MaxBarry.com
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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Thu 20
Jul
2006

Daddy’s Girl

Max Fin Flies HighAs of last Monday, Jen is back at work two days a week. One of those days, my mother looks after Fin. The other day, I do.

Of course, since I have the kind of job that permits me to loll around the house unshaven and wearing nothing but boxer shorts (although not now, it’s winter; I’m not crazy), I already get to spend more time with my daughter than most Dads. (Heh. “Dad.” Still cool.) But I have discovered that when it’s just me and Fin, it’s different; special in a way that’s almost magical.

This is how it works: I get up at 6:30am, make myself a coffee, and start work. I have about 90 minutes to pound out some words before Fin wakes. (Which isn’t that long. So I am writing Sunday mornings, too, to make up for it.) Then that’s it: the rest of the day is just the two of us. So far we have caught the train into the city to look at comic books, walked along the river, visited a mall, and stopped off at an aquarium to inspect some fish. But where we go isn’t the point; the amazing part is just having this incredible little girl all to myself. I know I am probably about the ten billionth person in history to feel like this, but it really is beautiful. It feels like an honor.

Comments

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Saban (#15)

Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Quote: "Well, you may not get hurt, but huff puff, you won't get loved either."
Posted: 4744 days ago

Everyone's child is wonderful but I must say, Fin is an absolutely beautiful little baby. That outfit totally reminds me of Toby from the movie Labyrinth. :P

Peter Emuss (#1630)

Location: England
Quote: "Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then, when you criticise, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes."
Posted: 4744 days ago

Well, that gave me a smile on a morning when I needed it, but, as I was reading that blog, one question kept reverberating through my mind. How on earth did you take that photograph? Both hands are on the baby and I don't get how you could've balanced it for a timer shot.

PJW

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 4744 days ago

Well-spotted! I held, Jen photographed.

Jane (#321)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "Which is worse: Ignorance or apathy? Who knows? Who cares?"
Posted: 4744 days ago

Hey - you and Fin even have the same hair style! :)

I'm expecting my first baby in a week or so... do you have any reflections/tips on early parenting (first 3 months) that might come in handy?

isserley (#1320)

Location: Madrid, Spain
Quote: "I am an elegance bigot. If I’m going to sit in front of this thing for hours a day, I want to feel the intelligence that went into my OS. I want to sense that an English major lost sleep over the wording of the menus. - David Pogue, 06/1998"
Posted: 4743 days ago

innit great?
I stayed at home with our first baby the better part of his year, I absolutely loved it. - Now I´m back to work, Marek´s at preschool during most of the day and my wife is with Elena (9 months) during the day. - Fortunately I also can work from home, so they´re always near :))

Jane, I just did a write-up of of tips for a german whose wife will give birth in a couple of weeks time, gimme some time to translate it, if you don´t mind...

regards
Matt

Kristen (#1157)

Location: Jersey
Quote: "Insert quotation here."
Posted: 4743 days ago

I love that picture... I had the mental image of you holding a camera between your teeth, and clicking the picture off with your tongue. Needless to say, I have a lot of faith in your abilities...

So, what kind of comic books are today's babies reading? Nothing involving ducks, I hope...

isserley (#1320)

Location: Madrid, Spain
Quote: "I am an elegance bigot. If I’m going to sit in front of this thing for hours a day, I want to feel the intelligence that went into my OS. I want to sense that an English major lost sleep over the wording of the menus. - David Pogue, 06/1998"
Posted: 4743 days ago

Baby tips:

- baby blues: accept it. The "high" of giving birth is larger than life (apparently stronger for women than for men ;), so you have to come down eventually.
Don´t worry, a couple of laters you laugh about those uncontrollable sobs :)) - It helps if hubby stays at home the first week

- If you breastfeed her/him, it can happen that for a week (!) no poop comes, because it gets absorbed 100% by the babies digestive system (mother´s milk is perfect) - nothing to worry about.

- In case of stomach cramps, or lots of farting or other digestive problems: There´s tea, and then there´s tea: contents should be anise, fennel, caraway and camomile (ideally all four, but any combinations is OK). Now, you should always go for tea bags, to be found in health food shops or pharmacies, never for the powder or granulate (those usually contain 95 – 99% sugar – no good)

- A stomach massage can also be helpful, select you preferred massage oil approved for baby´s delicate skin (if baby is lying in front of you make circular movements clockwise, you can apply some pressure)

- the first couple of months finding out why baby is crying is usually try & error: diaper full, hungry, sleepy, sore butt, usually one of these four

- Regarding the bottle, three caveats:
If you use plastic bottles, they can feel perfectly warm to, although the milk is hot – be careful not to burn your baby

Lumps of not fully dissolved milk can hinder milk-flow – always shake vigorously

Be careful to use the correct sucker (is that the correct word?!) if the opening is too large and you feed milk, baby might choke, the other way round nothing gets through when feeding when feeding mash or mush (or whatever is the correct term :)

- When preparing the bottle, these milk powder boxes usually say: “use boiling water” to which I agree, in order to kill all germs. But that makes the process quite labour and time intensive, so we found a short-track: Fill the bottle about one third with mineral water (w/o gas; mineralwater should be quite germ free) add powder, add about one fourth boiling water, shake vigorously, then add mineral and or boiling waterin such amount to obtain the perfect drinkable temperature.

isserley (#1320)

Location: Madrid, Spain
Quote: "I am an elegance bigot. If I’m going to sit in front of this thing for hours a day, I want to feel the intelligence that went into my OS. I want to sense that an English major lost sleep over the wording of the menus. - David Pogue, 06/1998"
Posted: 4743 days ago

- Over here, in Germany, where we grew up and our first one was born, you usually do not apply oil or powder or cream or whatever, the current ideal is to just let it be unless something sore / rash etc develops…

- When baby´s butt gets sore: In severe cases, when your normal cream doesn´t help, nystatin-cream (fighting yeast infections) did do wonders with our babies. Speak with your doctor before applying this. More info here:
http://breastfeed.com/resources/articles/thrushinfect.htm (warning, this is a medical site and in some images of a female nipple are shown – I couldn´t care less but I don´t want to offend any political correct, brain-dead idiot)

- When bathing your baby: The current ideal in germany is to bath it once a week, and then only in clear water (which is OK in winter, as they sweat little, and any soap attacks baby´s sensitive skin.). – In summer more often (now, living in Spain, with every summer day close to 100 F, every day bathing is due.

- when bathing II: be especially careful cleaning and drying all the folds at your baby´s neck. I was really surprised to see so much excess skin there :)

- something I would never had thought about: Marek had a preferred side to lie on (on his right), and neither my wife nor I gave it much importance: After three months, during a usual checkup, the pediatrician told us that his head was deformed, the still soft bones had adjusted to the onesided “stress” and the right side of his head was flat, while the left was well rounded – looked really weird. Fortunately through special baby gymnastics on one hand and “high-tech” positioning him at night (i.e. a rolled towel in his back in order to keep him lying on his left side) on the other, this deformation vanished within a couple of months. No problem whatsoever.

- perambulator – you probably bought one already, if not, I have the perfect recommendation (Australian make)
www.bertini.com.au
YMMV, but what do you have to consider:
- 3-wheeler topple over easier (once your two year old wants to climb in on its own
- steerable wheels make for easy navigating
- large wheels make better stability and easier pavement “climbing”
- large stable net or basket underneath.
- foldable
- as long as baby still lies on its back, a complete horizontal orientation

More practical for you would be a system, where you can click the car seat into a “wheeler”, but that´s really bad for baby´s back – as the bones are that soft, it won´t cry, but you´ll do damage to it´s skeleton nonetheless.

The only reason for me not buying this stroller was not being able to find a retailer in germany :(
I testdrove it though, cause a friend wasn´t as nitpicky and bought it in Netherlands, and was really happy (and still is). – I love it.


OK, that´s it, hope you found something useful, sorry for the lengthy posts, I already cut it down ;)

all the best,

Matt

J.R. Floriani (#758)

Location: Las Vegas, NV
Quote: "Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that's how dogs spend their lives."
Posted: 4743 days ago

Sounds like an excellent schedule, you're definitely the kind of person that deserves the rest and time with your daughter.

Machine Man subscriber Katrina (#847)

Location: SF, CA
Quote: "Good sex is like good Bridge: if you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand." -- Mae West"
Posted: 4743 days ago

Yay! Fin pic. :D

You know you want to put up more of the cute little one. One where you and she are out on a daytrip would be splendid.

Nora Jean Stone (#1170)

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Quote: "Do Wa Ditty, Life in the CITY, where the Women are Strong and the Men are Pretty... anon"
Posted: 4743 days ago

Teach Fin to be forgiving of people's imperfections because you are going to be a hard act to follow for her future beaus.

Machine Man subscriber Julie Totsch (#1341)

Location: Racine, WI
Quote: ""The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them." - Robert Frost"
Posted: 4743 days ago

I have twin grandsons and I just love it when I make everyone go away and it is just me and the boys. Danny and Alex continue to amaze me at every turn. We'll play blocks or throw balls (in the house). So, I totally understand the feeling you have when it is just you and Fin. There isn't anything like the way I feel when it's just Danny, Alex and Nana (me). The three of us are like a special team, but then Mom, Dad and Grandma come back and the fun's over!

Matt (#808)

Location: AZ
Quote: "The only 3 books I've read in the last few years have been from the Barry Collection"
Posted: 4743 days ago

That's awesome, sounds like you're having some quality time with your daughter :) My question is, when is she going to write her first book?

Sarah Statham (#1573)

Location: Manchester, England, UK.
Posted: 4743 days ago

The father-daughter resemblance is uncanny.


I know I'm the millionth person to say this.

David (#1848)

Location: Texas
Quote: "Delighted!"
Posted: 4743 days ago

It's kool-aid you can't un-drink, Max. Was there even a point to life before fatherhood?

Messes with your opinion of your OWN parents, too, doesn't it?

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: "www.MidwestRockLobster.blogspot.com"
Posted: 4743 days ago

That's great. And I'm jealous. I work a lot more hours to earn the bread that takes me and my daughters to the park to launch rockets or to the pool to cool off.

Yubi Shines (#1664)

Location: Canada
Quote: "HOPE RIDES ALONE!"
Posted: 4743 days ago

Nice pose, Max. Training her for a future career as a superheroine? ;D

ryandake (#2199)

Location: scenic monterey, ca
Quote: ""The rest is not our business.""
Posted: 4743 days ago

fin must be very powerful--it takes serious might to turn a satirist into sweetly gibbering goo :-)

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 4743 days ago

Put a smile on my face : )

Dasuraga (#1938)

Location: texas
Posted: 4742 days ago

WINTER?!!!!!!!!!
Crazy Australians and their backwards weather. How are you supposed to celebrate Christmas when its 90° outside? What does your wife do for a job anyways?

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 4742 days ago

if you're taking care of the baby, is your nanny your editor? :)

austin (#2462)

Location: rhode island
Quote: "hmmm...bleh..."
Posted: 4742 days ago

babies are funny. that's all i have to say.

Joe (#1379)

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Quote: "http://hikerjoe.blogspot.com"
Posted: 4738 days ago

It does sound like quite an honour. I hope to be a father someday too. Someday soon, actually. I imagine teaching him or her all about the things I've learned so far, but I'm also hoping that he or she will teach me a few things, too. Such as how to see with the eyes of a child again. Good luck with fatherhood. Thanks for the great writing and a great blog.

Jane (#321)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "Which is worse: Ignorance or apathy? Who knows? Who cares?"
Posted: 4718 days ago

Thanks to Matt for those tips. My baby arrived on Tuesday August 8th - a boy, Hugo, weighing in at 3.54 kg. One thing with being in late pregnancy and then having the kid... you don't get much time to use a computer! So far, the 3 hour feed regime is exhausting, but extremely rewarding. Just when our tiredness and frustration reaches it's peak, he does something cute or funny (like a yawn or a really loud fart) and then we are suddenly laughing our heads off.

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