Joel Riggs teaches Aikido, plays piano, enjoyed California for 22 years ('86 - '08), now enjoys Georgia, and reads voraciously.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Life of a Dad

This evening I got ready to drive down to San Francisco train aikido and see a couple of black belt tests. I had to stop by the dojo in Fairfax first, though, to pick up my hakama and belt. Just as I was about to leave the house, Rocket was whimpering in the bed; he should have been asleep already. I picked him up to shush him and to help him drift to sleep, but he grew more and more upset and agitated. After about a minute in my arms, he started crying out loud, and then he threw up a bellyfull of mom's milk that he had had for supper a half hour before. We cleaned him up and wiped the floor and I took a shower and changed. (Poor little guy, he has a fever now too.) Instead of getting to the dojo to train, I was a half hour late, without my hakama, and so ended up borrowing a white belt and getting onto the mat barely in time for the start of the tests. So I missed a class. No big deal. Being a dad is totally worth it, spit up and all!

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Home at Last, part 2

Saturday, September 22, 2007, 10:15 p.m.

We have been home about 12 hours now, and it has been a very good day. While I went down to the dojo to have lunch with everyone and train with Nadeau sensei, Maria showed Rocket around the house, took a hot bath ("Wonderful!"), ate delicious leftover Thai food from our week at the hospital, and then, this evening, we watched the movie '...so goes Ohio' (about the 2004 presidential election). Rocket slept for six hours straight earlier in the day, and now he has been asleep for about two and a half hours. He seems to be a very competent sleeper.

My mother has told me that at four weeks old I started sleeping twelve hours straight at night. I guess Rocket takes after me.

He also has my arms and hands, legs and feet: very long limbs and large mitts. He may well end up taller than I am, from the looks of him. When I was born, Dr. Brentlinger of Arlington, TX, (who was a retirement age doctor at the time) said that I had the biggest feet he had ever seen on a baby. And I grew to 6'6".

I am thrilled to hold him, to talk with him, play piano for him, and to sing with him. I can harmonize with his cooing, and since he makes sounds as part of his breathing pattern, he is even able to keep a rhythm now. I hope he becomes a guitar or bass player (a drummer would be OK, but not ideal), though I would not mind if he plays piano as well; I just would like someone to jam with.

All in all, this has been a most satisfying day. Of course, nothing is routine yet, but it will be soon enough. I remarked to Maria today that, even though this is only his fourth day, he as already changed significantly. He is rounder and more full, he is far more settled and calm, his eyes are opening, and he is learning to eat and sleep with no problems. (Every one of our eight shift nurses at the hospital said he has an ideal latch. Fish lips first time every time.) She replied, "he will not stay this small for very long, so we have got to enjoy every single minute." I agree.

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