Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happiness, with a Daddy Chaser

His smile broadens with anticipation. I can see the pure unadulterated joy in his eyes as he turns his head towards me, even as his tiny feet edge slightly in the opposite direction beginning to carry his unbalanced weight away. He is preparing to launch himself, full bore, into his newly crafted skill. The timing, however, must be perfect. If he miscalculates and leaves too early, the desired outcome may not materialize. So he waits. And the anticipation builds.

First came the walking. And as that skill level increased and his confidence built there came a time when the second foot began leaving the surface mere fractions of a second before the first touched down. Now, he can cover ground much faster. Now, he can close the gap on furry four legged prey before they know what will have hit them. A fine skill indeed.

He can also, when the need presents itself, widen the gap between himself and a potential stalker by the use of these newly fashioned moves. That is where we find ourselves now, with anticipation reaching its tipping point. The smile having almost reached its full form, closing to within inches of each earlobe.

Then it happens. I flash a nefarious eye his way.

That is all it takes.

He is off, tiny feet leaving the wood floor in a flash. Shreiking in utter delight, arms waving at his sides like like the tiny wings of a fledgling duck, attempting that first glorious departure from the safety of his water nest. Laughter and happiness pour into every crevice of our modestly sized home as the chase mounts, the gap closes, and I reach for him. It all ends in a swooping scoop high into the air with a shower of kisses and hugs.

Then it is time to do it all over again, again, and again...until we are tired out and can't take any more.

This night may very well continue on until time itself ceases to be!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Eats

Lukas has been increasingly bored with his finger foods recently. This is despite the fact that for the most part Mrs. LIAYF and I are feeding him exactly what we are eating, only in smaller proportions. Don't get me wrong, it's not that he doesn't like the food we are feeding him. On the contrary, I rather think he really enjoys the taste of most of what we offer. We feed him a variety of fresh fruits and veggies (oddly enough he loves broccoli) as well as plenty of wholesome dairy, breads, and protein. He especially enjoyed the grilled fresh Alaskan salmon we had last night.

No, this is something different. Luke is into a full blown imitation phase right now and he wants to do a variety of things, including eating, just like mom and dad. No longer is it sufficient to spread his meal out on his high-chair tray and call it good. Lukas wants to eat just like us as well. This has included, in the past couple of months, practicing his dexterity with his metal spoon and fork (which is really just a fancy spork). I'll give the little guy the credit he deserves. After what seems like hours of practice, he is determined to succeed and is getting very good at poking small things with his fork. Individual peas and beans specifically come to mind.

This has also now manifested itself into Lukas wanting to take actual bites off of our meals. We have been subjected lately to many grunts, emphatic babbling yells, and pointing at our cuisine du jure until we relent and give him a portion off of our utensil or handheld fare. Last night, along with the salmon, we also had grilled corn on the cob. This resulted in a hilarious little vignette - we had originally served him up some canned corn, which he normally loves, on his tray. Once he spied our cobbed corn though, the gig was up, he had to have some and made it perfectly clear what he wanted. Being a benevolent parent I smiled and gave him my mostly eaten cob which he could gnaw on himself.

Unfortunately that was the last of the corn. I say unfortunately because he finished off that cob in short order, then began to give us the ASL 'More' sign emphatically. "All done", was my guilty reply, feeling terrible that I had no better response to that sweet but tortured look. I underestimated the power and lure of the cob though as Lukas, not to be deterred, began to grab handfuls of the canned corn off of his tray attempting to smoosh it onto the cob to create his own version of seconds! It was hilarious enough that I almost spit milk through my nose. Of course it didn't work, but he got an 'A' for effort.

It still amazes me that in just a few short months our little guy has developed from such a helpless little thing, dependant on his mother and myself for every last thing, to a boy who is attempting to manufacture his own corn on the cob! It's been 14 months now and the awe hasn't worn off yet.

I'm not sure it ever will!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Big 1-0-0!

(Lukas, 100 minutes old) -

My blog has reached a major milestone - One Hundred Posts! Now that I have reached the 100th post, I think I can go into syndication. I have already received several inquiries from some to remain unnamed island nations who are eager to sign a deal. Wish me luck. If that comes to pass, forget what I mentioned a couple of posts ago about not intending to make money off of this blog. I never said it. (Note to self: polish up on Jedi mind trick).
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Until then, you can always view the best of LIAYF, which features my 100 personal favorite posts. Nothing fancy, just check out the right hand navigation pane and you will be rewarded with hours of reading pleasure.

I wish I had been better prepared for this event. I am sure I would have made amazingly profound observations about my experiences as a new father. But that is not going to happen. So, I present to you this less stellar but no less sincere alternative list.
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Top 10 things (off the top of my head) that I have learned from fatherhood:

10. New parents can still function for weeks on end with only a couple of hours sleep a night.
9. If you're convinced that you are prepared for those first few months you are naive, period.
8. Mess happens. Over and over and over.
7. Somehow having one child increases laundry and dishes tenfold. See #8.
6. Your child is a very receptive audience for your lame humor.
5. It's much easier to meet new people and make friends when you have a child.
4. Even people with the best intentions secretly compare their child's development with other kids of the same age.
3. If smiles and laughter are the currency of children, then we must be wealthy!
2. Crazy glue, Schmazy glue. The bond between a mother and a newborn is the stongest bond in the universe.
1. There is no better feeling in this world than the love of a child.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This One's for Ethan


I was doing a bit of browsing this morning and came across this tragic story of Ethan and his Grandfather John and the site dedicated to them (linked through a post from Writer Dad). I can't even begin to imagine the heartache that this family has gone through. But when I read about how they were attempting to get as many people as possible watch Star Wars on what would have been Ethan's 7th birthday last Thursday the 21st, I decided to add a small tribute of my own.

I would only ask that you watch this clip, think of Ethan (my guess is he would have liked it), and give your own kids a big hug today.

Friday, August 22, 2008

This Seat Taken??

Ok, I admit it. I like getting a bit of attention. As astute readers will surmise, I am definitely not making a living off of writing this blog. Hell, I'm not even making one red dime off of my sporadic weekly posts. And I don't plan to either. You don't have to, in unison, call out "Don't quite your day job!" because I have no illusions of grandeur here. I'm imagining a collective nod of agreement....now. As my profile indicates, 'I'm just an average guy' having fun writing a daddy blog, whenever he can eek out a few minutes in his hectic day. Hence the sporadic weekly posts.

I do this because I like to do it. I find it a nice creative outlet. Actually, I find it my only creative outlet. You see, I can't draw. I can't paint. I can't dance. Sing? Not on your life. Pictures? Only when I get lucky will I find a gem out of the hundreds I snap. But this, however, I can do. Writing this blog inserts a measure of sanity in my otherwise mundane but busy life. I'll never reach the level of style and digital artistry that many of my fellow dad blogger achieve on a daily basis, but I will continue to take notes from them and learn. There are many of those blogs that I honestly get excited about when I see new material posted in my reader. (Yes, take from that what you will about my mundane existence).
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Like I mentioned, I also like a bit of attention too. On that note, a couple of things that would draw just such attention have happened to me in the past couple of days. First, I have been added to the Alltop dads page. For those of you who are not familiar with Alltop, they are self described as a digital magazine rack for the Internet. A site where "We import the stories of the top news websites and blogs for any given topic and display the headlines of the five most recent stories". To be included on the Alltop dads page means that they have looked and considered Luke, I am Your Father one of the top dad blogs on the Internet. Many of the dad (and mom) blogs that I read are also featured on Alltop, so I am honored to be included among them and will do my best to live up to that standard they have set.
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Second, after having been bestowed the title of Kick Ass blogger last week, LIAYF has now also been awarded the title of Brilliant Weblog by Jason over at iVegas Family. Thanks Jason!

I have been asked to pass this on to seven other deserving bloggers as well. Unfortunately, I can't seem to choose only seven since I read only brilliant blogs. So, as a cop-out I am going to give this award to my whole blogroll. Take a look at the list of 'Parenting Blogs that Don't Suck as Much as This One' on the right navigation pane and you will find a Brilliant Weblog, guaranteed. Congrats, bloggers.

All these things combined, along with the introduction of my new Banner a few days ago, have made this a very nice week in the world of Luke, I am Your Father. To top it all off in grand fashion, it's a sunny weekend and I am now off to enjoy some quality time with my inspiration (and his mom). Life is definitely good!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Banner Day!

Today, after over 8 months of authoring "Luke, I am Your Father," I have finally added a banner. Let me know what you think!

Thanks to SciFi Dad for helpful tips on creating a banner and websites with good tools. He actually created a pretty cool banner for me (see below). He was very humble about it, but I know it took some time and thought to create. Considering the content of the blog I decided to go with something a bit less menacing. Although, to tell the truth, Darth Homer looks a bit intimidating, don't you think?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up . . .


Proving that yes, there is a book about everything, Mrs. LIAYF recently read a snippet about "My Beautiful Mommy." Its target audience? Families with children who don't quite recognize their mother after mommy comes home from cosmetic plastic surgery! That's right, it helps kids who are traumatized by the fact that mom just doesn't look like mom anymore. Only in America!
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Of course, we all understand that cosmetic surgery may be appropriate for many medical and personal reasons. But, I don't think the book is aimed at those who need such surgery. Rather, the book is for parents who consciously choose unnecessary and "beautifying" surgery that alters their personal appearance so much that their own children don't recognize them. I can almost hear these poor children after suffering through such a painful events . . .
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"Mommy, why do you always look so startled now?"
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"Mommy, why don't your eyes blink anymore?"
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"What did you do with my Mommy?"
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I kid, but hey this is a serious book dealing with a very serious social issue facing our country. I want to hear more from our Presidential candiates regarding what they would do to help ease this trauma which many of our nation's youth are dealing with daily. Until we have a clear picture of how America plans on dealing with this issue, these kids will have to look to other sources to soothe their fear and ease their pain. Enter "My Beautiful Mommy"
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Here is just a sample description of what you will find inside. From the Amazon.com product description:
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"Once mommy is home and the child sees that mommy is bandaged and bruised, they can become even more worried and inquisitive. Finally, when the bandages come off and mommy looks somewhat different, their confusion may lead to responses that adults may find inappropriate or hard to understand."
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Thankfully, you can help avoid your child's possible inappropriate responses to their mommy swapping her familiar face for that of a stranger. So, if there is identity altering cosmetic plastic surgery in your future, be sure to consider the effect on the little ones first and get yourself a copy of "My Beautiful Mommy." Your kids will thank you.
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That is if they can recognize you!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Don't Mess With Me!

I can kick your ass! Well, in a blogging sense that is. At least this is true according to Matt over at DC Urban Dad. And I'll be frank, you just don't question the veracity of DC Urban Dad, as his word is as close as you can get to 100% pure truth. Matt has bestowed on yours truly the title of Kick Ass Blogger. Now according to the rules (yes, along with power and fame comes responsibility) I have to pass on the love to 5 other equally Kick Ass bloggers.

Now I have the pleasure of reading many blogs that can easily be deemed Kick Ass blogs, specifically Honea Express, Zoes Dad, iVegasFamily, The Busy Dad Blog, but I believe those fine blogs and bloggers have previously had this honor bestowed upon them. Therefore, I have chosen 5 equally Kick Ass bloggers, in no particular order, who can now proudly claim this title as well.

Drum Roll please........

Tales from the Dad Side - SciFi Dad writes one of my favorite blogs. This Canadian Dad blogger is often hilarious, and always entertaining.

Clare's Dad - You won't find too many Dad bloggers out there who post as many cool and interesting pictures as Darren, to go along with his great daily posts.

All that comes with it - The definition of a Kick Ass blogger may just be walking 78 miles for charity and living to blog about it. Dan did just that.

Paternal Prose - Rob, over at Paternal Prose always keeps it interesting in a truly Kick Ass way, and his comments are some of the most thoughtful I have had the pleasure of getting.

Xbox4NappyRash - Xbox has the most heart-wrenchingly funny and entertaining blogs I have the pleasure of reading. If you don't go check out this Kick Ass blog, you are missing out.

There you have it 5 more well deserving bloggers, crowned with the Kick Ass Blogger title. Check them all out when you have a chance. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Think Out Loud Thursday


Random thoughts . . .

Lukas was bit again at daycare today. Apparently some kid (had to be The Nemesis) walked right up to him after his nap and, unprovoked, gave a rather deep and painful bite to his right shoulder. The daycare gave him ice and TLC, but wouldn't say who inflicted the bite. However, we have witnessed The Nemesis inflict various methods of pain on other kids, unprovoked each time. By the way, The Nemesis also has the wierdest kackle laugh I have ever heard in a child, or adult for that matter. We will have to watch out for this kid.

Our little boy is becoming more and more his own person lately. This past weekend we took Lukas to an outdoor play where they handed out those tacky plastic leis. Lukas got a couple and seemed to enjoy wearing them the rest of the afternoon. We had forgotten completely about them until last night. I was talking to Mrs. LIAYF in the kitchen when Luke walked by us, out into the living room, and then returned a few minutes with one of the leis around his neck babbling to himself with a very proud expression on his face. Mrs. LIAYF and I could barely contain ourselves!

We just started watching season 5 of 'The Wire' this week on Netflix. This really is one of the best television series we have seen in quite some time. This season chronicles, in part, the demise of a major city newspaper - the parallels between the show and what is happening nationwide with our print media are rather thought-provoking.

I have heard a lot of talk recently about Tiger Woods being the greatest living athlete. That is hard to argue with but this Phelps kid has to be giving him a run for his money. Have you seen his Olympic performances? Amazing!

And, finally, why the heck is Bigfoot spending his time in Georgia, especially this time of year when it is so nice here at home in the Pacific Northwest?

Out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fearless?

Just yesterday, we received yet another "he is fearless!" comment about Lukas. This comment is being heard around here almost as much as "Don't I know you from somewhere?" Yes, our boy is fun-loving, happy, full of energy, engaged. But fearless? After stopping to think we do have to admit there isn't much at this point in Luke's young life that scares him. Our boy approachs strangers with a smile and arms wide open. He dives right into a new environment without the least bit of hesitation. He climbs on play structures at local parks like a young monkey learning his native environs. Thankfully, he has learned to turn and climb down backwards most of the time. He does all these things with such energy and sense of thrill that it inspires the comment mentioned above. "He is fearless!"

Hopefully, his fearlessness reflects well on how Mrs. LIAYF and I have raised Lukas to this point. I do wonder, though, how much of his gusto relates to his nature and how much of it is attributed to our nurture of him. Sure we have provided a safe environment for him at home. And, like most parents, we have encouraged him to explore the new and interesting world around him, with us at his side to help him when he falls. Perhaps most little ones go through an energetic, fearless stage. Yet we see plenty of other toddlers his age who seem content to stay close to mom and dad. In contrast, when we put Lukas down in a store he often makes a bee-line to the nearest exit, not stopping to look back for assurances. We follow him to see how far he will go, but always end up grabbing him before he walks out the door. He is always moving as soon as we set him down.
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Frankly that scares me a bit. I do not want to have that moment where I look away for a second in a crowed store, only to turn and discover that my child is missing. That is every parents' nightmare and I worry about it all the more with Luke's energy level. Mrs. LIAYF said that she was constantly wandering away as a child, so she and I do our best to help Lukas understand the dangers of wandering too far from us. However, he seems to have an inert curiosity and wanderlust, much like his mother had. A need to explore, to do and see. Yes, maybe even a fearlessness.
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Since Lukas is our first child, we wonder if this is a phase that he is going through. Or can we expect this to be Lukas' personality to remain this way as he grows older? Will he grow into the type of young adult who straps on a parachute and base jumps from El Capitan? Or will he end up like his old man? Not afraid to try new things, as long as they are relatively safe. We want to encourage Luke to seize the day, while still understanding that there are risks involved. We will continue to be there for him, picking him up after he falls when we can, while helping him understand exactly how high he has climbed and how far down it is. All the while, hopefully instilling the correct understanding of the dangers involved. Because we won't always be there.

For those of you will older kids, how much did their personality change from when they were a toddler? S hould we brace ourselves for more bumps and bruises than average over the next several years? Give it to me straight, because this dad certainly is not fearless!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Staycation, all I ever wanted...


We are now at the halfway point of our Summer Staycation and having a great time. Staycation is a term I only recently heard, but it sums up our vacation plans to a tee. We are staying at home here in Seattle and being tourists in our own city! We first instituted this idea a few years ago, before Lukas arrived, and had such a great time that we have continued the practice every year since. We thought "Why are we traveling away from home during August when it is the most beautiful time of year right here". Summers here in Seattle and the Northwest are just about perfect, with the warm temperate climate, the beautiful local scenery, abundant water, and vibrant urban environment with plenty of fun things to do.

With Lukas just passing the 13 month old mark, we haven't ventured too far from home yet, but have tried to focus on activities that he would find new and interesting close to home. We took him on a trip to Snolqualmie Falls (a large waterfall just a short drive outside the city limits), have visited local parks with friends to try out the wading pools, taken bicycle trips to other scenic parks, and have plans for some local hands-on children's museums in the next couple of days. All the while we have taken every opportunity to be outside and enjoy the warm weather and cool breezes off the water. There is an abundance of vacation worthy destinations right here, just waiting to be discovered.

Given the current tough economic times it's a great idea, wherever you happen to live, to discover those local attractions which people travel to your area to visit. In our case, we can stay at home in a hip and eclectic neighborhood, sleep in our own beds, and wake up refreshed and ready to enjoy the day. Best of all, the price is right. We will save the out of town trips for a time when it is grey and gloomy here (In case you haven't heard, it rains a bit in Seatte during the Winter months) and we need to get away to re-establish a bit of sanity.

How about you? Are you traveling this Summer, or having your own Staycation?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Personally, I don't See it.

It happened again just the other day. I was walking into a rest room and some guy stops me with a strange smile on his face and proclaims. "You know, you look a lot like Sean Hannity". When I just smiled politely and headed for the nearest urinal to go about my business, he followed up with "You know who that is don't you? I'm a big fan." I wasn't sure whether to take that as a compliment or not, but given his demeanor (even though coming at an inappropriate time), I could tell that this guy was not weird and most likely fairly harmless.

"Isn't he a news guy?" I asked (I had a vague idea that this Hannity guy was on cable news, and from what I remembered it he was teamed up with another guy on Fox News. I never remembered which one was Hannity, but I did remember that one of them was fairly goofy looking, so I was hoping it wasn't that one!) "Yeah, he now has his own show now" he continued. Ok, that confirmed what I had thought. My memories were clearing a bit and I now remembered that the two guys on on the show were on opposite sides of the political fence, (me thinking...so if this Hannity guy now has his own show it's probably on FOX, and if so, chances are he is a right wing proselytizer. Great, I look like some right wing proselytizer. Just what I need.) "I have an active toddler and no television, so am not familiar with his recent work." was my reply. "But thanks. I guess."


Sean Hannity

(hmmmm.......not seeing it)

It was not the first and probably won't be the last time I have been stopped on the street (or restroom, elevator, beer line) to be told that I have a strong similarity to someone on the screen, or in the news. Actually, it happens to me with non famous people as well. Someone will ask we often if they know me from somewhere. I guess I have the face of the average guy. As for famous folk, here are a couple of other actors that I have been told more than once that I resembled:


Matthew Perry


(This one happened all the time while 'Friends" was airing)

Chris O'Donnell


(Heard this one a few times as well, during his 'Robin' days.)
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Famous Anonymous Blogger

(People approach me on the street all the time to say I look like this guy.)
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Perhaps if this Hannity guy ever decides to run for office or happens to become more important than he currently is, I can parlay my supposed look-a-like status into a new career. I could at least do the convention circuit, and if he really gets popular I may even get some screen time playing the buffoon version of him, kind of like the Bush look-a-like gets to do. (Wait, he probably plays the straight version come to think of it!)

Unfortunately, that would also mean that this Right leaning guy would be gaining prominence and I would be benefiting. I guess that is not in the cards for me after all. Easy come, easy go.
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What about you? Come clean! Who are some famous people strangers have stopped you and told you you looked like?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs...

Lukas has been polishing his communication skills lately. We hoped he would take to ASL, and it would seem that our boy is aiming to please. In addition to the spoken words that he is adding to his vocabulary recently, ('dada', 'mama', 'nigh-nigh', and just this evening I swear he said 'light') Luke has began in earnest to speak to us using sign language.

Mrs. LIAYF and I have been using certain basic signs with him for several months now, with Lukas catching on rather quickly at five months old to the sign for 'milk' (of course!), and a few months ago to the sign for 'sleep.' We attempted to teach him several other signs, which he seemed to understand well enough but gave no indication that he would ever imitate. That was until recently. In the last, maybe two weeks, our Luke seems to have made a mental switch with several other signs.

You might even say a light bulb turned on in his head! Tonight Lukas discovered that if he signed 'light,' dada would respond by turning on said light. He then used that particular sign over and over, pointing and then signing 'light' at each light he saw in the house until I flipped that light on and off several times. This was a fun new game!

He has made other ASL signs in the past two weeks including the signs for 'more,' 'all-done,' 'hat,' 'bath,' 'keys,' and 'change' (as in change diaper). This quick progression of signs has also come at a time when he's become increasingly frustrated in his attempts to communicate exactly what he wants. He points and grunts, and we reach for several objects until we finally find the one he is asking for. If we can't figure it out quickly, he may utter exclamations of irritation (as if saying "come on, how hard could this be?? I'm saying please hand me the banana for cripes sakes!") or even cry if he's tired and and the end of his patience level.

We understand that tears and frustration are common in a child this age. They have clear likes and dislikes (Lukas, for instance, will select a specific book each night if given 2-3 to choose from). They comprehend a good portion of what is being said by those around them and will often follow directions. However, they know more words than they can speak. This is precisely why we decided early on to teach him ASL - we hoped it would reduce the terrible-two-tantrums by giving him a way to talk to us before he could form the complicated words. In any case, we are glad he's figured out a better way to talk to da-da and mommy than just by grunting and pointing!