All about the Daddy

So l haven’t been posting anything much about my experiences as a househusband, because this is a baby blog not a daddy blog, but I have to break my rule this one time and let you all in on some truths I have discovered.

Overall, being a stay-at-home daddy is not too bad. I have had to re-calibrate what I had hoped to accomplish while staying at home with baby – learning how to play piano is right out, as is picking up any more computer languages or starting any home businesses; even selling some of my old shit on eBay is proving to be too hard. I can read, but not just anything – Knuth and Hobbes will have to continue to molder on the shelves while I catch up on old John D. MacDonald and explore any crannies of the space-opera genre that I might have missed. I think that it is just barely conceivable that I will manage Gibbon, mainly because he is at least funny, but even that must be abridged. So my elaborate self-improvement schemes have all been abandoned, and I’m cool with that.

One thing I have discovered while comparing my life to that of the old-timey housewife types is that no kidding they kept the house clean, chores are really pleasant sometimes. The main thing about having a baby around all the time is that you can’t concentrate on one goddamn thing ever. Even when it goes to sleep, it’s not like it has a timer or anything, so you better not start anything that you can’t put down, and if it is awake you have to look up every five minutes to make sure it’s not about to bonk its head on something, or that it has figured out how to open the boxcutter. So all the constant attention really jangles the brain, and more than anything what you need is an activity that is a) inherently peaceful and b) can be done without even the tinest amount of thought. Like washing the dishes, or folding the clothes, or picking up the crap on the floor. I look forward to washing the dishes every day, no lie. I anticipate cooking dinner the way I used to anticipate smoking a joint and playing Super Mario. So anyway, that strikes me as kind of a secret I just learned. Now you all know.

Another thing is that the going out for walks is crucial to the well being of the stay-at-home mommy. No wonder in any suburb you can’t get to the bar at noon without tripping over a dozen or so mommies with their babies. One of the things that Johanna and I realized shortly after we had Leo was that as a single person, or even a married person with no kids, is that this constant stroller-traffic is kind of like eyebrow piercings on St. Marks Place or homeless drunks in Berkeley, so common that you don’t even notice how many there are. But then we joined the club, and it was like going through the looking-glass, wow. When Johanna and I went out for walks with Leo, we would see other mommies, and sometimes, in passing, smile, or nod, or say something like “Good Morning!”. This was common, and they would return or even initiate a greeting, as if these formerly invisible people were acknowledging our common membership in the baby club. It was nice. But I have slowly begun to realize something about these mommies. I don’t think that they want me in their club if Johanna is not around! Really! I’m not being paranoid, I have been noticing this for some time now. I go for two to three walks a day, every day, and I see plenty of mommies, and the friendly smiles and nods don’t show up so often. Or almost ever, to be honest. It is quite noticeable in the absence, because I get all types of unwanted attention carting around a cute baby. I get nods from the dude washing his motorcycle, the lady at the bookstore wants to talk to my baby about something I don’t even understand, this is very common and I can deal with it. But by the mommies? Studiously ignored. Today, Leo and I were coming back from Blockbuster (I rented Seven for us to watch that afternoon) and there were two mommies coming up on me, straight towards me. These mommies come in pairs pretty frequently, and the pair-mommies are the worst. I smiled at them both and, no lie, they cut me dead! No smile, just look away, no acknowledgement of me or my offspring at all. I was like what?? Do I smell? Is my baby that much cuter than yours? I knew they couldn’t tell that there was gin in my can of Sprite, that’s why I put it in the can!

So here is my second truth for you: that mommies is BITCHES.

A day in the life of Leo

If you really want to make me feel good all you have to do is tell me you really like my blog or Leo looks like me. I just got an email from Kristina saying both of these two things and now I feel quite nice.

But today’s post is about a day in the life of Leo. It comes with some videos of his daily tasks. First some chewing with a bonus scene of spit catapulting off the toy.

Then onto some jumping. Leo can jump forever. One night after work I tried to do some jumping jacks while Leo jumped but I couldn’t keep up.

On Amazon one reviewer called this jumperoo a pooperoo because her baby always pooped after getting out. But you may have noticed this blog never features poop anymore. That’s because Leo doesn’t poop these days. That was a feature of his early youth. But it does seem that he’s replaced pooping with crying and fussing. Now Leo is starting to understand the world enough to know when he is not happy with it.

Today after chewing and jumping and bathing he moved onto sleeping. Sleeping doesn’t happen every day.

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Caleb and I are debating how advanced Leo is. No there is no debate that he is advanced. The question is just how much. What to Expect The First Year says he may even be able to “pull up to a standing position from sitting” at the end of this month. Caleb says Leo can do this because when Caleb holds his hands Leo can stand up. I say that because Leo can’t even sit this may be a bit of an exaggeration. I still think Leo is pretty good because he can do what the book says he “should be able to” and also “what he probably will be able to” and also what “he may possibly be able to” and also much of what “he may even be able to”. He just can’t stand up on his own yet.

It’s hard to believe that just a month ago we were so proud that Leo was sucking his thumb. Now that he can suck his toe that just seems so unimpressive.

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Green grass grew all around

Today Caleb and I headed off for a morning in Los Gatos for the purposes of going somewhere i.e. anywhere but our boring house. We plan to make a tradition of this going somewhere on the weekend. Stay tuned to see if we keep it up next weekend. Anyway, here we go.

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Even though it is just around the corner Los Gatos kinda feels like you are on vacation in some scenic ritzyville. The basic deal is Lamborghini dealers and brunch places with lines out the door nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains. So we walked around and felt like we were vacationing. Then came home and had a picnic of tamales and chips in the backyard.

As I remember the picnic, Leo was having lots of fun. But there seem to be lots of pictures of him scowling. This is what my mommy calls selective memory.

Here is Leo starting on solids. We were planning on getting some rice cereal today but forgot so we went for the tamale instead. Actually, I had a lapse in parenting judgment as the boy put the corn chip in his mouth. My thought, “well he’s gotta start eating one of these days who cares”. Thankfully, Caleb swooped in and pulled the chip from his mouth because I guess this is something he could choke on.

We planned this to be a week of formula. In last weekends blog post I was resigned to this and not pumping last weekend. But Monday rolled around and even though Leo loved his formula on Friday on Monday he wouldn’t eat it and cried and cried or so his Daddy tells me. So it was a week of me staying late in the morning to feed him one extra time. Leo waking up too many times each night and a plan to pump extra coupled with extra forgetfulness on my part, one day forgetting the pump at work another day forgetting the milk.

In other news, just after Caleb wrote that post about never wanting to dress the baby in anything other than sleepers, it got hot and Caleb started putting clothes on the boy, making him look much cuter. Unfortunately, Caleb’s wardrobe has not improved at the same time.

Here is the album.

All in the name of humor

I try hard to be funny in this blog. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Also sometimes I use the blog as a form of public humiliation to whip my husband into shape, like ages ago when Caleb left the boy lying next to an open box cutter I figured why get mad, I should just blog instead. And now the security box cutter has become a running joke between us. So in the vein of being funny today Caleb was letting Leo hold his box cutter, closed, of course. Come on, we’re not that irresponsible. And since I so badly want to be funny, I ran to get the camera. But as is to be expected, as soon as I am ready to take a picture Leo drops the box cutter. But I still want a picture so I give it back to him and he proceeds to put it straight in his mouth, sharp end first. Even though it was closed, the fear I felt with the boy putting a knife sharp end first into his mouth just didn’t seem worth the funniness anymore.

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So what is grosser than gross?

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Leo’s new gentle flex pacifier. Even though this is “the only pacifier with flexing action that simulates the motion of a mother’s nipple while nursing” I’m really not sure why Gerber had to make the thing clear. No one wants to see that flexing action. Caleb took a video which we have since lost, to my point that you probably don’t want to see it. Leo looks like a little lamprey with this thing in his mouth. He really seems to like it though which we are happy for.

And I kept foretelling it, but on Friday Leo finally had his first taste of formula. He seemed to like it fine. Well I wasn’t there, but according to Caleb he sucked it right down, just like mommy’s milk. I guess this was a bit disappointing for me and something I’d been trying to avoid. But the lazy side of me is a bit relieved that I don’t have to spend this whole weekend pumping to ward off the days of eating formula. So no pumping today or tomorrow. Yay! Leo will have a few formula feedings a week. Worse things have happened.

And I love this picture. For those of you yogis … happy baby!

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this baby is like George Michael or something he has so many clothes

Baby clothes are ridiculous. We probably have 10 pounds of clothes for every pound of baby (16, last time the pediatrician checked). Little pants, shirts, overalls, socks, all kinds of things that are basically useless. As far as I am concerned, anything I might put on the baby must have:

1) snaps

a) ON THE FRONT
b) ALL THE WAY DOWN TO BOTH FEET
c) ALL THEY WAY UP TO THE NECK

2) feet
3) sleeves

If it doesn’t have all those things it is too much of a pain. I’m not selling him, I don’t need to squeeze out an extra 5% of cute.

So we bought a special dresser for the baby, a big one with 6 deep drawers, and the whole thing is FULL of clothes, plus more clothes in Trader Joes bags that make the baby’s room look like a Goodwill intake truck. I just went through all of the drawers and picked out everything that I might conceivably put on the baby, and it fits in 1/3 of one drawer. Things are easier for me now.

classical music is scary sometimes

Everybody says classical music is good for babies, and maybe they are right and maybe they are wrong. I do know that I have not been able to find a baby mobile that flashes blinky lights while spinning dolphins dance to Schoenberg, but he seems to be perfectly happy with whatever is on, classical or not.

But today he was deep in sleep, which is Daddy’s happy-time usually, and I was picking out some music to play, and I settled on Haydn’s The Creation. What I hadn’t remembered about that music is that at first, the music is without form, and void; and the spirit of God is all moving along the face of the waters and such, and in general that is a very quiet process. But then what happens is that God says let there be light, and he says it very LOUDLY. And the baby heard him and likewise was extremely LOUD in his screaming, the kind of screaming we’ve heard from him maybe three times in his four short months of life, usually accompanying accidental head-bonking.

And he just kept screaming! I rocked him, and held him, and employed the pacifier, and tried to convince him that there was nothing to worry about, but just wouldn’t stop screaming. I was really starting to wonder if maybe he hadn’t just been startled by a loud noise, but was having his very first moment of existential despair! Finally I put on some Bartok and he started to calm down, and finally he either came to terms with the fact of his own insignificance in the face of the universe or just forgot why he was upset and I was able to ease him back into the void.

So I don’t know about classical music! I am going to skip straight from Baroque to Romantic for now, and maybe when the baby is a little older we can carefully expose him to the Haydns and Mozarts of the world.

One step forward, two steps back

First, baby Leo is still a 100% breast fed baby, due to a surprisingly lack of hunger on his part on Friday. Our fingers are crossed for the coming week.

We predict that Leo will be crawling (or creeping as Dr. Spock calls it) in two weeks. Our boy is very determined. We can tell by the incessant grunting while he is working on crawling. It goes something like this. Put the knees under the butt. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh. Uhhhh. Then lift up on the arms. Uhhh uhh uhhh. Then legs fall out from underneath him and fall flat on his face. Uhhh uhh uhhh. Today we’ve seen a couple times where he has practically been kneeling and then rocking back and forth. So far this technique allows Leo to crawl backwards, which we don’t really think counts as crawling.

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See kneeling:

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We had another really cool moment yesterday. Leo was looking up at my face and grabbing my nose. Then Caleb came over and put his face next to mine and Leo grabbed his nose. Mommy’s nose. Daddy’s nose. Mommy’s nose. Daddy’s nose. Back and forth he kept grabbing.

Here is a picture of Daddy pretending Leo is even more advanced than his already very advanced 5 month old reading level.

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Oh and last weekend we had a really fun visit from Aunt Crystal and Leo’s great grandma, Alberta. On Saturday night we made them dinner but on Sunday for lunch we took them to our new favorite Salvadoran restaurant, the Donut Field. We seem to have a history of liking ethnic food restaurants with names that sound like donut shops. The Crispy Crème Quisene was a Brooklyn favorite for Jamaican.

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Yes, you may have guessed, my hair is falling out like crazy. Caleb’s response to my telling him, “so am I gonna have a bald fat ass for a wife?” Yes, honey, you are. Like attracts like.