On Sunday, I spent a good part of the day with my baby daughter Caitlyn. She is well into the cold/flu that I’m just getting over. Most of the day we were just riding around in the back seat of my brother’s car. It was a blast. She would smile and coo in-between me cleaning up her face. Then I would offer her a bottle which she would attack and attempt to hold with extreme focus. At Lunch she was the bottomless pit as she would munch at every bit of rice and beans. Later while helping my brother unpack she would climb all over the empty small boxes, leading to the label, “All Terrain Baby”.
A quick story to add to Pamela’s announcement. After we got back the news that they didn’t find amniotic fluid, I went to check with the doctor what the plan was. She told me that we were waiting for a call from our doctor, and if he doesn’t get back in 15 minutes, she would do a check and probably send us home. I told her that I was glad for the more time because we still had some more work to do on choosing a name. At this point she looked up at me and said. "It won’t help". The nurse next to her also looked right at me and said, "No, it won’t."
After the delivery, Pamela was fixated for hours on finalizing our choice. At that point it was her highest priority (before the birth, there were a couple things on her mind too). I was focused on staying awake and getting some pictures in and I also knew that sans sleep I wouldn’t be much use. Caitlyn was pretty much a done deal by that point (but I still sorta liked Chloe). However, the middle name was in flux. I did some more name searching and we slowly converge on the name from a list of about 5. I started over analyzing the combinations trying to figure out how some common sounds at ends of names "work" and some don’t (need different count of syllables to add some balancing asymmetry to symmetry of the sounds?). At this point we took a step back and just went with what we had. Later, when I told the name to my mother, she went "Arwen? like in Lord of the Rings?". Sure enough the top web search hits where for exactly that (if we have another, I’ll make sure to do a search before telling anyone the name). Further down the list was a link to the 28 most geeky baby names with an entry that read "Arwen – Again, it could have been Eowyn. Plus, it’s quite a pretty name." and a comment from an Arwen, "Nice thing about “Arwen” is that it is geeky to those who are geeks, and flies under the radar for others." Other sites had similar comments. That comment plus how I really liked the name decided the issue, so we kept it.
I’ve been cruising pretty much all my life, and this is the first time I remember cruising on the Carnival Lines. Carnival has a reputation for being really good for families and we had set our expectations on that. As a result we were a bit disappointed on what they offered for kids under two.
While the night babysitting might be useful for someone who didn’t bring a supply of grandparents we were mostly looking for a place for Simeon to be able to safely roam and play. This turned out to be somewhat difficult. They allowed use of the kids area for Simeon’s age group 3 times out of 8 days (at sea periods from noon to 2pm). We also grabbed a crib for Simeon in the room, but it was much smaller then a normal crib and ended up being too small for Simeon, so he moved into our bed. We were hoping to just use the crib mattress on the floor, but they took it back when we tried to keep it since after giving up the crib they assigned it to another room. This seemed like a way too little service for charging a full third person in a cabin fare.
We did get a really good beach day with Simeon in Antigua which I would count as the highlight of the trip. The lowlight would be Nassau, which forces you through a very crowded building and makes you walk through a half a market before you can get to the street. However you are there, you are under constant assault be people trying to sell you a service. This extended all the way to the not so great beach on paradise island. This is after navigating the Atlantis Hotel in an attempt to find the beach. While riding the water taxi was nice once, the extra $1.50 for a cab instead was well worth it for the ride back. Totola didn’t make much of an impression on me since we stayed with the local shopping. Puerto Rico was cool because of the historical city layout, walls and forts. Which leaves Saint Thomas. Saint Thomas is my mother’s favorite shopping destination, especially a shop named Omni.
The food in the ship’s dinning room left a bit to be desired, and the main show’s volume levels were too loud for the speakers they were using, but it was obvious that they had put a lot of money in the productions. Carnival was a bit more pushy with the drinks and had a very well attended casino and karaoke. Overall I’d give the ship a B mostly over the food and the under two support. I’d give the staff an A. I’d give the itinerary an A-. If Pamela doesn’t talk more about traveling on a cruise with Simeon then I’ll post again on that topic.
In attempting to get Simeon to let us do some end of the year filling, Pam and I got hit with this friendly fire:
I especially like the part where Bert is trying to figure out what’s going on in the bathroom.
I just listened to a NPR piece on party conversation based on Raymond’s Recommendation and found myself yelling in concert with the host “Stop the Party!”. This advice would have been helpful at last weekend’s playgroup meeting (Simeon is the one with the drool soaked shirt) where I knew none of the dads and didn’t really remember real well the moms (although I did attend the post birthing classes that formed the group). This party was also my first real experience with more then two babies in a room, and it defiantly was a different experience then anything I’ve seen before. Babies heading in every different direction getting into whatever they could find. I really liked the way they had set up toy containers (back right of this photo) and books and will have to set something like that up. I’m currently using a toy chest from ikea (MINNEN treasure Chest), that is not bad for storage but not so great for quick access.
I just got back from the 20 week ultrasound, where I’ve seen the first human looking pictures of my first child. I walked in not ready for the event. I knew what was going to happen but turned numb to it happening. Pam’s uterus has been getting bigger and bigger, but still can be somewhat hidden, I couldn’t think that there could possibly be something so developed in there. The doctor that did the exam tried to make it a very supportive and emotional event, and might have been dismayed at the apparent lack of emotion from either of us. This is probably because Pam and I where like deer in headlights. In the second half of the exam I finally started asking questions and reacting. The first image based rendered 3D view of our baby’s face I couldn’t recognize. It was only after the second that I could actually understand and recognize what I was seeing. We made a default decision in finding out the gender, namely we didn’t make a decision so we didn’t find out. The doctor took photos and video of the genitals and then wrote the down the sex while we didn’t look. Right now that knowledge is in the bag next to me. The only “problem” that the doctor saw was one umbilical artery instead of two (2-3% of babies), but he looked quite a bit at the heart and found everything normal.
Right now I’m still shaken from what I saw, I’ve never been the most emotional person, but this one is a pretty fundamental and awing change. The reality of a face looking back at you is something you can’t forget or deny.
There are so many small changes to the way I look at things; did I buy a house in the right place? are there the right influences near by and the wrong ones far away? Do I get home from work early enough to be a good father? I remember my father always getting home at 6pm, and yet I hardly ever saw him. Will I be around enough? Will I stay fi so that I can play and keep up with my child? Will my work be stable enough to support him/her?
Which brings up the sex part again. My mother tells me that the Pernick’s only know how to make boys. The last heart rate we measured was on the lower range of normal heart rates that might mean a boy. This time the heart rate was 150 which is more of a pointer to a girl. My mother jokes and tells me to go ahead and start buying blue. How far will we get without finding out? Having made it past this milestone, I’m ready to wait till the very end to find out.
The next step is to scan in the pictures and transfer the video to a digital format. I feel almost silly that we can’t just use a USB keychain thing to walk out with it, but I guess that will take a couple more years. The need to buy a video camera has just gone way up, so I guess I need to finish choosing one and buy it.
Note to the baby if you ever get a chance to read this: Hi, welcome, we love you.