The Move to DigitalOcean and DNSimple

I recently moved this blog onto DigitalOcean. For years it has been hosted on WordPress.com, and as a guy who writes software for a living, that’s kind of like cheating. I work primarily on the Microsoft stack, and I wanted to dabble in areas unknown.

There were a few hosting options I considered. Just about any cloud platform can run WordPress, but I wanted to own and manage a box running on a Linux distribution. Services that hide their internals, like Heroku, while awesome in their own right, were out of the question for what I wanted. I considered Amazon’s cloud and Microsoft Azure, but found that I could get a lower rate for a single slim server at Linode or DigitalOcean. Linode had a $10/month option for a server with 1GB memory, while DigitalOcean had a $5/month option for a server with 512MB, the same amount of memory as in a Raspberry Pi. I liked the price and I liked the idea of having to work with such tight constraints, so here we are.

DigitalOcean runs all their servers on SSDs, so firing up a new instance and taking complete snapshots is a painless process. You’ve got a variety of OSes and versions to choose from. They also have some pre-made images if you need a quick Gitlab or WordPress instance. I didn’t want to cheat, so I started from scratch and fired up a clean Debian Wheezy instance.

I’ve been intrigued by what I’ve heard about nginx, so I wanted to use that as my server, and I wanted to use Postgresql but found that WordPress doesn’t support any datastore besides MySQL. What I was looking for was summed up as a LEMP server (Linux, nginx, MySQL, and PHP). It’s like a LAMP server, but replaces Apache with nginx. I suppose LNMP was unpronouncable.

Now that it was time to get my hands dirty, I did a little googling, when, lo and behold, Google sent me right back to DigitalOcean. It turns out they have a great documentation portal that clearly explains each step of the very stack I was interested in, and on multiple OSes. I started my journey somewhere around here, How To Install Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP) Stack on Debian 7.

It was almost too easy. Debian has such a rich set of software in its package repository that I could apt-get just about everything I needed without having to alter my sources list. Even WordPress is included in the stable repository.

nginx

Getting nginx up and running was a breeze. I wanted to toss the WordPress blog under the blog subdomain, but I wanted to keep my SEO links from the top-level domain intact. This quick little nginx config section did the trick:

server {
 listen 80;
 server_name freakingawesome.net;
 return 301 $scheme://blog.freakingawesome.net$request_uri;
}

Every http request for the host now gets a 301 redirect to the blog subdomain. I didn’t have to fire up any actual web application to handle the redirect.

The WordPress setup is a bit longer since it’s running PHP, but overall I was impressed by the brevity of of the server configuration. A few lines give you gzipping based on MIME type:

gzip on;
gzip_types text/css text/x-component application/x-javascript application/javascript text/javascript text/x-js text/richtext image/svg+xml text/plain text/xsd text/xsl text/xml image/x-icon;

And a few more lines can tie in your SSL certificate, given a server declaration that listens on port 443:

ssl on;
ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/blog.crt;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/blog.key; 

There’s an option to validate the configuration before turning it on, and there’s a way to reload the configuration without restarting the service.

The Rest

There wasn’t much to do on the MySQL and PHP side of things besides tweaking a few default settings to make things a little more secure.

When it came to installing WordPress, it really boiled down to a simple:

$ sudo apt-get install wordpress

Huh. That was less than dramatic. I expected a battle. After some configuration tweaks and updates to my nginx configuration, I was greeted with the standard blank WordPress installation. Then it was off to install a few plug-ins, export my data from the old instance, import it to this new blog, and that was it.

DNSimple

Troy Hunt sold me on DNSimple, so I gave him an internet high five and a free month of service when I jumped on board.

It was again a painless process to move over my domain. Their domain management tools even have some shortcuts for a bunch of other popular services. Turning on the Google Apps service added all the CNAMEs and MX records that I had on my old host. This could all be set up before the final domain transfer, and that was I was able to cross over with minimal downtime.

Performance

So far, my little 512MB machine is humming along just fine. I’ve got the W3 Total Cache plug-in enabled to lighten the load a little bit. I’ll eventually tie in Varnish just for the hell of it, but as of right now, my little server is performing quite well for the modest 1k visits this blog gets all day (thanks to all you PRK Recovery googlers out there).

DigitalOcean provides some concise real-time graphs for monitoring bandwidth, disk, and CPU usage, as well as configurable warnings for heavy traffic.

Graphs for Public Bandwidthk, Disk Usage, and CPU Usage

I think I’ll be plenty happy with DigitalOcean as my provider moving forward. I’ve only scratched the surface of what they offer, but I’m off to a good start. Kudos to the team for their easy-to-use tools and especially for the treasure trove of documentation they maintain.

 

Aftermath of the Car Crash

Last week we lost the Kia. Jen was driving through an intersection when an oncoming car turned left, directly into the vehicle holding my wife, my eighteen month old daughter, and the best dog this world has ever known.

Jen suffered the bruises and abrasions you get from seat belts and air bags, but was otherwise unharmed. Our daughter was perfectly fine. The car seat did its job wonderfully.

Our dog, Piper, fared the worst. She was in the back of the SUV next to a stroller. Her femur was badly shattered in the accident, so much so that the local specialist wouldn’t touch it. We had to take her to Michigan State University, where Dr. Kyle Snowdon pieced her back together. Now she’s got a metal plate in her leg and a metal rod inside her bones, and she’s walking on the thing. I’ll post the x-rays when I have them, but hot damn do I love modern medicine.

cone-of-shame

The cone-of-shame has caused her more distress and discomfort than the broken leg did. It was bad timing to have a broken leg. The car wreck happened July 2nd and they avoided immediate surgery on Piper because she had some pulmonary contusions that made anesthesia too risky. We had to wait it out until the following Monday, and even then they couldn’t operate until Tuesday. She hobbled around for a week with a shattered femur and there was nothing we could do.

To top that off, our neighborhood loves its fireworks, and this was the Fourth of July weekend. Our only job was to try to keep the dog calm until surgery day, and every slack-jawed yokel in town was blowing up their paycheck right outside our door, making that an impossible task. She didn’t really seem all too affected by the sedative, but we were able to keep her somewhat safe and secure by throwing her in her crate, darkening the room, and turning on as many fans as we could to try and flood the room with white noise. We made it through the weekend without her hurting herself any further. Boy, was it a relief when we finally got her into the doctor’s hands.

She’s put back together now and it will be eight weeks until a full recovery. The Kia, on the other hand, is gone. The insurance company counted it as totaled, so we’re on the lookout for a new vehicle. We were planning on buying a minivan later this year, but it looks like our hand has been forced.

Here we say goodbye to the Kia. She protected my family and deserve’s a hero’s burial. So long, my good friend. I still remember the day I was guilted into buying you after I slammed the fingers of the car salesman in the door.

byebyekia

 

I guess I should write something

Things have really dried up here lately on account of this whole having-a-baby thing. I used to be as wordy and noisome as a teen on tumblr, writing nothing of consequence beyond random musings and whatever irreverence was on my mind. And here we are now, all that extra energy being swallowed up by the maintenance and training of a toddler. The blog is barren, bereft of content except for commenters who have recently undergone PRK surgery and found out they could no longer see, or other people searching for meaning in that fucking Heaven is For Real movie, the one about mentally challenged American country folk who still believe in Santa and angels. I see the search terms that lead here. You people sicken me.

That miniature extension of half my genome is doing just fine. She’s still alive, and that’s saying something. These kids, they really don’t have a clue, do they? You think you’ve got things boarded up and safe for someone of a limited capacity, and then she goes and plays with electric cords, or tries eating some of those little sticky pads that adhere to the bottom of chair legs to avoid scratching your cheap laminate floor. Or she sees the newly installed metal barrier at the top of the stairs and realizes how fun it would be to violently shake it until it starts to give. Or how she’s indelibly attracted to the gas fireplace, and tries to cuddle, yes, freaking cuddle with those little iron curtains. We had to keep the fireplace off this whole cold-ass depressing winter because we’re supposed to be responsible adults and not risk permanent disfigurement of a child drawn to flames. The sacrifices we make as parents.

She’s at a fun age right now. She walks and talks like a drunk stumbling out of a bar. Most of the time she’s a happy drunk, but sometimes she gets in one of those introspective and self-loathing moods into which toddlers often stumble, and then there’s nothing that will help her save a warm bottle of milk and a time out in the crib. I always tell myself I’m going to make use of the times she’s asleep, to finally replace those burnt out light bulbs or to make the office a little less of a death trap. But when she’s asleep, and if it’s one of those times I know she’s going to sleep well, I’m good for nothing. That feeling of taking a nap and waking up before she does, without prompting from either her or an alarm clock, that’s an almost orgasmic sensation that I now dream about, so rare has it become. Even typing it out is ecstasy. I can’t pass up such an opportunity.

We finally had a warmish day today, one that wasn’t filled with bleak gray skies or cold rain. I took her out on her longest walk yet, down the sidewalk past four houses. She held my hand the whole time and since she only comes up to my kneecap, I had to bend down like an old man for the half hour journey into the wild. My back hurt. She seemed delighted. During the first half she sucked her thumb as she strolled. On the way back, she loosened up and was gibbering and jabbering the whole way home. Occasionally she needed a break and plopped down on the sidewalk, but thankfully she didn’t try to eat the dried-up worms littering the concrete within arms’ reach.

There were a few months where we took her to daycare once a week. She loved that place. She’d tire herself out so much that she fell asleep right after getting home at 4:30. She would sleep through the whole night without a peep. Such days were almost as good as the naps I described earlier. I almost feel bad for taking her out of daycare, but Grandpa just retired and we’re trying to keep him busy.

My favorite part of daycare was when she graduated to the walkers’ room. Prior to that, she hung around a bunch of drooly crawlers who spent their days bumping into walls and staring blankly at toys while shitting themselves. The first day I brought her into the walker room, all the kids were sitting around the breakfast table, and they operated like a single organism. They all turned in unison to look at us entering and seemed a little off-put that somebody would be so careless as to disturb their communal mealtime. I handed my daughter to the caretaker and waved goodbye. When my little girl is in any kind of transitional moment, she doesn’t panic, but she seems to retreat within herself and only offers a blank stare. I waved goodbye. She stared through me. In her stead, the table full of prescient toddlers waved back and I heard a creepy smattering of, “Bye. Bye. Bye.” As I walked out the door I heard my daughter approach the hive and they all greeted her with a syncopated, “Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi.” She had assimilated. It was a scene straight out of Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke.

The days speed by. She passed the barrier of walking. Next will come an exponential growth in speech. She’s got a handful of words now. In a few months we’ll be having meaningful conversations. We talk plenty already, but we can’t understand each other. She does, however, pick up on cues to some extent. Often when I say something intended to be a joke, she’ll laugh at the right times. This makes me proud but it also raises suspicions. Does anybody actually think I’m funny or are their laughs merely the result of social prompting?

Watching the growth of a child lends insight into the human condition. You can see how behaviors develop as well as how you can play a role in molding those behaviors. That’s a heavy role. I love seeing connections being made and new things being discovered. I love that look of discovery. We’ve got her trained to exhale a slow and slackjawed “wow” when she’s impressed with something, whether it is in response to guessing the correct hand of mine that’s hiding a toy, or the finding of a toy under a blanket. She is amazed by each. I want to encourage that love of discovery and that inquisitive nature.

But for now, I must go. She is straddling a plastic castle that is anything but load-bearing, humming her own tune while her mouth is clamped down on a rubber butterfly. Wait, no, she ditched the butterfly and now she’s gnawing on a wooden cylinder. She just sneezed and I’m on snot cleanup duty. That, and I just heard a toot and a grunt. You can guess what that means.

 

Six Month Reflections on Fatherhood

It’s nearly been half a year since I’ve visited the ol’ blog here but I guess that’s one of the parts about being a new dad. There really isn’t a lot of time for much else.

Last we met, I was coming off a two week high of newborn-induced insanity and hallucinations. That was back when I still had waking dreams of baby-related activity. The last time the sleep-coddling happened, I was gently rocking my weeks-old daughter to sleep in an effort to calm her, holding her in my arms and swaying back and forth. I was doing this while on my side in the bed with the lights out, trying not to wake my wife. Several minutes of this went by before my wife woke up and asked me what I was doing, to which I promptly replied in a harsh whisper that I was rocking the baby to sleep. Duh. She then asked if I really had our girl in the bed and I thought, really? Do I have to prove it to you? When my wife said I was freaking her out I decided to flip on the night light and show her our beloved daughter in my arms. The light went on and I stared blankly at the pillow cradled in my arm. Then I stopped rocking. It was the pillow I was trying to soothe. My baby was sound asleep in her crib a few feet away.

But that was months ago. Since then, our baby girl has become amazingly adept at sleeping through the night, a skill which I never fathomed I would come to cherish so deeply. I sometimes fear that we’ve come to rely on it a little too much. We’ve been able to breath a sigh of relief once we put her down around 8:00 pm because she rarely wakes up during the night. I’ve been told by other parents that this is a trait sorely missed in many other babies, so we’re taking what we can get. If there ever is a baby #2, I have a feeling that the good and bad traits will somehow even out and I’ll be longing for those past nights of ease.

For the most part, I think our little girl has turned out to be relatively calm compared to some other babies I’ve been in contact with. She certainly has her moments – lately she has taken to freaking out inconsolably around the majority of my extended family – but for the most part, she’s easy to predict and soothe. And she’s so freaking happy most of the time that it just wipes all the cares of the day away.

Now that she’s a few months older, we’ve taken her out on a few mini-vacations just to prove to ourselves that we could. The first one involved a twelve hour journey to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where we tried to relax in our family’s cottage for a few days. It was ok and the major lesson we took back from that is the fact that our understanding of “vacation” has to undergo some drastic changes. We hoofed it back a day early because it seemed like the most relaxing vacation was to be at home, and we found it to hold some truth for the time being. And that’s a little painful. We love our travelling and have been itching to get out for a while, but for a few years I think our trips are probably better off short and close to home. That little tag-along is a lot of work.

Last weekend we went with some extended family up to Interlochen State Park and bummed around the Traverse City area. We camped in a tent and she did remarkably well. There was a little freak-out on Saturday after she had been up all day without a nap, but that’s only to be expected.

We’ve got an awesome daughter. I’m really digging this whole fatherhood thing. My life has many more peaks and valleys than it once did, and it seems like I barely get any time to myself, let alone time to write on a freaking blog, but goddamn is it awesome to have a little kid who lights up with smiles and laughs as soon as she sees your face.

Oh, and yea, I completed that Hobbes doll a few months back. Apparently I know how to crochet now, but it was worth it to build a toy for my baby-girl.

First time meeting Hobbes
First time meeting Hobbes

 

 

Two Weeks with a Newborn

This endeavor of early parenthood is at once both sorely trying and utterly fulfilling. The mind runs through the full gamut of emotions in the blink of an eye, as this new life we have created, who was only moments earlier screaming questioningly to the gods about her very existence on this cold and dreary slab of rock, now slips off the breast into a sleepy revelry; one punctuated by small squeaks and twitches emanating from an otherwise unconscious and completely lifeless little rag-doll body. It is at this point, when the belly of my daughter is full and her meager appetite is satiated, that I find the whole of who I am to be complete in a way in which I have never experienced before. As I lift her delicate body and glimpse the slight scowl replacing the previously contented countenance and place that warm head against my chest, her arms hanging loosely at her side, when I feel her relax completely and melt into my skin, it is at this point that my whole world shifts and things that I once deemed important, or at the least worthwhile, drift away in the wind like the tiny motes of dust they are.

Time no longer has its characteristic continuity, the standard flow of cause and effect that I’ve grown accustomed to through long years of labored consciousness. A new baby is a mountain of potential wrapped in an untrained and flimsy body whose sole purpose in this early life is that of digestion and a means of alerting the caretakers to one of several potential discomforts. The baby knows nothing of time. She knows only that she is hungry and has but one way of communicating this fact to those ghastly large beings who supply her with food and torture her with frequent disrobing and diaper changes, who have the audacity to strip her naked and wipe her down with cold and damp cloths splashed with a slight floral fragrance that offers no apologies to this breach of her personal privacy.

Varying degrees of crying alert us to the amount of discomfort she may be feeling at any point in the day or night. We try to make sense of it, to commit it to a schedule or to understand its nature, but as the days and nights progress and bleed into each other, the only thing that comes close to describing this feeling of permanent and ragged wakefulness is the idea that life in its current incarnation exists and is maintained in something akin to a series of disjointed blinks of the eye. Those brief times when we are able to lay down in bed only to be awoken just prior to the onset of the much sought after state of REM sleep, when we suddenly find ourselves already hovering around the house with baby in hand, or fully coming to consciousness in the middle of a nearly completed diaper change, these are merely moments of fractured visions, of slightly diluted clarity, both after one blink and before the next, when time once again becomes unhinged and shifts and the experience of reality is shoved forward violently into the next moment of drowsy, eye-smacking delirium. This is parenthood in its early stages.

blink

The alarm goes off again and I am jolted awake. No, that is no alarm. That’s a baby. That’s my baby. Her cries signify the onslaught of changing time once again, followed by the hand-off to mom for a light snack and a snooze.

blink

I’m still awake? But it’s night-time and both mom and baby have long since drifted off after the most recent feeding. The transition between the alertness brought on by a baby’s cry and the attempt at one more dollop of slumber does not seem to be in the cards for now. This, I presume, I hope, will change as exhaustion becomes unbearable and I find myself jolted awake in some other facet of the day or night without any recollection as to how I arrived.

blink

Some weeks ago, I happened upon a crochet pattern for a stuffed Hobbes tiger, the toy version of Calvin’s sidekick when viewed by adults. I make the audacious assumption that my daughter will absolutely love a stuffed Hobbes tiger and cherish it forever, though in reality, I understand that I may only be fulfilling a long dormant desire from my own childhood. Maybe I’m making it for myself. In the times between sleepings and feedings when I am unable to sleep yet confined to the house, I set out to learn how to crochet.

blink

I hug my daughter close to my chest and pat her back to elicit a burp. Her second breakfast appears to have been quite substantial and she has taken on the air of one drunk on breast-milk. Her tiny body melts against my chest and I repudiate the notion of sleep so I can take advantage of the multitude of recently awakened feelings overwhelming my core being. We lay for hours in the reclining chair with her on my chest as a few streaks of tears dry against my cheek.

blink

It’s diaper changing time once again and I am only milliseconds too slow. In the time between the wiping of the bottom and the application of the new diaper, I hear a faint and brief whooshing sound and, as my reflexes have been dulled by the lack of anything reminiscent of sleep, the sudden stream of fecal matter takes me by surprise. It sprays in a jet at least eighteen inches in length, nearly as long as the beloved baby girl from which it emanated. This changing time takes a little longer than usual as I sanitize several baby garments and the changing table/dresser combination. But eighteen inches? I’m not even mad. In fact, I’m impressed.

blink

The dog is a tightly wound spring of potential energy, ready to burst at the seams in a frenzy of canine enthusiasm. She hasn’t been walked or let outside to frolic in days. I take her with me for a run on a warm winter morning. Afterward it becomes obvious that the run did nothing to degrade her exuberance. When we get back, she runs in tight, concentric circles in the backyard, reminding me of her continual need for release and lack thereof.

blink

The sun is out and my daughter is awake and fully alert. Her eyes are wide and inquisitive, dark blue sapphires full of a searching curiosity, haunting orbs that I find overwhelmingly captivating and immersive. I lose myself in those wandering eyes, drowning in the life and potential they exhibit. Nora Jones sings a ballad on the radio and I take my daughter in my arms and dance slowly around the living room. I can’t remember a time in my life when the onset of my own tears so completely took away my ability to speak or to form even a single cogent syllable, whereby at any attempt of uttering just a single word, my body convulsed uncontrollably and unintelligibly. I now know such a thing is possible.

blink

I find myself walking towards my wife as she nurses in the early hours of the morning carrying, in one hand, a glass of water and in another, a mini-sledgehammer. I give her the water as we both stare perplexedly at the hammer.

blink

What better way to pass the unsleeping hours of the dark and early morning but to remove a door in the basement and use some power tools in the garage to install a cat flap so that the litterbox is removed to one of our underutilized storage rooms? At least now I know what the mini-sledgehammer was for.

blink

I take a few minutes to swing by the library to find a book on beginner crochet techniques. The librarian tells me that I have a fifteen cent balance on my account from an overdue book. Only later, when I see the receipt left in between the pages of the crochet book, do I realize what had been overdue. It turns out to be Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The librarian didn’t even blink at this odd juxtaposition of crochet and National Socialism. What can I say? My interests are varied and know no bounds.

blink

I’m out on the road again, running alongside several miles of dreary and cold farmland tainted with the sweet odor of recently thawed manure and less recently deceased roadkill, listening to the soothing voice of David Rakoff read through partially-autobiographical and whimsical essays in his book, Half Empty. If this blog entry seems overly drawn out or perhaps a bit dramatic, it is only because I am leaning on David as a crutch and cannot help but hear his voice as I type the words. Whether I have captured his wispy and meandering style is yet to be seen, but as I am barren of sleep and ultimately incapable of finding sleep when offered, I am only able to translate these feelings to the written word by imagining them in his voice.

blink

Something of a routine has been developing for a few days, or for a short while we imagined so. We’ve heard the term cluster-feeding before and our daughter has decided that now is the time to introduce us to its cruel reality. A cluster feeding is defined as a series of nearly sequential nursing times initiated by a baby’s cry at that precise moment when the parents’ consciousness slips from wakefulness to slumber, thereby ensuring that the parents’ promise of sleep is never fully realized but only ever seen as an attainable goal one short feeding away. The beginning of a cluster feeding doesn’t necessarily have to happen during the night so long as it robs the parents of a cluster of naps.

blink

And so on. These past two weeks of sleep deprivation have been heavenly. I was able to take a few weeks off of work so that I could spend the time with my burgeoning family and frankly, it’s not enough time. In the latter part of the pregnancy, some people were making it seem like two weeks would be overkill, that I would become overly bored and frustrated and would be wishing I was back at the office so that I could be out of earshot of a screaming baby and once again productive, at least in a business sense. My experience hasn’t played out like that. If anything, I wish I could spend more time here with my daughter. But alas, duty calls and in a few days, I will head back to the office, back to building websites that sell shoes, and building more things so that they can sell even more shoes, then fixing problems because shoes aren’t selling as quickly as shoes are expected to be sold, then trying to think of new and innovative ways to write software to sell even more shoes. So it goes. But now, in addition to coming home to my amazing wife, I have an equally amazing little girl to come home to who will make it all worthwhile.

PS – The crochet is coming along nicely. I now have two Hobbes’ legs. She is going to love the completed project, but until then, she has offered to model a few of these feline appendages.

RAWRRR!!! I'm a tiger!
RAWRRR!!! I’m a tiger!

I Fathered a Pooping Burrito

We now have three nights under our belt at home with our newborn, and I think we’re becoming a little more comfortable with this whole prospect of parenthood. I’m no longer reeling in disbelief that the hospital staff trusted us enough to send us home unsupervised with a brand new human, and I’ve become hopelessly attached to this little sleeping bundle of digestive functions and rudimentary fine-motor skills.

She has become much more adept at the act of feeding, and while we had a thirty-six hour period of no bowel movements which was slightly worrying in itself, she has since become a pooping machine, and we’re pretty stoked to see that all of her digestive tract features are coming online and functioning properly. My skills at changing diapers have drastically increased since the first few clumsy changes where I took so long that the nurse was probably wondering if I had suffered severe head trauma in the recent past. We’re working our way through the disposable diapers given to us by the hospital but we’re going to try the whole cloth diaper thing here soon enough. My mother-in-law was kind enough to gift us with a diaper delivery service where someone picks up dirty cloth diapers and drops off clean ones on our doorstep weekly. Now that must be a shitty job (poop joke quota filled).

The first two nights, I stayed up for a few hours with the sleeping baby on my chest because, well, because it was amazing. Now that we’re getting to know her schedule and mood swings a little better, we’ve been able to hone in on feeding and sleeping times, and while we’re still woken abruptly at all hours of the night by a hungry baby, we know what to do to shut her up. Feed her.

And swaddle her. She likes being wrapped up like a little burrito. What would give most people claustrophobia gives babies a feeling of security. I learned this fun fact months before the birth, so I became adept at making burritos by swaddling the cat.

He hates me.
He hates me.

We’ve graciously had family and friends providing us with the occasional dinner who, in return, receive some cuddle time with our little girl. It’s a win-win situation, and it sure helps to have a few minutes where someone else can keep an eye on our little poop factory.

So, yea, things are going great so far. She seems to be generally content, only crying when she’s beyond hungry or when she has severely shat herself. She sleeps a lot, though she often falls asleep during feeding time, which is trying on my wife at times. But overall, she’s a happy little human. We’re learning a lot, more and more by the hour. I read a lot on parenthood during the last nine months, but much of it never really stuck because I had nothing to apply it to. Now that I’ve got her in my arms for hours at a time every day, it all seems to be falling into place.

I’ve got to go now. I just heard a juicy shart. Here’s hoping again that my diaper changing skills are not only fast but air-tight.

Well, That Was Awkward. She Almost Latched Onto My Nipple.

Parenthood, here I am! We’re now home from the hospital with our brand new daughter. There were a few bumps along the way, but we made it through the delivery with a healthy and happy daughter and mom! The staff at Holland Hospital are simply amazing.

So far, our little daughter has been pretty laid back, only crying when being changed or swaddled or otherwise poked and prodded by the nurses and doctors violating her personal space. Once we got home, of course, she got to be a little more vocal as that desire to feed really kicked in. Cluster feeding has been the name of the game tonight, and Jen and I have just been taking turns, handing her back and forth and enjoying every minute of it.

So here I am at 3am with my little girl snoozing and twitching on my bare chest, squeaking and yawning every so often, and I gotta say, it’s one of the best feelings on the world. This whole skin to skin thing is supposed to be great for increased bonding and it’s working for me. Let’s just hope it’s tricking her into liking me too. Oxytocin is a hell of a drug.

The skin to skin times don’t come without their fair share of risks, though. I was chastising the dog after she stealthily snuck in and licked my daughter’s head and she took my moment of distraction as an opportunity to lunge at my nipple with a wide open mouth. I caught her just in time but, yeesh, that was a bit awkward.

We’re just getting our little family rolling here now, and our dog is quite fascinated by this new and tiny human. She’s very curious and a bit too licky for my tastes, but so far she is taking it all in stride. Even in my girl’s screaming fits, our dog is just more curious than anything. I thought she might get scared or stressed by a baby’s cries, but she seems to be genuinely interested and concerned about her new little sister. Our dog rocks.

So I guess I’ll end this post with what started out with the intention of being a cute family picture of our cat and dog watching over our little girl, but what turned into a rather creepy and portentous picture that I’m calling, “Fresh Meat”.

image