Archives for category: Parenthood

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.

 

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My wife and I compete over a lot of dumb things. It’s actually comical… most of the time. The other night we had a competition about who could be quieter getting into bed. Seriously, why is it so damned creaky anyways? Clearly, I lost.

Earlier this week, we argued about who was more nervous about Gray starting daycare. She won. She always wins.

But, we were/are both really nervous about Gray starting daycare. It’s a friggin’ terrifying experience for a parent. You hear all of the horror stories, and how the kid will always be sick and how, thanks to daycare, he won’t need you anymore. Are we creating an independent, self-sustaining son? Is that a bad thing?

Dibs did a lot daycare research, and despite her not liking one of the teachers, we finally picked one. So far, so good, I think. I mean, he hasn’t come home with any bite marks, or a tattoo. I guess it has only been a week.

It’s pretty obvious he’s my son, because on day 1, he tried to hug a girl and pulled her hair. She cried, he most likely laughed. That’s my boy!

I’ll keep you guys updated on how it goes.

(Note: I wrote this a couple of days ago, and didn’t post it. Now, he’s sick. Panic button hit.)

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.

Hard to believe I haven’t written since early May, but time gets away from you. Gray has had so many changes I can hardly keep up. He’s 2 weeks away from being 10 months old, which in baby age is really old.

But, the highlight was taking Gray to his very first baseball game in San Francisco. Sadly, and predictably, the Giants lost to the Marlins 1 – 0. Still, it was so amazing watching him take in the game. His was pretty transfixed (for the first 3 innings), then he was over it. I think we finally started taking him around the ballpark around the 7th inning.

Dibs and I have had this conversation over and over again, about whether or not a ballpark is a place for a baby. I say yes, she says no. I think we’re both right. We had so much fun with him at the game, but had he needed a super diaper change, or been fussy, it would have been a nightmare. So, if you’re thinking of taking your kid to a ballgame, NBA Finals game, or really any sporting event, just remember that it has the potential to be godawful… or awesome. Just. Like. Parenting.

Let’s see, what are some other cool things that have happened. Grayson know says “mama,” much to Dibs’ delight. Of course, he really doesn’t say either to us at this point, but we’re not discounting that. He’s also starting to stand up, which is so cool to watch. You could tell Grayson was never thrilled that he couldn’t walk or stand up. It’s exciting to see him getting closer.

The cool thing about living in Dallas, is that we can now go swimming. Two weekends ago Gray got his first pool time, and friggin’ loved it. The kid loves bathtime, so it was to be expected. Still seeing him in the pool with his shark swim trunks is hilarious. I guess there are some advantages to being in Dallas.

We’re now searching for day cares, and damn, day cares are expensive. How do people afford this? We’ve been trying to research and find the best one, and of course, the best one is the most expensive one. Suddenly, Daddy Day Care, yeah the Eddie Murphy movie, makes complete sense.

You can never be 100% sure when it happens. It’s almost like he didn’t mean to say it, but he sort of did mean to say it. Did Grayson say Dada over the weekend?

I’ll explain…

On Saturday morning, before we leave for the horses races… wait… a side note: Grayson had two milestones over the weekend (the first would be if we agree that he said what I thought he said, which he may not have said). The second was he went to his first sporting event, the horse races. If you’re reading this, and we’re not friends, then you probably don’t know how funny and unsurprising that is. If you’re reading this, and we are friends, then you’re probably thinking, “Of course they took a baby to the horse races.” And, you’re right, we did hit a clutch Trifecta that paid for a nice dinner.

Back to the story… already in progress…

…before we leave for the horse races, Dibs has just left to get her hair trimmed. Gray is in his standup plaything-a-ma-jig in the bathroom. I’m getting dressed, and it’s clear he’s had enough of this toy. “Grayson, say Dada and I’ll get you out.” (Great parenting, huh?) He laughs… “Grayson… Say Dada and I’ll get you out.” And in the softest tone, I hear what sounds like, “Dada.” If you’ve been keeping up, not much Gray does is in a soft tone. Clearly I freak out, because that’s what parents do when they hear their kid say their name. I gleefully (only adjective I can find here) pick him up, encourage him for a painfully long time to say it again. No dice. I put him on the bed so I can put on my shirt, while continuing to encourage him to say “Dada.” Very subtly, Grayson again says, “Dada.” YEEEEEEESSSSSS!

At this point I’m feeling two emotions, one is a massive excitement that Gray has just said Dada, and the other is being terrified he didn’t say Mama first. See, Dibs has been trying to Gray to say Mama since before he was born. Rarely (when she’s around) do I encourage him to even say Dada, so maybe, just maybe I am dreaming this and hearing what I want to hear.

Dibs comes home, and I reluctantly tell her that I think he’s said Dada. Much to my surprise, she’s not stricken with tears and overcome with a jealous fit of rage, but she’s rather excited by it. She gets him to say it twice more, and I’m still so pumped about it.

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.

My wife got mad at me this morning for not posting enough. Sorry honey, I do have a job!

But, she’s right, I’ve been away. I generally try to post once a week, but there’s been a topic I’ve wanted to discuss that I’m terrified will ruffle some feathers. I’m never one to shy away from feathers being ruffled, but I’ve also noticed that people are overly sensitive about topics you write about on your baby blog. You can always expect that 1. Someone will get mad and 2. They will act out violently. Ok… maybe they won’t do #2.

This is not that post. It’s coming. I’m just preparing you. No, this post is a bit more lighthearted, and suggested by Dibs based on Gray’s new found love of making his presence known.

We were at Mi Cocina on Friday (for the uninitiated it’s a Mexican restaurant in Dallas) having dinner with Gray sitting in his carseat. I’m positive it’s now time to put him in a high chair, and I’m not sure why we don’t, but I don’t argue about these things. We’re eating, he’s sitting, we’re talking, he’s still sitting.

Next thing you know, “AAAAAAHHHhhhhHAAAhhh…” then a giant smile. This wasn’t a cry, or him being one of those kids. He was just injecting himself into the conversation. We’re in a loud restaurant, and Grayson has just discovered he’s louder than everyone else. (I remember when I made that same discovery, though it was much later.) Dibs and I laughed, and I’m sure we then remarked on how cute he is, stared at him for way too long and eventually went back to discussing our days.

But, Gray wasn’t done. Nope. “AAahhhaaaagagagagga…” Over and over. Again, this was a happy AAahhhaaaagagagagga. He wasn’t crying or making anyone uncomfortable. We live in the suburbs so everyone around us had babies. No big deal. People smiled at him, said he was adorable, blah blah. But, that’s rare. We’ve been noticing a string of jerks lately. People staring at us as our baby happily declares he’s arrived.

This will keep up, as we noticed last night getting our taxes done. He’s loud like his parents, so why wouldn’t this keep up? My question is, what do we do?

We’ve all but stopped giving him the pacifier (only in emergency situations), so should we care that he’s being loud? I’ve decided not to. Can you really be embarrassed that your kid is happy? I don’t necessarily disagree with the judgers of crying babies. I mean, I get it, and you’re more than entitled. Of course, lives shouldn’t stop when you have kids, either. Strangely, and maybe unexpectedly, I’ve noticed people are more put off by babies in Dallas than they were in San Francisco. Just an observation

Regardless, there will always be assholes who hate babies just for being… babies. I see/hear the comments all the time, and I’m sure you do, too. “Why did you have to bring your screaming baby on this flight?” “Ugh, that baby is screaming in the grocery store.” “Oh man, that baby is ruining my life by crying.”

I guess it’s now time for us to ask the question, “Why did that asshole have to show up on this flight.” “Ugh, that asshole is screaming in the grocery store.” You get the picture.

So, scream out, Grayson. The asshole in the back of the restaurant can’t hear you.

We made the move from breast milk to formula. Well, not 100%, but formula is now in the mix. This, of course, didn’t come without a few tears from Dibs. But, I have to commend her. Her goal was six months of breastfeeding, and she surpassed it.

Breastfeeding was a struggle early on for her, and she worked tirelessly to do it right and not give up. This meant lactation consultants, and a range of frustrations. Once it clicked for those two, it really clicked. She earned her Silver Boobs (hilarious designation for 6 months of breast feeding), and she should be proud of her accomplishment. I think it definitely helped Gray, and help them bond even more.

Ultimately, with her new job she couldn’t keep up with the insane pumping schedule, and breast milk preparations are tough. Plus, we’ve been adding cereal and some foods into the mix in order to fill up our growing boy, so it’s not too bad that we’re weening him off breast milk.

Unless you have to change his diapers. Sweet mother of all things holy, people. His diapers now smell like something crawled into his butt and died. While eating at a restaurant with my parents Sunday, Gray relieved himself at the table. Dibs had yet to arrive, so I took him into the bathroom for a changing.

Quick tangent: It’s 2011. Dad’s change diapers now. Can we get an effin’ changing table in every bathroom at this point? I mean, really, I shouldn’t have to be stuck on a trendy sink counter trying to change my kid, at a not so trendy restaurant.

When I opened his diaper, I thought perhaps he had the cheese enchiladas, rice and beans instead of milk. As I’m changing him, another dude walks into bathroom, says, “Holy crap, I’ll wait till he’s out of here,” and leaves. Yep… this is my son.

In other Gray news, we’ve been working with him to get him to sit. He’s a good sitter when he’s paying attention, but Grayson seems to rather do things like eat his feet. And, when he’s sitting for a long time he gets super excited, laughs uncontrollably and falls down. It’s hilarious, yet not productive. He’s almost on the verge of crawling, as well. This is exciting only because it means Dibs is crawling around the apartment trying to show him how. Always funny.

Lastly, we’ve moved from the 2 diapers to the 3 diapers. Trust me. There’s no way the 2 can hold in the madness…

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.