Bub

At 7:30 this morning I was woken up by a gibbering six month old ready to get his day started. I had went to bed five hours prior, so I did what any other self loving parent would do- I ignored him. Luckily, he talked himself back to sleep and we started the day together at 8:45- which is more my style.

Last week we realized the little Bub had been playing us. We came to the realization that he was almost always falling asleep on one of us before being put down. Sure it’s endearing, but we were afraid we were creating a little sleep monster, destined to be held by one of us for the sake of falling asleep until adolescence- so we decided to nip the little Bub in his little bud.

Along with a more defined bedtime/naptime routine we decided to trade out his cradling bassinet for a flat mattress. Those are two pretty big changes in his life to try at once- he would still be sleeping next to our bed however, and we would all endure what was about to happen.

Well, nothing much really happened, sorry to say. We let him cry alone in his bed, and after about fifteen minutes, he was asleep… for thirteen hours. The next night for twelve. And again the following night for twelve. Night four he woke up once to change his wet diaper and have a bite, and the nights after that have become a blur of waking up sometimes once, sometimes not at all. Lately he just talks or peeps randomly throughout the night, and then falls back to sleep. We’ve been pretty lucky so far.

I attribute the good sleep to his new flat mattress- he likes to kick around and move like he’s having his own horizontal dance party. All night I hear the swish-swooshing of his legs flailing about. It’s quite distracting really. I know, poor me, my baby’s sleep distracts me. I came in from work one night and opened the door to his legs straight up in the air and him bringing them down forcefully against the mattress over and over again. In the shadows of the nightlight he reminded me of the creepy girl from The Exorcist. I don’t know if one should count that as sleep, but since he’s not crying, I will most certainly count it as sleep.

Abs
This is how I found Arlo one night- but with his legs- he can’t quite get his body up yet, but when he can this is what I expect to find.

Speaking of leg lifts, the fact that Arlo can lift his legs up to a 90º angle is quite a feat. They are meaty! Let’s just say Arlo is a very healthy baby with thighs so big they have their own thighs. He also has upper and lower cheeks on each side of his face. His real chin sits between his lower cheeks, but is a mere dimple compared to his second chin that hides the entirety of his neck. It’s not just my observations mind you, Kylie confided in my that she was afraid his fingers were going to spontaneously explode they seemed so swollen.IMG_2235

But hey, we love him, even with that hair. His skullet has fallen away. For about a week he was completely bald with the exception of about 19 wispy long hairs that danced on top of his head like they were advertising used cars on an old dirt lot. Now those 19 dancers wave about surrounded by an ultra thin carpet of downy hair. His most prominent hair feature are his eyebrows. They are dark, usually angry looking, and much of the time seem to be not two, but one single brow traversing across his face like a drunk caterpillar.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, Say something cute about him- he’s your son. Well I’m just afraid of becoming that parent that gushes over his child when everyone else thinks he is a hideous monster. I’ve expressed that sentiment before. I mean, who goes around telling a parent the truth, that their child looks like a brown naked mole rat? So I prefer to be safe, and point out what seems to be apparent. Honestly though, I’m sure there are some cute things about him… I know one for sure- his favorite toy is a whisk. That’s cute!

Arlo is a half a year old today. Happy half birthday Bub! Maybe your Papa will go out and buy you a brand new whisk! The little Bub is growing up so fast I’m going to be forty before I know it.

Aw shit! I turned forty years old last month! Seriously, I did. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. I know it shouldn’t, but forty… my god. Everyday I think about how much of Arlo’s life I might not be around for- I mean I’m having an honest to god midlife crisis right now. I dwell on this thought and get sad.

Clint
I’m not crying, it’s just raining on my face.

I was talking to a guy at the bar last night, he seemed to be about sixty years old- He was telling me how his son is thirty-three, and also his best friend. He was saying how fun kids are when they are as young as Arlo, but now he and his son will go have a beer together and catch up. I told him that sounds great, but when Arlo is thirty-three I’ll be seventy-three, that might not work out so well for me. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Dude, I’m seventy-three.”

Our conversation coupled with his surprising (youthfulness) made me feel a little better about being an older father. I’ve joked with Kylie before that I wanted to make my own best friend- and hopefully I have- and maybe I’ll be around to hang out with Arlo a longer than I thought- if I don’t do something stupid. Since turning forty and dealing with these thoughts, I’ve also had a sort of “enforced epiphany” if you will. I’ve come to the realization that whatever choice I make for myself, it’s not just for myself- Arlo is ultimately affected too. Meaning, if I cross the street without looking both ways, it doesn’t matter if he is at home with Kylie that moment, because if I get hit by a bus, he will bear the effects for the rest of his life.

Or how about a lighter example- Let’s say I decide to eat two bags of chips everyday- I’m not talking little fun-size Frito-Lay bags- I’m talking full flavor kettle cooked Cape Cod Dark Russet potato chips-capecod Two bags everyday (that would be a dream)- I’m not even sharing them with Arlo- But he would be affected by the consequences of my actions- His friends would make fun of him for having a fat greasy father (who would probably be living alone in a van down by the river because his wife kicked him out for being disgusting)- which adds another consequence to Arlo’s life because of my action- he would grow up in a single parent home.

Really, a single parent home, all because I like to eat chips. Poor Arlo.

Update!!

(as of right now- I haven’t posted this yet, but it seems appropriate use of red lettering and exclamation marks)

In honor of Arlo’s Half Year Birthday we just fed him his first solid(ish) food! Kylie has been talking about wanting to feed Arlo some avocado for months. Well, it just happened ten minutes ago… and he showed that avocado who was boss!

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Funny, Your Papa has the same guilty look when he eats a bag of chips- Happy Birthday Bub!

 

Skullet

The little guy is sleeping right now- sleeping off his immunization shots. This round affected him quite a bit. He got feverish and he just wanted to be held by his mama. She held him pretty much all day yesterday, and he just kinda groaned and moaned. He was a sad little bundle.

He had his four month check-up a couple days ago. Unfortunately, the timing fell right in the middle of his nap time. I planned our departure down to the minute to maximize his sleeping so I could show up on time with a happy baby… and it almost worked. I had a snack’s worth of a bottle ready, his outfit laid out, and his diaper bag packed. I woke him up gently, changed him, gave him some bottle. Good to go- I set him down in his carseat and strapped him in. I congratulated myself at being the best dad ever and put my sunglasses on like a boss. And then I heard the rumble. It was soft at first, but then built into a cacophony of squirts and runny bubbles only a dad could love. I looked down at him and our eyes met. I shook my head in disbelief at him and he held his stone cold gaze at me, “That’s for waking me up from my nap, asshole.”

We ended up at the pediatrician’s office about five minutes late- but I didn’t really care- they make us wait around half of the time we spend there anyway. Arlo weighed in at 14lbs, 5oz, and he’s 2ft tall. The doc poked, prodded, pulled on him. As she was doing this I noticed an odd bulge about the size of a golf ball on his shoulder. I panicked and thought to myself maybe I had dislocated his shoulder somehow being too rough with him or picking him up too aggressively. I gently poked it and realized it was just a bump of fat sitting there at a funny angle- an impressive bump of fat mind you. Whew!

The doc said for his age and prematurity he is far ahead of where he could be. He shows up on the charts of full term babies now. She was impressed at how much more social he had become in the two months since she last saw him. She also said he was very strong. At that comment I dug deep and found my thickest Russian accent and proclaimed, “Strong like Bull.” She looked at me quizzically- and Arlo blushed with embarrassment.

StrongLikeBull

The doctor answered my list of first time parenting questions without being annoyed- When can we start feeding him food? When can I take him to a public pool? Do you think his hair looks funny or is it just me? Is okay for him to live his life sounding like a pug? Why does he look Inuit? Should we expect him to roll over soon? Anyway, she was great about it and encouraged me to get in touch (with her nurse) with any more questions. Doc finished up and left and then came the nurse. She’s super nice too but I’m not sure Arlo likes her much anymore. Two shots, one on each fat thigh. When he got his last shots, Arlo was only two months old and his lungs were the size of a two week old. His cries were almost cute then. Not this time though. The kid can howl now. It was sad and hurt me to watch him through the process- but he’ll never remember it, and besides, he resumed his nap before we even left the building.

Arlo is over four months old now. Time has become a warp. The days and weeks since he’s been around seem to go by so fast, and so slow. It seems he is not changing one bit, but then every day there seems to be something new- I don’t know how to describe it. Today I was holding him in my arms while I was feeding him and I imagined him running by me through the kitchen to go out and play in the backyard. Then I imagined him walking back through to leave out the front door- this time he had a deep voice and said he was on his way to school. I looked at the Arlo in my arms as he sucked on his bottle and then glanced at my liquor cabinet and realized it’s probably not too soon to fashion a lock for it.

He has changed a lot though. He loves to smile and play. I pull him up to a sitting position, and then a standing one. He giggles. He’s enthralled by pictures in whatever book I am reading to him- he likes to listen to stories that rhyme. I just realized today that his head is held by it’s own muscles now and I don’t have to worry about it’s fragility too much. I don’t even know when that happened (part of the time warp).  He talks garbled nonsense like a drunk sorority girl not caring if there is an audience or not. I talk back to him and we have pleasant conversations about the state of the White House and I teach him how to enunciate the word anonymous.

We took him camping last week for his first time. WellerHe loved it. He just seems to like being outside. He spent his time looking at the trees and gazing out across the lake watching his mama on the paddle board. His girlfriend Peyton gave him her old lavender fleece onesie that he wore while it was cold. I gave him a bottle of whiskey to carry around so he could camp like his papa. He slept in the back of the truck with us like he was born to do it (and he was).

We also got rid of his scaly cradle cap- but with the disappearance of it we found that it acted as a shadow of hair. I mean, it was Arlo’s version of spray-on hair. Meaning, the kid has lost most of his hair and now he’s bald. We didn’t really notice it until the cradle cap shadow disappeared. He does have some thick hair though, but only from ear to ear swinging around the back of his neck. He’s got a skullet (skull mullet) like an old man, or like those unfortunate photos of Brittany Spears in crisis. britt

(He also has beautiful lashes like her’s)

I texted a photo of him today to his Grandma Coral. She said, “Great smile! Where’s the hair??”

Grandma Coral, you know better…

RockOnArlo!

Boob

I don’t have one- and that’s all he wants today. There has been a lot of crying today. It didn’t start out that way. I had today by the balls. I was awake at 8:30am and Arlo was still asleep. I decided to get up and brush my teeth and make my coffee- and I did- all before he woke up- that’s a huge win right there. I decided to push my luck farther- I set up a sprinkler in both the front and back yard. And then? Yeah, there’s more- then I fixed a mobile (not phone), a paper and monofilament mobile that I got tangled in and broke last week. I had a real dad morning today- almost one like Peter, my neighbor, who has two kids and does yard work in the six o’clock hour. I wrote about him in Routine before I was a dad.

But… then… Arlo… woke… up.

It was a wake-up like any other morning. I started hearing some mouth noises and movement so I went and picked him up, got him out of his swaddle sleep sack, changed his diaper, and started warming water for his bottle. He seemed happy. He smiled- I would like to think. Birds were chirping and the sun was shining- and then I tried to feed him.

It was like any other time- I thought. I put the nipple in his mouth and he kinda gummed it a little and then spit it out. Again, I tried, again he refused. This happened a couple more times until he grabbed it with his gummies and tried biting the thing in half like a dog shakes its toy. Then his face smooshed and turned red and the cries begun. There wasn’t any “easing into it”- he just flat out busted out cries like it was the worst day of his life so far (maybe it was going to be).

This has happened before. Arlo started getting real icky about the bottle a month ago- right before Kylie was going back to work. Him and I hung out one Sunday morning and had what I like to call, a bottle boot camp. For an entire morning he cried at me, I cried at him, we cried at each other- and I think Kylie cried just from listening to us cry. He finally took the bottle at around noon that day, and everything has been fine since- I thought.

Today’s bottle boot camp has lasted the entire day. Wait wait wait! He has eaten today, just not his normal amount. That first bottle this morning? He cried himself to sleep in my arms after refusing the bottle for about an hour. I then tricked him into eating a bit while he slept- I think he dreamt ate- but only about an ounce. I figured he was going to be starving when he woke up so I had a larger than normal bottle on deck. Again, crying and screaming and some kicking- I had to shut the back door in fear of what the neighbors would think. Can’t let that Peter think I don’t have a handle on this guy.

I found Arlo an odd sight today while he cried. He has a huge bottom lip that seems to expand to unimaginable proportions when he’s angry. He also has a case of cradle cap that is wildly visible under his thinning hair- it basically looks like scaly skin- it’s normal for some babies, I think. He also seemed to have some accumulated weird baby dirt between his fingers and under his nails. I think we would all agree that nobody’s face is pretty when they cry- and that goes for him too. Let’s just say he wasn’t the most pleasant thing to look at today.

That second bottle? He didn’t touch it. Four ounces of hard earned breastmilk down the drain. During that bout he did quiet down though- for about two minutes. I think he was trying a new strategy to get the boob. He started making these really long but quiet mouse squeak sounds. They sounded like when you pinch a balloon out on two sides and let the air out slowly- you know that sound? That’s what he sounded like- he actually deserved the boob for that. Wily little guy.

What’s that? I should try a different bottle? I done did that before the original bottle boot camp. I tried out a few different bottles and nipples with him. Then Kylie talked to a few of her mom friends and some said they had the same problem- that some babies just prefer the boob over the bottle, and some will make it known. Arlo decided to make it known today.

The rest of the day has been kind of a blur. I know there have been two more bottle attempts since the first two. I think the third went okay- he ate most of it in between fits of anger- I thought I broke him- but I didn’t- he only ate an ounce of the fourth bottle. Stubborn little squirrel!

Uh oh. I’ve been wearing him on my chest while I’ve been writing this. He’s been asleep but he just woke up and he’s rooting around for boob- standby…

Whew, close one. He started crying real bad so I started getting his last bottle together- but then he fell back asleep- so let’s finish this, shall we…

The day hasn’t actually been all bad. He’s had some happy times- he smiled a lot today- we played games, read books, and went to the grocery store where he stayed awake looking around the entire time. I even got dinner together somehow- New Mexican green chile enchilada casserole (show off). It’s all ready to be put in the oven when Kylie gets home and resigns herself as Arlo’s food supply for the rest of the evening. Not joking either. On days she works Arlo knows it and misses her. When she gets home, she’s all he wants. Me too for that matter.

Somehow I kept my cool today and his crying didn’t really even bother me- like not at all. Sure, I felt bad for the little booger but I never got angry at him. But I’m realizing this parenting thing can be hard sometimes. It’s not all peanut M & Ms and gummy bears. It is fun for me to remember what I was like before I was a dad. I used to say things like,

“It’s just a baby, how hard can it be?”

and…

“All you do is feed it, change it, and let it sleep, right?”

and…

“I am going to have so much time when I’m a stay at home dad.”

and my favorite…

“I hope we have twins!”

Wow, ignorance is bliss, and I am the boob. I wish I could travel back in time and meet that guy while he was saying some of those things. I wouldn’t even say anything to him. I’d probably wait till he was mid-sentence… then I’d punch him in his throat.

 

 

 

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MarshmArlo

Arlo is three months old now. His fresh newborn scent is slowly giving way to a faint Dorito aroma if we don’t keep his fat rolls clean. My new favorite roll is the one on his neck- the back of his neck that is, he has a roll on the back of his neck. On top of that fluffernutter neck sits his enormous ever-expanding head- but the hair on top  has not increased with his growth so it seems to be thinning a bit. His posture is terrible and can only be described as “hunched.” He pretty much looks like a miniature version of famed muralist Diego Rivera…

Diego Rivera Standing in Front of Painting

But his smile is so damn cute! It just makes me want to pinch his cheeks and sweep under his neck roll for crumbs and spoiled milk! That’s right, Arlo smiles now- like for real- and coos like a baby. Sure, most of his time is still spent looking pretentious and judgmental, but at least now we know he possesses properly developed muscles that can smile.

Oh- and for all you out there who couldn’t wait for me to eat my words with a shovel- he cries now too. Yes He Cries! He’s a real baby- with fully developed crying lungs- I mean he doesn’t cry a ton, but he doesn’t hesitate to let us know if something is wrong. And man can he be a real fussy bus when he’s tired.

Other than that, he’s just a baby. I’m not sure if there have been any real milestones to speak of. Well, he did pee on his own face. Yeah, my brother was real eager to change his diaper and lifted his butt up maybe a little too high- I mean, it was a real disgusting shit storm down there and we got distracted looking at all of it. Then Kylie walked in and yelled at us because he was peeing on his face. That is the true story of Arlo’s first golden shower.

My brother also gave Arlo a new nickname. Do you remember the movie Ghostbusters? Do you remember the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? He terrorized New York? Arlo has taken on his features with his puffy body shape and rolls. Ladies and gentleman, introducing for the first time… MarshmArlo…

staypuftmarshmarlo copy

Sorry buddy, your papa’s a dick.

In other news, Kylie had to go back to work- which means this dickhole papa is in charge of this MarshmArlo, all by myself, three days a week. My dream of being Mr. Mom has finally happened. I have been waiting for this to happen for years and years and now it’s here.

I remember having  fantasies of having so much time for myself as a stay at home dad, because how much time can a kid who can’t even roll over take up? Turns out they take up almost every second of your time! Even when he is napping I keep my fingers crossed that he will continue sleeping so I can clean up the trail of destruction that I left behind while he was awake- washing dirty bottles, picking up burp cloths everywhere, making new bottles, finding dirty diapers I left out, washing my own dishes, picking up my own clothes, DON’T WAKE UP YET- washing diapers, washing his clothes, refilling his ass wipes, making sure the dog did not find the dirty diaper I missed- basically I try to make the house look like I know what I’m doing so when Mama comes home she can see she doesn’t have to worry.

As hard as our first week home with just each other has been, it’s also been fun too. We’ve gone out on adventures together like walks in the woods and to the park. One day he came to work with me, then we went to the art museum, then we went to get a kombucha, then we went to Rock n’ Rudy’s, then we went to the grocery store. And sometimes we slip in somewhere for an afternoon beer- only because the smell of brewing beer calms Arlo down- I do it for him.

Now that he’s beginning to be a little more baby-y with his smiles and coos I expect to have more things to write about so there may not be so much lag time between posts. This three month old may look like Diego Rivera, and he may be puffy like a marshmallow man, but that’s how I like him, because he’s my new best friend…

Arlocito

Coo

It’s 2:07 am and Arlo and I just finished watching Straight Outta Compton. We made a drinking game out of it. Anytime the movie made us want to punch a white guy or a cop, we drank- Arlo finished his bottle and passed out in less than an hour so I put him down- light weight.

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Anyway, I still have a little Fernet Branca in my glass so I figured I’d drop a line since I have to work the next few days and by the time I decide to write again Arlo will be flipping me the bird on his way out to college or something.

I gotta come clean though, Arlo wasn’t wearing that onesie tonight (Straight Outta NICU). That pic was taken over a month ago. I don’t even think he fits in that onesie anymore. BUT– It is now 2:27 am, we did watch Straight Outta Compton tonight, and Arlo did get milk drunk and pass out, and I am sipping on some Fernet Branca.

Now that I have set the scene… Sorry it’s been a while! We’ve been having a wonderful time though. I can’t say it’s been story worthy though… Lots of milk drinking and a whole lot of pooping. That means a lot of sitting around feeding, and a lot of changing out dirty diapers. That’s my whole story. Good one, huh?

I can’t really say anything super interesting has happened- well, what you would find super interesting, but I guess here are some things…

  • Today we switched Arlo to cloth diapers (he’s finally physically big enough for them) I know, we thought about having a party for him to celebrate the achievement but we’re just not those kind of people

Wow, I feel like there were a lot more things to talk about but now I don’t know, every time I start writing something down I realize how boring it probably is for you to read….

  • One night Kylie walked into the living room and yelled at Arlo and I for being too loud. We woke her up while she was trying to sleep. I blame his loud toots but Kylie says I was yelling “Wwwwweeeeeeeeeee!” too loud. (Boys will be boys- am I right?)

I guess that’s it for my list of mildly interesting things that have been happening…

Remember when I said he doesn’t cry? Well fuck me, he does now. But not a lot though, he cries just enough for me to have to admit that he does. And he’s not an asshole about it- yet- but he likes us to know when he wants us to know something. Soooo… chalk that one up for progressive communication skills?

Speaking of communication skills- he still doesn’t have a definitive smile- or “coo” like babies do- what’s up with that? We get some crying but no smiling? Sure, his face contorts to all sorts of shapes and some resemble a smile, but he doesn’t do it on purpose- he doesn’t light up when I walk into a room (like his mom does). What is definite and very purposeful is his resting bitch face- this kid (unfortunately) takes after his Papa and just gazes intently with furled eyebrows and a facial expression that says, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Sorry kid.

What else? Hmmm… He’s going to be two months old tomorrow… so that’s cool. We were going to have a party for him, but again, we are just not those kind of people.

Oh! Oh! I know! Pick me!! Arlo’s cousin was born! A week ago. I won’t go into the details (because I wasn’t there (and it’s not my story)) but his cousin Parker is here now. Mama, Papa, and baby Parker are doing just fine and are settling in at home. Arlo and Parker have hung out a few times in the last week but I was always working so I never got to see the ruckus- but I did get to see them hang out tonight. I’d show you a picture but I forgot to get permission. But maybe I can describe what it looks like…

Ehh, never mind, I was going to paint you a beautiful picture with my words but I’m too tired. Just imagine one baby with an oversized trucker double chin and the other with oversized clown hands laying next to each other with no interest in each other whatsoever. Sure, there is a lot of cooing and smiling but all of that is coming from the mothers and fathers standing above who have been waiting for this moment since last October. (…Sigh…)

UPDATE! I got permission! Here ya go…

Blob

Aaaahh… The dishwasher is running, the baby is sleeping, and Kylie went out for a short run. The hum of the dishwasher is soothing confirmation that I am being productive while sitting here drinking a cup of matcha.

Arlo’s due date came and went (2 days ago). He is living his life to the fullest- still doing nothing at all. He is a blob right now- no longer wormy. Wormy was when he had skinny frail extremities and I thought if I dropped a wet cottonball on his arm it would break. Now he’s got about three chins and overstuffed sausage arms with fingers at the ends he can barely bend. His most fitting nickname right now is Jabba the Arlo. He just lays there with his arms and legs writhing every which way while he commands me what to do. While he does this he smiles and his plumpy eyelids turn into little slits complete with Jabba the Hutt eye twinkles.

The blob is a good baby. I don’t have much to compare him to, however, and he is my baby which makes me a tiny bit biased. But just to remind you, I did previously say I would be able to be an unbiased dad after he was born- I mean, I am calling him a blob and comparing him to Jabba the Hutt- I think I’m doing okay on the biased front. I say he’s a good baby because he’s been so easy so far… Can I say this? I’m going to whisper it… He doesn’t cry… He doesn’t! Kylie and I were just talking about this yesterday, we don’t think he has cried for longer than thirty seconds… ever. I hope to never eat these words but the kid is easy going…

  • Full diaper? What full diaper, he says.
  • Hungry? Just a squeak and a squawk.
  • Uncomfortable? A furled red face that looks like he’s screaming, but no noise.
  • Tired? A few eye rubs and grunts.
  • Bathtime? An unimpressed look.
  • Not ready for sleep? Some flailing arms and legs.
  • His Nuk Nuk falls out of his mouth? One loud scream (this is his most vocal cue)
  • Happy? Baby goat sounds.

I’m not trying to brag, trust me, I just want you to understand that I’m really not being biased. I would be the first to tell you if the kid was an asshole, but he’s just not. This whole time I’ve been writing this he’s just been laying in his farm sleeping- look…

Arlo on the farm.

But he is a blob. He has three chins, limited neck mobility, and he farts a lot- like a lot. Like I don’t think even Jabba the Hutt farts as much as this kid. Is that normal? And loud too. If I hadn’t already checked I would have assumed his anus was the size of Jabba the Hutt’s. He makes other mouth noises that a blob might make if it were folding itself over and over again. You know those twenty-five cent machine cup of goo noise makers that you stick your fingers in for a funny sound- that’s him in a nutshell. He’s just a growing bag full of funny air waiting to be released through his bum or his mouth.

I mean, he’s pretty perfect so far.