Unbelievable excitement ensues as two Seattleites prepare for a baby!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blast From the Past

Grandpa Mike with Chris back in 1976.

Grandma Cathy just sent an arresting pair of photos to me today: the first is of my Dad holding me as a baby back in 1976, and the second is of him holding Sophia two weeks ago.

Once you get past how little Dad has changed (though we miss the sideburns, Dad!), it seems a little frightening just how much baby Sophia looks like baby Chris. We even have the same expression on our faces!

Poor kid - here's hoping she starts looking more like her mother soon.

Also, coming soon is a multi-part description of our exploits in South Dakota. I promise descriptions of chilly morning runs, wedding table dancing, odes to the beauty of fast-food Mexican fare, and one of the smallest but most entertaining car shows on record. Keep watching this space!

Grandpa Mike with Sophia in 2005 - look familiar?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Four Generations

Four generations of Miller - aren't they lovely?

Sophia recently had a chance to meet her Great-Grandmother Mae, Leigh's father's mother. The lucky little tot will next be in line to meet her Great-Grandparents on my side - my mother's parents. I imagine she will commemorate the event like she did the previous one - by looking awestruck for a few minutes, then perhaps spitting up.

You see, we're heading back to beautiful South Dakota for the weekend for my cousin Carol's wedding. In what promises to be a weekend of uncontrolled mayhem, marked by exhausted joy, we will introduce Sophia to all of my family on both sides, attend an eagerly awaited wedding, and stumble home. Given that we leave the house tomorrow morning at 4 a.m. and arrive late Sunday night, I think it's safe to say that I'll be a shell of a man at Amazon on Monda.

Even more of a shell than usual, I suppose. But nevertheless, we're looking forward to this weekend, if not, perhaps, what promises to be a chaotic set of airplane flights.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Yes, We're Still Alive

Sophia lives much of her life in frenzied excitement.

Here in the Hafner Three recently all has been silence - broken only my the lonely howl of the wind and the passage of the occasional tumbleweed. Such has not been the case with us lately. In fact, our lives have been almost frantically busy, leading to the near-total neglect of the blog.

I'm in the middle of Week 3 at Amazon.com, which to this point has been a terrific professional experience filled with extremely talented people, limitless resources, and dizzyingly lofty expectations and potential. I'm enjoying every second of my 11-hour-long days there.

At home, Leigh is doing about as well as could be expected considering an almost total lack of adult contact. She left Washington Mutual for good last week and has been doing a terrific job nurturing Sophia at home. She's even been cooking - a fact that has reduced mot people who know her to stunned silence. And what's more, she's really good at it.

Seattle's youngest Mariner ponders a disappointing 2005 season. Perhaps with her in the outfield in 2006, things will be different.

Then there's Sophia - the little one around whom everything revolves at the moment. It's hard to express in words what she's like. We named her Sophia because we felt it was a beautiful name, but it is thoroughly inadequate to the task of describing her as an entity - a beautiful musical note would be far more fitting.

She's just radiant, beautiful, and a far better kid than we had any right to hope for. She has been sleeping semi-consistently through the night, she cries fairly seldom for a two-month-old, and generally has a cheerful, happy disposition. There's nothing she likes better than to gaze upwards at a parent, coo happily, and thrash her legs and arms as if she was mastering the art of boxing from atop a mountain bike.

I don't think I'm overstepping when I say that Sophia is, empirically, the cutest child in history.

The little one is not so little at the moment - as of a week ago, she weighed more than 11 pounds and was 23 inches long, which means that as of today, a day short of her two-month birthday, she has outgrown virtually all of her 0-3 month outfits and fits perfectly into her 3-6 month clothes. This is a big girl.

She enjoys being sung to - so far she appears to prefer classic rock with strong hooks, along the lines of Led Zeppelin, The Cream, Jimi Hendrix ... although for whatever reason the two go-to songs for her are "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and "Push It" by Salt-n-Pepa.

"Don't Stop Believing," in particular works wonders with her - also known around the house as "Don't Stop Your Feeding" and "Wake Up Sophia." She's also been known to fall asleep with her back to Daddy's chest as they watch episodes of the original Star Trek together.

Even more encouraging is the fact that two pitiful failures in the early fight to keep Sophia happy - the swing and the pacifier - are money now.

This is not to say that all is sunshine and roses with Sophia. She is rather jealous of time and attention - set her down for even a moment, and the storm clouds begin to gather. When in a bad mood, she can be an imperious little strumpet with a voicebox made of broken glass and impossible to calm. Sometimes while we know intellectually that she is vastly more cheerful than we have any right to expect from a newborn, that doesn't mean much when you're exhausted, weary of holding her in the exact position in which she likes to be held, and just want her to stop crying.

Frustration quickly dissipates when she smiles, though - a little trick she's begun to exercise with more frequency in the last week or two. She also coos and waves her arms around enthusiastically, and all of these things in combination are so adorable that any ice in your heart melts immediately. She's adorable and incredibly good-spirited and has begun to develop a range of emotions more broad than:
1) Cry
2) Emotionless
3) Cry
4) Scream

Among our nausea-inducing cutesy nicknames for 'Phia are: Kiddamus, Wiggleworm, Mrs. Wigglesworth, Snugglebug, and Sugglebunny. She will no doubt loathe all of them when she's older.

In all, we feel as if things are going pretty well. We no longer feel out of depth, which is probably just a signal that we're about to move into a new phase in which we'll once again be figuring things out as we go. I do think it's rather ironic (and perhaps unfair) that the most technically difficult and exhausting stage of parenthood comes right at the beginning, when the parents are both clueless and exhausted.

All things told, up to this point I think we've done rather well - thanks largely to having a terrific and patient kid, and Leigh having really stepped up her game.

Hopefully we can wedge in more updates as events warrant, but at the moment spare time is a precious - and often unavailable - commodity.

Unfortunately, Sophia has already grown out of her Mariners outfit.