The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘parenthood’

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.

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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!

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.

12 Months, or Words, Cupcakes, Kids and Giggles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now for a smattering of adorable things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy birthday, kiddo.

August 2018 Haiku

August 1 (Wednesday)
Kiddo’s fav teachers
Leaving daycare (new pursuits)
But … But … But … My son!

August 2 (Thursday)
Day before a trip
Whiplash from frequent watch checks
Woah! It’s … 8 am.

August 3 (Friday)
Phoenix, here we are!
And the heat’s not all that bad
… in shade … in a pool

August 4 (Saturday)
Cupcakes and fam time
Early birthday for kiddo
(Oh, and for dad, too)

August 5 (Sunday)
My son and my dad
Squawked/screeched/babbled back and forth
Talking politics?

August 6 (Monday)
Flying home today
Kid slept on me the whole flight
Woke up in dad sweat

#gross #SoMuchBellySweat

August 7 (Tuesday)
Alarm set for 5 …
Wake up early! Go jog! And …
Nah. Re-set for 6.

August 8 (Wednesday)
Kid’s poor little cough
Cough. Hack. Cough. Chew some. Swallow.
Ah. Adorable.

August 9 (Thursday)
Recreate the bug
Toughest step in fixing bugs
*Think customer thoughts*

August 10 (Friday)
Watched woman swimming
We had same pace – she looked CALM!
… Perhaps … form matters …

August 11 (Saturday)
Cousins kids birthday
Kids playing … Adults chilling …
That’ll be so nice!

August 12 (Sunday)
Scheels with the kiddo
Animatronic Lincoln
CAPTIVATED him

August 13 (Monday)
IT! IS! OFFICIAL!
The boy knows at least one word!
But. It’s ‘dog,’ not dad.

August 14 (Tuesday)
Birthday gift for kid
A tiny bike looking thing
Small. Cute. Just like him.

August 15 (Wednesday)
You hear ‘Canada’
You think nice, friendly. Add ‘goose’?
Wrong move. Game over.

August 16 (Thursday)
Amazing finding
Fake coughing cracks the kid up
*Fake coughing ensues*

August 17 (Friday)
Eye doc for the kid
They have such fancy gadgets!
Dug the tech display

August 18 (Saturday)
Kid and I to pool
Tons of noise, kids splashing him …
And yet it went well!

#ThingsThatExciteMeTheseDays

August 19 (Sunday)
Hanging kayak rack
Let’s dance, old neglected foe!
… Annnnnnd I hung it wrong

August 20 (Monday)
To balance the day
Wife and son got me donuts
Monday … Neutralized!!

August 21 (Tuesday)
Water aerobics
Class if all elderly folks
Cracking dirty jokes

August 22 (Wednesday)
Unhappy sleeper
Put kid next to me in bed
Slept great after that

#flattered #tired #LearnToSleepPlease

August 23 (Thursday)
Saw a hummingbird!
Or as God likes to call them
Nature’s crack/cocaine

August 24 (Friday)
FRIDAY! Heck yeah, man!
Can’t wait to go out and … Nah.
I’m beat. When’s bedtime?

August 25 (Saturday)
Grandparents arrive
They come bearing birthday gifts,
Hugs, kisses, and awwwws

August 26 (Sunday)
Kid’s birthday party
A distractible eater*
*Cupcake exception

August 27 (Monday)
Took the day off work
Hanging with wife, kid, wife’s folks
Soaking up the day

August 28 (Tuesday)
Met to get feedback
Enjoyed learning why I failed …
Kudos, reviewer!

August 29 (Wednesday)
Speech about taxes
Taxes!? What was I thinking?
Ambitious self? FOOL!

August 30 (Thursday)
Open house today
“Please join our Toastmasters club!”
Exclaimed to … no guests.

August 31 (Friday)
Picnic with wife, kid
Hope mac & cheese covered clothes
Work appropriate

Month 9 or Crawlington Station

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Sexpectations

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

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

Did that run-on sentence thoroughly obfuscate my point?

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

 

 

See the double standard?

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

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

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

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

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