Thursday, April 30, 2009
Then you are on to new problems. The kid needs more clothes because he is growing like crazy. He needs new diapers because he is overfilling them. Those things are super absorbent, but at some point they are just full. Of course then the next closest absorbent material is clothing. This is not desirable so you get bigger diapers.
There are always changes. Just about the time you get one thing figured out you move on to another. I wrote Tuesday about our newest challenge of teething. We are managing that like anything else. You just jump right in and do your best.
Recently Arica and I have started sleeping in the same bed again. It is a welcome development. For the past several months one of us had slept on an air mattress in Braden's room every night. We still spend some time on the mattress most nights, but at least we are getting a partial nights rest in our own bed.
So our lives are being changed by the additions of teething and sleeping in our own bed. These are balancing forces of good and evil. There is another storm of change brewing on the horizon. We can see it coming ,but are not sure when it will arrive. That storm is crawling Braden. He is currently scooting around his blanket on his belly. He constantly turns over on his stomach to survey his surroundings. He then sets his sights on something and heads that direction. Braden is not overly mobile right now, but it is only a matter of time.
He has all the proper crawling motions. He already knows how to spot things that belong to Mommy and Daddy. Of course those are the things that interest him most. He loves water bottles. Any time we drink from a water bottle he is dead set on getting that bottle. To a lesser degree he likes any thing we use to take a drink.
From what I can imagine our lives in the crawling era will be very different. I fully suspect that one day I will leave the room for something only to return and find Braden gone. He will be off on a wild adventure. We will have to box him in and out of certain places. I will have to crawl around the house looking for things that might by perilous to a crawling baby. The pack and play might be used as a cage rather than just a changing table. I definitely expect it to be insane.
With that I want to say goodbye to stationary Braden. We had some fun but it will soon be over. Please don't forget your Daddy when you are out cruising the hallways.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
While they may be the perfect entertainment it usually requires work on your part. Babies respond to certain types of stimulation in ways that are funny. Braden may laugh at a toy or scream after being tickled. The work won't always be necessary. One day he will be mobile. He is slightly mobile now. He rolls around and finds some toys on his own. I know this is only the beginning. Soon Braden will be able to "entertain" us by crawling into the entertainment center or finding old Cheetos under the couch.
For now it is still fun to watch him in his quasi stationary state. Seeing his mind work is amazing. He looks at toys and noise makers so seriously sometimes. You can practically see the wheels turning. A babies mind can work at humor too. I always thought a baby Braden's age could only be passive entertainment. In other words they are funny without knowing it. They can't get on stage and perform like Chris Rock.
Braden proved me wrong a few days ago. Arica and I were sitting together on our over sized chair watching TV. Arica was holding Braden. He was facing Mommy when he reached out, grabbed her by the cheeks with both hands, and planted a big kiss right on her mouth. It was a perfect kiss. It couldn't have been executed any better by a seasoned ladies man.
I started laughing uncontrollably. It was one of the funniest things I had ever seen Braden do. Arica was laughing pretty hard too. Braden raised up his head and looked over at his Dad the laughing hyena. He smiled and kissed his Mommy again. The second kiss was just as perfect as the first. He finished the lip lock and looked back to find me laughing even harder. Guess what happened next. Yes, he did it again.
Braden repeated the kiss four of five times looking at me after each one. By the time he was done I was in tears. It was absolutely amazing to see Braden recognize what was going on. He got a laugh and knew what to do with it. A true stage performer knows how to interact with his audience and work a joke. Braden seems to already be developing those skills.
I am a huge fan of stand up comedy. I have seen virtually every comedy special HBO has ever done. Many of those performances are comedic gold, but none of them past, present, or future will ever be able to compare with Braden's first stand up act.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Despite their helpfulness with food, my teeth have led to much pain in my life. The mere existence of teeth supports the need for a dentist. This person is paid great sums of money to execute a legal form of torture. I've had numerous bouts with the dentist. Most of my teeth have fillings. I have always brushed my teeth, but small cavities cropped up anyway. I haven't had one in around ten years, but I think that's because every tooth in my head is already filled. The removal of many of my baby teeth required professional help. I even had three permanent teeth pulled because my mouth was too small. Then there are the wisdom teeth. I had those removed too. Everyone is aware of the joys of wisdom teeth removal.
Throughout my life these two areas seemed to balance each other out. I would put up with my teeth's misbehavior in order to eat the foods I love. Not only that, but I once heard you had to eat in order to survive. Teeth are a necessary thing.
Fast forward to life with a 5 1/2 month old baby. Based on information I received from a stranger at Wal-Mart, Braden may be teething. He has always been a happy baby enjoying everyone and everything. In the past few days this normally cheerful baby has turned on us. He is only happy for very brief intervals. Those all too short times are followed up by crying and copious amounts of slobber. Nothing can keep him happy for very long.
Dealing with an unhappy baby is a trying thing. We are constantly trying to find new things that might make him happy. After all he can only eat and nap so much.
This new development has made up my mind. Teeth are evil. I can stand them hurting me in return for help with the food. Now they are hurting my son which in turn makes life unpleasant for everyone. Hopefully the culprit will show his face soon enough. Then we can return to a joyful existence until the next tooth tries to make its escape from the gum line.
Monday, April 27, 2009
So today I took off from work in order to give her a break. I am forgoing engineering to be a stay at home dad. Of course my run as a stay at home Dad will be pursued with a safety net. Arica will be here should I falter or should I need a helping hand. I only hope she can get some much needed rest today and enjoy her birthday.
The day is off to a good start. Arica was able to sleep in which is a rarity for anyone in this house. Later I plan to bake her a cake. I love cooking, but I am no baker. This will be my first cake ever. Arica is the normal baker, but she can't bake her own birthday cake.
Today I will certainly be reminded how much she does for us every day by attempting to do it myself. So once again Happy Birthday Arica and thanks for everything you do.
Friday, April 24, 2009
It's Fatherhood Friday again. Be sure and stop by Dad Blogs to check out all the posts.
Don't be fooled by the title. I am offering no advice today. Frankly I don't have any advice to offer. Apparently I'm the only person on earth that feels that way.
I am sure every parent has noticed the flooding of advice you get when you have a kid. The advice starts even before your child is born. When my wife was pregnant we got constant comments from everyone we met whether they knew us or not. That train kept right on rolling after Braden was born.
We were at the store recently when one of these incidents occurred. I am sure you regular readers can guess what store we were frequenting. We came around the end of an isle and were met by an "Ohhhh! He's so cute!" We enjoy compliments as much as the next person so we offered our appreciation. That would have been a good place for this conversation to end. Instead the complete stranger says "He's drooling. He is probably cutting teeth." It's hard to recreate this incident on paper. You readers can't see the air of superiority this lady was projecting. The "you should thank me for enlightening you" smirk is undetectable in this writing. I truly believe this woman thought she had done a great service to the world.
I am sure many of you think this is no big deal. You think I should take it easy. I guess it is OK for strange people that you just met to tell you things about your child. I, however, wanted to ask the lady if she had any feeding tips. Maybe she would like to instruct me on the proper way to change a diaper.
Instead I just smiled and walked away muttering under my breath. Children have many affects on people. They turn a lot of people into babbling idiots, myself included. I never understood before I had a child, but sometimes you can't help but make those silly noises. Anything that makes the baby smile or laugh is fun. The little creatures can certainly instill feelings of love, pride, and a million other emotions as well.
One of the craziest things a baby can do, in my opinion, is turn random strangers into experts. Everyone on the planet has an opinion on everything that relates to babies. They have no reservations about sharing said opinions with everyone they meet. People will tell you your baby is teething. They will tell you he has a tummy ache. They will tell you he is going to be short, tall, fat, skinny, smart, a ladies man, a football player, or virtually anything else imaginable. A family friend told us our son would be good at sports because he has a big head. This man is a very successful doctor by the way. What gets into these people to make them say such crazy things. I guess it's a good thing that babies eventually grow up. If they stayed infants forever they would probably control the world.
Next time someone suggests our son is teething I think I will disagree. I will look them straight in the eye and say, "No he's not. Our species doesn't even have teeth."
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As you grow older you often drift apart from friends and family. Eric and I were best friends as children. Our Dad's were brothers and often worked together on the farm. That led to plenty of adventure for me and Eric. There are plenty of ways for two boys to entertain themselves on a farm. Our Grandpa Bob was a huge pack rat. He was so bad that the term should be renamed for him. Pack Rat should be replaced by Bob Rat or Pack Bob. I personally like Bob Rat. Anyway, Eric and I spent many a day digging through his junk. We found all sorts of "toys". When we didn't find anything interesting we would use the junk to make our own toys. I remember one time we made a barge out of some wood and metal cans so we could float it on the duck pond.
This post is not all about reminiscing. Eric has a lesson to teach us today. He was a smart guy. He was attending Arkansas State University on a scholarship. Then one day he decided to come home. He was plenty smart to graduate from college and do whatever he wanted, but what he wanted did not require a college education.
All Eric ever wanted to do was farm. It's funny how two kids from the same background can go such opposite directions. We had the exact same beginnings on the farm. Circumstances in our life led us opposite directions. I only wanted to leave home and do something else. All he wanted was to stay home with what he knew.
When we were kids we both had extensive tractor collections. I am talking about the big metal replicas from John Deere and International. We both pretended to farm our homes with these miniature implements. I knew how to prepare the ground, plant the crop, and bring in the harvest. Eric, however, took this a bit farther. He knew the exact model of every tractor. He had a plan for crop rotation and set aside ground on his imaginary farm. He knew every detail of farming. This was his life's ambition.
So when he quit school to go home and farm no one should have been surprised. Actually he went home to be a farm hand which is a much lower position than farmer. He is back working on the family farm now, but there will be no riches in his future. I bet 99% of America would say Eric did a dumb thing. They would say that he'll never make any money on a small farm. He should have stayed in school.
I disagree. Eric was brave enough to choose what made him happy. He was smart enough to know that no amount of money in the world can bring about happiness. Happiness is found in doing something you love every single day. I hope that Braden can learn a lesson from his cousin. I want him to find the thing that makes him happy and go for it. I will definitely encourage him to follow whatever ambitions he has. Money doesn't matter. Fame doesn't matter. Position doesn't matter. Braden's happiness is all that matters.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
After a very successful foray into Random Tuesday Thoughts last week I am back. Thanks again to the Un-Mom and all her friends.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The inch worm moves by inching up the back half of his body toward the front making a big hump in the middle. Then he inches the front forward to even out his body horizontally. By doing this the worm can travel forward half a body length per effort.
The inch worm at my house doesn't move nearly that much, but he is trying. For those of you still wondering, yes the inch worm is my son Braden. We were sitting in the floor playing last night when he decided to show Mom and Dad his new skill. Braden has never liked being on his stomach. He gets upset easily when placed there. Sometimes he just rolls back onto his backside immediately. We place him on his stomach fairly often so he can work on his baby fundamentals. His fundamentals are more advanced than the last time I posted about them. Now he can easily raise his head so all of his work is toward the ever freeing skill of crawling.
Until last night Braden moved about his blanket on the floor by rolling or rotating around on his rear end. He could reach the 4 corners of his colorful blanket world by doing those things. Last night he added a new move to his repertoire. Without provocation he rolled onto his stomach and started inching around. He put forth maximum effort to move very little, but of course I was still proud.
I have no idea what the normal development pattern is for a baby. Before Braden I had exactly zero experience with that sort of thing. Now I consider myself well versed on baby development and parenting up to 5 months of age. Anything beyond that can be filed under "wait and see." I am pretty certain that imitating that ever so interesting inch worm is a step in the right direction towards crawling. Maybe I should say it is a step in the direction of a having a wild baby roaming the house at all times. That in turn is a step towards adding border control agent and bounty hunter to the list of jobs Arica and I perform every day.
Friday, April 17, 2009
It is Fatherhood Friday again so stop by Dad Blogs and check out all the posts.
I grew up in an animal loving house. I don't mean a PETA type animal loving house. We hunted deer, duck, squirrel, and rabbit. We consumed our kill. Yes, I have eaten many a squirrel just like Cousin Eddie. Our relationship with animals was more of an appreciation and a knowledge of their habits and environment. I didn't grow up on a farm in the sense that our house was on a farm. I did however spend much of my youth on the family rice farm in southeast Arkansas. My Dad quit farming when I was very young. After that he still helped out around the farm some, but he found other things to do with his time and resources.My Dad raised ducks and geese for a long time. He also raised rabbits for quite a while and dabbled in turkeys and quail. Some of these animals were sold for pets or food, but the whole operation was mainly a hobby. The farm was filled with hunting dogs. There was even a killer tomcat named Dingbat for a while. Basically I grew up on Old MacDonald's farm. I helped dad gather duck eggs and gather ducks. You haven't lived until you have been in a cage trying to catch flying mallards. Snagging them out of the air is quite a thrill. We fed the ducks and raised them. I saw them hatch and grow. Eventually we started a flock of Canada Geese. When our first two eggs hatched the goslings thought my Dad was their mom. They followed him everywhere and even got to take a trip to our house much to my mother's dismay. Dad named them Mutt and Jeff.
All of this led me to love animals. I had volumes of books on the subject. Dad and I watched nature shows on TV a lot. We could name every animal on the planet by sight and many by sound. I hope Braden and I can share that type of interest in animals. I hope we'll spend many hours in the woods together enjoying nature. Of course I hope we can hunt together, but it's also fun just spending time outdoors. Hopefully he will get the same joy I do from watching the squirrels and birds go about their day. Maybe we can share the thrill of seeing a bald eagle soaring over the lake. Braden might not grow up on a farm, but he will grow up in a small town in The Natural State. Wildlife will always be there to enjoy.
This Easter we took the first small step towards learning about animals. Braden got a The Farmer Says See 'n Say. These things have been around forever. I had one when I was a kid. They have changed a little, but the message remains the same. The (insert animal name) says (insert animal sound). I know this alone is not going to make Braden like animals. At least it will introduce him to some barnyard critters. Hopefully he'll get to meet some of these creatures in real life in order to test some of that knowledge for himself. Take a look at this video where he hears a few animal sounds.
That was Braden's first effort at opening a gift. I think he did a good job. He seems intrigued by the see n' say until he hears the horse. Both times that crazy noise seems to confuse him. He looks to mommy for some help. It looks like a trip to the track is in order so Braden can meet some real life horses and straighten this out.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Jimmy Conway - Goodfellas
My friends and I in college had many discussions about the aura of Jimmy Conway. The fact that we were usually inebriated should have no bearing on the validity of our conversation. Jimmy Conway was super cool. The minute he walked into the room every one turned their head. He commanded the room. Everyone wanted to be near him. He was the coolest guy alive.
Michael Corleone - The Godfather Part II
I love Michael. He was ruthless. He moved on Vegas and took down Moe Green. He outwitted Hyman Roth. No one could stand in his way. Not even Fredo.
Indiana Jones - Indiana Jones other than the Crystal Skull
The ending of the last movie was terrible but otherwise I am a big fan of the Indiana Jones movies. Indy took on the Nazis time and again. He battled the crazy satan worshippers in the Temple of Doom. He used a whip. How many other heroes are cool enough to use a whip? I would love to have been along on some of his adventures except for the life threatening parts of course. He did all this while being cool enough to never loose his fedora.
William Wallace - Braveheart
My old friend Shakey would say that the movie Braveheart was hard core. Those battle scenes certainly were. I am going to watch this movie a lot before I go to Scotland this summer. I am sure the locals will love to hear my William Wallace impersonation. If you don't like him then I will consume you with fire from my eyes and bolts of lightening from my arse.
R.P. McMurphy - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
McMurphy loved to party. He snuck women into the hospital and his friends out of the hospital. He loved baseball. He played basketball and poker. What a guy. All the while he refused to be controlled. He was the ultimate rebel and a crazy one at that.
Doc Holliday - Tombstone
Val Kilmer stole the whole movie with this performance. Doc was the fastest gun in the west. He was always drunk and sick but still fast enough to take down Johnny Ringo. Not only was Doc cool and deadly he was funny. His one liners are great.
Trent - Swingers
He was the ultimate party guy. Everyone wanted to hang out with Trent. He was the guy that has too much to drink and goes to waffle house in the wee hours to eat. While there he makes a scene maybe even singing the Waffle House song. I heard that people do that.
Navin Johnson - The Jerk
This movie absolutely cracks me up every time I watch it. It was made of course back when Steve Martin was still alive. The amount of his lines stored up in my brain would crash a super computer.
Carl Spackler - Caddyshack
One of the great comedic characters of all time. The scene in Carl's "home" with Chevy Chase is pure comedic gold. I can never play golf without at least once yelling "It's in the hole!"
Clark W. Griswold - Vacation and Christmas Vacation
Clark is the ultimate family man. All of us dad bloggers should strive to give the same type of attention to our families that he does. We should never strive to do it in the same manner though because it would be very dangerous. I laugh at my buddy Clark over and over. It never gets old.
The final part of this challenge is to tag 5 more freinds on which to bestow this honor. I tried to pick some guys that I have seen talk about movies. Below are my victims. Go visit their sites and pressure them to take part. Have fun if you are among the chosen.
Mike @ Unraveling Life's Mysteries
Fatherhood: The Final Frontier
Rob @ PB and Smelly's Dad
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Apparently in all our efforts to save the planet we have saved the bed bug instead. According to the article pulling many insecticides off the shelf has helped the bed bug make a comeback. The absence of DDT may help with our health, but it helps the little critters too. Maybe we should rethink this environmentally conscious approach. What if the preservation of forest land only serves to help establish a large pack of Bigfoots (or is it Bigfeet?) in the pacific northwest. Maybe keeping the oceans cleaner will actually allow for a real killer shark that eats boats like the phony replica in the movie Jaws. What if all this clean air helps free the skies for terrible raptor attacks from above.
We have to be very careful with this situation. When the safety of your bed comes into question then what is next? Will I soon be telling Braden to watch out for the boogie man under the bed. Maybe I will be using a pump spray gun to try and ward off the closet monsters. I feel surrounded. Hopefully the good people at the EPA can help us out with this. Until then sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I have seen these Random Tuesday Thoughts posts around the mom and dad blog community. I finally stumbled upon the origin at The Un-Mom. Since pretty much everything that emanates from my mind is random I thought I would join the fun this Tuesday.
- American Idol is about one step away from becoming their own television network. They already preempt and move around almost every show on Fox. I don't think they interrupt the Sunday schedule, but Simon has been a character on the Simpsons. Nothing is out of their reach. Before long Fox will air Idol every day and Paula Abdul will replace Bill O'Reilly. In case it isn't clear I hate American Idol.
- One more Idol thought. That show has spawned many competition type shows. Dancing seems to be one of the favorites. Why not have instrument playing competitions. The obvious ones are trumpet or maybe the saxophone judged by Kenny G. I personally would like to see "So You Think You Can Play the Oboe." Who wouldn't want to see band geeks lined around the block to show their talents to some angry oboe loving Brit. Someone get Simon on the phone. I want a producer credit.
- The Easter egg hunt we were invited to got cancelled due to heavy rains. I don't think it is too big a deal since Braden can't walk or crawl. The lack of a way to move around would limit his egg gathering abilities. Next year when he can walk we will have to enforce a strict no cancellation policy. We can get scuba gear and swim from puddle to puddle if we must. Eggs float anyway don't they?
- I already miss Mark and Olly: Living with the Machigenga. I think we should trump up some bogus charges and get them kicked out of their countries of residence. Maybe if they lost their home they would be more inclined to live in the jungle forever. After all my entertainment is more important than their normal civilized lives.
- I found another one of the great things about being a Dad. On a child's first Easter some people still give them candy. After all stuffing candy in plastic eggs is one of the biggest Easter traditions. When your child has no teeth you get the candy.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
This feeding was about a month ago. You will remember how excited I was to move on to solid food in this earlier post. The food in question in the video was green beans. Braden has moved on to peas, squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes now. At first we were feeding him twice a day. For whatever reason this interrupted his sleeping patterns. As all new parents know this is the worst thing that can happen. You work so hard to get them into a regular sleeping routine that also allows you enough sleep to sustain life. Any backpedaling in this area is an absolute nightmare. Arica figured out that Braden slept better the few times we only fed him once a day. That was enough to permanently change the plan. So we are comfortably settled into a once a day vegetable sludge feeding. Everyone seems happy especially since proper sleep has been restored.
Monday, April 6, 2009
There was a time in my life, during college and shortly after I graduated, that I absolutely watched every single Cardinals game. This was before the advent of Tivo mind you. Every summer night during college you could find me sitting on the couch with a cold one tuned into the game. After I graduated I usually took my party to the bar at Applebee's. There I got control of the TV from the bartender and watched the Cards like it was my own personal viewing room. Everyone else had to watch or go somewhere else.
Those aren't the only sports freedoms the younger man can enjoy. I also watched nearly every single college basketball game on TV. I love college hoops so I would watch Big Monday, Super Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday and so on. I was a little over the top with sports, but if I was home that is what I was watching. I didn't watch TV dramas. I either watched Sports, Seinfeld, or maybe a movie. Now with a wife and kid things are different.
Arica is very understanding. She finds other ways to busy herself when I must watch sports. I have trimmed my tree back to the Cardinals and the Razorbacks. For some people that would still be a ton of sports but not for me. That is the bare minimum. I am not complaining. Spending time with my family is much more important than watching total strangers play games inside the television. I am writing about this today because it is one of the great sporting days of the year. Today is opening day of the baseball season. There was a game last night but it doesn't count as opening day in my mind. Today the St. Louis Cardinals will start the season in pursuit of another pennant. If you are unaware of my love for baseball you can read about it here. Being opening day I am sitting at my desk wearing my bright red Cardinals T-shirt today. I may be a grown man, but much like David Puddy, you gotta support the team. I don't know if many of my readers are baseball fans. I do know that my friend over at Daddy Files is a big Red Sox fan so he is probably excited today too.
Later tonight the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship will be played. I haven't missed a championship game in forever. Now the trick for me tonight is to watch these events while still maintaining my duties as father and husband. It is a tricky thing to pull off but I can do it. I am thankful that I cut back on so many unnecessary sports events. Doing that makes nights like tonight possible.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Instead of the warmth of Arica's beautiful blue eyes I have the warmth of a microwave perched atop the college boy beer fridge in my room. Instead of the fuzzy feeling I get every time I look at Braden I have the slightly abrasive feeling of my legs against the sweet yard sale couch from which I watch the TV. Instead of the comfort of spending the evening holding Arica tight I am blessed to have the comfort of sleeping alone in a bed that has no doubt served more people than the local Wal-Mart. Instead of the sheer joy of seeing Braden's toothless grin I can hear the annoying joy of someone laughing down the hall.
The hotel is not bad, but it is not home. At home I have a nice comfy chair where I wallow around. I sit in this chair and use the laptop via the wireless Internet. Here I am sitting at a poor excuse for a desk using the local network via a hub nailed to the side of my desk. At home I have a beautiful wife and a adorable son. At the hotel I have a school full of kids playing ping pong, playing pool, and playing in the pool.
I tried clicking the heels of my brown Steve Madden shoes together today to no avail. Apparently you need shiny red shoes for this to work. Since I own no such shoes I will drive back to Kansas City tomorrow and travel home via traditional means. Before long I will be telling Arica and Braden that I am not in Kansas anymore. It will probably be the only time that I can actually get away with such a cheesy line. I am excited already.