The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘father’

16th Month Or, The Little Walker That … Chooses Not To?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ok, last five things. Quick hits!

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

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

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

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

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

Til next time, DWEEBS.

Advertisements

Month 14 Or, The Chit Chat Kid

Here we find ourselves (we meaning me, myself and I) a few days into month 14 and lo and behold, the mighty munchkin continues to delight. I have found it weird that this is my comparison point – but here it is. It’s like a new relationship when you’re dating someone, except the shine has not really rubbed off. There are times that I think, ‘oh I’m tired … I wish I could just do nothing all day long’ but the little fella continues to pass along a steady diet of love and happiness, with bouts of sleeplessness and irritability.

What’s that rambling nonsense? Is that coffee-fueled jabber? Sure. Yes. But also that’s month 14. Ka-chow.

Month 14 seemed big. They’ve all been big, but this one felt like a number of mental things clicked for the little guy that have been so exciting to see.

This is a month 15 story, and I’m sorry to steal your thunder 15, but this feels representative of month 14. My wife and I went over to the kiddo’s ‘school’ for Halloween the other day and when I walked in the room my wife informed me excitedly, ‘he knows how to say high five!’ And yes, sure enough, our son would excitedly say high five, and/or hold up his tiny little adorable hand and then if you high fived he would say ‘high five.’ Do you know just how STRANGE it is to have someone who you spend tons of time with, who you adore endlessly, and who is only capable of about 10 words surprise you with a new word/phrase? It’s odd, and delightful. Also, his ‘high five’ is really more of a ‘ha fa’ but he knows what’s up.

The month started off with a new streak of independence which we had yet to see, and it showed up consistently at mealtime causing us some consternation until we figured it out. The kiddo had a sudden interest in taking a much more active role in feeding himself, and it showed up as rejecting old fan favorites and being a little tyrant at the table until it clicked. We figured it out one day with blueberries. We had cut a number in half because he has some personal revolt against chewing and will swallow down large chunks of food with a pained look on his face as the food goes down, then quickly reach out and repeat the whole painful process. But no, I don’t want those blueberry halves. We tried this, that, and the other thing but what finally worked, and worked very well, was holding the container out to him. He pounced on it and would grab tiny adorable handfuls and throw them in his mouth, chewing his little meaningless chews and swallowing painfully. But hey, he was eating. Phew. The same trend showed up in other foods … string cheese was no longer cut up, he got the whole stick. Bananas likewise are now served in about 3 or 4 big chunks instead of little bite sized pieces. It makes mealtime easier all in all, but it took a bit to figure out this new desire.

I don’t know when this happened exactly, it was before month 14, but I think I’ve yet to mention it so I’ll do so now. Another word in the kid’s small but growing list is book. It’s really just a b noise, but he knows what it means because he’ll pick up a book, hold it in the air, and say, ‘buh … buh … buh.’ He’ll look at you while doing this, which means please read me this book, dear mother or father. And if you’re busy cleaning up or doing something else you’ll eventually hear his little persistent noise, look up, and see him patiently waiting while repeating ‘buh’ over and over. It is almost incomprehensibly adorable. Naturally, you plop down near him and he’ll excitedly crawl right up to you with the book and then become overjoyed when you open up the book to start reading. He especially loves The Pout Pout Fish. One funny part about this is that you have an almost 0% chance of actually reading the book. He loves turning pages and will aggressively turn the pages on you as you attempt to read, skipping large chunks of the book with his fat-fingered page turning. Generally The Pout Pout Fish is reduced to about 20 words, scattered across various pages. One morning I did manage to read about 50% of Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb about 10 times. That was a very exciting morning. Dum ditty dum ditty dum ditty dum.

The words we’ve got going now, perhaps mostly in the order of appearance: dog, dad, mom, ball, bye, book, banana, airplane, car, high five, outside. Airplanes get a reaction even when we’re inside the house. He’ll hear one, point to the sky and say, ‘ah-pane.’

The word car seemed to arrive instantly, and boy was it an exciting walk when that word first appeared. We have, as one might expect in a suburban neighborhood, a lot of cars. And you know who delighted in pointing out every car? Our little wordsmith. Something between a ‘cat’ and a ‘gah’ and a happy point at car, after car, after car, after car. Sometimes a pause to wave at a car driving by as I would wave (it feels weird to point to random neighbors cars as they drive by so I try to wave to make it not seem like I’m being ominous or threatening).

The language front has been amazing this past month, which has been wonderful to witness.

Now on to the physicality. The kiddo is still not walking, which is completely fine, but boy do I dislike it when people say, ‘he’s not walking yet?’ or any variation on that. This does nothing for us, or the person saying it, so … why say it? That said, we have had a lot of fun physical developments.

He climbed down the stairs backwards for the first time during this month, and just like when he learned to climb up them he went from never having done it to expert in seemingly no time at all. Initially he wanted to crawl down things face forward, which would lead to me flipping him around and trying to pull him down backwards to show him. He didn’t like that and would try and squirm away from me till one day – boom. I get it. And away he went. That day he climbed up the stairs over and over just to get the chance to then climb down them. My wife said he would occasionally crawl up one or two steps then point at the top of the stairs so she would carry him up so that he could climb down again. Crafty, lazy, stair descending monster.

The next big happening was my wife’s first night away from the little guy since his time in the NICU. She took a short trip to hang out with a friend for the weekend so the little guy and I had some nice adventures of our own – a museum, swim lessons, a Halloween thing and some typical errands. It was a great weekend with the little guy, made all the better by the fact that sleep changed this month and became somewhat reliably good. He’d still wake up one or two times a night, but a quick visit to hand him his pacifier and re-sing the putdown song or letting him cry for 2 or 3 minutes usually did the trick to get him back into a solid sleep. The difference that makes is huge, and made the weekend (and this last month in general) much easier on the parental side. I can’t overstate what a big difference solid, predictable sleep makes. As I write this he’s napping (and, ironically, his first nap was oddly short today so we’ll see how this one goes).

During that weekend the mornings were spent the same way my wife spends them … wake up, play for a bit, breakfast, play for a bit, then a walk, playing and an-time. The walk pretty much always involves a stop off at the nearby park where he loves the swings and these little spinny type toys. It’s like a little dome you sit in and someone else spins it. It’s hysterical to watch his little eyes when he gets stopped because they bounce around as he tries to come back from the dizziness. But he loves it. Because as soon as things quit spinning for him and his eyes can focus, he begins to rock back and forth, his hands still holding on, waiting for you to start spinning him again. But oh … when you leave … that’s his least favorite part. And if you dare walk by the playground casually without stopping? He’s not a fan of that either. Usually my trick is to find some other thing to point out to distract him – oh look, an airplane!, or oooh a neighbor’s dog! Thankfully distractions exist in spades.

Ok friends, gut check. Even I am sick of writing this down. But you know who might not be sick of reading this a ways down the road from now? My son-loving future self. So, here’s to you, pal.

This month also featured … clapping! I know this is typically something kids conquer much earlier but we never clapped at home, so I think this is something he likely picked up from daycare. I don’t have too much to say about that, it was just fun to see him clap. I think sometimes he claps because he enjoys the act of clapping, and other times it’s because something happened that he liked (generally food-related).

This one may be silly, but I was pretty enthused in the moment. The kiddo and I were at the nearby playground, which has the play area’s ground comprised of small pebbles. The kiddo loves to grab handfuls of small things and then he pulls his arm back so his hand is at his side, near his waist, and then he drops whatever it is (mulch, pebbles, sand, whatever). He was doing this over and over when I got his attention and showed him what I like to do at the beach – grab a handful (pebbles instead of sand), and then slowly open my hand and let it drain out between my fingers. I did this over and over and then lo and behold, he switched from his method to mimicking what I was doing! Amazing! He only did it a few times before he decided he liked his game more … but it was the first time I’d seen him see me doing something and then so quickly mimic it.

And speaking of learning things … We went to a pumpkin patch one weekend and the kiddo went down a slide. This was the first time I’d seen him kind of scoot his body forward to get into a spot where he’d actually start to slide down. This was very fun to see but it showed up again later at his swim lessons when he squirmed/scooted his little body from the side of the pool, where I’d placed him, toward me in the water. It was fun watching his tiny little self sort of trust fall into me from the side of the pool, excitedly reaching out and grinning as he’d come at me.

Last but certainly not least, and another late blooming thing – peek-a-boo! This month the kiddo really fell in love with that, and it’s been hysterical to watch. He is terrible at it. He’ll cover one eye with his hand and stare at you with the other. But with an object like a towel or pillow he’s great, he’ll hide behind it and then we ask where he is excitedly and boom, he reveals he’s been there all along. Boy, aren’t mom and dad stupid for not knowing I was right here? One adorable and sad daycare pickup was when I showed up and he had clearly just been crying, but I walked in the door and he’s sitting with tears on his face, his tired little eyes, and boom, he throws his hands up to immediately begin a peek-a-boo game with old pop. Heartbreaking and sweet.

Anywho … that’s 14. I may have to revisit how I do these because boy, even I’m bored at this moment.

If you’ve stuck with me, you really ought to get a life.

I Love You So Much That …

I’m going to let you suffer.

That’s right. I’ll know you’re suffering. I know I’m DEFINITELY suffering hearing you suffer. And we’re just going to sit here with this. And sit. And gnash teeth. And chant to myself about this is for your good in the long run.

Recently on my young journey along interstate parenthood I had a weird realization – true love is letting someone suffer.

Stay with me.

Remind yourself of a friendship or a past relationship where you really liked the person. But love? Eh. Not so much love. Or maybe you even felt some love toward this person but it wasn’t … you know, twist your heart, Of Human Bondage love.

OfHumanBondage.jpg

By Source, Fair use, Link


If there was a decision that needed to be made with that person and it would require some hurt on your part, and that person’s part … would you make that call? Would you choose the harder right over the easier wrong? Maybe it was a conversation with a friend who wants to marry the wrong person, maybe it’s a young son who sits at his first soccer practice crying the whole time, or a young baby who is STILL a pretty terrible sleeper and so you’re revisiting sleep training which involves the sleep wave (i.e. lots of crying on that baby’s part).

If you love someone, really love someone, you’re likely going to make them suffer. Because your spouse / best friend / whatever is about to make an important career move and (shhh, you can totally tell it’s the wrong move!) or any of one million more examples.

The wise reader has probably learned that my wife and I are once again trying to get the kiddo back on track in regards to sleep. The last few nights I have whispered lovingly to him during the calming period before bed about how I love him so, so much and he’s going to suffer for it. It’s a really swell chat.

So go forth, reader! And choose that harder right, and suffer with your loved ones!

Month 11, or OHHH! MY EYE!!!!

Hello again friends, we have less than a month til the little fella is a ONE YEAR OLD! I would also like to say that any and all typos in this post can and will be blamed on my son. We’ll get to that.

It was a hectic month in the life of the fella and his mom and pop, so we’ll take a chronological approach to month 11.

Houston

The big events started at the beginning of July when my wife had her first solo trip with the kiddo, with the two of them heading off to Houston, humidity, and family. I joined them on July 4th and we stayed there til the weekend after the 4th.

Starting a week or so before the trip the kiddo began to sleep through the night … consistently. Thank the Lord almighty. He slept, with maybe one or two nights off, a week straight! You know how many times he had slept through the night leading up to that? 2 or 3. It was a welcome reprieve, to say the least.

Then in Houston, shock of all shocks, the great sleep continued. It was miraculous. We had figured surely the new place, the new … everything … would throw him off but the little champion sleeper continued to impress. He didn’t have a perfect record in Houston, but it took very little on our parts to get him great sleep which was phenomenal.

July 4th, with fireworks nearby, was a more involved night. But who can blame him. And, let me say, it was the first time I heard fireworks on July 4th and would mutter curses to myself while hearing them. Yeah yeah, America’s great and all that, but GET OFF MY LAWN AND QUIET DOWN EVERYBODY.

As part of the Houston trip we headed to Galveston where the kiddo had his first beach experience. Sitting in the surf, between mama’s legs, trying to catch a little toy that would drift away and come back with the tide … His mom, and maternal grandmother, couldn’t have been happier. The kiddo, too, seemed quite content. And for my part, I held the little guy and would squat down and stand up to let him experience waves in … some kind of fashion. It elicited some good grins from the monster, which is all I need in life (well, that and food. AND SLEEP).

The trip also saw me having my first nights alone since he came along. It was wild. One night I mowed the lawn, took out the trash, made sure all the dishes were in good shape … LOOK OUT. But I did treat myself – I squeezed in an extra workout, got fast food, and watched action movies VERY LOUDLY. Huzzah for the small things.

Eyes

The Sunday we came back the kiddo woke up earlier than we would normally like, but it worked great for the travel plans that day. Little did we know that was the beginning of the end of his great run of sleep. It’s not like things got terrible, they just went back to being not good. For example, waking up an hour earlier than we want him to.

And you may say, what’s the big deal? Well, then it makes him more inclined to be cranky, and that impacts the whole day, and throws off the next night’s sleep. And when he wakes up just an hour or so earlier than we want him to it is QUITE difficult to get him back to sleep, because he’s recovered enough to say, ‘HEY DAAAAAAD. LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOO!’ but you know … he says that with cries.

Monday the kiddo woke up at 5, not 6, and since my wife would be home all day with him I took him downstairs to hang out til my wife would take over around 630 (when I would need to start getting ready for work).

Do you want to play on the floor? No, too fussy (because you’re tired, child).

Ok, how about dad reads a book and you sit on my lap?

I plop the kiddo on my lap and boom, he’s trying to take off my glasses. Ok, fine fine, let me put these over there and then … that’s when spazzy militaristic baby arms got me.

BAM. Right in the eye.

It felt not good. I think I even cried out, I’m not saying I’m a tough guy (I’m not), I just don’t normally react vocally like that.

With one eye open, the kid tucked into my arms, and one hand covering the other eye, I made my way slowly upstairs and handed the kiddo off. I sat in the dark for a while, eyes closed, and things began to feel better. I showered, dressed, and headed to a doc appointment I happened to have.

While driving I realized … this was not wise.

I had my appointment, a mole was removed (the doc said, ‘this will be the second most painful thing you’ve experienced today’). After the appointment my wife and adorable assailant arrived to whisk me away to an eye doc. My wife was thankfully able to book an appointment for me pronto.

The doc gave me some numbing drops that were a little taste of Heaven, and then he took a look. ‘Oooh, he got you good.’ He showed my wife, who responded with a, ‘YIKES’ … Which was encouraging.

That week I missed work that day, the next day I happened to have a vacation day because of my sis and her fam being in town, and I missed work Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday my eye hurt/was uncomfortable. The kiddo scratched about 15% of my cornea, and managed to get down to the third layer. Between the location, and the depth, the eye has been taking a while to heal. It’s almost a month later and my eye is still blurry. The eye doc gave me a band-aid contact which I wore for a bit over a week, tons of eye drops, and plenty of eye doc visits (I think I’ve been 8 times in the last month). One of the drops slowed the healing down so that it would be less likely to scar. But now the scarring process is beginning, so hopefully my brain will adapt to the scar and adjust and I’ll have pretty much normal vision. The doc mentioned that surgery could be what happens if my brain can’t adapt … which would be a horrifying nightmare scenario for me. I might opt for blindness over an eye surgery.

Anywho, fun stuff.

Ears

IMG_20180722_160221134

I didn’t even get into how he’s progressing with food. With mom or dad’s help he drinks from a cup … and oh, how the mighty backwash river flows.

The morning after the GREAT EYE POKE INCIDENT OF 2018, the kiddo had a surgery scheduled for 7 am. He was going to get tubes put in his ears to address his frequent ear infections.

This was all great stuff except for two things:

1) The surgery was scheduled for 7am and the little guy couldn’t eat until after the operation. Considering he normally breastfed anywhere from 530 to 630 am this could be a challenge. Also we had to be there an hour early, which meant an hour of ‘why am I awake and not eating?’ I don’t know what the kiddo is thinking, but I imagine he was looking at mom thinking, ‘uh, dude, the buffet is like … right there. What’s the deal.’

2) When coming out of anesthesia, I think about 90% of babies respond NOT WELL. As in, inconsolable crying. Unfortunately he was part of that 90%.

We got to the hospital without too much anger in the morning, and then the bjorne and me wandering worked the magic we work. The kiddo was delightfully distracted, I was squinting at everything like some poor man’s Clint Eastwood (cornea scratches can make you quite light-sensitive) and the kiddo got some sweet compliments from random hospital staff. His button nose – yes, I agree, it’s adorable. His quick smile – yes, agreed again, it’s fantastic. His insane squawking – you know what, ADORABLE.

The staff at the hospital was tremendous, too. The anesthesiologist came by, talked to us, talked to our kiddo, poked at his belly, gave him smiles, the kiddo smiled back … That guy ended up being the one to whisk our son away to the OR and he did so like a seasoned pro. He got a warm blanket, wrapped it around him, held him tight, and to our happy surprise our kid went away without any tears.

If our son is anything like his mother, he was probably marveling at the magic of a toasty blanket.

The surgery finished quickly and we headed back to see our sweet boy. At this point I quit my charade of pretending to not have weird eye stuff going on (up til then I would make brief eye contact, then look down, close my eye, and it might water some … it really was in a weird state). I donned my shades and took turns with my wife pacing, singing, cooing, bouncing, and every trick we knew to get our son to calm down and stop crying.

After maybe 30 minutes it took hold and the little guy was knocked out in his mom’s arms. The nurse helping us said, ‘just keep the shirt’ so we now have a little baby hospital shirt as a very strange souvenir.

I took an Uber to an eye doc appointment (what a ride – the driver, a man in his 50s, talked to me about his ex and their sex life) while the kiddo took a 2.5 hour nap. That is an INSANELY long nap by his standards.

Quick Hits

IMG_20180722_160721920

This picture does the mess no justice. There’s a layer of grime so thick you’d think it does squats. EH!? JOKES!

Ok I am writing WAY too much. Absurd. And too much about me and my dang eye (but really, it’s been a ride).

So, let’s speed up.

The Tuesday of the surgery my sis and her fam arrived, to which I played the role of terribly boring host who likes to sit in the dark and not play. My nephew was probably bummed, but all the more reason for them to visit again in the future.

It was fun to watch our kiddo just stare at his almost 6, and 2.5 year old cousins playing with ‘his’ toys. Who are these guys? How are they so quick? HOW CAN THEY STAND!?

And speaking of standing …

The little guy has gotten much faster at standing up. And with maybe a week before he turned 11 months he figured out sitting back down. This was pretty revolutionary. Until then he would stand, happily, until he didn’t want to be standing and then he would make an upset screeching/squawking noise (you may think I am overusing the word squawk … I am not).

He is still very slow to sit back down (it’s adorable how he gingerly approaches the ground like it may rush up to meet him … which, from his perspective, it probably does fairly often).

My FAVORITE new thing this month is the most playing back-and-forth the monster and I have done. It’s been amazing. It started with me taking his pacifier, and pretending to suck on it while I stared at him. He would stare, find it hysterical, and then climb up me to retrieve his coveted friend. That’s all well and good.

My wife had brought up our ottoman from downstairs to afford more cruising opportunities, and this was the centerpiece of the new game. The kiddo would crawl to one side, stand up, and I started sneaking up to faux-bite his belly while he stood there.

This would lead to him getting down from standing (gingerly, very gingerly) and then crawling after me. And there you have it – he’s chasing me! He is a LOUD crawler, his hands hit the floor with a fierceness, so I do the same and when he hears my loud banging on the ground he knows … it’s go time.

Words can’t do it justice, but it is wonderful to crawl away from him (at which point I inevitably speed up enough to then catch him) and grab his little belly or tickle him.
He’s also a smart kiddo (biased much?) because he has figured out that I’ll turn around to surprise him as he rounds a corner. So he will crawl after me, pause, and look back. He also is a cheater, because he’ll stand up to try and spot me.

(I maybe just realized this started right after the 11 month day but … whatever, I already typed it.)

And in the category of random we have …

One day my wife was getting her teeth cleaned and a Walmart was right nearby. The kiddo and I, trusty bjorne employed, headed to Walmart to see the sights. In one toy aisle I got a sort of kickball out and began bouncing it which, unexpectedly, CRACKED UP the kiddo. He found it hysterical. Why? Lord knows. But you know who bought that ball? This guy.

Ok, congratulations even to you future self for sticking with me. This was far too long.

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.

Easy Praise

This post is a little counter-intuitive, because I’m going to give people reasons to not to say nice things to me, but I think it’s worth saying.

I think, in my very short journey into fatherhood, it’s easier to be called a great dad than it is to be called a great mom. By easier I mean much, much easier. Like the bar is set so low a snail could walk over it. And, unfortunately, I think that’s because of the general expectations that people have for moms and dads. Moms are expected to do … everything, and likely with a full heart and a smile, and dads are expected to help mom take a load off once every 3 weeks or so. I don’t know the exact science, but it’s in there somewhere.

My wife and I are following the traditional route, she is home on maternity leave for a long while, and I am back at work. This means, by the time I get home every day, she will have been full time b for 8+ hours, while I worked on code. In case you didn’t know, code is much more predictable than a baby. I get frustrated when I can’t solve a problem at work (because I always feel like I should know better and be able to solve whatever it is) … and a baby is somewhat similar in a way.

Hear me out. The baby and computer can both give less than ideal messages that something is wrong (cryptic error messages for one, crying so intense it consumes their whole body for the other) … but you know what? I think cryptic error messages are ok compared to crying. Most anything is ok compared to crying.

I get home from a lovely day of work or a long day and if the kiddo is up and unhappy, I’ll dance around with him. Easy peasy. He typically has an unhappy stretch somewhere between or inclusive of 7 pm to 11 pm. Usually he can be calmed pretty well, but you have to be in constant motion. I am consistently logging 3+ miles just in the house, and the majority of that is pacing/dancing from the kitchen to the family room and back. And again. And again. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s not too bad. The only really unpleasant times are when he is inconsolable and so very upset. That is tough. It’s draining to try to keep the monster happy when he is fussy for God knows what reason … And my wife has just had a long day of doing just that.

But you wouldn’t believe how people hear or see that I come home from work, take over to give my wife a break, and then folks offer up lauds generally reserved for those curing cancer.

Was I not involved in the creation of this kiddo? I know my wife, and mom’s in general, are genetically tied to the baby in a way the dad never can be or never will be … But to let that be the justification for being hands off or not trying to contribute as much as possible?

Consider, the next time you want to throw out a kudos, would you be throwing the same kudos if you saw a mom doing this thing? Or is it applause worthy simply because it’s dad?

Really. Pause. Take a moment, and think about it.

Got to go, the kid and wife have both been crying the whole time I’ve been writing this. Just kidding. You hope.

Free Range Cattle

When he discovered his son in the barn with a joint he was incredibly upset. He just stood there, boiling with anger, unable to react because of all the thoughts racing through his mind. He was about to start on a yell-oriented lecture when he became even angrier: his son was laughing. With his eyes bulging he let the look on his face start the lecture for his son, but it seemed irrelevant. His son was usually much better than this, and smarter. Every little chuckle, every grin, smirk, and stifled laugh only added days to the pending punishment – but still the laughter came from his son. Finally, he had to put aside his pride and admit defeat. The laughter would not stop, and sheer curiosity had begun to replace the anger. “Dad …” his son started to say without prompt, “Dad,” he repeated, and then gestured to the cows and to his joint, “I figured out a way to make free-range veal!”

%d bloggers like this: