Lauren’s birthday isn’t for a few more months but I wanted to try to make do of the times she’s at work on the weekends and paint her a gift. I’ve been wanting to paint something like this for awhile, of the times it’s just her, me, and Isaac sitting on the steps of our house together. Although it doesn’t quite capture the intense heat of the San Fernando Valley.
Hopefully, Lauren doesn’t check this website anymore!
So a few months ago I started playing this mobile game that my coworker Sean plays called Puzzle and Dragons. It’s this old Japanese color matching game where you move an orb around and try to match 3 or more of the same color in a row within a time limit. It looks like this:
I thought it was a fun, low-stress, casual game that I could get better at. It was also very baby-friendly, something you could pick up and put down at a moments notice, and was a fun way to pass the time while waiting for the baby to fall asleep in the middle of the night.
Anyway, the company behind this game had an art contest! Draw this character:
wearing a costume to make it look like any other character in the game. All participants get in-game rewards! I figured, sure why not. So I chose this guy (one of the simpler ones to draw):
I sketched out something rough and was about to submit it. But then I thought it wasn’t half bad so maybe I’d tighten up the line work and spend a few more hours to make it look a bit better. This was my final entry:
I thought it was ok! Maybe I had a chance of winning one of those five runner up t-shirts! Or the top prize, a plushie which I could give to Isaac! I felt this prize would validate all my color matching efforts (or even more, my expensive art degree). A few weeks later I heard they were going to announce the winners by email. I kept checking my email that night, refreshing, checking my spam inbox, checking my second email address just in case. But as time went on without any email, my heart began to sink and the next day I found out I didn’t win. I was kinda bummed. Maybe I wasn’t that good of an artist anyway. But after seeing the rest of the entries and how fun and creative some of them were, I felt a lot better about it. I guess It was fun to do, and, well, at least mommy still thinks I’m a good artist.
Isaac likes to stick out his tongue. He’s learned whenever he does that, people do it back, so it’s his new found way of saying hello.
Isaac turned one last month and we had this mini celebration in the living room with grandma and a vegan banana cake which mommy baked. We went to this vegetable picking family farm and we made it to their animal show. Isaac had his characteristic neutral expression throughout the day. He still kinda just looks around whenever we go out. I’d like to think he’s forming complex thoughts about the world in his baby brain but who knows.
Father’s Day was yesterday. We decided to go to the zoo since the weather was uncharacteristically mild and it was both Isaac’s and Mommy’s first time. She was impressed (compared to the other zoos she’s been to). I think Isaac liked looking at the other zoo-goers more. I guess we don’t get out a whole lot so people are still fascinating to stare at. There were a few animals he seemed to like – giraffes, sea otters, and goats – all of which he was able to see pretty close. I guess that’s why children’s petting zoos are such a hit. That big tiger way over there behind the bush? Not as interesting as the chain link fence in front of him.
Isaac’s been more attached to me than mommy or grandma for some reason. He cries when I leave the room and can sense when I’m about to leave, comes over and lifts himself onto me. I always have to come back and hold him for a bit before I have to go. I’d being lying if I said that being his favorite doesn’t make me feel special.
It’s been a rough year. Lots of crying and sleepless nights and trip to the doctors and itching and arguments over this and that. There was a period of time we were really stressed about his weight and how little he eats but we learned to be ok with his small size. I don’t know, I’ve really liked being a father despite how little time there is for anything else. I haven’t been really drawing anymore and feel my skills are a bit rusty. I haven’t made anything that I care to show others. But I’m fine with that. My time with Isaac just feels more rewarding.
The days seem to go by without any breaks. Wake up, come to our senses, moisturize and feed baby silently hoping that he is gaining weight and eats at least six ounces before he stubbornly holds his mouth shut. Then clean him up and more moisturizing, pass baby off before working, maybe taking breaks to attend to him after he wakes from his naps. End of the work day, feed him, bath time, make or get dinner, do laundry Maybe finish up some work emails, maybe shower, put things back in place. Get ready to sleep for hopefully a few hours before baby wakes up and one of us sleeps with him in his room, mainly for our sake because it’s tiring having to wake up and attend to him so frequently at night.
At times, Lauren and I feel we’re both at the end of our rope and I joke that we should both leave our jobs to properly take care of him. He is growing though. He’s more active and crawling and proping himself up on things, and then turning around to look at us with a big grin of accomplishment and no matter how tired we are we get so excited too. But he get fussy. When we leave him alone. When he wakes up from his naps or sleep, all itchy. We seem to have tried every lotion under the sun for his eczema but I’ve lost hope that anything will drastically change his condition.
When he gets fussy while feeding him or putting him down for too long, we sometimes take him out back or pace with him in the driveway and he always calms down. It seems like there’s just so much to see outside and he’s quiet looking at the leaves blow in the wind, tracking the birds fly, hearing car doors close. Maybe there’s just so much more unpredictable activity outside that he’s just trying to take it all in. For Lauren and me, it’s just a nice to time to sit down, relax, and watch our baby become cute again.
Isaac itches his face a lot. He itches right when he wakes up and when he’s tired. He wakes himself up every night by itching himself which makes him even more itchy and awake. We try to hold his arms down when we can. Even if we leave him alone for a minute of scratching he could have all these cuts on his head and chin from his fingernails, which makes Lauren sad and makes me frustrated at how helpless everything seems. He’s pretty uncomfortable most of the time, except when he’s well rested and well fed during the day time.
Over Christmas we did get some time to spend with extended family. It was nice to watch him watch his cousins and other relatives, and it was a new experience for him being around so many other people. He also doubled the number of toys he has so he has more things to put in his mouth. He doesn’t seem to be very possessive about his toys; he likes playing for a while but likes to just be picked up too. I do want him to like spending time with people more than his toys, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy and would almost rather him be content with his toys.
I was asked what are some things that make him smile. Our go-to’s are peekaboo and counting/singing to five on my fingers. Sometimes, making happy faces makes him smile too.