Monday, September 30, 2013

I Need A Camera Installed In My Brain

I wish I had a photo of it: Lois met her first horse over the weekend. She swears it tried to eat her. It DID lick her. She DID poke it in the eye.* I think both were properly traumatized. No pictures were taken.

This was after the CureSearch Walk**, in the park. Some riders came through and were surrounded by a sea of children. I'm sure they weren't expecting it but they were super kind about it and let everyone pet their very large, extremely friendly horses. I waited for the deluge of children to fade away before approaching with Lois.

It was funny, really, to see her survival instinct kick in. There was no way she was going to pet this thing. It was huge! She is tiny! Daddy, are you trying to make me into a snack for this monster or something?! She didn't cry because crying shows weakness. She did hide in daddy's arm while daddy pet the horse.

After a few moments she got brave and turned around from hiding in the crook of my arm, just in time for the horse to take an interest in her and lick her with a tongue the size of her entire torso.

Assuming that meant they were friends, she reached out and promptly tried to poke the horse in its overlarge eye, then pet its nose.

It was an awesome moment when she overcame her fear and reached out to the horse, even if it was to try and blind it.

*It blinked and protected its eye and I took her finger away. No damage done.
**We raised over $12,000 to help fight childhood cancer! Thank you to everyone who donated!

Friday, September 27, 2013


I feel like I have the weakest dad-arms west of Madrid. I can't hold my baby up more than a minute, maybe two, without having to shift her position, swing her around like a baton to my other side to be held with my other arm, and then do the same thing just a few minutes later.

How do other parents, moms and dads alike, do it? My arms scream out at me in agony within just minutes of holding my not-that-heavy little baby and here these other parents are somehow able to magically levitate their child, one-handed, over their head, without even the slightest wobble from their muscle!

Time to hit the gym?

Thursday, September 26, 2013


And then she fell.
Having a baby who is learning how to walk properly is a lot like having a small drunk person wandering around your home that you are 100% liable for. Things will become mysteriously broken with nobody willing to accept blame. Tears may be shed. Bruises may occur.

You can see the intense concentration on her face while she walks, carefully picking up each foot and figuring out with extreme deliberation where to place it. Sometimes she takes too long and loses her balance, flopping on the floor bonelessly; other times she's successful, heading in a generally forward motion, bobbing and weaving side-to-side like a professional boxer.

I'm  proud of my daughter for being feetwardly mobile. Now she just needs to stop falling into things and I'll stop having mini heart-attacks whenever she's wandering toward a table or something equally hard.

That would be nice.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Corollary To The Gym

Going to the gym has apparently made her braver at home, as well. I submit proof:

"Hi daddy! I'm just going to climb up here, okay?"

"Ooh, a camera? Let me unsteadily run and charge at you and maybe fall off the couch!"
She then attempted to dive, face-first, off of the couch. It somehow caught me absolutely by surprise but I was able to grab her in such a way as to flip her, head-over-heels*, and land her on her bum. She's still not quite getting this concept of "feet first" to get off the couch. Either that or she thinks her nose is a "feet."

*Is it just me, or should this saying be "heels-over-head?"

From Half A World Away! (Well, Close Anyway)

Proud grandpa with a happy baby!
Grandpa Quentin and Grandma Barbara, from the great state of Oregon, came to visit us and our little one for the past few days, having left only this morning after a breakfast at IHOP.

Lois stole one of grandpa's pieces of bacon right off his plate as it was set down at our table. She didn't even look the least bit guilty as she chowed down with glee, the little thief.

It was a great visit and grandpa even got to join us at Lois's first ever class at Romp n' Roll!

Sharing a moment with Grandma.
Let me tell you, I think these classes are going to be great. The first one went well and I'm looking forward to going back with her next week! I think she would look forward to it too if she understood it was going to happen again and that whole concept of "time" and "the future."

There were only three of the ten children who were supposed to be in the class but I think it's good it was a smaller class so Lois wasn't too overstimulated. She enjoyed playing with the parachute and got a little extra special attention from the people running it since there were so few kids.

"You mind?! I'm workin' here!"
They sing songs, dance, play with instruments (all coached in a way to teach the young ones concepts like "hold it high" or "hold it low") and I was really impressed at how well-managed the whole thing was. She giggled, danced, and threw balls at other babies!

But in a good way!

With grandpa and grandma here, activities to do every day, and generally being the amazing baby she is, the past few days have been great and we're all so glad they were able to come say hello while they were on the east coast.

On a side note, people need to visit more often and keep us busy during the day: Lois has been sleeping really well, even though she's teething again. I guess what I'm saying is that we love you all, and we love that you tire out our baby so much!

Now, a couple of pictures that tell a story:

At Romp n' Play with Auntie Amanda, mommy, and daddy!
The barrel is a little bit scary. (Side note: Sorry, hon.)
But we have a super brave baby!

Blurry celebrations all around!

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm Just Going To Say "No Thank You" For Now

We stepped into the room and less than three seconds later stepped out. No way were we walking in there to stay. The nearest child had snot the color and consistency of pea soup running down his face, the second one in view was coughing loud enough to shake the foundations of the library. Somewhere else, a child sneezed several times in a row.

We were not going to playgroup at the library today.

Instead, we joined other parents with their children in the actual library to play with the toys available there. It seems that while the small playroom was full with about 20 children, at least 5 other parents agreed with me that that small room was not the place to be unless you wanted to catch the Plague.

Thankfully we have a really awesome library that has a huge section dedicated to kids! We're really blessed in that sense; they have a huge library section and lots of family-friendly get-togethers.

Lois enjoyed herself with the toys and other children*, learned that sharing is good for everyone, not just for others to share with her, and also learned that getting whacked in the head with a book isn't the most fun thing in the world.

The most fun toys, EVER.
The little boy's mother was absolutely mortified as we both watched her son bring the millimeter-thick book down on my daughter's head. Several times. Laughing with glee. She apologized a hundred times while Lois looked confused about what had just happened and I chuckled.

Because really, it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't a hammer. The kid didn't go for the eyes or the jugular*, and obviously Lois was fine. No tears, just confusion. I didn't get upset because there's no point.

A few minutes later another mom came over and said to me "I would have lit into that mother if she had let her little boy beat my daughter like that! I'm surprised you could control yourself! She needs to learn how to handle that little boy better!"


I explained, after a moment of confusion, that it wasn't a big deal. My daughter was fine. Her son stopped when told "stop." There was no point of getting angry.

She looked at me like I had three heads and one of those heads was spouting Nazi propaganda. I don't think either of us got our point across to the other. I'm pretty sure I didn't and I know she didn't: I've never met someone who wants to get across to others that they're a crazy person who overreacts to everything. I mean, if that is actually what she did want to get across to me then I guess she succeeded but I'm guessing it's not.

She has made me curious now, though. Is it just me? Would you have gotten upset about a gentle book beating of your child, assuming nobody was hurt? Would you have lit into the other mother to control her child better? Am I just too laid back about this?

I'd really love to hear your thoughts because she has me confused and curious.

*Who are not pictured here because I did not get express permission from the parents to put them on my blog. Any time you see my daughter with another child in these photos I have asked the parents if I can take their child's photo AND if they are okay with the picture going onto this blog. I would hope others would have the same courtesy.

**I put "jaguar" here way more times that I care to admit. Also, a paper cut to the jugular would be one of the weirdest things to explain at the ER, I think.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Please Take A Moment

I'm going to be serious for a moment here and I'll tell you up front: I'm going to ask you to consider donating to a cause. I don't see myself doing this often, if ever again, and so I'm asking you to take a few minutes to read what I have to say. Please.

Today I signed up to walk for The CureSearch Walk, as part of Team Becca. Laura and I will be driving out there this weekend to walk this walk with family and friends of Becca. If you click that link you'll be able to read her story, which I ask you do.

It's been amazing to see family and friends of this little girl's family come together and help. They're almost at their goal of raising $7500 and 40 walkers as part of their team! With only $224 to go until their goal, every dollar helps.

Here I am, hat in hand, asking you to spare a bit if you can.

My friend Ferrett said it better.

Becca's dad has a blog as well.

I'm not good at emotional appeals. I just know that I want to help. Please help if you can.

Thank you.

(If you want to donate through my page as part of Team Becca specifically, here is the link for that.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Think I'm Doing This Right...

"Oh, look what we've got here!"
 I build the tower twenty, probably thirty times a day. Sometimes higher, sometimes shorter, and sometimes I'm not even able to put it down onto the floor.

It rocks unsteadily when I am finally able to set it down and it taunts her, obviously. I think it might even call to her, regardless of where she is or what she's doing because she stops and looks, even if she was engrossed in trying to get the cat's darting and dancing tail a moment before.

And then, disaster.

"Tower? What tower? There was never a tower here, daddy."
Well, disaster if it were actually some kind of tower that housed people, their pets, and their lives.

As it stands, it's only a disaster in that it makes the little one happy and now daddy has to build it again.

And again.

And again.

Right up until it stops making her laugh, making her smile.

So again.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Because I'm Ridiculous

"Yes, actually. It DOES have my name on it!"
I would like to point out that this is a picture of a baby chair, with a dog motif, on which a cat is sitting, being stared at (and threatened) by a baby. That's a pretty awesome and hilarious trifecta to this brain in my head.

All we need now is a snake or maybe a bird to make it wild kingdom!

Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go take a lighter away from the baby.

Let's pretend I'm joking.

Friday, September 13, 2013

One Million and One

Today I'm going to talk about something that I know you've heard a million times from a million parents. I'm going to put my own take on it, try to help you understand where I'm coming from, of course, but really; you've heard it all before.

And that's okay.

The other day I went to the store, leaving my little one with Laura so I could pick up a few things quickly and then rush back home. Everything was going well until disaster struck:

I saw someone I knew.

Don't get me wrong: I love this person. She is amazing, makes any gathering more fun, and I have no problems with her at all. She's awesome. That had nothing to do with it.

Seriously, she's a great friend and we love her.
But I was exhausted.

I wasn't just tired. Everyone's "tired." I think it's part of being a human. I don't know anybody in my life who hasn't replied at least once to a casual "Hey, you okay?" with "I'm just tired."

We're all tired. We're human.

But no. This is different. I was done. I was 100% not mentally awake enough to deal with anything more than "get things I need, give payment, leave." If anything other than that was required of me I might possibly shut down right then and there, unable to compute.

And here she was, smiling at me from 5 feet away in the dairy section of the store.

I was pleased to see her by my brain was scrambling. What do I say? How do humans interact again? Wait, smile! No, not grimace, smile! That's better. Not too wide; she'll think you're going insane. I am? Oh, okay, wider then! Now, say something. Good. Good job.

I joked a while back that being a parent of a small child is great for introverts, and it's true! I could use Lois as an excuse to get out of anything (but I don't really use her as one - I like seeing my friends). But there's the flip side:

I have to be "on" 100% of the time my baby is awake.

I smile. I laugh. I coo. I read stories for the thirty-seventh time in a row with no end in sight. I lovingly encourage the baby to walk, to climb, to play with that toy. I nod and tell her how awesome she's doing when she's playing with a toy properly. I sing to her.

Because that's what a good dad does.

But that doesn't make it less exhausting, just because I know I'm being a good dad, showing love and support to my baby daughter. No. It's tiring being "on" every minute she's awake. It really is. And it's not like I can say "Well baby-girl, I have to go do this thing over here for a few hours to recharge my batteries. Watch yourself, okay?" Because, like I said, I'm trying to be a good dad over here.

Note: NONE of this is saying that I can't say to Laura "Hon, I need me time away from the baby." Laura is AWESOME about being a fantastic and amazing mother, who supports me and the baby while getting her PhD and saving the world as a part-time superhero on weekends. I cannot stress enough how awesome she is. She is my rock.

Just because I have Laura here, though, doesn't make some days less exhausting. Some days where, in the past I would just pull up the covers and go back to sleep, or take a nap or a walk alone in the woods. Some days where, in the past, I would have disappeared into a video game. I can't do those things. I have to soldier through because I'm a dad and I need to be there for the little one whom I love so much.

This is who I mean. This little stinkpot, right here.
And here I was, exhausted, broken, at the store, and I had to socialize.

Then I realized something.

This is Amanda.

Amanda's an introvert!

Oh, glory of glories! She'll understand!

And she did. After the brief introductory and cursory friendly hellos I explained in a very elegant and intelligent way: "Amanda, I'm sorry, I can't brain right now, or people." She laughed and immediately understood what I meant and why.

But being a parent? It's tiring. Even when you have a baby who only wakes you once a night instead of 6 times (and if she weren't teething she probably wouldn't wake us at all) it's tiring. Your body can handle it but you have to remember that your brain is a muscle too and it gets tired.

Parenthood is amazing but amazing things are often exhausting. So cut your new-parent friend a little bit of slack when you see them in public and they pretend not to see you. It's not you, it's the baby. I promise.*

*Promise void when wrong.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Beginning of a New Era

The baby is now a toddler.

She has strung together at least five steps in a row, several times.

We are in SO much trouble. I'm proud and scared. What will I mess up now that she can walk around and isn't confined to being carried or crawled.

And does this mean that she will soon become obsessed with shoes? Or maybe she'll be a wild-child. Shoeless Lois.

I don't even know what I'm saying right now. I'm just proud and terrified.