Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hungry Heart

I just received a great text message from my wife:

"Riding in the car, Sawyer was throwing a fit. A Bruce [Springsteen] song came on, he quit and started smiling. No lie. This is a conspiracy."

This made me smile. I have been trying to get Sawyer to become a Springsteen fan ever since the day he was born... literally. You may accuse me of brainwashing or indoctrination, and you would be correct. I don't care what you think. Bruce is the greatest, and Sawyer will grow up in a home where this the case. Before you judge me, ask yourself if you've ever done this with your own kids. Have you ever clothed your child in a tiny football jersey and taught him to cheer for your favorite team? Have you ever tried to get your daughter to watch your favorite movie from childhood? Let's not pretend like we don't all do this at some level or another.

Anyway, I text Caroline back and ask here which Springsteen song had come on the radio. I honestly thought it was probably just a coincidence. You could have started the blender and the noise might have made him stop screaming. The fact that he smiled was a bit interesting, though.

She replies: "The one about the hungry heart."

This made me smile from ear-to-ear. When we were still in the hospital, Caroline had fallen asleep during non-visiting hours. I was determined to allow her to sleep for as long as possible. Sawyer began to fuss from his "bed" (that plastic box-looking contraption that newborns sleep in while they are in the hospital), and we were seconds away from him crying loud enough to wake her. I scooped him up in my arms and held him tentatively. He was less than a day old, and I was still very insecure about holding him. I had no idea what to do if he started to cry. As he began his pre-cry whimper, I started to gently bounce up and down. I had heard that you can sing to a newborn to calm him down. I did not know if this was true, but I was willing to give it a shot. The first song that came into my mind was "Hungry Heart" by Bruce Springsteen. I bounced and sang quietly, and he calmed down. I went through the whole song twice, and he fell asleep in my arms. Ever since, this has been the song I sing to make him be calm. It is not 100% effective, but it works about as well as anything else I have tried. I don't know why, but this is always the song I choose. It's the song my son and I share.

So, my wife was riding in the car, and Sawyer was throwing a fit. He hears this song, and he smiles. It could be a coincidence. It could be that he simply likes the sound of music. It could be that something caught his eye and amused him.

Or it could be that he and I share a bond over this song. It could be that, somewhere deep in his subconscious, this song means something to him, as it now means something to me.

I think "Hungry Heart" just became my favorite Bruce Springsteen song.

FUN FACT! Bruce Sprinsteen wrote this song ("Hungry Heart") for The Ramones, at the personal request of the late Joey Ramone. Before giving to Joey, he played it for his manager who insisted that Springsteen keep the song for himself. He followed his manager's advice and released the song on his fifth studio album, The River, and the song became Springsteen's first hit on the Billboard Top 100 list.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

They'll Just Let Anybody Have Kids

It is official. I'm a father. I suppose, technically, I had already been a father for nine months, but I've just recently been able to interact with my son. His name is Sawyer, by the way. The picture above is (obviously) from when he was in the hospital. It looks to me like he's posing for a sculptor who plans to immortalize him in marble and place him in some Venetian Piazza. He's a very serious young man with a lot on his mind.

I should take a moment to brag about my wife who is, without a doubt, the toughest person I know. Her labor began on Monday (February 23) night around 11pm. She managed the pain until about 5:30am, which was when we decided to go the hospital. We checked in around 6am, and she continued to proceed in labor with NO DRUGS until 8:40pm, which was when Sawyer was finally born. He weighed 8 lbs, and he clearly was not happy about the transition into the world. He had swallowed some gunk (that's what I'll call it) during delivery, so he had to spend a few hours in the NICU so they could observe him after they flushed his lungs. At about 1am, they brought him into our hospital room, which was when I learned exactly how loud a newborn baby could actually cry.

We spent the next two days in the hospital recovering, filling out paper, and not sleeping at all. I can say, without a doubt, that I have never been more sleep-deprived than I was at the end of our time in the hospital. I'm not sure why 4am was the appropriate time to have us fill out insurance forms and birth certificate information, but I guess that's just how they do things at the hospital.

I should also say that the whole doula thing turned out to be a huge success (if you don't know what I'm talking about, see earlier post entitled "Doula"). I realize most people don't use a doula, but I honestly don't think we could have done it without them (we actually ended up having two doulas due to an interesting mix of circumstances). With the amount of discomfort and movement that Caroline was subjected throughout the course of the day, it was so great to have someone in the room who could keep us focused, calm, and informed during what would otherwise be an overwhelming experience.

I don't really have any anecdotes or anything, I just felt like this was something I will have wished I had written down later on in my life. Sawyer and I are getting know each other. We've even found some activities that we can enjoy together.