You people are savages

As a parent to a young man, part of my role is to set an example for how to behave in society and another part of my job is to provide guidance when we notice other people that aren't following the code that I've defined.

I like to think that I do an outstanding job with the former, but it's come to my attention that I may not be hitting the mark with the latter.

Anyone exposed to a toddler knows that you are on deck to answer any number of questions every day. Sometimes it can be easier to shoot out a quick response without thinking it through than to answer your little buddy asking: "Why?" another time. I've taken a shortcut sometimes and replied with a general catch-all:

          "Well Buddy, some people are just savages".

Here's an example: We find ourselves in a men's room that the previous user had left in a sorry state.  

Hudson asks me: "Dad, why it is such a mess in here?"
My response: "Well Buddy, some people are just savages".

Of course, the first time I gave him this answer, there was a barrage of additional questions; 

  • What is a savage? 
  • Why would someone act that way? 
  • Do you know who the savages are? 
  • Didn't anyone show them the right way to behave? 

This past winter, we found ourselves leaving an event on a day that the snow banks were melting. We could see the entire winter worth of trash that people had discarded and had collected into the snowbanks by the snow removal trucks all season.

Hudson, appalled at the site of so much garbage, asked: "Dad, why would people throw all their garbage into the snow?"

My lazy response: "Well Buddy, some people are just savages".

I didn't think much more about it as we walked down the street, or as we entered a hotel lobby, or hopped into the elevator with a crowd of people on our way to a parking lot.  But Hudson was still pondering.

I watched him slowly inspect every person in the elevator with us, then, with a strong and confident voice, he chastized:

"YOU PEOPLE ARE SAVAGES!"

I got a few dirty looks but, I figured, he probably wasn't wrong entirely.  One of those people probably had done something to deserve the title.  I shrugged and then hugged him into my leg.

When we got off the elevator, I explained that those likely weren't the same people who left trash in the street over the winter.  We talked about what we can do to make sure that the neighbourhood stays as clean as possible: like always using a garbage can, recycling our bottles and cans, and picking up after our dog.  

Despite some mild embarrassment, I think it was a good lesson.  

Letters to my Son - Your Early Life

Hudson, moments after being born.  Weighing in at 5 lbs 3 oz.

Hudson, moments after being born.  Weighing in at 5 lbs 3 oz.

Your life started early. Six weeks early to be precise. Your Mom's placenta was fully developed at 34 weeks and no longer able to sustain your growth. She was in labour for 13 hours, ending with your birth at 4:02 am on a Sunday. The first day of your life was full of drama. On the way out, you had quite the struggle.

There were a few moments that we were anxious because of a weak heartbeat, but you fought, and your mom was strong, and you made it. We were told that you would need to be sent to another hospital, and we were worried about being apart from you but, luckily, the folks at Mt Sinai hospital in Toronto were able to work some magic to get you a spot in their NICU. If you do decide to have kids yourself and still live in Toronto when you do, I highly recommend that you look into the same hospital.

We spent the first month of your life in hospitals. Not because you were sick, but because you just weren't fully grown yet. You needed some time in an incubator to be sure that you were healthy enough to survive on your own. 

Nathan & Hudson enjoying some quality skin-to-skin time

Nathan & Hudson enjoying some quality skin-to-skin time

Your mother was with you nonstop the whole time she was at the hospital. I was there in the morning and the evenings, but I had to keep going to work during the daytime. There were signs all over the maternity floors of the hospital encouraging Mom's to have "skin-to-skin" time with their newborns to promote bonding and exchange of pheromones that help to induce breast milk production. I slightly misunderstood the signs and insisted on having skin-to-skin time with you myself every day. I was the only man doing so, and I realized that right away, but we carried on and had our one-on-one skin time every night from 9:00pm-10:00 pm.

After the first week or so we received a disturbing phone call that they were planning to move you to another hospital because you were too healthy for the Mt Sinai NICU. At first, I protested, then the doctor told me that there was another family who was in the same situation that we were in who would otherwise see their newborn shipped off to another hospital immediately after being born if we didn't agree. Since we were so grateful that someone else had made that sacrifice for us, we paid the favour forward. 

The first picture of us together.

The first picture of us together.

We went to your regularly scheduled feeding time you tried eating from a bottle for the first time before they moved you to St Michaels hospital. We were there to see you off, and we were there to receive you at the new NICU a few minutes later, and you settled in right away. The next morning we found out that you had a bit of a hard time with the transition. You developed pneumonia over night. That just meant that there was liquid in your lungs, but we had no idea why. It's possible that you got sick but, more likely, you may have ingested milk down the wrong pipe on your first feeding.

It was a bit of a setback for us all. You were fighting to get healthy, and your mom and I were paying an emotional toll just being there to watch you fight. We weren't allowed to hold you for a few days while you were recovering and that just broke our hearts. It was a stressful time in our lives, but soon enough we were able to take you home and start our lives together.

The first day you came home we went straight to the park. It was important to us that you got to see what you had been missing out of life having been cooped up in that incubator for those long weeks.

Hudson and Uncle Bone, matching outfits and nap times.

Hudson and Uncle Bone, matching outfits and nap times.

CNE 2017

We had a great day at the CNE on Saturday.  About 5 hours was all we had and we really made the most of it. We played games, hit up some rides, explored some of the buildings, participated in a special media event for Turning Mecards and, of course, ate our fill at the Food Building.

we might have to make a return visit before it's gone!