Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Baby Zombie

There is a crisis in my household.  Our child has become a slobbering baby zombie.  I’m not sure when or how it happened, but as his coordination and motor skills improve, he's trying to eat our faces. 
He starts slow, climbing up my chest with a precious smile on his cute little face before grabbing mine and opening his mouth.  Nom Nom Nom. I’m quickly drenched in drool as he sucks on my cheeks and attempts to gum my nose.   At first we thought these merely sweet kisses from our son when they were actually rudimentary attempts at feeding on my flesh.
Luckily, our baby zombie has no teeth so our skin has remained intact. But our luck will soon run out as before long teeth will  sprout from his gums and unsuspecting family members will be gorged.
At night we awaken to ghoulish grunts and groans.  He speaks in tongues, perhaps dreaming about faces in the dark.  He wakes up with a smile, grabbing and pulling with an open mouth and an appetite.  So far we have been able to fend him off with the boob and bottle, but we don't have long before this baby's going to need some solid foods...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


We're hitting the 5 month mark this week and there have been many new developments. To his own amazement, my son has found his feet.  He’s like a little monkey, tugging and pulling at his toes while his tongue peeks out of his mouth.  Oh yeah, the mouth.  This kid wants to eat anything he within reach.  My blanket?  Let me taste it.  A new toy?  Gum gum gum…   
I’m getting better at changing his little clothes, with the tiny buttons and all. Sometimes though, I get his head stuck in an outfit and panic as brief flashes of Baby Jessica come to mind as he’s stuck in there.  But all in all we’re doing okay. 
He’s definitely right handed, swatting at the mobile, he throws a mean right cross. Tub time has become splash time and the more I wipe up, the more he’s willing to splash.
But the biggest development this week is his voice.  He seems to be discovering all kinds of new sounds he can make.  At full volume. He shrieks like a banshee.  At times I’m afraid the neighbors will call the authorities.  But he’ as happy as ever, laughing and giggling as his daddy acts like a fool. (No change there)
With so much personality emerging, it makes for some real good times at the house.  He’s alert, his eyes follow us around the room, his head turns as he watches the dogs.  I mean, we have a real person on our hands….when did this happen?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Ode To A Dog...

*Our dog Mason gets all the attention around here, so I wrote a little something about my buddy Bruce..

I have this dog Bruce. Got him for free when he was a puppy. The lady at the pound guessed him to be three months old at the time. She liked to scratch his chin. He was her favorite. She loved his gentle copper eyes, and her tone flexed when she urged me to bring him back to her if things didn't work out. It’s been almost seven years now, and although his breath sometimes smells like fish, I think it's working out...

a great dogHe’s a bit slower these days. He tires easier. Some days he has trouble with his hips. The vet recommended glucose pills, like the ones old people take. He prefers them wrapped in a heavy coat of peanut butter. 

Old Bruce naps more than he used to nap, he snores a little louder and has grown a bit softer along the way. But those eyes are the same. Completely honest.  

He was jealous when I met a girl. But her nails were long and she had a dog who became his best friend. The girl moved in and I quickly slid into second place on Bruce's list of likable humans. Everyone was happy for a while. Then the girl's dog got sick and Bruce lost a friend. .

He moped around the house until we got a new dog. The new dog is a maniac. Sometimes I think Bruce prefers the moping.

Now there’s a baby, too. Let's see, a girl, a baby, a dog, a cat. Bruce and I have come a long way. The house is hectic, the walks are shorter. Everyone’s time has been cut and managed. I hold the baby and Bruce watches. So much has changed in the past seven years. But we're still together. 

Sometimes, late in the night or early in the morning, I stumble upon old Brucie and rouse him from a good snore. He looks up to me with those gentle eyes. Eyes that make you forget he ever tried to bite the mailman or shook mud onto a grandma’s dress. I scratch his chin. He begs forgiveness and begs me to love him. Or maybe it's just a treat he wants. 

Either way, he's pretty great. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

This morning I woke up early, ready to enjoy  Father’s Day.  Because hey, I’m a father.  It still seems kinda strange....and I still worry how I’m doing.  I’ve gotten much better about the worrying but sometimes, late at night, I still study the ceiling from my bed.  

But this is only the beginning. The beginning of something great.  Smiles are good and I’m getting lots of smiles.  Laughs are even better and I’ve received my share of those as well.  But how can I be a terrific dad?  Maybe I should start by giving my son what my own father gave/gives me.  It's free, it's fun, and it's lot better than genetic abnormalities... I'm talking about Love.

My dad is the greatest and I want to be great so I have little room for error.  Oh, there will be mistakes; even at this stage I am well aware of that.  But mistakes aren't necessarily a bad thing.  (I still laugh at the thought of what my dad did to that grilled cheese.) I’m learning and enjoying the ride.  I guess the biggest change so far has been how much I care about him, I can’t quite describe it.   

And now, thanks to my wife and son, I have this one of a kind reminder of what's really important in life, coffee. I meant family.  So here’s to all of the father’s out there, I hope you have a great day, every day.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Fixer

Sometimes I need to be nudged in the right direction. My wife is good at nudging.  I mean that in a good way of course.  When I want to shrug my shoulders and walk away from adversity, she stands firm.  Not hand-on-her-hip and nagging firm, but rather she allows me to finish my whining, complaining, kicking, and cursing, and then she picks up where we left off.

Recently, our tenant of two years moved out of my old house that we rent out.  By old house I mean where I used to live and that it was built during the Taft administration.  Lately, I’ve spent weekends, evenings, even lunch breaks sweating it out at that house.  Cleaning, cutting the grass, washing the vinyl siding (and cursing the housing market ), while feeling sorry for myself as I missed time that could be spent with my son.  Poor me.
My wife has cleaned and painted, and basically flipped the inside of the house.  She attacks with a fervor of a HGTV host, she’s relentless. I am not relentless...
While she was painting she found a soft spot in the wood that turned out to be termites. I lost it. And while I groused and complained, she called Orkin. She reminded me that if the old tenant hadn’t moved out, the damage would have been worse. 
She sees the bigger picture.  When I curse the house and the responsibilities that come with it, she’s planning ahead, strapping our son to her chest, grabbing a mop, and getting down to business.  I may act like a child sometimes…a lot of times, but I’m man enough to admit when she’s right. And that I’m better because of her.
Our new tenants move in tomorrow and thanks to her touch the house looks amazing. It shines like new again, the termites are gone (hopefully), and the grass is cut. Now I can cut the grass at my house...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Grandma

Over the weekend we took a trip to Williamsburg so Simon could meet his aunt and uncle and great grandmother.  My cousin and her two children were there as well, and everyone enjoyed meeting the little guy, but the highlight of the trip for me was seeing his face beam while in the arms of his great grandma, or GG.  Simon is her the 13th grandchild, and we had been dying to get up there so the two of them could meet.
As my little guy has grown sturdier—looking more like the Michelin man every day—I’ve loosened up considerably.  These days I’m fearless with my son and germs, setting him down on rest stop bathroom floors as I go about my business.  I also like to write random lies in blog post. Check.
But really, I’ve come a long way since my bubble days.
Still, stepping inside my Aunt and Uncle’s home, my daddy eyes swept the floors, scanned the shelves, and located all points of entry. The first alarm sounded at the sight of a tiny boxer puppy in the house, with razor sharp puppy teeth and a hankering for all things eye level, I clutched Simon close, well above the ankle biter’s striking distance. 
The second danger appeared in the form of two adorable little girls.  My cousin’s daughters are 3 and half and one and a half. And what do little adorable girls love more than anything?  Babies.  But really, I was fine…I handed Simon off to my Aunt and hovered around the cookies.
At some point in the afternoon my wife set Simon on a blanket spread out on the floor and the girls swarmed followed.  Touching and feeling, they began groping him as though he were a second hand cabbage patch kid.  I leaned forward from my place on the couch, craning my neck as I watched them tugging at the seams.  I remembered to smile… 
They grabbed his Nuk, rolling it around in their hands and dropping it on the carpet.  Just before the puppy snatched it, the nuk was jabbed back into his mouth as though plugging a bicycle tire. 
“Honey, grab the nuk.”  I said to my wife, pleasantly, my foot tapping like a jackhammer.
“They’re fine, it’s okay.” 
“Oh, I know, of course.”  I was sat back in my chair with the blood pressure of a Tea Party member fielding a call from the IRS.
The girls sang songs to Simon, their knees and elbows mere inches from his head. I shook off the visions of him being dragged under a table to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and stood up. 
“You guys have beer right?”
In reality, all was fine as my son remained safe and coddled, being passed around from my aunt to cousin to grandmother. We're thankful to have such good family nearby. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, dessert, and a hearty breakfast the next morning and were on the road after lunch on Sunday where I topped speeds of 56 mph on the intersate, arriving home safe and sound.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Law & Order

Morris The MooseAn unthinkable crime occurred right under my nose yesterday as a routine thursday evening took a near deadly turn. Changing the bedding in my son's crib, I relocated Morris the Moose from his secure location inside the crib to a temporary holding location, the less secure laundry basket.

In a house full of animals, their stuffed counterparts have to be accounted for at all times because they can vanish, only to be found minutes later on the floor with their limbs scattered and insides strewn. It's ugly and it's terrifying. My job is to prevent it from happening.

Finishing up with the bedding, a foreboding silence fell over the room.  I turned, spinning in fear as I realized what had transpired. I looked under the crib, hoping the moose had taken refuge in the safe confines of darkness.  Nothing, my heart sank as I found only tufts of fur and dust. I had to find the moose.
The stealth nature of the crime took a combination of skill and experience that only a hardened criminal could pull off. Light on his paws and having a rap sheet is as long as his roaming range, my initial inkling was Mason. AKA Blue Eyes, AKA The Pest, AKA Needlenose. I cringed as images of his past victims flashed through my mind. 
*Warning, the images below are graphic by nature and not suitable for young children


The animals above never had a chance. They are brutal reminders of what can happen when one becomes careless. My son is far too young to cope with such loss at this impressionable young age, and I owed it to him to find that moose...
Stepping out of the room, I came face to face with Ole blue eyes in the shadows of the hallway. With his ears up and head cocked, Morris dangled by an ear from the clutches of ivory teeth. My gut had been right, he’s always had a taste for stuffing, ever since that incident with the pillow as a puppy.  The showdown lasted only mere seconds before I made my move.
I charged after him. He bolted down the hallway into the kitchen, my wife and child turning at the sound of the commotion as I gave chase, He's got the moose, Mason's got the moose!! Mason is as quick as they come and I was no match for his speed. We hurled through the living room, over the couch, and back down the hall, his tail swishing as I caught the glimmer of a tear in the Moose's eye.  It may have been drool, it's tough to say...
Determined to outsmart the family pet, I waited around the corner, peeking to see the moose still hanging from Mason's chops. His paws clicked on the floor as he paced like a wolf in the forest. And then, in a desperate act to save the moose from a certain and torturous death, I lunged, grabbing Mason by his scrawny head and wrestling the moose from his jaws. 

Looking over poor Morris, his ear has a few bites missing but he's expected to make a full recovery. I set him back in the safety of the crib, turning off the light and wiping my brow. Another day, another life saved. Until next time blue eyes...

Dog Mugshot

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


baby shots by Pete Fanning
Dad's Rendition

The poor little guy got five shots yesterday and I wasn't even there. I hope that doesn't make me a bad father. To be fair, I think it's for the better, my wife says it’s horrible, that he screams and cries and it’s a big ordeal. 

I debated stopping by to hold his little hand, but in the end I think it only would have made matters worse for everyone involved.  Once the nurse came in with the needle I'm not sure how I would react, all of the screaming and crying...and then of course he would start screaming and would be a scene.

My wife said he took a long snooze when they got home, and by the time I arrived after work he had regained appetite.  I looked down at his chubby little legs, dotted with little red prick marks.  Talk about a rough day.  He was in a good mood though, and I relished my role of good parent (not fair, I know), picking him up as he lay on my shoulder exhausted. 

Overall it was much better than the first round of shots, when he slept like a zombie for the whole day.  His head felt a bit warm early this morning, but he was talking and laughing when I left for work so that makes me feel better. 

I've got a long road ahead, but so far the shots are the worst part of parenthood, and I haven’t even been yet. We'll try to steer clear of hospitals...

Sunday, June 2, 2013


We’re starting to get out of the house these days.  I’m feeling more and more comfortable toting our son around town and he enjoys getting out and into the fresh air.  On Saturday morning we decided to head downtown to the Community Market for some fresh produce, morning music, and well, some time together outside of the house. Gone are the days when the two of us could rush out on a whim, today our outings involve precise planning and effort.  

Found the hat!
Yes, we can no longer just stuff our feet into our shoes and walk out the door, our destination unknown. We have to work around feedings and naps.  And perhaps most of all we have to prepare, Where’s his sunscreen, have you seen it?  It’s beside his hat…of course…. where’s his hat?  A half an hour later the hat was found (sunscreen still MIA), and we were then confronted with first world decisions such as: Stroller or Baby Bjorn?  Hmm, which goes with this outfit?  We went with the Bjorn, (wrong move), and I carried my son out to the car and waited...

Admittedly, I’m often one to hyperbolize, or overreact, or rush, or panic, or--okay you get it, but as I sat in the car, with my son strapped in and ready to go, I wondered what in the world was she could be doing in there?

Without thinking, I honked the horn. I hate when people do that, and I don't know why I did it, but I had grown uncharacteristically impatient.  I then used the following moments to have a quick discussion with the little guy about women.

Son, what your father did right there was just plain stupid.  Never honk the horn at a woman, or whistle, or try to win an argument for that matter because they have incredible memories...never mind. I shouldn’t have done it, your father's just not that bright you see.  Do as I say not as I do. 

At last the door opened and my wife appeared, clutching a bottle of water and a tote bag filled with enough supplies to hold us for a few days should I drive into a sinkhole.  I studied her face.  She didn't appear to be upset.  Maybe she hadn’t heard the honking during her frantic search for the sunscreen.  In the clear,  I reached back for a quick high five from my son....oh, okay we're not quite ready for that yet.

With our supplies in tow, we buckled up and backed out of the driveway, ready to take on the day.  I looked over at my wife, watching her mentally check down the list as we drove off for another family outing adventure....only to return an hour later.