IMR: 1998: February: 09 -- Monday, 9:11 p.m.
Mom's Place, Mililani, Hawai`i
[ Grandpa (34k) ]Dad and grandma Ozawa finally got a proper introduction to Katie yesterday.

We already had William over, so it was quite a gathering. Katie was in the same room as both great-grandmothers, both grandparents, both parents, and Godfather Bill.

As I had hoped, William and grandma hit it off immediately, grabbing a pad and pencil and working out the kanji characters to Masami, our daughter's Japanese middle name. It was finalized, I think, and all we need now is for someone with a flair for brush calligraphy to make us a scroll for her nursery.

Well, a nursery would be nice too, I guess.

Both grandma and dad got to hold Katie. Dad laughed at her many faces, and grandma kept saying kawaii (cute). Despite her fussiness in the morning, Katie was a charmer, blinking innocently at everyone.

As I'd feared, dad pressed for some background on Todd's academic hiatus, as well as mentioning other little details I'd chronicled online. Mom handled it like a champ, but for just a moment I think she wanted to kill me.

Fortunately, the most energetic conversation was between the two Japanese experts. Grandma seemed excited to have the opportunity to speak to someone new in her native tongue, and William -- bless his soul -- was ever attentive and agreeable. The subject wandered to the rain in Manoa Valley, where both of them live, and eventually it was time for her to go home.

William stayed for dinner, and was quickly roped into preparing the rice. Sadly, I don't think mom truly appreciated the art he makes of the task.

Afterward, we watched the highly-touted "X Files" episode authored by Stephen King. None of us was terribly impressed, the killer doll gimmick too corny to take seriously. The best part of the episode was the dialogue between Mulder and Scully, which I doubt King wrote.

Personally, it's next week's episode that I'm crazy to see. It was written by William Gibson, foremost cyberpunk visionary and one of my all-time favorite authors. As I hoped, the teaser revealed the episode's technological slant. I'm curious to see which Gibson themes and terms will surface.

I think Katie's moving into a fussy phase. On one hand, she already just about sleeps through the night (save for a single feeding at about 3 or 4 a.m.), but she doesn't spend much time awake when she's not ready to cry.

The only thing that seems to do the trick is walking with her, a seemingly simple fix that after a few hours gets quite tiring.

Jen suspected it might be her diet, somehow upsetting Katie's system through her milk. From what we could tell, though, it wouldn't be the Tabasco sauce in the clam chowder. More likely the milk in the yogurt and ice cream cone.

Even after watching what Jen eats, though, Katie is still cranky.

The books say babies go through a growth spurt at about two weeks, so that could be it. Mom jokingly suggested it might be the full moon. I'm just resigned to the fact that sometimes babies cry a lot for no good reason... a fact that frustrates Jen to no end.

The other struggle has been expressing milk. At first I thought we were doing something wrong, but now we're convinced the problem is the Gerber electric pump we bought last month.

See, unlike the manual syringe thing we used at the hospital (and are now using to some success at home), the suction from the electric pump is strong and constant. In fact, I noticed last night that the thing is essentially a big aquarium pump with the valves reversed. It's either on or off, and doesn't mimic the rhythmic pull of a feeding baby at all.

So it only extracts a small amount of milk, yet causes no small amount of pain.

Then, we found something interesting while researching these things on the net: a warning to never buy a pump manufactured by a company that also sells formula. The allegation is that these companies make their pumps suck (and not in a good way) on purpose to drive frustrated mothers to use formula.

As conspiracies go, that's not too hard to believe.

Sadly, breast pumps are so very impossible to return. I can't blame the stores, though -- I'd sure be upset to find a used on on the shelf.

We're probably going to call up the local chapter of the La Leche League to get recommendations on which brands and models of pumps are more suited to actual human use. We need to get something that Jen can easily carry and use by herself by the time she returns to work in March.

I'm a long-time fan of David Letterman, and still catch his show when I can. Lately, though, I've also flipped over to NBC after Dave signs off to catch the first few segments on Conan O'Brien.

I won't go as far as saying Dave's losing his edge, but his off nights aren't as much fun to watch as they used to be. In his heyday, Dave was the master of recovery after a joke or segment bombed. These days, some of the pain seeps out to the viewer.

Conan, on the other hand, is still quick on his feet. Jen tells me he's a Harvard grad, which I can see.

For whatever reason, we started tuning in regularly after our stay in the hospital. We listened to his monologues through a tinny, handheld speaker and -- despite the awkward lodgings -- laughed out loud at his first-rate comedy skits.

In fact, he gave us our first chuckle after Katie came home from the hospital (the first time). It was timely, too: a late night lullabye for babies. A little laughter does wonders for the soul after the emotional, exhausting journey to parenthood.

Jen and I giggled about it for days. Eventually, we wished we could hear it again. Like any man of the '90s, I turned to the internet. The material too recent for any search engine, I went straight to the best, time-tested source for any fan: USENET.

I read the FAQ, and made a humble post.

Fewer than two hours later, one of Conan's dilligent fans suggested a current, searchable fan site that already had the lullabye gem transcribed.

Little baby go to sleep,
fall into a slumber deep.
Let me sing a soothing song;
you won't be awake for long.
It's a funny thing you know,
Your comprehension's pretty low.
Doesn't matter what I say,
As long as it's this gentle way, this way.

Forest fire, civil war,
mass extinction, Pauly Shore,
prostitution, hijacked cruise,
O.J. Simpson's Bruno Magli shoes, his shoes.

Now let's take a short time out
for all my viewers who feel left out.
Here's some stuff for you to see,
Moms and dads please turn baby
away from the TV screen, away from the TV screen...

(Montage of an airplane crash, horror movie, plane exploding, man on fire, lion and crocodile attacks, bull gorging someone.)

Now I'm sure you're fast asleep,
dreaming dreams of lambs and sheep.
Wilt Chamberlain will be out next --
mom and dad now go have sex, and watch me, watch me.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 9 February 1998 · Last Modified: 10 February 1998