this, we are solemn but we’re not particularly sad. Cora can still throw a tantrum over a cookie but at these times she’s far older. I want to impart on her that we can be kind to small things and treat them with respect, even in death. There was a moment, before I started digging, when I had to rest the bird atop our garbage can.

“Don’t throw it away,” Cora said.

I assured her I would not. Like I said, she knows the drill.

Sun Day

Gina & Willie are hibernating. Cora is asleep on the couch. Bea is watching the Backyardigans on her tablet. She’s covered in paint and mud, and she’s holding a carpentry level. These things happen.

Tomorrow is Bea’s second birthday. I recall reading the ancient Romans didn’t consider babies people until they reached age two, then they had a huge celebration of their survival. I may have dreamed this. I have no citation but it doesn’t matter. Someone once told me life is too short not to believe in the Loch Ness Monster. I Want to Believe.

Bea has always been a person to me, long before she was born. This is not supposed to be a controversial statement. Willie is real to me as well and he’s still parasitic. Well, more parasitic than most.

I’ve always needed people so I guess I made my own. Isn’t this what we do? Regardless of the best laid plans of everything living, they all had parents. Or a parent. Or ancestors. You know what I mean. You may stop whenever you like but the history of the entire universe resulted in you. My my, butterfly.

And there it is. What better day to celebrate my youngest daughter’s birthday than Father’s Day? Lawnmowers and weed eaters buzz outside. I handed a $25 dollar check to my lawn man an hour ago. As my father once told me, the American Dream of home ownership comes with the burden of lawn maintenance. However, I’d not deprive some budding entrepreneur income when we could both benefit from an arrangement. Sweet symbiosis.

In a few days, we’ll have another cake for Cora’s fourth birthday, after which, she has informed me, she will be sixteen.

It will probably seem that way.

Here in this sweltering swath of America, it seems like peace could be a reality. “Hold me, hold me,” Bea says. I’d better do that, while I can.

What’s in a Name

Hello, Willie.

Yesterday, your mother and I found out that you are going to be William Patrick instead of Evelyn Rose. Gina has loved the name Evelyn since she saw The Mummy as a child. It’s the one with Rachel Weisz. Rose is for the character Rose Tyler from Doctor Who, which I am sure you will find out about at some point. I took your mother all the way to London to propose to her on the spot where the TARDIS landed outside Rose’s apartment. I must admit that I am pretty proud of that feat. It may be one of the top five greatest things I’ve pulled off.

You are William Patrick Talbot, which means a whole load of things. You are named after the first two actors to play the Doctor, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. We had the great fortune to be able tell some of Pat Troughton’s co-stars about this in person. Wendy Padbury seemed particularly enamored with your mother. You were there with us but you didn’t know it. I do hope that you are able to meet her again when you come out to see the world.

You are also named after two actors who represent my first science fiction love, William Shatner and Patrick Stewart. You’ve been right beside Mr. Shatner although you were comfortably hanging out in your mother’s womb. I’ll show you the photograph when you’re older.

I don’t know how you’ll spell Willie but I’m going with the Willie Nelson spelling for now. Willy seems a bit off to me, but it’s definitely Willie and not Billy. Willie may become William or Will (or even Wil), but Billy turns into Bill, and I don’t feel like you’re a Bill. It’s really up to you, though. Maybe you’ll be Pat.

Talbot has many meanings, depending on who you ask. To the English it’s an extinct breed of dog, but, before that, the French said it was a robber. The Germans, who were the earliest, called it messenger of destruction.

They were warriors, probably, who came across the English Channel during the Norman Invasion. It doesn’t matter, though. That’s only a small fraction of who you are. Once you go back a few generations we’re all cousins. We’re all children of Charlemagne or Genghis Khan. We’re all related, and that’s the important part. Never forget it.

You have two sisters, Coraline and Beatrix, who are both very excited to see you. You can thank Neil Gaiman and Beatrix Potter for their names. Oh, and another English author, Mary Norton, for Bea’s middle name Arrietty, which is from The Borrowers. Cora and Bea love to snuggle Gina and pat her belly. They give you kisses and I know they love you already.

I hope to write you more often, Willie. I’ll do my best to filter out the ridiculousness and keep it to things I actually know (you’ll learn more about this later, I am certain). I really don’t know much, but compared to you, I know everything, so you’re stuck with me for a while, Kiddo.

I love you dearly, and your mother does too. I cannot wait to see your little face. I think of your sisters, and your mother, and you, when things are tough. You give me strength. I’ll repay that by being your Dad. It’s the least I can do.

Love,
Dad