Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dat! Dat! Dat!

Another of Dear Alex's first words - Dat! Dat! Dat! Daaaaat! We assume she's trying to say Cat!
Cat! Caaaaat! We have two - Emma and Gracie, both adopted, and two very good natured cats, to be sure - no claw marks on Alex yet as she has pounced, pummeled and slapped the cats in an effort to understand how they were like and/or unlike the in-animate stuffed animals in her ever-growing menagerie. The typical reaction is simple avoidance - as soon as the cats hear dear Slappy (from the sounds those hand and black and blue knees make) coming, they vanish. Smart cats, not-so-smart baby. I've been trying to explain the concept of 'stealth' and quietly sneaking up on said cats - but Dear Alex is having none of it. She announces her presence, (Dat! Dat! Dat! Daaaat!) then charges...


One of her first few words: Duck! Duck! Duck! I keep wondering about the prevalence of ducks in all things baby - this is just a simple question - What's the deal with ducks? They're everywhere. For example, there's bath tub duck (the surreal inflatable duck shaped bathtub) sticky ducks (duck-shaped suction cups that hold the bath toys) floaty duck (your basic rubber ducky, which we have multiples of, both with holes in the bottom and without) squeaky-duck (which squeaks when you squeeze it) Pictures of ducks, duck tissues, and my favorite:
Hey Alex, There's a duck on your ass.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Worst dad ever.

Well, not really, but sometimes it feels that way. I just got finished making my beautiful daughter cry at the top of her lungs for 15 minutes, by tormenting her with a very scary face-mask. It didn't help to pretend we were playing hide-and-seek ("Where's Alex?") It just made her scream louder. - Over a long weekend at The Undisclosed Location Dear Alex seemed to lose her usual spunky vigor, and slowed down to a (normal) crawl. She got a little warm, and her nose began to run constantly - sheets of snot, actually. Not for the squeamish. Went to the wonderful pediatrician today, and it was confirmed. Dear Alex has a virus - so to help her breathe, we need to give her a nebulizer treatment - okay, I get it, understand, but oh boy does she hate it - Right now, I just gave her the 7 o'clock dose, and it was as though I was flaying her alive while pouring salt water on her for good measure. Wow, amazing screaming - all at the hands of dad. I don't quite think she'll ever know it's for her own good - I'll never get thanked for this one. Dr. L., bless her, told me it was better if the lil' darlin' cried during the treatment - they inhale deeper, and longer than if they're calm. Super. I get to do this again at 11:00pm, 3:00am, 7:00am...

It feels worse than the time I got sunblock in her eyes by accident - you know, squirming, slippery baby, ham-fisted dad. I thought that was bad, but this (the nebulizer) is like willful torment.

Worst dad ever - part two

About half-an-hour after worst-dad-ever rubbed sunscreen into Dear Alex's eyes. She did have an okay time at the beach, and ate sand for the first time.

Bath time for Num-num

I'm fascinated by the variety of appliances and devices proffered to give your infant a bath - At first, it was a fairly simple proposition, a fold-up tub-like device that fit very nicely in the kitchen sink. Dear Alex took to water like a natural, and bath-time was fun-time. She loves splashing around, takes great joy in the play of sound and activity of water and has always enjoyed being wet and naked. The devices have gotten a lot more complicated, and by turns, bizarre. This concerns me somewhat, but I generally go along to get along. We started with the foldy-uppy kitchen-sink bathtub, which Large Baby (AKA Dear Alex) quickly outgrew, then transitioned to scary-inflatable-bathtub (attached to it is 'squeaky duck' mentioned in another post) which lives in our shower to this day. At the Undisclosed Location we have the giant-inflatable-duck bathtub which scared Dear Alex to tears when she first saw it, but now she's fine. It's a little weird, though - we bathe our child in a giant inflatable duck, which quacks "whak, whak, whak whaaaak" when you squeeze it's inflatable orange bill. It definitely gets her attention. My favorite tub, though is a simple blue plastic tub that I got at Ikea for about 6 dollars - non skid on the bottom, rounded and not terrbily ugly. It works. Okay, so there's no duck print, no little fishies, and no real attempt a decoration. That works for me. The only thing missing was a drain, but that was easily fixed with an electric drill. Simple and effective.
Would that there were more baby-related objects so easy.

Moments After the Incident

Not much of an incident, actually, but this picture has to me the quality of a WeeGee crime-scene photo, with all the randomness of real life. It never ceases to amaze me how rapidly Dear Alex can create chaos from order. This is nothing compared to some of the messes I've seen, but it has that quality of begging to be examined - what 'really' happened here? Was it Soft Bear succumbing to internal injuries after bludgeoning Pink Puppy to death over Dear Alex's affections with the wooden spoon? Where did the tennis ball come in?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Swimming lessons
The most delightful thing you can do with a baby - structured time in the water, and on the hottest day of the year so far. Dear Alex loves the water, so much so that Ms. Alex and I thought it prudent that we learn a little about babies and water. It turns out that it's all okay, and they really do know how to not inhale when you submerge them - a dunk and a lift out of the water gets you a "Garrgh!, Gaah!" and grin. One of dear Alex's happiest sounds. Mostly she likes to splash, and definitely prefers face-down over on her back in the water. A few weeks ago we went to a beach near the undisclosed location (pictured above), where she crawled in the sand for the first time (much delight there) then headed straight for the water, and crawled in face-first, and loved it. Everything is so new, there's so much to see and do. "Gaah!"
Dear Alex relaxing in her crib
insanely engaging, and blissfully unaware of the menace within...

Crib Weevils
Like any laid-off dad, I'm constantly looking for some way to augment the household income. Short of selling dear Alex out to Gerber (Yes, she'd be perfect - white chick, ruddy round cheeks, level, but engaging and slightly amused gaze) - and taking a page from the baby-industrial complex, I think there's definitely something in inventing something else for parents to worry about, and / or spend money on to protect their child from. I'm all for it. Believe me, I've seen the horrors of "flat-head-syndrome', and heard a lot about the terrors of 'Bottle-mouth' but who, I ask you, is doing anything about the scourge of Crib Weevils? Think of it - 1 disposable Weevil-proof Tyvek(TM) suit a night every night for at least three years or so at say a buck fifty each - multiply by however many responsible parents I can convince of the Crib Weevil Menace... We're talking major college fund material. "Parents! Protect you child from the Crib Weevil Menace!"
You have been warned.

Save the babies
I assure you, it's not a pro-life rant. Dear Alex is at that stage where everything must first be tested, preferably by banging her head against it, just prior to attempting to gnaw, chew or mouth said object, so we are doing the obvious - child-proofing. Went to the big-box baby-industrial complex store to buy foam padding, and purchased a product to wrap the massive sharp-edged glass-topped coffee table. Prominently on the packaging was this admonition - "protect your child from sharp edges!" Uh, well, okay. Gee, if you say so, I better do that. But it's a slippery slope - once I start protecting my child from sharp edges, I should also probably protect my child from falling from high places, open flames, radioactive materials and rabid animals. This disturbs me for so many reasons - Do I really need to be told to protect my child? Who thinks of these things to market their products? More on this later, but remember, parents:
Protect your child from virulent pathogens!
Protect your child from gruesome industrial accidents!
Protect your child from high-voltage electricity!
Protect your child from terrorists!
Protect your child from malevolent clowns!
Protect your child from global warming!
Protect your child from post-apocalyptic zombies!
You have been warned.

Monday, July 17, 2006

About dear Alex

First taste of freedom,
first time cut loose on the grass-absolute joy!

At this writing, Alex is coming up on 11 eventful (to me at least) months of age. She's loud, she's little, and she's in charge. Don't let the name of this site fool you, though - Lil'screamie is a nickname (one of many) that comes from the dim, remote past of a few months ago, back when she really did have a lot to yell about (I'm wet!, I have a poopie diaper!, I'm tired!, I'm hungry!, Notice me!) Now the screaming is reserved for special occasions like bedtime, naptime, over-tired time, I've just-bumped-my-head-on-the-coffee-table-again-time, and when she's hungry or bored.

But wait, she's also beautiful, well adjusted, and about the sweetest little baby you'd ever want to meet, which to me is saying a lot. As a rule, I don't generally like babies, but for this one, I've made an exception. It may be, however, that something changes you when you have one of your own - I find myself actually looking at other babies without fear or revulsion, and even with interest, if only to figure out how dear Alex is doing in the scheme of baby-hood. Not in a competitive way, of course, but as a way of charting her progress in the ever-more-challenging (and delightful) transition from "stays where you put her" baby-ness to "crawls immediately to the most dangerous thing in the room" toddler-hood.

I'm late to the game in starting this, so I'll be backfilling some of what I consider to be some of the more interesting developments in her short time in the world, along with a fair amount of discursive rambling on about some of those obvious questions and insights that come with being a new father.

The inspiration for this came from the remarkable trixieupdate.com, sweetjuniper.org, and laidoffdad.typepad.com: delightful, articulate, intelligent and inspiring.