Friday, December 29, 2006

New Mexico. Land of 10,000 ... er, wait ...

There's a reason I ditched my snow shovel when I moved to New Mexico. It doesn't snow here.

That was a dumb idea.

Tonight, as Minnesota basks (relatively speaking) in 40 degree weather, the New Mexico Branch of the Siemers family is snowed in. Highways are closed. Cars are getting stuck outside my house. And I used a broom to clear my driveway.

Capt. Quinn remained indifferent and sleepless, despite our best efforts. He slept a few hours in his swing while the backyard became encased in snowdrifts.

Dexie the Wonderdog, meanwhile, seems born for the snow. So, since Quinn can't really enjoy the snow, here's a few images of Dexie (Ok, and one of Quinn) to tide you over:

Gimme the ball

"Daddy, I think I shall ponder this snowfall for a moment longer."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas. When do we eat?

Capt. Quinn enjoyed his first Christmas with a newborn's indifference to anything but breast milk and shiny things.

This was to be expected, which is why the only thing we bought him was a superhero cartoon to enjoy when he's about 3. The rest of his presents, save for a few, will likely get wrapped up again for his first birthday. Or next Christmas. Or as a pacifier should we find no other way to pacify him. And if hard liquor doesn't work.

I kid. The liquor's for Daddy (and the Grandmas. Shhh...).

Despite our wee hero's general malaise -- and mild fever -- it was an eventful day at the New Mexico branch of the Siemers family. Or the Albuquerque West annex of the Smith clan. Whichever side you choose.

Daddy was spoiled with another iPod (the video kind). Mommy got some new software to make everyone fancy cards, along with some clothes, jewelry and a creme brulee maker to make Daddy fat. Dexie got a new ball, to drive all of us nuts. Every one else got lots of stuff and things and other miscellany which I shan't describe here since this is merely a summary.

We ate ham, which seems to be the norm. Daddy ate corn and oyster casserole and gets the most enjoyment out of everyone else gagging in astonishment at its mere mention. Quinn ate Mommy© Brand Milk and some stinky formula, passed gas several dozen times and slept.

He woke up at about 3 a.m., never to sleep again.

Christmas is indeed over.

We move on now to think about the New Year and the challenges ahead. Like sometime around June, when Quinn finally goes back to sleep. Until then, don't call.

Daddy's using the earplugs again.

Since it's Christmas, there won't be a picture of the day. There will be several. Enjoy:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Learning about sleep and Rondell White

Tonight, as part of a new routine, Capt. Quinn gets to play in the hours preceding his 6 p.m. bath.

You know the 6 p.m. bath, right? Everybody has a 6 p.m. bath.

Playtime consists of sitting on a pillow and looking around. To promote neural stimulation, this practice also includes a bit of conversation, albeit one-sided. In tonight's episode, Quinn and Daddy talked about some of the most important news of the day. Here's a synopsis:

The Twins signed Rondell White to a one-year deal. It's expected that White will play left field, while Jason Kubel will be the primary designated hitter. Brad Radke retired this week, ending his 12-year career with the Twins due to his over-worked shoulder. The Twins are talking with free agent Sidney Ponson about joining the rotation, an iffy proposition considering his form in recent years. But he could prove to be a valuable veteran presence on an otherwise young pitching staff.

Like I said -- important news.

The biggest lessons being learned this week, though, are happening with Mommy and Daddy.

Besides learning that our the wee captain has passed the 9-pound mark, the visit with Dr. Good on Tuesday also revealed that our hero is "over-tired." To which I say, "No #%@#@%." And exactly how do you cure this "over-tired" disease? More sleep? Genius. As if we've been getting up every two hours just to test our endurance.

If a baby is over-tired, yet shows no signs of wanting to sleep, what is a parent to do besides contemplate sharing a bottle of whiskey with the little fella?

What we did was buckle down. Our procedures for rocking him to sleep have been streamlined. There's been a crackdown on the captain's access to pre-sleep visual stimulation. A daily itinerary has been set and followed to the letter.

In other words, there's a new routine. So far, it's working just fine.

Now, if only we can get him working on that curveball. Maybe we won't need Sidney Ponson after all.

Todays picture I call, "Not. Funny. Grandma.":

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy First Month-day

Quinn is a month old today.

Funny, because it seems like six months.

That's not to say, of course, that we're tired of the little guy. No. Not at all.

We're just tired period. The U.S.S. Fussy Britches, you see, is full steam ahead these days.

The wee captain is turning out to be a generally unhappy little man. Here's how Mommy describes his routine over the last few days: "Eat. Look around. Fuss. Cry. Sleep. Repeat."

Clearly, it's tough being a month old. I always though the teenage years were the most angst-filled. Turns out being the new guy on the block isn't all it's cracked up to be.

We haven't figured out the exact reason why he's so discontent. Feeding him isn't always the solution. Rocking him isn't always effective. I've tried singing, but -- well, you just have to hear me sing to know why that wouldn't work. He could be colicky, but how do you really know?

The most unique answer -- and possibly the most logical -- came from Uncle Dwight and Bill, one of Daddy's co-workers: It's a high pressure system wreaking havoc on our little hero. But high pressure systems probably go away after a while. This fussiness, it seems here to stay.

We're open to suggestions. At any time, even. It's not like we ever sleep.

To be clear, we're only mildly frustrated. Which, I'd think, is to be expected from first-time parents. He's still the most amazing little man ever to grace this planet. And I'm sure that, some day, our wee captain will sail on to conquer the world in his own way.

Because if there's one thing we know about Quinn, it's that he's got a lot of fight in him.

Today's picture I call, "Big Britches":

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Studly? Yes he is.

The picture to the right, an image of my desk at work, poses a serious question: Will the wee captain someday win the Heisman Trophy? More importantly, do I care?

Say in the year 2027, or thereabout, I find myself sitting in the New York Hilton, staring up at Quinn as he and two other nervous young men wait to see if they're to be crowned the greatest player in college football that year.

Yeah, then I'd care.

But otherwise, no. Not really.

Certainly, every dad hopes, perhaps secretly, that his son can be a triumphant athlete -- usually because they were never one themselves. On that same note, dads might also hope to see their sons follow in their footsteps. For example, friends, knowing my fanatacism toward the Minnesota Twins, often ask me, "What happens if Quinn isn't a Twins fan like his daddy?" My response: then he's a Pirates fan, or a Dodgers fan or -- God forbid -- a Yankees fan.

I deal with it, and get back to cheering for the Twins.

But I can't help asking myself similar questions. Will he play soccer? How about the trombone? Will he be a writer? Or an X-ray tech like his mommy? How about a chef? Will he play first base?

I'm careful not to want too much for my son. In much the same way, I'm reticent to force childhood characters like the Sesame Street gang, Winnie the Pooh or Spongebob Squarepants upon him in the hope that he can somehow make his own choices when the time is right.

These are some of the emotions I'm encountering in these first weeks of parenthood. Suddenly I'm pondering the future of someone other than myself. I'm also finding myself sensitive to the criticism of other parents. Not that it's happened. I'm merely bracing myself for that moment when someone questions our methods -- if you can call them methods -- only to profess their own rock-solid, foolproof ways of mastering this inexact science.

We must be doing something right, though. The good Capt. Quinn (as a side note, I'm also considering the nickname Sir Cries-a-lot. Chew on that a bit.) has now surpassed 8 pounds and is likely nearing the 9 pound threshhold as we speak.

He's a big, tough fella. A linebacker maybe?

I've got to stop that.

He does have one thing his dad doesn't . A wiseacre editor named Phill was kind enough to point it out on a sticky note he placed next to Quinn's picture on my desk at work. It's written as if it's coming from Quinn's mouth:

"Too bad my dad's not as studly as me, dude."

I'll give you that one, son. You certainly are studly.

Today's picture I call, "A good mommy":

Monday, December 04, 2006


Quinn turned his head tonight.

I know. Not exactly inventing fire, but the little guy is only three weeks old. Not spitting up is a milestone at this point.

No, the wee little man, napping on his belly, gathered the strength to lift his head up from one direction and turn it the other way. It's quite a feat, considering most newborns have shoestrings for neck muscles.

It's been nothing but breakthroughs for the good captain. He handled Dr. Good's snip-snip procedure last week like a champion, as if to say: "What? That's it? What else ya got?"
I thought for a minute that he'd already learned to talk before I realized that it was just an AM radio frequency coming through his baby monitor.

Daddy could use some more rest.

He's getting fatter by the day. Quinn and Daddy, that is. But it's more noticeable on Quinn. Grandma Smith is noticing that his legs, which earlier looked like they'd been stuffed in a bag three times too big, are now filling out. He's got chubby cheeks, too, though Grandma Siemers says all babies have that.

Dexie the Wonderdog, meanwhile, endured her own kind of pain last week. The Doggie Doctor removed her broken tooth, leaving a series of stitches to dangle from her upper jaw like loose strings on an old raggedy doll.

Mommy, too, has recovered nicely from her own snip-snip, stitch-stitch procedure that brought the wee captain into our world.

Looks like Daddy's the only one not to receive anesthesia in the New Mexico Branch of the Siemers family.

It doesn't sound so bad, really. I could use the sleep.

Today's picture I call, "Captain Fuzzball":

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A little snip-snip and some snow

Grandma and Grandpa Siemers arrived from Minnesota on Monday night. By Wednesday morning, snow came to New Mexico.


It's Capt. Quinn's first brush with snow. Not that he cares. He's probably more concerned with all the attention being directed at more intimate parts of his wee body.

Dr. Good handled Quinn's little snip-snip procedure masterfully yesterday. Quinn was a trooper, making Mommy and Daddy proud. He only cried while being restrained, which makes sense, considering he was strapped to a table while a strange man in a white coat took a scalpel to his you-know-what. If that happened to me I'd start learning Kung-Fu.

I've come to believe that grandparents have cast some kind of spell over babies. Quinn's wails could register on the Richter scale while being held by Mommy and Daddy. But Grandma Smith just waltzes in his general proximity and it's like someone hit the mute button. Grandpa Siemers, too, has this talent. I'm convinced the magic spell is written in code on the back of AARP cards.

Quinn's big surgery is over. Now it's time for Dexie the Wonderdog to go under the knife. Come to think of it, I'm not sure there is any cutlery involved in pulling an absess tooth. So, I guess she's more likely to go under the pliers. Nonetheless, our furry friend is having a tooth pulled tomorrow, so here's to hoping that doesn't suck.

Today's picture I call, "So there's snow on the ground. Big deal. Put down the camera and throw me the ball."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

That warm feeling

Quinn laid in my arms, his wide little eyes staring back up at Daddy's. That's when it hit, that warm feeling, the sensation all new dads feel when holding their baby boys.

Yep, he peed all over me.

Through five layers of clothes, no less -- two of which were mine.

Before Quinn was born, he already had enough clothes to dress him through junior high. Now I know why. He goes through more wardrobe changes in a day than the cast of a Broadway musical. They don't pee themselves, though. At least I hope not.

After one change today, Aunt Carmen and Grandma Smith dressed him. Which was my first mistake. He came downstairs with an octopus on his head. It may have looked cute, but the little captain didn't seem amused.

He doesn't ever look too amused, though Mommy swears that she sees him smile now and then. I can see what she's talking about. But I think it's just gas.

As I type, Grandma Smith is grimacing over in Quinn's room:

"Ohhhh. I just changed him and he's making noises. I think he's filling 'em up."

See. She's getting the warm feeling, too.

Today's picture I call, "Who's great idea was this?":

Friday, November 24, 2006

A first Thanksgiving, and time to shop

Quinn came out of his first Thanksgiving much like every other day.

He slept, cried, ate and dirtied his diaper -- just like the rest of America, only without turkey. No, our wee captain bypassed poultry for his favorite meal: Mommy Brand© Milk.

It's funny how much a kid eats. For a few days he would awake every four hours for his 2.5 ounces. Now it seems like we're waking him every 2.5 hours for four ounces. The way he eats, I'm thinking he's more like Daddy every day. He's going to look three months old by Tuesday.

Speaking of resemblances, I think I can see a little bit of Nicole and I in Quinn. But I can't seem to point to anything specific that resembles either us: He's got her nose? Or is it mine? How about his ears? Too small to be Daddy's.

That is, except his hairline. Sorry son, that widow's peak that makes you look just a little bit sinister is Daddy's fault. Uncle Ken has it, too. Thankfully neither of us are bald yet. So you've got that going for you, buddy -- which is nice.

Today, Capt. Quinn and Daddy are taking Mommy and Grandma Smith out shopping. He's going to take his new wheels -- a stroller -- out for a test drive. We're not stupid, we know we're going to run into dizzying hordes of shopping zombies today. But this isn't about post-Thanksgiving sales. Mommy just needs to get out of the house.

Quinn, he'll probably do just like he did on Thanksgiving.

Sleep, cry, eat and dirty his diaper.

Today's picture I call, "Striking a Pose":

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two restful nights and a doctor named 'Good'

As Capt. Quinn nears a week old, we celebrate the fact that he's adjusting smoothly to life at home.

We just wish we could say the same for Dexie the Wonderdog.

Dexie has lived here for a year and a half. She'd pee on the floor a few times, but otherwise adapted well. While she's largely been great with Quinn, she hasn't gotten used to the vastly reduced levels of attention directed her way.

She left a puddle of urine in Grandma Smith's bedroom this afternoon. That was right before she snuck a bite of the hamburger patties I had set out to thaw for dinner.

Dexie will improve. Hopefully as fast as young Quinn has.

It's been two nights in a row that the wee little man -- Captain of the U.S.S. Fussy Britches, in case you were wondering -- has righted his ship and slept a fairly regulated schedule.

Four hours of sleep. Eat. Four hours of sleep. Eat. Repeat.

It makes me wish I was a baby. All I want to do right now is sleep and eat. Heck, I'd even do it every four hours, so long as someone woke me up.

Yesterday was the good captain's first visit to the doctor, and he came out shining. Our pediatrician's name is Dr. Good. Now, there's a dentist in town who's name is Dr. Hurt. He has billboards around town that says, "It's my name, not my intention." Dr. Good could do something similar, saying: "Yes, it's my real name. And yes, I'm good. Very good, actually. Just ask the Siemers family."

Or something punchier.

Dr. Good next week will perform a little snip-snip procedure that most of us boys have endured but don't remember. I'm not talking about the umbilical cord either. But the good Capt. Quinn is a trooper. And the doctor, well, he's just Good.

Today's picture I call, "Get that camera out of my sleeping face":

Sunday, November 19, 2006

To sleep or not to sleep. It isn't a question.

There are times when I look down at my son's sleeping face and feel overwhelmed by his quiet, serene presence.

That wasn't the case last night.

As I mentioned previously, Capt. Quinn keeps night hours. Mom, Dad and Grandma, however, have yet to adequately address this issue. It's not so much that he's awake at night, but he's awake and screaming. And these are the kind of screams you'd expect from someone who's been kicked in the teeth, or something similar. And there's been no kickin' in this household.

He's just a wee little man, though. He's still searching his way through this strange world, as we all are. His trip has just begun. And it's probably a little spooky (and all together ooky. The Addams Fam-i-ly snap, snap).

The little fella, however, was the picture of serenity this afternoon when he fell asleep on Daddy's chest. I'd make the joke that I started a stand-up comedy routine and we both fell asleep, but that wouldn't be funny. Which is kind of the point.

Capt. Quinn got a good three hours of rest on Daddy's red Lobos shirt today. I look as if I'm sleeping in this picture, though I'm really just posing. I tried to sleep, but it's hard when you got this cute little fella on your belly. You just want to stare and say "awwww, look at that."

Dexie the Wonderdog, however, doesn't understand serenity. In a world with serenity, nobody throws the ball. And really, that's all she wants.

That leads me to The Daily Quinn's Photo of the Day. I call it, "What about me?"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Of boogers and baths

Here in Day Four of When Quinn Takes Over the World, our wee captain, he of eternal cuteness, has boogers.

Boogers are a new discovery for Quinn, who doesn't quite know what to do with them besides wail. Mommy, Daddy and Grandma Smith, however, hope to leap this hurdle post haste, whatever post haste means. Someday, Quinn will learn all about the wonders of the English language -- and Kleenex.

In other exciting news, the brave Capt. Quinn endured the wrath of his mortal enemy Mr. Soft-Washcloth-Over-My-Bottom. Our young hero endured his first bout with forced cleanliness, coming out squeaky clean and soft. He smells nice, too.

So far, Capt. Quinn keeps night hours, like the lonely night watchman of some Downtown skyscraper. Except our hero wasn't alone. Mommy and Daddy, the great enablers, worked hard to match his endurance. It was all a bit of a fencing match.

"Fie, we will match your horrifying cries with this plastic `binky' young minion. TAKE THAT!"

Mommy and Daddy haven't won a match yet. But we will, oh yes ... we will (Daddy says, as he sheathes his 'binky'.)

Now, I sign off with The Daily Quinn's Photo of the Day (afternoon edition). I call it "My Muses."