The Non-Dad Stuff


Think of it as a work in progress. I sometimes find myself wanting to say things that I struggle to justify posting here. I strive to keep this as much of a "Daddy Blog" as possible. It’s been great, and I love it, but it limits what I post. This is my solution. I created a second blog that I’m simply calling "The Non-Dad Stuff". It’s up to you if you decide to read it, I’m just letting you know it exists. I’ll be adding an RSS feed to this site that lists the most recent posts over there, so keep an eye out for it. Actually, I’m only making a post about it so that those of you who use a blog reader to get my updates know about it as well.

The Non-Dad Stuff

This post will self destruct in 7 days, or whenever I remember to open up the editor and delete it.

Sneeze


Tyler sneezed on Tuesday. When I told Sarah about it, her reaction far different than mine. My reaction was one of loud, cackling laughter. Sarah’s was one of sympathy and mild sadness.

Tyler is constantly finding objects to grab onto so that he can stand up. He enjoys using long objects that afford him the ability to walk along them. He’ll grasp the couch cushion and shimmy from one end to the other. He uses the entertainment center quite often as well. I’ve had to push the television back about twelve inches so that he can’t use a hard plastic toy as a hammer against the screen. Side note: Owning a flat-panel LCD television with a newborn baby isn’t a great idea.

I think the action of walking along these objects is referred to as "cruising". If not, I apologize for using it out of context here.

Tyler has most recently taken to cruising along the windows in our living room. He points at everything outside, and I dutifully tell him what he’s looking at.

"That’s a car. Black car."

"That’s our lawn. It’s covered in grass. Green grass."

And so on and so forth. Tyler seems to be absorbing everything, pointing at the sky, trees, birds, squirrels and anything else that catches his attention. Inside the house, he points at the walls, ceilings, lights and picture frames.

While cruising along the windows and pointing at everything in sight, Tyler’s head swayed back and then snapped forward with a forceful sneeze… and cracked his forehead on the window sill. Physical comedy slays me, so this sent me into hysterics. I did manage an, "are you ok, bud?" through my laughter, but he didn’t seem to even notice anything happened. Aside from a bright red line just above his brow, all was normal. And that was good, because it allowed me the time to fully absorb the comedy gold that Tyler provided at his own expense.

Boys are fun.

He loves his King Kong


Some of the things that Tyler does amazes me.

I’ve blogged previously about Tyler BONKing me on the head, and how much fun it is for both of us. This game that Tyler created has evolved into a game of chase. The BONK game started with Tyler putting his head down – like a bull – and charging into me. The morph began with me crawling into Tyler and BONKing him on the head. I would then crawl away and hide around he corner. Tyler came to look for me an would BONK me back. He would then crawl away squealing and laughing. I gave chase, saying "I’m gonna get it." Over time, Tyler has stopped BONKing me, much to my dismay. Instead, he crawls halfway to me, or until he’s in my view, and stops.

"I’m gonna get it."

Tyler then turns around, squealing and laughing as he runs crawls away from me. Although I know I am drastically reducing the effective life of my jeans, I am having way too much fun to care.

When Sarah and I started dating, our idea of fun was drinking all night, jumping out of airplanes (my first dive) (three times for each of us), hang-gliding (pics), and hitting triple-digit speeds on a motorcycle. Not all on the same night though; we aren’t crazy! It’s funny how perceptions change over time. I have a blast chasing Tyler around the house and have been flirting with possibly selling the crotch rocket.

Another development that has awed me is Tyler’s recent attachment to a stuffed monkey, given to him as a gift from Sarah’s friends, Rachael and Trisha.

Two weekends ago, we all went and visited Sarah’s Aunt Karla and Uncle Curt. Since I want to talk about the monkey, I won’t tell you of all the card games I lost, the delicious food, or the fact that Karla and I Euchred Curt’s and Sarah’s smug selves to finish a game that was tied at nine points each. I won’t tell you that, so just forget about the last couple sentences.

They have a bucket full of the really large Lego blocks. I couldn’t tell you who had more fun playing with them between and adults and Tyler. I constructed a skyscraper that utilized all 75 pieces of the Lego set. This thing was tall; easily thirty-six inches. Tyler was eating breakfast with Sarah, so I kept playing. I posed the monkey halfway up the structure, à la King Kong – a character of which Tyler has no knowledge of. To finish the stage, and really sell the scene, I set a truck on its side and placed a firetruck nearby. Upon finishing his meal and seeing the danger that monkey was in, Tyler rushed to the scene, saved monkey, pushed the skyscraper over and onto the firetruck (killing everyone inside), and hugged monkey. Hugged it! On Sunday, he kept hugging it, kissing it and cuddling with it. Sarah said that he was "showing" his toys to monkey recently as well. He LOVES that thing!

 
I don’t know if I ever had a security blanket or a security toy, but I think it’s cute that Tyler is forming such a strong attachment to the monkey. I wondered for a moment if it is "healthy" for a baby to have a security item. In yesterday’s mail, Sarah received something with baby information inside. We signed up for all sorts of newsletters and parenting magazines when Sarah was pregnant, so something is always showing up in the mail or in our email.

"Next time your baby takes his teddy bear along, take it as a compliment.

Okay, so that little stuffed bear or cozy blanket is starting to look worse for the wear. But all that love your baby is showering on it is actually good for him, as well as a good reflection of you as a parent.

Surprised? Here’s why: stuffed animals or blankets play an important part in your baby’s emotional support system. Since they’re comforting and help him feel at ease, he wants to take them wherever he goes. And contrary to being a sign of insecurity, it shows that your baby is loved and nurtured and is able to comfort himself; a step towards independence. And that’s something to feel good about.”
[www.StrongMoms.com]

I guess we’re doing something right.

Take Me to Your Leader


Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you the new Supreme Chancellor of our household… JOE!!!! Henceforth, he shall be titled as Chancellor Gearhart!

* Waves of deafening applause. *

Something happened last Friday while I was sitting on the couch next to Sarah. She had Tyler in her lap, facing her, and she was eating his neck fat. It’s one of the great things we’ve discovered about parenthood; nibbling on your baby’s neck. The entire neck is quite delectable, but the sweet spot is just under the chin. Whenever he tilts his head back and exposes that area, we dive in like the vampire Lestat on a family he’s been stalking for years. This is one of (air quotes) those things (air quotes) that makes the frustrating aspects of parenthood worth every lost wink.

"Hi, I’m Billy Mays, and I’m here to talk to you about an amazing new product. Baby Neck Fat! Just sprinkle a little on this grape juice stain and watch it disappear! Did your son just knock over a plant, spilling the dirt and water onto your nice floor? Just nibble a little of the Baby Neck Fat and your frustrations are forgotten! If you call and order in the next five minutes, I’ll throw in the bonus Chubby Baby Feet, but that’s not all! I’ll also throw in a Baby Smile that will melt your heart, along with the frustrations caused by any of your baby’s less-than-desirable actions. That’s a sixty dollar value for only $19.95. Call and order now!"

If you’re a parent, you already know the power of baby neck fat. If you’re expecting, you’ll experience it for yourself soon. If you’re neither, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

After a few minutes of watching my wife enjoy the fruits of baby neck fat, I said to Tyler, "Can you say ‘da-da’?"

Tyler immediately and effortlessly replied, "Da-da."

Sarah paused, just long enough for me to know she heard it, then tried to PRETEND THAT IT NEVER HAPPENED! Sarah tried to continue her little routine of drawing Tyler forward by his arms and going "nom nom nom" on his neck. The audacity!

"Don’t you dare pretend that you didn’t just hear him say that!"

I know what she was thinking. Nobody else heard Tyler say it, so she could pretend that it didn’t happen. If I start bragging to my friends and family (and my blog) about it Sarah could, theoretically, say that she heard no such thing.

"Dude, Tyler totally said ‘Da-da’ last week. It was awesome man! Sarah, you heard it, tell him."

Twirling her finger around her ear in the "he’s got a screw loose" gesture, Sarah replies, "The only thing I remember Tyler doing is farting when you said that to him. I think you need more sleep, you’re losing it."

Sarah knows that if she denied it long enough, I’d eventually start to believe the lie myself. I’d doubt my own memory and wonder if I only dreamed the entire thing. But just a few days later, I had a witness to Tyler’s "da-da." Yesterday, we went to see Dr. Nagel to get Tyler adjusted again. He hit Tyler a couple times in the back and in the neck with the Activator (or actuator… he just told me the name of the tool yesterday and I’ve already forgotten what it was), and lay Tyler down to do some manual release on his neck. Tyler did quite well during the appointment and made me quite proud at his mostly passive demeanor. He did grow frustrated after a few minutes of the manual release, because he doesn’t like laying down unless he’s sleeping. Tyler would much rather crawl around, knock things over and just stay active. At the end of all this, I picked Tyler up and held him as Lee talked about ear infections, probiotics, and follow-up. Whispering into Tyler’s ear, I said, "Can you say… da-da?"

"Da-da."

And Lee heard it. I’m surprised there was enough space in the room we were in for Lee, Sarah, Tyler, myself, and my huge ego. Oh, and the green monster of jealousy that was trying to squeeze its way in. If we didn’t already know that Lee was married with children, it would have been made quite apparent to us from what he said next.

"Well, words like da-da and ba-ba are easier for a baby to say than ma-ma."

Picking up on his noble attempt at easing the tension in the room, I added, "Yeah, so when he does say ‘ma-ma’, you’ll know that he’s really trying."

I don’t remember exactly what Sarah said, but her eyes said "whatever." She wasn’t really upset, but we’re like every other parent in that each mommy wants their baby to say "ma-ma" first, and each daddy wants their baby to say "da-da" first. He said "da-da", which means that I win, right? In Sarah’s defense, I couldn’t tell you if Tyler knows that I’m da-da or if he’s just saying it because he can. I suspect he hasn’t associated that word with me yet, but he will soon enough.

Soon enough…