Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stuff the Bus!

This past weekend, it was time to deliver the diapers that were so generously donated by friends and family (in lieu of gifts) at Lukas' first birthday party. Stuff the Bus was an event sponsored by WestSide Baby, a local charity which helps out local families in need, and it was a huge success. We collected about 500 diapers (plus a large box of wipes). Costco generously agreed to match diaper donations, so along with that matching donation the drive collected over 40,000 diapers! Given the matching gift we are proud that our friends and family donated 1000 diapers to the cause. This will be a terrific story to relate back to Lukas as he gets older and can appreciate the spirit of giving and helping others.

I have been holding off on posting about this until I could upload a picture of the wagonful of diapers in route to the bus, but due to technical difficulties with the photo card that was just not happening. So I am simply including a picture of the diapers from the day of the party (with our little cloth-diapered dude). The actual diaper delivery was an experience that we won't soon forget. We loaded the diapers into Luke's red wagon, put him on Mrs. LIAYF's back in our Ergo carrier, and headed out for a stroll to the local Sunday Farmers Market, where the big yellow school bus (donation central) was parked and accepting the donations.

We were hardly prepared for the reception we received. As we crossed the street and approached the bus, we were spotted by a throng of yellow-shirted volunteers (perhaps 2o or so) who immediately began to let out a chorus of cheers and applause, joined then by dozens of bystanders, that escorted us the remainder of the way to the steps of the bus. We couldn't help but feel more than a bit proud at that moment as a smile cracked my face and I noticed a small tear fill Mrs. LIAYF's eye. Indeed, this was a very good thing! The organizers asked us to pose for pictures before unloading our wagon, and once we had related to them the story of how we had gathered our diapers, they all broke out and sang Happy Birthday to Lukas. Then, Lukas got to sit at the wheel of the shiny yellow bus and honk the horn!

It was one of those moments that stick. It was much more valuable than Lukas receiving several extra toys that might be played with just a few times and then forgotten. We plan on trying this again next year, but realize our window for substituting donations for gifts is probably about as small as our generous little guy. This time was not difficult, or particularly generous of us really. It took just a bit of extra thought and work to pull this together. We are just grateful it will help out some people who are having a tough time right now.

Thanks so much to all of our thoughtful family and friends who helped make this a reality! I will upload the picture as soon as we receive it from Westside Baby.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reality Bites

Last week Lukas came home from daycare with a nasty bruise on his arm. I didn't initially recognize it but Mrs. LIAYF, being a former daycare director herself, quickly identified it as a bite. We were not terribly traumatized by it since it did not break the skin but wondered which of the bigger kids (he was visiting the pre-tod room, where he will move next week) had inflicted the damage. Of course the daycare policy was not to name names, and we understand the reasoning. And, most of the kids there have teeth, so it could be anyone.

Well, today it appears that our little guy is a quick learner. Yes, he has turned from the bitee to the biter! Luke has a healthy set of teeth now and has been sinking them into varying body parts of his parents recently, and always received a stern 'No Bite Lukas!' response from both of us. He seems to be learning that this is not acceptable behavior at home . Hopefully this is just a phase he is going through at daycare. Today he bit two of the other kids in the baby room and apparently knocked another over the head with a bucket!

Perhaps he is just practicing his self defense skills in anticipation of the move. As we left the daycare today, he was wrestled to the floor and scratched across the face by an older boy in the pre-tod room (o.k., only four months older) who just minutes later purposefully smacked another kid in the face several times. Yes, it was the end of the day and the little ones were tired, but this little boy (a.k.a. "The Nemesis") seemed to enjoy the painful cries that resulted from his actions and smiled with glee when doing his deeds. The Nemesis is almost a full head taller than Lukas, and a wee bit more aggressive than we have seen in the baby room.

I asked one of Luke's caregivers if this was a phase that all the kids go through and he responded by indicating that he thought Lukas was bored with the infant room and is just ready to move. I agree. He really wants to be interacting with the older kids - the toys are cooler, he gets to sit on a chair at a table at meal time, and there's a lot more room to roam. However, Mrs. LIAYF and I also suspect he is biting because he's learning it from the older kids (perhaps, The Nemesis). Well, only two more days in the infant room and he moves in with the pre-tods. I guess then we'll know for sure!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Home to the Farm

Yesterday we visited Grandma and Grandpa's organic dairy farm for a family birthday party. After breakfast and some morning play time, we loaded up the car with enough provisions to feed a third world family for weeks, then headed out for the farm which is 1 1/2 hours away. Luckily, we timed Lukas' nap near perfectly and he was still sleeping when we pulled off the interstate. So, we decided to drive into 'town' to give him a bit of extra sleep. This is the town where I grew up and went to school. It is really just a small blip on the map, with around 700 residents, one stoplight, and one tavern (appropriately named The Only Tavern).

The town, being in the opposite direction of the way we usually drive to visit home, is not a place we pass through very often, and for good reason. It is out of the way, not unlike most other small towns in rural America, with a few struggling businesses, an identity centered around its High School, and a few well maintained houses amidst many other ramshackle homes with weedy and junk-filled lawns. It is however, the town of my youth, and thus passing through for the first time in a while sparked many fond memories. I learned to play baseball on the old little league field. I spent many evening and holiday nights with my parents at the aged and weathered local Grange Hall (no doubt stirring up some sort of trouble). Those memories, though nearly 30 years old, still managed to bring a smile to my face.

After passing through town, we took the back road to the farm. This was the road the school bus carried me home on so many afternoons. It was once so familiar to me that I could have driven it, with all its twists, turns, and steep shoulder drop offs blindfolded, in my 74' Malibu - the cassette player blaring out some 80's iconic song (most likely a Van Halen ballad). Yesterday though, there was no blindfold. Only the smell of freshly cut hay bales, wrapped the day before by my brother Ron. Those giant marshmallows dotted the fields and reminded me of some life-sized surrealist pastoral landscape placed just so, in a museum, to make you stop, drown out all other thoughts and ponder their meaning.

Grandma and Grandpa were eager to see Lukas. They had seen him the weekend before in Seattle, but it had been about 3 months (they go by so fast) since we had last visited home. This time Lukas is over a year old and much more in tune with the things around him. It was not long before Grandpa had scooped up Lukas and carried him to the big green John Deere tractor and hay baler. They climbed up and in, started it, and drove forward and back a few feet for the full effect. This was Uncle Ron's tractor and was almost an exact duplicate of one in a Baby Farm book that Lukas enjoys reading. The tractor was parked close to the yard, where the barbecue and party were focused, so every time we set him down Luke would make a b-line towards the tractor, his index finger extended, making a 'ga' sound. He was transfixed! Grandpa also took Lukas to the barns to see a baby calf and his mother, both of which brought expressions of joy to his face. The milking cows, who were out grazing in a nearby field of lush green grass, were another source of wonderment for Lukas who stared at them with wide eyes (perhaps because they were black and white, like our cat 'Albert' and his favorite stuffed monkey 'Monkey'!)

The party was a birthday party for my Sister (two years older than I) and my Niece, who is now 20 years old. It was hard to believe that Luke's oldest cousin was born when I was 20 myself! I have watched her grow from a baby into an amazing young lady, who is studying to be a teacher. There were also many other family members to ohh and ahhh at all the fun little things Lukas did and, true to form, he basked in the attention. At the end of the day, it had been another great party. Another chance for Lukas to get familiar with family members who will always be there for him as he grows up. At a place that will always be there for him to visit as well. A place steeped in family history. A place that is full of new and interesting things to do and see. A place where his 'dada' learned about life, the value of working hard, and the love and laughter of family.

For the afternoon at least, it was nice to be home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Smells Like Toddler Spirit!

Here are a few random thoughts for the day:

We had another first in our household last night. With Mrs. LIAYF tied up with work in a city an hour away last night until past 8 PM, it was up to yours truly to get Lukas home, make dinner, get him fed, get him bathed and get him put down to sleep for the night. No big deal you say? Well, it was at this household as it marked the very first time in his 1 plus years now, that Luke was not breast fed before he went to sleep for the night. For the record, he was in good spirits most of the evening, but seemed a bit confused as to where mom was. He fussed a bit after I gave him his sippy of warmed breast milk and put him in his crib, but our nightly routine payed off as he was familiar enough with it to know if was time to put himself to sleep. Way to go buddy.

I had a proud daddy moment this afternoon. While silently entering Lukas' daycare to pick him up this afternoon, I spied the director of the daycare (unbeknownst to her) leaning over the wall to the infant room talking to one of the babies. Yes, it was Lukas. She then looked up and mentioned to the caregiver in the infant room "Do you see this? Lukas is stacking these blocks. Most babies his age aren't stacking yet, but good at knocking things down." Luke then looked up and saw me and said "Dada!" The director looked surprised, but continued to rave about his progress. I was beaming.

Lastly, I had an NPR driveway moment as I arrived at home from work. Luke was napping in his car seat and a story came on about Spencer Elden, the baby from the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind album. Turns out he is now 17, and wishes he would have come of age in the 90's! It was a great story, and again made me realize that time most definitely marches on. (You can listen to the story here and have your own PC or Mac moment). Spencer's parents were paid $200 for that picture. Can you imagine, millions of people seeing your privates and you get a measly $200??

We won't be selling pictures of Lukas (or his privates) anytime soon. What's the point? Friends and family can see him in all his glory during our nightly "naked baby" time - the 10 minutes or so he gets to run around naked before his bath. It may not be enough to inspire a generation of music fans, but it's good enough for us!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fuu-get About It...

Ok, this is kind of funny now but if things don't change, I can see how it could get seriously scary in the blink of an eye. I am referring to the fact that I have been seriously....oh, what was I going to say...oh yeah, forgetful as of late! This currently includes some minor sorts of things, like making a 'mental' grocery list with, say four items on it, then running out to the store shortly thereafter only to remember at most two of those items. Or, realizing I left home without my nice packed lunch for work AND my wallet and now having to scrounge, or beg (I haven't had to steal...yet) for my lunch that day.

Not much harm in missing a lunch, but there are bigger things as well, such as completely forgetting that I had a pre-operation appointment a week before my recent knee surgery. Or, worse, forgetting about a high-level lunch with the boss of my boss, also known as 'The Big-Boss'. Luckily, it was a social lunch with several others invited, but still it didn't look good and was precipitated by the fact that it totally slipped my mind, and that I didn't get an Outlook reminder (Yes, The Big Boss was skeptical also). Unfortunately, these things both big and small are happening with much more frequency in the past year and I am beginning to question my organizational approach to life.

Why might this be happening? Let's recount the facts: (1) I am the big 4-0 now. Nuff said. (2) I am a new dad. Ok, Lukas is over a year old so am I really still a new dad? (3) I am an involved dad. Mrs. LIAYF works full time, so we share the household duties pretty evenly. (4) I am blogging regularly now and distracted. And, (5) I have a job that requires me to problem solve all day long, and make decisions on the fly, so I am used to keeping things in my head and not taking notes (this means I am also the type of person who believes that I can use my mental compass to figure out which direction to drive in a strange town, and have generally had great success with this approach).

Personally, I think my memory problems are not the result of one of these factors, but a combination of all of them. But, I am not sure what combination. What I do know is that I want to address this before I forget something really important, or something that could affect Lukas' safety. I am realizing that what I believe I will remember, and what I actually do, don't completely reconcile. So, when Mrs. LIAYF lists four things for me to get at the grocery store and tells me to write it down, I need to do just that instead of rolling my eyes because it is only four things and I can't be bothered. In other words, I need to make good use of the organizational tools at my disposal - pencil, paper and a pocket (or my palmpilot!).

It is a great feeling to know that you can improvise well and solve problems. But, it is high time I concentrate more on making sure there are fewer situations, rather than more, where improvisation is required. How about you? Did your memory begin to fail more when you became parents? Or about when you reached a certain age?

Please tell me I am not just lazy, or just getting old!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Walking the Walk!

Sometimes, It takes a very good cause to rouse a man, or a group of men, to action. This coming week, Dan from over at All That Comes With It, and several of his buddies from across the pond, have endeavored to rise up and take such action. They will be walking the Dales Way in Yorkshire England, a path that will see them walking 78 miles over the course of 6 days. What, you may ask, would motivate this extreme group of highly skilled and highly trained athletes (see below), to slow their pace down to a walk, yes walk, for 6 whole days?


Well, they are raising funds for a very good cause. The Joesph Salmon Trust, a charity set up by Dan's good friends Neil and Rachel in memory of their son, Joseph who tragically, at 3 years old, went to sleep one night seemingly healthy and never awoke. Please consider visiting Dan's site, to read more about the walk, or more specifically to make a small donation (or large if you possibly can) to this worthy cause. Just click on the Joseph Salmon icon in the upper right corner of his site or the donate link just below. You can then spend the rest of the weekend with the wonderful feeling that you have just made the world a smaller, and better place. Because you would have done just that. Thanks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Difficult Transitions.

Lukas is set to move out of the infant room of his daycare on August 1st. It is an exciting time, as he prepares to transition from being one of the oldest children in the infant room, to being the youngest in the pre-toddler room. The daycare, to its credit, has done a good job of getting him ready for the other room with frequent trips this past month to hang out with the older kids. He visits first thing in the morning, plays outside in the pre-toddler play area, and recently even sat down at the miniature table and chairs to eat his lunch with them. It helps that he is walking like a champ and can hold his own against kids who are in some cases several months older than he is.

Mrs. LIAYF and I did have one recent daycare issue, though. Now that Lukas is past the one year mark, he is taking all fluids out of a sippy rather than a bottle. As soon as this transition occurred, they pushed us heavily to switch him to cow's milk during the day, rather than supporting our desire to continue feeding him breastmilk out of a sippy cup. This did not sit well with me, and especially not well with Mrs. LIAYF who is making a terrific effort to continue breastfeeding and pumping (and scalding her milk because of excess lipase), knowing how beneficial it has been shown to be for toddlers well into the second year and beyond.

Our daycare would give him the milk in a specific hard plastic sippy cup, which was different from the sippy we use at home, and when he wouldn't drink much of it, they immediately assumed that he didn't want the milk. They made statements to us like "He probably just wants what the other kids are having" or "He is trying to indicate that he is ready to move on to cow's milk." This was despite our insistance that we didn't witness the same reluctance at home and that we needed to give him a bit more time to adapt to their type of sippy. We got the distinct impression that they were trying to transition him for their convenience, not his. I actually had the infant room manager tell me that, they would have to give him cow's milk if he didn't start drinking the breast milk better out of a sippy. This was after only a couple of days without an actual bottle.

All of this was accompanied by an atmosphere where it was not actually said, but implied, that we were being difficult about this decision and that we should just get out of their way and let them do things the way they do for all the other kids. We had to endure a few snide little asides that were laughed off as jokes, odd looks from the staff, and a general sense of tension when I would go to visit or at pick up and drop off. All of this, and we never once raised our voices to them, or were anything but pleasant while dealing with the frustration. Mrs. LIAYF even got off work early a few days to come in to nurse Lukas at daycare and talk to the manager about the health benefits of extended breastfeeding.

Now, I do want to say that these are a very nice group of people who are doing a great job taking care of our son and we totally trust them with his care. The rub was with that fact that we wanted to continue to do what we thought was best for our son and doing so seemed to make things a bit more difficult on them. It was not the what 'normal' parents would do, so we met with resistance. It was uncomfortable, to say the least, for a several days.

In the end we sought out a solution. We asked that they try different cups with Lukas, and it was exactly what was needed. Once they gave him a different cup (one the pre-toddlers were using) and took out the cup's flow restrictor, he began drinking the breastmilk rather well and the situation eased. I applaud Mrs. LIAYF for being firm in her resolve about this. She kept me on point when I wanted to smooth things out and compromise where we had no business doing so. It is the type of decision that is not easy, but needed to be made for Luke's well being. I have learned something from her once again.

It certainly won't be the last time!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Found in Translation!

I found this foreign language translator online today and instantly had a great idea. Ok, well maybe it's just a marginal idea at best, but I'm going with it anyway! With all the media coverage about China of late, and in honor of the upcoming Olympic Games there, I thought I would translate one of my past posts into Chinese.

Yes, once the Chinese complete their plan to take over of the world (which rumor has it began, innocently enough, in a small factory where they produced billions of little 'Made in China' stickers) they will be able to look back on this post as evidence, along with my collection of Chinese action film DVD's and my affection for their local fare, that yours truly and Mrs. LIAYF are 'China friendly.' Hey, they might even give me a job writing fortunes!

To keep it short, and your vision from blurring, I am translating my last Haiku Friday, originally published June 13th. Read the original here.

And now for the translated version:


那天很快到达
盘旋太阳的地球
它能真正地是?

Wow! I'm glad I don't have to read or write Chinese as that looks like it would give me a serious hand cramp. I do know, however, that Lukas is the perfect age to learn a foreign language. Chinese, perhaps? Probably not, but Mrs. LIAYF and I do have Luke on the waiting list of, among other fine establishments, a bilingual daycare. They teach English and Spanish together and have teachers of all different cultural backgrounds. If the stars align right and our plans have not changed by then, we would love to have him in a facility which promotes such diversity.

In the mean time, Chinese may have to wait until he is a bit older!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Santa, I Hardly Missed Ya

Sitting here this quiet Saturday morning at the kitchen table with the sun filtering in from the living room window to illuminate our breakfast feast, I had a moment where a smile appeared out of nowhere. I thought to myself, "Now where did that come from?", but didn't have to think to long. Here I was with all that is important, surrounding me. Lukas was in his high chair, devouring the fruit filled oatmeal that mom had made for him, Mrs. LIAYF was quietly perusing the morning paper, and I was sipping my freshly brewed morning coffee, taking in what has become a staple moment in our household. Sitting down together, as a family, without outside interruption, to enjoy our meals and each other as well.

In my previous post 'The Year Without a Santa Clause' I talked about our decision to give up television just before Lukas was born. Yes, we did give up cable and local TV channels and it was difficult at first, but moments and meals like that which I described from this morning, happen much more frequently now, without the background hum and chatter of the previously ever present tube. I will admit (and if you read this blog regularly, both of you will realize) that Mrs. LIAYF and I have not completely given up watching media altogether. After we put Lukas to bed in the evening, have cleaned up the dishes and toys from the evening dinner and play time, and have taken care of any pressing family business, such as paying bills, calling family, or ordering groceries, we will sit down and watch one episode of whichever series we are currently getting delivered from NetFlix. We just ended the 4th season of 'The Wire' (a great series), and are dabbling with a few other shows, while we wait for season 5 to be released sometime in August. We enjoy this time to ourselves in the evening to unwind and are happy that we can have control over how much time we spend in front of our television set.

I recently read an article in our local paper that indicated nearly 40% of 3 month olds and 90% of 2 year olds watch television on a regular basis. Mrs. LIAYF and I personally don't think television is necessary for a boy Luke's age, but respect that other parents may have differing opinions. That being said, what I can say about Lukas is that the lack of television in his life (he has not watched any, other than an occasional glimpse at another person's home) has definitely not negatively affected him. Lukas is an extremely social, happy, curious boy who smiles and interacts with people we have just met out in public. He is thoughtful and fun loving, sleeps well, and doesn't throw tantrums. I know that things will not always be this peachy as Lukas grows, and I also don't believe that the lack of television has been the sole factor determining his demeanor to this point. However, I do believe that it has had one other large impact. Mom and dad are not distracted by the TV, and are thus able to be more attentive to Lukas than we otherwise would have been.

At first thought, I felt like I had to give up quite a bit by cancelling our cable. I have always been a huge sports fan and watching my teams, win or lose, has been an extremely important part of my life. After the switch I started out by following my teams closely on the radio, or in the daily paper. However, without being able to see them on TV, often several days would go by before I checked in, and as many of you know a lot can, and usually does, happen in sports in that amount of time. The result has been that I have gradually drifted away from my dependence on sports as entertainment. I'm still not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I do know that what has replaced sports as entertainment, watching Luke develop in all sorts of wonderful ways over the past year, has been extraordinary. I can honestly say this has been a terrific decision. This time in a child's life goes by so fast that if you divert your attention to other things for too long, you are going to miss something grand and amazing.

Yes, there will be a time when we turn the television back on, for Lukas' sake and for ours. I am not sure when that will be, but I'm sure we will know it when that time comes. In the meantime though, I will continue to enjoy quiet Saturday mornings, sitting at the breakfast table sipping my coffee watching the the latest on the toddler food network. It's fascinating!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Making the Cut!

Well, I am back home from my knee surgery this morning. As the before and after picture here shows, my doctor seems to have inserted the monster from Alien, or perhaps a hungry piranha into my knee to clean out the loose flap of cartilage that has been such a pain in the, err..well, knee over the past few years for me.

The procedure seems to have gone swimmingly, pun intended, with my doctor indicating that after removing the loose flap the rest of the knee was in terrific shape. I suppose that is only until the next piece of it, or perhaps maybe the other knee, elbow, or other (yikes) extremity decides it's time to do some degenerating of its own!
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That's correct, if you didn't hear about the reason for my surgery in a previous post, I'm sorry to inform you that I can't regale you with tales of crazy adventure, the culmination of which resulted in my knee getting twisted while doing something risky and daring, like traversing a less than stable ice bridge while climbing K2. No, not that, and not even simply having it give way while making too quick a crossover dribble during a pickup game at the local Y. No, friends, this surgery was precipitated by father time alone. It was (past tense now) nothing more than what the doctor termed a 'degenerative' tear in my meniscus cartilage. In other words, I am getting old dammit!

To make matters worse, this embarrassing injury not being enough, it seems that I am now officially prone to fainting spells. Yes, that's correct, while getting the needles for my IV inserted, I had an appointment with Mr. Floor! Ok, I was sitting at the time so it was not as bad as the time I hit the floor from a standing position while Lukas was getting his circumcision (my wife had been through an 80 hour labor and I went several days without any sleep). I do have a bit of an excuse, as I did not sleep a wink last night. I'm not sure why, as I was not worried about this procedure. I stayed up late getting several things done and when I finally did go to bed, it was a no-go on the Z's. There were a few times where I almost dozed off, but then Luke fussed and cried and put the kibosh on my only chance at a bit of shut-eye (he contracted roseola over the weekend and all three of us had had little sleep for days - more to come on this).
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I decided to get up at 3:30 anyway, to catch the only bus to downtown Seattle to meet the ridiculous 5:30 check in time. I say ridiculous because, after checking in at 5:30 AM without a wink of sleep, I sat there with no food or coffee in my stomach for an hour and fifteen minutes before being called back (and I was the first patient of the day!). All these things converged into my having a rather frightening fainting experience. I'm telling you, it was the most disturbing feeling I have had in years. I am not sure how long it lasted, but I was not exactly aware what was going on for what seemed like several minutes and was in a sleep paralysis state (not being able to move, not knowing where I was or what had happened to me). Turst me, they could, and probably have, written horror flicks where some poor sap is stuck in such a state. Only this was me and it was real!
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My 'interesting' morning was not quite done. Given the true horror of what happened a very good friend of ours when given general anesthesia recently, I opted to have a spinal done. This numbed my whole lower half for the duration of the surgery, and then some. I got the spinal done at 7:30 and Mrs. LIAYF was supposed to be able to pick me up at 9:00 leaving her plenty of time to take me home (20 minutes) and get back to a professional course that she was teaching to a large crowd, many of whom were from out of state, by 12:00 noon. Well, when getting a spinal, the last body part to gain back feeling is, you guessed it, the most important thing! I would not be released until I could fill up a cup, draining much of the liquid which I had been sucking down overnight to stay hydrated. Mrs. LIAYF and I started to sweat the timing at around 10:15 when there was still very little sensation where it counted! At about 10:45, I lied and told the nurse that all the feeling had returned and proceeded to rest room where I gave it all I had and was fortuantely able to show them the money and fill the cup! I could be released, and just in the nick of time, as Mrs. LIAYF met me, still smiling and happy to see me, despite her time predicament (she is a real sweetheart!).

In the end we made it back home fine, Mrs. LIAYF was a bit late to her class but persevered, and my leg is sore but not excruciating, though I am doped on on a very fine narcotic. For those of you who have watched 'The Wire', I am like Bubbles during one of his good trips. For those who have not seen this show, you need to go rent it NOW! As for me, I am going to crash soon since I working on 36 hours now without sleep. I will check in again after I wake.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Days!

Lukas is feeling a bit better today, but still running a lower grade fever and definitely still not his usual happy, fun loving self. His fever continued to be very high (104) Thursday night but has since dropped a couple of degrees and held fairly steady for the last 36 hours. We are hoping to see further decline today, indicating that the worst of it has past, but at this point that is still wishful thinking. It doesn't act like an ear infection, or a cold virus, so we are a bit concerned about what it might be and are hoping it will have run its course soon.

In honor of the 4th of July holiday, Luke has been feeling rather independent of late. As the picture shows, he is determined to take his meals with the proper utensils, while doing so himself. He gets so excited when he actually gets the spoon into his bowl of chosen cuisine, and successfully navigates said utensil to his own mouth. This normally results in a huge toothy smile that says, "I do it" even though he can't quite speak those words yet. He is rather proud of himself and woe to the parent who would try to take away his spoon after a few of those attempts have gone awry, resulting in food flying in all directions, ala an 'Animal House' esque food fight!

Eating is not the only activity where our little one has demonstrated a new found Independence. Lukas is very helpful recently when we are getting him dressed or when we are dressing ourselves for that matter. Luke has discovered what shoes of all shapes and sizes are really all about and demonstrates this knowledge by bringing one of 'dada' or 'mama's' shoes over to us and setting it gently on top of our foot for us to put on (never mind he set one of Mrs. LIAYF's red flats on my foot the other day, it's all good). He does likewise with socks too. Currently we are dressing Luke in a pair of sandals with Velcro straps, and just a couple of days ago he also started to grab the strap and Velcro it closed himself. He really wants to do these things himself and shows a great sense of pride when he completes one of these tasks (of course, this is also accompanied by resounding praise from the ever present parental units).

All of this new found Independence, coupled with the passing of Lukas' 1st birthday, serves as further notice to Mrs. LIAYF and I that our infant is an infant no longer. He is a toddler now, and as such is growing into a little boy. A little boy who likes to use his own spoon and put on his own shoes. Tomorrow there will be another development and I will be equally amazed at that.

It has only been a year but I see how 18 of these could go by in the blink of an eye and, as such, am determined not to miss out on a minute of the fun!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Got A Fever of 103 . . .

Lukas is feeling under the weather the last few days. He is teething (all four molars at once) and running a slight fever, with lots of pain. We have been dosing him with Tylenol to ease the pain, to good success. However, yesterday he was warm and lethargic after daycare. He was running a fever of 101F degrees. We had been there before, so we gave him a sponge bath, Tylenol and put him down for the evening. He slept through the night without waking, but still had a slight fever when he woke up this morning, so we kept him home from daycare.

After a up and down day, where Mrs. LIAYF and I split the day at home with Luke, his fever suddenly jumped this evening. His temperature reached 103.9F, he was very lethargic, fussy and glassy-eyed. We called our local consulting nurse who advised us that in addition to teething, he is probably fighting a virus. The nurse also informed us that fevers above 103F cause some babies to have seizures! That was scary news and something we did not have to worry about all through his first year. So, as advised by the nurse, we dosed him up with Tylenol, gave him a luke-warm bath, and Mrs. LIAYF nursed him to sleep early. We have to wake him up at 10 and 2 to give him more 'baby-crack' to avoid a temperature spike while he sleeps.

He is sleeping soundly now. Wish him a speedy recovery!

p.s. Mrs. LIAYF wants you all to know we did NOT pose Lukas for a photo while he was feverish and sick. This is an archived photo!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008