In our house, every day is Mother’s day… HAHAHAHA… ok, maybe not.

I know I’ve already a post that discussed how amazing Diabla is, and that Mother’s Day was yesterday, but I thought it was worth mentioning again.

So, to the best mom that’s ever raised any of my children, Happy Day After Mother’s Day!

We love you.

Just for the record… I changed 5 poop diapers yesterday. You’re welcome, honey.

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.

What an insane past week and a half (give or take a day or two). If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of a week and a half it’s that if Grayson is doing to do something, he’s going to do it the extreme.

I’ve always believed this, to an extent. I mean, instead of rolling over, he rolls across the room. Instead of taking naps, he sleeps for roughly 9 hours a night. And instead of getting a cold, he decides he’s going in with pneumonia for the first time he’s sick. Ok, maybe not so drastic. I mean, he had slight pneumonia, like that’s better.

The Thursday before the Super Bowl, we knew the little guy was getting sick. But, we were hoping it would pass. Alright, I’ll be honest with you guys. Since we’ve moved back to Texas, we’ve yet to find Gray a pediatrician. I know. Terrible parents. I KNOW! But, what had happened was, there was an issue with Dibs health care, and it didn’t transfer right, this that and that and the other. So, we were trying to hold off till Monday on going to a doctor. Poor little guy wouldn’t sleep in his bed, and the only way he’d sleep was if he were on one of us. This meant that I was on the couch holding him trying to sleep, and then Dibs would rotate. That’s teamwork.

Then comes Super Bowl Sunday at about a half hour before kickoff. Let me interject briefly. I’ve been pissed on, pooped on and spit up on. Well, friends, I’ve officially been vomited on. As I’m trying to calm him down, he just let’s it go all over me. We immediately go to the ER (no, we didn’t overreact. It was a smart move. No… I haven’t seen the bill yet. Why?).

The ER on Super Bowl Sunday is funny. If you want to see some anxious dads, that’s the place to do it. Not because of their kids or anything, but because they’re missing the game. Especially when they’re playing Nanny McPhee on the TV. This is where being a resourceful dad comes in handy, guys. The night before, I anticipated all of this, so I DVRed all of Super Bowl Sunday. This is key, men: Always think two steps ahead.

The doctor checks Gray out, confirms that he had a cold, gives us some meds and sends us on our way. We return home around the 4th quarter. Both him and I fall asleep after the game with him on me. The bad news is that I was flying out to LA for work the next morning. Reason #238 Dibs is the greatest mom ever.

Granted, at this time we thought he was in an upswing. Dibs finds a pediatrician, takes Gray to her and the news wasn’t what we hoped. Instead of an upswing, Gray had the dreaded pneumonia. Again, a slight case of pneumonia, but still. I was well prepared to fly home, but Dibs assured me that there was no need. (Reason #239 she’s the greatest mom ever.) I returned back to Dallas on Friday, back to the Pediatrician. Grayson is wheezing a bit, so we need to start him on breathing treatments. If you don’t know what that means, think about a oxygen mask being put to your face (in the shape of a purple dinosaur), except instead of oxygen, we’re giving him a steroid and another medicine combined.

You know what babies hate? Breathing treatments. The nurse says to us, “It’s OK if they cry. They inhale more that way.” Oh, well, that’s good. I guess. We do the treatments every 4 hours through the weekend, pump him full of antibiotics and try to get him as much sleep and milk as possible.

It was a long, intense battle. By Sunday night he seemed to be bouncing back again (what did we know). By Monday night he was obviously feeling better. Lastly, by Tuesday night, he was much better. By that I mean, he made up for all the lost time of being sick. He laughed all night, rolled under the couch and wouldn’t come out (that’s new) and was overly happy all night.

Good to have him back… now if I could only figure how to make sure he never gets sick again.

The first time Grayson rolled across the room, I missed it.

I’ll set up the scene:
Dibs and I are eating dinner, while Gray is in his activity gym playing. We look at him. Comment on how effin’ cute he is, then continue eating. Seconds later, Grayson was roughly 5 feet (the most inaccurate estimate ever) from his activity gym.
“What the hell, honey?!” I asked Dibs. “How’d get there?”
“He is mobile,” she replied.

Boy is he ever. He now rolls all over the place. It’s like he’s constantly rolling down a hill. If he sees a toy, like his Sophie, he rolls across the living room to get her.

It’s incredible to watch, especially considering he’s 5 1/2 months.

Just one of those things that reminds you that you’re actually not doing too bad a job raising your kid.

Now I just need to make sure there are no nails sticking out of the ground. Does that mean I get to roll around our apartment seeing if I get poked??

Happy New Year, everyone. What? New Years was like a month ago?

Oh… I guess it was. Well, sorry, we’ve been moving, getting settled and getting set up at our new jobs.

Well, all of that has been accomplished and we’re back.

Gray handled the move fairly well. According to Dibs, he was fussy on the plane before take off. Everyone basically stared her down with murder in their eyes, but once the flight took off he was ok. If you know Gray, you know he has lungs for days. He’s a loud kid. Pretty sure I’d want to do the same if he was crying on my flight.

Now he has his own room! It’s amazing. He sleeps in there like a champ, too. Well, not counting the past couple of days. A 5:30 wake up time is unacceptable, young man. This morning he decided that 3:45am would be a good time to wake up. And, he had no intention of going back into the crib. It was sleep on my chest, or not sleep at all. Therefore, I got to lay on the couch with him draped across my chest. My neck still hurts, and it’s 5pm.

Other than that here are some of his other milestones, which we’ll be diving into more in the upcoming days.

Gray officially eats cereal. Or some weird rice mush. He LOVES it. He sits in his little chair, and his mouth opens wide as I make airplane noises. Then he tries to eat it, which is as successful as eating with no teeth can be.

He also rolls over and over and over. Last night, as we were eating dinner, he was in his activity gym. Next thing we know, he’s rolling across the floor to get to Pooh Bear. Um, did not expect that.

His poops are teenager poops now. Yep, I went there. I guess adding the cereal has changed the consistency. It’s real life happening in his diaper. Terrifying real life.

Lastly, he’s started teething. This, Dibs believes, is directly related to him waking up early. I’m sooo not a fan of this.

Oh, and he’s still the cutest kid in the world.

Good catching up. Talk soon.