Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rolling Along

smiling babyLife is good these days at our house. Simon’s personality is really starting to emerge and we have quite the little jokester on our hands. We have to watch him, as he’s mastered the fake cry to get what he wants, sometimes unable to stop smiling through those alligator tears. There’s always something going on. He squeals, he chuckles, he upchucks, he screams. He kicks, he crawls, he laughs, and he chants. Da-dah. Da-dah. 

He doesn't need words, often times making up his own and sounding at times like a snake-handling warlock speaking in tongues. It can be a little creepy if the lighting hits him just right. 

Our living room is the main trench of parenthood front. And it is nothing short of a war zone. From one end to the other, scattered amongst the bottles and diapers are toy cars, animals, caterpillars, all with large smiles and a song to sing. I’ve memorized every song from every toy in our living room (It seems every toy has a song or lights or a voice, we have enough batteries to power a small space station for week). But when I’m walking around work, minding my business, I’ll often hear a snicker and then realize that I’m singing the wiggle song. I used to get rap songs stuck in my head for days…now this. 

The whole parenting thing didn’t come so natural for me. As a matter of fact I’ve only recently gotten comfortable being dad.  At 37, I was set in my ways, and it took some time to adjust, not to mention the fact that newborns are just sort of a blob for those first couple of months. But now I can say “my son” and it doesn’t feel weird. I am Dad, and it feels right. He’s my buddy and I can’t wait to see him in the mornings. (It probably helps that he’s sleeping through the night). I spend my days looking forward to coming home and hanging out on the floor with him, just watching that little brain of his putting things together. He loves to slobber on my face and offer his nuk to me and then squeal with laughter like its the funniest thing he’s ever seen in his life. I love his little squeal. He can’t help himself. It’s a laugh overload and he just has to spit it out. I’m enjoying these small moments, because soon they'll be gone.

This first year is really flying by, so I want to enjoy one evening at a time. Because after this, that's it. As I've told my wife, we’re not doing this again!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween

Some pictures from the pumpkin patch over the weekend.  The weather was perfect and it was pretty crowded.  Kids were everywhere, running, spitting, yelling, and throwing kernels of corn.  I held the little guy close, searching for danger in all directions.  I've come along way in nine months.  But still, as we climbed onto the trailer to take the tractor ride down to select our pumpkin, I was getting a little nervous.  But there were other babies, and my wife pat my knee and I relaxed enough to breath like a normal person.
I held the dude on my lap.  We sat next to another couple with a nine month old guy, and theirs even had teeth.  Little Simon sat on my lap, drooling and gumming away with jealousy.  I couldn’t help but compare.  They had about the same amount of hair, and I think Simon had him by an inch.  Not that it matters.  It was cool to see another baby his age, making the same sounds and chewing on his hands.  Good to know it's not just mine.

We took some pictures and grabbed a couple pumpkins for carving.   We skipped the corn maze.  Maybe next year.  It's hard to believe how big this guy has gotten already.  I'm making sure to pay attention, it's going so fast!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guy's Night...

The dogs were barking, my son was fussing, the cat griped because I was near his treats.  Then my phone vibrated, sliding off of the table while the fire alarm shrieked from the hallway.  As I warmed my son’s dinner, he hopped in his saucer, more of a stomp really as he was a bit irritated with my ineptness.  Feed me Feed me Feed me!  I was trying to get the dirty dishes into the  dishwasher after cleaning oatmeal off of the ceiling (don’t ask), when--is that smoke?

Just another evening with Dad.

I was only trying to toast some bread so I could have a sandwich.  Just a sandwich, nothing fancy.  I was given two minutes to make sandwich and scarf sandwich.  

Welcome to Daddy Time.

Mom had parent/teacher meetings at school, so guess who was left to run the show?  If you guessed the goofy guy with the exasperated expression on his face then you would be correct.   From 5 til almost 8 I danced, sang, fed, changed, rocked, rolled, and did my best to keep our 9 month old son entertained.  I tried, but I am not Mom.

Things started off great.  I picked him up from daycare and we stopped by the school to see Mommy before her meetings.  We met other teachers and the little dude was a big hit, even pouring it on thick with that great giggle of his.

At home, we changed and played for a while, no problems there.  And then it was time for his short nap.  Short as in 6 minutes.  That’s how long he slept.  After this power nap, he woke up hungry and we headed to the kitchen for some chow.  I got some of the food in his mouth, some on his clothes, and the dogs got the rest.  But then what?  I sat on the floor and ate a turkey sandwich.  It’s not easy being Dad, let me tell you.

Truthfully, there were no fires, but it did get a bit hectic in there.  But I’m improving, everyday, without thinking I do something I couldn’t imagine doing 5 years ago.  I can multi task with the best of them now, well, sort of.  I can watch the game and my son at the same time…

And the oatmeal on the ceiling.  Well, that one’s all me, I dropped my bowl the other morning while making breakfast and well, some of it found the ceiling.  What can I say? My wife’s a lucky lady…    

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Baby Kong...

I’m a petty non confrontational guy.  I always have been.  Sure, there are times--usually when playing basketball, when tempers flare and hotter heads prevail. But overall, I just want to get through my day without problems...  

My son seems to take a different approach when it comes to his toys.  Things standing in his way do not deter his path.  He does not go around, he goes through, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.  Toy frogs, grasshoppers, kangaroos?  Punks jump up to get beat down...  

For example, here's a picture of a sweet, mechanical puppy dog.  It sings songs, giggles, and says things like let’s dance, or let’s play.  It also says things like, uh oh, when it is tipped over.  It’s been saying uh oh a a lot recently.  That’s because my son is a menace, and his method of operation is to make sure nothing is left standing while he's in the room.

Anything in his path will end up on its back.  That’s just how he rolls.  He’s a drooling, laughing, tongue wagging terror.  His only goal seems to be leaving toys disabled or dismantled.

Hopefully it’s just a phase.  He’s a little boy, right?  Boys like to shake things up a bit.  I mean really, really shake things up.

He’s like baby King Kong, coming to town to make sure all these cutesy talking, battery operated animals know what’s up.  Puppies get pummeled into submission, he holds no sympathy for singing giraffes on wheels.  Monkeys, lions, anyone else better keep it zipped, because his elbow is just itching for a good thrashing.  

I’m not bragging, quite the opposite really.  I mean, he's just a cute little guy, whose sweet little laugh melts away any worries I may have. Even though the other day I caught him biting his lower lip, patting his palm with his fist and kind of nodding his head as if to say, You want some of this?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Single Child

Who in their right mind decides that they’re going to have a second child? Is it a decision that comes while lying in bed, thoroughly exhausted and defeated, using the lull in crying time to gather a few breaths of sleep before the next round of wailing begins? Or maybe it happens in the morning, when the eyelids have become sheets of lead due to flashes of sleep that only comes when and hour before it's time to get up?  Is that when people say, you know what, I can’t wait to do this again! 

Please, don’t get me wrong, I love my son more than life itself. I love him without compromise or conditions, and unlike I’ve ever loved anything in this world. 

But he’d better get used to dog fur. Because all of his future siblings will have it.

Since entering the crawling stage a few weeks ago, he’s slept all of 6 hours. Total. It is a sleep he fights tooth and nail. Well, I guess in his case gum and nail. He hates it and refuses to go down without a fight. He demands the boob. Oh how he loves that sweet boob. He lies beside it, resting his hand on it for safe keeping even if he’s not nursing.

I know, I know, cry it out, right? You just have to be tough. Everyone has advice in this department. But when that little guy gets to screaming I’m up. Last night we had him down. And then the dogs started barking. The next thing you know it was 12:32 and still no shut eye. I came very close to shedding tears myself...

My wife is a bit better at the tough parenting approach. But this makes sense, she and him are perhaps the two most stubborn people I’ve ever met. I’m merely caught in their clash. Last night, I rocked him for two hours, patted his butt, and then we let him have it out. He screamed like a freight train for the next few hours. And it took everything I had not to go in there and rock him, because I knew it would only start the process anew. 

When I tried to rock him, he tugged at my nose, gouged my eyes and took a swing with his tiny, drool drenched fist at my face. The baby whisperer I am not.

Meanwhile the dogs sigh heavily, wondering why I can’t get the little noise maker to quiet down. But our house is impossible to situate. Someone’s always busy. Get the baby to sleep and dogs want to play. Get the dogs settled and the cat wants to come inside. Get the cat inside and the baby’s awake. Yeah, let’s add another kid to this recipe!

In all seriousness, I wouldn't change a thing about my son.  Fatherhood is the hardest but at the same time most rewarding job of my life.  And once we get this guy sleeping through the night, which by the looks of things will be when he’s 12, I am going to enjoy the sound of ______. Yes, _______. That blank right there, that's the sound of sweet sweet quiet.  I'll bet my parents are laughing there butts off right now...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Executive Decision...

I’m constantly trying to talk my wife into downsizing, into getting some of this stuff out of the house instead of hauling it in.  It seems all we do is unbox stuff that we may or may not really need.  Especially since the baby, we have accumulated so much crap. We don’t need all of this stuff, I tell her after reading about a family of 4 living in a 68 square foot treehouse. But she doesn't listen, and for the life of me I don't know why.  Our house hasn’t been clean in nine months, and all this junk doesn't help. I try another angle, We need to simplify our lifestyle!! I yell during a commercial break of a feature on Amish lifestyles on 60 minutes. Again nothing..

In all seriousness, we do need to comb through our belongings, sort out the necessities.  But with a wife who collects scarves like a snowman museum curator, then of course the two dogs, stupid cat, and let's not forget the newest member of our household, Mr. Two of Everything, it's easy to see that I'm fighting a losing battle. 

toy basketball goalBecause I'm honest, I'll even admit that I'm not completely without blame. The other day I was given the simple task of buying a replacement diaper genie (yes, I’m aware of how utterly domestic my life has become). Walking through the store I stopped—as do all adults—and made a beeline for a display of basketballs. 

I was testing the air in one of the balls, just a few dribbles, when I caught a disapproving glare from the store employee. And that’s when I spotted a little piece of magic in the form of a plastic toy basketball goal. It seems the diaper genie had granted my wish. 

After some thought (would I still want this in the morning? Yep), I grabbed the box, snatched the diaper genie and made my way to the register. Waiting in line, I smiled to myself at my wise decision.  At $25, this little contraption could theoretically lead to a college scholarship.  It was my first executive parenting decision, and I was feeling pretty good about it.  

Arriving home, I presented my wife with the boring old pamper bucket. And then, unable to contain my goofy dad grin, I presented the basketball goal.

“Seriously? He just started crawling."

I’d anticipated this antiquated line of thinking and launched into my presentation. Fearing a veto,I handed her a PowerPoint presentation, referred to statistics I’d invented, and talked endlessly about the benefits of hand eye coordination. I tore into the box like Christmas morning, handing the ball to my son—which he promptly ate. Unperturbed, I assembled the goal with hoop dreams dancing in my head.  I hung the net and, swish, christened it with a  turn around jumper from the dinner table. Yeah, my wife is going to love this. 

So what if the box says 1.5 to 5 years old? My son will be 9 months old soon, and once he quits crapping himself he'll be ready for the big time.  Besides, we’ve got our work cut out for us if we want to compete with that Titus kid. But no pressure, if he doesn’t care for it, I suppose I’ll find something to do with it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Crawling and other stuff...

The dude is crawling. You should have seen it. We were at my parents’ house when I was alerted that he'd taken a step. In a panic, I ran inside (yes, technically I missed the first inkling of a crawl), grabbing my camera on the way.  And with the tape rolling--or digital gigabytes doing whatever, it happened. He crawled, maybe four or five little paw-to-knee paces, right there in front of two sets of grandparents.  We all got so excited; there was a gasp, an Oh My God! Anyone listening would have thought we were witnessing a Mars landing. Nope, just a crawling baby. But it was one giant leap for this baby.  

Crawling. A major milestone in my young son’s life. But is it to blame for our other new development? The no sleeping development. Our once sleeping baby now will not, repeat, not sleep in his crib anymore. Just won’t do it. He pulls himself up, he flails and bounces, he rocks on all fours, screaming and wailing the whole time. My wife said she read something about sleep regression. Seriously, this is a thing? 

Otherwise he’s still a happy guy, although now we have to stay right there on top of him every second. Those days of turning away to check on something (no not facebook!) are way gone. He’s got places to go and dogs to pester. What else is new? Oh yes, the banging. Our little drummer boy is banging every and anything into submission. Toys, bottles, cars, trucks, planes, monkeys, that box of razor blades, books, everything. (Okay not razor blades, I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention).

Things are heating up at my house and I have a feeling the party is only the beginning. The screaming, the banging, the crawling, the not sleeping, yeah, I’d say we’re officially parents now. The other night I was taking out the trash and I could hear my son banging away and shrieking at the top of his lungs. The dogs were barking and a pot or something crashed in the kitchen. From the street, the house was lit up like a carnival and sounded like a zoo.  I thought about my decisions in life and how they led me to the chaos that stood before me. How one pet led to another pet, and then came a kid who is wide the freak open and uses the loudest possible pitch in his voice to communicate. A little rascal who has just added crawling to his already impressive list of talents that include the fist clamp hair pull and producing miles of hanging slobber.  My moment of introspection passed, and I shook these thoughts and trotted towards the house. After all, that's my carnival in there and I don't want to miss it!