Sunday, December 13, 2015

Holiday Season Again

Once again, I have had a longer than normal or desired layoff from posting about our son and our parenting and how this adventure continues like Star Wars sagas. 6 weeks is too long in the lesson plan of life for a child. It's like trying to explain fractions to the kid who just learned he has the same number of fingers as he has toes. A lot has happened in between so I will try to post much more frequently more forward.

Gunner is 21 months. This holiday season started much like year 1. His Halloween rocked. Much credit to my wife who brought the classic Ace Ventura to trick and treat. That was followed by getting sick for most of November. What are the odds? He has had 2 Novembers and really hasn't been able to fully enjoy either. Thanksgiving was a fun time with family and Christmas and New Year's are looking like a grand ole time a coming!

But what is it like parenting a 21 month old? It is bloody brilliant. It is a twisting tale the likes of James Bond and Ethan Hunt must endure as to what to do, say, and think....always on your toes, always with your wits. In the last two months, Gunner is rapidly progressing in two areas, 1) actual talking and words, and 2) bargaining. While a these skills are rough and communication is still developing, the interactions show signs of soaking in where unlike when he was younger, it was a lot of blank stares and "what the hell are you talking about" looks.

Example: Gunner wants something, we say no, he grunts angrily, we just shake our head, he moves on to something else. Next time he wants the same thing, he looks at us inquisitively, we say no, he moves on.

It is great. He has learned to say please or "pee-A-s" in the sweetest cutest way to try to get his way and he has no shame in how often he will throw it around. We reward it when appropriate but his gall in overusing it must be applauded.

The bargaining is also a new phenomenon with him and is fun to play with. He now understands the "must do this to get that" scenario. It started with his annual November illness. He was prescribed some awful chalky medicine for 2 weeks. First attempt: total refusal which led to a forced administering. Second attempt: my wife busted out the Halloween chocolate. Time for medicine sent Gunner whining, moaning, and rolling around the ground. My wife says "take your medicine and you can have some chocolate." Instantly, Gunner pauses. His interest is peaked. He is intrigued. He stops rolling and sits up. His whine is now a subtle whimper. It lasts for another couple minutes. Then he opens his mouth, takes his medicine, gives us a nasty piercing glare, and enjoys his chocolate. Classic. Not another issue with the meds.

The medicine incident got my wife and I to start pushing the bargaining often. We got him to taste some foods he historically wouldn't go with ten yards of. We got him to finish meals where the outside temptations and distractions are great. We have used it to get him to be nicer to other kids and adults and our dogs as well as to pick up his toys or clean up small messes he makes. There are of course times Gunner displays resistance in tantrum form when he doesn't want to do something to get something, but we have done well to hold strong and G has been amazing at realizing we are good to our word with the reward for a job well done. Good ole Management 101.

Plane Ride to Louisville.....
 "Why? No, no, no!"....
 Star on Tree....
 Donuts and Milk in the Morning....
 Ace Ventura for Halloween....
 Street Jenga....
 "Fun" in class....
 Official 20 Months....
 "Ready! Set!"....
 Thanksgiving Day....
 Laughing with Cousins Drew and Kenley....
 Official 21 Months....
 Christmas in NOLA, no shirt required....



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sorry for the Delay....But Now Nearly 20 Months....

So it has been nearly 2 months since my last post and I do apologize as the life of a 1.5 year old is an ever-moving ever changing experience. There are a ton of photos, ton of videos, ton of milestones, ton of silliness, ton of injuries, ton of the same old same....

Last blog was 2 weeks before Gunner became a 1.5 year old. He was still in baby purgatory of limited speech and physical capabilities. In these past 2 months, Gunner is developing his true colors. In my limited experience and observations with babies and child raising, I think it is quite obvious that each kid has their own niche and amusement that drives what a kid learns and when. For Gunner, it is letters and numbers and has been since maybe 4 or 5 months old. He has always just loved and been enthralled with letters and numbers. He can recite the alphabet, type the alphabet, and count to 10. It is amazing to watch and many people marvel that he is a genius. Oh he is not.

Gunner is just like all kids, he is better at some things and not as good at others. For him, letters and numbers are a joy. He kicks a soccer ball (thank you Jesus) but isn't too interested in football or baseball. He can't climb on and off the couch. His running and jumping is what one would call "clunky" or "wobbly", even though his bowed-legged-ness still makes it the cutest thing. Some babies talk up a storm where Gunner is still on a very limited vocab. But he did learn "please" today, even though I'm not 100% sure he knew why he was saying it....

I think at this age of learning, we as parents are just fortunate Gunner enjoys interacting as I feel he gets a lot from his interactions with my wife. He loves songs so a lot of his vocabulary and identifying objects lately as come from song lyrics....think Head/Shoulders/Knees/Toes and not Bruno Mars or Lil' Wayne. Also shapes, colors, and animals are becoming more intriguing daily. Coolest thing about kids is how something new seems to pop out of nowhere everyday. One day, it's a blank stare and the next it's a wave goodbye or a high five or the saying the word "shoes"....

But it's still all about the laugh, not the giggle, but the deep belly laugh. There is nothing better than a peek-a-boo session that can make your kid fall on his butt from laughing so hard. My proudest moments as a father are the two times G started coughing and choking from laughing so hard that we had to stop playing so he could recover his breathe. That is one of the few Lundberg traits that Gunner shows because myself, my brothers, and my father all sometimes laugh so hard we can't breathe. Other than that, Gunner is definitely his mother's son....Now time for photos galore....

Best Fonzi Impression....
 When you love letters, this art is just CRUEL....
 The look when you realize your parents have been holding out by not sharing the fun of painting!
Official 18 Month....
 
Official 19 Month....
 That guy who holds up the line at Starbucks being on his phone....
 "Okay, you sure you got this?"....
 "So....is it or isn't working correctly??"....
 All Force and Might....Dodgeball Killer!
 GG and Maddie....Album hits stores around Christmas....
 Trying to look like a 10 year old....
 Learned the selfie....and loves it....
 "Son of a....every time!!!!"....
 Whoa....Serious Donuts....
 Baby Gymnastics is legit....

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Simply Amazing

Living with a one and half year old is actually a pretty awesome thing. It is clearly underrated. It is more like watching a street theater at times, live unscripted and in your living room. Once Gunner wakes up, we just let him loose and can watch him go. And what he does is simply amazing.

He pulls out book after book and tries to read them. He pulls out toy after toy and plays in his own little world of imagination. He runs from room to room, playing with whatever he feels in whatever way he feels. While it may seem like chaos to drive a parent crazy, it really is more like an engineer tinkering to make a robot arm move. There is the perfect storm of cognition and inexperience to where Gunner can make an experience out of anything.

When he first could reach doorknobs, he just wanted to open and close the doors. Now, it's a game. Dad's in the fridge, quick run and close the door on his head. Dad's in the bedroom, quick run and lock him. Dad's in the bathroom, quick run and open the door. All of these are done with huge smiles before and laughter after.

When it comes to talking, he is still clearly not very good but everything is attempted to be a word, even if what comes out is just a gargled grunting one syllable noise. But he is having more fun with letters, words, numbers, and objects by trying to say them. There is an amazing vocabulary/dictionary in his head that in no way makes sense to anyone except Gunner.

All in all, more things are fun than scary. Saints in the dome, yes please. Dogs play fighting in the house, yes please. Stairs, swings, anything that shoots water or bubbles, yes please.

Best of all, there is the music. Gunner has always clearly enjoyed when people sing or when music is on. But now, there is just enough understanding to knock your socks off. He can make sounds on rhythm and pitch with his favorite songs. He can clap along with rhythm and pitch also. He tries dancing but he takes after his mother in that area so that's nothing to brag about.

First trip to the Dome for dem Saints....
 Not really interested in the game....
 But loved them Dome nachos....
 Hot summer days in New Orleans....snacking in the ac while Dad works in the heat....must be nice....
 He knows what he wants.....we read that same book a record 11 times in a row....
 Beignets in City Park....
 Chalk board fun....thanks Mom for helping the world recognize his talent and vision....
 Getting big....
 Photo Op with his Great Grandfather....
 Gymnastics class....for babies....craziness....

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sometimes....It's all about "finding" the joy

I feel like there are 4 types of parents; 1) some people are "born" to be parents, great intuition, patience, and communication skills with kids, 2) some people are just awesome people who are amazing parents because they are so awesome, 3) some people work to figure this parenting thing out, and 4) some people should never be allowed around kids, ever, no matter what. While for Gunner's sake, I wish I was more like #1 or #2 (my wife is annoyingly some hybrid of #1 and #2, that is why I can't stand her sideways glances when Gunner and I are not meeting eye to eye on an issue), but in truth, myself and most adults on this planet are #3s. (Thank God I can safely admit I can proudly remove myself from any consideration of being a #4. I ain't that bad.)

But being a #3, one very key component is to "find" the joys of being a parent. #1s innately just know where it is. #2s are masters of finding the joy in everything in life so with kids, it's no different. #4s are clueless donkeys who can't figure it out. But for most of us, parenting can very easily become a grind when the kid isn't all giggles and high fives.

In these moments, it is time to "find" the joy and here are a few examples from my experiences.

1) Gunner is aggravatingly whining and clingy for no real reason for hours. His only comfort is being held or being swung through the air for amusement. Gunner is also massively heavy and chubby and this is takes its toll on my arms and back. The joy: make a gym routine workout, creating reps and sets, varying angles such as lifting from low right to high left to work the core also. He is now a 32 lb medicine ball. Thank you Gunner, it's beach season.

2) Gunner is obsessed with being outside. July in New Orleans is as hot as Hansel from Zoolander. He aggravatingly whines when we don't go when he wants to. The joy: two scenarios, a) our neighbor's feral cat army is sleeping in our carport and we do a blitzkrieg rush to chase them off, or b) I leave outdoor chores for myself. Now our solar panels are clean, our decorative outside lights are fixed and hung, our palm trees are trimmed, etc. Thank you Gunner for helping spruce up the patio and scaring the freeloading cats away.

3) While Gunner eats a ton of food, the variety of what he is eating has been shrinking. The joy: In efforts to boost the creativity of his intake, I am able to convince my wife to allow us to eat less than healthier but oh so delicious things. Cinnamon rolls, chips and queso, various pizzas....it is awesome. We even started doing cinnamon toast, CINNAMON TOAST! I haven't made myself cinnamon toast since I was 12 and now I have had a slice almost every day this month. Thank you Gunner.

And there other scenarios. I juggle a soccer ball in the house because "I am teaching Gunner". I take the remote because "I don't want Gunner watching too much tv or watching my wife's bad reality shows and learning how to act like Ramona". Find the joy so it doesn't feel like a chore. I mean, every kid needs to whip and then Nene, so get over it and enjoy.

Sign of the tough times....for child AND parent....
 God bless fun with water....

 Ava, "Hi." Gunner, "Hey."
.
 Batting practice....or bunting practice....
 Marked for life? What does it mean?!?!?!?!?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Approaching a 1.5 Year Old

In the movie 300, boys become men by going out in the wild all alone, somewhere around age 9ish, armed only with a small knife or wood shank or something, and must return to the village having killed a wolf and triumphantly cloaked in its skin and fur. As a dad of a boy and for reasons I can't explain rationally, I approve of this method of parenting.

Gunner is nearly one and half, which is the polite way of saying "he is very cute but is also learning how to be a real a-hole sometimes." Don't get me wrong, a one and half year old is a ton of fun much of the time....but oh how they are learning both sides of the coin. Parental "nos" and "prevention" are now being fully tested or given voiced disapproval. This behavior is fairly constant and even escalating at times. "Gunner please put my phone down" is followed by "AH!" and throwing my phone across the room. "Gunner that's the dogs' food so please don't touch it" is followed by "AH! and kicking the bowl instead. Oh how he is learning to tantrum.

Common modern parenting practice, ignoring or downplaying the tantrum. But just maybe, we should look into the 300 approach; if he is ready to talk big, then he can now act big. "Gunner, you want my phone? Take it. But you have to unlock it and navigate through it yourself to find your games and apps. And if you break it, it's coming out of your diaper/wipes/ointment budget so no more Pampers and AD, it's now Rite Aid brand only time. Your call. Good luck buddy." This method also promotes independent decision making, self-confidence, cost benefit analysis, and accepting consequences of his own actions.

In other areas of our child's development, speaking is getting better. He officially has said a version of  "apple" and "Maggie", his first two syllable word adventures. He has learned and can find and locate and point out so many objects, colors, and shapes that it is actually very impressive. So while his vocabulary is small, his understanding is obviously vast. It makes me feel like he is a volcano of knowledge on the brink of eruption. Which I am sure is a common parental feeling as I felt very similar with his newborn gas issues then infant sleep habits then crawling then walking and now talking.

So in a nutshell, fatherhood is about 1) proudly helping your child through these areas of developmental breakthrough and 2) making sure they aren't a pompous jerk about it.

His official 16 month shots....
 "Say what?!?!?"
 He does not like long walks on the beach....but he likes chillin in Gulf Shores....
 Some Ginger Pool Time Fun....
 "Guys, I'm pretty sure this is how Captain America eats ice cream cones also?"
 "USA Women losing the World Cup final to Japan??? Hahaha".... USA!