IMR: 1998: April: 28 -- Tuesday, 10:13 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Katie and I got to spend more quality time together today.

As is becoming tradition for my rare days off, I treated Jen to an afternoon nap by taking our daughter out.

But instead of going to the park, we drove up to UH where I had to fix some paperwork at AIB. Laurel got to carry Katie and show her off to assorted coworkers while I added a missing six hours to my timesheet.

I was thinking about introducing Katie to Sharon up in the journalism office, but then I remembered that Crawford Hall is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Like hell I was going to carry the stroller up those stairs.

So instead, we headed to The Mall, circling random trees and stopping at the Keller Hall kiosk to buy a bag of Ritz Air Crisps.

It was split open a little in the back, but I ate it anyway.

When Katie nodded off, I rolled her into Hamilton Library and let her nap beside me while I read the morning paper. Passers by would stop to peek into the stroller, and as long as they weren't compelled to touch her, I let them ooh and aah.

When she started stretching, I figured we should head home and loaded her back into the Maxima. But instead of waking up, she was asleep again by the time I parked the car. The second nap gave me a chance to head over to the park as well.

I watched kids playing soccer, daydreaming about the day Katie would be running around. I watched a hula lesson attended by women ranging in age from 7 to 70. I strolled through the volunteer-run library and signed the petition seeking held-up funds.

In all, we'd been out and about for over two hours. And when we got back to the apartment, Jen leapt off the bed at us.

Instead of getting a two hour nap, she got a half-hour nap and 90 minutes of nervous nail biting. She appreciated the mini vacation, but like any mom she quickly started imagining the worst.

Oops. I've really got to remember to keep my cel phone with me.

Actually, of the more interesting bits of enlightenment to come to me since becoming a parent has nothing to do with parenting.

Think Crawford Hall.

Now that Katie's stronger, we're less nervous about taking her out. And with her regularly stretched out in her Volvo of strollers (since even at 10 pounds she can feel like a ton after half an hour of walking), we've discovered first hand just how much the world sucks for handicapped people.

Specifically, how much malls suck.

Suddenly, stairs and escalators are useless. Even to get to a store right above your head, otherwise accessible via a quaint spiral stairwell a few feet away, you have to hike over to the nearest anchor store -- Sears, JC Penney's, etc. -- usually at the far end of the mall.

Then, you have to find the elevator, usually tucked around a corner behind the leafblowers.

And since the mall is already crawling with hundreds of other equally frazzled parents with equally monstrous strollers, it might be a while before you can actually get on.

By the time you make it to the second floor, you've forgotten why you wanted to be there in the first place.

As a result, we've begun adding "stroller accessibility" to the various criteria we use to pick a shopping, dining, or even parking spot. I'm sure it's old hat to veteran parents, but to me it's like living in a slightly askew parallel universe. It's something I never had to think about before.

Jen goes back to work on May 19. I only realized the other day how soon that is.

While I'll still work my campus jobs over the summer, it'll only be in the early mornings before I have to drive Jen to Tower. From then until 9 p.m., I'm going to be the one taking care of Katie. Playing with her, feeding her, changing her, taking her for walks...

On the feeding front, we've adopted an aggressive pumping schedule to build up a milk supply that'll hopefully keep formula off the menu all the way until she's ready for solid food in the fall. Jen's body probably thinks she suddenly has quintuplets, and has boosted production accordingly.

As a result, I've learned to sleep with my back to her to avoid the occasional spontaneous misfire.

Katie continues to amaze me with how quickly she's developing. Every so often, when I wake up and catch her first morning smile, I practically faint realizing how different she seems from only a few days before.

Last week, she gave us her first laugh. An adorable, single-syllable "huh." We started giggling at her constantly, trying to get her to do it again, but they were few and far between. When we visited with Robin on Sunday, though, something about her voice made Katie laugh for several minutes.

And just yesterday, while lying in bed, Jen got up the nerve to pick Katie up under her shoulders and hold her up over her head. Dazzled by the new perspective -- looking down on mommy with her arms and legs swinging free -- she laughed so hard it made Jen cry.

Though nervous, I tried it myself today, and was similarly rewarded.

Now that Katie's less frail -- perhaps a week away from being able to hold her head up all the time -- Jen's self-confidence as a parent has really exploded.

Before, when we'd try to carry Katie upright, she'd start kicking and crying. Indeed, she was once so picky about how she was held, the stray arm or cramped foot would send her into fits. Suffice it to say, Jen more than anyone was frustrated when she seemed happier lying on her back than in our arms.

Now Katie doesn't mind sitting up at all, clutching our collars and arms and watching the world over our shoulders. It's always been Jen's absolute favorite way to hold our daughter, often prompting her to say, "This is what I live for."

Finally finished the Campus Security web page.

I was trying to work on it with the officer that maintained the current page, but the changes I sent were often either mangled or left out entirely. Part of the contention was that Capt. Dawson wanted to stop using the term "law enforcement," but some folks weren't crazy about the move.

Actually, I found out that one of the first redesigns of the Campus Security page was done by reknown webmaster and sushi expert Jay. All I can say is that a lot of tweaking must have been done since.

The intent was just to clean the old one up a bit, rather than turning the whole thing inside out. I think I did a pretty good job... especially since my payment has long since been digested and excreted.

That's the last time I work for lunch.

The redesign isn't quite done yet, either. The original designer was apparently very proud of the Java digital clocks he'd installed, so I was asked to incorporate them into the new site.

I'm not crazy about them, but as long as I don't have to fit this in anywhere, I'm happy.

My grandmother is going in for surgery on Thursday. It's supposedly not a major operation, but anything involving general anasthesia makes me nervous.

I was just thinking during a recent visit how vibrant and energetic she can sometimes be. She turns 70 (or is it 80?) on May 1, and she does have days where it's a struggle just to get the dogs fed, but there are also times I'm convinced she's not a day over 50.

Both my grandmothers are just amazing. I'm glad they got to see their great grand-daughter. And I certainly hope both Katie and I have their longevity.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 28 April 1998 · Last Modified: 2 May 1998