The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Weekly Wacko’

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.

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October 2018 Haiku

October 1 (Monday)
Wrote blog post for work
Corporate DumbFunnery time!
(i.e. a dull post)

October 2 (Tuesday)
Cream and sugar day
Because work coffee is gross
And sugar helps all

October 3 (Wednesday)
Wife and kid leaving
They’re seeing fam in Houston
What will dad do?! Hmm.

October 4 (Thursday)
Zany no kid night!
Did second kayak hangar
Garage, you look gooooood

October 5 (Friday)
Zany no kid night!
Bought myself an absurd gift
It’s Lego time, friends

October 6 (Saturday)
Worked out and ate out
The solo time has been nice …
But missing wife, son

October 7 (Sunday)
Wife and kid returned!
Son saw me, squawked with joy! Then …
Same joy for some car

October 8 (Monday)
Why politicians?
Because we need life to be
More disappointing

October 9 (Tuesday)
I slept through the night!!
(In a pre-fatherhood world
This wouldn’t be news)

October 10 (Wednesday)
Health screening at work
How am I such a baby
Over a pin prick

October 11 (Thursday)
Slouching, put feet up …
And then fell out of my chair
My team’s quite impressed

#graceful

October 12 (Friday)
Afternoon with son
Played in the leaves together
Fun fall memories

October 13 (Saturday)
Son’s starting to climb
Fun to watch but oh, the fear
What new trouble’s this

October 14 (Sunday)
Played in snow today!
Got to watch the munchkin crawl
And sink into snow

October 15 (Monday)
Post work walk with fam
Son says ‘gah’ (or ‘cah’?) at cars!
Does he know that word?!

October 16 (Tuesday)
Son’s going down stairs!
He loves it, too. Climbs up stairs …
Just to go down them

October 17 (Wednesday)
Customer problem
Pft, who wrote this code any …
Ah. Shoot. Wait. My bad.

October 18 (Thursday)
I’ve been working out
Now I can make my pecs move
(And hark! I have pecs!)

October 19 (Friday)
Dreamt about some code
It’s been one of those weeks, friends
So glad it’s Friday

October 20 (Saturday)
Pumpkin patch with kid
Goal: beauty fall pics … Instead:
Squinting at sun

October 21 (Sunday)
Peek-a-boo season
Covers one eye while staring
Almost, kid, almost

October 22 (Monday)
Coming back to work
Without a clue what to try
Oh hi, tough problem

October 23 (Tuesday)
Tree in the front yard
Laughs every time a leaf falls
(Raking is futile)

October 24 (Wednesday)
Windy day today
In my yard yelling at leaves
YOU … SHALL … NOT … PASS … please

October 25 (Thursday)
In public restroom
You ever tempted to shout
“Make me proud you guys!!!”

October 26 (Friday)
Mom’s on a fun trip
It’s kiddo and pops this weekend!
First step: matching tats

October 27 (Saturday)
Today’s fun includes …
Swim lessons, Halloween thing
Red Dead after bed

October 28 (Sunday)
Mom comes home today
Fun stretch of dad and son time
Now to just … Sit. Still.

October 29 (Monday)
Another Monday …
But wait, no! Today! I’ll be …!
Eh, maybe next week

October 30 (Tuesday)
Son woke too early
Dad goes swimming, comes back home
Snooze/cuddle with son

October 31 (Wednesday)
My son’s an ewok
An adorable little
Empire crusher

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.

IMG_20180904_190531745_LL

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.

September 2018 Haiku

September 1 (Saturday)

Short walk, pool,and stores
A fun and go-go-go day
Good start to weekend!

September 2 (Sunday)
Hike with the kiddo!
Managed to do five miles
And give lots of waves
#heLovesToWave

September 3 (Monday)
Swam laps this morning
This despite minor back pain
(Hi, foreshadowing)

September 4 (Tuesday)

Oh dear Lord what. Why?
All movement hurts. Really. All.
Hike? Swim? Who did this?!

September 5 (Wednesday)
“Pizza party night!”
Text from wife. This means she had …
Great or stressful day
#stressOrSuccessEat

September 6 (Thursday)
Sometimes life’s stressful
That’s when you need a basement
With Legos to build

September 7 (Friday)

Joined a neat work thing
Volunteering to work more
Yep, I’m a smart one

September 8 (Saturday)

Tried another hike
Too toasty out today though
Poor kid cooked in bag

September 9 (Sunday)
Hi Doritos ‘chefs’
Son’s high-chair has weird flavor
Combos that you seek
#yum

September 10 (Monday)
My memory’s great!
*Checks phone to see what he did
…
One whole day ago*

September 11 (Tuesday)

Doing the right thing
While running toward raging hell
Brave souls remembered

September 12 (Wednesday)
Kid’s long lasting cough
Saw doc, got an inhaler
Hope it helps his cough!

September 13 (Thursday)
Cute, small instrument
Of awful, hated torture
Poor sweet little guy

September 14 (Friday)
My folks are in town
FOR A WILD WEEKEND OF …
You want take out?, or …?

September 15 (Saturday)

Son’s first swim lesson!
Wait, you’re giving instructions?!
He’s, um, a baby.

September 16 (Sunday)
Estes Park with folks
Sheesh, so many tourists here
(Yes, we’re tourists too)

September 17 (Monday)

Making faces now
Glance down, furrow brow, repeat
MAX adorable

September 18 (Tuesday)
End of release soon
Time for days and days of dull
Manual testing

September 19 (Wednesday)
Work event with beer
Then back to boring testing …
Eyes glazing in 3 …

September 20 (Thursday)

Hackathon at work
Small team, fast, frequent checkins
It was pretty fun!

September 21 (Friday)

Cousin visiting
Had dinner, sat and just talked
Sometimes simple’s best

September 22 (Saturday)

Wife and son at pool
While I go for a long hike
Miss my little fam

September 23 (Sunday)

Start day with a walk
The little guy LOVES airplanes
Spots them, points, and squawks

September 24 (Monday)

Halloween costume
My son will be an EWOK!!
So cute you could puke

September 25 (Tuesday)
Sleep’s FALLEN. APART.
Mom or dad rock, shush, cuddle …
Just makes us sleepy

September 26 (Wednesday)
Trump admin has helped
Me learn things that PISS. ME. OFF.
I’m with her, you ape.

September 27 (Thursday)
Kavanaugh hearing
It’s daytime TV drama
But real, and much worse

September 28 (Friday)
Independence starts …
Kiddo wants to feed himself
Or he’ll get FEISTY

September 29 (Saturday)

Swim lesson today
“Blow in their face and dunk them”
Dunked and … He’s nonplussed

September 30 (Sunday)

Hour and a half
Of snuggled up sleep with son
Beauty start to day

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 11, or OHHH! MY EYE!!!!

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

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

Houston

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAM. Right in the eye.

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

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

While driving I realized … this was not wise.

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

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

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

Anywho, fun stuff.

Ears

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

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

This was all great stuff except for two things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Hits

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

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

So, let’s speed up.

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

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

And speaking of standing …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And in the category of random we have …

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

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

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