Breaking it down to even numbers, it’s about a half hour for us to get to his grandmother’s house in the morning, and then another half hour (roughly, maybe slightly less) for daddy to get to work from there.
Needless to say, that gives us quite a bit of time together in the car, even though, on good days, he sleeps through most of the ride. Which, for a little boy who doesn’t take naps, we will gladly take right now so he’s getting SOME sleep.
What has happened, though, and has turned into routine, is the type of music we listen to in the car to and from each morning. I’m fortunate enough to have Sirius XM Radio in my car, and have been switching between their Pops channel and Symphony Hall channels in the morning and evening rides. You can likely use any free, public radio station that pumps classical, though.
It’s been calming for him, and apparently for daddy too, because while I used to switch it back over to 80s on 8 or The Bridge for some Simon and Garfunkel after dropping the little guy off, I find myself, without even thinking of it, continuing to listen to the classical stations even after I’ve dropped him off and before I pick him up.
While not the intention of my post, it’s hard to write a post about classical music and children and not mention that there are some studies out there that believe classical music can help boost a child’s ability to learn, their coordination and other attributes. Some people dispute these studies, so take them as you like. I’m not here to prove a point one way or the other on that one. We just enjoy listening to the music, that’s all.
However, I will mention some other recorded benefits of Classical Music while we’re on the topic. Reportedly, in London, England, when the British Transport Police piped classical music into London Underground stations in some of the area’s most dangerous neighborhoods for six months, they found that robberies were cut by 33 percent,staff assaults decreased by 25 percent and vandalism went down 37 percent. Some studies in hospitals found that heart patients s from listening to 30 minutes of classical music as they did from taking the drug Valium (which I think is phenomenal, as I’m a big proponent of not having to pop pills whenever possible).
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy can be used to help people of all ages with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities; Alzheimer’s disease, brain injuries, physical disabilities, substance abuse and even help mothers in labor.
You be the judge, though. Give some classical music a try in your life and see if it boosts your spirits. It might boost some other things in your health, mental and physically as well, but that’s for you to decide.
We’ll take it, though.
Whether it’s been Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, or any other composer joining us for the morning ride, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying your company, guys.
The non-intrusive answer is “spent time with the family,” but the real answer is – I got sick. And so did Meg. And so was the baby.
It’s oddly becoming a bit of a yearly tradition for the household to get sick when my birthday rolls around. If it hasn’t been me one year, it’s been Meg. If not her, me. It goes back and forth. Only this time, we had an entire household hacking and wheezing and blowing our nose. For the record, the baby hates it when you wipe boogies from his nose and face.
We made the best of it, even though the baby was pretty cranky. I can’t say I blame him. When I get sick, I get miserable. I hate feeling that way, so for someone so small and new to the world, I can’t imagine what it must be like to deal with a sore throat, a cough, mucus, etc, ESPECIALLY when you can’t tell people how awful you feel other than with a cry or scream.
I got some nice shirts and a tie for work from Meg and the little guy, as well as two graphic novels I’m really looking to delve into (Madame Xanadu by Matt Wagner, and a volume of the Starman Omnibus by James Robinson).
So, while birthday dinner consisted of some beef vegetable soup and tea, with birthday cake Meg made for dessert (although she made some delicious steak the following night), we spent it together. We watched some TV, we did some laundry, we relaxed with the baby (when he’d allow it of course), but the important thing is, we did it all as a family.
I guess The family that’s sick together stays together.
The next day I was committed to a meet and a greet at a Home Show in casino event center about 45 minutes or so away. So, with cups of tea firmly in my hand, I plowed through, said hello to some folks, took a good ribbing from others who wondered why the heck I was there promoting myself and the news station I work for, but generally had a nice time.
After that, I caught up with some good friends I hadn’t seen in a while for a lunch (mine consisting of soup and water, of course, with the current state of things). This is the same crew who I occasionally hit up a comic show with. These days, schedules as a parent have just not been conducive to really catching up with folks the way I used to, so it was nice to see them for a little bit, and geek out over what comic titles we were reading that had been cancelled, who was working on what projects, and just what they were each up to in their lives. They’re good people, and I’m glad that we still find time, even if it’s only occasionally, to catch up.
Today, I was off from work and took advantage of the time to go to a nearby Urgent Care Center where they determined I have Bronchitis.
I’m not the type to really take medicine if I don’t have to, but this thing has been knocking me on my butt for days now. In fact, last night, I found myself unable to even take full breaths, and felt like I had a weight sitting on my chest. So I submitted to the prescription and will be heading back to work in the morning, hopefully on somewhat of a road to recovery.
Like all good things, vacation too, must eventually come to an end.
I’ve had the pleasure of being on vacation for a little over a week from the day job, and I’ve been loving it. From that extra time to run an errand or two at all the places that are normally closed before I go into or get out of work each day, to working on long-dormant house projects, and of course, spending some extra time with the family, it has been wonderful.
It’s sort of become a bit of an unofficial tradition for me while on vacation not to shave unless I absolutely have to. Not for any particular reason, mind you. I’m not fond of having facial hair or anything. It’s just that it acts as a small reminder that I don’t HAVE to shave, that I can be scruffy without the worried need of having to cut off the whiskers before showing up to work.
I refer to it as my “beard of defiance.”
Naturally, that makes “the shaving” at the end of vacation a symbolic return to routine.
It was a good run, vacation and I.
I worked on this blog, I did some writing on other projects that I’ll eventually be shamelessly plugging on here, I’m sure. Between my wife and myself, we started Phase One of our long overdue bathroom renovation, which included seven coats of white paint to cover up the Crayola Brown (or Poop Brown) color that the previous owners slathered over the fine woodwork of the bathroom. We did some cleaning, some organizing, sorting through outfits the baby has outgrown these past few months (a more emotional process for us than I would have thought at first).
Best of all, though, I got to spend those times during the day laughing with my little boy, helping my wife around the house, or just plain kicking back, watching a classic film, or working on some creative projects that have been out of reach with the everyday workload. It’s been nice, and I will be sad to see it leave my life on such a full-time basis.
However, if vacation does anything, it generates a sense of rejuvenation, reminding us of what is important in our lives, why we do what we do, and what our goals ultimately are.
Yes, I’ll return to work today and I will do my best to make it a bright, clean slate. To not let the Negative Nellies that make it their routine to criticize and pick everything apart get to me, to be a little nicer whether they deserve it or not, to treat every day with a little more sunny of an outlook, and remember that just like vacation, everything in life is temporary and to enjoy every moment of it while we can, whether it be a week at a time, an evening after work at a time, or those few moments in between.
Because, while we may shave off the whiskers of the vacation beard, you know sooner or later they will be back. 🙂
It’s been my first day returning to work following the arrival of our little guy.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and I understand the necessity of it, as being without a job and an income is not exactly helpful to my wife, or my son. So, there is an inherent sense of responsibility that comes along with the little man.
While I wasn’t looking forward to it, I know it hit Meg very hard as I left this morning. With tears in her eyes, and our little boy in her arms, they said goodbye to me for the day and waved to me out the window.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to spend ten days with them since his birth, and they have been the best ten days of my life so far. I dreaded the countdown with each day that meant that I wouldn’t be around to help with his diapers, get laundry done while she nursed, or do the dishes when she tried to rest for a few minutes during his naps.
I’ve spent these ten days building an incredible bond with this little person, and strengthened the bond with my wife. So, leaving that behind this morning and heading back into the newsroom where I work has not been the easiest of transitions.
However, while it’s given me a great amount of sadness, it has also given me a great amount of motivation. It inspires me to work even harder, become even more dedicated, to creating a quality of life for my family that is better than what we have. It has made me realize that what stands between me and being a write-from-home dad and husband instead of a write-from-the-newsroom dad is my own dedication and motivation. I want my son to know that doing what you enjoy in life is more than just what people say, it’s something that can be yours. I want him to see from the example I will set that you can create your own career destiny.
Don’t get me wrong, as I know sometimes, it could be taken that I “hate my job,” which is not the case. I have a great boss, and I make a decent living (or at least enough to get by with the student loan debt I unfortunately have). However, it’s never been where my passion lies. I set out to be a writer. Yes, I write, but it’s a more technical form of writing or re-writing of other people’s work throughout the day. What I want, though, is that dream of writing from my home office, of being there for my family while still earning a living for them.
You can want something until the cows come home, and yes, you can work on it a little here and a little there. However, forming a plan, knowing the path, knowing what you need to get there, and most importantly, having those motivations, those people who you want to do it for, that’s an entirely different thing all together.
They’ve given me something to strive for, and I aim to reach it.