Archive for February, 2009


Jelly Man Kelly

February 21, 2009

I was singing this great James Taylor song to Cole the other day and it reminded me of wonderful days as a kid watching Sesame Street and Electric Company. Thought you might enjoy a little blast from the past–courtesy of the Jelly Man himself.



(Kids are the best!!)


The First of Many…

February 18, 2009

I know that through the experiences I will have with Cole I will learn some of the great lessons of my life. I know that he’ll give me an insight and perspective into life I’ve never had before. I know that we’ll learn things together that I never would have experienced alone.

The first of these lessons happened just a few days after he was home from the hospital. First off, one has to understand that Cole has been extremely good baby. When we were pregnant everyone warned us of the sleepless nights, and although he definitely doesn’t sleep through the night, the nights have never been sleepless. Coleman has been an excellent sleeper right from the get go. Especially at the beginning when he was a little jaundiced.

However, all of a sudden his excellent sleeping habits stopped. The baby that had barely fussed at all, seemed cranky more and more. We did everything we could think to do without any positive result. We tried to change his feeding schedule, comforted him, held him, rocked him all hoping to find a way to pacify him.

Then, about 36 hours later, we found the answer in his diaper.

The Scene of the Crime

The Scene of the Crime

Kolette and her mom were watching Cole when all of a sudden there was a rumble in Coleman’s pants the likes of which had never been heard before. The sound was familiar, it was the amplitude that caught us off guard. They took him in his room and laid him on the changing table.

When you bring a newborn from the hospital, they tell you that it’s not irregular for them to be a little irregular. In fact, they tell you to expect it. They told us he could go up to 2-3 days without having a bowel movement. So when he didn’t, we didn’t think anything of it.

But, he must’ve been constipated because when they opened the diaper they found things that should never be written about–and it was everywhere.

Just as the diaper was off, true to his masculine roots Cole created a beautiful, magnificent, yellow rainbow. His urine washed over the wall adjacent to his changing table. They looked like Army Rangers working to get to a target area without getting “shot” in the process.

Not only that, but we had had Cole circumcised. This meant that in addition to getting his bottom clean they also had to make sure the stool was cleaned out of his circumcision ring (a new no maintenance procedure that comes off all by itself and gets rid of all the Vaselining). The ring was barely hanging on making it so that the only way to get this accomplished was to hose him down with a little water. So, battling a full diaper, two liquid streams and legs kicking wildly, they laughed and shrieked as they worked to get things all cleaned up. They definitely had their four hands full.

With that mission accomplished, all the sudden our cheerful, calm, docile little boy was back. He’d just been a little unpleasant about being a lot plugged up.

Watching my boy smile and play without a care in the world reminded me of an important lesson. Too often as we work our way through each day we find ourselves in the situation just like Cole’s. We keep things in far too long. After a while, they start to ache and cause us grief. I know that many times in my life I feel like I’ll be better off if I just keep them in.

Cole showed me how it feels to keep things all bottled up, and reminded me how good it can feel to let it all go. I know this lesson is just the first of many.



Best Valentine’s Day Ever

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!!

Today is an interesting Valentine’s Day for me. As I think about this Valentine’s Day I believe I received the finest Valentine’s Day present of my life–I just received it three weeks early.

You see, this weekend is the weekend Coleman was to be born. Because we did IVF we were extremely confident in the due date. I mean our chart had the exact minute Coleman was conceived. Therefore, although we knew there could be some surprises in the days before, or the days that followed our due date, we never in our wildest dreams would have guessed him to come three weeks early.


Cole Hall: Two Minutes Old

But, he did, and now that he’s here I can’t imagine my life without him. I can’t imagine the last three weeks without the color and excitement he’s brought to my life. I can’t imagine my existence without him in it.

Traditionally, I’m a person who likes traditions. I don’t like knowing what I’m getting for Christmas, I don’t like just getting money for my birthday, and I don’t like getting gifts early. But this case is different. I count every day of the last three weeks as a gift itself. In their own way every smile (you can say they’re just gas, but I know they’re smiles), every coo, every kiss and every cry, have been the most precious presents I have ever received.

Then, this morning to sweeten the deal, Kolette and Cole gave me a second gift to remind me of the first. I’ve placed it below. It now sits in my office, on my desk, as a constant reminder of the finest Valentine’s Day I ever experienced–the Valentine’s Day of January 27, 2009.


And for your reading (and visual) pleasure, here’s a little something from the most popular guy on the web….

A Coleman Valentine

A Coleman Valentine

I was due tomorrow but decided to come three weeks early and wanted to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love,  Cole


Continued…and Done

February 11, 2009

I realized that in the middle of posting The Cole Creation, Cole came. In an effort to allow anyone who wants to to read the story in its entirety, I’ve posted it on its own page that will remain a permanent part of the blog. If you’d like to you can read it here.

(For those of you who were following along, the new stuff begins with Part IV. If you were reading along as I posted and want to start where you left off that’s where you should begin. If you want to just up and read the whole thing because Cole is so compelling, well then go ahead and start at the beginning.)




February 7, 2009


It seems that everywhere I look someone is talking about change. It is been a huge part of the political scene. Obama won the election largely because people believed in his motto–Change. Across America people wanted change and believed he could deliver. There’s talk of change in the economy. Things are down and everyone wants that to improve. In matters of state, our troops are out and regardless of which side of the aisle you call home, everyone is hopeful for a peaceful resolution and change in the tempers of the Middle East.

Although I share the desire for change globally, locally it is a different matter altogether. Working from home has afforded me a great many opportunities. One of which has been the chance to spend the last week relishing my baby boy. Most men get their newborn home and then it’s back off to work. At work all they think about is this new precious boy waiting for them at home.

Realizing this hasn’t been my most productive week professionally, it’s been a week I wouldn’t change for the world. I have loved every moment I’ve spent holding, kissing, talking to and looking at Coleman. I understand that eventually (sadly, sooner rather than later) I’m going to have to get back on the stick and concentrate on work as much as I did prior to Cole’s birth. But today my time and energy is focused on Coleman, and I would love it if that never had to change.

Also, as I look at him now he’s innocent and perfect. That too I don’t want to change. I know the difficulty and struggle that awaits him out in the world. I know there will be times when his body will be damaged and his heart will be broken. Even though I understand that those things will teach him lessons he needs to learn in his life, my initial instinct is to protect him and keep him safe. Today, I can hold him in my arms and keep all that is evil and harmful away, and I don’t want that to change.

So let the politicians cry for change. Let Wall Street pray for change. Let Main Street hope for change. Me, I’ll enjoy things just the way they are today. I’m going to savor every precious moment, I have with my boy. I’m going to hold him in my arms, enjoy today and worry about tomorrow some other time.



It’s All In The Lips

February 4, 2009
Coleman Pacified

Coleman Pacified

From the very first day Kolette and I decided to try to have a family I have worried about how I would play my part in raising that family. My concern wasn’t so much if I would be able to play a part, but how I would play that part.

I have spent every day from the day I broke my neck in 1986 to today working around my disability. In those 20 plus years I have figured out how to accomplish a great many things that others said would be impossible. But, when my thoughts turned to Coleman, on his way to join us in this world, I not only wondered if I was creative enough to adapt to his needs, but also if he would allow his needs to adapt to my abilities.

This desire to help, and concern about being able to fulfill that desire was only heightened last Tuesday when Coleman was born. I was amazed at how needy he was; how tiny and small. The nurses who helped him in the hospital moved so delicately and with such precision. My movements, as I worked to hold him, seemed big and cumbersome by comparison.

Then, yesterday evening as I was lying in bed Kolette placed Cole in my arms. I played with him, talked with him, kissed him, and cooed at him. It’s amazing the things we’ll say to babies. Stuff like, “Coley Boley Toley Roly Poly” just comes right out of your mouth as if it’s normal everyday conversation.

In the middle of all this tomfoolery, his pacifier fell out of his mouth and onto his chest. Needing to hold onto him with both arms I knew that even if I could move my hands I still had a problem. His eyes began to close and his brow began to furrow and I knew that a big cry was coming.

Not knowing what else to do I used my arms to lift his chest as close to my face as I possibly could. When you’re a quadriplegic you learn early on that your mouth can be one of the best friends of a handless man.

With his chest right against my face I was able to work my lips around the back end of his pacifier. With his pacifier firmly ensconced in my mouth I lowered his chest in an effort to move his head toward my face. My first shot yielded poor results–the pacifier ended up in his eye. My following attempts weren’t much better as I hit his nose and cheek accordingly.

Although I wasn’t able to put the pacifier in his mouth, pushing it around his face helped Cole clue into what I was trying to have happen. Wanting the pacifier in his mouth as badly as I did, he turned his face toward mine searching for the ever soothing binky. Our faces moved around and around almost in unison but without yielding success. Just when I thought we were never going to succeed, Cole put his little hand up near his mouth and happened to push the binky in the hole.

With both of us searching for the “money shot” we finally got the pacifier in his mouth. Cole’s brow unfurled, his eyes opened and the potential cry was averted. It wasn’t pretty and they’ll never teach that technique in a parenting class. But it was a beginning.

It was the beginning of my and Cole’s journey together. It was the first of many things I’m sure we’ll figure out in our own way. It was a small thing but it has given me great hope. I can’t wait to see the things we work out.



Day 1: The Adventure Begins

February 1, 2009
Coleman J. Ready for Transport

Coleman J. Ready for Transport

With his bilirubin levels down the doctor finally gave us the green light to bring Coleman home. He no longer needed to be under the three lights at the hospital, a “blanket light” would be sufficient, and that type of light could be operated at home.

I was excited because the trips to the hospital were finally over. Kolette was excited because she’d finally be back in her own bed. Coleman, a little unsure about whether his new parents knew the first thing about what they were doing, was a little pensive. But, permission was given and, ready or not, away we went. We loaded Cole in his car seat and the three of us went on our first family trip.

The Trip Home

The Trip Home

As you can imagine, once at home there was a lot of stuff to organize and put away. When you get home from the hospital not only do you have to take care of all the stuff you took with you, you also have to worry about all the stuff you accumulated while you were there–and for this kid that filled two cars. Kolette was therefore grateful to have her mother meet us at the house knowing that she could help Ko get her arms around this big project.

Grandma & Grandpa Coleman Packing Cole's Stuff Home

Grandma & Grandpa Coleman Packing Cole's Stuff Home

We arrived home, came in the doors, made sure Coleman was comfortable and began “Operation Organize.” (You have to remember that when we went to the hospital on Monday we thought we still had three weeks to get everything prepared.) Needless to say, there was lots to do.

After about three hours of heavy cleanup, substantial arrangement and the ordering of a pizza, the phone rang. Kolette answered the phone in her standard cheery demeanor. On the other end of the line was the local pharmacy. They called us asking if we still wanted the billilight blanket the doctor ordered. I was sitting close enough to Kolette that I too could hear what the person on the line was asking. Immediately, Ko and I looked at each laughing and horrified all at the same time.

At the hospital, we were instructed that our first item of business at home needed to be acquiring the billilight and getting Cole on that light as soon as possible. We’d gotten so wrapped up in putting things away that it almost 5 hours since Coleman was last “under the lights.”

We told the pharmacy we did in fact want the light  and we wanted it ASAP. 15 minutes later the light was in our house and we were working on getting it in Cole’s crib. When we lifted him out of his bassinet we realized he was wet. In fact, he was more than just wet, he was soaked–another thing we’d forgotten our responsibility to follow up on.

Being the trooper Coleman is, he didn’t make a sound or report us to Child Protective Services. Later that night, as we lay in bed Coleman did began to cry. At first, we thought it was just payback, but as he continued crying it was clear there was something more behind it.
Even as new parents we knew there was going to be a lot of crying when we got him home, and we knew it was best not to pick the baby up every time he made a sound. So, we stayed in bed listening as he would cry, then calm himself down, only to begin crying again. About an hour and a half in, and a 30 minutes before his feeding was actually scheduled, Kolette finally decided to see if he might just be hungry again. The minute she began feeding him, the crying stopped. And not just for little while, but the whole night.

So, in his first night home we forgot his billilight, made him lay in a wet diaper, and starved him until his face was red from crying. I’m sure Coleman is wondering if it’s possible to get back in the womb, and if so how quickly he can make that happen.

Oh well… Never a dull moment!


Cole's First Line of Defense - His Dad

Cole's First Line of Defense - His Dad