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

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.

 

Kicks

Scout’s astir! Kylie started feeling some kicks on Tuesday night. At first she only felt them inside her belly- like little flutters, but by Thursday she was feeling them from the outside with her hand. With Scout only consistently kicking at bedtime and with my annoying work schedule, I had to wait until Saturday night for my turn to feel.

On Saturday night I took a break from painting to put my hand on Kylie’s belly when she went to lay down for bed. I waited for three minutes when I started thinking the little guy was gonna leave me hanging. Kylie told me to hold on because it usually takes him a few minutes. Another minute or two went by and then I felt one… and then two… and then three. I don’t know what he was doing but he was kickin’ or punchin’. I have never felt a kick from the womb before (I’ve never really hung around a lot of pregnant women). It was an amazing feeling though.

Tonight I was painting and Kylie was lounging on a cushion in the room reading and keeping me company. She whispered for me to come over and she placed my hand on her belly. He kicked a couple of times. Right now he’s small but I can feel his stronger jabs pretty good. There’s no consistent rhythm or spot so I imagine a guy in there holding a pencil with the eraser end out searching for a letter on a keyboard that resides just inside Kylie’s belly. He’s having a hard time finding the key he wants to hit but when he does he makes it known with a frustrated pencil jab at that key. That’s what it feels like.

As magical as it is however, my mind can’t ever leave it as is. It reminds me of that scene in Alien– you know the old one with Sigourney Weaver from 1979? Kylie, this is where you should stop reading this post- don’t worry, there’s nothing to see here…

 

X X X X X X

X X X X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X

 

This is your last chance Kylie, stop scrolling…

 

X X X X X X

X X X X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X

 

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And then the cute little bugger breaks his way out…

 

Born with Teeth

 

*SIGH* I just hope Scout’s not born with teeth.

Babywearing

This week Scout is the size of a peach. A soft fuzzy peach- and it’s definitely official- my upcoming fatherhood- proved today by the fact that I got lost in the world wide web- but not to the usual cocktail culture I am used to losing myself to- but lost to the world of baby carriers. I’m talking wraps, ring slings, pouches, packs and all sorts of things. There’s a world of international close cradle out there that I knew not existed.

My research of pouches and slings started a couple weeks ago when one of the general baby books laying on our table suggested I read another more specified book if I had a further interest in slings and things- which I did since the general baby book revealed some benefits associated with babywearing. I know, babywearing? Such a stupid name. It makes me wonder if there will be a moment in the future when I’m going to be like, “Ah, I don’t have a bowtie to match this baby- guess I won’t wear the baby tonight.”

In all seriousness however, there seems to be many benefits to wearing your baby (I’m just going to use this term as ridiculous as it sounds). Also, as idealistic as this all sounds, I am not promoting or advocating for babywearing, as I have never personally done it, and I have only known about it as a thing for a couple of weeks. I will say though, if it’s cool enough for a couple of The Beatles to have done it with their babies, then it’s cool enough for me…

babywearing-beatles

The book I ended up getting is called Babywearing: The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition. I know, I’m a nerd. But it sounded like it could provide me with some insight- and it’s written by an M.D., not just some woman stuck in the seventies with a drug induced idea- even if that’s what the cover looks like…

The act of wearing your baby has been around forever, blah, blah, and blah. Every culture has used a piece of fabric or backpack type thing to carry babies for years and years. Even here in America, Native Americans carried their babies in papooses for thousands of years- in fact, Sacagawea is carrying her baby on her back on her featured dollar coin. The tradition of babywearing came out of necessity most likely- with your newborn on your body it leaves both your hands free, allowing you to work. Not only is it beneficial to you, studies have also shown it is one of the best things you can do for your baby…

  • The baby feels safe and secure with skin to skin contact- it is close to your heartbeat and can feel your breathing, your movements, and your body temperature- just like when they were in utero- it’s a familiar place for them and they stay calm and happy- which means they cry less! Up to forty three percent less some studies show.
  • Since they are not crying so much they are developing at a faster rate and learning more- just from hanging around you. When they are awake they are seeing everything you do. They watch your facial gestures when you communicate with friends and are more a part of what’s happening rather than being held in a carrier at waist level with nothing to look at but crotches and crotches.
  • They sleep better- I didn’t really get the facts down for this claim but you can imagine, right?
  • Digestion is better- the constant motion helps stimulate good digestion and babies spit up less.
  • Speaking of spitting up, babies who are worn by their mother more often nurse better and gain more weight than babies that are not.
  • The constant movement and stimulation is supposed to help babies develop better too. They develop a better balance and musculature because they are always shifting and responding to the movements of the carrier’s body. They are also at much lower risk for developing plagiocephaly (that’s when they get a flat head because they are constantly laying down with the back of their soft head against a surface).

Basically, what I learned, is that a sling baby = a happy baby. And I do understand that this is all theoretical for me right now, as I have no experience and reading things in a book is way different than real life experience. A year from now I will be able to tell you with experience- we might find out that the whole idea ended up being farfetched and stupid. Or we might find out that I loved every aspect of it until Scout fell right out and bonked his/her head because I forgot to tie it or something. But until then, I am excited to give this whole thing a try.

The most daunting thing about doing this, however, is picking a carrier to try out. There are so many different types and brands… There are wraps, ring slings, pouch slings, back packs, soft packs, meh dais, buckle carriers, Graco, Freedom Slings, Chicco (BabyGo), Hold Me Baby Slings, Nojo The Original Baby Sling, Boba Wrap, Baby Bjorn, Eddie Bauer, Evenflo, Seven Slings, Baby K’tan, Moby Wrap, Infantino, Lenny Lamb, iAngel, Ergobaby, LILLEbaby, Tula, Beachfront Baby Wrap, Maya, Oscha Slings, Sakura Bloom, Kali Sling, Beco, New Native, Caboo, Amawrap, Mamaway, and Vlokup.

I didn’t actually look all those up, I just found a list… but Whew! That’s a lot. Or, I also found that I can just use a bed sheet or piece of fabric and make my own. Where does one even start? That was a rhetorical question, but let me answer it for you… babywearinginternational.org. It’s a good spot to get started with some general information and it helps you navigate the underworlds of babywearing.

I know I have an overzealous outlook on this but I can just see myself not missing a beat at work. I see a full bar with a line of drinks I have to make. The music is loud and the lights are dim. Drink orders coming from every which direction. I’m shaking a drink with one hand, stirring another drink with the other hand. Through all this, I look down at Scout, who is sleeping peacefully in his/her sling that perfectly matches my bowtie.

Until then, it’s just going to have to be practice, practice, practice…

mazzy-babywearing

UPDATE!!
After my mom read this post she sent me a picture of her wearing my sister. I guess it runs in the family…

Sensitivity

We are fourteen weeks pregnant tomorrow. It’s really happening. Scout is the size of a kiwi, hopefully not as furry. The second trimester began last week so I decided to open up one of the books we have about pregnancy and brush up on what to expect in the next few months. It’s supposed to be a much “easier” trimester than the first- meaning nausea and fatigue should subside and Scout will start looking more like a little bump in the belly.

I was flipping around in the book and I ended up in the section for expectant fathers. It’s basically a section written for “dads to be” who are idiots and morons and lack common sense or compassion. I’ve looked at a few similar sections in different books and they all seem to assume that the typical male is a gleaming example of incompetence when it comes to relationships and pregnancy. I can’t say I disagree with that.

One paragraph really stuck out to me though. It was in the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy book. There is a small section that let’s the father know what he can do after the delivery of the baby…

Once your partner is allowed to eat and drink normally, bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop. It’ll make her feel special.

Are you fucking serious? It’ll make her feel special. Are there men out there who would not think of doing something nice for the woman that just gave birth to their child? Do they really need a prompt? The fact that the Mayo Clinic had to write an explanation of why one would bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop is what astounds me. My anger is not even towards the Mayo Clinic for writing this, but at the fact that there are so many men out there who need this written out for them!

Funny though, reading that made me look at myself in the sensitivity mirror… I’m guilty too. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months about what is okay and not okay to say. I actually had to learn it- super simple stuff too, but important…

  1. The little bump that is starting to form in the belly is called a bump- not a pooch. Don’t call it a pooch. Write that down.
  2. Just because Kylie is eating for two doesn’t mean it’s okay to point it out if she is. We made tacos the other night and I mentioned how she never built a taco so high before. We don’t talk about big tacos in this family anymore.
  3. If Kylie gets emotional about something it’s not okay to point it out, or laugh because it’s cute, or outwardly blame the pregnancy for it. Just empathize with the emotion at hand.
  4. If Kylie says she feels and looks bloated, she is not looking for someone to agree with her.
  5. It’s not okay to have Kylie help me lift a heavy truck topper off my truck anymore.
  6. Don’t comment on how hangry she may be. Just… don’t. Not even with a sparkling smile.
  7. Whenever I say or do something insensitive, go to Kylie’s favorite bakery or shop and buy her something… It will make her feel special.

 

 

Age

I picked up the book To Kill a Mockingbird recently. I figured I should read it since we’ve been calling that little thing inside Kylie’s belly Scout. I can’t say I remembered anything about Scout before I started reading the book a couple days ago- I read it a long long time ago but recently I had heard a reference to her (in the last few months) and I liked the name, so I decided to call our little thing Scout just to call it something and it caught on.

But boy oh boy is that Scout ever the tommiest tomboy and sassiest little girl ever! She’s way to smart for her own britches. She just runs the lot and gets in fights and questions every little thing someone says to her- for the sake of understanding- or proving her own point. It’s kinda what I’m hoping our kid to be like- well, minus the fights.

I read chapter ten last night of To Kill a Mockingbird. It began like this…

“Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty. When Jem and I asked him why he was so old, he said he got started late, which we felt reflected upon his abilities and manliness. He was much older than the parents of our school contemporaries, and there was nothing Jem or I could say about him when our classmates said, “My father—”

Funny, I have been thinking about my age a lot lately- and doing the math- when Scout is… I will be… and when Scout is… I will be… It’s quite daunting and frustrating to think of some ages and realize when my Scout is really getting started with adulthood, my time will be really winding down. My own father was thirty-one when I was born. I can’t say he was ever feeble or low energy when I was growing up- quite the opposite. There’s a photo of me at about eight years old taking a shot on goal. The photo caught the ball midair with my dad as goalie- fully extended, fully in air, about to stop the ball. I wonder if I will be performing any diving saves for Scout when he/she is nine years old… I say yes, but only because Kylie is a physical therapist and will patch me up afterwards.

When Scout is twenty, I’ll be sixty. When Scout is my age, I will be eighty. EIGHTY! I mean, assuming I make it that long. Maybe one good thing that comes out of this is that Scout will have mature parents- well, at least one- I can’t say I have reached a level of maturity that can be labeled “mature”, but Kylie is an adult at least. Maybe we can use the term “experienced” for me.

But maybe age won’t really even be a factor in all this for me. I look at people around town and a lot of the men my age look as though they are already fifty now. They look unhappy, worn out, overweight, and just plain older than they should. I’m a little bit ahead of the curve. Isn’t there a saying that you are only as old as your wife? If that’s true then I’m only… no, I’m not going to go there but let’s just say- nope- I won’t say anything.

I think age is just on my mind a little more today because I woke up and walked around like a decrepit this morning. I’ve had an achilles problem on one foot for a while now that causes me to limp in the morning until it stretches out. Yesterday I topped it off with an inflamed IT band on my other leg from over-running. So both legs wanted to crumble under me this morning. I didn’t crumble, mind you, I just hobbled into the kitchen and Kylie gave me a sympathetic hug and kiss, and offered to make me a cappuccino. As I watched her make the cappuccino I admired her youth, and then I felt young again- well, at least not so old.

 

P.S. Mom, if you know what photo I am talking about and have it around somewhere feel free to email it to me and I’ll include it in this post. Thank you!

 

P.S. UPDATE:  So, my mom found the photo I was referencing and it wasn’t quite as I remembered it, but this is the one I was thinking of- sorry dad- you still look good though… just not as good as me!

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