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Month 10, or Stand Up And Make Your Voice Heard!

The little monster, aka the mook, aka the kook mook, aka the mook riot, aka my son, and my wife are currently … AWAY. WHAT!? My wife and the kiddo are going to have their first night without dad there too and woe is dad, woe is mom, likely unaware is the kiddo. I’ll be joining them shortly to visit family … but for now it’s an unreal amount of free time in the evening.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

First, we’ll go with the betters and then we’ll get into the firsts. Then a grab bag/other category.

BETTERS!

It’s strange how I can look back on a month and think, ‘hmm, did much happen? He just seems like he was last month … but better at everything.’ He’s a quicker crawler, a better sitter, quicker and more stable when pulling himself into a standing position (he has to have help by holding onto an object to get himself up). He is just ever so slightly showing an interest in cruising.

Crawling, it turns out, is the best possible way to find every little crumb or bit of leaf or clump of dog hair or you name it small item in the house. Our vacuum can’t be powerful enough, or run enough. The kid is a seek and destroy missile for tiny bits of debris. And, like a vacuum capable of choking, those items will be picked up and an attempt will be made to suck them down. Crawl, crawl, pause, pick up gross item, slowly lift toward mouth … mom or dad jump in (hopefully the majority of the time), repeat.

A simultaneously fun and not fun new habit is his sense of exploration. At first the monster discovered crawling and would go from toy A to toy B, or make a futile effort to chase down the dog. (It’s futile not because the dog runs away, but because he usually gets distracted along his path to the dog.) Now the kitchen is worth checking out, the front entry way, and oh, oh a NEW favorite toy – DOOR STOPPERS! What fun those little spring loaded, hittable things they are. And what fun it is to try and rip them off the wall, too.

In the category of more movement the standing efforts have really kicked up as well. The kiddo has enjoyed crawling over obstacles for a while, for example a boppy sitting out must be crawled OVER, not around. And parents fall into this obstacle category too. If you are laying down, he’ll crawl over you or on you and then lovingly attack your face. I say lovingly, but it’s not. He will pinch your nose, try to pull off your lips, he is an aggressive explorer. Like a sculptor working with live people, he’ll just keep trying til your face is the shape he’s looking for. If you are sitting upright, then you are his standing assistant. Little pinch-y hands grab your shirt and upsy-daisy go the formerly very wobbly knees (now mildly wobbly). (And can we call them knees, really? He seems to be made of flexible, stretchy, heavenly soft-skinned goo … he is so bendy it boggles the mind. He’ll crawl halfway up me, fall back down and I swear his legs are in some pretzel formation underneath him but he just goes right back to work.) He has a few toys that are great for standing practice, and one day he hinted at a future step because he cruised from one toy to another next to it. Trouble to come. Unfortunately with his standing efforts he has also increased his likelihood of wipeouts, and he rocked a wicked cheek bruise for a while after a tough fall forward INTO a wooden toy. Ouch.

The tiny tyrant has also expanded his food repertoire and has decreased (mildly, so, so mildly) his reliance on his parent’s help. My wife was surprised one day to find the kiddo FEEDING HIMSELF at daycare. What!? We didn’t know he could do that! They had him set up with his bottle of milk, just drinking and chilling. Huh. At home he is now able to feed himself from those squeeze food pouches which is adorable. It’s fun to see his tiny little hand holding that pouch, and the tiny bit leaving each time he sucks on it. AND, big exciting news, he now eats some ‘people foods’ as I call them. As in, a little deli turkey is now possibly his favorite snack. It is adorable and terrifying to watch due to fear of choking.

And now for the sleep front. This month we made the decision to work toward no more night time feedings because he really didn’t need them. Having come back from a trip, and the little fella having a cold, we had made backwards progress with him eating 2-3 times a night. We decided to take one away on Friday, and the next Friday we’d take one more away, etc. We also came up with plans (there is so much planning) around how the night would work.

‘Ok, if he wakes up at 12, you feed him … if he wakes up again before 3, I’ll go in, if he wakes up AT 3 you feed him, if he wakes up after like … 430, I’ll handle him.’

By having me, non-milk dad (that’s what the cool kids call me … nah that’s gross), go in he would know ‘THERE’S NO FOODS IN THAT THERE BREAST! (just tiny pectoral muscles.)’ Harsh comment, son.

Anyway, over the course of 2 weeks we had gotten to ZERO night feedings and the night was going much more predictably! He would wake up only once usually, and friendos, THAT AIN’T BAD. But then, a week into the 0 night feedings, Father’s Day weekend actually, BOOM he’s waking up frequently. My wife and I decided to split the load. Monday my wife took him to the doc and GUESS WHAT! DOUBLE EAR INFECTION! Our son started daycare in April, from April to mid June he managed to get 5 ear infections. That’s rough. The doc advised we see an ENT doc to get tubes put in his ears.

(This is where you might picture the students getting off the magic school bus, grabbing a water tube, and sliding down a SWEET EAR WAX WATER SLIDE! WHEEEEE!)

The great news is that, dipping a little into post 10-month territory, the sleep is now back in great shape with the ear infections having been drugged out of the system. And our little tiny darling will have surgery in late July for the tubes. We had THREE nights he slept through the night, bouncing back and forth with one wake up per night and a sleep-through night … oh, heavenly sleep. Unfortunately, my body seems acclimated to waking up randomly at 230 am. I could do without that.

FIRSTS!

On the sleep front … (Idea: spoof of All Quiet on the Western Front, but instead it’s All Quiet on the Sleep Front … dark children’s bedtime book where a baby and a grown-up are trapped in a foxhole together and one of them, probably the baby, stabs the other and then thinks about how we’re all just people and who are the people even telling us to kill one another who are so far removed from this brutality? What, too dark? Maybe not a bedtime book.) (I ought to re-read that book.)

Anywho … the kiddo also went from FOUR naps a day, short ones at that, to three and then quickly to two. And not just two naps, two pretty darn good naps. We had a run for a while of a solid one hour nap starting between 9 and 930 and then another solid one hour nap at 2pm. It was wonderful. Now they are a little more wobbly, with them sometimes being as short as thirty minutes but it’s still the predictable put down times and oh how wonderful to have those do nothing or accomplish chores lickity split breaks.

Congrats, mook, on having two great naps!

A first that did not go as envisioned: the pool! My wife and I signed up as members for the community center in town. We took the little monster to the pool where they have a great kid’s area with built-in water guns, a play area with buckets that swing around and splash water, a water slide, a lazy river – it’s fantastic. But, perhaps, fantastic for bigger kids who can actually play with these things. Because our little monster got put in the water and began to cry. We then eased him in by walking around with him some, slowly putting his feet in the water, and then slowly sitting him down in one of our laps, etc, etc. Eventually he reached a state of ‘I’m tolerating this.’ We will continue to work on building up his tolerance because … well, it’d be fun.

(Note: I’d love for him to be a great swimmer. I am a terrible one. This morning I went to the community center to swim laps which I enjoy despite the fact that for every minute I spend swimming I spend 1 minute gasping for air at the end of my lane. The swim lanes were full, so a mom came by and asked if her daughter could swim in my lane, too. I said sure, and then both her 10-13 year old daughters hopped in. Great. And you know what those little girls proceeded to do? Zoom past me, time after time. I probably had a solid two feet of height on them, but their tiny legs and arms and ACTUAL PROPER FORM and breathing technique really showed me up. I’d love for my son to smash my swimming abilities, too.)

My wife convinced me (how? why?) that we should buy a kiddie pool to put in the backyard. Given my lame suburban status I was concerned about what it would do to the lawn, and the extra water usage … But we got one. The kiddo is ALSO not particularly fond of this, but it is growing on him. He had gotten spoiled by toasty baths and didn’t know what regular water temperatures are, at least that’s my rationale. He’s not terribly communicative except in a language I don’t speak.

And last but not least (kudos if you stuck with me): first high chair at a restaurant! This was a heavy dose of adorable, and has since been repeated a few times, almost making it seem … dare I say, normal? You really adjust to new normals FAST with a baby because their normal changes so fast. It went from ‘oh, watch him … oh, woah … is he sliding? Is he wobbling too much?’ to ‘here, kiddo, have this food pouch and feed yourself while mom and dad eat.’ INSANE!

As my son would say, pbbbbbbbbtttbbtbtbtbtbt! (He has gotten very skilled at raspberries, or fart noises with your mouth for the crude among us, and boy can he work up the drool.) And, as the title attempts to indicate, he has gotten much more expressive with his babble and his smacking counter tops. He seems to really be settling in well to his Tiny Tyrant nickname. What are you saying, dear dictator?

Until next time!

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A Love Letter

I’m only about ten months into this parenthood racket, and bound for trials and tribulations the likes of which I can’t yet fathom … but thus far, it’s all love, happiness, worry, and the only time I feel sad is when the kiddo feels sad. Dropping him off at daycare to see him look up, his face crumpled, his lips curling into a clear expression of sadness – I don’t like that.

But otherwise, it’s all love.

Every night my wife or I sing to him before bed (part of our bedtime routine) (… Really … We kinda sing to him all the time. After he finishes breast feeding my wife has a song, “you! are! a done-y-bunny! you are … a done-y bunny! done-y done-y bunny! done-y done-y bunny!” It even has dance moves to go with it.) Anywho, part of my modified version of ‘Over the Rainbow’ includes ‘I never want to be apart … mostly.’ Because I still do enjoy my down time, my do nothing time, sitting around with my wife just enjoying not moving, solo jogs, etc, etc, etc. I mean, I AM going to see the Han Solo this weekend (thanks, Mrs. Wife) and I’ll be, well, solo.

But! There is a heretofore un-experienced joy when spending time with him. I am writing this having experienced being up with him on and off from 1230 to 2 last night. He’s got a cough which didn’t quite wake him up but I’d settle to sleep then coughing fit, a brief bit of whining, silence … repeat. Eventually we got up, gave him drugs (sweet, sweet drugs) and then I held him to get him settled. While holding him I was treating to a bit of babble. It cracks me up. He has a different sleepy time babble which is a quiet, soft, almost whisper. And thank goodness it’s a whisper because his face is right up against my ear. But he whispered, ‘dada … da … da …’ (then you’d hear his mouth move but no words come out) ‘…da … dada …’

Today is Father’s Day, which is nice. That’s swell. We’re an overrated group, but it’s nice to have a day dedicated to cliches which are coming horribly true for me. (You know what excites me about this upcoming weekend? Trying to hang a kayak holder in the garage … oof. I’m so suburbia.)

My point is … it’s been a great joy being a dad. Again, he’s no teenager, and we’ve yet to experience something where *HE* is happy and *I* am upset, which will throw a new layer or add a bit of salt to this great big ball of love that took up residence in my person.

Celebrate love today, your dad, your kids, your friends, whatever. It’s a joy to feel such joy.

Thanks, kiddo, for bringing me that.

Month 9 or Crawlington Station

Month 9 started off with a bang. The kiddo, wife and I headed to a pediatric urgent care to see what he had going on. He had a fever which drugs managed to keep from going up, but it was still there. And, in case you don’t know, babies can run higher fevers than adults. Their little bodies can really cook.

Urgent care took a while, but the news came back as positive – he’s got a fever, keep an eye on those ears for a possible ear infection, and he doesn’t have the flu. We said okie done, and headed on home.

When we got home my wife fed him, he yakked it all up which was unusual .. but then he seemed ok. The day continues, he manages to eat just fine. And then we hit bedtime … Before bed he definitely had a high fever, we had waited on drugs till right before bed so he would be able to get a good chunk of sleep. Unfortunately, his little oven body does not do well with food. It seemed like when he had a very high fever whatever food went in would come right back out. He ate dinner from dear old mom, returned it immediately to the sender and then I hung out with him while he was just in a diaper. His poor little self was tired, cuddly, and full of woes.

Eventually I got him re-prepped for bed and he went down ok.

Around 11pm or midnight he woke up crying and my wife went to feed him and I think we were maybe able to give more drugs at that point. Going in was a mild case of heartbreaking. Normally on the changing pad he is full of life and energy but his poor, dehydrated little sick body was lifeless. He looked up at us sadly, extra pale, hardly moving, and he hadn’t peed despite it having been four hours (which is a crazy long stretch). My wife fed him and thankfully it went ok, but after she put him down I think I was up another hour or two randomly going in to check on him. It was just awful to see him so sick.

The next day my wife and I took him to his doc and he did in fact have an ear infection. We got drugs and he began on that course. Phew. Solution in hand, right? Eh.

He was to have four millimeters of drugs twice a day, which sounds like nothing but four mL can be an annoying amount for a baby to swallow if they hate it. Which he did. That night he had about half the dose then vomited. The next morning, Tuesday, we tried a new routine which involved giving him one mL, then pausing, dancing around, toys and clapping to distract him. (He LOVES clapping … though he can’t do it yet, but he’ll happily put his hands on yours while you clap.) Fantastic. Tuesday evening I was driving home from work, updating my sister, feeling good about everything, open the door and … there’s my wife, holding our sweet baby, both of them covered in vomit. Crap.

After getting cleaned up my wife manages to call and get a new prescription, this one is only a one mL dose each time (phew) AND the kiddo seems to like it.

He was out of daycare both Tuesday and Wednesday that week, which was a hit for my wife especially, and I worked weird hours to compensate.

The first … one, or two, or three weeks of month 9 were weird with daycare. The sickness continued which meant both my wife and I (mostly my wife though) shifting work around to take care of the kiddo.

Another challenging experience was our first travel. My wife got a call on a Wednesday that her grandma was doing very poorly, quite suddenly. We are fortunate enough to both have jobs where we are able to drop things and go, which we did. Wednesday late afternoon we were on a flight to Minnesota to say goodbye. My wife’s dad’s side had gathered to lean on each other and say goodbye to someone who was a friend of every one of her grandkids. Which in my mind is a rare thing, and it was always amazing to see her and her grandkids interact and throw jeers at each other. I don’t have enough eloquence to really give someone their due, suffice to say I’m going to miss her, and I hardly knew her.

My wife’s cousin had managed to make the visit as easy as possible for us as far as baby logistics, getting a car seat and pack n play for us. The travel was not as bad as we feared it would be, our son mostly slept on both flights, although he had definitely come down with something (again). On the flight home the cabin pressure had changed a lot, and that with what we found out on Monday was a double ear infection (ho boy!) led to a sudden crying wake up. The guy directly in front of me, a classic manspreader (homeboy would stretch his hands up, then put them down on the back of his seat … aka inches from my face), looked back at my wife while the kiddo was crying and she stared at him, he then offered, ‘… you want some water?’ What?

Now, as per usual, I have rambled on and on about the unfortunate things and am going to give too little time and space to the fun developments. But here we go.

This month we got the beginnings of the B sound, all the way up to some classic babble. It’s now common to wake up to ‘bah bah bah bah … bah bah.’ It is wonderful to hear him chatter. He also will clamp his lips tight in an almost frowning face … seemingly really focused on that next bah sound. He looks shockingly like Mitch McConnell when making this face. While I disagree with his politics, and his integrity, and find him physically unattractive … I do think that my baby is adorable when making the Mitch face.

Another short-lived phase that was fun … And excuse me for not knowing a better way to describe this. The kiddo would stick out his tongue, then uh … sorta make a fart noise with his mouth. I would do this back and we’d both giggle. This lasted about two days but oh, what a glorious two days of comedy.

The REAL focus of this month was crawling. You go in to pick him up from a nap? He’s in the classic crawl position (on hands and knees, sorta rocking). Funnily enough, he did best with crawling when you put him down sitting … and then he would choose to crawl. If you put him down on his hands and knees he usually got upset pretty quickly.

But try, and try, and try he did. It was exciting to see the progress, although it seemed like he was on the same stage for a long time. One day he managed to go from accidentally crawling backwards to moving forwards … this was by: 1, a sort of Army crawl; 2, being in the crawl position and then suddenly lunging forward like a belly dive to get to the object of his desire; 3, having a dog. Oh how he loves the dog. She is his perpetual target of crawling. Unfortunately they don’t get along the best … The kiddo grabs with a purpose, and then pulls … Go figure, the dog isn’t a fan of having her hair pulled out. But, she has to deal with it, so uh … sorry pooch. I pet her gently on her face while the kid menaces her neck fur. It’s a real treat for the dog. Like some sort of weird massage. One day I went to work with him doing his usual crawling – one bit of forward progress, then laying down or fussing or getting distracted by … God knows what. And then I come home and he can ACTUALLY crawl. Like, there’s that thing four feet away and he would crawl, and crawl, and crawl till he got there. Weirdly enough, it reminds me of watching a robot with AI try to learn how to move. The limbs all seem to pause and think with great intention, and then they jerkily move forward. Sometimes a leg randomly kicks backwards while he crawls (picture an action movie with someone climbing up a ladder, and a bad guy in hot pursuit, so the person randomly kicks downward to knock the bad guy away … it’s like that).

Oh and my wife was delighted by the kiddo going from four naps a day to three. He’s been a slow go kid on the sleep front. We hear friends talk about sleeping through the night and question when that will happen for us. When the kiddo is not doing well, as happened a lot this month, he sometimes ends up sleeping between us on the bed. It reduces sleep, but I love hearing his sleepy coos and he is a huge fan of noses (much to the pain of noses) so he will reach out and squeeze your nose. One night when he slept in bed with us he kept sliding over to me, squishing about 20% of his body under mine … I would move away, not wanting to crush him, and he would just follow. Eventually I ended up waking up on the very edge of the bed, his tiny loud-breathing self smooshed up against me. I was flattered, happy, and sleepy. What a thing.

Ok. That’s enough rambling. Til next month.

Are We on a Break?

Starting sometime in college I would pray every night before bed. It got to a point where I felt like I couldn’t sleep unless I’d done it. Then, around age 28 or so, I stopped til about a year ago (a 5 or so year break in that habit).

But let’s back up.

When I was growing up my family would attend church with varying amounts of consistency. When we lived someplace with a pastor my folks liked, we were more frequent attendees. When I was in elementary school I remember waking up some Sunday mornings and staying in my bedroom for a long, long time. Why? Because I hoped my mom would think, ‘oh the kids are sleeping so peacefully … is it worth waking them up for church?’

In middle school I was a part of something called “God’s Gang” … cool, huh? It was for middle schoolers to meet one night a week (?) and … I don’t remember, sing, pray, all that jazz. At the time we lived at West Point, New York and cadets were the leaders of this group. They would give testimonials about religion, Christ, that sort of thing. And sometimes we would pray or sing and people would raise their hands … I remember thinking, ‘what? Am I the only one not getting it? I haven’t had any experiences where I felt like “oh God is really speaking to me” or some passionate movement to raise my hands … You just … Keep your hands at your sides. It’s super easy.’

In high school I actually enjoyed church for the first and possibly only time in my life. The pastor, and even his backup pastor, was fantastic. I enjoyed their messages … although I found the fact that there was an actual BAND on stage at CHURCH very weird.

Let’s fast forward.

In college I dated a girl who, through no direct action on her part, inspired me to start praying every night. I honestly don’t remember why. But it comforted me, made me feel good, and I liked it.

Fast forward more. (There are a lot of gaps here, eh?)

I’m 28ish, reading a book called We, which is a dystopian novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin. It was a precursor to 1984. I read this and BOOM. The praying stopped. Another gap here, kind of a shocking one, I honestly have no idea why this book made me lose belief but it did. Now, you may think, ‘why not re-read the book, dummy?’ I do want to. Maybe I’ll go, ‘huh, I’m a wackadoo’ but maybe instead I’ll think, ‘yep, God is dead to me.’ I don’t really want that second one.

Here’s my weird situation I’ve got going on. I sorta belief, sorta don’t, but I want to. I want one of those ‘testimonial’ moments in life. I want to experience something where I’ll say, ‘aha! Yes! God, it’s you! Great stuff!’ And I kinda, sorta, maybe had that. But I’m still not convinced …

When my wife’s water broke at about 32 weeks I was incredibly afraid for my son. Staying in the hospital I began praying nightly again, for the first time in a long time. It once again brought me comfort, and a sense of peace before bed. Those are nice things when you’re otherwise full of fear.

But … But … The sort don’t believe side of me has thoughts like this: If I was to make up a complex set of lies, you know how I’d spread them? The exact same way religion works! You first get a group of adults to buy in, then you have those adults bring their kids around and indoctrinate them early so they have a reduced chance of stepping back and thinking, ‘um, is this all just a bunch of bull?’

For my Christian-leaning side I placate myself with this thought. Any GOOD relationship has had trials. I think a marriage would be scary if you hadn’t been downright ticked off at your partner before marrying them. You need to know you’re able to be angry, talk it out, and still love the other person. If you are a devout (whatever) and you haven’t thought, ‘huh … I do wonder …’ then that’s no good. Really. Looking at religion from a purely logical standpoint – it’s pretty nuts. But, the popular religions of the world all trend toward peace and harmony which I like. And it’s comforting to think of God, and Heaven (New Testament God that is). And it’s hard to shake a set of truths you’re told growing up, even if it turns out they’re not true at all.

Sorry for the overly personal post. But hey, my diary blog here is the flypaper for the annoying, buzzing thoughts that fly through my brain.

Month 8, Or Get Up, Come On Get Down With the Sickness

I’ve done it again where I waited a bit to write about month 8 and now month 9 is on my mind (this funny new face he’s making! Oh and he’s doing the … stick your tongue out and … how do you describe it? Make a fart noise with your mouth. Oh and such progress on his crawl attempts!) … But no, this is month 8. (Also, as a reminder to myself, that means from day 1 of month 7 to day 1 of month 8.)

THE MONTH OF DISEASE.

The kiddo started daycare, going only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I dreaded it greatly … but he seemed to be ok! I will say, in the last 2 or so weeks, he is more inclined to be upset when I drop him off even though someone holds him pretty quickly. That’s miserable, but they do try to comfort him which is nice to see (yeah, I maybe loiter and stare through the window).

Here’s the timeline.

Daycare day 1 – ok, didn’t nap but survived, that night puked a ton, mom caught a fair amount adeptly using her body to absorb it (i.e. not intentional in the slightest) and dad hopped out of bed to help out

Daycare day 2 – ok, didn’t nap but survived

That Friday, my wife texted me around noon talking about how awful she felt and how she might ask me to come home early. I said ok, keep me posted. About 1:30 (?) I head home also feeling a little off, hoping I might be able to take a nap soon … nope, my wife has been yacking like a champ. Uh ohs.

I watch the kiddo while my wife rests/naps/showers/possibly yacks more? The kiddo and I had some low-key fun (read: I did as little as possible to keep him content because of feeling poorly).

About 5pm, I put him down, run to the bathroom, and appoint myself as mayor of yack town. My wife hears our dear boy starting to cry, comes downstairs, hears me and says, ‘oh no.’

I was on about a four hour delay of what my wife was going through.

Here’s how it went. First, you were off. Then, you were cold. Then freezing. Then suddenly very hot, and that was the sign it was time to make your way to your nearest porcelain pal. THEN! After that bit of fun, why, you felt GREAT! For about 20 minutes. Then repeat.

It was a miserable, miserable night for the three of us. The next morning the kiddo got up at … who knows, 530? 6? I got up with him and thank goodness he either felt off as well, or was the world’s most understanding baby, because he let me just lay beside the pack n play while he played or spaced out for almost an hour.

As the day went on I was able to eat, and Sunday I woke up feeling more human. Oh, but wait, is that a tickle in my throat?

DAYCARE. You … you factory of sick. You container of gross. You germ-infested cesspool with cute babies and sweet teachers. (I finally went to the doc after about a month of having a cough … turns out it takes a 6-week course, but I did get some drugs because my fever and sore throat were returning for round two.)

Enough whining. Let’s get to some fun stuff.

This month I had a hiking backpack that I bought for myself arrive, and we used it as well! It is about 3 times as wide as my profile, so I look a little funny when wearing it, but it’s got a big seat for the kiddo and he loves it! For the first week or two, battling illnesses and bad weather, we didn’t use it except to wander inside the house. Then, maybe two weekends ago, my wife and I went to a little hiking area which is all flat and I was pointing out birdies, and chirping, and trees, and the green coming back this time of year and … oh, he’s asleep. It was nice and toasty out and that rhythmic rocking must be soothing. Still, my wife and I got to do an hour or so walk which was great.

Also this month – we had our first tooth arrive! And shortly thereafter, tooth number two! There was a lot of drool preceding these little guys, and now that they are here, I have to say … good LORD. The chomp strength on this tiny human is no joke. Before I’d let him gnaw on my hand to his heart’s content, now it’s like some sort of weird Russian roulette. Because he’ll chomp, chomp, chomp, and then BAM, really gets his little teeth into you and they leave a mark. Prior to my kiddo having his two little teeth I always found it strange/slightly creepy looking when a baby had just their first few teeth. But with my son it’s of course adorable. This proves one of two things: my son is more adorable than all other babies (possible), or it is yet another case of being the parent is a blinding experience (also possible).

The kiddo is also now hitting things for fun occasionally. He’ll take a block and really just beat the snot out of it on the kitchen counter. He also will occasionally smack my arm while I change him …which is fine compared to … WRESTLEMANIA! (Credit goes to my wife on that name.) With the kiddo’s ever-growing desire to crawl it seems like we are getting fewer and fewer calm diaper changes. You put him down on the changing pad and boom, he’s flipping over and up on his hands and knees. You pick him up, put him back down, do one snap or two on his outfit and … gah, child, no, stop, stop … He’s back over. I don’t know how a little guy is that slippery but it’s really difficult to prevent the flip. He’ll also grab a hold of just about anything within reach. Have some drawstrings on your hoody? Boom, he’s got that. Hey dad, is that something covering my penis to prevent me from peeing on your face? Yoink! Looks tasty! It is an entertaining, adorable, and surprisingly not that frustrating battle.

The kiddo also began his crawling endeavors this month. He managed to get to the classic crawl pose (as mentioned above) … and then he sorta … stayed there. He is definitely making progress. It just seemed as though the classic crawl pose arrived all the sudden and then there was confusion with what to do with it. Do I fling out my legs and get frustrated? Hmm, let me try that for a week and see. Oh, how about I kinda just plop my head down between my arms so it looks like I’m doing my evening prayers? Sure, I’ll try that too. He is making progress, I am just so anxious (and terrified) of him making it to the grand next step of actually moving. I would love for him to figure it out, because I am looking forward to him being on the ground and excitedly moving rather than looking around with frustration at a world that’s just out of reach.

And this post is wicked long, so I’ll mention in passing he is also able to sit independently much more. Put him in the poppy and he’s golden … for a minute, maybe 2 or 3, then oooh I’d love to chew on the tag on this boppy or hey that baby in the mirror looks cool I’ll go attempt to headbutt him.

That’s all for this old man.

Until next month. If disease doesn’t kill me first.

Dad Strategies, aka Dadegies, Issue #1

Recently I dropped my son off at daycare for his first day there EVER. Woah! First let me say that my wife and I are spoiled: he didn’t start daycare til he was just over 7 months old (fantastic), and the daycare seems to be great.

But.

Leading up to this, in the past month or so, our son had begun to show little hints of ‘stranger danger’ signs … Meaning he might look askance or be a little worried or uncomfortable if someone new was to hold him. This had created in me a real dread over his first day. The night before his first day the closest approximation for what I felt was akin to knowing you would be breaking up with someone. Yes, it was the right thing to do, and yes, it was good for everyone, but in the short-term … woe is you, woe is me.

I knew, and know, that my son is likely to roll with this change better than I am. But the morning was a fun one.

Driving to the daycare was short, we’re only about 10 minutes from there. And from the daycare to my work it’s another 10. I talked to the kiddo about his day with occasional abrupt changes of topic.

  • ‘We’ll get there, say hi to the other kiddos, say hi to your teacher, and then dad will … leave.’ (Change of topic.)
  • ‘Oh look at the mountains! They have so much pretty snow! Maybe we should just call in sick and bail on this?’ (Change of topic.)
  • ‘One day you’re going to come home from school and you’re going to tell us all about your day and that’ll be so fun! … Or if it’s a bad one we’ll get ice cream.’ (Change of topic.)
  • ‘Ok buddy, let’s talk about what dad will think about to keep himself from crying after … Anyway, we could think about cats playing with a ball of yarn. What? Why is that what popped into my head? Instead, dad could think about dinosaurs! Cool stuff, huh?’

I was genuinely surprised after so many almost-starts with crying that I didn’t shed a single tear with the drop off. I think figuring out the logistics distracted me, and a few things had gone a little wonky. (Where do I put the car seat? HOW DID THIS MILK SPILL FROM THIS STUPID BOTTLE? Ew gross, get that runny nose baby away from my baby.) Overall, the drop-off … happened.

Dad Strategy number 1? I feel like I should have one given the name of this post. Hmmm. Here it is: cry, don’t cry, whatever, it’s all good, just don’t stare your child in the face while handing him to someone while crying (that was a worry).

Month 7, Or Oh the Places You’ll Go (Developmentally)

It’s a few days until the kiddo is 7 months old and I thought I’d go ahead and get a start on this post. Hopefully, dare I say it, finish it today too.

This month I had a personal success which was abandoning the idea of reading a book. I had checked it out from the library and it was just eh. But I kept on. I would read a few pages before bed, feel disheartened at how much there was to go, and pass out. But then one day – BOOM – I said NO MORE. I re-read an old comic book series instead. This may seem like a non-accomplishment, but giving up on a book is a challenge for me. Now I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale.

Let’s get into month 7, shall we?

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I have also learned I am much more inclined to spoil the boy than myself. Frivolous spending ahoy!

I have mentioned this before, but the doc advised we keep the kiddo out of day care for a long time. Multiple docs at the NICU suggested a start date of April. And, with flexible work, my wife only working two days a week, and very helpful grandmas, we will accomplish that goal!

Part of that involved me taking vacation days on the two days a week my wife works for three weeks. One of those weeks was during month 6, but two of the weeks (four days of kiddo and dad time) fell during this past month!

One day the kiddo and I headed to the library, a little shop, and then a tortilla shop (they make delicious burritos) so I could load up on food before a long nap drive. The library was fun, the kiddo LOVES the front facing Bjorn (a new delight in life) and he will kick his legs and or give huge smiles when excited. And he is a little charmer and flash a big smile at strangers no problem.*

From the library we head to a few little shops (including buying my wife her Christmas gift – BOO YAH PREPAREDNESS) and the interactions with strangers continue. It is always ladies, or old men. Never men my age or really any male I’ll say between 10 and 75. This was ESPECIALLY true at the tortilla shop where I am surrounded by construction workers. Not one ‘aw look at the cute baby’ instead just stares like I am an alien. I will say that I don’t think I ever noticed another dad and baby. I noticed moms and babies, and moms and dads and babies … but no dude and baby. What’s the deal, fellas? Why so lazy?

That was a lot of chatter. Let’s do some quick highlights.

The sleep stuff continues to be pretty good … He had occasional nights where he would wake up and have a long cry, which is BRUTAL because of our ‘sleep wave’ method where you don’t really do much to comfort the kiddo. But for the most part it has been great.

My mom was in town this past week and my wife and I felt very nervous about the sleep. It’s one thing to feel bad for your crying baby when it’s just you … but to have your mom 10 feet away while your kiddo cries and you stare at a timer? Oof. We ended up ‘cheating’ a few times this past week which actually felt pretty great. My wife rocked him back to sleep and put him down in bed between us. Waking up next to his tiny adorable body was fun. Another night I went in about 5:15 am because he had woken up (and we prefer him to sleep till 6), I rocked him to sleep then just snuggled with his tiny head tilted 6am. And this morning my mom is out of town but he was having a rough go from 430-5 am, so my wife fed him then laid him between us. We all woke up naturally about 715am and he looked back and forth between my wife and I, taking turns reaching his little hands out to squeeze our noses. It was very odd, and delightful.

One thing that has helped and hurt his sleep is that he is now rolling from his back to his tummy. When he rolls onto his tummy and is happy about it, hello glorious sleep. When he rolls onto his tummy and feels regret … one of us slips into his room, rolls him onto his back, and then sneaks out. Generally this leads to a tiny brief cry and then calm. The odd thing is he KNOWS how to roll from tummy to back, but it’s like he suddenly finds himself in that position and says ‘WHAT HAVE I DONE!? WHAT IS THIS PERSONAL HELL!?’

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Semi-pictured and also a new favorite thing: the mirror! We have one on the floor for tummy time social hour.

He also often has a pretty intense workout regime before falling asleep. You go through the routine, put him down (described in last month’s post) and then he rolls around, chews on his hands, chews on his lovie, rolls back and forth a few times, sometimes onto his tummy and then off. It’s a lot of work going on. My wife said he’s like a gymnast making sure he uses the whole floor space.

Another fun and simple pleasure in life is discovering him figure out his thumb. Before he would generally suck on his middle and ring finger (I don’t know why). This month he has figured out, I guess, how to pop his thumb out because boom, that is a new favorite too. His thumb is basically a slightly large tic tac, so you generally hear a lot of slurping when he is using his thumb.

A funny thing that is happening this month (funny to me that is) – he is very easily distracted while breastfeeding. My wife used to be able to call someone or watch TV while feeding the kiddo. Now? If she even coughs while feeding him he’ll look up at her. It could be a blank look, or a sly smile, or outright laughter on a few occasions.

Speaking of laughter – his laughs are more common now. Here are his favorite things … my impression of a chicken, crazy chase games (where I hold him and pretend to chase his mom around, then she chases us back), and one glorious time where my wife dropped a toy of his (a ball) and then kept hitting it instead of grabbing it to pick it up. He laughed at her. Genuine, honest to goodness, I’m laughing at you, not with you. It was glorious.

I recognize that this post is insanely long but you know what? A few more.

I was at a Costco on one of my dad-and-kiddo days. I was wearing the Bjorn and had finished my shopping. (Including two slices of pizza and a soda to go for my lunch-nap-drive.) I headed to the bathroom with my happy shopping pal (he loves Costco … well, he seems to love about every location where he can people watch and/or chill in the front-facing Bjorn). I walked inside and, keeping with my constant chatter when walking around with him I said, “ok little mister, let’s do this.” I also happened to notice at that moment a stall door was closed. It delights me to this day to think a stranger was sitting on a Costco toilet, and that stranger thinks he overhead someone talking to his penis … and that the penis was nicknamed, “little mister.”

Ok a few quick hits: he’s had a bunch of different foods this month! Peas, spinach, green beans, and peanut butter. Not surprisingly, peanut butter was the only hit.

He has also had little slivers of solo sitting. Normally my wife or I sit like we’re doing the old grade school sit-and-reach (which I think I could usually reach about to my knees, I’m not very flexible), and then the kiddo sits so that he can balance on either leg and won’t really fall. He has probably hit up to a minute or two of solo sitting. Look out world!

And last but certainly not least this month were two visitors/babysitters/grandmas. Both my mom and my wife’s mom came out to help us extend the kiddo’s daycare free life to seven months. Pretty fantastic. It’s going to be heartbreaking to drop him off at daycare soon, especially since he has just recently entered a ‘stranger danger’ phase of life (previously anyone could pick him up, now if someone else picks him up he locks eyes on my wife or I). But, it is amazing that he got to spend so much time around family. And my wife and I are very fortunate to have such kind moms, and ones who are able to afford to do us such a big favor.

Ok sports fans. This one was truly a blog post just for me. Til month 8.

*Except today. This was pretty funny to me. My wife, the kiddo and I headed to a downtown area to check out shops, walk around, sip coffee, and just enjoy the day. The kiddo is in the front-facing Bjorn and we are in line at a coffee shop. Two college aged girls walk up and one of them gets relatively close and says, ‘your baby is gorgeous!’ She gives him a big smile and for the first time ever he does not smile in response … he gives her a huge pout and a little semi-cry. She looks aghast, seems genuinely hurt … and I start laughing. I kiss his little cheek till he cracks a smile. The rest of the day out smiles, and smiles, and smiles for any and all strangers. Random ladies stop and ogle and talk to him and he grins and kicks. The mystery of the sad-face girl will live on. I wasn’t laughing at you girl, I was laughing at the situation. (She was wearing overalls, maybe he thought they were his.)

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