Weekend update

What is it with the Internet and weekends? I’ve noticed for sometime now that once the work week ends, posts, status updates, tweets, links, etc. all begin to run dry. Sure seems like, despite recommendations to the contrary, a lot of people still tie their personal Internet connectivity to their jobs. Tsk! Tsk!

Of course that would be better for me than writing this late… Holy cow! It’s not even 10 PM! How’d that happen? The past couple of weeks have been pretty rough in the parenting department. The wee lil’ one had lost interest in sleeping through the night and continued to turn her nose up at the concept of napping. Thus our past week or so has been dedicated to correcting this most inconvenient behavior. After briefly discussing and even more briefly testing a few suggestions, we’ve finally settled back into our old routine with just a tad more parental strength in an attempt to reclaim our past success. So far it’s been decent – although the promise of a regular nap over 1 hour long continues to elude us…

Still, it chipped away at my sanity and free time which is why I, once again, have failed at NaBloPoMo. But even with all of these distractions, I’m only a few posts behind my pace in 2007 and have written way more in a 3 week span than almost any 3 month span in the past couple of years. Now if only I could convince people to read it…

Best reality show ever

I caved. Or we caved. Somebody caved. After weeks of battling with the little one over her new desire to stand up in her crib in the middle of the night and demand attention, it was time for routines and reactions to be changed. And to help out, I finally ditched our el cheapo baby monitor and picked up one of those new fangled moving picture units. Only 10 or 12 months too late.

When a monitor was initially purchased, there wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into it. I wasn’t keen on anything beyond just audio – something just seemed a tad overkill with all of the video and motion sensors out there these days. Can’t we all just walk into the nurseries and accidentally wake wake our kids up while checking their breathing like parents did in ye olden days?

The issue finally came to a head this week when it was determined that we needed to know Kayleigh’s positioning before going into her room at night. Because sitting or standing while calling out for momma is a real priority over the typical grunts, sighs, groans, and grumblings let out while still lying down and half asleep.

In reality I’ve always liked the video feature because I’m very curious what our noisy little one is doing all night long with the tossing and the turning. For the first time tonight, I actually get to see those moments as they happen! So far she has straightened her legs out, curled them back in, rolled onto her right side, rolled back to her back and so much more. Seriously, I could watch this all night – especially if the night vision didn’t cast an otherworldly “color” on her (hooray for infrared).

P.S. First incident passed with flying… greyscale? She went back to sleep all on her own. Now if only I could.

The alternative vocabulary

Kayleigh’s been talking for some time now. And I don’t mean that babbling stuff babies typically do when they’re simply trying to mimic adults. I mean she’s been speaking English – real words and real sentences for some time. People are often caught off guard when they hear such a wee one use phrases like “open door” or “that’s a lotta cheese”. As exciting it is to have a mini genius running around, it’s also very useful. After making a few grunts and then calmly saying “doody,” all doubt as to the necessity of a diaper change is removed. And now she adds her new catchphrases of “stinky” and “oof” to hammer home the point.

But there are still some words and phrases that she has trouble with. Whether she has trouble with the pronunciation or is just stuck in a bad habit, it’s kind of fun to decipher her meaning from time to time. Here’s a sampling of her take on the English language:

  • buzz – butterfly (this is even funnier when she talks about a “beautiful buzz”, a phrase more common in college)
  • oh gongee – thank you (she also says “thank you” correctly, but this is reserved for when she is giving something rather than receiving)
  • se-lup – sit up (this one probably has more to do with laziness)
  • slungee – glasses (she seems to think that all glasses are sunglasses)
  • Missy – Miffy (even cuter when she couldn’t say f or s and called her Mimmy)
  • dump dee – diamond (still not sure how this came about)
  • opto – octopus, ager – alligator, caliper – caterpillar (can’t really blame her for shortening some animal names)

Kayleigh also has a slew of phrases that are more or less correct, but not totally accurate. Her cry of “huggie mommy” is really a request to be picked up – not just hugged. “Walkie daddy” indicates that she wants to walk, but is open ended when is come to which parent is involved. Midway through meals “all done” indicates her desire to get out of the highchair, even though she’ll continue eating whatever is in front of her. And, of course, “bye bye” can mean “goodbye” as well as “I would like this situation to go away”.

When you’re talking in your sleep

Too many noises coming over the monitor means a restless night for Kayleigh and for Mommy and Daddy. Maybe I’m just using that as an excuse to stay up a little later and write something. But when you have a baby in the house, sleep is the most common thing to talk about (besides poop, of course).

Kayleigh all shmooped out on her momma
Kayleigh all shmooped out on her momma

Unfortunately just when we got a decent bedtime routine going… alright maybe a couple months after… all sorts of crazy baby changes began to conspire against us. There’s things like teething, which just makes life miserable for children and parents alike. There’s also the fact that she’s never come close to having a steady napping routine, which leads to varied states of crankiness in the evening. And now we’ve got the whole “look at me, I can stand up on my own in the crib” thing going on. Yeah, the first night I stumbled into her room in the middle of the night to find her standing at the railing was just a tad freaky. At least she’s usually in a better mood than when she’s just sitting there…

Regardless, this new found penchant for standing up whenever she felt like it forced The Woman and I to make a change to her sleeping arrangements. Out goes the bumper! I’m sure it was supposed to be removed months ago, but we left it in – largely because a certain someone thought it was just prettier that way…

The previous look
The previous look

Exciting, isn’t it?

Kayleigh stomps around her altered digs
Kayleigh stomps around her altered digs

That’s more like it.

So far so good. Coupled with a little tough love and the presence of her favorite Miffy doll our nights have settled down a bit. Which is good for all of us – after all, who doesn’t love a sleeping baby?

Extra early nap for a tired Kayleigh
Extra early nap for a tired Kayleigh

P.S. Yes, this post is my attempt to kick start some serious photo blogging.

The times they are a-changin’

I started to write about Kayleigh’s wonderful sleep habits. And then I switched to writing about how horrible they had become. And then it was about how she had snapped out of it and started sleeping well again. And then, just in case you couldn’t guess, it was back to the bad. That would be a short synopsis of how things are going – they change constantly.

So let me focus on what really matters right now: Kayleigh honestly becomes more wonderful everyday. In spite of any setbacks with the sleep routine or eating (does she really need to throw half the banana on the floor), her beautiful smile and sweet disposition overshadows everything. Yeah, I’m gushing – but that’s what us dads do. And the biggest reason for me to gush these days? She really loves me, too.

You see, for a while there Kayleigh got wrapped up in my role as the Bringer of Bedtime. When I got home from work, fun time was over and I was just going to rock the dickens out of her until drowsiness took hold and she lost another night of playing with Mom. Coupled with her separation anxiety (which now only applied to The Woman) this meant that my return from work was greeted with a brief smile followed by wailing and gnashing of teeth at her impending fate. Never mind the fact that most times I wasn’t rushing her off to bed – logic need not apply to babies! All that mattered was that I was linked to her most hated part of the day.

But like everything else, that changed. One day I came home, she flashed a HUGE smile, said “Daddy!” and reached out for a hug. And unlike before, she was actually excited to come to me and be held. No rushing off to hide from Mommy or distract her with a video. She stayed in my arms willingly – even while standing next to her preferred parent. And now our routine has expanded to include a nice walk around the neighborhood to ease into bed time.

Oh those walks! Nothing but big smiles and pointing out all of the words she knows – tree, dog, car. We say hi to the neighbors and watch birds fly over head. She lets me munch on her neck and blow raspberries and toss her up in the air. This is becoming my favorite part of the day.

Somehow her congeniality even extends into the morning routine. When I pick her up out of the crib she says, “Hi Daddy, nice” and then proceeds to gently pet me. And she even happily comes with me after that first nursing, to spend some quality time with Dad, running around in circles on her toy while I throw things at her. It’s the little things…

I better wrap this post up before she wakes and forces me to add another paragraph about her new bad habits. Expect some more pictures in the coming days – she’s just too cute to resist.

The end of year one

Exactly one year ago at this time my wife started to feel real contractions. We wouldn’t head to the hospital until the next afternoon, and Kayleigh wouldn’t make her appearance until the following day. But it all started on this night.

I’m amazed to realize that a full year has gone by. I had a lot more plans to make regular updates over the course of these twelve months, but a funny thing happened on the way: I fell in love. It’s true. I’d rather sit on the floor and watch her bang two random toys together in a nonsensical way than to sit at the computer and post about it. And let’s face it, just how exciting are those “she pooped a lot today” or “we started feeding her solids, so her poop is not as watery” or “Kayleigh’s poop is a different color than usual, should I be worried?” entries?

Alright, it had more to do with laziness and exhaustion. It would have been wonderful to have a collection of posts detailing her daily changes to enjoy years from now. Instead I’ll just have to rely on The Woman’s journal and the 10,000 photos that were taken…

Expect some year end summaries to grace this site over the next few days. Maybe then I’ll be able to turn this into a regular pattern…

Da-Da

I had a post in mind this morning as Kayleigh slept in my arms. It was going to talk about how quickly she’s changing and there’s so much I already miss. But that can wait, because something far more important arose.

As I was getting dressed for the day, and Kayleigh was in her mother’s arms, she looked over at me and said, “Da-Da.” She then smiled her unbelievably adorable smile and reached her arms out for me. And then I nearly cried.

The question often comes up, “Do you feel like a dad?” But the answer doesn’t really matter anymore, because the only person that really matters – my baby girl – let me know that I am not just a dad, I’m her Dad.

Kayleigh and Da-Da

This may just be the awesomest day ever…

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

I used to make fun of bloggers who disappeared once they had a kid. I used to do a lot of things. I don’t anymore.

A couple months after Kayleigh was born, my Mom asked me what caught me off guard the most. When it comes down to it, those questions can be such a paradox. I mean, I totally knew that raising a kid was going to kick my ass even if I wasn’t sure how. But does knowing that you don’t know mean that suddenly you know… Wow, I think I forgot how to write in English… So let’s just cut to the chase.

Sleep.

More specifically, the lack thereof. Whether you have kids of your own or simply experienced what it was like on Mad About You, everybody is familiar with the concept that new parents don’t get to sleep much. I was prepared for that. Hell, you could say that I’ve been preparing for it since junior high when I pretty much stopped sleeping normal hours. The Woman is well familiar with the notion that I would go to sleep after her, wake up before her, and yet still be more alert. So it seemed like I would be able to cover nights with a little less difficulty than most.

Yeah… right. Two things pretty much killed that possibility. First, during the months leading up to Kayleigh taking over our lives, I suddenly became tired – even though I was sleeping more than usual. This probably had something to do with the fact that I was involved with a huge relocation at work, demolishing the kitchen, demolishing and rebuilding what became the nursery, and generally running around like those proverbial headless chickens. Nevertheless, it threw off my body’s natural disinterest in sleep.

Second, once Kayleigh did arrive I found out that sleeplessness due to a baby is completely different from sleeplessness due to work, video games, horror movies, or moderate levels of alcohol. Our “night times” became ridiculously long – heading to bed by 7 PM and getting out of bed around after 7 AM – yet we only got a couple hours of sleep each night. Pretty soon we were scheduling our own naptimes with rather limited success, seeing as how she did not want to cooperate.

Of course nothing is constant with kids – babies that sleep well for months can suddenly start getting up every 2 hours – and as time went by Kayleigh learned to sleep through the night… wait… no. This has been pretty constant. She doesn’t like to sleep. At least not unless she’s in our arms. Otherwise it’s a bit of a struggle. We’ve had her in a bassinet, in a pack ‘n play, on the couch, in her crib, with us in our bed. It’s just not her thing. She wants to be awake and hanging out with the ‘rents. On the one hand I’m flattered, but on the other I’m tired. Actually, both hands are tired.

And so we continue to fiddle with her schedule, musical accompaniment, rocking rhythms, and chloroform dossage to take another step closer to that mythical being known as the child that sleeps through the night. Sigh. Actually, these days we’ve got her back in her crib after taking about a month off from it, and now that she can stretch out without headbutting Daddy the first half of the night is going much more smoothly. And that means that we can now take advantage of the time to get some sleep of our own. Or, you know, watch some TV, read message boards, and take stupid quizzez on Facebook. Yeah, now that Kayleigh is learning more about the wonders of sleep, maybe it’s time we get back to it, too.

I’ve rambled enough with no real point, but at least I’ve broken the seal again. Maybe I can figure out how to get posts in regularly during the 10 minutes that I’m not at work, taking care of Kayleigh, or sleeping. Well, maybe sleep really isn’t that important…