Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Madness Continues

March Madness that is - the greatest three weeks in all of sports (barring this year's SF Giants' World Series run). Tonight Amari attended her first Sweet Sixteen party, an eclectic gathering of teachers, administrators, lawyers, and some rabid, elderly college basketball fans. I'm pretty sure I saw one of them knitting a purple and gold sweater while simultaneously bidding hundreds of dollars on Northern Iowa. Go Panthers?

The gathering was centered around the sixteen teams remaining in this year's tournament. Beginning with the lowest seeds, teams were auctioned off to the highest bidders. When St. Mary's went first at $33, I had a feeling this party was going to be too rich for my blood. I had no interest in throwing good money at any Cinderella teams, but I did hope to get involved in at least one bidding war. I noticed Amari was wearing her Mama-made, mixed-green, hooded sweater, and decided that I would go after a Baylor team with solid senior leadership. I have them in the Final Four in another bracket and didn't want to confuse my loyalties too much. I considered the Spartan green of Michigan State, but I figured Noah might not forgive me for rooting hard against his beloved Buckeyes. When Baylor came on the block, the price quickly rose past my $40 cap. Sally Miller, who invited me, sensed my disappointment, offered to go halvesies, and together we captured the three-seeded Bears.

Amari and I stuck around just long enough to know that Baylor was a steal as Syracuse went for $130 and Kentucky went for over $200. Before we left, however, I decided to buy both of us into a much lower-impact draw pool where you pay $10 and pull a team out of a hat. As the youngest person there (by about thirty-eight and a half years behind me) Amari was allowed to draw first. She must have misunderstood and thought she was picking her future university because she grabbed Cornell. Now we really  need to win this pool. I, on the other hand, fortuitously drew Ohio State, so now Noah and I can finally root for the same team. And to think, all it took was money.

As for the parenting madness - that also continues. Consistent sleep continues to be as likely as a twelve seed making the Final Four, but the Big Red underdogs from Ithica give me hope that I will one day sleep through the night, and simultaneously win $24 for Amari's college fund. It feels like very little has happened since last I wrote and yet every day I marvel at how my little girl is growing, changing, gaining in strength and personality. Sometimes I feel guilty for writing so little, for not capturing all the beautiful moments and feelings, that perfection of lying on the couch last Sunday with Amari taking her longest nap ever right there on my chest while some asshole from Purdue made a game-winning lay-up to mess up the southern part of my bracket. Still, a very touching and meaningful.

Where I used to comment on each week that passed by, I'm now nearly three weeks late in celebrating Amari's fourth month. Nevertheless, the impossibility of doing it all and doing it well is a topic for another entry. Last week Amari had her four month check-up. She is now a robust thirteen pounds fourteen ounces, and twenty-six inches long. She's nearly forty percent of my height already, which is why I have her gambling on basketball at such a young age. The second round of vaccines went fairly smoothly, too. We had a bottle of formula prepared to pop into her mouth hoping to balance out the fact that she's older, more cognizant, and less forgiving than she was eight weeks ago. She screamed and cried, gave us a disappointed look through her tears, refused the bottle for a moment, then realized it was over and began eating. No negative effects that night or the next day. Some things are definitely getting easier.

In fact, I think most things are. Carrie and I have developed a natural rhythm to our co-parenting. With the exception of her sleeping habits, Amari is proving to be a very easy baby. She has a good temperament, endearing expressions, and I'm pretty sure we're getting the hang of what her cries mean. It's not rocket science when it's a list of five or six possibilities, but it still feels good when I respond to a need and get it right. I absolutely love being a dad - much more than I ever knew I would. I feel like I've finally figured out what I'm supposed to be when I grow up.

And maybe, just maybe, I'm actually growing up, too.

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