Da-Da

Rory has been a blabbermouth for a few months now, constantly making what we call dolphin noises. “Ah-ah-ah” over and over again. From bed, we can say “ah” to him in the mornings when he’s awake but still in his crib and he responds with an “ah” back to use. It’s adorable. That is the language he has right now and it’s pretty cute. He can even mimic some of our noises, including some “ooooohs” and “aaaahhhs” and loud farts like his dad. He’s got that one down pat.

But we’ve been wanting him to say words for a couple months. And by we, I mean mostly Lisa. She constantly says “ma-ma” to him, hoping he will repeat it back. She gets right in his face and says “ma-ma” slowly and loudly like my Uncle Jeoff used to do with the Japanese exchange students, hoping that would help them understand a foreign language. You can say “mmmm” to Rory and he can repeat that sound back but can’t put together the “a” afterwards to make a word. It’s crushing her.

So imagine our surprise when a few days ago Rory uttered a “da-da” to us. It’s not a clear “da-da” but more like shouting two syllables at us, “da!” and “da!” However, I feel like this counts, so Rory’s official first word is “da-da”.

Now that he can say it and sees how excited we get when he says it, he just yells “da-da” all the time. It’s pretty nice (for me), but we are more excited for when he really starts to talk and can actually communicate with us. Maybe he can tell us why he prefers to throw his food on the ground instead of eat it or why he feels a need to dump all his toys outside of his play area instead of play with them. Oh, because he enjoys seeing “da-da” have to throw them all back in two or three times a day? Got it.

We expect his sister’s speech to come sooner after she’s born because I’ve been assured by friends that having older siblings scream words into a younger siblings face is an effective way to learn words. For right now, though, I’ll just bask in the “da-da” glory.

Daylight Sucks Time

I’ve heard for years from other parents about how Daylight Savings Time sucks. It’s not that I didn’t believe them, I just had no point of reference to truly understand how it affects children. It’s like when someone says how much running a marathon (or any distance really) sucks. I mean, I am sure it is. But I’ll never, ever, ever know. Ever.

Rory, prior to a week ago, went to bed between 7-8 and usually slept until 7:30ish, sometimes later. It was, in a word, glorious. Even when he wakes up, he just played in his crib for a while and let us slowly wake up as we need it. We could even talk to him (say “ah”) and he’s respond. It was adorable.

Then last Saturday came. I tried to keep him up later—he didn’t go to bed until after 8. I figured the later bed time would fix it. Right? I mean, time backs up an hour, so I’ll put him to bed a little bit later and boom, fixed. I’m a parent genius.

Nope. I heard the first cry by 6:15 a.m. I was up by 6:30 and I was sleepy. Now, I am sure some kids get up at like 5:30 on Daylight Savings Time but guess what? I don’t care. This is my story. You wanna complain about how tired you? Start your own blog.

Every day this week it’s been before 7 a.m. Today (Sunday), he finally slept in until after 7 (barely), though I was up until late watching TV so it didn’t really matter anyway, but why do we have Daylight Savings Time? So I can see more sunlight in the morning? I don’t want morning sunlight. Let me slowly see the sun creep up but then look at the clock and be like, “Oh look it’s already 8 o’clock, I can have a cookie since it’s after 8!” (That’s the cookie rule…after 8).

Anyway, I’m hoping Rory gets back to his later wakeup times but I also know that he’s slowly phasing himself out of his morning nap, which makes me sad. Are we allowed to sedate children? Is that something parents can do? No? OK. I guess. I guess more family afternoon nap time for me to catch up on my precious sleep.

Poop

Yesterday, my son could not poop. He’s never been a consistent pooper—usually every 3-4 days—but it’s never been a huge issue before. He will have what we call a poop ball (a small, round, hard-ish poop) then usually a blowout within 24 hours. However, yesterday was a different story.

He was on about day five of no poop. He is a formula baby so all you breast feeders out there who are shocked should know that formula babies poop way less. WAY less. But anyway, earlier in the day, he just started crying out of nowhere. He was just standing up in our child containment unit and started crying really hard. He’s not a big cryer so we were a little concerned. Then, at around 5 that night, it happened again.

Lisa had just gone on shift in the basement and Rory and I were playing in the containment unit. He then sort of squatted down, pushed, and screamed. Instant real tears. As a parent, I learned quickly the difference between a whine and a cry because a cry comes with real tears and a whine can be curtailed by goofy noises or hiding behind a chair.

I picked him up and held him and he held onto me, put his head on my shoulder, and pushed. And pushed. And pushed. Each time, nothing came out. His face was beet red, he was hot, and he was very, very upset.

Whenever something happens to my child, I call my sister, who is a nurse practitioner and has three kids, one of which I know has poop struggles. She suggested getting Pedia Lax, a baby suppository. It’s fires a little glycerin up his butt and greases the skids for a poop to come out. Yup, we had to fire glycerin up my kid’s butt. Nobody mentioned that at the ol’ baby class.

While I was at the store, he forced out a couple of hard poop balls with my wife but we never got the blowout we wanted. I did feed him some prunes (trusted by grandpas everywhere) to try to get things moving. However, this morning he still hadn’t had the big one, which meant we (aka my wife) had to take action. We strapped him down, inserted the tube, and suppositoried our child. Then, we waited.

But like me after a three egg over-easy scrambler, we did not have to wait long. We saw him push a little, cry a little, then heard it. Like a sopping wet T-shirt hitting the concrete. We heard his poop and then his giggles of joy. Our national nightmare was over. Rory had deuced.

In fact, he had really deuced. I’m not quite sure how much because I conveniently had a meeting to go to and missed out on the clean up (darn it!) but, according to Lisa, it was extensive. And with cloth diapering, it’s even better, folks!

We are learning quickly that Rory has my outside (my mini me) and some of Lisa’s insides (she didn’t love pooping as a child). It’ll be easier when he’s older and I can just feed him a chili cheese burrito to get things moving but until then, #thankgodforglycerin.

Rory pooping.

One

I remember Lisa texting me a year ago that she thought it was happening. We were already a week overdue, and I had fed Lisa all the burritos I could to get Rory to come out. I think we were beginning to wonder if he’d ever come out, but my Apple watch gave me an alert to a text message, and I told my Science Fiction class that I had to go—I was about to become a father.

I raced home as fast as I (safely) could and found my wife moaning on the bed with our concerned dogs laying around her. She was in pain but I wasn’t sure what to do. I called my hospital, and Ms. Ratchet said we needed to wait longer because the contractions were too far apart. I said OK, called my NP sister who told me to go, and off we went.

The hospital is about a 12 minute drive but to Lisa, who was swearing at me with every bump, said it felt closer to 30. We arrived, got to the baby unit, and I told them, very panicky, that my wife was having a baby. The reception nurse thought I said I needed a refill instead of my wife was having a baby and casually took her time to admit us. They finally took us back, gave Lisa drugs that didn’t work, then finally gave her the epidural she needed to stop staring daggers into me.

From there, it happened so incredibly quickly I can’t tell if it was two hours or two minutes. All of the sudden the doctor was telling Lisa to push and then BOOM! we had a son. We didn’t cry—we were mostly in shock. But Rory was now in our lives. We had a baby!

Today, that little nugget turned one. I know every parent says they can’t believe it but I can’t! We had a special COVID birthday for him by taking him to the zoo. We thought he’d be excited about feeding the giraffes…he wasn’t. We also had to wake him up from two naps for the zoo and his party, so he was a little grumpy.

Today being his birthday, I made some time for reflection. Rory makes our lives significantly more challenging compared to when we were childless. We have to sacrifice so many of our own interests and desires for him. Our lives changed so drastically 12 months ago but man, I wouldn’t change a thing. When Rory sees me in the morning, his smile fills my heart with utter joy—joy I had never felt before him. His laughter and goofiness and giggles are what I live for.

Today was the first of many birthdays for Rory. Hopefully our next one will involve some cousins to play with, more cake smashing, and less face masks. But it was a great day because he is my son. Just a great, great day.

Mountain Goat

OK, we have a problem. My son started crawling, then started walking, then started walking a lot, then started to use pillows to get onto the furniture. Now he is constantly climbing onto the furniture without pillows. Like, constantly. My wife and I just sat around the ottoman for literally 20 minutes as he climbed on, was pulled off, climbed on, pulled off, on, off, on, off, rinse, repeat.

While we are incredibly happy to see his mobility progressing, his ability to get on the furniture is much more advanced than his ability to get off the furniture. In fact, his preferred method of getting off the furniture (besides just not getting off at all) is a straight head-first dive bomb. He hasn’t landed one yet—we’ve always been there to grab him first. But I am constantly in awe of his general disregard for personal safety. I’m hoping that gets better as he gets older, but…

He’s at the point now where if you stop him from getting onto the furniture, he becomes, in a word, indignant. Whiny. Sassy. Grumpy. Tries to trick you by turning around like he’s going back to his toys but then doubles back and tries to get back onto the furniture. When he’s on the furniture, he looks so damn proud, like he won a prize or just finished off his first frozen pizza by himself (which is a prize on its own).

Our current containment unit is not working for our little mountain goat, so we will need to make some adjustments. He has a fully-fenced in area with the couch and chair as barriers that keep him away from the stairs and animals. It’s worked great up until now because he’s been in an enclosed space that is safe and full of toys. But now, he’s testing the defenses. The raptor handlers faced similar issues in Jurassic Park when the raptors were testing the fences for weaknesses, though if Rory gets onto the furniture he doesn’t chew our arm off. He does bite my wife a lot but I don’t seem to be the right flavor.

We are in the process of adjusting our containment unit so maybe we can go to the kitchen for 15 seconds to get a delicious Suzy Q while he’s in the other room without fear of him ending up on top of a chair. As of right now, he would literally get onto the couch and dive bomb off in those 15 seconds.

Each new step in his development is fun to see but also creates new puzzles and problems for us as parents. We try to cherish these moments (honest) because we know we will miss him at this age, but we are also very excited about Rory and his soon-to-be born sister Lucy to be around 4 and 5 where I don’t have to worry about them falling off everything. Wait, I still have to worry about that? Well crap.

Food

I can’t, for the life of me, understand why my son hates food. He loves formula—loves it. Nothing is better than formula. And everything is better than real food. His preference is to let the food into his mouth then quickly spit it out. Or he picks it up, looks for the dog, drops it, and giggles like a mad man.

We’ve tried a variety of food with him but he doesn’t really like much of it. He does enjoy hummus and mashed potatoes but even then it can be a battle. Also the hummus really greases the skids, if you get my drift. I tried avocado with him today. The second it hit his tongue he spit it back out while giggling. So, that was a no go.

I know we have to try foods multiple times, and we keep plugging away at it but part of me hates feeding time because I’m always worried he’s going to choke. He has choked a few times and spit up after, which is A) gross and B) incredibly anxiety inducing. So there is a piece of me that is happy he doesn’t eat much food. But also, he needs to eat food. Rory! Eat your food! Come on! He’s honestly a great baby but this is the only “issue” we’ve had with him thus far.

Can he just subsist on a liquid diet until he’s like 4? Is that possible? That would also would mean more dinosaur chicken nuggets for me, which is a win. Rory turns one in a couple weeks so hopefully we reach a turning point soon and he will start eating food. In the meantime, Omar is loving all the extra snacks. We will have to make sure Rory’s birthday cake isn’t chocolate since Omar will get most of it anyway. So, we will keep trying food. Maybe one day he’ll like it. Sigh.

Diapers

Hello. Do you have a minute? I’d like to talk to you about Jesus Christ reusable diapers. I thought of this because today my son unloaded in his diaper, and I had to clean it. Clean it, you say? Don’t you just throw it away?

No. We do not. We have reusable diapers. My wife wanted reusable diapers but I was initially highly skeptical. Does it sound like more work? Yes. Do I have to clean up poop? Yes. Might my hand get some poop on it? Ew. I think I’m good on that.

But honestly I didn’t understand reusable diapers when my wife brought up them and by brought them up told me we were using cloth diapers. I legit thought they were the the white cloth, pinned diapers from like the 1940s. Cleaning a filled cloth white diaper sounded less than ideal. But it turns out, reusable diapers are pretty great!

We use ALVABaby diapers (if they want to sponsor this blog, I’m listening). They’ve got snaps to keep it closed and inserts to collect the pee and cool designs that make it so Rory doesn’t ever have to wear pants. Literally, the kid has only worn pants like five times. He wears footie pajamas but pants? Come, on. Pants are lame. He hates them. I hate them. We all hate them. So no pants.

But back to the diapers. I still have to clean the diapers after he poops. And it’s pretty gross. Today, he painted a Jackson Pollock in his diaper, and I had to spray it down to clean it. I only almost threw up once. Maybe twice. But once it was sprayed down and cleaned up, it went right into the diaper pail. We have to wash them every five days or so and they are ready to go again. Honestly, it’s not that bad. I haven’t had to make any late night runs to Target for diapers…but maybe I wish I did because then I could run to Taco Bell afterwards…

Anyway, I’ve started looking into adult reusable diapers, too, but my wife said she won’t clean those, so I’ll have to wait and see on that. But man, not having to miss any TV for bathroom breaks sounds pretty amazing. I’ll keep you all updated. In the meantime, here is a picture of Rory’s diaper while he is smothering our cat. More on that later.

Stop Growing Up!

My son started walking the other day. Walking! What?! How is that possible. He turns one in less than a month. This shouldn’t be happening! He should still be falling asleep in my arms and making funny little cooing noises at me while farting. Everything is happening so fast. I mean, I still distinctly remember the night he was born. And the face I made when I saw him being born…

Scared Toys GIF by Dark Igloo - Find & Share on GIPHY

But here is he, walking around, looking so much more like a little boy than a baby. I know everyone says they grow up so fast, but you’ll never realize how fast until you have your own. I need him to slow down but I also love seeing him grow up. Life is so hard.

He’s a chatty babbler, loves to play with all his toys, and has started having preferences (like never eating real food…ever). We can see his personality bubbling through, and literally every time I see him smile and giggle, my heart melts. He’s just so cute I can’t help it!

I know walking is just the next natural step (pun intended), and truly I love seeing him grow and mature…but I miss having a little baby fall asleep on my chest. I’ll make sure that when Lucy is born to get extra snuggles in because now I know how quickly those opportunities disappear. Everybody snuggles your babies! But only your babies…snuggling someone else’s baby would be weird.

Review: Dairy Queen Fall Blizzard Choco-Dipped Strawberry

If you think this is the last Dairy Queen fall blizzard review, you are sorely mistaken. There are six new blizzards, so expect six reviews because I’m a dad now and I deserve to be happy.

First, let’s discuss what is in here. It’s vanilla ice cream mixed with strawberry chunks and pieces of chocolate. Simple but perfect. I’m a big fan of strawberry ice cream and when it’s the high quality stuff with the strawberry chunks, I get all excited. This blizzard did not disappoint. The chunks of strawberry were perfect (and not frozen as often happens) while the pieces of chocolate were a great contrast.

If you are a strawberry person, I would highly recommend this blizzard. It gets four out of four cones from me. Next? La pièce de résistance—the pumpkin pie blizzard. I had a bite from my wife’s and let just say, I’m excited again.

Whoops!

So I’ve had a blog for like 3 weeks, and I already have failed to update for like a week and a half. But it’s not my fault! I have a job now! Yes, the entire premise of my blog is now a lie because I’m no longer unemployed. About two weeks ago my school offered me a virtual position monitoring an elementary school.

That’s right, an elementary school. I…am a high school English teacher. I know as much about elementary school as elementary school kids know about adult ages. I once brought my older sister, who was student teaching in a fourth grade classroom, lunch and the kids in her room thought I was her dad, which is crazy because I am youthful and vibrant.

Anyway, I don’t have quite as much free time as I thought I’d have, but I will do a better job updating this regularly. Everything else is normal. My family is great. My dog is weird. Our cats are lazy. The world is a scary, horrible place full of people who hate science and love COVID-19. Let’s hope it’s better next time we talk.