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?!?!?!?!?