Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ask and You Shall be Ignored

The gate at the top of our staircase had become almost impossible to open, so I purchased a new gate that I wanted to have installed by the time Alison got home. I first needed to take down the old gate, and installation of the new gate required a small amount of measuring, drilling and screwing. When installing these gates one finds that if your measurements are even slightly off the gate will most likely not operate correctly, and although it does not require a huge amount of skill to install, some concentration is needed. However, with the old gate down Zoe was intent on trying to get down the stairs. So while I measured, drilled and screwed I also had to contort my body to act as a human gate. Here is part of the conversation Zoe and I had while I put up the new gate. “Zoe, please put down the screwdriver. Please don’t hit the wall with that. Can I have that screw, please? No, don’t eat it. Can I have that piece of paper? Please don’t tear that. Daddy needs that. Zoe, that’s called a template and if you tear it I won’t be able to put… Zoe can I have that so I can tape it back together? Zoe, please don’t hit the wood floor with that. Don’t throw that down the stairs, please. Okay, please don’t throw anything else down the stairs. No you can’t go down. I’m not letting you by. No, you can’t go over me either. Watch your head on… come here so I can kiss it all better.”

As you know from reading last Friday’s blog we spent this past week on the East Coast. I left you with my fear that we would spend the entire week sleepless, with Zoe crowding us out of our bed. Well, although Zoe only used the provided crib two out of the six nights it wasn’t as bad as I feared. I’m not saying that we all slept soundly and didn’t get our share of kicks to the head, but I don’t feel that I need to get myself arrested just to catch up on sleep. Aside from the sleep issue and the usual focus on what to feed Zoe and when, her nap times, her diaper changes, where to find milk, and how to keep her entertained on six-hour flights, we had a pleasant trip. Here is a quick recap of our week. We had a nice Mothers Day Sunday brunch with Grandma Maxine, who was also in town, and Great-Grandma Harriette (yes, that’s four generations—see photo). On Monday we had a nice Birthday Lunch for Alison’s Aunt Cecil. Zoe charmed everyone in the restaurant with her almost overwhelming cuteness. I mean really, what’s cuter than a blue-eyed fourteen-month old in a pretty party dress wobbling around, showing off her new skill of walking? And we rounded off the trip by visiting a handful of friends that we hadn’t seen in a while. In five years, when we see these friends again, they will inevitably ask Zoe, “Do you remember me?”

And who would’ve guessed that airlines don’t have milk? Not me. My bad.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

More on Food

While sitting in the sand with Zoe at the park the other day I made a nostalgic observation. Zoe doesn't intentionally eat sand, but she does like sticking her finger in her mouth. And she likes playing in the sand. The result reminded me of those candy dipsticks (Dip’N’Stick, Fun-Dip, Lik-M-Aid, Lik-M-Stix) we had as kids, but with sand instead of sugar. Yum!

Here’s one way children cause their parents to gain weight. We’ve been trying to find new foods for Zoe, mostly because we feel guilty feeding her hotdogs three meals a day (and sand has no vitamins). Every time I go to the store I try to find something different for Zoe to try, and then she will usually reject it. At the end of the meal I will usually eat what she has left behind. We don’t give up right away but if she still won’t eat it after a few tries I will finish off whatever is left. Since we are less concerned with the fat content in Zoe’s food than our own they are not always the lightest items. I’m confident that if this keeps up—and I don’t see an end in sight—that come December I will be a shoe-in for that Santa role I’ve been coveting.

I'm afraid. Tomorrow we leave for a week in Baltimore and we will be staying in hotels the entire time. First, though, a little prologue. Last Monday we stayed in a hotel for one night while we had some work done on our house. In was a beautiful hotel and we had a large room that was very quiet. However, normally when we put Zoe to sleep we put her in her crib and she will usually cry for a short period of time (or long period of time) but she will eventually realize that we are not coming back for her and she will fall asleep (or exhaust herself crying and pass out). In the hotel room we were not comfortable with the level and duration of crying necessary to get her to sleep in the crib they provided, plus she can see us so she may never have stopped screaming. So we tried to get her to go to sleep in the bed with us. However, she is too distracted with us both there so it took us two hours to get her solidly to sleep, at which point we are exhausted from having spent two hours shushing her and trying to keep her from climbing off the bed. So we spent the evening of what we had been calling our "mini-vacation" lying awake in the dark while Zoe fidgeted around us. Is this what we are doomed for in Baltimore? In bed by eight and drawing straws in the morning to see who will take her down to the lobby to crawl around so the other person can sleep? I'll let you know when we return.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Fear Factor

Long ago, in the time known as BZ (before Zoe), I would periodically consider the prospect of fatherhood and deem myself unsuitable for the job for one primary reason: fear. No, not fear of commitment or parenthood, but fear of the thousands of dangers lurking around every corner. I would be in a bank (BZ took place before ATM's) and I would see a mother balance her child on the edge of the counter. So sure was I that the child would fall that not only would I become tense with the anticipation, but I would also physically prepare myself to leap forward in what would have probably been a futile attempt to break said fall. Well, here I am a father, and oddly enough I find myself balancing Zoe on the edge of counters (metaphorically speaking). What I have learned over the last year is that children do not always hurl themselves off precipices. Not that she won't go off the edge, but I can trust her not to go off every time. What I really think is happening is that there seems to be slight signals that children send out that only their own parents can sense, much like Peter Parker’s spidey-sense. Of course that doesn’t explain how I let her fall off the bed the other day.

I shouldn’t squeeze this next tasty Zoe tidbit into the middle of the blog; it should have its own headline. Really, it’s that big. Hint; in last weeks blog I referred to Zoe as a toddler. Ready? Here it is. Zoe is now walking! Three weeks ago she took five steps. Nothing happened for a week, then last week she started with short five-step trips from chair to chair. By the end of this week she was easily crossing the room and now walks more than she crawls. I’m really not sure how she is going to work this skill into her tantrums, in which she flings herself backwards from a sitting position. Will she first calmly sit herself down then tantrum or will she discover a new way to fling herself to the floor? Fodder for future blogs. Of course I have a video below.

Zoe has two new loves. The first is stuffed animals. Up until now she has shown little interest in her stuffed friends, but suddenly she is carrying around either her stuffed lion or rabbit or both. She will roll around on the floor with them, carry them across the room flung over her shoulder, or give them big hugs (though ask her to give us a hug and you might as well be asking a tree). The second love is high pitched screaming. She will scream whenever she wants something or wants your attention. Or just randomly to make noise. I’ve been trying to teach her to say please, but so far she would rather burst our eardrums. I expect that someday soon she will learn how to combine her arched-back tantrums with a solid, ear-piercing scream, at which point I will try to teach her the longtime favorite (and quiet alternative) of children around the world of holding her breath until she gets what she wants.

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