The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m thinking back on the past month. The trouble with all of this is exactly what the age old line indicates – things change so fast. It’s usually halfway through the month or more before I think, oh hmmm, what’s new this month? And by then I’m not quite sure. Although I’m saying all that and this feels like a month where not as much changed. And I’m saying that and here we’re probably about to have a novella post. Who knows, eh? Let’s dive in.

With the 16th month including Christmas I’d be remiss in not mentioning the hysterical but very sad picture from daycare when Santa came and visited (yes, they had a Santa and photo setup). When my wife went to pick up the kiddo they gave a picture of the sweet little boy mid wail, tears on his face, sitting on a smiling Santa’s lap. Classic! For my family we have a Christmas Eve get together with my mom’s side of the family and Santa shows up (who sounds shockingly like my dad …) and again, the kiddo was not having it. To be fair to Santa, the kiddo is VERY into mom and dad and pretty much no one else so Santa is just part of the greater ‘other.’

Speaking of that, the kiddo has been on a tear of a dad mode streak. It was very sad for my wife because he’d sometimes be upset if I just left the room, or handed him over to her, or anything where it was not he and I together. This is a natural thing, but it had been going on for a good stretch and was starting to tax my wife’s heart … Don’t you know I gave BIRTH to you, child!? You know, all that. But thankfully he started coming out of it just at her breaking point. The tiny tyrant strikes again.

The kiddo actually has one more person in his repertoire of acceptable people – the person I hand him off to at daycare. For the first while he did not like being handed off at all … no sir. But then we hit a golden stretch where he would actually open up his arms and go for a hug-like handoff. He was happy and excited to see her and oh, dear future self, you know how much better that made the start of my workday than handing off a crying little sweetheart. But lately, the last few weeks or so, he wasn’t crying but he wasn’t interested in being handed off either … I attributed it to the strong dad-mode phase of just wanting to be with me. And now, when daycare starts back up after the New Year (I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve) he’ll be in a new room and that means a new handoff routine and new people. In the previous room his favorite person would literally let me hand him off to her and he’d be held by her for who knows how long (could’ve been just till I got to my car, who knows). This was great because he’s a cuddly little fella and that helps ease the transition I imagine. At the new room do I just set him down? Or what? He’s also the only non-walking kiddo in that room which probably doesn’t matter to him one bit but I kind of hope he’ll have some sense of peer pressure and decide, ‘aw heck, guess I’ll try that walking thing.’

Anywho, big changes afoot there that I am dreading. Hopefully it’ll be a quicker transition than I am anticipating.

Speaking of the morning routine, part of that now includes the kiddo saying some new words. Usually I walk into the kitchen holding the kiddo and say, ‘want to have breakfast?’ to which he responds ‘breakfast’ and then I’ll say, ‘what do we need first?’ and he’ll say ‘a bowl.’ (In a book I read I recommended not using articles … I see why now. He thinks bowl is a-bowl, and he thinks door is, a-door … Close enough, eh?) And then I say, ‘what do we need next?’ and he says, ‘a bowl’ … even though we already have bowls and I’m holding a spoon in my hand. So, we’ll get that next step sometime.

The kiddo has also improved his fine motor skills a great deal. We had a short stretch where he was interested in using the spoon and feeding himself … but that waned. BUT, he figured out how to cross his fingers and that thrills him. It’s his pointer and middle finger and he’ll sit and just stare at his hand and do that. If you then hold your hand up for him to see and cross your fingers he looks at you with this pleased as can be grin. Like, YEAH! ISN’T THAT AWESOME!?

I was also surprised and delighted one day when I noticed him trying to snap. We were visiting my family for Christmas and standing in line for an aquarium (which he LOVED) and I was snapping along with music and then would watch his hands. Sure enough, he’s staring and pinching his tiny little thumb and middle finger together and sort of slowly rubbing them together. The kid’s got talent! (I have no idea if other kids already know this by age or if that’s typical or what … but it delights me.)

Also over Christmas he finally figured out his ears! We had been doing the ‘where’s your nose?!’ and ‘where’s your belly?’ which he had no problem, but ears, eyes and mouth had continued to elude him. Sometime while visiting family it clicked and where’s your mouth, and where are your ears registered delightful responses. I especially like the ears question because he grabs both and kinda plays with them. He’s been on a quest since a few months old to rip my ears off so hopefully he’ll redirect some of that loving attention to his own ears.

Ok last Christmas time story. For the trip we stayed about half the nights at my parent’s house, and half at my sister’s. Well, sorta. The first night at my sister’s the kiddo went down too late (we had gone out to dinner) and crashed right away. We didn’t end up talking about how to handle if he wakes up crying because he had been sleeping great at my parent’s. Mistake. My sister has two kids and my wife and I assumed we’d want to take care of the little fella pronto if he woke up crying. A bit after midnight he wakes up crying and we spring to action pretty quickly, one of us going in to say nice things and rub his back. … No dice. We take turns doing that one or two times (?) and then decide to bring him into bed with us. … Also no dice, but a much more time consuming version of no dice. He just squirms and wiggles and moves around and is most definitely not sleeping but wants to be sleeping. We decide to take him back into his bed and he is quiet for a bit before the crying starts again. I go in and decide to spend a longer chunk of time in there with my hand on his back to let him drift off while being comforted. I grab a pacifier he had thrown out of the crib (he likes to do that when frustrated with sleep) and put it next to him in the crib. He responds by taking the pacifier out of his mouth, reaching his hands between the crib slats and dropping it on the ground. He then grabs the pacifier that I had just placed in there, reaches his hands out between the crib slats and drops it on the ground. Ok then. Message received. My wife heads to the couch in the family room, and I go lay down in bed with him and he is AWAKE. He says something to me happily, sits up and then body slams my chest (he likes to do this sometimes). I try for a while then head out to my wife to discuss (at this point it’s a bit after 2 am which means we’ve been trying to get him back to sleep for two stinking hours). We were afraid to put him back in his crib to let him cry it out because of the noise so … we hop in the car and drive 45 minutes to my parent’s house (with our happy little very awake child sitting in the back babbling and making raspberry noises occasionally). I imagine my sister and brother-in-law were quite confused when they woke up to us having disappeared in the middle of the night. My sister said it was like a bad breakup where someone just bolts. My family will have a fun time bringing up our middle of the night fleeing for a while I imagine.

Ok, last five things. Quick hits!

1 – The kiddo is, I think, very aware of other people’s opinions on him. He will wave and smile and shrink away with shyness at TONS of strangers (he loves airports for this reason). But a new thing is that when mom or dad laugh while talking with other people, he’ll grin and laugh too. It’s very funny to me.

2 – A very strange, magical, and adorable thing is my son’s relationship with our handvac. Yeah, you read that right. It is hanging in the laundry room and he will point to it very deliberately while being held. So you walk over to it, points, walk closer, points … and then you eventually get to the point (3 feet away or so) where he gives out a quiet little whimper of fear, clutches you and looks away. You step away and boom, he’s back to pointing at it. He has this love/fear thing going. But we’ve accommodated this and he has slowly gotten closer and closer before being afraid to the point that now he will touch the handvac for a few seconds before the whimper arrives. Strange kid.

3 – Often after work I will hold the kiddo, pull out my cell phone and ask, ‘want to have a dance party?’ And then I’ll put on some music. This is to the point that if I am holding him and pull out my cell phone he says something and immediately begins dancing (which is a sort of one-armed aggressive up-down movement).

4 – My wife’s maiden name is one-syllable, and more often than not I use her maiden name instead of her first name. (To the point that when we’re visiting family she finds it strange for me to use her first name.) Our son heard me say ‘hey <last name>’ so much that he has picked up on saying this same phrase. I don’t think he knows <last name> is my wife, he’ll just randomly say it. It’s pretty fun.

5 – The walking front. Oh, the walking front. It feels like so long ago that we had the disappointing 15 month appointment and were so worried about his walking status. Well, he’s still not walking but somehow the fear has dissipated. My wife called the early intervention folks who advised we call back later because he was too young, and given that he’s premature, for him to qualify for that help. But in a few weeks we may well be making that call. In the meantime he has improved his semi-walking game because he can now turn his little zebra walker when he walks around with it, and he’s doing more brief .5 second stands on occasion. Fingers crossed, eh future self?

Til next time, DWEEBS.

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December 2018 Haiku

December 1 (Saturday)
Kid’s newest hobby
Loves putting hats on himself
Kids, huh? They’re weirdos

December 2 (Sunday)
Molar coming in
Brings excitement for parents
And pain for kiddo

December 3 (Monday)
Customer problem
It’s not COMPLETELY my fault
(But partly is … Frack)

December 4 (Tuesday)
Lights on tree in yard
This Charlie Brown nonsense is
Delightfully bad

December 5 (Wednesday)
My wife, who’s not old
(Odd statement, but key for this)
Tore disk in her neck!

December 6 (Thursday)
Tried patent at work
Turns out idea’s “obvious”
Your mom’s obvious!!!

December 7 (Friday)
Customer issues
Before leaving work found out
New one is my fault

December 8 (Saturday)
Want to go swimming
But I can’t breathe through my nose
Hmm … Could make it tough …

December 9 (Sunday)
Keep thinking of work
I HATE work thoughts on weekends
This is MY time, brain!

December 10 (Monday)
Jumping into bug
Can’t recreate the dang thing
It’s guess and check time!

December 11 (Tuesday)
Wife, kid, me … All sick
How fit are we, you may ask?
We’re … Coughing fit! (Oof.)

December 12 (Wednesday)
Christmas movie time
It’s the worst when a flick’s bad
Be good, or garbage

December 13 (Thursday)
New code version bad?
If so, could be my fault
This week’s just awful

December 14 (Friday)
Setting new records
For toilet paper used up
(Stupid runny nose)

December 15 (Saturday)
Kid goes down for nap
And you know what, so does dad
Life’s little pleasures

December 16 (Sunday)
Gift exchange with wife
Based on gifts (which I’m jazzed for)
I’m mentally twelve

December 17 (Monday)
Ok work, be kind
Customers, please don’t have things –
Aw frick, new issue

December 18 (Tuesday)
Work’s year end review
Boss keeps postponing the talk
Sure is good for stress …

December 19 (Wednesday)
Side project at work
I’ll be doing hardware stuff?
Chance to feel real … Dumb

December 20 (Thursday)
Team/Customer call
And the team fixed the issue!
Boss (and me) relieved

December 21 (Friday)
Our team still working
While others happily chat
About vacation

December 22 (Saturday)
Flying to ‘Zona
Dad vs son nap battle …
Smooth flight, here we come?

December 23 (Sunday)
Fam Christmas party
Roughly forty of us now
Sadly, just quick hi’s

December 24 (Monday)
Santa Claus is here!!
The kids go crazy for him
(Except those crying)

December 25 (Tuesday)
Watching my nephew
React to his biggest gift
Christmas is too fun

December 26 (Wednesday)
Kid wakes, won’t be calmed
Leave sister’s house, drive to folks …
This … At two am

December 27 (Thursday)
A day of cat naps
And low key activity
(And nasty cough fits)

December 28 (Friday)
Aquarium trip
Kid LOVED it – squawked at ALL fish
(They didn’t squawk back)

December 29 (Saturday)
The little waver
Charms travelers with grins, waves
I love watching it

December 30 (Sunday)
Star Wars and coffee
While the kid scores a big nap
Life is good my friends

December 31 (Monday)
It’s new years eve, all!
Maybe I’ll stay up til 10!
YEAH THAT’S RIGHT, REAL NUTS!

Attn: Ellen (1/9/19)

Front

ellen381a

Back (apologies for my handwriting!)

ellen381b

 

The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

At first you see this and think, ‘oh cliche fisherman joke.’ But look deeper. They walk at the exact same cadence! That’s a harmonious relationship. Also both of them have a very broken left foot.

Sincerely,
DumbFunnery.com OR
@DumbFunnery

Why am I doing this?

 

It’s a few days past 15 months and I am feeling a little bummed. I had a poor end of my work day. (Turns out I caused a bug in some code – NUTS, that really bothers me; and I recently took some steps to file for a patent and I got responses from committee members who review that and they all stated things like ‘how is this novel?’ And I want to respond saying YOU’RE NOT NOVEL! Your whole family’s not novel! But … they’re right, it’s not.)

Here’s the thing about the kiddo. He can really take your mind off things. For example, I got home and ran a few errands and was distracted with entertaining him. And then, I read to him and put him down to bed (my wife is off getting us dinner so we can eat our feelings). And it’s so nice to just hold his tiny hands and look at his tiny, crazy, adorable face.

Speaking of his crazy face, he is really into perspective shifts these days. That sounds highfalutin and fancy but all this means is he tilts his head to the side and finds this very amusing. He also shakes his head no at a very fast rate, probably mimicking the high of getting dizzy. Like a low-grade dizzy buzz. Recently I have taken to putting things on his head, trying to balance them just so. He’ll set still for a moment, then SMACK it off with a vengeance. I started putting things on my head and he would pull himself up, knock the item off my head, then tilt his head sideways while standing right in front of me. Face about 2 inches from mine, but sideways. This gives him such a big, goofy grin it’s unbearably delightful.

***

Ok now we’re about halfway through month 15 and I clearly should’ve kept writing when I sat down before. I got distracted by dinner on that night and then I never got back to this. And hey, guess what, the patent is now officially dead and there’s talk of us considering our latest release not good (as in advise customers not to use it) so things in my work world are coming up Milhouse. What do we do, gang? We distract!

The kiddo has not just been into nodding his head no aggressively, he is also nodding yes now! This is definitely new this month and a lot of fun. He is so deliberate with his movements when he nods yes it is very fun to see. And my wife and I debated for a while if he knew what he was doing when nodding yes … Because he would seem to nod yes at just about any question asked of him. But it has been quite handy with food (and adorable) because we’ll say, ‘more raspberries?’ … Well, that’s a bad example. The answer there is almost ALWAYS yes. But this morning he actually nodded no pretty quickly into a few raspberries which shocked me. The yes is still slow, and thoughtful, but it is coming along nicely and really helps a ton with communication.

Speaking of communication, the kiddo’s vocabulary is flourishing! My wife and I like to reassure ourselves by saying he is just so focused on language he doesn’t have time for physical stuff (more on that later). We have a very poor attempt at a running list of words that are maybe, possibly, sorta, but probably not, in the order the words arrived and so far that list is …

Dog, dad, mom, ball, bye, book, car, banana, airplane, high five, outside (?), bird, cracker, bowl, uh oh, water (agua)

I have 0% confidence that this list is right. But there it is, in all its incorrect glory. It is also a pretty odd list.

Bird is trying its best but failing to compete with airplane. When we first got him saying bird anything above him temporarily shifted to bird (for maybe a day) but now things are back to airplane. The kid is also, I think, catching on to adoration and he knows we get a kick out of ‘airplane’ so that has probably led to more than a few street lights, fans, and you name it being called out as ‘airplane.’

High five I talked about last month, which was a bit of a shocker and a lot of fun. One funny thing there is that a neighbor kid is a 14 year old boy who would without fail see our son, come up and say hi to us and then to the kiddo, ‘high five?’ This starting when our son was all of about 2 months. We’d explain, ‘he can’t even control his neck so uh … a high five is a tall order.’ And what do you know, now that he can actually high five, the neighbor kid hasn’t been seen in a while (less hanging out in the front yard for all of us now that it’s cold out).

A favorite new language is ‘uh oh.’ This has been accompanied with many, many, many deliberate drops of things. He will grab some food, reach his arm out, drop it, and then look over his chair at the kitchen floor to see where his food has landed. This is admittedly a much more fun game for him when the dog is underfoot, and for her sake and ours we have taken to putting her up. Uh oh has not yet lost its shine for any of us, and I am still willing to squat the day away picking up that just dropped (uh oh) item to retrieve it and do it all over again.

IMG_20181216_084644573

The zebra walker, our on-again-off-again friend.

Ok ok, last language thing. I mean that’s all we’ve got right? (Foreshadowing!) The kiddo also seems to be doing more of … I don’t know. Maybe an impression of English? It’s like when you know a tiny, tiny bit of Spanish and you think ok sure I’ll just say a bunch of noises that sound sorta Spanish-ish … He does that occasionally? Good luck even trying to understand what I’m going for here, future self.

***

Now I’ll explain my vague statements. We had his fifteenth month doctor visit where we learned a few shocking things. One, he is still tiny when it comes to length. This doesn’t really matter but everything makes you worry. I have this sort of internal tango where I think logically, each kid goes at their own pace and blah blah blah but then I counter it with, but what if I’m doing something wrong or what if something is actually wrong? And you know, when it’s some conjectured hypothetical like that it’s hard to respond rationally. So the internal tango rages on and I suspect I’ll just grow more and more practiced at this dance rather than ever getting to leave the dance floor. PARENTHOOD.

Anywho. He’s tiny. You also fill out these questionnaire’s at these doc visits where they ask strange questions like, ‘can he take a cheerio and pretend it’s more than just a cheerio?’ (Not a real question.) And you think … well I don’t know … I don’t think we’ve ever tried that? After you answer all the questions they look and say, you’re in the white zone, grey zone, or black zone (talk about a racist form) and you want to be white. For language he was good, but for gross and fine motor both he was in the black! Fine totally surprised us because we think he is doing great! But gross was no shock since he’s still not walking. The doc suggested we talk to early intervention about his not walking and we said yes, anything and everything to help.

It was a harsh visit because we both thought the kiddo was bigger and doing so well, and then to have our doc say, ‘doing so well, huh? Hmm’ really threw both my wife and I. You just start questioning if you could or should be doing any number of things differently. Before the appointment I could’ve named any of a number of things where I felt like my son was excelling, after all I saw was what he wasn’t yet doing that others were. It was certainly a day of reminding myself that my son is who he is, he is bathed daily in the intense love my wife and I have for him, and we are doing are very best to create the best life we can for him.

Ok. Enough of that, eh? See, that’s another thing, you get into these little self pep-talks, too. Love, eh? What nonsense it generates.

This month he DID take a renewed interest in his zebra walker which has been good to see. (Oh and P.S. the early intervention people said don’t worry … he’s a premie and we don’t worry about not walking till 18 months anyway so take that, doc.)

(Oh and P.P.S. I actually really like our doc.)

Ok now for a the last few things, I promise.

IMG_20181216_084652091

Say friend, you look like a savvy shopper!

One of the most fun things the kiddo is into now is hats. He LOVES putting on hats. You hand him a beanie, a ball cap, whatever? He’s going to put it on. And pretty darn well actually (take that, fine motor skills). I have had him put on his winter cap a number of times and just adjust it barely for it to be on right. He also has a sort of fedora type hat that makes him look like an old time salesman when he wears it. I like to talk about the miracle elixir he’s hawking that makes you poop diapers and pee out baby wipes. It’s a good thing we don’t have Alexa because God knows what Amazon would have to take away from its spying on us.

He has also figured out his nose! ‘Where’s your nose?’ is now answered with a point, a smash of the nose, and the phrase, ‘nose, nose, nose’ (said nasally because of him pushing on his nose). We’ve even got ‘where’s dada’s nose?’ and some aggressive nose smashing too. It’s fun (is it?) for everyone.

My wife and I have made a habit of pointing at characters in books when we read to him. That’s the Little Blue Truck! That’s a horse! That’s a cow! You get the drill. Now he will occasionally point too … quite aggressively, and 40% of the time at something that makes sense. That’s the Pout Pout fish, yes right there! Exactly! Wow so smart! (And as you’re saying so smart he begins smashing his tiny little pointer finger into some other random part of the page and you think, well … partial credit?)

I think my son was playing with my wife one day when I got the idea to tickle his back to see if he’d react. Not a proper tickle, but one of those lightly trace your fingers to give you the heebie jeebies. It worked perfectly. He sat up straight, got a goofy look on his face, and shivered. I don’t know if he enjoys it or not, but boy is it ever adorable. (Sorry, dear son.)

Ok last one!

We took the kiddo for his third haircut this month. First haircut all three of us went and he seemed unfazed. Great. Second time it was just he and my wife and he was NOT happy the whole time, so my wife strongly suggested I go. The tears hit pretty quickly into the haircut so out come our pacifier and I reached under his little haircut apron and held his hand. He responded by grabbing onto my pointer finger and holding that for the duration of the haircut. I had to dance around the girl cutting his hair a tiny bit, but it was just about one of my favorite and most adorable things to have happen in my life.

Kid, I’ll hold your hand anytime.

Rambly dad, OUT!

$5 Christmas Gifts

My brother, sister, and I have kids. Buying gifts for kids plus siblings plus sibling-in-laws … it adds up with time, effort, and money.

This year we decided on a new approach. We would buy real gifts for the kids, and then for each other … $5 gems. The goal was to buy the worst possible gift for $5.

Here are my contestants.

Attn: Ellen (1/2/19)

Front

 

Ellen380a

Back (apologies for my handwriting!)

 

Ellen380b

The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

I bet the first person who thought of removing the hair before they ate the animal they killed was revered with a god like status.

Sincerely,
DumbFunnery.com
OR @DumbFunnery

Why am I doing this?

 

New Year’s Eve, 2018

2018 is over, friends, and with it we have a chance to look to the next year and changes we might want to make. This year my wife has embraced the idea of ‘Monday resolutions’ which is the idea that you don’t need to make resolutions once a year but instead look for small changes to make every week. One idea I proposed for that is that we pick one item every weekend to clean … keep it easy and achievable. Maybe just the master bathroom bathtub. Easy, doable, and we don’t get way behind.

Normally I like to think back on the year and how I didn’t read as much as I intended, or I’ll read more next year, or do some self-improvement kinds of activities but …

Let’s be honest. That’s not going to happen.

I am reading very little these days. It’s because my son goes to bed, my wife and I hang out, and then I go to bed. I don’t read before bed, and if I do I read about two pages.

Instead I’ll focus on trying to be a good husband (date nights), father (less time on my phone when the kiddo is around), and employee (more plugged in at work).

Achievable!

But you know what, heck, let’s reach. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I wake up at 5 to swim. On Wednesday I should wake up early to read. That way I might actually finish the book about raising a 1-2 year old before my son turns 2. What a concept.

whatToExpectYearTwo

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