Vacuum

Arlo said his first curse word today. Shit. No, I’m not saying shit because he said a curse word- I’m kinda proud actually- but that’s what he said- “shit”- with fantastic pronunciation by the way. I could blame it on his weekend away in Idaho visiting his grandparents- but I think he and I both know it came from an incident this morning- he was starting to fuss and wanted out of his highchair. I told him “Just a minute buddy, I have to clean up all this shit that you threw on the floor.” And then he said “shit”.

It’s a pretty clear cause and effect. I have nobody to blame but myself. It’s funny, a month or two ago I stopped listening to rap around him unless I could find edited versions- I didn’t want Kendrick and Mac to influence his speech- and they didn’t- I did. I’ve been trying to tone it down around him and I don’t really curse too much in front of him- actually, I only realize I do when Kylie is around and her eyes meet mine after I slip- her eyes can say a whole lot- her eyes can curse.

As you might have gathered, Arlo is repeating words now. I wouldn’t call it talking- it’s more like commanding. He points and says “water” (wah wah or awah). Or he points to the fridge and says “cheese” (sheezz). Or he points to the cabinet and says “cracker” (Krah Kah). He says “dada”, “mama”, and “mamee” for Mazzy. He recently started pointing at the moon (Mmnn) and stars (staahs) in the night sky or when noticing them in books. He seems to understand almost everything. I ask him, “Arlo, where’s does the poop go?” “Potty,” he replies, pronouncing it, “pah-yee”. I can tell him to put his diaper in the trash and he either takes it to the bathroom trash can or to the kitchen where it has a 50/50 chance of going into the trash or the recycling. I guess he doesn’t understand everything though- he still throws food on the floor when I tell him not to.

Anyway, he has a whole slew of words and seems to learn ten more everyday- like I said, today we started with four letter words. But he does have a very favorite word right now. That word is “Vacuum”. He says “AcK uUUuum”. And I have to write about it because this one has been around for almost a month now- that’s right- a month. And it’s not just the word that he’s obsessed with- it’s the actual vacuum.

At this point, every morning, just after waking up in his crib he says “Ack uUUuum” and points to the hallway. Our vacuum lives in a tiny closet in the hallway, and since Arlo can’t reach doorknobs yet, he enlists our height to open the door for him. Sometimes he nudges the vacuum out of the closet himself but usually he directs one of us to roll the vacuum to the living room where he can admire it throughout the course of the day. At some point during the day he likes to have it moved into the kitchen, or into his room.

He calls it by name every time he walks by. He might stop and press some buttons or flip some levers. Sometimes he hits it with its own accessories like the brush attachment. But if you tell him to give it a hug he blushes and shyly walks up to it- he sticks out his butt and puts the vacuum between his hands and rests his cheek on the dust reservoir. If we are out and about and and I tell him it’s time to go home he automatically says “Ack uUUuum”- sometimes he follows it with “Mama,” but not always.

Today I walked into his room and he was pretend vacuuming Mazzy with the wand attachment- making the vacuum noise with his mouth. IMG_7203Mazzy didn’t look too appreciative- Arlo does get a little aggressive with that wand sometimes. What’s ironic is that Arlo is actually scared of the vacuum when it is running- so much so that he needs to be picked up or worn in a backpack. Even if I just start walking the power cord over to the outlet he will freak out. It’s quite the complicated relationship.

I don’t know what Arlo’s attraction is to it. Maybe it’s because without the towering handle it’s about the same size as Arlo- it’s short, round, and a little bulky. It does almost look like a robot- kinda like a white R2D2- but Arlo doesn’t even know the concept of a robot yet. I don’t know, maybe Arlo yearns for a sibling so bad he has made up an imaginary one. Hmm… I guess while we are on this topic what a great time to make an announcement…

 

Arlo met his new cousin Desi in September! He was born August 30th. We made the trip to California to meet him when he was about six weeks old. Up until Arlo’s vacuum infatuation he had an infatuation with babies- It took Arlo a few days to warm up to Desi- he was a little scared of him- but very concerned- if Desi was in the same house with Arlo then Arlo would make sure to check on him multiple times to see where he was laying, and then usually just point at him and say “baby”- actually, just like he does with the vacuum. Hmm. I didn’t get permission from Desi’s parents to post a picture of him so I’ll just post a picture that portrays the love between Arlo and his uncle…

IMG_6928.jpeg

Well, that’s it, just a quick one today- my new goal is to write more posts- but shorter ones- ones that I can start and finish in a nap time. This one fell close to that, but then he woke up, and then I couldn’t get back to it for two days. So we’ll see how it goes.

I was planning to end this post by sharing a lesson I learned recently- I’m not going to tell you what the lesson was now, but I will say it had an accompanying photo of a wall in Arlo’s bedroom. The wall had a three foot vertical streak of poop that led down to a full diaper sitting on the floor. I will spare you the details and the actual image only because I would feel like I have cheated you if I left you with a disturbing picture like that instead of a more relevant one like this…

arloshark.jpg

Bubble

Today Arlo blew the biggest bubble of snot from his nose I have ever seen. Instead of running for Kleenex, I ran for my camera (it was worthy, trust me). But as soon as I got back he gave me a quick smile and smeared it all over his face.

He’s been a little under the weather this month- mostly just a runny nose and a little congestion on some days. He can’t seem to kick it completely- I have succumbed to the idea that he will stay sick until the warm days come back. 

snot
Just seconds after the bubble burst

Luckily (luckily?) we have a Nose Frida to help unplug his nose. What’s a Nose Frida? Well thanks for asking- A Nose Frida is device used for sucking out snot from a baby’s nose- powered by your own mouth- that’s right- it sucks- I mean you suck- well, I suck. Basically it’s a surgical tube about eighteen inches long with a removable filter at the end of it. At that end, you attach small hard plastic tube that is tapered to fit into the baby nostril. So you put it in his nose, and suck. It’s that simple- except for it’s not- because he hates it- don’t know why, but he hates it. So much so that it has become a game of sneaking up on him to suck his snot. Because he hates it. If he knows what you are up to he turns into “Arlo the Octopus on Meth”- limbs start flailing and his neck begins turning 195º back and forth at a rapid pace. His first words in life will most likely be expletives during one of these encounters. The kid’s got some fight in him.

Oh, are you still stuck on the gross aspect of it? I was the same way, trust me. When the Nose Frida was brand new and still in the box I remember looking at it and saying, “Yeah fucking right- that’s disgusting.” But now… Now I’m like “MY TURN KYLIE!” It’s basically exactly what hunting is like- and baby, it’s open season- I begin by making sure he is upwind and then I get real quiet and low- if he’s on the floor I approach in an army crawl with the mouthpiece in my mouth with the tube dragging at my side. The hard part is springing on him- I have to get both of his arms locked to his body with only one of my arms- leaving my head to pin his head to the floor or my shoulder- If I manage to do that then I have a 85% chance of lining up the Frida to his nostril and getting a clear suck. If I miss my opportunity, I have to pretend I was just playing around and sheepishly return to camp to regroup and debrief.

Sometimes it goes perfectly and there is a moment of pride when I’m walking to the sink to look at my bounty- sometimes it’s a good catch and I feel like I’ve done a good deed- meaning, he can breath happily again. But sometimes there’s not much in the tube and I have to wonder- What went wrong? Did I hit mostly septum? Do I try again? Or maybe he just doesn’t have much in there? Honestly, it’s a very thin line that I’m still learning to walk. I should have it figured out by the time he is fourteen.

OH! But here’s the grossest part, I think they make a Nose Frida for the bum hole.

 



 

Fluffhead

Arlo’s first Thanksgiving happened a few days ago. We spent the afternoon at a friend’s house with lots of joyous people mixing, mingling, and drinking endless amounts of wine and keg beer. Arlo got passed around from person to person like a mid-value bottle of whiskey. At one point I looked over and he was being held by one our friends- a lovely millennial named Kale who was wearing a cowboy hat with a beautiful floral dress and a magnificent gold sequined jacket- his skin adorned with tattoos of a badminton racket, a shuttlecock, and a folded pocket knife. I can only hope that this will be the most traditional thanksgiving that Arlo ever has.

Sequins + Shuttlecocks

He did great with all the strangers and hoopla. He had a couple sad face breakdowns due to missed naps and wet diapers but all in all we were mostly just asked, “Is this kid always this chill?” He even disappeared into the kitchen where I heard he was dancing and wooing all the ladies. I, on the other hand, turned into the same shade of the couch and tried to camouflage myself into its pattern so no one would see me and try to make conversation. Call me anti-social but… well… that’s it, just call me anti-social.

Arlo, however, is becoming very social. He just talks and squawks all day long. Him and I go back and forth like we are having a conversation about the state of the nation. (it sounds pretty much the same as the ones they have on the television)

 

And he has started eating real food! I don’t know why I’m exclaiming this because it really just means two things:

  1. It takes forever to feed him now. Not only am I still feeding him bottles, but then in-between we are trying to eat purees. He has had bananas, peas, sweet potatoes, lentils, carrots and this list goes on. Spoon feeding him is quite time consuming and messy. His face usually ends up looking like he slipped face-first into a pile of vomit.
  2. And number two? It means his number twos stink- like human shit. Gone are the good ol’ days of wonderful cute breast milk poo poos that didn’t smell or make you want to open a window. Yup, that little thing has turned rotten and now makes his room smell like a dirty train station bathroom in Jerez, Spain. (Very specific and random comparison I know, but you’ve probably never seen the bathroom in the train station in Jerez)

So our days are filled with eating and stinking, going for walks and having lots of talks. He likes to stand and hold onto the windowsill and look out for what seems like hours (it’s really only minutes). We also practice sitting. He can sit on his own but he topples over sporadically and often so I stay close to catch his gigantic head. Speaking of gigantic I don’t even know how to describe the fat rolls this kid has now. I mean really, I thought they were big before but his rolls now seem to be redefining the the rules of human physiology. If you saw his arms you might think I put tight rubber bands up and down them.

Arlo will be seven months old on Tuesday. That means I’ve been a 3-day-a-week stay at home dad now for four months- holy crap! And let me tell you… it’s hard work. You know the movie Mr. Mom? You know how at the end of the day Michael Keaton finally gets the kids to bed and has a break and you feel absolutely exhausted for him? mr.momThat’s me at the end of the day. And I only do it with one kid! Only three days a week! And so far he’s a pretty easy kid! I cannot- CANNOT imagine what this is like with two, three, four kids. I guess you just get used to it and figure it out?

I mean he’s only one kid, and he doesn’t even move on his own yet, he just sits around absorbing every little new thing. If we are looking out the window and a few leaves flutter, it’s absolutely amazing to him. He can stare at the dog and smile forever. The whisk and spatula that we play with everyday, are amazing and new everyday. mushyIt’s like I’m taking care of someone who dropped a massive amount of psilocybin mushrooms- I don’t care to stare at the wood grain on the windowsill, but I know how mind-blowing it must look to him- so I don’t pull him away because I don’t want him to have a bad trip.

It’s like this kid lives at a Phish concert. He just sits around and stares while his mouth makes unintelligible sounds and drools onto his food stained shirt. The music that we listen to is as repetitive as a Phish song- it just keeps going on and on. These songs are supposed to be good for his developing brain, but they turn mine to mush- and they get stuck deep in my head. If you come visit me at the bar and watch me make some cocktails chances are I have this song stuck in my head and I’m shaking to it…

I like to aete, aete, aete, aepples & baenanenaes,

I like to eat, eat, eat, epples & benenees

I like to oat, oat, oat, opples & bononos

oatmeal

As hard and mind-numbing bringing this kid up is, it is very rewarding- and I love it. I love seeing him in his crib when he wakes up in the morning- all wide eyed and ready for the day. I love to watch his arms flap with excitement over something as simple as a spatula. I love that right now I am sitting on the floor in the hallway watching him be by himself in a room laying on a yoga mat- and he’s just squealing and squawking away for no other reason other than he likes the way it sounds. I am profoundly grateful that I have a work schedule that allows me to stay at home and facilitate his introduction to the world. I get to show him what my version of the world is and what his can be- and as you can probably tell by this blog- it’s pretty damn weird. Oh crap, he just saw me- gotta go…