Sunday, May 25, 2014

Moving Along

Last week, I discussed the positive momentum of our child transitioning from “demon spawn” to “manageable chore”. Of course, I jinxed us and the next day was murder. But then back on track and there have some interesting developments this past week.

1)      Gunner is finally starting to develop enough stomach acids and enzymes to make food digestion no longer mimic an Oklahoma lethal injection. He now digests in relative comfort. This feat has also led to a substantial reduction in his poops, best described as “going through a small recession”. His 3 to 4 diaper bombs old productivity is now 1 or 2, but it is not close to a full market crash where there is any cause of concern.
2)      My wife had a birthday. Of course, we celebrated the day as much as possible without Mr. I Need to Be the Center of Attention. We went for a couples massage. I must say all new parents need to hop on this asap. Carrying that baby around tightens up everything in the back and shoulders and you need it relaxed out. Of course, just know that all that relaxation goes away in the next 24 hours of holding and carrying and swaying your baby again. But hopefully my wife had a great day.
3)      Gunner managed to watch the very entertaining Champions League Final without disruption…a vital moment in our relationship and I’m not sure we would have been able to recover if he ruined that viewing experience for both of us. Now we have 30 days of daily matches for the World Cup…gauntlet thrown down. Good luck buddy.

Warning: next week’s topic will cover a somewhat inappropriate topic of conversation but one I feel necessary to explore and report.

Watching Champions League with his buddy Maddox...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Oh Yeah

10 weeks old and we finally may have a human child! Until this weekend, I wasn’t quite so sure. Some days I thought “what a cute baby! we are so blessed” and other days were more like “where did this pterodactyl screeching thing come from?!?!” Most days I was convinced we ended up in some sci-fi supernatural psychological prison for our minds…a constant unrelenting swirl of chaos and pain with rare glimpses of hope and cuteness sporadically dangled to only create further despair.

Oh but what a baby Gunner is becoming. This weekend was a series of small victories for the parents that even made me happy.
1) Dad was able to rock him to sleep for the first time. Until now, he only slept with Dad if he was a) already sleeping when I got him or b) cried himself to complete exhaustion. New leaf: turned!
2) He put himself back to sleep when stirred. Until now, if Gunner stirred in his sleep, he woke himself up, then would be very upset that he was now both tired and awake, and he would let us know how unhappy he was. But now, he stirred, woke up, looked around, realized things were still kosher, and fell back asleep. Mountain: climbed!
3) He cried his first grown up tear. Oh yes, Gunner had a Disney cartoon tear drop roll down his cheek. Dad laughed. Mom photographed it. It was great. Our best guess, he was hungry and we were putting socks on him before giving him his bottle. Either way, he looked like a little dude and it was cute. Corner: turned!
4) Gunner had a nice little 36 hour constipation followed by a 3 diaper explosive poop. We knew it was coming soon and it could have been a whole lot worse. Crisis: averted!

It was a good weekend. Crying is diminishing slowly, eating is getting cleaner, sleeping is getting better and longer. Hopefully we can build on this positive momentum, keep things going in the right direction, keep learning and progressing and bettering ourselves….like normal human babies do.

Look at that tear...I mean, seriously...

 King sized bed all to himself, mom and dad on the couch...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to All

So our “first” Mother’s Day has come and gone. I say “first” because we have celebrated Mother’s Day with our dogs and cat since 2006 but this Mother’s Day was our first with a human baby.

This year has led me to believe ALL mothers deserve praise and appreciation, even if just for child birth alone. But more so dealing with the constant crying and sleeplessness, ALL mothers deserve a lot. Yes, even the psycho mothers. These women deserve far more than any husband or boyfriend or baby daddy will ever be able to provide through 1-800-Flowers or Godiva Chocolates or inappropriate R. Kelly songs. These women deserve bi-partisan unilateral social reform that says “Uncle Sam will help you now so make sure that baby doesn’t grow up to suck later.” Let’s retool federal spending like Section 8, Social Security, Welfare, and Food Stamps to pay for programs more beneficial to new mothers everywhere. Some ideas are:

1)      During pregnancy, all mothers-to-be get prenatal vitamins and specialty coupons to eat healthy foods like fish, fruits, and veggies. Also during pregnancy, they get coupons for exercise classes, mani/pedis, and massages. Put this money back into the economy in a way we all appreciate. Men will not argue this one. Trust me. Just make the math line up.
2)      Post birth, provide a network of overnight nannys that either do home visits or even work at a hotel-like facility where mothers can have sleep-full nights while the overnight shift is covered by a loving, trusting nanny. These are federal employees, screened like CIA agents not TSA workers, who give new mothers 1 or 2 days of sleep every week. The quality of life on both parents will lead to improved work performance and our Gross Domestic Product will benefit to help offset the program costs.

I have been reading a wonderful book “Brain Rules for Baby” by John Medina. It is full of wonderful scientifically backed ways to promote a healthy stimulating environment for raising a baby. One recurring theme is to avoid a lot of the negative stress a newborn baby brings to new parents. I found it amazing how impactful (in a bad way) a baby changes a marriage, any marriage, and all marriages. In our marriage, my wife and I use humor to argue through any unhappiness and it works for us well. But not many couples are so lucky and in these situations, the mother has the most to lose.

3)      Create programs to promote counseling and paternal involvement in parenting would help. No more seed planting and moving on. Everyone suffers through a baby. And after a certain number of kids, sterilize the parents please. We don’t need any more Kardashians. Being a third child myself, I think 3 is a good cut off (after having a kid, I’m really also a proponent of 1 and Done). 4 or more is just selfish. If you can’t get it right by 3, stop trying. And if you think every kid you have is a blessing, then your delusional mental state proves you’re an unfit parent for 1 kid much less multiple children. This goes for men and women. Safety first.

Time to have a backbone America and give a helping hand to the wonderful ladies that endure a lot to ensure our nation has a solid generation to always grow on.

 To the most amazing mom....

Kalli (on the left) and Gunner (right) at 3 months....

I believe that we will win!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Raising a Man with a Plan

So in the first 8 weeks of Gunner’s life, I have come to realize that my strengths as a father are in the moments of productivity with my son and not the “fluff”. Baths, feedings, diaper changes, story time readings with me are best described as transcending moments of joy and enlightenment. However, I do struggle with the fluff moments. Poor Gunner should not look to dear ol’ dad for his upset stomach, fighting sleep, acid reflux, etc. I don’t comfort as well as I produce results in the end game. With that in mind, Gunner and I are crafting his life game action plan. Note: Deviations are allowed only after unanimous approval from Mom, Dad, and all Kids residing at our house.

1)      Learn French and Spanish (doesn’t have to be fluent but have a good working knowledge)
2)      Play the Piano
3)      Play Soccer, Basketball, and Baseball until age 12 then can narrow down to 1 sport if desired (which sport is up for discussion)
4)      Ben Franklin High School Class of ‘32
5)      Stanford Class of ‘36
6)      He can pick his Grad School (assuming he picks wisely…no online schools)
7)      Can’t root for anything LSU while Les Miles is still there
8)      Will have to justify to Dad before not rooting for the Yankees and Saints and Pelicans. If he can  argue well enough, he can root for any baseball team that isn’t the Red Sox, any football team that isn’t the Falcons, and simply can’t root for any NBA team without approval
9)      No drinking until convinced he is smart enough to not die or kill anyone and no sex until convinced he is smart enough to not come home with a baby
10)  Taste in girls will be highly scrutinized which will make sure he respects all women for everything wonderful they offer (but really to avoid the hot but crazy ones!)
11)  No listening to brass bands for fun. Not worth it unless drinking in a crowd

This is list will grow and adapt as Gunner gets older until it molds into a fantastic little autobiography he can be proud of.

The looks of a man who knows what he likes and what he doesn't...

Friday, May 2, 2014

And Now Some Fun

Gunner is now 8 weeks old, the monumental age where my wife and I decided to start sleep training our baby. Oh the joy…forcing an often miserably uncomfortable baby to sleep in his crib, in his room, away from his mother, out of her arms, on a cold mattress, surrounded by prison bars, replacing our voices with generic soft music, and all this for 8 to 12 hours stretches. Yay (in low and drifting tone)!

For this necessary evil, pray for us. As a nice treat, the week prior to is a nice trip to the beach for Gunner’s first road trip and vacation. He is meeting his cousin Drew for the first time who is only 3 weeks older than him. He will have his first swim, first walk in the sand, and first taste of Flor-Bama which will immediately be followed by his first tetanus and penicillin shots. Got to love the redneck Riviera that is Gulf Shores.

Gunner and his cousin Drew...