Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lukas Makes a Stand!

'Caught on Tape'

Lukas has been hitting those milestones at a dizzying pace over the past few weeks. As I write this he has just, for the very first absolutely definable time, waved at me in response to me waving at him first. He has also, over the last two weeks, learned to sit up on his own, clap his hands together when he is happy, imitate us banging a pseudo drum, play a game where he pulls something away from dad and hands it right back to do again, and now this...

On the eve of turning 9 months old, (Yes, today he is 9 mo) Luke has pulled himself to a standing position for the first time. You will now get to see the first time (well, ok the 2nd) caught on tape. It is still mind boggling to me that after only 9 short months my son has grown from a squishy little cone-headed being, completely reliant on his mother and I for everything, to a little boy who can do this...


video

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wrarms!

Dear Mr. Webster,

It has recently come to my attention that there is a glaring omission to the otherwise stellar latest edition of your classic text of English words.

I realize that your dictionary will never, at any one point in time, be completely up to date with the latest 'words from the street', cutting edge slang that those of us in the know and in the trenches, as it were, are using to communicate with each other on an advanced level.

I also realize that you need those folks who are actually living and using these words every day to be your eyes and ears out here in the real world. Because, after selling several editions of your lexicon (and with billions of copies in print), you must be swimming in money and a little out of touch with the average speaker. So, I'm here to make sure that you don't miss out on a recent linguistic development . . .

Wrarms.

Like their cousins the cankles, wrarms are lingo for fat little (in some cases) sections of limbs which do not seem to have a natural transition joint. Wrarms are formed by the joining of the hand and the arm. They are most often found on babies, small children, and overfed adults. I have attached a picture for illustrative purposes - feel free to use it in your next edition.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

15 Seconds of Fame

It is said that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame at some point in their life. Since the following wouldn't really be considered fame per say, I have decided my overall fame bucket probably consists of several tidy little 15 second increments of fame.

Although I am not quite sure how many of these increments I have used up so far, it can't be very many since I live in relative obscurity. There was the time, at 12 years old, when my brother and I placed third in the Oakville 4th of July Raft Race down the Black River, and maybe the time I was quoted in the local paper because the ambulance had to be called after my father had a run in with one of the cows on our farm. (I think I used the word 'scary', cause that is the go to word for the media). I am sure there were others, but I am drawing a blank right now.

One 15 second, fame nugget did come this past Saturday however, when I was featured in the inaugural post of the new Discovering Dad 'Spotlight on Dad's' interview series.

Check it out and let me know what you think.
James

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Finger Eat'n Good*

This past week marks another milestone for Lukas. It may seem cliche to say that each day or each week brings something new for a baby, but it's a cliche because it is true! It seems that just last week he was learning to roll over, or learning to open his hands, or even just learning to laugh. But, when we stop and think about it, all that happened months ago . . . Lukas is moving on past those milestones at a dizzying pace.

Life can come and go so fast in that amazing first year of development. In the case of his eating habits, it was just before Christmas when we first introduced solid food to Lukas. He took to it amazingly well and was eating full jars of a variety of organic fruits and vegetables within a couple of weeks. And now, just a couple of months later, we have introduced him to his first finger foods.

We started by holding an apple for him to gnaw on. He had 3 bottom teeth at the time (now he's getting his 4th), and enjoyed the novelty of scraping his little pearlies against the tart apple and sucking it down. We then tried out the standby for all babies working on finger food - Cheerios!
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It was awkward at first with Lukas grabbing an entire handful and trying to open his fingers just enough to smoosh one into his mouth without letting go of the remaining handful. Very slobbery, and very inefficient, but he loved it! He would come away from the highchair covered with soggy bits of Cheerio and very happy. A week of practice under his belt, he's much better at grabbing an individual O and putting it in his happy little maw.

Now Mrs. LIAYF cuts and peels a soft wedge of pear for Lukas, which he grabs and brandishes like a spear before carefully nipping off bits, mushing them up in his mouth, swallowing some and spitting the rest out. He completes the task of eating by rubbing his pear smeared hands into his hair - which already has Cheerio mush in it. Nice. Maybe we should market this new hair product. "It smells good, and makes a tasty snack for later!"

Lukas makes an admirable mess, but is just as cute as can be putting food into his face. And, he's very, very proud of his skills. He barely lets us feed him anymore. If we are feeding ourselves during the meal, he wants to feed himself too. Now, we just have to check out the daycare menu - it starts fingerfood for babies 9 months old (the age Lukas will be in a couple of weeks). The menu has some amazing diversity, so he's going to experience a lot of foods. Crackers and fruit. French toast. Cooked pasta. Animal crackers. Muffins. Edamame. Burritos????

I don't know how he's going to eat that burrito. But, I'm sure his hair will smell like beans when he gets home.
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*Co-written by Yours Truly and Mrs. LIAYF

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Insanity at the Pump!!

It's a very good thing my Jetta TDI gets 40+ MPG or this would really hurt where it counts. Fortunately, we don't have to fill up the gas tank very often, so when I traveled home a different way from daycare yesterday and drove past this local gas station, I was shocked to see the price posted for diesel fuel!

This is Bad (capital B), and I feel worse for those of you with long commutes or who make a living off of travel. Isn't it long past time our country makes some real, solid long-term plans to cut our dependence on foreign energy? I don't want Lukas growing up in a world fighting over ever dwindling supplies. We really need to buckle down and break our nationwide addiction to oil, especially so our children and grandchildren don't have to live with this legacy.
_
I know the current presidential candidates, especially Barak Obama, have proposed great ideas and plans to move in the direction of alternate energy sources. Even if only some come to pass, it would be a welcome move in the right direction. So, I am excited to get a new administration into place. One which will hopefully look at our energy issues and find new solutions for our future generations, instead of being short-sighted and creating more tense and serious global problems and issues. (Something that has been happening in spades over the last several years). _

All that being said, November (and Jan 20, 2009) can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Once Bitten!


News of note out of Seattle this past week: You can earn 4000 Washingtons for a mere week's work! And as a bonus, for the week you also get nice hotel accommodations!

With the current cost of full time infant day care cha-chinging in at an almost budget busting $1400 at month, earning nearly 3 months of daycare cost while taking one of my available vacation weeks from work would normally sound enticing. However there is one small catch.....you have to be bitten by mosquito's infected with Malaria!!

Yes, you read that correctly, that's Malaria as in fever, chills, headache, sweats, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and, oh yes, the occasional death as a result of the culmination of these, to say the least, 'unpleasant' symptoms! Well, the result shouldn't lead to death in these Seattle cases as the strain in question is non-lethal (or so they say, but I wouldn't want to be the one poor bastard who ends up being the exception), and the patients are under medical supervision and can be cured.

This is all in the name of researching a vaccine for Malaria which is a good thing. And hey, what's a few days having what amounts to 'flu-like' symptoms to help find a cure for one of history's most deadly infectious diseases? Ok, I admit I have not reached that level of desperation yet, but I would be curious how many other fathers, or mothers for that matter, in these depressed economic times would seriously consider taking part in a study such as this to earn some extra cash and to make ends meet until they get back on their feet.

If you decide to come to Seattle to partake in this 'Paid Vacation', please let me know and feel free to drop by for a visit. That is, of course, after you have been cured!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Not Rocket Science!

Lukas is now in his 3rd week of daycare - 2 days the first week, 3 the second. He seems to be getting over the initially shock to his senses from the sheer chaos that can perpetually surround him with 8 other infants and 3-4 care providers all crammed into a space the size of our living and dining room and all in various states of emotional turmoil!

I have to admit that he looked a bit shell shocked after the first few days. And a bit overwhelmed with trying to nap in that environment after the pains we took to make sure he was insulated from most loud noises while napping at home. I am not sure that in the end we did him a great service by not making him nap with more at-home noises during his first 8 months. Our son is a champ at rebounding and adjusting to his environment however, and he does seems to be doing much better this week and really seems to be enjoying himself. He has a few buddies now, and the noise and chaos may, in the end, be good for him. I have personally experienced him yelling for joy with the other babies!

However, the noise and chaos were not the only issues that Lukas had to overcome at daycare last week.

A caveat before the rest of the post. Our daycare came HIGHLY recommended. We did our research and talked to other parents and the caregivers and were very happy with our choice. We also had to register and put down a deposit 15 months in advance in order to reserve a spot. When Mrs. LIAYF was only 2 months pregnant. Seriously. So, this is a good daycare and hard to get into.

So, Mrs. LIAYF and I were shocked, and honestly, a bit angered when we found out last Friday that the daycare staff decided to forgo offering Lukas his bottle of nature's finest (breast milk) to instead offer him a big bowl of oatmeal cereal in the afternoon. The only fluids they had offered him all day was a 40z bottle of milk in the morning! That came the day after he only had 5.5oz all day. (He had been averaging at least 10-12oz a day at home).

Lukas was so dehydrated and stuffed with solids that he didn't poop for three days, and Friday night he was awake off and on all through the night crying. This was extremely out of character for him. His mother couldn't and wouldn't abide by our 'no nursing after he goes to bed' policy and she nursed him during the night to calm and hydrate him!

Really, come on, this is not Rocket Science! Babies his age need more fluids than a bowl of oatmeal provides, and to not offer any to them for 5-6 hours is asinine!

His primary care provider was out sick on Thursday and Friday - the days when he had less breast milk - but we had both expected more sense from the rest of the care providers. We ended up having a meeting and firmly (but nicely) told them he was to have a bottle every time he woke from a nap and no more solids during the afternoon until he had drank at least 12oz of milk. To their credit, they apologized for the confusion and adjusted without complaint. Lukas has averaged drinking 17oz a day this week at daycare just with the change in feeding schedule! And, he's eating solids as well.

An 8-month old baby can't survive on oatmeal and his looks alone (although Lukas can come close). They do need to have some liquid protein mixed in for proper brain development. In the end, Lukas is thriving and we have learned that we need to assume nothing about how caregivers will treat your child. Messages about your child's needs may be lost in translation and care providers are sometimes out sick. I don't relish being the squeaky wheel, but if it means Luke gets the attention he needs, so be it.