Monday, May 4, 2009

Derby Day

Growing up, I had a cousin who was gaga about horses. Why was a complete mystery to me. Until I was in my thirties.

This is a roundabout story so you’ll have to be a bit patient, but we’ll get there eventually. When Matthew was born, he didn’t sleep much. Not your typical newborn thing, this went on for years and his total sleep for any 24 hour period was about 3 hours. The other problem is that he cried for the remainder of the time.

As you can imagine, this did not bode well for Cal and I getting any sleep. (Though I learned important things: One, like a horse, you can actually sleep standing up. And two, without enough sleep you begin to have funky hallucinations.)

Still, you have to get some sleep. We noticed that Matt loved horses and would actually sit without crying when Black Beauty played on the VCR. At night, every night, we put Matt between us in bed and turned on BB. When it reached the end, we rewound and played it again. Of course, the viewing was slightly participatory because every time BB pooped in the house Matt had to wake me up—apparently, he didn’t realize that seeing that scene once in my life, instead of twice a night, was enough for me. And Matt would wake up either Cal or I to comfort him when the barn caught fire. If I remember correctly, I was woken up more often than Cal because Cal’s response ran along the lines of “Matt, remember a couple of hours ago BB was in the fire, and he got rescued then. He’ll get rescued now too.”

All that to say, after hundreds of hours of BB, you develop a certain appreciation for horses, especially thoroughbreds—their beauty, elegance, and yes, their arrogance. And so, we began watching the Triple Crown, which consists of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Matt and I study the horses and decide who we want to root for. The Derby is always the most fun because we get to choose from the whole line-up of horses, after the Derby we root for whoever won the Derby in hopes of seeing a Triple Crown winner. I also make Mint Juleps—though we drink them with tacos. (Apologies to all you purists.)

Who are we rooting for this year? Looks like we’ll be rooting for Regal Ransom because he’s one of two horses running in the Derby who are owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, and my dad used to work for the sheikh years ago

Run Regal Run!

(Of course, by the time you read this. Regal will have probably lost—most horses do.)


  1. I can see you wrote this on Saturday and "scheduled" it to post today :) In case anybody cares to know, "Mine that Bird" won. Yeah, really stupid name for a horse, but pretty much all the racehorses have some equally lame name.

    You didn't mention the other secret you found to getting some sleep with Matt: putting him in a bedroom with his three siblings and letting him scream there. We weren't hard done by, though. I mean, some Moms and Dads pay for machines to make white noise for their kids. But our "machine" was built in!

  2. Hooray for embarassing stories about Matthew!!

    Anyway, did you know that some VHS Players had an "Insant Loop" Function, or ILP. (Don't ask me what the "P" sands for...)

  3. Your post really put things in perspective for me in dealing with sleeplessness with a newborn. I really shouldn't complain! I've been averaging more than 3 hrs a night already, and she's only 2 weeks old. I figure I can take comfort in your suffering since it's long past!