Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Clam

Lost Lambs and Parenting Panic

Monday night. Bedtime.

The little man is out of gas. Red-rimmed eyes. Ever increasing wailing. Unexpected lunges out of our grasp. Exhausted.

We got some dinner into him, had a quick bath and managed to squeeze him into his pjs, even if it took both parental units. Bottle is refused. He doesn't even want a bedtime story. We give him his soother, plop him in the crib, and tuck him in. Then, panic.

Where is his Lamby?

Mommy: "Did you bring it home from Daycare on Friday?"

Daddy: " I don't remember. That was last week!"

M: "What do you mean? I asked you this morning when I gave you the lamb to take. Did you bring one home?"

D: "I thought there was one in the wash."

M: "I didn't put one in the wash. Did you? Go check."

Precious minutes pass.

D: "It's not in the washer or the dryer. Does he really need it?"

M: "Yes. You need to go back to daycare and get it."

D: "But it's night time, daycare is closed, the building is closed."

M: "Get security to open it up."

D: "I think he'll be ok. Doesn't he have other soft fluffy animals to cuddle?"

M: "Of course he does, but they're not Lamby! How can you not remember if you brought it home on Friday and why did you take one this morning and leave it there? Didn't you check his bed at daycare?"

D: "Ummm, no."

When we got the second the second lamb (same as the first) it was to avoid this very scenario. One to be kept at Daycare, one at home in the crib. He loves that lamb. He needs it to sleep. Dad is supposed to keep them straight. Somehow in the drop-off/pick-up with the boy, the blankets, the bottles, the diapers, the wipes, the clothes and the soothers, the lamb got missed.

We had accept our fate and prepare ourselves for a long night.

Turns out the frog was an ok substitute.

At daycare drop-off this morning my first move was the put one of the lambys in my bag. Last night turned out ok, but I' m not going to risk it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Of jungles, dinosaurs and adventure

Fatherhood Friday at Dad BlogsSo we've been in daycare for almost a couple of months now. The wailing when we drop him off has subsided and while he still wants to come home at the end of the day, I'm not sure how long that will last. Still it's nice when we get him all to ourselves for an unexpected day or two just like a couple of weeks ago when Daddy Daycare was reconstituted, Long-Weekend Edition. Mommy had to go to work, but Dad had the day off. So how did we decide to spend our extra day of extra long weekend? Errands!

After a ridiculously mild winter and with unseasonalby high temperatures, Dad thought it was time to replace the winter tires, so off to the dealership we zipped. I played the "potentially cranky baby" card and poof, we moved to the front of the queue. Well, at least it only took an hour instead of two. Downside was we didn't get the car washed. I'm waiting for the witty neighbourhood youth to inscribe "clean me" in the dirt and dust.

Car service accomplished, our next stop of the day was the trek out to Costco. There is a lot of stuff in Costco. Yes, that is the whole point of the place, but try seeing it through the eyes of your one year old for the first time. It must be like bumping into the dinosaurs, although some of those pallets are stacked a bit higher than your average Allosaurus.

Upon arriving home we swapped the car for the stroller - from cute ute to mini SUV - and pounded the pavement to get some more bits and bobs. My biggest take home with summer approaching was just how terrible the little man's sunhat is. It would look great on David Attenborough narrating in a long lost jungle, but hip? No. Cool? No. Functional? Maybe. I wouldn't want to wear it either. Actually, I'd prefer the pink bunny suit.

My mission, which I chose to accept, has been to find him a replacement. And I have failed utterly. Sort of like when I tried to buy him sunglasses and ended up with ones that were so terrible even he knew it and cried anytime I put them on.

Thankfully a friend of ours found him a great one for his first birthday, so there aren't too many (soon-to-be-embarassing) photos of him in his urban safari gear. And a quick lesson in there that dad doens't have to accomplish these things all on his own.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The bunny keeps going and going and going

So a little while ago we dressed Oliver as a pink bunny. It wasn't Easter, it wasn't April fools, it wasn't on purpose, but a pink bunny he was. For his birthday, his little friend Maia, remembering their evening together (and reclaiming her pink bunny suit) gave Oliver a heartfelt gift - a big pink bunny of his very own.

So now, beside his alligator, hippo, fire truck and moose, the pink bunny has found a very warm place in his little heart. One day there may even be pink tuxedos at the wedding. As parents we can only hope.

And book more playdates.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pointing Fingers

Fatherhood Friday at Dad BlogsThe little man is learning new tricks everyday at daycare. Last week he came home pointing at everything. And he hasn't stopped. He points, lets out a little "Dat?" and then repeats. And repeats. And repeats. I'm trying my best to keep up with him, but it has become as incessant as a jackhammer.

Dat? Dat? Dat? Dat? Dat? Dat? Dat? Dat? Dat?

The daycare staff have even commented on it and, when I drop him off, he puts them to work too. For some of the things he points out I can't really answer his question: I'm too slow, can't find the word or just don't know. Then he busts out the double finger point. Both arms in different directions, doubletiming the DatDatDatDatDat, it's tiring, but it is very cute and I love that he is so curious (at least at this age).

The usual response in other adults is the obligatory "ooohhh" or "how cute" (it really is), until last week when we were out for walk. There he was, in his stroller, both arms extended, datdatdatdat issueing from his mouth, eyebrow arched in concentration when an older lady approached. I usually have some banal line at the ready to greet comments on his cuteness/adorableness/general babyness, but this one caught me napping. The woman proceeded to tell my one year old son that it was quite rude to point, especially at people, and then marched off. I was left on the sidewalk in stunned silence.

Now if she had heard what I said to the little man as she walked away, that was genuinely rude.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Anatomy of a Meltdown

So at the little guy's birthday party we discovered he loves balloons. Adores them really. Unhealthily so. I mean he really loves them.

And he doesn't like it too much when they get taken away . . .

Baby Cage Match aka Our One Year Old's Birthday Party

Last Friday the little man turned one. So we had a party. I have mostly recovered.

Our inspiration, apart from being accused years from now as being horrible parents, was Oliver's love of animals. Well, at least we think he digs them. So we opted for a jungle theme. Our decorating efforts were greatly enhanced by a gift from his Gia-Gia - a life sized stuffed giraffe. At least it is a baby-sized giraffe.

We cleaned the house. We decorated. We got food and drinks for the adults and the kids. I even decorated a home-baked cake. Oh yes, and we invited more than a dozen of his "little friends". They all showed up. Now we live in Toronto. Most houses in Toronto, ours included, are not particularly large. Add the regular baby gear and the party food (and don't forget the life sized giraffe) and space, you know that area not occupied by objects, becomes limited. Throw into that space a dozen-odd 1-year olds and then add their parental units, family and friends. The house was a rocking and more people were a knockin'.

The babies (can we still call them that when they hit the twelve month mark?) were sort of piled in the middle of the floor amongst the toys. This is where the Darwin and the Golding come in. Play and laughter in theory; survival of the fittest in application; Lord of the flies in outcome. Get a group of parents together and the strength in numbers, the potential for relief, and the confidence in others' abilities tend to produce a negative result: the abdication of responsibility.

No one actually got hurt, aside from the odd hairpull or eyepoke, and everyone had a lot of fun, babies included. Maybe it's not so much an abdication of responsibility but rather a more realistic parenting approach. Stop the smothering. They are remarkably resilient and, sing it Aretha, they will survive.

All in all the party was awesome if exhausting. We had a blast, the wee man had a blast and think the guests had fun too. I'm looking forward to next year's celebration, but it can most definitely take the whole year to arrive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Missing in Action

Wow, so if you've been watching this space, you've been mighty disappointed (please validate my delusions of grandeur!). A week of silence. And over the little man's first birthday. Bad blogging daddy. My defence is thin, but maybe stronger than that in the Pink Bunny Incident.

Last week was a double-whammy. Preparations were underway to celebrate the first anniversary of the arrival of the wee man (otherwise known as "praise your deity we dont have to go through that labour and delivery thing this year!"). As per perfect timing in babyworld parenthood, I came down with an illness that knocked me flat. In addition to my moaning about my raw throat, splitting head and throbbing sinuses, my wife had to put up with very little assistance in party preparations. And boy were there Heraclean labours jobs to do. Cleaning (we do this regularly, I swear), decorating, baking, shopping, cooking, lootbag stuffing, cake decorating, multimedia presentation preparation, soundtrack selection, parenting. The list kept growing. Playing on the interweb slipped. But I'm back now and I'll catch up in the next few days. After all, I have to tell you about the great success of the best party ever the little man's special day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Creature of Habit

So as we steadily approach the anniversary of the little monster's munchkin's arrival, I've begun to think back on life and how it's changed. Not necessarily to before his debut, but in the changes since. When he was just a little bug, unable to do much but gurgle, we had no idea what we were doing. There was this little, completely helpless being relying on us for everything. Disaster was assured. Except, thankfully, the options of what could be the matter were generally fairly limited: feed him, change him, or put him down to sleep. Throw in some burping and that covered most eventualities. It got us through most days and nights (with only a few panicked phone calls to the doctor).

Over time we've added bonks and bruises, teething, and constipation to the list of complaints. I didn't really notice, but to cope with the new wants and needs, we evolved a fairly predictable routine. No longer a menu of three possible solutions meant shifting to a more predictive method. Our days became fairly ordered, not out of some master plan, but simply to help us all keep on keepin' on.

Then there came "little demando" or, put another way, "He wants what he wants when he wants it". The routine slid a bit and we seem to back in a world of trial and error. This time around, though, the errors seem more numerous. When we're tired we seem fall back on the learned routine. So much so that we forget the basics. This morning was a case in point. Awoken by a howling wolf, we tried to soothe and comfort. He had his soother, his lamby and he was the right temperature. We tried cuddles and stories and favourite games. In our minds it wasn't time for a bottle. It couldn't be time for a bottle. He'd had a full one before bed and he never needs another until he wakes at six or seven. Good one, parents.  That's all he needed. One of the three basic needs that we could nail at our most sleep-deprived 11 months ago, escaped both parents with a year's experience for the better part of an hour. Now when is your naptime again???

Friday, April 2, 2010

Long Weekend!

Fatherhood Friday at Dad BlogsFatherhood Friday has a special twist this week - it's a long weekend and a day off from the office. The little guy gets to stay home from daycare. After three weeks of struggle, we thought he'd enjoy a day home with the rents. Not so. I guess daycare has become a lot more fun in the last few days. They do paintings, play with playdough, sing fun songs and play great games. They even made easter baskets this week. Mom and Dad are boring by comparison. And we don't remember the schedule. Foolish parents, trying to put the little guy down for a nap too soon! No sleeping in on this long weekend.

The wee man's first birthday is in a week too, so let the preparations for the party begin. Honestly, I'll be happy if just get the house clean enough to have guests. I think there is going to be a theme though which means decorating, cake baking, loot bag prep and that's just for the babies. There are going to be grown ups too. A trip to Costco and the Beer Store should sort them out. You won't remember it, little man, but it will be a lot of fun.. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.