Our son, the meerkat…advancing in mobility towards walking.

For a while now GT has had been perfecting his unique style of crawling.  So much so, that he’s almost as fast at it as one of his parents is at walking.  But alas, it appears he finally has become board with just seeing his environment from floor level.  At first it was, crawl-crawl-crawl and then pop up on one knee.  Now it has become, crawl-crawl-crawl and then pop up on both feet.  I can’t help but get visual of a meerkat popping up out of a burrow when I see his pop up from behind a chair or the couch cushions.  Both Mom and myself have spent many minutes just watching him crawl-crawl-crawl, stand up with a ball, throw it, and then drop down and chase the ball.

We’re still working on helping him walk without the aid of furniture or walk-behind toys.  But, it’s only a matter of time before he’s running.

First Road Trip with a One-Year Old…Ear Plugs Needed.

The Naive Father recently had the brilliant of taking a small, quick family road trip.  I had to travel to the great state of Minnesota for a training seminar, which amounted to about a 4.5 hour car ride.  Not having driven more than 3 hours one way in the car, I thought it’d be a good test run before the holidays.  We timed it such that he’d take an afternoon nap in the car, which meant he’d sleep through most of Iowa.  Without offending the land 10,000 lakes, all I can say is that G is NOT a fan.  After waking up from his slumber, we crossed the border and after about 5 or 10 miles, he began screaming.  Mom in back tried toys, snacks, a bottle, singing, etc.  Dad even tried playing with the windows, which worked for about 5 minutes, then back to screaming.  Surprisingly, Dad wasn’t the first to crack, but we’ll blame it on Mom’s headache.  So, we pulled over at a rest stop, changed a diaper, and let him out of the car seat for a break.  Rookie mistakes.  He managed to ninja his way to front seat in my lap and played with all the buttons on the console and steering wheel.  Then the battle of getting him back in the car seat began, which he didn’t feel was the best place for him…and we were still an hour away.  So, he screamed and screamed and screamed…oh, look at all the city lights…back to screaming.  We made it to the hotel with just a few frayed nerves, but once we got checked-in, G realized he was an ol’ pro and handled the hotel like a champ.

On the drive back, we tried an alternative tactic and Mom sat in front, out of sight.  Seemed to work for a short time until he grew bored with the scenery.  Then back to screaming.  So, we made it about an hour before stopping for lunch.  After a full stomach, he proceeded to sleep for almost 3 hours.  Haha.  Needless to say, the drive back was way easier.

Sorry Minnesota, we’ll have to wait a while before G attempts to go back.

How was your first family road trip?

Oops, we did it again…and Traveled with an Infant on an Airplane.

This time we headed to the other side of the country, California.  Traveling from the Midwest we had to had to make a stop in Denver, so Traveling with an infant on a planeanother trip with two flights and a layover.  The trip out was pretty uneventful.  We had plenty of diapers, bottles, formula, snacks, toys, and books to keep an army of kids entertained.  The only difference this time around was that little G was a lot more active, and we had other children in the rows surrounding.  But, he still found a way to catch a quick snooze on the first flight to Denver.  The flight from Denver to California was spent bouncing, mainly on Mom’s bladder, and entertaining the child behind us.  G would bounce and then his new friend would bounce.  G would yelp and then his new friend would yelp.  Then they would both giggle and repeat the process.  But, anything is better than a screaming child in a confined space!

The challenges always happen on the return flight.  Haha…it wouldn’t be worth making a blog post unless there was something to tell.  The flight itself from California to Denver was uneventful, except we had a slight miscommunication on the actual departure time, so we were a little late on getting to the gate.  Luckily they were still boarding, but we didn’t have time to get supplies…mainly water to mix with the formula.  However, because of our son’s undeniable cuteness, the flight attendant swooned over him enough that we asked her to fill some of his bottles with water.  Point G.  The layover was a little longer than before, so we grabbed dinner and restocked on supplies.  But the last flight home was just slightly less tortuous than nails on a chalk board.  The airline, who we shall call United, Traveling with an infant on a planeapparently decided to cut any extra leg room in order to fit an extra row of seats on their planes.  This meant that my knees were crammed into the seat in front of me with no room to spare and the back of the seat in front me’s headrest was about 6 inches from my face.  Awesome.  Then they redesigned the standard pocket that holds all of the crumbs, vomit bag, and germagazines to set behind the fold down table.  This meant we lost another inch of breathing room.  It also meant that little G had to act as a contortionist on the last flight in order to sit in, again mainly Mom’s lap.  I mixed a bottle and Mom got him calmed down, and then the lady in front of needed to write down something super important.  Instead of hitting her directionally aimed reading light, she hits the flight attendant light.  And, just like a lighthouse in the night, it acted like a beacon and stirred our just-about asleep son back awake.  Point stupid people.  At about the same time, two ladies behind us struck up a conversation, a very loud conversation so they could be heard over the engines.  This of course drew G’s attention, because every infant needs an audience.  The ladies continued to yell…no joke, about their husband’s enlarged prostates, the lineage of their 19 house cats, and about all of the friends they have lost to the sands of time.  Three more points.  Hindsight, I should have practiced my survival fort building skills and constructed something from the seats, ear pillows, and scraps of fabric the airline calls blankets to make a proper sleeping unit for G.  Maybe next time.

But, we all made it home.  That’s what matters.

Thanks for reading!  Feel free to share your traveling adventures.

~TNF

 

Baby’s First Emergency Room Visit

Over the past weeks and months GT has gradually expanded his food palate, eating more and more solid foods.  So, we’ve been experimenting with new foods and combinations.  There hasn’t been any adverse reactions or strong dislikes.  Well, except for peaches, he’s not really a fan of peaches.  Anyways, we’ve pretty much stuck to the general rule of thumb of waiting three days after trying a new food to see if he has any reaction to it.  But, as evident by this posts title, that has changed.

It started out a normal; wake up, play, eat, change diaper, play, eat, nap…repeat.  On a recent trip to the grocery store we decided to try some pre-packaged dinners in an attempt to save time as two working parents.  For dinner we had selected a chicken, rice, peas, and carrots meal.  Things he has eaten individual with no evident side effects.  There was a thin sauce, but it appeared to be mostly water or broth.  We heated the dinner according to the manufacturer’s instructions, no problem.  We stirred, portioned it out for GT, and let it cool a few minutes, no problem.  Mom started to feed him, while I worked in the kitchen, no problem.  And, just like any child he wanted to feed himself, so he started to dig in, no problem.  Hopefully, just like other children he would then smear more than eat the food all over his face, the beginnings of the problem.  Within minutes Mom noticed that he started to develop welts on his hands and face.  Wherever he had come in contact to the pre-packaged dinner had started to swell, which included his fingers, cheeks, pretty much his whole face, and some spots on his chest.

We cleared his tray, wiped him and everything down, but he still kept swelling up.  Mom grabbed the boy, I grabbed the keys, and we both

Mild Allergic Reaction

ran out the door.  As I hit the accelerator, he starts to moan and cry.  As the adrenaline punched in I found us traveling fast, very fast down the interstate to the hospital.  We made it to the ER and GT was still moaning and crying.  And now the hurry up and wait set in, but luckily we were pushed to top of the queue because of his age and symptoms.  As we sat in the waiting room, he began to perk up a little bit because he had an audience to entertain.  After a short stay in the waiting room, then the triage room, and then an actually room, the seemingly Doogie Howser aged doctor strode in.  We explained what had happened, and he explained that allergic reactions range from mild symptoms all the way to anaphylaxis (worst of the worst).  He continued that since GT wasn’t having any difficulty breathing and vitals were okay, that this appeared to just be a mild, surficial reaction to something in the meal.

After confirming that Dr. Howser wasn’t kidding, he prescribed another miracle of modern pharmaceuticals, Children’s Benadryl.  Seriously?  My kid has a slight resemblance to the Stay Puff Marshmallow Boy and we get Benadryl?  Please keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, and I’m not advocating dosing your baby with drugs without the consent of doctor.  And, I’m glad we went to the ER even though the reaction was “mild” because we learned a valuable lessons, doctors are getting younger and younger.  No seriously, it’s not worth risking your child’s health.  Then the doctor shared another lesson with us, apparently Benadryl can have two totally different effects on kids: 1) knocks them out like most people, or 2) it hits them like caffeine and wires them for hours.  Thankfully, GT falls into the first effect.

So after few doses and lots of rest, the swelling went down and by the next afternoon he was pretty much back to normal.  While writing this I’ve been having an internal conflict as to whether or not I would mention the brand of pre-packaged dinners.  After seeing my child’s face again from that fateful night…suck it Hormel and your Compleats Meals.  I’ve narrowed it down to likely one of the preservative chemicals used in the meal.

Thanks for the taking time to read this, I hope it helps.

 

Baby Teething Symptoms … The best kept, worst parenting secret!

Why are the baby teething symptoms the best kept, worst parenting secret?  Because you would think someone would at least mention something about this stage of parenting, since it is equivalent to hitting a brick wall.  GT went from being the perfect 9 month old, sleeping through the night, eating on a solid schedule, and only using an occasional Vick’s Vapor Pad for some allergy congestion to not sleeping through the night, eating like a bird, and having a steady stream of Tylenol or Motrin to combat the baby teething symptoms.

Around the 8.5-9 month mark we noticed that GT began to voraciously start chewing on the harder edges of his binkies and then there was waterfall of drool that started.  So we stocked up on the harder, more rigid binkies and invested in a plethora of bibs.  We also noticed a small little bump on the front of his lower gums.  This went on for a couple of weeks without any other noticeable changes in habits or schedules.  I still remember the night that it all changed.

We were at Mommy’s family reunion and she was sharing with everyone that asked, that “yeah, he sleeps between 10 – 12 hours a night.”  That very night he started his screaming fits throughout the night and a full night’s sleep in our house is now back to being a premium.  The first tooth took a month to cut threw.  GT had a one tooth smile for about a month before the other front began show and then finally cut through.  And they just keep coming, we have four teeth, working on five and six.

Some of the other baby teething symptoms include:

  • Rosy cheeks,
  • Fever,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Difficult diapers,
  • Trouble sleeping;
  • and Irritability (by everyone).

And yes, I did mention that we used Tylenol or Motrin for some pain relief, but that’s for another post.

Please feel free to share your baby teething troubles or experiences!

Baby Crawling Styles … Your Baby’s First Free-styling Opportunity

“Oh, your baby isn’t crawling yet?  Well every baby is different.”  The first time you hear that statement, you’re likely going to want to jump to your baby’s defense.  Especially if it is coming from the doctor.  Because as I found out, no parent wants to think that their child might be behind the normal curve.  As much as the above statement is stomach churning, it is true and a lot (almost all) of the factors are out of your control.  Everything from rolling over, sitting up, your baby’s weight, your baby’s height/length influence when they’re going to become mobile.  In our case, GT has always been long and lean, 90+% for length but only ~20% for weight.  So, he had a higher center of gravity (Dad-nerd term) which made it more challenging for him to sit up on his own.  That, and he was lazy.  Honestly though, what incentive does baby have for doing anything on his own when lying back on a comfortable pillow and waving your arms around is so awesome.  And when you need something you just cry about it.  This theory was confirmed by another parent at daycare who also determined their child was lazy.

Eventually, your once sedentary, “leave your kid alone on the floor and know where they’re going to be when you get back” child will be a figment of your imagination.  The first few attempts are awkward and wound up in several faceplants.  But after the confidence and determination set in, it’s time to choose one of the baby crawling styles.  Some examples include the traditional hands and knees, bear crawl, and side scoot.  GT’s baby crawling style, well…he went outside the box:

He invented it, tested it, honed it, and is now speeding through the house!

Traveling With A Baby On An Airplane

GT is seven months and we’ve just completed our first family trip.  I had a conference in Florida for work and thought it’d be “fun” to take the family with.  Shortly after making the suggestion it then dawned on me that we’d be traveling with an infant…on an airplane.  We were going to be “those people” traveling with a baby on an airplane.  We tried to anticipate every potential need/want little GT might have during the flights.  Yes, flights, because just like any other business trip, “there just aren’t any direct flights available.”  So we arrived at the airport early, checked our bags, and baby equipment.  We made it through security and to the gate with minimal difficulty.  GT got hungry, boom…bottle is ready.  He needed a diaper change, boom…mobile changing station ready to go.  He got bored and antsy, boom…toys at the drop of a hat.  We were ready.  He did AMAZING on not just one flight, but both.  People commented at the end of both flights, that they “didn’t even know there was a baby in that seat.”  Or, “That little princess did so well during the flight.”  We’re still a little puzzled on that last comment, since he was decked out in what we considered to by boy gender appropriate clothing.  But I digress.  We made it to the hotel and crashed.  All in all, a pretty successful day full of “firsts.”

Flash forward a week to the return trip.  The first sign that the day was going to be eventful was the car service’s car seat was meant for a toddler, not an infant.  So we did some MacGuyvering and made it to the airport safely.  We did the curbside check-in and made it through security pretty uneventfully, and then GT needed a pants change.  I ordered breakfast and caffeine while Mommy cleaned the child.  Then just before we board the plane, GT needed another change.  “Okay, I guess I’ll hold the plane.”  Then, shortly after take off GT’s bowels let loose.  Either he was staging a bodily fluid protest about having to leave Florida, or his system was out of whack from the change in schedule or just travel in general.  That’s when Mommy informs me, “We just used our last diaper.”  “Okay, I’ll just get more out from the carry-on.”  “Eh, no…I checked the rest of the diapers.  He only used two diapers during the entire trip on the way down to Florida.  So, I thought we’d be okay.”  Oh, and that last diaper…it’s a swim diaper.

So, we settle in and the majority of the first flight back home was uneventful, until just before landing.  GT woke up from a short nap, and if you haven’t learned about swim diapers by now, they’ll be warned that they’re absorbency rating is 0.  Mommy, says “Um…I think he’s peeing.”  Sure enough, she lifted one of his legs off her lap and there was a wet spot on her leg.  But it didn’t stop, he just kept peeing and the spot kept growing.  I dove into the diaper bag for burp rags and bibs, and crammed them on her lap.  It was like the Hoover Dam sprung a leak, so I grabbed an airline blanket and wrapped a custom made, fleece, airline monogrammed diaper on GT.  After landing and waiting for the excruciatingly long taxi to the gate, and then waiting our turn to de-plane, I bolt to the nearest newsstand store.  There to my shocking amazement was one package of diapers.  I blew the dust off of the package and paid for the tw0-sizes too big diapers, and then rushed back to a smiling GT.

It was a valuable lesson learned that day and the rest of trip home went about as well as can be expected.  GT was pretty happy and Mommy, well…Mommy looked like she got a little too excited to be heading home.  So, always pack extra, and then double it!

Please share your tales of traveling with a baby or any other travel experiences you might have!

Baby’s First Doctor Visit … With Shots

Early on you’ll have a few doctor visits which are mere check-ups. The real trauma, for both baby and parents begins with the first round of vaccination shots. Yes, we decided early on in the pregnancy that we were going to participate in getting GT vaccinated. And, even though we had already made our decision, the cosmos sent us a reaffirming nudge when there was a measles outbreak among small children that hadn’t been vaccinated. Despite where you stand on the vaccination debate, there will eventually be a situation where your control over your child’s well-being will be sidelined.

In our case, it was his first doctor’s appointment involving shots. GT has been an overall happy child. Even while the doctor was checking him over he was alert, smiling, and playfully engaging the doc. It was at the point where the nurse came in near the end of the appointment with the needles that we knew things were about to change. Seemingly in a blink of an eye the nurse put the needles down, grabbed and pinned GT’s legged, and the crying and tears began. I’m not sure if the nurse was putting too much pressure on his legs for his liking or if it was the shock of instantly being constrained, but when that switch flipped and the cries and tears began, those heart strings were being tugged hard.

It was the first time in our short existence as a family that neither one of us could rush in and instantly stop the torment. I was standing behind Mommy, so I couldn’t be sure if she had tears in her eyes, but I know I did. That was THE hardest challenge in my short time as being father. To GT’s credit and testament to just how happy he is normally, the crying lasted about 5 minutes after the last needle. After some calming snuggles from Mom and a bottle (yes, we totally rewarded him with food) he was back to normal.