Month: June 2005

Terms

Is there a scientific/mathematical term for the change in a baby’s level of steadiness and propensity to make sudden movements as they get closer to dangerous objects? For example, M’s¬†ability to remain stationary while holding onto something gets progressively worse the closer she gets to the sharp corner of a coffee table or to our brick fireplace. She is also much more likely to squat down or stand from a kneeling position quickly when she’s directly next to something she can bang her head on than if she’s just sitting in the middle of the room grasping a toy. Do they do this just to give us parents ulcers?

Now Playing: <strong>Seafood – Good Reason</strong>

Hate Not Yon Player

In our cul-de-sac, there are several families that have teenage boys. Most of them are really good kids; super polite and friendly and respectful of their neighbors. Of course, the oldest just turned 15 so there’s plenty of time for that to change.

One of our next door neighbors is a 14 year old who just finished 8th grade this spring. When we moved in, he was kind of a small guy with thick, wavy hair. That’s more or less what he looked like last fall when we all disappeared inside for the winter. When he emerged this spring, he had shot up at least 3-4″ in height, his hair was much longer, and he suddenly carried himself more like a man than a boy. Apparently it’s not just babies that change before your eyes.

This kid’s transformation appears to have made the girls in the area really notice him. Since school ended, pretty much every afternoon and evening, there’s a flock of girls either hanging with him and his boys, or creeping around the house trying to determine if he’s home. The pack takes over our street, either walking as a group in the center of the road, or arriving in a mass of bikes. They giggle, preen, and vie for homeboy’s attentions. What is most fascinating is it’s not just the geeky, awkward girls who are coming over. There have been more than a few that look like they’re closer to 19 than 13. While the girls who are still struggling with puberty fall back and play uncomfortably, these girls take charge, flirting overtly with our neighbor, strutting around in bikini tops, and otherwise acting like the alpha dogs they are. Playa’s got some skills, it appears.
The whole bike thing kills me, though. There’s one girl in particular that seems to be spending a lot of time next door. She’s tall, tanned, cute, and I bet if she was on some MTV show they’d make her look like she was about to start college rather than high school. So I almost collapse in giggles when I see her walking around like someone who knows she’s going to have seniors hitting on her next fall…and then she hops on her bike to ride home. Of course, it’s easy to make light of her situation when you’ve put your teenage years behind you. I feel her pain, as I was begging for rides quite often in high school (thanks to my readers who contributed to me never having to ride the bus my senior year!). But I have a feeling she and her parents are headed for a monumental fight about how she “needs” her own car as soon as she’s old enough. Who am I kidding? Here in Carmel, the SUV or German sports car of her choice has probably already been purchased and is just waiting for her next birthday to be delivered, complete with a bow on it, to her house.
Anyway, it’s funny watching my neighbor and his female admirers.

 

Fun Baby Tricks

Here’s your biweekly update on the doings of M..
She’s really taken to her walker. She’ll crawl over to it, pull herself up, and if it’s parked against something, <span style=”text-decoration:line-through;”>look for you to come help her turn it around</span>. Since writing that Sunday, she’s learned how to slowly and carefully pivot it until her path is unobstructed. Then, she’s off! She speeds away, laughing and yelling, pleased with herself to no end.

She’s taken her ability to climb the stairs to an uncomfortable level. If you turn you back for two seconds, she’s headed towards the staircase. Fortunately, we never leave her anywhere that’s close enough to the stairs for her to get to them without us knowing. I don’t trust the gates we’ve put up 100%, so I like to be around even when they’re locked.
She’s started to make the mental leap to connecting things together. Up until now, she’s done things that often give the appearance that she’s connecting two events, but developmentally she probably wasn’t quite there yet. As I’ve written about before, she loves to stare at our ceiling fans and lights. When you’re holding her and walk into a new room, she immediately looks up to check out the fixtures. One day last week, for fun, I asked,

“M., where’s the fan?”
She leaned back, looked up, pointed to the ceiling, and laughed. Cracked me up. If I do it in a room where there is no fan, she points and looks, then seems confused when it’s not there. The best example, though, came Friday afternoon. I picked her up at the in-laws and when we got home, she fell asleep on me. I let her nap until about 6:15 then started trying to rouse her so she could eat dinner. I shook her leg gently. I tickled any exposed skin. I talked to her softly. I got no more response than a slightly opened eye and a look that told me, “Daddy, I’m not waking up.” So I stood up and said, “M.. Where’s the fan at?” I swear, her eyes popped open, she raised her hand, smiled at me, and started babbling while pointing at the fan. Genius.

Another area of connecting things concerns her use of our remotes. We’ve tried to give her remotes we don’t use often (generally the VCR remotes) but she always wants the remote that is in your hand. So we’ll land on a channel we want to watch for awhile, remove a battery from it, and give her the cable box remote. Instead of just holding, chewing, and slobbering on it as she used to, now she points it towards the TV and tries to push the buttons. Even better, one day she got ahold of the free battery. After we snapped at her for trying to chew on the battery, she flipped the remote over and tried to put the battery into the place she saw us take it from. My kid is brilliant!
Appropriately, on daddy’s birthday yesterday, M. had her first barbecue: a small piece of very tender chicken from Dick’s Bodacious. Burnt ends in KC in two weeks?

Now Playing: <strong>Test Transmission (Video Edit)</strong> from the album “Kasabian” by <a href=”http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Kasabian%22″>Kasabian</a>

Happy Fathers Day

Funny how many of my buddies are like me: celebrating their first Father’s Day as a dad. I hope you all have something fun planned. As for me, S. is working today, so it may just be M. and I hitting the mall for awhile. I’m secretly hoping S. put some money in M.’s pocket and she’ll be getting her daddy a PowerBook if we go into the Apple Store. I won’t hold my breath, though. S. did go out and get me some Starbucks before she went to work today, which believe it or not, is a pretty good gift when you’ve got the baby all day. M. seems to be taking an extra long nap this morning to give me time to do some things. Plus, with tomorrow being the day a certain blogger turns 34, there will be a combined celebration then.

Strange to look at where I am in life as I end my 33rd year. Six years ago, I never thought I’d be married, let alone have kids. Not only have I accomplished both, but now I’m a stay-at-home dad! I never saw any reason to go back to school six years ago, either. It was hard enough staying focused long enough to get my bachelor’s degree. Why ever think about going back? Joke was on me, I guess.

 

New Hat

Since I buzzed my hair last week, the sized Red Sox hat I got for Christmas no longer fits correctly. I look more like a six year old with his first t-ball cap pulled down over his ears than an almost 34-year-old sporting a well fitted cap. (Somewhere in there is a lesson about hopping on sports bandwagons.) I wanted to go to the gift shop at Fenway to look at another hat while we were in Boston, but we didn’t have enough time to pop in. Since our trip, I’ve had my eye on the red-topped hats the Sox wore back in the 70s. However, with the Royals’ amazing run since Buddy Bell was hired, perhaps I should don my KC Monarchs hat again and look into getting a new Royals hat during our trip back to KC next month.

In A Daze

This getting up between 5:00 and 6:00 most mornings is getting me down. It seems like everywhere I look in the house, there are Cheerios on the floor. Oh, wait. There really are Cheerios everywhere in the house. I guess I’m fine then. Never mind.

Now Playing: <strong>Super Disco Breakin'</strong> from the album “Hello Nasty” by <a href=”http://www.google.com/search?q=%22The%20Beastie%20Boys%22″>The Beastie Boys</a>

Sultry

It remains hot and sticky in Indy, the first extended heat wave since we moved here almost two years ago (two years next week, as a matter of fact). Yesterday, one of the local weather people said it was sultry. Can you really use the word sultry to describe conditions in a place like Indy, Detroit, Boston, etc? Am I the only one who thinks of being on an island somewhere, sipping run &#038; fruit drinks out of condensation-covered glasses while local music and tropical breezes gently drift through the night? There’s also the element of having someone who looks like <a href=”http://www.popstarsplus.com/images/SalmaHayakPicture.jpg”>Salma Hayek</a> involved, but I won’t get into that. Indy, muggy, sure. But sultry? I think not.

M. woke me up at 4:30 yesterday morning and then refused to nap until late in the morning. I was actually excited to go to bed at 9:00 last night, then when she was awake at 5:45 this morning, I popped out of bed with no argument. Parenthood does weird things to you.
I have an interesting announcement to make later today. A rather controversial decision regarding my appearance. Just a teaser for now. You’ll learn more after lunch (since I’m seeing some readers at lunch and want to surprise them).

Now Playing: <strong>Maximo Park – Going Missing</strong>

 

A Modern Day Samson?

Early in my sophomore year of college, I got the bright idea to buy some hair clippers so I could cut my own hair and save $12 a month. $12 a month would buy you three Pizza Shuttle pizzas in Lawrence, KS, so that was a serious savings. I pulled out the clippers, put what I thought was the longest guard on them, and started “trimming” in the center of my head. Big mistake. The hair was shorn down to almost my scalp, leaving a massive hole in the center of my ‘do. I ended up buzzing it all off and wore a hat for a month while it grew back (My hair grows very fast; I’m lucky).

What’s that story have to do with anything? Well, for a year I’ve been thinking about going short again with my hair. I’ve worn it long enough to let the waves and curls do their magic for over ten years now. I went through my Charlie on the Bachelor phase where I grew it out even longer because people told me I looked like the TV sap. Between the current humidity making it difficult to keep under control, M.’s love of grabbing it and messing it up, and an overall desire to simplify life, I decided to take the plunge this week. I warned my wife, who seemed to think it was kind of a bizarre idea, and my sister-in-law who’s occupying a guest room currently, who thought it was a decent idea, and disappeared upstairs yesterday afternoon. I emerged with hair that is shorter than short, and this time it was no mistake. Think of how Brad Pitt has worn his hair in his last couple movies, and then take a little more off of that. I only had a #2 guard, so that was my only option. If it turns out I’d like it to be a little longer, I’ll invest in a #3 or #4 and stick with that length.

It was immediately, noticeably comfortable. S. seemed to like it. The three other people that have seen it so far like it as well. I think it makes me look older; both S. and her sister said it makes me look younger. So there you have it, I guess! It’s still kind of weird looking in the mirror, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon enough. Oddly enough, my fitted-Red Sox hat no longer fits, or at least it makes me look like a six-year-old wearing his t-ball hat, and some old adjustable hats that haven’t fit since I let my hair get longer two years ago now perch nicely on my cranium. I’ll try to get a picture up at some point. Oh, and M. didn’t seem to notice at all, although she does still enjoy rubbing against it. Much more comfortable for me compared to her old practice of grabbing handfuls and pulling as she squealed with delight.
I want to thank Mr. Pitt, Mr. Beckham, and all the other fancy boys that have made short hair ok for the non-skinheads over the past few years. Without their trailblazing, I’d never be able to take the plunge.
I guess I’ve got another $16 to spend at the iTunes Music Store each month, now.

Now Playing: <strong>Never Running Out</strong> from the album “Wires” by <a href=”http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Athlete%22″>Athlete</a>

Fun With Babies

No one ever said that life with a baby wasn’t going to be exciting. Friday night, we were sitting in the living room visiting with two sisters-in-law. M. was taking turns playing with a remote control and one of our cordless phones. Right around 8:00, we got a call that the caller ID listed as from the City of Carmel. Thinking it was some kind of sales call associated with the up-coming Carmelfest, we let it ring through. About five minutes later, the doorbell rings. I answer it to find two police officers standing at the door.

“We had a 911 call from this residence,” they say.
Shit.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I think our baby dialed the phone.”
They seemed mildly annoyed but once we satisfied their curiosity that everyone in the house was ok, they left. We found it pretty funny once the got out of listening range. M. loves to push buttons on the phone, and generally she’ll push everything but the Talk button. Once in awhile she will push it, though, but even then she’s often pushed an odd combination of numbers that won’t dial through. It’s pretty amazing that she managed to push only 9-1-1-Talk in sequence so it went through. I’m not sure why none of us heard it dial (we keep the handset volume pretty high so we can hear it dialing if she gets ahold of it) and intercepted, but no biggie. We talked with some neighbors and it seems like everyone’s kids have dialed 911 for no reason at some point. Our tax dollars at work!

Sunday, we tried to take M. to the pool for the first time. We bought some Little Swimmers swim diapers, put her into her first bathing suit, lathered her up with sunscreen, and went to the pool in my in-laws neighborhood. It’s been really warm here for a week (hit 90 yesterday for the first time in almost two years) but the water still had a bit of a chill to it. The plan was for me to get into the wading pool, hold her, and slowly introduce her to the water. She wanted nothing to do with it. Before I even touched her feet to the water, she was crying. When her skin did hit the surface, she howled. We tried a few times, but she was never interested at all. S. sat at the edge of the pool holding her, and she just eyed the water warily the entire time.

There were some other kids in the wading pool, mostly 3-4 year olds, but there was one boy that was 13 months clinging to the edge with his mom (who was already 7-8 months pregnant again!). He seemed cool with the pool, but not without some concern. He was a pretty good walker, so when he got his confidence up, he would venture away from the edge chasing one of the many toys floating in the pool. He’d take a few steps, lunge towards the object of his pursuit, and face plant into the water. Great fun to listen to another kid lose it when there’s no injuries involved! Meg just stared at him like he was crazy.
So Meg’s first trip to the pool was a dud. We laughed that in the not-too-distant future, she’ll beg us to let her go to the pool everyday all summer. We’ll be pulling out the video of her crying the first time we tried to get her in the water to show her she wasn’t always such a pool fiend.
What other new tricks does she have? She’s cruising, which I didn’t know was a developmental milestone until two weeks ago. Cruising entails walking sideways while holding onto something (i.e. couch, table, cabinets, etc). She’s getting quite fast. We got her a push-walking toy last week. She’s just starting to grasp the concept, but I bet she’s pushing it all over the house soon. When we were picking it up at Toys ‘R Us, I was amusing S. by doing my imitation of M. this time next year when we take her into a toy store. “Mommy, M. want. Mommy, M. NEED!”
Another new trick is climbing the stairs. She powers up the sixteen steps that go from our entryway to the second level. What’s hilarious is she babbles the entire time, as though she’s telling someone either a great story or she’s doing a rather extensive play-by-play of her activities. She’ll stop every few steps, turn to make sure someone is watching her, give you a huge grin, start talking again, and continue up. We let her get to the top then pull her down by her ankles, which sends her into hysterics. When we get to the bottom, she charges back to the top again.
It really seems like she’s getting taller, too. She’s at a strange stage where some days, she still seems tiny and others she feels like she’s really a little person rather than a baby. The fact she stays upright so much and is getting so verbal only enhances that feeling.
New pictures will be posted at her website later today, for those interested.
Now Playing: <strong>Moving To L.A.</strong> from the album “Bang Bang Rock And Roll” by <a href=”http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Art%20Brut%22″>Art Brut</a>

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