The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘dad’

18 Months or, FIRST STEPS!

You know what, friendos? I’ve been bamboozled. Today is the time change day and my wife and I were straight up tricked by our surprising little offspring. We woke up to a cry and I looked at my phone, it was 530. Uh. The kiddo woke up a little earlier than we wanted but not too bad. My wife said, ‘is it Sunday or Monday?’ I answered it’s Sunday and she said ‘ok, I’ll get him.’ About an hour later I get up to let the dog out and look at the time on the stove … 530? 530? But. I …

Turns out the kiddo woke up at FOUR THIRTY, but with the time change that registered as 530 on my phone.

First of all, he shouldn’t have woken up so dang early. And second, for him to wake up at a time where we would ordinarily just go in and say, ‘shhhh, sleep little crazy, sleep’ but instead the kid conspired with stupid daylight savings to bamboozle us.

Well done, trickster.

Anywho, it’s now 1030 (aka 930 if it was yesterday) and the kiddo has been napping about an hour and a half and I’m finally sitting down to do this to do list item that has been on my list for about two weeks. So of course (OF COURSE) all thoughts are on this month but I have to block those out and go to last month, which is basically all of the month of February.

The 18th month.

Last month, the 17th month, we finally made an appointment with early intervention to find out more about his delayed walking. The doc had scared us at our 15th month appointment saying he’s way behind, get thee to a doc (a different doc). My wife called for an appointment and they said, basically, call back later because your son is a preemie so that sort of throws off timing. On the month or two later callback they went ahead and booked the appointment. It was a pretty fascinating experience, and we are very fortunate to live in a city that has such great resources.

We went to a school district building and into a room with four women. One of them was our case worker, and then the other three each had a specialty with little kiddos: one was gross and fine motor skills, one was social (?), and one was language I think. We all sat down and made ourselves relaxed and comfy right away which, by the way, is more of an art than one might expect. They each had such an unassuming and quiet presence that the kiddo just took to playing with the toys in the room straight away. Had they been ‘big’ presences I’m sure our son would have gone to my wife or I for comfort, but instead he seemed to feel right at home. One of the women (the motor skills one) would hand the kiddo various toys and watch how he played with them, trying to get him to do one thing or another. Meanwhile the other two ladies asked my wife and I questions about how he plays, interacts, how many words he knows. (Including the distinction of, ‘how many words does he know that only mom or dad would recognize?’ … His word for banana comes to mind, because banana is, no joke, ‘lalala.’) The ladies seemed to enjoy how at ease and comfortable the kiddo was, including crawling over one of them on the way to a toy they asked him to get. (Which continues to impress and amaze me.)

After a while they must have communicated with each other in some little nods because they had their assessment. The kiddo, was rated right on for this, that and the other, and even older than his age for language, but for gross motor he was ranked as at least 25% behind his age. This meant he qualified for assistance. Both a good thing to have, but a blow. 25% behind? That’s just … so much.

My wife and I left and processed things on our own. It would be a good thing to hear from a PT person the how and what to do, but boy … he just seems so close to walking and he’s not even 18 months and he was almost born two months early and just … 25%!

The next week we had our first appointment with a PT person and it was great. He’s now had I think two appointments and it is just so impressive how smart and crafty the PT person is. She comes to our house and looks around and comes up with ways to exercise the kiddo using things we already have. For example, his right leg is weaker than his left so she suggested we take this one noise-making toy and strap it around his right ankle so that it’ll be fun for him to stomp with his right foot. Clever and impressive stuff. We got some good tips from her and began using those right away.

The tips plus the natural progression of development played well together and before the end of the month we had our first steps! Hooray! (Which he can repeat, by the way.) My wife was witness to the first time or two of steps but then we really got cranking a few days into the next month. But shhh, that is next month’s thunder so we won’t steal.

The weekend after the initial assessment the kiddo and I had our first solo trip – party! We went to Phoenix from a Friday to Monday, and it all went pretty darn well. The flight out he took himself a nice nap, and a woman seated behind me on the plane commented on what a good traveler he was. Sure. Yes. True. But hey man, give me some credit for not moving a muscle while he napped on me too. Ol’ dad worked a little magic too, LADY. And the kiddo enjoyed the flight because we were surrounded by people who engaged, waved, smiled, all that good stuff with him when he wasn’t napping.

The kiddo had a blast playing with cousins in Phoenix, which is definitely fun to see, and we went to an ostrich farm (yep, you read that right). The ostrich farm involved looking at various farm animals and feeding them. And in a little bird area one of the birds landed on my head and  just hung out there for a while, and the kiddo didn’t even bat an eye which I found surprising and disappointing. Come on kid, this is funny!

One of the really fun things to see while there was how much my son LOVED ‘baby.’ Baby was a doll my parents had at their house which the kiddo enjoyed holding while scooting around. And baby would elicit many a happy ‘baby!’ being said by the kiddo which was fun to see, too.

Most of the time was spent hanging out with his almost three year old cousin and the two of them have a very strange and adorable relationship of enjoying staring at each other. My sister propsed the idea of some matching PJs so many a cute picture was also taken, you can be sure of that.

One of the best new things this month was kissing: the kiddo gives little kisses now! They are basically him making a little noise (sort of a ‘mmmmmah’) while holding his mouth open slightly and then gently pressing his face against you. So, most of the ingredients of a kiss. I don’t remember how those started, but once we realized he could do that we jumped in. The funny thing too is that at first he would only kiss our lips, which my wife and I both had not intended to do that but you know … whatever. Now he has moved on to kissing cheeks, shoulders, and even the dog (which we try to prevent because blech). He also stepped up his kissing game later in the month by adding blowing kisses, which takes you a second to know that is what is happening but once you see it it’s obvious.

The best is when you get a kiss unprompted. I don’t know why the kiddo decides to deal those out, but it makes you feel pretty good to be sitting there and up crawls this tiny crazy person and plants his little lips on your cheek for a kiss.

And now to do a 180, one of the most unfortunate parts of the month was a multiple day really high fever the kiddo rocked. My wife and I did a good job of trading off with missing work to be able to stay home with the kiddo, and thankfully he was in decent spirits aside from the fever. I think that week he was home three days. It’s funny how deviations in my normal routine really wipe me out these days. Before if I was sick, or some things came up that caused schedule shifts it was annoying but ok. Now I feel five times more wiped out by the time I get to the weekend if I’m sick, my wife or kiddo are sick, work is weird, or I can’t work out … basically if the big parts of the routine get disrupted then I get disrupted. But if I can still work out and go to work like normal I feel more ok even if I’m sleeping less with a sick kiddo. Funny how impacted I get these days. Whenever my son is sick the idea of a second child (which we want) becomes more daunting and scary.

I decided to start keeping track of when the kiddo is sick to the point daycare is impacted (the lingering cough would be tracked seemingly forever …) because I realized I have no concept of time. I learned this when my boss was out sick and I said to her, ‘oh that’s awful, and you had the flu last week too!’ and she said, ‘last week? That was a month or two ago.’

A very fun new game (for us) this month is what I call the ‘smelly game.’ It started with me holding my son up to my wife and saying, ‘smell his hand and pretend it smells awful.’ He LOVED it. The bigger, more dramatic reaction, the bigger the laugh. It’s also a fun way to learn what body parts he knows. ‘Have mama smell your knee!’ ‘Have mama smell your elbow! … No? Ok, foot!’ I think the most fun I had with this game was when I flopped my whole body on the ground reacting to, apparently, what must have been the world’s smelliest foot. But oh was he laughing.

One thought I have started to have creep in my head more is how much of my son is ‘typical boy’ kind of behavior. For example, I’ve read that boys are three times more likely to bang their heads to relieve stress (babies are fun, eh?). The things that make me think about this are when the kiddo head butts my chest with the back of his head (I’m holding him, he leans forward a bit, then boom, back with a bit of force) or when he sort of tackles and wrestles with stuffed animals or pillows.

Something that I find funny is the kiddo picked up a new skill which *I* found very exciting and entertaining but he didn’t really care about at all. He can now give raspberries! I had him give me a few on my belly and I wriggled and squirmed and laughed a bunch just like he does but his reaction was akin to, ‘ok whatever dad, back to my toy trains.’

And speaking of trains … boy, what a transition … When the kiddo and I were off galivanting in the greater Phoenix area, hanging out with weird alien birds and such, the Mrs. put together our Christmas gift for the kiddo! (Yes, it was a Christmas gift that we didn’t bother busting out til February because the kid has more toys than he knows what to do with.) When we got back home he immediately took to the table and loved banging the little knock-off Brio trains on the table. After a few days he also figure out how to plop a train inside a bridge and then push it down where it inevitably flies off the track which always elicits a quiet little, ‘wheeeee!’

Here’s a dilemma … do I waste space and text by apologizing for how long something already is, thereby making it even longer? Oh, a quandary!

The kiddo has really stepped up (EH!?) his walking game, and as a result he got less chatty for a while. But! When he does talk he has more and more things he is saying where he repeats himself over and over, and I just have to stare befuddled and sorry because I have no idea what ‘ah-do’ means. And then he says it more emphatically, and his little eyebrows furrow and his brow knits and oh he feels so passionately about pointing in that direction (or that direction, or that direction) while repeating ‘ah-do.’ Buddy, I’m sorry.

On the plus side with communication he is now helping (ish) with clothes. Often when he is getting pajamas on he has one pacifier (aka baba) in his mouth and one in his hand. He’ll switch the baba from one hand to the other to make it so you can actually put sleeves on, which is helpful. And he’ll kick his little feet up to help with pants, socks and shoes. He even tries to put shoes on, too, but I think he somehow gets the  wrong shoe on his foot 100% of the time. How is he so consistently wrong?, statistics shouldn’t allow this!

Anywho, the ol’ rambler … OUT.

12 Months, or Words, Cupcakes, Kids and Giggles

First of all, I’d highly recommend the song Hands Down by The Greeting Committee. I’m listening to that while writing this.

12 months. ONE YEAR OLD. I said that a number of times to my son after his first birthday / on his first birthday. My little one year old. It’s crazy. It’s been said many, many times by many people smarter than I … but it really is crazy how time both flies and crawls. He’s a year and a week as of my writing this, and already his birthday feels like such a long time ago. (Though part of that is a very good and adventuresome weekend my wife and I have had which we are pretty pleased with ourselves about. Several walks, a 5 mile hike, a trip to the pool, a picnic … the kiddo has gotten a lot of fun this weekend.)

This month, inspired by not wanting to take the time to organize my thoughts, I’ll just be rambling like a lonely man who desperately needs some friends and then someone shows me the slightest bit of interest and I talk their ears off. In other words, your standard blog post. Shouting my drivel into the void.

The kiddo has a vast vocabulary of … an unknown number of words. I really thought it would be easier to identify when he figured out a new word but I suppose my skeptical nature makes it tough. He has a handful of consonants he’s gotten down – b, d, m … so when he figures out the word for dog, which is, ‘dah!!!’ and then later he maybe knows the word for dad, which is, ‘dah!’ (dogs are far more exciting) and then sometimes he just crawls around saying his noises indiscriminately it is quite difficult to tell the difference between an intentional labeling dad as ‘dah!’ vs looking at a block, or a grape, or the toilet and saying ‘dah!’ Are all of us ‘dah!’ or none of us, or what? SPEAK, CHILD!

But we KNOW he knows the word for dog. He is now VERY HAPPY to see dogs when we go out on a walk (we have a dog at home who inspires less excitement … she only gets a few excited ‘dah!!!’ a day). We also feel confident he knows the word for ball, and the word for dad. Bye is a maybe. But you know what?, who knows.

I have described before the kiddo and I having a game where we chase each other around … like a hide and seek meetings chasing kind of thing? I don’t know. Anyway, that has continued to be a favorite and my wife got to experience him initiating the game which she was thrilled by. The kiddo was playing in the family room when he popped his little head out behind the couch and then ducked away. He popped his head out again and my wife thought, ‘!!!’ (yes, that’s a thought you can have) and she instantly went to the ground to crawl away. He came out from behind the couch, cackling and happy as can be to have a play partner.

This month involved a lot of thinking and planning and birthday party-ing. We went to Phoenix to see family and have a joint kiddo and dad birthday party. This was a bit earlier than either of our birthdays, but we were going to be around family so you might as well go for it. The kiddo’s cousins were there, running around and playing which is a new spot of fascination for him. He has taken to really enjoying seeing kids playing. I like to imagine he is marveling at how they are small like him (bigger of course, but not grown up size) and yet they can MOVE, they can RUN and JUMP and PLAY and he just loves seeing this. But, again, who knows what is going on inside that tiny head of his. My mother-in-law sent an article to my wife and I talking about how brain scans on a baby indicate the same areas of the brain firing that those on LSD have. So … your baby is living in a world where everything is trippy. Kinda makes sense. All these benevolent giants who speak in some gibberish language and get randomly so excited about who knows what. It’s got to be strange.

Back to the party. The party in Arizona was good … and educational as far as the party my wife and I threw him back home. The kiddo is SOCIAL, he really likes waving at people and smiling at them and being, basically, a big old flirt with anyone who will pay attention to him (someone says hi, he waves after maybe a 30 second delay, and then he smiles at them and sort of hides by digging his head into my should while he continues to wave and glancing at them … I gotta tell you, it’s effective, but I don’t know if it would’ve worked for me during my dating days … people would’ve found me mentally deficient). But his sociableness takes a back seat when there are a LOT of people around. Thankfully he did great with a crowd of cousins and family running around. Although I got feedback from my mom and sister than I am too quick to take the kiddo back from others. It’s a fair criticism, they’re right, and I will try to do better … I guess. I do like breaks from the kid, but I also enjoy interacting with him quite a bit. My wife or I sing to him before putting him down for sleep, and one of my made up lyrics to the tune of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is something like, “I never want to be apart … mostly.”

The kid did the cupcake smash … somewhat. I had him in the Bjorne because a lot of people singing to him and staring at him had him a bit off … That was a good lesson learned for his next birthday party. I wanted to watch him eat the cupcake! Thankfully, at the party at home he was seated and I got to take in his cupcake delight. It was entertaining because he is normally a VERY distractible eater, but with that cupcake he stayed focus from bite one to the last bite. He flipped the cupcake over and then ate till he reached the frosting, and then it was a second wave of enjoyment. Oh that sweet, sweet frosting. People staring, people laughing, people gabbing all around him? Who cares. CUPCAKE. He ate pretty much the whole thing … which is a pretty decent portion for a little guy.

The birthday stuff also inspired a thought from me: this child has WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. I am starting to have more worries about him being spoiled, catered to too much, things like that. Of course, I say that and I will go to a store and see a toy and think, ‘ooh! I want to get this for him!’ And when he cries out you can bet I’m there in a heartbeat. I will have to train myself (which is not something I expected) on not buying stuff for him, and letting him feel frustrated or sad or whatever. Especially with him getting older these will be important things for me to do. Oh, self-growth, you again? I thought I ditched you at the fork in the road. The birthday stuff ALSO made me think – we need to set a budget up front for any and all gift times (eg Christmas and birthday) or my wife and I will happily go overboard. Heck, I’d buy him Legos right this instant (and kindly play with them to keep them from getting rusty …).

We ate out at a restaurant for the first time where we ALSO ordered for him. That was very exciting and also, it turns out, a short-lived phase. We went from, ‘oh this will be so fun to eat out with him!’ to ‘maybe we should just stick to picnic lunches so he can crawl around like a maniac and shout at random trees.’ It’s unpredictable if he’ll be focused on food or frustrated by the confines of a high chair. But it was fun during those few weeks, and thankfully burritos are very transportable so the picnic life will be a good one.

Now for a smattering of adorable things.

The kiddo and old pops are signed up for a ‘parent and me’ swim class (yes, it’s parent and me, not mommy and me you old-world sexist … nah, mommy and me is what comes to my mind too). Anyway, to prep for the class the kiddo and I went to the local pool and had a GOOD time! I was very happy because the last time we tried the pool we had a decidedly BAD time. Crying, fussing, looking around in fear. Not fun. But this time he was happy to take in all the sights, sounds, and all the kids running around and playing. He also waves at EVERYBODY. Lifeguard walks by? Give a wave. Other kid? Wave. Parent? Wave. Me? Wave. Thankfully the lifeguards are sweet and got into it, waving back at him every time they passed. Swim lessons, here we come!

The kiddo has also seemed to realize he can reach up for things? I mean … I’m not quite sure what this is, but something has changed. He would stand up before and reach for things, but there is a sudden new love of stretching and reaching up. If I am holding him in the family room he will reach up for the fan as though it’s JUST. RIGHT. THERE. I think the poor kid doesn’t quite have depth perception mastered. Either that or he’s a real dreamer.

I have been reading the same bedtime book whenever I put him down for a while now. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. I’m a big fan of it. In the book there are occasional sounds, like a (sigh) or a (yawn). One sound I had not done for a long time, it’s one vehicle dumping rocks on a heap. (Cruuuuuunch.) I decided one night to add this in and my sound effect for this is pretty similar to a sound he and I have made back and forth occasionally. I did the (Cruuuuuunch) noise and he turned to me, all snuggled up in his sleep sack on my lap, and he grinned from behind his pacifier and returned a (Cruuuuuunch). I smiled but kept reading. He was unperturbed. (Cruuuuuunch.) I kept reading. (Cruuuuunch.) Finally I turned to him and returned with a similar (Cruuuuuuunch.) Again a big old grin and we just made the noise back and forth a few times before I went back to my attempt at a soothing, sleep-inducing voice reading goodnight to a bunch of trucks. But the next few times I read the book I was treated to a (Cruuuuuunch) conversation which I dearly loved.

Ok, how to describe this one. Wiggling your finger over your lips while you make a noise to get an even funnier noise? Yeah, that. He’s into that now. I’d like to think I introduced this to him, but he may have figured it out on his own. He has waving down like a champ (though sometimes with a 2 minute delay) but to turn that waving hand to your mouth to make a funny sound? Revolutionary! But boy does he love doing that right now. We have whole conversations of this sound, back and forth, and sometimes we try to get strangers involved too. It’s a good time.

The kiddo has also gotten faster at getting down. It’s more of an on-purpose fall than a sloooooowly, sloooooowly squat back down kind of affair. This is really helpful for him when we play our chasing game.

Last but certainly not least (especially since I got it on video) is a new way to make him laugh! The kiddo, wife and I were driving to a store to wander when he was getting fussy in the backseat with me. (See how I spoil him? We are doing less companion in the backseat driving intentionally these days.) I decided a great bit of entertainment would be if I pretended to eat a toy, and then coughed it up. Hysterical, right!? Chomp, chomp, chomp, the toy was gone! This got a little grin from the kiddo. And then, cough … cough cough … pop, here’s the toy! AND WOAH! Some giggles! Amazing, fantastic, soul-rebuilding giggles! (It’s a daily battle between reading about Trump and interacting with my son. One destroys the soul, one rebuilds it.) Soon I realized … he doesn’t care about my fake eating or spitting the toy back up … he just LOVES the fake cough! It’s hysterical to him! And thus was born many a time of fake coughing. Though I’ll admit, it isn’t nearly the hit anymore. Tastes change. Humor is ever evolutionary.

Phew. We’ve done it. Another rambly post finished.

By the time I post this he’ll probably be well into the 13th month, and I’m not sure yet if I’ll continue a monthly update or not, but I think I’d like to. I started reading a book last night about the second year of life, which will hopefully help me to mold my little human into someone who grows up to be a happy, healthy, functional big human. That’s the dream, anyway.

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Happy birthday, kiddo.

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!

Great Sexpectations

The only catchy thing about this post is the title. Here is my alternate title: Laundry, Gender-Based Household Chore Expectations, and Other Such Trifling Concerns.

A while ago I read a blog post (I can’t find it or I’d link to it) where a woman talked about her husband would do things to ‘help around the house’ and then she was frustrated with herself for feeling like he was ‘helping around the house’ while when she did the same things she was just doing what needed to be done.

Did that run-on sentence thoroughly obfuscate my point?

Let’s try again. When a fella does laundry, wow, what a good husband helping with the laundry. When a woman does laundry, well, yeah, she did laundry, what else is new?

 

 

See the double standard?

I’m reminded of this every time I go out with the kiddo (don’t get me wrong, I love the awww cute baby! comments). But I feel like I might garner more than my wife because you know, low dad expectations).

And I definitely am a culprit and guilty of applauding myself when I shouldn’t be applauded. Today my wife felt incredibly ill in the morning, I woke up with the kiddo at 5:30 am (hello, pre-dawn day, great to see you again) and then I unloaded the dishwasher and did loads of laundry. I didn’t think anything of doing these things because of … bum, budda bummmmm! … chastising myself internally! Hooray! Before reading that post I would ‘help’ around the house by doing laundry and think, ‘man what a stellar husband I am.’ Post-blog-post I would think, ‘why am I applauding myself for helping to care for my wife and I’s home? Do I say, “hey self, top notch job of feeding yourself!” No, because I know there are certain things you just take care of.’

Fellas, ladies, don’t fall victim of silly sexpectations. (Get it!? Like sex as in gender and … ahhh man, I’m too clever.) Fellas, the only thing you don’t have is the built-in potential food source, so get cracking you lazy bums.

(But, I’ll be honest, it’s awesome my wife breastfeeds for a lot of reasons … these days reason number 1 is I get more sleep. Also, you know, benefits for the child and all that.)

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).

Is the Fog Beginning to Lift?

The kiddo is approaching 3 months of life, so it’s time for an update from the rambling, scrambling, tired, wired, and foggy brain of dear old pops. Aka, me.

My sister had told me about a book she read that mentioned that the first 3 months of life are almost like a fourth trimester, where they are so dependent on you that you’d almost think ‘why didn’t you keep cooking?’ Although, the physical ramifications of that would be dire. With that in mind, my wife and I thought, ‘so what’s that mean for us?’ With him being almost 2 months early, does that mean a 5 month long ‘fourth trimester?’

One positive note is that him being early really throws off any thought of tracking him against the ‘normal’ milestones. From a book I have read some of (note to self: get back to that after this post) it has information like, ‘at this age, you can expect your baby to be doing … you can be delighted if your baby is doing … and you can be over the moon if your baby is doing …’ But with preemies, you go based on the ‘adjusted age’ or how many days old he/she is after their due date. Our kiddo is almost 3 months old real age, alost 1 month old adjusted age. This has resulted in a hodgepodge of behavior that is sometimes older than his adjusted age, sometimes not. And when you combine that with the fact that every baby is different anyway it almost makes you think it’s pointless to try and track and compare every little thing. Pft. Like that’ll happen. What else will I do with my time but to be equal doses of proud and afraid?

I have been on the receiving and giving end of this – the instant calm. It feels like such a compliment when the kiddo is fussy, angry, crying, upset, you name it … and then I take over holding him and a calm washes over him. That’s pretty wonderful. To be fair, I think it’s often a change of scenery that does the trick for him, so I really shouldn’t take that much pleasure in it. But it’s great. (And when I hand him over and he calms … well fine, I didn’t want to calm you anyway!)

There is a distinct baby clothes market for those who have yet to change or dress an upset baby. My wife and I bought into this market before his arrival, and I think clothing manufacturer’s know what they’re doing. That outfit that is absurdly cute? Probably impossible to put on or take off without your child making you think he or she is going through a hellish torture session only Dante could dream up. There are outfits that are enjoyable, and not tortuous, and each parent probably has their own preference (learned after a few weeks) for what type they prefer.

Lately he has begun to give occasional ‘social smiles.’ For those of you not in the baby know, it’s like this. There is the ‘gassy’ smile (that’s what people say, no one knows why babies occasionally smile) that can happen right away (I think?) but it’s not a conscious choice. AND, the smile is not a full face smile, it’s more like the mouth just moves … you don’t see it around their eyes. Later, the baby might experience something, or look at you, and give a ‘social smile’ which is an ACTUAL, I CHOSE THIS SMILE FOR YOU kind of smile. It’s magical. My parents were in town recently and Sunday morning I got up with him at 6 am, I picked him up and he gave me a big smile for I don’t know how long. 30 seconds? A minute? It was long enough that my wife was able to get back from the bathroom and see too. It was magical. And then, last week on Wednesday, I got home from work, picked up the kiddo from my wife and BOOM, he gave me a little smile. I don’t know what it is to be addicted to drugs, but I can’t wait for my next dose of a little smile.

Speaking of random rewards, the kid can be like a video game. You just grind, and grind, change diaper, feed, dance, change diaper, ask him why why why are you still crying what is wronnnnnng?, dance, attempt to feed, get an angry look, dance more, pace, wrap him up tigheter, dance, finally feed, burp, dance, etc. And randomly in the mix of all that you may see a little smile, a glimmer of hope, and you think YES, more of that! Video games are designed to give random rewards, with random weights to how big a reward it is, and as you play more the rewards are spaced out more so you just keep grinding, and grinding … But, you know, instead of a new fictional gun or armor it’s a smile. From my son. Which is pretty glorious.

Those random rewards are the rays of light through the fog that is being tired, being wary, and being tested by the tiny screaming controller of your life. Nature, well done. A baby’s cry is a whip cracking motivator that’ll spring you into action. Or, if the cries continue, sometimes lead you to put the kiddo down, take off your hoody (he’s a toaster) take a deep breath, and pick him back up to try again.

Wish us luck.

Sincerely,
A Dad Who Thinks He Has Original Thoughts But Countless Centuries Have Thought Variations of the Same Thing

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