The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘fatherhood’

22 Months, Or … The Tiny Talker

The delinquent dad here with another update – this time for a great big 22 month old. At this point I baffle strangers when they ask, ‘how old is he?’ and I say 22 months. I can almost see them doing math in their head. Following my wife’s lead I have adopted a simpler answer of, ‘none of your business.’ Just kidding. I say a bit shy of 2. And then I say, ‘now get off my lawn.’ This is especially effective for making people scatter when I’m at Target.

I am deep into 23 month land so I can hardly remember 22 months, so this may … for once … be a relatively short update. But we’ll see. I bet I can manage to be long-winded.

The kiddo is all about words. Man oh man he is a good little communicator and mimic. I made a note of every word I heard him say over the course of an afternoon, plus what I knew from memory … but I bet I missed some. Here is what my chatty little 21.5 month old was saying:

animals
dog
cat
elephant
mouse
donkey
horse
fish
whale
bunny
dinosaur
lion
cow
moose
animals
turtle
vehicles
boat
airplane
truck
jeep
car
helicopter
dump truck
food
banana
apple
cheese
yogurt
mac & cheese
treat
cookie
juice
water
milk
spoon
cup
gummies
pouch

clothes
socks
shoes
shirt
shorts
jeans
boots

body parts
foot
toe
knee
elbow
nose
mouth
ears
hair
face
belly
teeth
fingers

other
bicycle
mom
dad
house
lake
book
george
tv
remote
phone
nap
night night
school
dido
vacuum
weed whacker
lawn mower
flower
kayak
more
ball
outside
inside
street
close
trash can
wheel
hi
hat
that way
park
eyeglasses
door
tickle
bright
splash
bubbles
rock
fast
blanket
high five
please
thank you
pocket
bonk
better
all done
Velcro

verbs
up
help
move
walk
push
sit
come
race
eat
hop
walk
wash
swing
slide
turn
kick
kiss
hug
help
open
close
wash
From a thing I read online two year olds should be able to say 50 or more words by the time they turn two, and our kiddo’s chatty style is clearly a point of pride for ol mom and dad.

The kiddo continued to add more words and phrases to his repertoire with his mimic style. Sometimes when my wife or I are pushing him on the swing he begins to demand that WE swing too. ‘Swing?’ or ‘Dada swing?!’ over and over til you take a seat. When I do this I pump my legs in an exaggerated style and ask him to do the same saying, ‘up … and dooooown’ repeatedly. He doesn’t quite get the instruction, but he does repeat what I’m saying. So that’s nice?

An exciting observationt I heard the kiddo put together for the first time was noticing (or being lucky in timing) when we are almost home. Generally I am pretty chatty when driving with the kiddo, asking him things, talking about things, just whatever. One of the my typical observations is when we are almost home I say … surprise … ‘almost home!’ And now the kiddo has taken up the mantle and says the same! Hurray observational prowess!

Likewise when leaving for daycare he often says goodbye to just about everything. ‘Bye bunnies! … Bye house! … Bye neighbors … Bye car … Bye lake … Bye park … Bye truck.’ (And then that one is repeated a lot. We have a lot of trucks around us.)

A very sweet thing that showed up this month is kissing injuries. If the kiddo falls or has a minor injury, ie not tear-inducing, he will come over mildly upset and say ‘kiss?’ A kiss is promptly delivered. Mom or dad will then say, ‘is that better?’ and he would say ‘yeahhhhh.’ That evolved over the month to optimize the conversation. Instead of waiting for a question from mom or dad he would ask for a kiss, get a kiss, then state ‘better’ before running off.

In general a lot of things lead to either high fives or kisses. Threw out some trash? That’s a high five. Bumped into the couch? That’s a kiss. One day my wife, the kiddo and I were hanging out in the backyard when the kiddo found a dead bug. My wife said, ‘oh leave him alone he’s hurt’ and the kiddo said, ‘owwie?’ and she said ‘yes, he has an owwie’ so he promptly got down on his hands and knees and began to go in for a magical, restorative kiss. We quickly picked him up.

I had two heartbreaking things this month with the sweet little guy. The kiddo has a high chair that is sort of mounted on our kitchen table. He ran up to it excited for some food and tried to hang … this is especially worrisome because that hard floor under him is only too ready to greet him if he should fall. I told him no very sternly which earned me the saddest, sweetest little upset face I’d run across in a while. He looked up at me sad as could be, lips turned down but trying not to cry, and he went to his mama. I came around to the couch where they were sitting and he turned away from me, still trying not to cry (why kiddo, let it out man!). The trying not to cry made it even worse. But he was upset with me, and wouldn’t let me comfort him, which was a first. Poor little fella.

The other new heartbreaker, which is only getting stronger, is words mixed in with crying at bedtime. We had ourselves a recent stretch of bad sleep so he wouldn’t go down easy like he had for a long stretch. One night we put him down and instead of going to sleep he began to cry. And in between those cries he managed to say, ‘help me dada.’ Lord have mercy child, you’ll kill me one way or another with those heartstrings you own.

I know it might not sound like much, dear reader, but I’m a light weight.

Another language step that was a bit of a sad arrival was a change in his responses to questions like, ‘how was your day?’ and ‘how did you sleep?’ Previously either of those questions, or ones like them, got a very sincere nod yes. Suddenly the word ‘good’ showed up and now that’s the standard answer.

One thing I enjoy doing with the kiddo is what I refer to as a ‘tickle test.’ I’ll move him so he is flat on his back, and then I say let’s check the left armpit … then I tickle, the neck … then I tickle, etc. He especially loses it at the neck so I usually save that for last. Tickling at a certain age is a harrowing experience to undergo because you laugh so much you can’t breathe and you just sort of writhe around like a snake. So I thought, is this a form of delightful torture? But the thought was dispelled because the kiddo came up to me one afternoon and said, ‘tickle test?’ Buddy, you got it.

The kiddo can be a real stinker. A goose. A moose goose, as I call him. He will say no to many things with absolute delight. When he’s tired he really likes to test the waters and do things he knows he shouldn’t. I’ll be holding him and he’ll hit me very gently and then look at me, really focusing and watching, to see what I’ll do. Generally the first hit leads me to saying, ‘hey, be nice.’  This has led to a hobby which would make a stranger look askance where he will hit himself (not hard) and then shake his head no and say, ‘nice.’  Sometimes he’ll even do that and then pet himself as he says nice. It’s great.

Now we’ll end on a classic little boy story. The kiddo was getting some good naked time in one night, running around happy as could be. He ran into his bedroom and began peeing on the floor. He stared in fascination (as I scrambled for a towel). The urine ran out which prompted a big laugh and a pause, then, ‘again!?’

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June 2019 Haiku

June 1 (Saturday)
Rainy days call for
Waterproof boots, a rain coat
And running around

June 2 (Sunday)
Playing at a park
That mom’s here with like 10 kids
You poor, poor woman

June 3 (Monday)
Intern’s hairdo says
‘I am very good at code.’
(Pssst. That means bad hair.)

June 4 (Tuesday)
Every chance I get
I’m scouting toys for my son
………. That I also want

June 5 (Wednesday)
Teammate shows idea
All: INTENSE TECHNICAL Q’s
(Nerd speak for: love it!)

June 6 (Thursday)
‘You Got Those Weird Poops’
It’s my new restaurant idea
All you can eat, obvs

June 7 (Friday)
Dad, son … Doing what?
Standing by a major road
Saying: ‘truck!’, ‘woahhhhh!’, ‘jeep!!’

June 8 (Saturday)
Dad’s day gift making
Impressive just how quickly
‘Art’ can become food

June 9 (Sunday)
Exploring new parks
My new favorite thing to do
With my little pal

June 10 (Monday)
Driving down defects
Writing tests can be painful
But mostly cathartic

June 11 (Tuesday)
USWNT
Out there like Alabama
vs South Vermont Prep

June 12 (Wednesday)
Car back from the shop
‘How’d it go?’ … ‘They called me gross.’
*Looks at car* … *Nods* … *Shrugs*

June 13 (Thursday)
Kid pet a bunny!
His lifelong (well, week-plus long)
Goal has been achieved!

June 14 (Friday)
Counting with my son
‘1’ “One!” ‘2 …’ “Twooooo!” ‘3!’ “FIVE!” ‘No,
Not yet doll it’s – ‘ “FIVE!”

June 15 (Saturday)
My new age track star
He gets ‘ready,’ ‘set,’ and ‘go’
… Runs to random spot

June 16 (Sunday)
Happy father’s day
What age will my son realize
Sealed fate of nerdness?

June 17 (Monday)
Colleague has fish lunch
You are to the microwave
What Trump is to States

June 18 (Tuesday)
Big sleep step for kid
No more sleep sack! (Which leads to …
Nighttime gymnastics)

June 19 (Wednesday)
No sleep sack update
Calmly reading bedtime book …
While son chants ‘sleep sack!’

June 20 (Thursday)
Lounging in backyard
Kiddo plays and talks to self
Life is just plain good

June 21 (Friday)
Costco trip with kid
Picky eater at home. Here?
Wolfs down the samples.

June 22 (Saturday)
Wife makes kid ‘coffee’
Milk, plus one part chocolate milk
Sit, and sip, as fam

June 23 (Sunday)
Raise shirt, slap belly
At a park later that day
Kid mimics me … Great …

June 24 (Monday)
Kid crawls into car
Spots, snags an old gummy bear
“Gummy!!” said with JOY

June 25 (Tuesday)
Got called ‘hip’ today
I’m not hip. At all. Trust me.
It’s just ‘young’ in disguise

June 26 (Wednesday)
Three word phrases! Whoo!
‘Not the hands’ kid says, doing …
… What I said not to …

June 27 (Thursday)
You know what I like?
Every bad movie out there
Has one “it’s good!!!” fan

June 28 (Friday)
Heading to Houston
Heat, humidity, and fam
(Fam time gets first place)

June 29 (Saturday)
Wife’s grandma’s birthday
Wife gets up to say something
Me: ‘look!’ Son: ‘OUTSIDE?!?’

June 30 (Sunday)
Toy weed wacker gift.l
It. Is. A. HIT. Kid patrols
Backyard, weed wacking

21 Months, Or Look at the Words on that Boy!

I’ll start with something that happened at some point, I have no idea when, but it wasn’t during this month. One day the kiddo and I were heading home from swim lessons and we were stopped at a red light. I looked over and there was a cop giving me this weird little wave. I am sure my eyebrows danced a bit but I thought, ok, rolled down my window and began to return the same weird little silly wave and the MOMENT I began I realized … this is exactly how I wave to little kids. This cop is not waving at me. It was a good time.

Now on to the 21st month. This is the month of the little chatter. The kiddo has consistently been behind on gross motor, but great with language, and it really came alive so much more this month which is a blast for ol’ mom and dad. One change that ol’ mom and dad need to embrace as a result of this is no longer talking about the kiddo like he’s not right there. Because now when we’re relaying a story of some funny thing … he’s listening, and he’s paying attention, and he’s taking notes.

The kiddo and I had developed a pattern.

Kiddo: Spoon?
Me: You want a spoon?
Kiddo: Yes

Kiddo: Yogurt?
Me: You want yogurt?
Kiddo: Yes

But, smart little fella he is, he decided to optimize me out. Here’s how it goes now.

Kiddo (begins walking toward the park): Swing? Swing? Yes.

Does dad happen to want to go to the park at that moment? Irrelevant!

Another exciting language development has been the arrival of a lot more two word phrases. We have some two word things he says that he probably thinks of as one word. For example, there was a perioed where the word truck was replaced with BIG TRUCK because we started trying to add adjectives. But it didn’t quite take. Instead it was just that every vehicle became BIG. BIG CAR. No, dad’s car is actually kinda … BIG TRUUUUUUCK (as an actual big truck drives by), yeah, yeah, that is a big truck! But dad’s car is … BUNDY! (Because a bunny ran by. It’s tough to have a conversation with this guy sometimes.)

BUT! Now we have actual two word phrases. I believe it started with a bye bye car, but then quickly expanded to bye bye truck, bye bye airplane, and one sweet morning a bye bye mama which was adorable to hear. But it’s grown so much past bye byes now. We’ve got open door, close door, lock door (he likes opening and closing doors), baby bunny … I can’t even think of them all.

A special category of two word phrases are two word bossing dad around phrases. Dada sit! Dada come! It’s good to be wanted.

But you want to know a terrible first? A terrible time to be wanted? The kiddo unlocked a new form of torture when we put him to bed one night (which goes swimmingly more often than not) and I was downstairs and thought I heard him crying. I went to the staircase to listen and heard, *sniffle, sniffle … cry … dada? … cry … dadaaaaa* Oh man. Brutal. How fast was I in that room? Very fast.

Speaking of fast (dig those transitions) … The kiddo’s most impressive phrases have been inspired by the bunnies that live under our back patio / our neighbors back patios. He LOVES them, and we have a few baby ones out there now. The kid just plain loves being outside and will go, window to window, door to door, saying ‘outside! outsiiiiide!’ And all the while he is looking for bunnies, or bundy as he calls them. Just the other morning he stood at a window saying hi, hi, hi … bunnnyyyyyy … baby! … baby! Hi! When we let him loose in the backyard to hunt bunnies he’ll sometimes run up to them screaming, sometimes approach them with his finger on his lips saying ‘shhhh’ very loudly and then giving out a loud squawk/laugh. It’s a mix of emotions when hunting bunnies. One day the impressive phrasing was said while approaching a bunny, ‘hop hop hop …’ then the bunny ran away because this tiny, loud, crazy person was coming at it, ‘wait wait wait!’ (which is what I often say to him) and then after the bunny had successfully sprinted off to an insurmountable distance away (the other side of the yard) ‘FASSSSSSST!’

And speaking of hops … The kiddo had another PT appointment for his gross motor skills and we will have one or two more before he turns two. The PT person is thinking he is doing fine but she wants to check in to make sure he makes progressing on jumping/hopping in place. He gets the concept. He’ll say ‘hop!’ and go up on his tippy toes … but there is no leaving the ground. At swim lessons too he has an opportunity to jump when the kids crawl out of the water (he’s stellar at that) and then turn around and jump into mom or dad’s arms but my dear sweet boy instead sits and wiggles his way back to the water and my arms. One day, kiddo!

And before we leave the lawn it would be a great personal failure to forget to mention the heroes of the month – lawn mower, weed whacker. My. Gosh. These two. The kiddo LOVES the lawn mower and the weed whacker. It has thankfully simmered but there was a stretch where these were literally the first words out of his mouth when he woke up. You’d hear some little noises that let you know he was waking and then, ‘weed whack! … lawn … lawn … lawn … weed WHACK.’ He watches me mow the lawn and weed whack with rapt, undivided attention, and if I look over at him and wave or make a silly face he eats it up (which I am quite fond of). My wife’s mom visited for mother’s day weekend and she had the fun task of sitting outside and holding him while I mowed and weed whacked. She decided that night that the kiddo really needed a brand new toy … a toy lawn mower! He would love it! It arrived a few days after she left, we took the kiddo and the lawn mower outside and what did he do? He sat down, said watch, and looked at me. Kid. No. I am not going to use a one foot tall lawn mower to … ok, fine, I’ll humor you. He has since done some indoor lawn mowing but I don’t think he’s truly embraced his lawn mower just yet. One day! We did, however, say good morning and goodnight to his lawn mower, my lawn mower, and the weed whacker every day for about a week.

Mother’s Day weekend was a nice time with my mother-in-law, aka Granny, too! She watched the kiddo for a big chunk one day while my wife and I furniture shopped (hooray?). The sweet little boy cried as we were leaving but then smart Granny said, ‘you want to go to the park?’ and he said, in a half-cry voice, ‘yeah …’ and then ol mom and dad were forgotten about and outdoor adventures were the order of the day.

It was a nice weekend, and great to see the kiddo getting comfortable with his grandma sooner as time is going on. The kiddo is always reluctant with a new face, and reluctant with a repeat face that he doesn’t see very frequently … so it’s great that he is beginning to enjoy the company faster and faster.

We also spent a weekend in Minnesota to visit other family (my wife’s dad’s side) and a few of those folks he seemed to take to pretty quickly. One day one of my wife’s cousins swooped the kiddo up to give us a break, and she distracted him with … yep, going to the garage to say hi to the weed whacker and lawn mower. And my wife’s uncle went ahead and fired up the weed whacker which probably really delighted the kiddo.

The weekend was very relaxed and fun, and the only downside was sleep. The kiddo did NOT sleep well, and in fact slept in bed with mom and dad two different nights. And somehow when he sleeps in bed with us, he always manages to find me and snuggle up so close that he sort of wedges himself slightly underneath me. It’s very sweet, and I love it, but man do I sleep horribly. I woke up at one point and his head was wedged into my armpit, I pitied how he would smell the next day. And each time I’d wake I’d squirm away a few inches, only to wake up again later with this tiny fella smushed against me. It inevitably gets to the point where I have no more space to squirm away, and I just have to accept my tiny space heater friend.

One thing that was a lot of fun to see in Minnesota were the kiddo’s cousins (well, second cousins? whatever they are). One of them is I think 7 and really enjoyed playing den mother to the kiddo. And he loved it too. I’d finish telling the 7 year old, ‘no let him just wander, you don’t need to pick him up’ when he’d walk up to her, raise his arms and say, ‘up!’ United front, please, kid? The kiddo LOVES ‘playing’ with other kids, though most times I see this happening they are older so it’s him running along and trying to keep up. There were two girls at a playground playing and they very sweetly included my son, and he was I think the monster in their game so they ran away about 50 yards and then he ‘ran’ (he’s just learning to run) about 5 yards toward them in the same time it took them to do 50 and just laughed hysterically the whole time. Then they ran back and flew by him and he turned and chased them some more, continuing the delighted laughter.

Now for a number of small things.

My wife was switching clothes from the washer to dryer one day when she said something to the effect of, ‘I feel like a typical boy’s mom. I keep having to fish rocks out of the washer because [kiddo] always puts them in his pockets.’ And it’s true, once he discovered pockets it caused a real wave of delight, and now they are the perfect place to store rocks.

Any parent, aunt, uncle, babysitter, or person around kids knows they like to read the same books over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. It is mildly mind-numbing. For fun I like to give just about everyone an accent. Did you know Babar was German? Did you know the Pout Pout Fish was French? Did you know the Man in the Yellow Hat has a Cockney accent? It’s a little spice. But here’s some tragedy. My wife was on the sidelines during a ‘dada!’ phase and every book picked up was taken to me, the kid would seat himself on my lap (pulling me up and saying ‘move!’ if I was laying down) and then I would begin to read. But wait, what’s this!? Every time I started an accent the kid would say, ‘no no no’ until I would stop and use my normal voice. Now every character sounds the same and there goes my little side-game. Oh, child, why!?

The kiddo very adorably said ‘yes!’ (often more of a ‘yesh!’) … but we lost that this month. It has been replaced with ‘yeah.’ A tragedy because it’s less cute, but one that is not surprising because both my wife and I say yeah. Goodbye yesh, hello yeah (and nope).

One day the kiddo was trapped inside, likely the highest possible tragedy in his mind, because it was raining outside. He sang out, ‘rain rain go way.’ I was dumbstruck. He KNOWS THAT SONG!? That’s AMAZING! I’ve said this before but it is really just crazy to have this tiny person developing alongside you, figuring out language and movements and only a few months ago all he said was babbling gibberish and now he’s got words, phrases, and a whole line of a song! And it was context-appropriate! It’s incredible.

Now a few things that maybe started happening earlier I just don’t remember.

Over the winter months before daycare my son and I developed the following routine. I’d put him in the carseat and he would lift up his baba (pacifier) for me and I’d ‘warm’ it because it would’ve gotten cold overnight. I’d pop it in my mouth and suck on it for a second then hand it back over. Now it’s beautiful out, no more cold baba in the morning but the kiddo still hands me the baba and says ‘warm.’ Every morning. ‘Warm’ and I suck on it for a second. I’ve switched my language and now try to ‘charge’ the pacifier and I announce this and say it’s charged with love. But a week or so into this I still get, ‘warm!?’ when he gets plopped in the car seat.

Something that came from daycare was a funny learned behavior that likely isn’t quite what daycare is going for. The kiddo will scream/shriek/shout/whatever word you want for ear-piercing or just generally loud noise … and then quickly put his finger up to his mouth and say ‘shhhhh.’ Buddy. It’s not a combo move, it’s one or the other.

Speaking of not quite there the kiddo has a number of times pinched my face quite hard and then said either ‘ouch!’ or ‘no no’ and then he pets my face while saying ‘nice … nice.’

That’s it for the rambling dad. Off to more adventures with my favorite 2.5 foot tall person.

19th Month, Or A Pooping, Walking, Talking Machine

I’m not going to wait on this one, the kiddo did enough of that, the big highlight of the month was … WALKING! He had a few bouts of solo walking last month but boy it really came alive this month. The month started with a little trip my wife took to visit a friend, and my mom came and spent the weekend with the kiddo and I. Saturday night, after a day full of activities including swimming, we were hanging around in the family room and bedtime was fast approaching. Suddenly a switch flipped because he started walking. And walking. And walking. He’d go back and forth between my mom and I, ping-ponging the four or so feet between where the two of us were sitting. All the while holding baby.

Yes, my mom brought baby when she came to visit and the kiddo was delighted. He held on to her during all of her initial walking. Maybe he just needed someone’s hand to hold, and if it was an inanimate hand … so be it.

Aside from walking, it was a good visit with my mom and it’s nice to see that the kiddo is more playful and interactive with others these days (not just clinging to mom or dad out of a stranger danger reaction). Although the kiddo does still like to cling to me, and his climbing me like a tree seemed to amuse my mom. (When I’ve got him in my arms he’ll sort of reach up and climb around on my shoulder/head … I’ve got him supported the whole time but he just sort of monkeys around up there.)

My mom left, but thankfully she left baby behind. Baby has continued to be a hit all this month. Baby and Dido (our robot vacuum) are the two most requested names in the house. When the kiddo wakes up he and I often have breakfast together, and walking downstairs he’ll excitedly greet Dido by saying Dido’s name over and over. Then, around breakfast wrapping up, ‘baby! … baby! … baby!’ is the name of the game.

Baby has helped us out a few times, too. For example, the kiddo was sick at some point this month and he refused his medicine. So I got out a tiny syringe and had the kiddo give baby medicine, then boom, he took his with grace! Whala! Another time he was refusing to eat so baby fed him (which was a trick, I tell you, navigating baby ‘holding a spoon’ and feeding the kid with that). So, thanks baby, for the help. He has also put a diaper on baby a few times which is either very telling in that the kid things we aren’t gentle at all … or, perhaps more logically, his motor skills aren’t quite 100%. The diaper gets unfolded and put on the ground. Then baby is picked up and sort of smashed on top of the diaper. Then … sometimes, that’s it. All done. Other times the diaper is aggressively smashed on top of baby and then he works for quite a while to try to secure it with the straps. Whatever form it takes, that diaper business is aggressive.

I mentioned a sickness and we had two bouts of it this month. The first round was a wicked cough and maybe a fever … but the cough led to bad sleep which meant cuddling up with mom or dad through the course of the night. My wife ended up missing a day of work, and we had a weird hours day one day where I was home some, my wife some, and our sitter some. Spread the love! Thankfully he bounced back from that fairly quickly and we managed to catch up on sleep … Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. I still always feel like I could go to bed at around 7pm.

One thing we allow when the kiddo is sick is TV. Normally we have 0 TV going when the kiddo is awake and boy is it crazy how much he loves it. Just the littlest taste and he can’t get enough. After that round of sickness he kept pointing at the TV and saying, ‘me-me … me-me’ which was educational because who knew he had a word for TV? Thankfully that has since dropped off because he’s been TV free for a few weeks now.

Another new word this month was … ‘a poop.’ It was amazing. My wife and I were hanging out in the family room one day, or maybe it was just me, and the kiddo said, ‘a poop.’ I said, ‘do you have a poop?’ and he responded, very helpfully, with, ‘a poop.’ I looked and holy smokes … he’s right! He has a poop! He is starting to figure out bathroom stuff! Later that day or the next the same thing happened and my wife and I were so pleased, and adoring of his smarts, and really applauding him and … that backfired. Because then he just started saying ‘a poop’ all the time for no reason. It was still an entertaining little phrase for him to say but much less accurate. Our adoration died off and I think he’s now slowly sliding back into accurate territory.

Another fun weekend this past month was when my wife’s folks came into town. They were here for a long weekend and my wife and I had a nice outing of just the two of us, and we all headed to the mountains to go sledding together. That was a strange day because of a sudden bit of sickness. I drove the kiddo in my car, and my wife and her folks rode in the other. The idea was that the kiddo would nap in a quiet car with me. We arrived and I got out of the car only to find my son looking very out of it and with a chest covered in puke. Not great. I wasn’t sure when during the drive he threw up but oh he was looking pretty sad. We decided to walk around for a while and be low key to get a read on the kiddo and he perked up nicely with whatever it was out of his belly. We ended up doing some sledding with him mostly watching (he is greatly amused by ol’ mom and dad sledding) but it was clear he was still a bit off. The next morning that was confirmed when he threw up on me about a half dozen times or so. My wife gave him some medicine which thankfully settled his little belly and the road to recovery began. It was a short stomach bug but it worked its magic because it managed to transfer to my wife, my wife’s mom, and myself. That seems to be an unfortunate ritual we have had the last two visits with my wife’s folks. You get a stomach bug, and YOU get a stomach bug, and YOUUUUU get a stomach bug! And, strangely, my wife and I’s pattern tends to always be first the kiddo, then my wife, then me. And it’s always a slightly different form for each of us.

We ended up having a day where we stayed home with the kiddo … but not for some lame stomach bug nonsense. No, no, no. It was for a BLIZZARD! We had some classic bonkers Colorado weather where we went to the park one afternoon, 50s or maybe low 60s out, and then the next day … blizzard. The bad weather didn’t arrive til about 10 so my wife went out and got us some ‘blizzard provisions’ which included junk food for us grown ups for lunch (while the kiddo napped) and donuts. This included donut holes for the kiddo which was very entertaining. For some reason he thought it was an apple so we kept hearing ‘apple?’ the rest of the day. Yeah kid, we know, you want another.

And speaking of requests … the kiddo’s language has kicked on again. For a while I think he was so focused on walking that the language subsided (the PT helper had suggested that would happen) but it has come on again. It’s especially fun reading to him and seeing what he knows in books. Although, it’s a real crap shoot. You can look at a page and he’ll identify grapes, shoes, a baby, fish, pencils, and a bird. And then you ask again and he points to a baby when you ask where a cat is … But, but, you KNOW what cats are! So, who knows. It’s all a mystery inside that tiny, crazy brain.

Another fun thing, and cause of guilt at the moment, are new swimming lessons! We missed a bunch in his last class because of illness and visitors. When I went to sign him up for the 18 month to 3 year old class (meaning he’d now be the runt) we were put on the wait list. Eventually the teacher called my wife and we got in! Hooray! And my wife said sorry he was sick so much last time, we’ll be there more next time and what do you know, of the 3 classes so far this round we’ve only made one of them. DOH! Hopefully we’ll have a clean attendance record from here on out.

I mentioned above the kiddo and I often have breakfast together. On work days I swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays, come home and shower, then have breakfast with the kiddo. (Although lately he wakes up wanting to eat PRONTO so I’ve missed some.) He is getting better and better with the spoon which is really neat to see. And I don’t have my hand constantly on the bowl (he was inclined to flip the bowl for a while). He doesn’t just use the spoon to get stuff, he seems to seek out cheerios (or whatever) to get on the spoon and scoops much more! The scooping is often combined with him saying ‘scoop’ which is fun, too. That was a big effort of my wife’s to get him to learn scooping, and she would say the word over and over so … now we have this.

And, great news, I finally finished reading the book about raising a 12-24 month old. That’s right. Finished right before he turned 19 months. Impressive, right? Now I’m on to reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Hopefully this time I make better progress.

March 2019 Haiku

March 1 (Friday)
Wife gone for weekend
My mom’s flying in to help
And freeze (temp’s ZERO)

March 2 (Saturday)
Swim lesson today
Big windows show snow falling
While we play in pool

March 3 (Sunday)
Kiddo is WALKING
He BEAMS as he takes some steps
He’s so pleased! (Us, too!)

March 4 (Monday)
My mom brought ‘baby’
Kid walks holding baby doll
Happiness abounds

March 5 (Tuesday)
Kiddo has new cough
The little disease magnet
Please sleep despite cough?!

March 6 (Wednesday)
Babysitter time
Kid and sitter snuggle up
Rest up, lil cougher

March 7 (Thursday)
Wife stays home with son
Low key day with hopes of sleep
Emphasis on hope

March 8 (Friday)
Dear sleep gods … THANK YOU
Kid and I snuggled some, then …
He slept 10 straight hours!

March 9 (Saturday)
New swim class begins …
Class goes up to 3 year olds
(Runt of litter here!)

March 10 (Sunday)
Kid’s vocab grows on
Wish he’d say them in a row
For record keeping

March 11 (Monday)
Meeting to find out
Just how lost/confused are we?
Lead’s way late (not great)

March 12 (Tuesday)
Tomorrow: blizzard
Today: playing at the park
60 degrees out!

March 13 (Wednesday)
‘Blizzard provisions’
Includes donut holes for kid
Surprise: he LOVES them

March 14 (Thursday)
Kid demands: ‘apple!’
Healthy? No. That’s what he called
Donut hole he had

March 15 (Friday)
Grandparents in town
Kid eats up all eyes on him
Playing peek-a-boo

March 16 (Saturday)
Sledding adventure
Kid feels off, sits and watches
Silly mom and dad

March 17 (Sunday)
Grandparents watch kid
While he takes FOUR HOUR NAP
Boring gig for them

March 18 (Monday)
Basement starts today!
Noise, strangers for many weeks
Will be great when done!

March 19 (Tuesday)
Why’s it called Tuesday?
Cause it’s twice the fun of Monday!
…I’ll see myself out

March 20 (Wednesday)
FAST basement progress
In the same time I would have
Hammered in one board

March 21 (Thursday)
Kid sick this weekend
Then, per our pattern, mom’s turn
Now it is my turn

March 22 (Friday)
Stomach says ‘I’m fine!’
No food last night so I EAT
Stomach says, ‘uh … sooo …’

March 23 (Saturday)
Minimal movement
Plus having a toddler means
Wife does all the work

March 24 (Sunday)
A bit better now
Museum with the kiddo
Fun stuff to see/do

March 25 (Monday)
After rough weekend
Monday is no spot of joy
Here we go, long week

March 26 (Tuesday)
Sweet – ran those commands!
Now we get to the hard part
What did I just do?

March 27 (Wednesday)
Post-work walk with son
Key step is: stop, pick up dirt
And just stare at it

March 28 (Thursday)
Kid’s spoon skills are great!
Can eat cereal solo*!
*Sans random bowl flips …

March 29 (Friday)
Kid woke up crying
‘Want to come cuddle with dad?’
Aggressive nod yes

March 30 (Saturday)
Date day with Mrs.
Enjoying nature’s splendor
Then, belly’s splendor

March 31 (Sunday)
Kid, wife at playdate
So it’s mini donuts and
Action flick for me

15th month, or How I Learned to Self-Pep-Talk Like a Pro

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Say friend, you look like a savvy shopper!

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

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

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

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

Ok last one!

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

Kid, I’ll hold your hand anytime.

Rambly dad, OUT!

13 Months, Or One … And 1

Once again I have made the big mistake of not writing this down RIGHT on the 13th month day and lo and behold, here I am thinking of the latest and greatest developments which are all 14th month feats.

But that’s not what we’re here for, self. We’re here for month 13.

The month felt like it flew by. I wrote that statement in a note to myself a few weeks ago when I initially sat down to write this and I look back at that note and think, huh … all right. Seems fitting that a note I don’t remember writing about time flying by is a note that was written weeks ago. Enough of me blabbing about that note.

IMG_20180902_121720906The 13th month included Labor Day weekend which was a very adventuresome weekend for my wife and I. We went out on a FIVE MILE HIKE! The kiddo lived in backpack land the whole time, with quite a few stops to check if he wanted water. For the most part, with the cool weather that day, the brisk pace of our hike, and the other hikers as eye diversions … the kiddo was content with the ride along. Shockingly, he didn’t go to sleep at all during the trip – but we did bribe him with a graham cracker or two toward the end to keep him awake. It was a ton of fun for my wife and I to be out and taking advantage of the outdoors here, and the day went just so darn well. Generally it’s hard to have days where everything goes according to plan, but this day deviated from the plan only to have EVEN BETTER outcomes. You can’t ask for more than that.

We did our hour long drive to get to the hike which we planned during his first nap. Fantastic. Went great. Then the hike, which included a stop for all of us to have lunch. And then when we finished we had another snack sitting next to a river. It was pristine and beautiful and foot-numbingly cold water (which felt nice after the hike).

The bonus came when we left. We had planned to leave during nap two and drive home then. But the kiddo sat in the backseat awake and content. With about twenty minutes left in the drive my wife hopped out and sat in the back with him to make sure he didn’t conk out. When we got home we put him down for a nap and ended up with an unexpected lounging time. We had assumed both naps would be occupied by car rides so that was quite the treat to have that bonus free time.

Other fun Labor Day weekend plans included the pool (which he has grown to love) and a delightful picnic lunch outside. The kiddo is not exactly in restaurant-friendly territory these days so with the weather being so beautiful we decided to get ourselves some burritos and head to a park.

All in all, just about as good a weekend as one could hope for. The next weekend balanced it a bit because we again drove a long ways to a hike but this time it was so hot the kiddo was uncomfortable and unhappy and probably cooking in his backpack … so we turned around quickly. A long hike drive for a little jaunt, and then back home. That involved a bit more entertaining of the kiddo on the drive home because that was a good stretch of being cooped up.

My wife’s folks got the kiddo a teepee for his 1st birthday and that has managed to up our chase game. The little chaser would start to crawl, then look back at you and speed up toward the teepee. If you followed him he would make his excited little noises and pop his head up to look out at you from the little window in the teepee. It’s been a nice enhancement to our hide-and-go-seek / crawl-and-chase-me games.

Speaking of upping the ante … the kiddo can say no now! But. Here’s the thing. 1, I’m not sure he knows what he is saying. And 2, he says it to mock us. Great, right? He loves electrical outlets (great) and I’m pretty sure it’s just because he gets so much attention by crawling up to it. But he would crawl up to it, put his hand up on it, stand up, and look around. One time he did this and looked at me expectantly. I knew then how well he had trained me. My wife and I got in the habit of saying ‘no’ or ‘no, no’ or any number of times using the word no over and over. And occasionally he’d look at you with a big pout like, ‘how dare you take a firm voice with me’ but more often he would look at you and said back, ‘nonononono’ … great. Message clearly not received. Was it cute though? You bet it was.

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I decided to make a box an airplane, because why not. And it is the worst bit of DIY you have ever seen … til you look at the ‘pinup girl’ on the side. I told my wife she should draw one so it’d be like an old war plane and … my God. That pinup would make someone want to die at war.

My wife works Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I’ve probably said that before, but what … am I supposed to remember everything I say? I say too much to have that kind of expectation thrown at me. Anywho. That means we have a morning ritual that is nice (when sleep allows it to be normal). Part of that morning ritual involves the kiddo and I being downstairs together for a bit while mom gets ready (or while mom catches some downtime on Mondays and Fridays before running the show all day). And we always go outside. The little outdoorsman loves it. LOVES it. He got used to the routine and came to know it, so just walking toward the front door would elicit little squawks of joy. Then, once outside, he got to show off one of his new favorite ways of communicating – the POINT.

The point is an all-encompassing, all-powerful way of telling us … we’re not sure what. You want to walk over there? You want to eat that? You want to look at that from here, you’re just letting me know that there is a thing over there? Generally, if you’re up and at ‘em, walking to whatever he is pointing at makes him happy. But sometimes when he’s eating he’ll point to a hat and you just have to look at him and wonder, what would you tell me if you could speak? Get that hat off the dinner table, dad? Is that it?

But when we are outside, the tree in the front yard is often a favorite target of the point, and the go to activity is trying to rip leaves off it. When it had crab apples on it, he would also relish trying to eat those … but ol mom and pop generally denied him of that fun.

Outside the former GREATEST THING ON EARTH was a neighbor’s dog. Move over dogs, because airplanes have taken over. We live pretty close to an airport and are treating to many planes flying overhead, and they have been the hit of the month. First we’ll hear one, and that results in a quick jerk of the neck to look skyward while we scan the skies until, aha!, there it is! At first in the month a plane would cause a little giggle, a point, and a lot of smiles. As time has gone on it is less exciting, and now it’s just a smile, and an excited point. I think he enjoys the challenge of hearing them and then trying to spot them.

Dear reader, if you want to, you should really treat yourself to an intermission. This post is more than 50% done, but boy is it a long one. And I’d apologize for that, but you’ve probably already stopped reading so it’s fine.

Back at it? Refreshed? Ok. Let’s do this.

My folks came out for a visit during this month as well, which was great to see them. Unfortunately, the kiddo does not see any of his grandparents enough for them to be an instantly recognized presence. There is an inevitable, ‘uhhhh … I don’t know about you, lady’ with the grandmas and the grandpas all tend to take a more hands-off, I’ll be over here approach which the kiddo digs. He would squawk back and forth happily with my dad, then crawl to me if my mom would try to play with him. It’s unfortunate that he is yet to recognize the grandparents as a steady, good presence but it’ll happen over time. And in the meantime, for the next trip, we’ll get the grandparents to feed him which ought to warm him up post-haste.

Two fun things coincided with my parents trip, too.

First is that the kiddo learned how to make a face. This is a weird statement, but it’s true. I think from my wife, though I’m not sure how this started, he would glance down very deliberately, then furrow his brows, tighten his lips, and stare at you! It’s a very adorable mean mugging that you are receiving. It’s especially adorable because he will often do this, and then grin at the end because he’s so pleased. My wife and I generally do this face back to him when he does it. One thing I have found pretty funny about this is when the occasional stranger is treated to this face. Generally it’s reserved for my wife and I, but randomly a stranger will get the treatment which usually gives them a bit of a surprise. Normally he is very smiley and, basically, flirty with strangers. He’ll smile, wave, and then sort of bury himself into my chest if I’m holding him and a stranger says hi. It’s heart-melting. But then there’s that blue moon and some stranger will smile sweetly at him and BAM, you’ve been mean mugged. And then the stranger probably feels worse because I just laugh and laugh while my baby stares, seemingly, with anger at him or her.

It’s pretty fun.

The other fun that happened was the kiddo’s first swim lesson! Woah! I signed us up for a ‘parent and me’ swim class which is thirty minutes once a week. So far we have loved it. Well, he has been ok with. His favorite activity at the pool is watching kids play, but he doesn’t mind being floated around in the water. I can tell you that he does NOT like when you put him on his back and try to float him around. No sir. He also has taken being dumped quite well! My wife was shocked when she did a lesson (meanwhile I was off on a hike) and the instructor said, ‘blow in your baby’s face, and then dunk them.’ But he has since been dunked by both mom and dad and he comes up, a little surprised looking, but still intent on the number one goal at the pool – finding and watching other big kids play. This whole underwater thing is just a brief deviation from the ability to accomplish that goal.

Right at the end of the 13th month a new skill also reared it’s adorable head – shaking his head no! My wife had made a point to emphasize offering foods and saying, ‘yes? Or no?’ while she would shake her head to represent those. Eventually, our little wunderkind got it because he too began shaking his head no! At first it was a very involved, whole upper body shaking of the head that made him look, and I say this with love, as though he was having a seizure of some sort. But he quickly managed to calm things down and now it is truly a head shake. He also mostly gets what it means … but he occasionally delights in looking at you and just shaking his head no over and over. Or saying no to random items. It’s just a fun thing to shake your head no, you know?

Stay tuned for next month, because it’ll include … oh wait. Crap. The 15th month is when Halloween hits. I bought him his costume this month which I’m QUITE excited about, and I really hoped he would be walking because he’d look like a little zombie (as all first-time walkers do) … but alas, he’ll likely have to resign himself to being a crawling Ewok rather than a walking one. But that’s ok, it’ll still be incredibly adorable.

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