Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for August, 2006

The Healing Power of Iris

I haven’t written in the blog much lately because we were suddenly on the road to California.  My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and so Sandy, Iris and I hopped in the car and moved ourselves down there for a month.  My brother Sean arrived soon after.  It was a scary time as we navigated doctors and widely varied diagnoses, yet Iris kept busy learning tons of skills – from walking to waving – as if nothing had happened.  In fact, it was a wonderful time for Iris, as “Gigi” (her great grandmother) taught her to wave, she took her first steps and careened back and forth from her grandma to her grandpa, she became an expert clapper, and she ended up in peals of laughter over a good game of peek-a-boo with her aita (grandma Mary Kay).  Iris began the month with stranger anxiety, and ended it with a comfort and expectation for 5 close family members to be around the table for every meal.
My dad was an amazing pillar of strength and positive energy, saying he was “excited” for the brain surgery he was about to undergo from the best brain surgeon in the nation.  And in the ICU right afterwards, he looked at Iris and remembered her name.
There are more challenges ahead for dad, as he endures radiation and chemotherapy, but Iris is ready and waiting to head back down to Lincoln any time the call comes for some “Iris-therapy” to cheer everyone up.

Singing A New Tune

The Coldplay cure has been well-documented. Since Iris was in the womb, we’ve been very liberal in the way we’ve played the album X&Y to lull our dear daughter to sleep. While we still call on it when necessary, we’ve found a new CD that has been the audio equivalent of valium over the past month or so: the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium. I think Iris loves the strong baselines and daddy’s pathetic attempts to match Anthiny Kiedis note-for-note (I’ll let you know once I get just one note right). What makes Stadium Arcadium fascinating is that Iris has been responding to it immediately. A month ago, a close friend from college and his wife were visiting Seattle and we were heading to the mountains to go for a hike. As we hopped in the car and were driving east, Iris seemed really irritable. She clearly wasn’t enjoying the car ride. For those uninitiated, when an infant doesn’t enjoy thecar ride, NO ONE enjoys the car ride. Out of desperation, I popped in Stadium Arcadium. Three notes in, complete silence. She was relaxed, quiet, and soon fast asleep. Wow! I tucked that piece of info away and started playing that album at night to give us an alternative to X&Y. Well, a few weeks ago, we were driving along and Iris was hysterical. We were about 20 minutes from our destination, but it’s hard to get that point across to Iris. We had been driving for a while, so I wanted to just close out the trip. Cherise, however, was sitting right next to the source of the crying and served the edict “the next place we can pull over, we are pulling over”. Fearing for my marriage, I threw my dreams of a 20 minute arrival out the window. But wait! I have the secret weapon. I pulled out the iPod and declared “it’s time to bring out the big guns”. With that, I started playing Stadium Arcadium. Wow. Instantly. I knew it was good, but I had no idea. She completely quieted, listening to the opening chords and letting that baseline sink in. Then, daddy’s off-key singing to top it off and she was in heaven. In fact, it may have worked a little TOO well. By the second song, she was out like a light, even though we were 10 minutes from our destination. Umm, she’s not gonna like it when we wake her up, is she? I’ve come to realize that a good soothing CD is a bit like The Force. You need to use it carefully.


As we’ve reported in the past, Iris has been getting her teeth.  She’s got six already and many more to come.  Included are her two front teeth, which gives her this slightly crooked smile that is incredibly cute (as if she could get any cuter).  Plus, when we feed her Cheerios, she has this chipmunk way of eating them that always cracks me up (to be honest, when she’s not crying, EVERYTHING she does cracks me up).  Of course, growing teeth isn’t easy and poor Iris has suffered.  In addition, she has been generating more drool than you can possibly imagine.  I think she generates her own weight in drool every hour (once again, Iris defies the laws of physics).  Fortunately, Iris has found good use for this excess drool:  painting daddy’s face.   I’ve often woken up in the morning with a film on my face that I didn’t recognize until I remembered that I rocked Iris to sleep the night before and she decided to get artistic ahead of time.  If I’m really lucky, she’s had her mangoes and bananas and I get a fruity facial.  She also consistently manages to drool on my right shoulder.  My entire wardrobe has these water spots in the same place.  To the casual observer, it seems like I have some odd perspiration disorder. 

But if we thought teething was the worst part, we clearly forgot what she could do once the teeth were in.  Did you know tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body?  Cherise does. It’s starts off innocent enough. Sometimes, she is a little nibbler, but most of the time, I will hear my dear wife begging for mercy.  Now I’ve always considered Cherise a tasty dish, but I think this may be taking things a bit too far.  I think we’re set for Halloween—Iris Dracula and we won’t even need the fangs.

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