Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

Long time no see

So, I apologize for 4 months without an update.  There’s no good excuse except for being busy so let’s dive right in, shall we?

In re-reading the last post, it appears things have gotten way more fun since December. He doesn’t scream anymore and we can go to dinner outside again!  He has 11 teeth now (10 with one that just broke through this week) and he doesn’t bite us (intentionally) anymore. At his 15 months check up, he was in the 50 ish percentile for weight (AKA in the middle) and in the 70ish percentile for height, so he’s relatively tall. He’s 24 pounds and 3X” tall. Sadly, I wasn’t in town for this appointment so the numbers are fuzzy to me. Nonetheless, he passed his check up with flying colors and is making tremendous progress at his job (growing up)!

  • NEW SKILLS: So, he actually learned to walk around February in China. It was so funny as I thought I witnessed his 1st 2 steps when he wobbled from one couch to another. When I began making a deal of it, my father in law said that he didn’t realize that we hadn’t seen JJ walk yet.  He had seen him walk a couple of days before.  So, I might have gotten JJ’s 9th and 10th step on film.

He loves to play hide and seek and has a fast walk, but I wouldn’t really call it running. He also dances by gyrating his whole body around or by twirling like a dervish. It’s soooo cute!

Since his trip to China, he’s fallen in love with dogs. Not cats, not birds, just dogs. He’ll look at other animals, but if it’s a dog, he points, calls it a gou gou (dog in Chinese) and then tries to pet it and smiles.

  • FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: hide and seek, eating, dancing, playing with his toys…
  • DIAPER SIZE: 4s
  • CLOTHES SIZE: 18 months-24 months.  It really depends on the brand right now. 
  • WORDS: Whole lot of dada, baba, and mama. He can kind of say yeye (grandpa in Chinese). Gou gou.  As of last week, he has started repeating words we say intermittently. He just says one word out of your sentence at his choice.  #Cute
  • DROOL: None
  • DANGERS: Electrical sockets are still a danger.  He likes to climb on things so we have falling dangers. He also can go up the stairs now, but hasn’t practiced going down.  We installed gates at the top and bottom, however, JJ has rendered them useless as he has hung on them throwing off their alignment.
  • SICKNESS/RASHES/ETC: None
  • SLEEP: He slept great before China. When he got to China, he adjusted pretty quickly and we had him on a good schedule there.  However, coming back to the States really messed with his time. A month later, we think we’ve got him back on schedule and he takes a nap around 2 PM-5 PM. The books suggest having kids in bed by 7-8 as they will naturally wake up at 7 or 8 AM.  JJ used to be like this before China.  However, we’re putting him down closer to 9 now and he’ll still sleep his minimum 12 hours. #TechnicallyBadParenting #IDontCare 
  • FOOD: Claire stopped breastfeeding in China a little after JJ turned 1. He has a silicone bib and placemat and eats whatever we eat now.  We try to avoid raw and overly spiced/salted things for him now.  He loves meat so we have to feed him his veggies first and use meat as a reward. He goes through phases.  There was a time he loved raisin bread so I stocked up on it only to find out that he had moved on to something else. I love watching him eat. He has his own little system (I think based on colors/shapes) and will play, then eat, then play, etc.  At the end of the day, he’s growing so he’s eating well!
  • TRAVEL: We have a bunch of weddings planned this year.  We’re trying to stay as light as possible.  I will say that I miss the freedom of my own company.  This paid time off business is for the birds, except of course that they pay me to be off. #Score
  • OTHER NOTES: JJ started swim school 3 weeks ago.  He kind of hates it.  I take him every Saturday and he flops around with other babies.  The swim school makes a killing on us as we don’t do much and the most we can ask for is smiling kids splashing around.  That said, we’ve seen some other kids go through it with impressive results AKA they can swim and aren’t afraid of the water.  JJ’s getting progressively better with each class, but for now, the class is not the most fun for him.  I suspect the noise, # of other kids in addition to the water is over stimulating for him.
  • We try to take JJ to the park everyday to slide and swing.  He didn’t like either starting out, but has grown to be a pro at both!
  • Claire and I can’t imagine the day he won’t need us.  We’re growing more comfortable in our parenting roles and embrace the fact that he wants to be held and hugged. We have our moments, but for the most part, it’s a pleasure being JJ’s legs, muscles, maid, chef, driver, caretaker and parent!
  • P.S. We seriously have the cutest kid ever!!!

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Keep it quiet son!

YIKES, our little one year old is changing and I’m pretty sure I don’t like it.  He has will power, determination, and knows what he wants. It’s a brutal combination. One of his latest talents is he just learned to scream at the top of his lungs. The days of quiet dinners in restaurants are over it seems for now. In addition, he has 8 teeth now and loves practicing his bite, especially during teeth brushing time.

For him, I know it’s a great time of exploration – testing his new skills, seeing our reactions, and just interacting with the world. When he’s on that beat, he could care less if we were around. He has no sense of danger and climbs, jumps, and rolls as he pleases. At other times, usually when he’s hungry or scared, he reverts to our sweet, smiley boy who just holds and hugs us for comfort. I love the latter and enjoy watching the former, but I truly miss the days he’d sit still on my lap and we’d just chill and enjoy each other’s company.

  • NEW SKILLS: We can’t hide things from him or distract him anymore. His crawling is super fast, but he hasn’t decided to walk yet. He can stand on his own in short 5 second spurts unassisted and he’s cute as can be. He’s done this a while, but he knows when I’m coming home when I put the key in the door. HE then runs to the door to greet me.
  • FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: spinning wheels; drumming; running up to your legs; tugging on your pants and waiting to be picked up; wrestling on the floor; being tickled; and unfortunately hitting people on the face (We’re working on un-learning this behavior)
  • DIAPER SIZE: 4s
  • CLOTHES SIZE: 18 months fit right now and I anticipate we’ll be going 24 months very shortly.  He’s pretty tall for the moment so I hope it continues.
  • WORDS: Whole lot of dada, baba, and mama. He can kind of say yeye (grandpa in Chinese).
  • DROOL: None
  • DANGERS: Electrical sockets in other places.  We cover them in our own house, but he’ll find them at your house, at a restaurant or a store.
  • SICKNESS/RASHES/ETC: None
  • SLEEP: Great. Planned nap at 2 PM – 4 PM and then sleep from 8:30 PM-9 AM.
  • FOOD: Claire is still pumping. JJ still eats everything, but he still prefers meat at the moment. We like to do combo bites where a piece of broccoli is snuck in with some chicken. However, when he’s not hungry, he’s not hungry and won’t eat no matter what.
  • TRAVEL: We’re going to China to see Claire’s parents.  It’s going to be a long flight.  Claire and I are nervous as heck with our new screaming little person. We plan on bringing candy for our neighbors and sunglasses to shield us from the glares.

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The Big ONE

Can you believe it’s already been a year?  JJ turned 1 on the 3rd and it’s amazing how much life has changed from a year ago. Let’s kick it off with a bit of exciting news, teeth #7 has just come in. On his birthday, I was was wiping his mouth and felt a new one to me surprise!  Shortly after that, #8 came in too, bring in to 4 on top and bottom.

Speaking of brushing his teeth, NEW PARENTS, buy the finger brush.  Since JJ’s had teeth, we’ve had dismal success at brushing his teeth with an ultra soft baby brush. He would shut his mouth or squirm when he saw the brush coming. We’d resorted to using a soft cloth to wipe his teeth and gums, however, we recently found a finger brush and it works beautifully. For the non-parents, did you know there’s baby toothpaste?  It doesn’t have Fluoride so it’s safe to swallow.  Completely unrelated, but if you’re ever in Lubbock, Texas, you should try the water.  It’s so thick you’ll feel like you’re choking. They say it’s loaded with Fluoride and the Lubbockites should probably have pretty good teeth.

OK, back to JJ.  We just did his 1 year check up and he passed with flying colors.  No issues to speak of and he’s happy as can be.  He cried for a minute after the shots and didn’t have any side effects that day.  It probably helped that we pumped him full of (Dr. recommended) acetaminophen immediately after the shot. He’s almost 31 inches tall and 22 pounds.  I swore he weighed more as I carried a 15 pounder the other day that felt like a feather compared to JJ. I guess the 7 pounds make a difference Smile!

We love JJ to death.  He’s so enjoyable to be around.  He just explores his new talents and surroundings and it’s so fun to watch him interact with the world.

I still don’t know how single parents do it. This is hard work.

  • NEW SKILLS: HUGE smiling and laughing. He’s just much more aware of what’s going on now.  It’s harder to hide things from him or distract him as his memory and focus have improved. His crawling is faster and he stands more steady, however, he hasn’t shown an interest in actual walking yet.  He push his own stroller around unassisted which was sooo cute.
  • FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: taking things out of drawers, playing with doors, electrical sockets, lights, all noises get his interest now
  • DIAPER SIZE: 4s
  • CLOTHES SIZE: 18 months 
  • WORDS: Whole lot of dada and baba now.
  • DROOL: None
  • DANGERS: Pulling down the tablecloth and other items that may fall on him. Water danger as he likes to turn on the bathtub faucet now.
  • SICKNESS/RASHES/ETC: None
  • SLEEP: Great. Planned nap at 2 PM – 4 PM and then sleep from 8 PM-8 AM.
  • FOOD: Claire is still pumping and will probably continue for the near future. He’s eating everything in bite sized chunks now.  He can eat everything now, but seems to prefer meat.  He’ll eat his veggies, but he’ll usually grab for meat first. We have a silicone bib and place mat with lips on them that are absolute lifesavers when JJ drops food around.
  • TRAVEL: Nothing lately, but we’re planning a trip to see Claire’s parents in January which involves a lot of stops.  Good luck to us!

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Wheels and Doors

So, I wrote the post below about a month ago. I forgot to hit publish, whoops. Enjoy!

My soon to be 11 month old LOVES wheels and doors.  Stroller wheels, cart wheels,luggage wheels etc are all prime targets of his interest.  The only items that can hold his interest as well are doors: closet doors, front doors, etc. Swing forward, swing back, swing forward,swing back.  Needless to say, stuffed animals are of 0 interest at the moment.

AS you can also tell due to the length between posts, we’ve been extremely busy. We were hosting Claire’s friend and her family from England. They toured LA for a week and came to Vegas for another week of fun. The interesting part was seeing JJ interact with the 18month old and 4 year old for extended periods of time.

He’s had play dates with older children before, but it was always fairly short and pretty controlled. Spending extended periods of time with these kids taught him to be more creative…AKA be bad.  Instead of sitting and eating his meal without playing, he learned to start playing as well as how to throw his food.  No fun for us. Kids will be kids!

  • NEW SKILLS: playing with wheels by turning them continuously; using one thing, say a donut ring to hit another thing; paying attention to being read to; opening and closing doors; watching limited TV; feeding himself
  • FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: exploring and crawling still
  • DIAPER SIZE: 3-4s
  • CLOTHES SIZE: mostly 12 months now. He can fit 9 month bottoms, but he has to have 12 month and up tops. 
  • WORDS: Ma ma. Sometimes ba ba, but mostly mama now.
  • DROOL: None
  • DANGERS: Shutting the door on his fingers; getting accidentally stepped on (hasn’t happened yet)
  • SICKNESS/RASHES/ETC: None
  • SLEEP: Great. Planned nap at 1 PM – 3 PM and then sleep from 8 PM-8 AM.
  • FOOD: Claire is still pumping and will probably continue until at least 1 year old. His main meal consists of boiled frozen vegetables blenderized followed with a bottle of milk.  We also share our meals with him in bite sized nuggets to give him a taste of everything. He hasn’t really rejected anything and seems to like most all of it at the moment. He doesn’t seem to like sour/tart things.
  • TRAVEL: We just took our 2nd airplane trip with JJ.We flew to Oakland for a friend’s wedding. The flight there was easy as he was asleep. The flight back was tough as he kept climbing on the passenger next to us and wanted to be played with. The hotel situation was easy as he slept on schedule and slept in a hotel-provided crib.  The tough part about traveling with him is the amount of stuff it takes and his nap gets in the way sometimes. Other than that, he’s pretty travel-ready.
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Follow the blog reminder

I don’t blog often, I’m just too busy. So, to save you time from checking the blog too often without an update, follow me.  Just click on the bottom right hand corner where it says “follow,” enter your email address and you’ll be added to the mailing list.  That way, you’ll automatically get notification when I’ve blogged something new.  Thanks!

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People are like Icebergs–It’s what’s beneath the surface that counts

I had the pleasure of partaking in a leadership retreat this weekend with a bunch of strangers and one of the stipulations was that we couldn’t talk about work or what we did,where we got educated etc.  Considering what you do is one of the first questions Americans typically ask, it gets tough to talk about other things. Over time, they further limited our conversations to not discussing the easies (what we like, what we want, where we live, etc) and you were nearly inevitably forced to define who YOU are without sugarcoating etc.

As painful as the process may have been, I’ll admit that in 48 hours, I know some of these people very, very well as they have learned about me as well. In true Vegas fashion, we also agreed not to discuss what we learned about each other and that the “secrets” shared would remain secrets. 

What I can say is that everyone at the summit was highly accomplished in whatever they do. This was almost guaranteed as the tuition was through the roof. Everyone had a saw and was simply in search of a little sharpening. Being successful, they all knew how to present themselves, say the schpeel that they typically deliver, and basically highlight their positives and downplay or eliminate their negatives. At our first meeting, you were basically looking at a room full of text book model citizens.

However, as we peeled the onion so to speak, you could see that the grass isn’t always greener no matter how green it looks. I’ve always known I was lucky and that’ I’ve had a lucky life. Yet, in hearing some of these people’s hardships and struggles and I do mean hardships and struggles, I was reaffirmed how good my life has been. I literally have no idea how they picked themselves up after X, Y, and Z and questioned myself whether I could have done the same. To be fair, I obviously have my issues too, but my bitterSWEET life has had way more sweet than bitter.

After all of the talking and tears, we all did a reveal as the last activity sharing what we did for a living. Come to find out, many of the people had turned their lemons into lemonade and own successful business or run big companies. It was incredible to see them behind the Wizard’s curtain and see what actually drove them to be so successful.

I am so pleased to have added this group to my network and know we will do incredible things together. As if you didn’t know it, you simply can’t judge a book by it’s cover because when you do, you’ll always end up with the wrong story.

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Some videos…finally!

JJ standing in his crib at 8.5 months

 

 

JJ laughing at 8.5 months

 

 

Saying Dada and Sit n Reach at 7.5 months

 

Long time ago…

 

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Daddy’s Time

I just put JJ to bed and as I rocked him to sleep, I couldn’t help but glow as this is always one of the happiest parts of my day.  It’s Daddy time and I enjoy it thoroughly. JJ’s bed time routine starts around 7:30 PM.  As Claire cares for JJ all day, try to “relieve” her at night.  After we finish dinner, JJ plays for awhile and then I take him upstairs for a bath. He splashes around for about 15 minutes and then I fish him out and dry him.

After putting a diaper and cream on him, I scoop him up with a football hold and wash his hair under the sink. I then sit him on the counter and blow dry him.  When his hair’s dry, I take him to our bed where I lather him in lotion and put on his PJs. I then take him to his room to turn on the night light and wave sounds and feed him the bottle mommy prepares for him nightly.

We then snuggle together while I feed him in the dark and I reflect upon the day’s activities and how happy I am to be his dad. This 15 or so minutes is so relaxing as it doesn’t matter what has happened all day as it all boils down to the fact that I’m JJ’s dad, he needs me, and there’s nothing in the world between us. Smile

STRANGER DANGER

About 2 weeks ago (9/29/12), my boss invited the team over for a celebratory dinner for a good quarter. Everyone was excited to meet JJ, but unbeknownst to us, he hit a new stage. Suddenly, JJ was afraid of strangers. As soon as my boss held him, JJ started crying non-stop. Once he was back in our arms, he stopped immediately as if he had an on and off switch. He went to another colleague and the crying started again. None of the colleagues held JJ except for one of my colleague’s wife. She lucked out because she was wearing a shiny necklace and JJ LOVES shiny things. As scared as he was of strangers, he likes shiny things more it appears. 

That said, it’s now 2 weeks later and he seems comfortable with strangers again. Hard to say at this point… As an aside, don’t take it personally if JJ doesn’t take a liking to you immediately. He may be in a new phase or having a moment. However, he does seem to have an uncanny ability to also dislike people that I’m not so fond of so I deem him an excellent judge of character. LOL!

MORE UPDATES:

  • My father in law is currently in the hospital. Think kind thoughts of him.  He hasn’t had the chance to meet JJ and Claire and JJ may be making a trip sooner than later to lift his spirits and say hi. Obviously, we know what’s more important, but this means there’s a chance I may not be with JJ and Claire for Thanksgiving, their birthdays, and Christmas since I’ll be working. #Sad.
  • NEW SKILLS: Climbing on things, trying to jump from one area to another, eat small chunks of food, hopping on you, fast crawling, ripping off door stoppers
  • FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: exploring and crawling, trying to open doors
  • DIAPER SIZE: still wearing 3s
  • CLOTHES SIZE: mostly 12 months now 
  • WORDS: Ma ma. Sometimes ba ba, but mostly mama now.
  • DROOL: None
  • DANGERS: Putting his fingers near light sockets at other places other than home, attempting to stand and falling down; pounding on things that I’m sure hurts but doesn’t seem to phase him
  • SICKNESS/RASHES/ETC: None
  • SLEEP: Great. Planned nap at 1 PM – 3 PM and then sleep from 8 PM-8 AM.
  • FOOD: Claire is still pumping and will probably continue until at least 1 year old. His main meal consists of boiled frozen vegetables blenderized followed with a bottle of milk.  We also share our meals with him in bite sized nuggets to give him a taste of everything. He hasn’t really rejected anything and seems to like most all of it at the moment. He doesn’t seem to like sour/tart things.
  • TRAVEL: We just took our 2nd airplane trip with JJ.We flew to Oakland for a friend’s wedding. The flight there was easy as he was asleep. The flight back was tough as he kept climbing on the passenger next to us and wanted to be played with. The hotel situation was easy as he slept on schedule and slept in a hotel-provided crib.  The tough part about traveling with him is the amount of stuff it takes and his nap gets in the way sometimes. Other than that, he’s pretty travel-ready.

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Take it easy son

I’ll start off with a promise that the videos are coming.  I’ve uploaded literally hundreds. The issue is that I haven’t had a chance to censor/edit them. Knowing the JJ is bound for greatness, I can’t let the power of the internet tarnish his reputation this early on. Furthermore,I need to ensure he’s clean, manicured, and smiling in every shot and that my clutter, underwear, and what not are not in view. Capiche? I was kidding about all of that except the underwear.

The recurring theme at the moment is that JJ has gotten simultaneously easier and harder to take care. On one hand, he constantly wants attention and a play buddy. He climbs on us, gets in things he shouldn’t, and tirelessly explores everything, On the other hand, he pretty much has a schedule that he sticks to and we know what to do pretty much by the clock. Obviously, it’s a mixed blessing.  I’ve said it before, but I miss my boy that used to just sit on my lap and chill with me. I obviously know he’s growing up and I enjoy being part of the process, but he just won’t sit still anymore and I miss that bonding time.

FOR THE NEW OR EXPECTING PARENTS OUT THERE, everything gets better. Claire and I aren’t as tired anymore. We’re not zombies and we smile a lot now. Comparing our 9th month as parents with our first month as parents, you wouldn’t recognize us. There’s no doubt that parenthood takes a toll on you, but to a degree you get used to it, grow into your role, and things just get better. I remember when JJ was a newborn and I was talking to my younger cousin whose daughter was 9 months old at the time. She was talking about how her daughter was sleeping 12 hours a day and to hang in there and that we’d get there eventually. At the time, we were doing feedings almost every 2-3 hours and were definitely zombie-like.

I didn’t see how things would ever improve. I swore we were destined for sleepless nights for the rest of our lives and that we would just be miserable. We were just trying to survive and do our best as parents while trying to ingest as much information as we could while sorting the good advice from the bad. She pleaded with me and told me to just hang in there and it’ll all get better. The whole time I was thinking that she’s just telling me that to make me feel better and yet,here I am many months later and I can declare confidently that she was telling the truth. Things get better!

In reflecting upon this, they obviously should. As parents, we’re more confident, have a routine, have less fears, and just know what needs to be done and when. In being a parent, you just get better at it by being one. Practice makes perfect, no? Regarding JJ, he’s better able to self soothe, his stomach’s bigger (less feedings), and he’s growing and needs time to rest his little brain and body which gives us much needed breaks.

So, don’t give up. It’s tough at times, but it truly is worth it. Day by day, I mentally picture Claire and me wearing Super Parent outfits underneath our clothes as we educate, interact with, play with, entertain, and just love JJ daily. We all mean the world to each other and I’m glad we didn’t give up early on. The best moments are yet to come! 

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21 lbs., 28 in, and a Whole lot of Personality

JJ just had his 9.5 month check up and all is well. He’s hitting his milestones, growing, and is one of the most playful flirts the Doc has ever seen. This was a sad visit as we’ll be switching from her to another Pediatrician as she doesn’t accept our new insurance. It’s sad as we really enjoyed her, but have told her we’ll drop by periodically and send her pix!

OTHER STATS:

  • He’s eating all kinds of blended foods now (sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, pears, mango, banana, etc. He loves bananas and doesn’t seem to be such a big fan of the sweet potato yet. Broccoli and the other greens are in the middle. For infants, it usually takes 11 tastes for them to truly decide they don’t like something.
  • Bath time is now Splash Time. As soon as I put him in his tub, he lifts his hands high in the air and pounds the water over and over until we are both soaked and water is everywhere. I then refill the tub to finish the task at hand and he reaches to touch the water coming out of the faucet. This kid… This is probably the 4th evolution we’ve had in bathing. He used to just sit and enjoy his bath. He then started liking to kick whenever he was in water. This was followed by the get up and explore outside of the tub phase to where he now just likes to make a big mess.
  • Still mostly size 3 diapers. He’s too big for the 2’s and the 4’s are fine, but I still have boxes of 3’s to work through soo JJ needs to stay size 3 a bit longer. LOL!
  • Clothes are mostly 9-12 months now so he’s pretty much the same size as what they model the sizes after it appears.
  • The absolute happiest JJ is all day is in the morning. Claire and I love to sit outside of his door and listen to him babble and beat on his crib waiting for someone to pick him up.Sadly, there’s no way to sneak in and spy on him because his windows are blacked out. This means that as soon as you open his door, the light that comes through signals that someone is coming to him and he stops talking and just smiles waiting to be picked up. HE’S SO CUTE!!!!
  • Keyboards, Remotes. Plastic bags, wires/cords, and  lights grab his eyes nowadays.
  • He has a new smile that he flashes when he’s accomplished something.When he climbs atop something for a better view or figures out how to get into something we’ve sealed, he just beams at his own ingeniousness. It’s funny as I’m equally proud and disappointed that my (1) my plan didn’t work and (2) he was smart enough to get around the plan.
  • JJ hates his car seat. As soon as we buckle him it, he becomes a contortionist and wiggles and squirms to find a way out. Car rides aren’t too fun at the moment.We used to be able to distract him with a toy or something, but he doesn’t fall for it anymore. His goal is to get out of the seat and he won’t stop until he’s out.

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