Thursday, September 24, 2009

QuikPic: All Smiles!

Our little guy's learned a new trick: smiling!
He's been showing off this new skill quite liberally. Though he learned it a couple of weeks ago, it's only been until recent that we've been able to capture it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Texting While Driving?!? No Thnx!!!

I am all about efficiency. I love to-do lists, organized events, and structured days. As often as I can, I like to double-up on tasks:

• Reading a book while rocking little Bradley to sleep,
• Blogging while watching our little boy (like I'm doing right now),
• Texting while using the washroom (hey, at least I'm admitting it!!!).

Though not an exhaustive list, there is one thing I will never again double-up on: text messaging while driving (when I have any family members in the car). I used to do this, in the name of maximizing productive output; in this case blending transportation and communication. But for two main reasons, I now refuse to do this.

The first reason is because of safety. I have heard of friends getting into fender benders because they were trying to text while on the road. I myself rear-ended someone around 2004 because I took my eyes off the road, if even for a split second or two.

A video has recently been released which tries to spread the message regarding the dangers of texting while driving. I was taken aback by its graphic nature, a stance which has produced some debate, questioning whether it's too much. So with that warning, here it is:

The other reason, as if that last one isn't enough, is becuase of the law. This past month, the Ontario Government put Bill 118 into effect, which will hand out a $500 fine to whoever's caught driving while using (or even holding) a wireless communication device, or other hand-held driver distractors. Find the complete text of the bill here.

So even though I like to squeeze every last drop of available time during a day being productive, you won't find me doubling-up by texting and driving. It's just not worth it.

What about you? Do you text while driving? I know of someone who can text without even looking at the screen...I wonder if the new law will affect this person's habbit.
Do you have any other awesome double-ups?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

QuikPic: 11.5 lbs and growing!

Our little guy was recently weighed and found to come in at 11.5 pounds. At six weeks of age, he's made progress from when he entered the World at 6.7 pounds.

With this physical growth, he's also enjoyed added responsibility and privileges being moved into his own room, fitting into his snazzy jeans, and laying under his playmat.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Tuesday night provided a monumental shake-up in our parents-baby relationship, as it was the first night we tried to have Bradley sleep in his own room. He was 5.5 weeks old.

Leading up to this arrangement, I would prod at Kristin over and over saying that it would be "so good" if he was in his own room. The advantages were evident, in my mind:
• Baby could sleep right through Daddy's alarm, which has the volume turned up quite generously,
• Baby could learn about responsibility, and get a taste and appreciation for not being at arm's reach to Mommy or Daddy, and finally
• Mom & Dad could sleep, without waking to every coo and grunt by Baby!

Being a selfish guy, the third point was the one I was most interested in. Little Bradley had been sleeping in a play pen yard/bassinet similar to this one. I thought sleeping in his crib would provide a more comfortable sleeping solution for him. No matter what my reasoning was, I was taken aback when I received a call at work from Kristin Tuesday during the day.

"I think I'm ready to try Bradley sleeping in the nursery."

Woah! A flood of thoughts and feelings went through me after that conversation (which consisted of more than that one line!). Was Bradley ready? Would he like his new room? What if we can't hear him and he's upset? What if he has trouble breathing and he's so far away from us that we don't notice???

I didn't have my main reference guide, so I went to the resource I did have at my disposal: the internet. What did I learn?
• There are a lot of stay at home moms who don't know 100% what to do about this!! Reference 1, 2, and 3.
• Every baby is different when it comes to this (and most everything else!), and
• Some babies don't move from their parents' room until they're several months (or even years) old!!!

I chose to camp on the second point when talking to Kristin. After all, our little guy's been growing steadily since birth, without even losing weight in his first week of life.
He's ready, I thought.
Of course he's ready, I persuaded myself.
He's definitely ready, I half-heartedly reassured myself.

Oh my gosh, what if he's not ready???

Well the first night came and went. Our little guy slept from 10:30pm until about 9:00am. He woke up once (to feed), and didn't fuss at all. How sweet it was, tasting what sleep used to be like: uninterrupted.

The second night was similar to the first, except he fussed for about 30 minuted at around 2am. Nothing a little bit of back-patting and back-and-forth motion couldn't take care of. The third night (last night) was exactly like the first!

So here we are, our little guy's sleeping in his own room after a mere 6 weeks. God willing he keeps up his good nights!

By the way, I think you hear even more coos and grunts having a baby monitor right beside your bed! The volume control must be used wisely.

What about you? When did your little one move into his/her own room? Do you have any tips or tricks?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Roger Federer: on a mission, or lacking drive?

A couple of weeks after Bradley was born, when my parental leave was done, I was dreading going back to work more than anything! I was graciously given two weeks of vacation/family leave, which I enjoyed to the fullest. The day before my return to work, though, I couldn't bear the fact that I would NOT be spending the whole day with my beloved wife and newborn son.

That day came and went, and before I knew it I was back to the grind. Things felt different, though. I knew that my winning the bread had implications which reached farther than ever before.

When I got married, my emotions, plans, and efforts were all shed in a new light: I wasn't just living for myself anymore. I had responsibility for someone else's well-being with respect to finances, spirituality, emotions, and much more. I didn't just need to make sure that I had enough money to buy a new 59Fifty baseball cap every other month and keep the kicks fresh. And this with Kristin being an independant person already!

When little Bradley was born, howm much more did my perspective and responsibilities shift! I brought a new focus and intensity to the workplace. I need to excel at what I do, not just to move up the corporate ladder, but to provide for those who need me. This enthusiasm was interrupted halfway into my first day back.

At around lunchtime, I was getting ready for my daily call home. I unplugged from my work tasks and noticed the picture of my little boy which I had put up at the office a few hours earlier.

Man, that picture is so cute!
Look at his little reminds me of mommy's!

I called home, and had the usual talk with Kristin. This time, though, there was some background noise I had never before heard. The little wimpers and coos, which I would sit around and listen to for half the day when I was at home when on parental leave, were coming through the phone as if he was right there beside me. And that's all I wanted; for him to be there beside me. I considered leaving work right then and there. My more sensible instincts kicked in, though, and at work I remained until the end-of-day whistle sounded.

When I reflected on the day, I found that my actions had me swaying to two totally opposite ends of the productivity spectrum. At one end, my new boy birthed in me a desire to do well, and to provide for the family. Conversely, all I wanted to do was to be at home with him (and my wife) ALL THE TIME! I've gotten used to daydreaming for 5 minutes every now and then while at work, wishing work days lasted only 6 hours, or that there were only 3 working days a week...isn't it that way in France? Switzerland? One of those sophisticated EU contries found a way to be more productive with 15 working hours a week, I'm sure of it!

Though I know the sensible and logical thing I must do is to remain a hard-working employee, I enjoy my escapes, 5 minutes at a time, a couple of times a day. It's like my smoke break!

With the recent poor performance by Roger Federer at the 2009 US Open Men's Finals, it got me thinking. He and his wife, Mirka, had twins on July 23rd of this year. Reports say that he's been feeling quite relaxed while on the tennis court since then. If this relaxation, though, leads to performances in the finals of a grand-slam event like the one we witnessed Monday night, I don't know how many more slams he'll take home.

Personally, I think Roger's got a lot of good tennis left in him, but I don't think he'll bring the heat the way he used to. He has the record for most slam wins in a career, and now he has a family. His best days are behind him.

Mind you, he's had an amazing career.

What about you? Do you think having kids would motivate one (has motivated you) to perform in one's field to the very best of one's abilities? Or would it lead to a distracted and mellowed-out version of oneself?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Amber Shereen Pictures

Today, we got our pictures which we got done a couple weeks back. I have nothing but good things to say about her work!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

QuikPic: A Movie Outing

This past weekend, the family went to catch a flick at the Ottawa Family Cinema! Having won four free tickets from CHRI, we also brought two good chums along.

Good times!

Friday, September 11, 2009

QuikPic: What Guys Do Best

Last night was the start of the NFL season, so Bradley and I did what guys do best: chill with no shirts on, and watch football.

During the opening ceremonies was when I realized, though, that children are not supposed to watch TV until they're two years old...oops!!! [ref: Eisenberg et al. What to Expect in the First Year] He won't be a TV virgin, but he'll be abstinent.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mom vs. Dad, Part I

Kristin and I are a parental unit. We must go into all interactions with our baby boy as such, lest he open our defenses and reveal the soft gooey insides of the Paterson/Armour partnership. As he grows older, it is all the more important that Kristin and I stand united - raising our child with a common voice, a common standard, and a common love.

There are times, though, when the boy may bias towards one side or the other. Expecting the relationship, temperament, or physical traits to be one and the same from father to mother is unreasonable. We are two different people with different personalities.

This post is the first of several which will examine our little Bradley, and compare him to the traits of his mother and myself. Today I will investigate baby's looks.

Babies' facial features are said to appear at 6, 7, or 8 weeks after conception. These features, though, are not strong and defined until later in life. Right out of the womb, it is said that babies actually tend to look similar and can even get mistaken by their own parents at the hospital! Nevertheless, I would say that our boy has three distinct features:

• A dimple chin,
• A cute little button nose, and
• Bright blue eyes.

My knowledge of Mendelian genetics goes as far as my Grade 13 biology class with Mrs. Bradley, but I would say that I could attribute his chin to me (and my mother, and her dad, and his dad...). His adorable button nose definitely came from Mom. His eyes, though, are a toss up. I would have been sure that my dark, chocolatey brown eyes would have dominated over Kristin's green eyes. When the little guy came out, though, he had bluish-grey irises. Now his colour's changed such that if we call Mike Fisher's eyes arctic ice blue, we could call Bradley's eye colour deep ocean blue.

At birth, Caucasian babie's eye colour is, the majority of the time, blue. It then changes (as by the literature) at 6-12 months. We'll see what the future has in store.

What about you? Do you think Bradley looks more like me or Kristin? Are there any other distinguishable traits you see in our baby?

Friday, September 4, 2009

QuikPic: Getting his explore on

Here are some recent pics of little Bradley.

He went on his first out-of-province trip today. With all the travelling this little guy's going to be doing, we thought that going to Gatineau (Quebec) to figure out his passport application would be a good idea. We also went to Starbucks, to keep troop morale high.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable." [Plato]

How disheartening!

I read this excerpt in the first chapter of my September book, "Bringing Up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson. I must say, I was quite blindsided by this first chapter. It presents boys as wreckless and mischievous little buggers getting into trouble whenever possible. Maybe the following quote was in popular culture a little before I would have heard it, but why didn't anyone tell me that

"Girls are made out of sugar and spice and everything nice,
but boys are made of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails"?

Snakes? Snails?! Puppy dog tails?!?
Though I like to think I'm a brave guy (having just touched a snake myself while biking recently in Stony Swamp, and touching a mammoth one while in Costa Rica last year), I certainly hope that my child isn't made of them!
Snails? Any memory I have of snails bring me back to when I lived in Nicaragua. A relative of the snail, the slug, had made its way into our home. We showered it in salt, which he didn't seem to like much. He died.
I don't have much of a comment regarding puppy dog tails.

Nevertheless, the way I saw raising kids, 18 years with a boy wouldn't be as challenging as with a girl:
• Early boy stage (≤ 10 years old) = destructive and untameable, like a hurricane;
• Late boy stage (>10 years old) = confident, more than able to bus around town late at night or do stupid things to get a chuckle from those around him;
• Early girl stage = angelic, always eager to help, can get whatever she wants with a puppy dog face; and finally
• Late girl stage = hormonal, showered with stereotypes of culture leaving her uncertain about herself and with mediocre confidence (though she could still get whatever she wants with a puppy dog face!).

But this book has left me thinking that boys may not be easier to raise. Note another excerpt: of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency
to risk life and limb for no good reason...If a toddler can climb
on it, he will jump off it...He will eat anything but food and
loves to play in the toilet. He makes "guns" out of cucumbers
or toothbrushes...He loves to throw rocks, play with fire, and
shatter glass.

One way to put this to rest is to look what and who I know myself. What do I know as truth, from my own experiences?

From both memory and stories that come about at family dinners, my brother and I (separated by 19 months) got into as much trouble as possible:
• I once pretended to not breathe, hoping my mom would think it was funny!
• We once got a stray bull so mad (yes, they have those in Nicaragua - they're like stray dogs, except cows) by throwing rocks at it, that it chased us around the block!
• Biking in thunderstorms was awesome, helmets were optional, lightning made it extra cool!
• I, not so much my brother, got into the party scene at school, often leaving my parents with less than restful nights!

Now, what about my wife, and her two sisters:
• They once wore clothes that didn't match;
• They once saw a mouse in their house, but quickly ran away; and worst of all
• They once pretended to shoot an animal with a gun made from their index finger and thumb (this after learning about shooting guns from their male cousins)!
NOTE that this list omits certain mischievous acts done by the girls, in order to better prove a point (like climbing up a synthetic freestyle aerial ski jump during the summer and jumping into the pool below).

Putting both in the balance, I'd say that my brother and I were a little more mischievous. Even once older, internal emotional issues (along with continuing to laugh in the face of danger) didn't make it any easier for the parents of two boys than for those of three girls.

Now, I must step back and say that this small sample size leads to huge generalizations. Moreover, external influences on my family vs. my wife's family are countless: country of habitation, city vs. country living, parenting styles, dynamics with extended family, financial situation, number of siblings. There are so many factors to consider which influence how a child is raised and what demeanour they present that I can't possibly make a conclusion on which is easier, or creidbly compare one family to another.

All I can say is that God gave us a son, and I pray that God gives us the strength, wisdom, and patience to raise him well. I hope to glean some of this wisdom from the examples of both my parents, and those of my wife. I also hope for Dr. Dobson's book to offer some solutions in the next 16 chapters, now that he's shaken my foundation!

What about you? Do you think boys are better than girls? Which gender is easier to raise?