Archives for posts with tag: parenting

I’m not exactly sure how this happened, or, frankly, when it happened. Last thing I remember, Grayson was just a little fellow who could barely muster a few words. Sure, he was kicking a ball around, thinking he was going to be the next (only?) savior of US Soccer. But, today? Well, today he’s kicking the soccer ball with gusto. Celebrating by yelling GOOOOAAAL and throwing his hands up, or lifting up his shit to reveal his belly (a soccer goal celebration as good as any). Today, he’s starting to say complete sentences (“I kick,” counts people.) He knows all the sounds animals make, and letters and numbers, and just random shit like that.

Can he tell us after he’s pooped? Yes. I’m not sure what good that does me after the fact, because the smell more than let’s me know what has happened, but it’s important people say.

His development is rapid, and it’s pretty mind-blowing that he (and kids this age in general) can soak up so many things. At some point, we need to stop cursing in front of him, because I’m pretty sure he already says shit.

He definitely gets frustrated, though, not being able to vocalize the things that he wants. Yes, he knows sign language, but that doesn’t really help with things like, “Dad, this sandwich sucks. Can I get some chicken?” Really, the sign language is good for getting girls to think he’s blowing kisses at them (when he’s actually saying “thank you”).

I do generally like to talk about things that he likes, so I can give friends and readers a heads up on what they need to be buying their kids. The problem here is that for the most part, as long as he has a soccer ball around, he’s perfectly fine. It’s the damnedest thing, but 70% of the time, he’s perfectly content with having a ball. The other 20%, he wants a book. And, the other 10% it’s a complete crapshoot.

His reading list consists of, all of the Brown Bear, Brown Bear series, Goodnight Moon still, the Dr Seuss hits (Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Sox, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Mr. Brown Can Moo), Where the Wild Things Are, and a couple of really random books. If I hear “Elmo can use the potty!!” one more time…

While I’ve allowed him to sneak Arsenal matches, and football, baseball, basketball games since he was old enough to lift his head, we’ve just started to introduce actual TV. Perhaps this is because of laziness, or perhaps our hippie San Francisco ways are almost completely drained, I’m not sure. But, he’s started watching this show Chuggington on Disney Whatever It’s Called Now.

And, really, that’s about it right now. The kid is just awesome. We cannot get enough of him, and I think he feels the same way.

Grayson is a funny little guy. He’s also a surprising little guy. I’m always shocked at how he develops, and watching his development is one of the best part of being a parent. But, you can’t help but to worry when you’re friends with other parents on Facebook, and in life (weird that I thought of Facebook before real life), and you see them make posts about their children doing things yours aren’t. The one that always bugged me the most was, “So and so took 5 steps today!” “My kid stood all on his own and took 4 steps.”

I know you’re not supposed to compare your kid to another, and I know that all kids eventually do everything. I can’t think of one of my friends who still crawls instead of walks. But, when I saw Grayson holding onto things walking, or pushing things walking behind them, I couldn’t help but to be like, “Dude, you can walk, so do it!”

But, looking back on the past 13 or so months, Gray never did things normally. He started rolling over super early, and once he started he wouldn’t stop. He started sitting up, and wouldn’t budge from sitting. And, he went from army crawl to bearĀ  crawl, never doing normal kid crawls. So, we really shouldn’t have been surprised when he went from not walking, to full on walking.

I don’t mean step here fall, step here fall and so on. I mean, the kid is basically jogging. Sure, he gets distracted and runs into a wall here or there, but who doesn’t? The problem that we’re faced with now, is that it’s all he wants to do. He doesn’t want to stop walking, not even for a minute. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to go to restaurants, because he doesn’t want to sit for that long. One of us ends up walking him around the restaurant, which looks like we’re walking around fishing for compliments. “Look at my baby everyone! Yes… muahaha I know how cute he is! Oh, I know he’s such a good walker!!” Ugh, makes me feel like an asshole. But, like a proud asshole because my baby walks the shit out of that restaurant.

His teeth are also coming in, and man does that suck. He basically has half of his left front tooth. He looks like a little white trash baby. It’s hilarious, but at the same time I know it’s hurting him. You can just tell how much it sucks. We’re trying to give him frozen toys to chew on, but he tosses those aside. So, we’re now trying teething biscuits. Do I feel like I’m giving my son doggy biscuits? Yes. Am I actually giving my son doggy biscuits? Inconclusive.

Any tips are welcome. I hate seeing him like this.

Welcome to 14 months!

I’d like to start this off with a semi-related story. Dibs is starting the bath for Grayson, and I walk in to tell her to remind me to write a story about how much baby proofing sucks. I walk back into the kitchen to continue to sort out how to pry open the drawers. I suddenly get called back into the bathroom. Grayson is being held out by Dibs, naked, away from her body, and quickly hands him to me. As I grab him, plop. Poop on the bathroom floor. Shit got real.

Folks, it happens, so go ahead and start mentally preparing for it.

Baby proofing is the most annoying part of becoming a parent. And I say this with absolute confidence, as moments ago I was picking up human poo off the bathroom floor.

There are a few high level problems with baby proofing, which clearly I’m planning on listing below:

1. There is no such thing as eye-pleasing baby proofing… things. They’re all a shade of gray, or taupe, which is a decision someone thought was a good one. As much as I now regret our decision to not decorate our apartment with rubber, gray colored furniture, we live with our choices. Instead, we’re blessed with these rubber, round corners on the edges on all of our furniture. Sexy. (Granted, we’re buying these items from Target, but still…)

2. There’s a reason it’s been said over and over again, and I can now confirm it, the locks are friggin’ tough to unlock. The first set of locks we got, forget it, neither Dibs or I could pry it open. Now we have these zip-tie locks that I still can’t open.

I have an internal debate to get rid of the baby proofing things all together. He survived without it till his 1st birthday, he’ll be fine. I brought this up over the weekend, citing our youth as an example of surviving non-baby proofed living (I can’t confirm or deny that fact), and was quickly shot down.

Looks like we’re stuck with the unsightly protection for our child. Awesome.

Though, I’m still under the minority opinion that taking a few unprotected corners builds a strong, aware baby.

Gray’s 1st birthday was last weekend. We were in San Francisco to celebrate. Well, fine, we were in San Francisco for the Ben and Mira’s wedding, which so happened to coincide with Grayson’s birthday. But, it was good to be back in The City for his birthday, considering a year ago we were there… you know… having him. We’ve discussed making that an annual tradition, so we’ll see. Grayson, if you’re reading this at 18, and are currently wondering we didn’t make this an annual tradition… um… ask your mother.

I started this blog so that one day I could have it printed to eventually give to him. Just to let him know that Dibs and I are truly awesome, and that, like most parents, are sort of winging it as we go.

There have been some interesting surprises, like being pooped on multiple times, a few trying times, like dealing with a non stopped, crying baby, and a whole lot of highlights, like Gray’s first Giants game. We’ve seen the Giants win the World Series and the Mavericks win the NBA Finals (to this day, I still point to Grayson as the reason), we’ve moved from San Francisco to Texas, we’ve changed jobs and we’ve had a lot of fun adventures as a family all in his first year.

But, I’ve basically talked about all of this when I guest posted on Mommybeta (A Look Back at My First Father’s Day). (By the way, you guys should read Mommybeta if you’re a new, or old parent. Natali and friends do a great job of coming up with offers for parents, keeping parents up-to-date on trends and product reviews/recalls, and writing quality posts.)

As Grayson rounds the corner of his first year, he’s talking nonstop. Sure, it’s mainly his trademark, “bacca bacca bacca.” But, every now and again he tosses in a few gems (swear he said “thank you” the other day when I called him handsome). He regularly says “book,” which is friggin’ insane to me. How he can say book regularly, but still won’t repeat “mama” is beyond me. Of course, that’s not to say that he doesn’t say mama, he just doesn’t say it when Dibs wants him to. Granted, it’s pretty hilarious that he’s already rebelling.

He’s also now, finally, going through some separation anxiety. I don’t want to admit that she’s admitted it, but there’s a bit of Dibs who is kind of happy he cries for her when she leaves him at the daycare in the morning. I’m sure he’d feel the same way if I dropped him off at daycare, too, right? Right?

He’s on the verge of walking, but it seems like he’s been on the verge of walking for a while. He’ll push his stroller around, and will stand behind his little car and push it around. He walks holding our fingers with ease, but he’s lacking in full walking confidence. Poor kid falls down more than anyone I’ve ever seen. Honestly, we can’t help but to laugh every time.

He also loves to play with anything other than his toys. Seriously, if you’re thinking of getting Gray something, just get him a box. He’ll play with it for days, and eventually eat it. Or, maybe you should get him a TV remote control to throw around, or if you’re feeling generous, an iPhone to throw.

We’ve added a lot more regular food to his diet. Clearly he has Mexican in his blood, as he really only likes burritos and tamales. I’m not joking, he’ll eat a whole burrito.

Every day since his arrival has brought something new. His daycare daily reports are usually filled with things like, “Grayson fell today,” or “Grayson bumped his head trying to crawl over something,” or “Grayson rolled off his mat while sleeping today.” The kid is pretty clumsy, but he’s also not scared to do anything.

I. however, remain terrified.

 

Today is a big day. Gray is 11 months old, and his parents have been married for 4 years. We’re celebrating with the most romantic trip to Harry Potter in IMAX 3D you’ve ever seen.

I’d say Gray’s 10th month of life was one of the more difficult ones he’s had. He’s learning things so fast, and seems to get frustrated quickly when he struggles. Thought I might try and break things down into 3 sections: The Good, The Bad and The Dirty.

The Good: Grayson survived his first weekend away from his mommy. As a dad, I can also say that I (barely) survived my first weekend away from his mommy. We had a blast! Mostly wrestling on the floor, rolling around and laughing. We visited family, and played constantly.
Also, Gray seems to be doing really, really well in daycare. They tell us he’s sort of the leader of the kids. Of course he is. My only beef is that it seems like he always comes home with poop all over his clothes (they’re in a bag, not still on him), which means I somehow get to clean that up. “Your stomach can handle the smell, honey.” “No… no it can’t.”
Gray also talks constantly. “Bacca bacca, dada, bacca.” All the time. No idea where he got that from.

The Bad: I touched on the bad, which is Gray exploding out of his diapers again. We’re also have issues with feedings. He seems to hate eating these days, which for him is weird. We’re introducing new foods, and he’s introducing new ways to not eat them. I’ll put a carrot in his mouth, and he’ll take a carrot out of his mouth. I’ll give him a bite of apples, and he’ll motorboat the apples.
Funny story: I got a haircut the other day after feeding Gray. The whole time I was feeding him (oatmeal), he’d motorboat and the oatmeal would go all over me. So, I’m getting a haircut and the dude says to me, “I hate to tell you this, but you have a lot of flakes in your hair.” “What?!!? I have never noticed, and that’s something I’d notice…. oh my God… Those aren’t flakes, they’re dried oatmeal my kid spit all over me.” Parenting!
The kid needs to eat, and it’s starting to become a major source of frustration for both him and us.
Lastly, he’s just having trouble with things that should be simple. Not sure if that’s what I mean, but diaper changes have become increasingly difficult. He’d rather be anywhere in the world other than on the changing table. We distract him with songs and toys, and have become fast change artists, but it’s still bothersome.

The Dirty: Eating leaves everyone and everything covered in food. It’s hilarious, but it’s still messy.
And, finally, now that he carries his toys everywhere with him, I’m constantly dodging toys, balls and books. I’m going to break my neck, I swear.

So, that’s about it. Our little 11 month old is growing up so damn quickly. The changes in his face, body and voice are incredible. Dibs noted last night that his laugh has changed, and he sounds more mature. I hate it. Stay a baby forever!

Yesterday, I leave to meet Gray and Dibs at Babies R Us. We had to pick some things up, you know, baby stuff. We arrive at roughly the same time, and I see Gray wearing these plaid shorts, and this hideous turtle shirt (with a stain!). Of course, I’m like, “Honey, what the hell is he wearing right now?” Sure, ok, apparently this was a backup outfit, because the little guy had an accident, but that’s beside the point. You can’t excuse it because it was a backup.

I spent the rest of the BRU (that’s what us hip suburban parents call it) trip thinking about how this was not the first time I’ve been concerned with his outfit. I once came home while my parents were taking care of Gray to see him in a Top Gun t-shirt and diapers. Yeah, I know, it sounds really awesome… ok… that was awesome. And, I was absurdly jealous of how awesome it was.

The point is, why do I sit and debate a $20 onesie, knowing he’ll only wear it a few times before he outgrows it? I know it doesn’t make sense, but damnit, I don’t care. So, I’ll shop regularly at places like Gap Baby, and Bubble when we lived in SF.

I proudly admit that I want my kid to look awesome all the time.

I am a snobby dad.

Gray turns 8 months in less than a week. 8 months! How is this remotely possible?

Last night I was feeding him apples, and I just couldn’t get over how quickly he’s growing up. He looks old. I mean, old for an 8 month old. His facial features are developing, his facial expressions are amazingly similar to mine and he hates peas.

I really need to post the peas video on Youtube. I promise I will and will repost here.

Let’s talk about his milestones, shall we?

At his point Gray is sitting with no problem. He’s not sitting on his own (meaning he’s not going from back to butt), but he’ll definitely sit there for long periods at a time with no help. He’s also able to get up on all fours now, and is seconds away from crawling. He’s really good at scooting himself backwards. It’s hilarious to watch. He looks like a honey badger. He’s also good at taking toys with him as he rolls around the apartment.

Gray has this insane focus, perhaps this normal, but he’s the first baby I’ve ever been around for 8 months straight. We play basketball. He’ll lay on his back, and I’ll hold this little basketball above him. He’ll grab it, get excited, I’ll take it away and say something like, “Daddy stole the ball!” and he’ll go into fits of laughter, then try and get the ball back. We do this for long periods of time, and each time he’s just as excited to get the ball back. It’s amazing (I think there’s a photo a few posts back of him with his basketball).

We recently stopped giving Grayson the pacifier all together. We braced ourselves for the worst. And, nothing. I don’t even think he remembers he ever had it. I had heard horror stories about taking the pacifier away from the baby. Well, we don’t have those stories, which is awesome, but probably not helpful for you.

Dibs and I have now entered into the great race of whose name he’s going to say first. Will it be Mama, or Dada? He’s gotten a Da out, and he’s gotten a Ma out, but no definitive Mama or Dada yet. We’re so close at this point, but I’m not sure how to put him over the edge! I’m shocked Dibs and I don’t have some sort of a bet going on about whose name is first. (We all remember our Birthday and Weight Pool. Congrats for winning that, Eman.)

Grayson’s absolute favorite thing in world is reading. He gets read to after his bath, and before his last feeding of the night. He absolutely lights up when it’s book time. We read him lots of Dr. Seuss (Fox in Socks is his fave), Shel Silverstein, Where the Wild Things Are, and books like the Very Hungry Caterpillar. But, nothing gets him as excited as when we get Goodnight Moon. Man, he lights up with the biggest smile when we get out Goodnight Moon. We always save it for last.

So, that’s it. 8 months. I just can’t believe it’s flying by this quickly.

The one thing that’s guaranteed to come along with being a new parent, the death and taxes of parenthood, is advice from everybody. And 9 out of 10, it’s advice that you’re not necessarily seeking. They say it takes a village to raise a baby, but what they don’t say is that oftentimes you’re ready to move out of that village because of frustration.

It’s a catch 22, because more often than not, you’re getting advice from people who have raised children, as well as parents who raised you. I mean, it’s not like your friends without kids are offering up advice on how to you raise your kids. Hell, they’re impressed you can actually hold your baby without dropping it.

It’s the people who are experts in child rearing. Your parents easily forget that they haven’t raised kids in 20+ years (unless you’re one of these dummy’s who have kids at 16), and things may have changed a bit since then. For example, I saw a picture from when I was a baby. I was in my crib, and in the photo I saw everything from stuffed animals, to blankets, to scissors to a tub of water next to a plugged in hairdryer all inside of crib. Now, thanks to SIDS, Dibs and I subscribe to having nothing but the baby inside of the crib. This is lost on my parents, and rightfully so. After all, I survived despite having loaded guns and knives in my crib (I hope you all get my exaggeration here).

The biggest problem is handling the advice that’s obviously coming from a sincere place. Your reaction can be set off a firestorm, so you have to tread lightly. Before Gray was born, we tried to set the precedent that we were going to raise Gray the way we saw fit. Naturally, that precedent was tossed out the window. We have to remind those around us of it often.

The best way to handle unwarranted advice is to nod and say things like, “I’ve never thought of it that way, I’ll look into it.” Does it always work? No. But, it’s a lot better than, “I’m going to raise my child the way I want. If you don’t like it, you can suck it!”

Granted, that’s an option, too.

The worst part of my life is the amount that I travel. Yes, it’s the coolest part of my life, too, but you know… it has its drawbacks.

Don’t get me wrong, traveling is probably the most important part of my life from a career standpoint, too. I encourage my business travel, as it’s generally the main source of leads for me. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, I do go to amazing places, and have amazingly good times.

But, it can be really depressing getting texts from Dibs of her and Gray playing and having an awesome time. It’s rough on dads to be away from their kids so often. You’re often left wondering if they’ll even remember you when you get home. It’s a source of constant frustration for me.

With that said, I thought I’d try and put together a little survival guide for other dad’s who, like me, travel entirely too much.

1. Photos, photos, photos – Dibs is very good at constantly sending me photos of the little guy when I’m on the road.

2. Video chat – While my schedule to compared to theirs often doesn’t allow for this often (different time zones, etc), the best possible way to connect is to video chat with them.

3. Education – Let’s be honest here. When you’re at home with the wife and kids, it doesn’t really allow for much “you time.” (Openly admitting I get me time will likely land me on the couch tonight.) This is a perfect opportunity to catch up on books to help you be a better dad and husband. I recommend Brain Rules for Baby, which was given to me by my friend, Beau Lebens. (More on this book soon)

4. Short trips – Really, that’s the best thing you can do. Try and schedule full days of meetings in order to get in, get out and get a lot accomplished. I used to go to conferences and wing it. Now, I’m a lot more diligent in reaching out to potential leads, and setting up meetings before I arrive. This way I can be a lot more productive in a shorter amount of time.

5. Drink a lot – This way, you don’t have to think about what you’re missing out on too much.

I do apologize for the lack of postings… If you don’t know, we are currently in the process of relocating from San Francisco, back to Dallas.

While we’re all extremely sad to be leaving the city we love and the place where we became a family, we’re extremely excited about the next chapter in our lives.

I promise I’ll be back with more tales of parenthood once we’re settled after the new year.

Gray is becoming a whole new man! He’s moved a notch up on his car seat, he got sick for the first time, he’s in his new stroller (bye bye bassinet) and he no longer gets swaddled when he goes to bed (yet still sleeps for 8-10 hours a night!). It’s incredible to watch his develop.

With that said… Thanks for the memories, San Francisco. You’ll always be the place where I started my family, and the greatest city in the world.

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