The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Weekly Wacko’

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.

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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.

Month 10, or Stand Up And Make Your Voice Heard!

The little monster, aka the mook, aka the kook mook, aka the mook riot, aka my son, and my wife are currently … AWAY. WHAT!? My wife and the kiddo are going to have their first night without dad there too and woe is dad, woe is mom, likely unaware is the kiddo. I’ll be joining them shortly to visit family … but for now it’s an unreal amount of free time in the evening.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

First, we’ll go with the betters and then we’ll get into the firsts. Then a grab bag/other category.

BETTERS!

It’s strange how I can look back on a month and think, ‘hmm, did much happen? He just seems like he was last month … but better at everything.’ He’s a quicker crawler, a better sitter, quicker and more stable when pulling himself into a standing position (he has to have help by holding onto an object to get himself up). He is just ever so slightly showing an interest in cruising.

Crawling, it turns out, is the best possible way to find every little crumb or bit of leaf or clump of dog hair or you name it small item in the house. Our vacuum can’t be powerful enough, or run enough. The kid is a seek and destroy missile for tiny bits of debris. And, like a vacuum capable of choking, those items will be picked up and an attempt will be made to suck them down. Crawl, crawl, pause, pick up gross item, slowly lift toward mouth … mom or dad jump in (hopefully the majority of the time), repeat.

A simultaneously fun and not fun new habit is his sense of exploration. At first the monster discovered crawling and would go from toy A to toy B, or make a futile effort to chase down the dog. (It’s futile not because the dog runs away, but because he usually gets distracted along his path to the dog.) Now the kitchen is worth checking out, the front entry way, and oh, oh a NEW favorite toy – DOOR STOPPERS! What fun those little spring loaded, hittable things they are. And what fun it is to try and rip them off the wall, too.

In the category of more movement the standing efforts have really kicked up as well. The kiddo has enjoyed crawling over obstacles for a while, for example a boppy sitting out must be crawled OVER, not around. And parents fall into this obstacle category too. If you are laying down, he’ll crawl over you or on you and then lovingly attack your face. I say lovingly, but it’s not. He will pinch your nose, try to pull off your lips, he is an aggressive explorer. Like a sculptor working with live people, he’ll just keep trying til your face is the shape he’s looking for. If you are sitting upright, then you are his standing assistant. Little pinch-y hands grab your shirt and upsy-daisy go the formerly very wobbly knees (now mildly wobbly). (And can we call them knees, really? He seems to be made of flexible, stretchy, heavenly soft-skinned goo … he is so bendy it boggles the mind. He’ll crawl halfway up me, fall back down and I swear his legs are in some pretzel formation underneath him but he just goes right back to work.) He has a few toys that are great for standing practice, and one day he hinted at a future step because he cruised from one toy to another next to it. Trouble to come. Unfortunately with his standing efforts he has also increased his likelihood of wipeouts, and he rocked a wicked cheek bruise for a while after a tough fall forward INTO a wooden toy. Ouch.

The tiny tyrant has also expanded his food repertoire and has decreased (mildly, so, so mildly) his reliance on his parent’s help. My wife was surprised one day to find the kiddo FEEDING HIMSELF at daycare. What!? We didn’t know he could do that! They had him set up with his bottle of milk, just drinking and chilling. Huh. At home he is now able to feed himself from those squeeze food pouches which is adorable. It’s fun to see his tiny little hand holding that pouch, and the tiny bit leaving each time he sucks on it. AND, big exciting news, he now eats some ‘people foods’ as I call them. As in, a little deli turkey is now possibly his favorite snack. It is adorable and terrifying to watch due to fear of choking.

And now for the sleep front. This month we made the decision to work toward no more night time feedings because he really didn’t need them. Having come back from a trip, and the little fella having a cold, we had made backwards progress with him eating 2-3 times a night. We decided to take one away on Friday, and the next Friday we’d take one more away, etc. We also came up with plans (there is so much planning) around how the night would work.

‘Ok, if he wakes up at 12, you feed him … if he wakes up again before 3, I’ll go in, if he wakes up AT 3 you feed him, if he wakes up after like … 430, I’ll handle him.’

By having me, non-milk dad (that’s what the cool kids call me … nah that’s gross), go in he would know ‘THERE’S NO FOODS IN THAT THERE BREAST! (just tiny pectoral muscles.)’ Harsh comment, son.

Anyway, over the course of 2 weeks we had gotten to ZERO night feedings and the night was going much more predictably! He would wake up only once usually, and friendos, THAT AIN’T BAD. But then, a week into the 0 night feedings, Father’s Day weekend actually, BOOM he’s waking up frequently. My wife and I decided to split the load. Monday my wife took him to the doc and GUESS WHAT! DOUBLE EAR INFECTION! Our son started daycare in April, from April to mid June he managed to get 5 ear infections. That’s rough. The doc advised we see an ENT doc to get tubes put in his ears.

(This is where you might picture the students getting off the magic school bus, grabbing a water tube, and sliding down a SWEET EAR WAX WATER SLIDE! WHEEEEE!)

The great news is that, dipping a little into post 10-month territory, the sleep is now back in great shape with the ear infections having been drugged out of the system. And our little tiny darling will have surgery in late July for the tubes. We had THREE nights he slept through the night, bouncing back and forth with one wake up per night and a sleep-through night … oh, heavenly sleep. Unfortunately, my body seems acclimated to waking up randomly at 230 am. I could do without that.

FIRSTS!

On the sleep front … (Idea: spoof of All Quiet on the Western Front, but instead it’s All Quiet on the Sleep Front … dark children’s bedtime book where a baby and a grown-up are trapped in a foxhole together and one of them, probably the baby, stabs the other and then thinks about how we’re all just people and who are the people even telling us to kill one another who are so far removed from this brutality? What, too dark? Maybe not a bedtime book.) (I ought to re-read that book.)

Anywho … the kiddo also went from FOUR naps a day, short ones at that, to three and then quickly to two. And not just two naps, two pretty darn good naps. We had a run for a while of a solid one hour nap starting between 9 and 930 and then another solid one hour nap at 2pm. It was wonderful. Now they are a little more wobbly, with them sometimes being as short as thirty minutes but it’s still the predictable put down times and oh how wonderful to have those do nothing or accomplish chores lickity split breaks.

Congrats, mook, on having two great naps!

A first that did not go as envisioned: the pool! My wife and I signed up as members for the community center in town. We took the little monster to the pool where they have a great kid’s area with built-in water guns, a play area with buckets that swing around and splash water, a water slide, a lazy river – it’s fantastic. But, perhaps, fantastic for bigger kids who can actually play with these things. Because our little monster got put in the water and began to cry. We then eased him in by walking around with him some, slowly putting his feet in the water, and then slowly sitting him down in one of our laps, etc, etc. Eventually he reached a state of ‘I’m tolerating this.’ We will continue to work on building up his tolerance because … well, it’d be fun.

(Note: I’d love for him to be a great swimmer. I am a terrible one. This morning I went to the community center to swim laps which I enjoy despite the fact that for every minute I spend swimming I spend 1 minute gasping for air at the end of my lane. The swim lanes were full, so a mom came by and asked if her daughter could swim in my lane, too. I said sure, and then both her 10-13 year old daughters hopped in. Great. And you know what those little girls proceeded to do? Zoom past me, time after time. I probably had a solid two feet of height on them, but their tiny legs and arms and ACTUAL PROPER FORM and breathing technique really showed me up. I’d love for my son to smash my swimming abilities, too.)

My wife convinced me (how? why?) that we should buy a kiddie pool to put in the backyard. Given my lame suburban status I was concerned about what it would do to the lawn, and the extra water usage … But we got one. The kiddo is ALSO not particularly fond of this, but it is growing on him. He had gotten spoiled by toasty baths and didn’t know what regular water temperatures are, at least that’s my rationale. He’s not terribly communicative except in a language I don’t speak.

And last but not least (kudos if you stuck with me): first high chair at a restaurant! This was a heavy dose of adorable, and has since been repeated a few times, almost making it seem … dare I say, normal? You really adjust to new normals FAST with a baby because their normal changes so fast. It went from ‘oh, watch him … oh, woah … is he sliding? Is he wobbling too much?’ to ‘here, kiddo, have this food pouch and feed yourself while mom and dad eat.’ INSANE!

As my son would say, pbbbbbbbbtttbbtbtbtbtbt! (He has gotten very skilled at raspberries, or fart noises with your mouth for the crude among us, and boy can he work up the drool.) And, as the title attempts to indicate, he has gotten much more expressive with his babble and his smacking counter tops. He seems to really be settling in well to his Tiny Tyrant nickname. What are you saying, dear dictator?

Until next time!

A Love Letter

I’m only about ten months into this parenthood racket, and bound for trials and tribulations the likes of which I can’t yet fathom … but thus far, it’s all love, happiness, worry, and the only time I feel sad is when the kiddo feels sad. Dropping him off at daycare to see him look up, his face crumpled, his lips curling into a clear expression of sadness – I don’t like that.

But otherwise, it’s all love.

Every night my wife or I sing to him before bed (part of our bedtime routine) (… Really … We kinda sing to him all the time. After he finishes breast feeding my wife has a song, “you! are! a done-y-bunny! you are … a done-y bunny! done-y done-y bunny! done-y done-y bunny!” It even has dance moves to go with it.) Anywho, part of my modified version of ‘Over the Rainbow’ includes ‘I never want to be apart … mostly.’ Because I still do enjoy my down time, my do nothing time, sitting around with my wife just enjoying not moving, solo jogs, etc, etc, etc. I mean, I AM going to see the Han Solo this weekend (thanks, Mrs. Wife) and I’ll be, well, solo.

But! There is a heretofore un-experienced joy when spending time with him. I am writing this having experienced being up with him on and off from 1230 to 2 last night. He’s got a cough which didn’t quite wake him up but I’d settle to sleep then coughing fit, a brief bit of whining, silence … repeat. Eventually we got up, gave him drugs (sweet, sweet drugs) and then I held him to get him settled. While holding him I was treating to a bit of babble. It cracks me up. He has a different sleepy time babble which is a quiet, soft, almost whisper. And thank goodness it’s a whisper because his face is right up against my ear. But he whispered, ‘dada … da … da …’ (then you’d hear his mouth move but no words come out) ‘…da … dada …’

Today is Father’s Day, which is nice. That’s swell. We’re an overrated group, but it’s nice to have a day dedicated to cliches which are coming horribly true for me. (You know what excites me about this upcoming weekend? Trying to hang a kayak holder in the garage … oof. I’m so suburbia.)

My point is … it’s been a great joy being a dad. Again, he’s no teenager, and we’ve yet to experience something where *HE* is happy and *I* am upset, which will throw a new layer or add a bit of salt to this great big ball of love that took up residence in my person.

Celebrate love today, your dad, your kids, your friends, whatever. It’s a joy to feel such joy.

Thanks, kiddo, for bringing me that.

Month 7, Or Oh the Places You’ll Go (Developmentally)

It’s a few days until the kiddo is 7 months old and I thought I’d go ahead and get a start on this post. Hopefully, dare I say it, finish it today too.

This month I had a personal success which was abandoning the idea of reading a book. I had checked it out from the library and it was just eh. But I kept on. I would read a few pages before bed, feel disheartened at how much there was to go, and pass out. But then one day – BOOM – I said NO MORE. I re-read an old comic book series instead. This may seem like a non-accomplishment, but giving up on a book is a challenge for me. Now I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale.

Let’s get into month 7, shall we?

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I have also learned I am much more inclined to spoil the boy than myself. Frivolous spending ahoy!

I have mentioned this before, but the doc advised we keep the kiddo out of day care for a long time. Multiple docs at the NICU suggested a start date of April. And, with flexible work, my wife only working two days a week, and very helpful grandmas, we will accomplish that goal!

Part of that involved me taking vacation days on the two days a week my wife works for three weeks. One of those weeks was during month 6, but two of the weeks (four days of kiddo and dad time) fell during this past month!

One day the kiddo and I headed to the library, a little shop, and then a tortilla shop (they make delicious burritos) so I could load up on food before a long nap drive. The library was fun, the kiddo LOVES the front facing Bjorn (a new delight in life) and he will kick his legs and or give huge smiles when excited. And he is a little charmer and flash a big smile at strangers no problem.*

From the library we head to a few little shops (including buying my wife her Christmas gift – BOO YAH PREPAREDNESS) and the interactions with strangers continue. It is always ladies, or old men. Never men my age or really any male I’ll say between 10 and 75. This was ESPECIALLY true at the tortilla shop where I am surrounded by construction workers. Not one ‘aw look at the cute baby’ instead just stares like I am an alien. I will say that I don’t think I ever noticed another dad and baby. I noticed moms and babies, and moms and dads and babies … but no dude and baby. What’s the deal, fellas? Why so lazy?

That was a lot of chatter. Let’s do some quick highlights.

The sleep stuff continues to be pretty good … He had occasional nights where he would wake up and have a long cry, which is BRUTAL because of our ‘sleep wave’ method where you don’t really do much to comfort the kiddo. But for the most part it has been great.

My mom was in town this past week and my wife and I felt very nervous about the sleep. It’s one thing to feel bad for your crying baby when it’s just you … but to have your mom 10 feet away while your kiddo cries and you stare at a timer? Oof. We ended up ‘cheating’ a few times this past week which actually felt pretty great. My wife rocked him back to sleep and put him down in bed between us. Waking up next to his tiny adorable body was fun. Another night I went in about 5:15 am because he had woken up (and we prefer him to sleep till 6), I rocked him to sleep then just snuggled with his tiny head tilted 6am. And this morning my mom is out of town but he was having a rough go from 430-5 am, so my wife fed him then laid him between us. We all woke up naturally about 715am and he looked back and forth between my wife and I, taking turns reaching his little hands out to squeeze our noses. It was very odd, and delightful.

One thing that has helped and hurt his sleep is that he is now rolling from his back to his tummy. When he rolls onto his tummy and is happy about it, hello glorious sleep. When he rolls onto his tummy and feels regret … one of us slips into his room, rolls him onto his back, and then sneaks out. Generally this leads to a tiny brief cry and then calm. The odd thing is he KNOWS how to roll from tummy to back, but it’s like he suddenly finds himself in that position and says ‘WHAT HAVE I DONE!? WHAT IS THIS PERSONAL HELL!?’

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Semi-pictured and also a new favorite thing: the mirror! We have one on the floor for tummy time social hour.

He also often has a pretty intense workout regime before falling asleep. You go through the routine, put him down (described in last month’s post) and then he rolls around, chews on his hands, chews on his lovie, rolls back and forth a few times, sometimes onto his tummy and then off. It’s a lot of work going on. My wife said he’s like a gymnast making sure he uses the whole floor space.

Another fun and simple pleasure in life is discovering him figure out his thumb. Before he would generally suck on his middle and ring finger (I don’t know why). This month he has figured out, I guess, how to pop his thumb out because boom, that is a new favorite too. His thumb is basically a slightly large tic tac, so you generally hear a lot of slurping when he is using his thumb.

A funny thing that is happening this month (funny to me that is) – he is very easily distracted while breastfeeding. My wife used to be able to call someone or watch TV while feeding the kiddo. Now? If she even coughs while feeding him he’ll look up at her. It could be a blank look, or a sly smile, or outright laughter on a few occasions.

Speaking of laughter – his laughs are more common now. Here are his favorite things … my impression of a chicken, crazy chase games (where I hold him and pretend to chase his mom around, then she chases us back), and one glorious time where my wife dropped a toy of his (a ball) and then kept hitting it instead of grabbing it to pick it up. He laughed at her. Genuine, honest to goodness, I’m laughing at you, not with you. It was glorious.

I recognize that this post is insanely long but you know what? A few more.

I was at a Costco on one of my dad-and-kiddo days. I was wearing the Bjorn and had finished my shopping. (Including two slices of pizza and a soda to go for my lunch-nap-drive.) I headed to the bathroom with my happy shopping pal (he loves Costco … well, he seems to love about every location where he can people watch and/or chill in the front-facing Bjorn). I walked inside and, keeping with my constant chatter when walking around with him I said, “ok little mister, let’s do this.” I also happened to notice at that moment a stall door was closed. It delights me to this day to think a stranger was sitting on a Costco toilet, and that stranger thinks he overhead someone talking to his penis … and that the penis was nicknamed, “little mister.”

Ok a few quick hits: he’s had a bunch of different foods this month! Peas, spinach, green beans, and peanut butter. Not surprisingly, peanut butter was the only hit.

He has also had little slivers of solo sitting. Normally my wife or I sit like we’re doing the old grade school sit-and-reach (which I think I could usually reach about to my knees, I’m not very flexible), and then the kiddo sits so that he can balance on either leg and won’t really fall. He has probably hit up to a minute or two of solo sitting. Look out world!

And last but certainly not least this month were two visitors/babysitters/grandmas. Both my mom and my wife’s mom came out to help us extend the kiddo’s daycare free life to seven months. Pretty fantastic. It’s going to be heartbreaking to drop him off at daycare soon, especially since he has just recently entered a ‘stranger danger’ phase of life (previously anyone could pick him up, now if someone else picks him up he locks eyes on my wife or I). But, it is amazing that he got to spend so much time around family. And my wife and I are very fortunate to have such kind moms, and ones who are able to afford to do us such a big favor.

Ok sports fans. This one was truly a blog post just for me. Til month 8.

*Except today. This was pretty funny to me. My wife, the kiddo and I headed to a downtown area to check out shops, walk around, sip coffee, and just enjoy the day. The kiddo is in the front-facing Bjorn and we are in line at a coffee shop. Two college aged girls walk up and one of them gets relatively close and says, ‘your baby is gorgeous!’ She gives him a big smile and for the first time ever he does not smile in response … he gives her a huge pout and a little semi-cry. She looks aghast, seems genuinely hurt … and I start laughing. I kiss his little cheek till he cracks a smile. The rest of the day out smiles, and smiles, and smiles for any and all strangers. Random ladies stop and ogle and talk to him and he grins and kicks. The mystery of the sad-face girl will live on. I wasn’t laughing at you girl, I was laughing at the situation. (She was wearing overalls, maybe he thought they were his.)

The Carousel of New Parenthood

I’m casting side glances toward my son in his swing, full of fear and dare I say hope? No. Because I have no hope. The theme, dear future self, of month 5 (by which I mean starting at 4 and ending when he turned 5 months) … is sleep.

Sleep. What do you talk about when both parents are awake at 3:23 am? Sleep. You talk about his sleep. You ask, ‘when did you last feed him?’ And the mrs. responds, ‘like 10 minutes ago …’ then you sigh and get up to dance the kiddo back to sleep and she says, ‘wait! No! I haven’t fed him since midnight.’ Then if you weren’t so sleep you’d smile, but instead you just plop back into bed and thank the good Lord for the fact that only women have a milk supply.

(And now he is glancing at me. I just looked up and I saw his little eyes staring right at me. Oh dear.)

It has been a huge month in terms of sleep development for us. Here’s the rundown, as far as I remember.

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We hadn’t been anxious to do any ‘sleep training’ because his poor stomach had been a nightmare. But with that a little more under control we decided to start making progress on the sleep front.

First up, we started putting him down for naps in his swing. Prior to this his naps were on one of us. Cozy? You bet. Productivity inhibiting? Most certainly. Helpful for his ability to sleep without a warm body and a heartbeat to listen to? Perhaps not. This effort started on a weekend and at first resulted in quick wake ups. He’d be put gently, oh so so gently, into the swing and I’d sit down glance at my wife and smile and then a look of terror would cross her eyes followed quickly by a smile. The kiddos eyes were open, and he was grinning at seeing dear mama.

But in a short order, before the end of the weekend, he took a nap in the swing for over an hour. OVER AN HOUR! Do you know how long it had been since both my wife and I had been able to just be still at the same time? It was glorious.

From there we took an adventurous next step – naps in his own room! Well, friends, it felt like freedom (after it took hold). Such freedom.

But then it stopped. The progress vanished like that. My wife began holding him for naps again but no, that won’t do either. If you wanted him to nap for more than thirty minutes you needed to do more than just hold him – you also need to walk around bouncing gently. I have done this a few times (yesterday I danced gently for 2 hours while holding him in the bjorne). Great nap, painful shoulders. My wife found a blog post from a woman who experienced the same thing. We had so many things in common it was great to read – especially since she mentioned the nap woes were temporary.

Our son, and the fellow bloggers kiddo, were going through a big development jump. Suddenly way more chatty and tons of extra movement. This blogger talked about how the kiddo was so invested in being awake because there is so much to experience! Well, how can we fault our smily, quick to be fussy, overly tired, chatty, kick-punch champ baby for wanting to be awake when his parents are just so fun?

There really is comfort in seeing others having gone through the same pain, talked about it, and mentioned that it ended.

***

At night he was still inclined to need a lot of effort to get a nap in, but his bedtime routine was great … mom would feed him, I’d walk around holding him while humming and he’d pass out after some period of ‘hey dad! Let’s hang out! Hey dad? Hey dad! Hey dad! … Dad. Dad? … zzzzzz’

(Another live update – after ten minutes of intense, creepy staring he knocked back out for fifteen minutes. And then I heard a little noise and sure enough, we have eyes. I’m now intently staring at my computer. Meanwhile my wife is texting me from the basement wondering when the coast is clear for her to use the bathroom. The tiny tyrant rules all.)

Fast forward to about a week ago and my wife wants us to take a next step in the nighttime sleep department. It’s wise, and the right thing to do, but I don’t want to rock the boat. But what is parenthood (in my limited experience) if not a series of never-ending opportunities to feel comfortable for a moment only to realize this is exactly when things are needing to change?

The plan was to put the boy in bed at night … while he was still awake! Revolutionary! This is a modification of a plan we read about online where you would put the kiddo down drowsy but awake, he/she would begin to cry, you wait a minute, pick the kiddo up, put them down as soon as they stop crying. My wife was all for this. I responded, “he’s a BABY! Let’s do BABY STEPS!” (This made her wonder if she is going to be the one to punish the kiddo because I’m a softie. I think we will both have our areas.)

I had been cheating (unknowingly) and laying him down asleep. In my mind, ‘very drowsy’ is what he was after being asleep for a few minutes. Honest! This is how it would go in my mind – he falls asleep, you put him down, the movement wakes him up, he glances around, thinks ‘eh I’ll cry later’ and then boom he’s out. We did our first actual putting him down awake last night and it took a while, but after many pick-up put-downs he finally honked out for real. We celebrated by eating ice cream in bed. It was glorious.

***

Oh yeah and other stuff happened this month, too. He is grabbing stuff much better with his hands (reaching out to grab things). He is finally getting a better head of hair (not yet at birth level but close). He GIGGLED! MY GOD. How could I have forgotten that? Ok, sure, no one else would recognize this as a giggle … it’s a whisper of a giggle. Instead of a big grin you get a big grin and a … gurgle? Some happy guttural noise? How do you describe it? Anyway, it is my new motivating factor in life. One day he made this noise while sitting on my belly when I sat up making funny noises. This meant I ended up doing sit-ups for giggles. How weird is that?

140910083846_1_900x600Speaking of sit-ups – the child is making me fitter, I think. He’s the only workout I get, and my arms have benefited from his maybe 15 pound body.

Another fan favorite is ‘tree sloth’ mode. I have my arm under his belly, his legs on either side, his arms randomly pulling at my wrist, and he gnaws on my finger like a champ. It is essentially the world’s most adorable curl. I like to pretend that I am diseased and he is just some form of flesh eating bacteria that is growing on me. (My wife is perpetually delighted by my charm.)

***

As my wife said recently, ‘the pool of love is deep and intense.’ It has been a month of struggles and triumphs (as every month has been). Thus the title – parenthood truly is a carousel ride of ups and downs, and often, somehow, a smile throughout the ups and downs.

Ok well this blog post is so long no one except me will ever read it.

(And for completeness. He has been asleep for an hour! Thank the fickle God of Naps and Greying of the Hairs. Is this the sign of him re-embracing naps, or a random gift to toy with my heart? Time will tell.)

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