I’ve made some big changes to the code and styles that run this here blog. Hopefully, the only thing you’ll notice is a change from 2 columns to 3 columns. I’m fairly certain that I’ve salvaged the legacy code that needed to be kept in order to get all posts before this one to display correctly. But, just in case, don’t freak out if things are a little buggy for about a week, while I hammer out the little stuff that I may have overlooked.

The Somnambulistic Son

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The silence in the room was broken as a cry drifted down the stairs. Joe, an unassuming man who is convinced that Murphy’s Law applies to his everyday life, turned to look at Sarah.

As a stay-at-home mom, Sarah has developed an expertise in all things baby. On more than one occasion, Joe has found himself wondering if Sarah has some type of supernatural connection with the baby. He’s attempted to rationalize these thoughts. He knows that Sarah’s hearing is better than his. But how can she be in the kitchen, chopping up food, with a fan turned on and music playing in the background and STILL know when Tyler wakes up? And let’s be honest, Joe. Doesn’t Tyler always seem to know when Sarah’s nearby, almost like he senses it? It’s a two-way bond, between mother and son, and you aren’t a member of that club, Joe.

Tyler is the seven month old product of the the young marriage between Sarah and Joe. If you were to see his smile, you would see the sproutings of three teeth, with two more, maybe three, on the way. Tyler is also the owner of the cry that has Joe sitting up and looking questioningly to Sarah.

Sarah was gazing upward, head cocked ever so slightly to the right. Joe was certain that she was focusing her auditory senses on the room above, but that small, nagging part of his head thought otherwise. She’s looking through the floor, Joe. She’s watching Tyler THROUGH the twelve inches of plaster, wiring, joists, sub-flooring and carpet. And matting, Joe. She’s also looking through the matting.

In the silence that followed the initial cry, she said, “Maybe he’ll go back to sleep.”

Joe relaxed and let out the breath he didn’t notice he was holding. Yes, maybe he would go back to sleep. It was eleven o’clock POST meridiem, after all.

The answer to that particular thought came down the stairs in a more forceful tone than the cry that first interrupted the quiet evening. With a sigh, Joe stood up, walked to the stairs, and started up the fourteen steps to Tyler’s room, stepping over the three creaky ones. It was a habit he picked up shortly after Tyler was born. In the darkness of the second floor, he turned the doorknob and pushed the door open. They live in an old house that has settled over the years. Joe has combatted the non-levelness of the house by placing shims under one or more corners of the furniture. The door to Tyler’s room also falls victim to this non-level nature and will swing open without any external force. It stops only upon hitting the doorstop with a BANG……. BANg…. BAng… Bang.. bang bangbangbangbang, as it bounces off the stop with decreasing force each time it connects. Only a week ago did Joe have what he considers to be the brainstorm idea of placing one of Tyler’s stuffed toys against the doorstop. Now, the only sound from the door is a quiet “ffff”.

Tyler was in his crib, sitting, crying. Joe could just barely make out the shape of the pacifier in the darkness. It was laying on the floor, about a foot or so from the crib.

“Big surprise”, Joe said under his breath as he bent to pick it up. He mused on whether this small piece of plastic and silicone was the source or the cure for the Tyler storms that have a tendency to materialize seemingly out of nothingness.

“Here you go, buddy. Shh shh shh shhhh. Let’s go back to our night nights.” More times than not, night nights comes out as “nigh nighs”, and this was no exception.

With his eyes now adjusted to the darkness, Joe got a better look at Tyler and saw that, sitting in his crib and crying, his eyes were still closed. He asked in barely a whisper, “Are you still sleeping, TyTy?” In fact, the whisper was so faint that Joe would later wonder if he even said it aloud at all. He picked Tyler up an inch so he could lay him down again. Tyler’s eyes never opened. They never even fluttered. Convinced more than before that Tyler was indeed still asleep, Joe placed the pacifier in Tyler’s mouth. Instantly, Tyler fell still and silent.

Shutting the door and walking down the stairs, a swarm of thoughts flooded Joe’s head. Sarah looked at him, waiting for a status update, and although Joe was certain that she watched the entire scene unfold through the ceiling/floor combo that seperated the two rooms, he said “That boy is going to be a sleepwalker.”

The End

somnambulistic (som-nahm-byoo-lis-tic): a parasomnia or sleep disorder where the sufferer engages in activities that are normally associated with wakefulness while he or she is asleep or in a sleep-like state.

Blowing Some Balls

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I can say, with absolute certainty, that nothing in my life has ever compared with the joy and warmth that fills me when I hear Tyler laughing. Tyler takes after his father in the sense that he is quite easily amused. If I’m watching a movie and see Matthew Perry run into a glass sliding door and crash to the ground – all this because he’s trying to dissuade his assistant and Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski from murdering his wife – I will laugh every time. Sadly, I don’t own a copy of this movie, so I can’t be a hundred percent sure of the details of the scene.

One of Tyler’s toys is an orange plastic tiger that is holding a purple plastic basket. On the basket it a blue plastic bird. The accessories to this toy are three – you guessed it – plastic balls. Tyler received this toy as a Christmas present from his Aunt Jillian. When you put a ball into the basket, it plays music and says things like “woohoo”, “good job” and “you’re grrrrrreat!” I find it a tad interesting that this orange tiger toy says “you’re grrrrrrreat” in a very similar way that another orange tiger – which is not owned by the same company – says “they’re grrrrrrrreat”, in reference to the yummy qualities of a certain breakfast cereal.

Playing with this toy with Tyler entails ME dropping the balls in the basket while I say “daddy puts the blue ball in the basket.” Tyler usually watches with mild curiousity for a few moments, before crawling away to find a power cord to chew on. Sometimes, Tyler would pick up a ball with each hand. I would then giggle madly (to myself) when I told him what he was doing. “Tyler is holding his balls.” *snicker* A few days ago, Tyler seemed to finally “get it”. He picked up a ball and dropped it in the basket. I was so excited that I almost jumped up and performed cartwheels. Almost. My worries that maybe it was just a fluke were whisked away when he made 9 more baskets.

Last night, after dinner and before bed, we found ourselves playing with the tiger toy while Sarah took some alone time to unwind and read the paper. Tyler picked up a ball and swung his arm towards me, like he wanted me to have it. I said “can daddy have the green ball?”, as I pulled it from his hand. I couldn’t tell you why I did this, but instead of dropping it in the basket, I made a chomping noise and put it in my mouth. Tyler grinned a little. I aimed down a bit and shot the ball from my mouth, popping Tyler in his leg. He laughed, hard, and handed me another ball. “Can daddy have the red ball?” Chomp. Pop. Laugh. Honestly, I have never heard Tyler laugh this hard before. A baby’s laugh is quite infectious. Sarah put the paper down, laughing, to watch Tyler. I laughed everytime he did.

After a few minutes, I lay down on my back and started shooting the ball in the air, and catching it in my hand. Tyler started laughing even harder. If we weren’t having such a great time, I would have grabbed the camcorder. I don’t know how much that toy tiger cost, but it was worth every penny.

And if you were thinking of something entirely different when you read the title of this post, then shame on you. If that never even crossed your mind (liar), then shame on me.

Suck On This – Part II

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When Tyler wakes up in the wee hours between sunset and sunrise (you know the hours. Before parenthood, these would be the hours that you would just be stumbling towards bed, sometimes in a slightly inebriated stupor. These would be the hours that we now cherish as quiet, sleepy time), Sarah takes care of him nine times out of ten. It would be more accurate to say 99 times out of a hundred, but who’s keeping track?

Sometimes, he needs nursies. Other times, he just wakes up and can’t go back to sleep until someone picks his pacifier off the floor and gives it back to him. That cursed (please pronounce it “curs-ed”, not “cursd”, because that’s how I’m saying it as I type it out) pacifier. When Tyler was born, I told EVERYONE that I would rather give Tyler a pacifier than have him be a thumbsucker. My reasoning? Well, because I can take away a pacifier. I can’t take away Tyler’s thumbs. If I could go back and talk to the Joe of seven months ago, I’d slap the white off my own face.

I never considered the flipside of such a scenario. When Tyler falls asleep, his pacifier falls out of his mouth, and ALWAYS drops off his crib to the floor. Upon waking up and realizing his pacifier is not within reach, he will gently call for his parents to come and rectify the situation. If we do not oblige within half a second, he cranks the volume up to 11 until we do so. Many a time have we walked into Tyler’s room to see him reaching through the slats of his crib, looking at us as if to say “What? I tried getting it myself before asking for help.”

Normally, this doesn’t really bother me. Sure, it’s a tad frustrating and a bit of a nuisance, but when I go up there to plug his mouth, it’s usually between 3 or 5 in the afternoon. In the middle of the night, Sarah gets up and tends to him. When a couple sleep in the same bed, the wife will grow accustomed to the husband’s alarm clock going off every morning. Eventually, she won’t even hear it anymore. I can’t exactly say that I don’t hear Tyler yelling, but I hear it in a deep part of my head, and it takes a while to wake me.

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Well, Monday morning, almost simultaneous to my alarm going off, Sarah cried out in pain next to me. We’re both unsure of what exactly happened. She either pulled a muscle in her neck, pinched a nerve, or “something” that would cause severe pain to shoot down her neck and shoulders. Pain so intense that she was sure that she was going to vomit, and actually had to rush – well, as much as a person in that kind of pain can rush – downstairs to the bathroom. After a few moments, it was obvious that she was in no condition to care for Tyler. Feeding him and playing with him would already be quite a chore for her. Picking him up and moving him back to an area where we could keep an eye on him after he crawled into another room and started pounding on Delilah’s crate would be quite another.

We managed to get through the day unscathed, with daddy at the caretaking helm. Sarah and Tyler have their daily routines, and I’m sure I did some things differently, but like I said, all came out fine. He’s still got ten fingers and ten toes, and I’m still breathing, so we won’t talk about the new bruise that is forming next to his right ear.

Tyler was definitely tired when we put him to bed. A few hours later, we heard him crying. I went up to his room to find him sitting upright, just crying. It was a comical sight, and I did laugh. As a matter of fact, I laughed again when I “drew the picture” for Sarah. It wasn’t a big deal, because I hadn’t gone to bed yet. I was simply hanging out, downstairs, watching TV or cruising the information superhighway, I can’t remember which.

Later that night (*cough* one thirty in the morning *cough*), I found my dreams being infiltrated by a strange noise. It almost sounded like…

Screaming? Crying? Is that a baby crying?

“Gimme a break”, I grumbled as I flung the covers off myself. Promptly, I discovered that our house is cold at night! I don’t mean the cold where I need to put on a pair of socks. I’m talking about the cold where I should be wearing a snow suit, over three or four layers of pajamas and shirts, and have all that stuffed with those warm-packs that hunters take with them in sub-zero temperatures. We have one of those smart, energy efficient thermostats. At night, it drops down to 62ºf (17ºc) and I’m here to tell you that the piece of junk is defective. It was cold enough to make a polar bear migrate south. Sarah said that she had just finished breastfeeding Tyler, so he probably just needed his paci. That was fine with me, because I wanted to get under the snuggly covers again as quickly as possible.

“Of course he does”, I thought, as I quickly walked as quietly as I could, or quietly walked as quickly as I could, “Why couldn’t he just be a thumb sucker?”

I walked into his room to see him standing up in his crib, pacifier in mouth, crying. I kept thinking, “I have to be awake in four hours. I have to give a two hour presentation today. And he’s crying just because he doesn’t want to sleep?” *sigh*

I put him back to bed and tucked him in. After listening to him cry for another fifteen minutes, I went back in there to give him his paci that somehow managed to drop to the floor. I swear he must be pulling it out of his mouth and throwing it, just to get a rise out of us. He went to sleep for the rest of the night shortly after that.

Why is it that I get exactly what I wish for when it turns out to be exactly what I don’t want. He shows no interest at all in his thumbs. I’ve changed my mind! I want him to give up the paci and discover his thumbs. I wonder if it would be acceptable to fashion a rubber band on the pacifier, so I could wrap it around his head to keep it in his mouth. Like a doctor’s facemask.