One Year Older

One year older.

I injured my back at our wedding a couple months ago¹ and am now in physical therapy. I’m heavier than I used to be. My doctor is going to put me on blood pressure medication unless I get serious about exercising, then might do it anyway if the exercise doesn’t help. There’s some white in my beard.

Hi ho.


Last year, for my birthday, Alexis took me to Daybreaker, an early morning, drugless rave. I wore a goofy top hat that Alexis bought me, and she wore her five-month-pregnant belly. We drank cold brew and kale juice and danced and jumped until our knees were sore, then went to a diner and ate like animals. This morning, Alexis joked that it was foolish to have done something like that last year — woken up so early. Instead, we should have slept the whole day, knowing now what lay ahead of us.


Poe can stand now, so when she’s decided it’s time to get up, she pulls herself up using the bars in the crib and yells raucously for us to come get her. Being greeted by a grinning, bouncing baby when I come in to get her in the morning is one of my new life’s undeniable pleasures.

She only wakes once a night these days (nights?), and had we not taken two big, sleep-disrupting trips this summer, we would have likely eliminated that one wake up by now. In a week she goes into daycare, and sleep will no doubt be disrupted again.

Hi ho.

Daycare. Yikes. She will adjust. There will be a couple days of heavy, heart-rending crying, but she will adjust. She has proven herself to be a pretty resilient baby; it’s Mommy and Daddy that will likely have the hardest time.


One of the biggest downsides/upsides to parenting is that I’m constantly referring to myself as “Daddy”.


Parenting has gotten much easier for me since I battled the nap demon² during paternity leave. But anxiety still dogs me at every turn.

A month ago, we noticed a leak in our bathroom ceiling. There was some issue with the plumbing in the unit above us, and water was draining into our ceiling and walls. We didn’t get it dealt with quickly enough, and a week ago it became clear we had mold in the walls. The super came and sloppily tore a hole in the wall/ceiling, then realized that the dry-wall was still too damp to work on. So, he had to leave it alone for a couple of days to dry, leaving the gaping hole open to pour mold spores directly into our lungs and the lungs of our 8-month-old child. Alexis and I have been nearly catatonic with stress for the past week. It’s scary. I’m not especially concerned about my own well-being³, but when you throw a baby into the mix…

I had visions of Poe developing serious, long term health issues and Alexis and I never forgiving ourselves. You know…anxiety’s greatest hits.

It’s being dealt with. The management company ended up sending a kind and charismatic plumber, a welcome relief from our surly, obstructionist, corner-cutting, impossible-to-understand super. We still have a moldy hole in our bathroom, but it’s being dealt with. I lift my head out of the deep, dark waters of anxiety and the sun is visible. I will be submerged again, I know, but for now I can float all right.


Poe waved at a waiter a couple nights ago. First time she’s ever done it. The waiter, a young latino man wearing glasses, stood off to the side, waving at Poe and smiling. She looked at him quizzically for a bit, then slapped her hand against the table a couple times, raised it, and rotated it back and forth at him. We couldn’t believe it. We’ve been trying to get her to mimic us for weeks, to no avail. Then she meets a kind stranger in a restaurant and lifts her impossibly small and delicate hand into the air to connect with him across the decades.

² And motherfucking won.
³ Lost cause.


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