Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's hard to find good help these days

With daycare closed this week, I've been working from home. This morning I got a little help.

Of course, as soon as this picture was taken, the little slacker disappeared and I haven't seen him since.

Probably out back on another "juice break". This is not going to look good on his annual review. I'm going to have to put him on a Performance Improvement Plan.


Today's post brought to you by the Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro. If you're worried that you haven't spent enough money on your laptop, it's time for an Apple!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Subliminal high-chairs

After reviewing the finances last night, I've decided that the only way that we're going to be able to afford to send Finn to Ninja College is to start selling ads on the blog. We're going to start all subtle-like, though, with product placement deals.

Behold, the Svan High-Chair! It's really expensive1, but see how well it keeps the cats out of harm's way?

Tango has apparently not yet gotten the memo that he has been designated Finn's new BFF. He should just be happy that he didn't draw Paris Hilton. She doesn't have the best track record with pets.

Speaking of Paris, the trash was picked up today for the first time in three weeks. I pity those garbage men. Three weeks of diapers and cat litter can not make for a good Monday.


Don't worry, dad, it was a gift.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy 9 Month Birthday Finnja!

Congrats to the Finnja on making it 9 months on the "outside", almost as long as his lazy butt was on the "inside". For you observant folks I'm sure you couldn't help but notice that he is standing on a tower of 9 cups. The kid is SMART!

Daddy almost broke his two fingers trying to keep the tower in place for the picture. Daddy is WEAK!

Okay I can't stop at one picture. The only time he appears to bear any resemblance to his Mommy is when he has "crazy eyes". Coincidence?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but Seattle has been effectively shut down by snow since last Wednesday. The crappy roads have kept-away the magic unicorns that come by to pick up my typewritten blog posts for distribution on the intertubes. I need to get those unicorns some better tires.

So without further ado, allow me to recap all of the excitement that's gone down in Ninjatown over the past week:

1. It snowed again (and Finn appeared to enjoy it this time):

Seattle public schools shut down under "threat" of snow last Wednesday, but it didn't start until Thursday with the real storm showing up on Saturday, canceling schools, flights & daycare and piling about a foot at our house. The exceptional part is that it's all still here a week later.

This is the road next to our house, taken about 4 hours ago, which is nine days after the start of Snowpocalypse. Since it's been raining, asphalt finally appeared on this road this morning. There are still people outside driving with chains on their cars. They're idiots, but they're still out there.

Seattle apparently decided to adopt a "Snowpack by Design" explanation as to why the roads remain unplowed and unsalted days/weeks later. This is the political equivalent of "I meant to do that" from elementary school. It's not much of a comfort to those of us that are stuck at home - indoors - for days at a time, living in piles of uncollected garbage and actually having to take care of our children.
This is why God invented booze.

2. Finn stood unassisted for a five-count:

The Ninja has definitely turned his attention away from assisted walking. He has no interest in holding our hands as we walk him around; all he wants to do is cruise around the furniture on his own. In the process of cruising the other day, he let go of the thing he was holding onto and stood totally still for a (admittedly very quick) five-count. Since this was in the middle of Snowmaggedon, Kitty and I were both lucky enough to be around to see it.

To celebrate, we promptly drank another bottle of wine.

3. Oh yeah, it was Christmas:

With all of the excitement about the snow and the standing, it would be easy to lose sight of the real meaning of the season. That's right. Gift wrap!

Finn is obviously too small to appreciate all of the crappy gifts that we have planned for him, but we figured that he could at least enjoy opening some presents. We even wrapped up some wine, although given the events noted above, not as much made it to Christmas Day as originally intended.

It turns out his interest in wrapping paper begins and ends with how it tastes. Even when prompted with a starter tear, he lost interest quickly and went back to enjoying the spirit of the holiday with his mouth.

No matter, we still had a lovely day. This was our first Christmas ever on the west coast, which would have been lonely had it not been for the presence of Aunt Nicole and Uncle Keith, as well as the surprise continued presence of Aunt Holly and Uncle Rob. Apparently the snow-pack design doesn't work all that well at the airport.

Even though we didn't get to spend the holidays with many of you out there in Ninjaland, you were still in our thoughts and we hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's some more wine under the tree that needs attention.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Separated at birth?

I present the cheetah lady of the north side of Chicago and the cheetah baby of the west side of Seattle. You can't even tell them apart, can you?

If you've got the time, I strongly recommend watching the cheetah lady's video. I think you will all relate. Who doesn't want to get out of the jungle, live in a condo and eat tacos? Word up, cheetah lady!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bathtub Finn

Thoughts on Bath Time
by Finn David Parker

1. I'm too hyper for a real big boy bath so I'm still in the kitchen sink.
2. I don't even care that I'm wet and in a freezing house (it was snowing outside and our house is not insulated for cold weather being built in 1909 and in Seattle where it rarely gets cold or hot)!
3. My Mom just poured a cup full of water over my head, spilling it and soap in my eyes and I don't give a lick.
4. My eye lashes are to die for!
5. I just splashed all the water out of my bath and onto the floor and now I'm wondering...hmm what's next for Professor Chaos?
6. I'm NAKED!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Catchin' up with the cats

Do you remember what it was like before you knew how to drink from a cup? I've spent late nights with enough of you to know that this is a skill that is still lacking in many adults. Myself included. But for the most part, during the day, I'm sure you have a handle on it.

Finn is now figuring it out too, albeit with a sippy cup. I was actually stunned that this wasn't knowledge that came built into the baby operating system. I knew that I would have to teach him how pee in the toilet, how to tie his shoes, how to find Shakedown Street in a Phish/Neil Diamond parking lot, and how to look busy at work without really doing anything, but I didn't think I'd have to teach him such basic stuff as eating & drinking. This kid was not prepared for anything. He's lucky that we're (relatively) proficient at these things!

He's still not great at drinking, since it requires that he suck. And if there's one thing our kid is terrible at, it's sucking1. He is managing to get some liquid down and this, coupled with his newfound ability to hold his own bottle, is finally allowing him to close the gap in the great Brain-off!TM that he's got going against the cats.

Let's review the scores:
  • Pooping in a predefined area that is not one's pants: Cats 1; Finn 0
  • Sleeping through the night without waking up the parents (no points awarded if regularly spend the night locked in the basement): Cats 1; Finn 1
  • Destroying furniture, either by shredding, dismantling or vomiting: Cats 2; Finn 2
  • Bathing self without drowning: Cats 3; Finn 2
OK, so he's still got a little bit to go, but he's catching up! He's actually starting to pick up the call-and-response skills necessary to attend a college football game or perform in a hip-hop music video, but he's so far thwarted our attempts to capture it on video so that will have to wait for a later post.

Here's a video showing another skill that he's picked up from the cats: pulling crap off the Christmas tree. That ornament was securely welded onto that branch but it may as well have been attached with cotton candy.

And while we're showing videos, please take a moment to review this masterpiece of a trailer that was written, directed and produced by some Friends of the Ninja, including father-to-be Grant Calof. Those with delicate sensibilities, like the Grandmas, may want to skip this since it has adult language and themes. OK maybe not the Grandmas, since they have dirty sailor mouths, but the rest of you delicate flowers have been warned.



Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm screaming at a white Christmas

It snowed 3 inches in West Seattle on Saturday night so Finn got to experience his second snowfall today. I don't think we can really count the freak snowstorm that happened on the day he was born (March 28th, 2008) because he wasn't really up for frolicking around in the snow that day. Lazy newborn!

Today he was all over the place building snowmen, making snow angels, packing ice balls to huck at the cats and making snow forts. We didn't actually capture any of that on film, but trust us it happened. Um yeah, right after he sat comatose in the snow for a while....Did I mention it was COLD?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Silly Tango, tricks are for Finn

Tango always wants to get in on the feeding time action. Finn loves to share.

Finndiana Jones

Finn took his first unassisted step this weekend. It wasn't a big one -- he was just trying to get from the yoga ball to the table -- but it may as well have been a triple-jump given mommy's & daddy's faces. Being that he's only hours past his 8 month birthday, we were not quite expecting this level of locomotion yet.

But we shouldn't have been surprised. To date, this kid has rushed into everything head on. Literally. His gigantic melon is a kaleidoscope of purple and yellow bruises. Not surprising, given the fact that he staggers around on his tip-toes like a drunken Baryshnikov.

Here's an excerpt from Jena's daily update for yesterday:
Finn attacked the room like a madman this morning... moving from object to object in lightning speed while pulling up, opening, shutting, pulling down, climbing over, banging, and throwing anything in his way. Layla and Grace sat in open-mouthed amazement watching Finn's incredible ability to scale all things primary-colored and plastic.
He's insane. Army crawling is as obsolete as a stagecoach ride or a Segway. The boy now splits his time between (hands and knees) speed-crawling and upright cruising with the help of our wide selection of pointy and stabby furniture. In order to limit the bloodshed, I spent the weekend childproofing the house. Every drawer and cabinet in Finnville is now secure, with the exception of the drawer that holds his bibs, because apparently you're supposed to give the kid one thing that he can get into. Plus, it's a lot of fun watching him swing open on that drawer at 150 mph and then slam it back in on his fingers. Good times.

We also now have so many baby gates that navigating through our house feels like the hunt for the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. You need to know exactly when to kneel, where to step and which cup to drink from in order to enter the kitchen or to get up the stairs. The carpets are stained with the blood of those that have failed these tests.

I've also had to lower his crib -- again -- to keep him from jumping out. Since Kitty was studying this weekend, I decided to lock Finn in the room with me while I worked using one of our 157 new baby gates. While I was surveying the scene and revving up the power tools, Finn was dismantling the night light. I caught him just as he was about to take a bite out of the bulb. After rationally discussing with him the importance of not ingesting electricity & glass and gaining confidence that he understood, I spent the next half-hour working on the crib with one hand and wrestling the light bulb out of his hands with the other.

After eventually securing the nightlight, the process was repeated with the bottle warmer, the power drill, and the ratchet set. He eventually found comfort somewhere inside the laundry hamper. At least, that was the last place I saw him. I hope he's still in there.

I fear for our Christmas tree.

Being that it is the season, here's a pic of Finn and mommy at the reindeer feeding this weekend at Swanson's Nursery. Not interested in Blitzen, Finn was eyeing the broken glass at our feet, which I'm sure he thought looked delicious.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ninjas don't snuggle

Finn's never been much of a snuggler. His idea of cuddling is slapping you in the face, pulling your hair or throwing up in your mouth. In fact, he did that to me again today. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I'm obviously a complete idiot for putting you over my head with my mouth open. Again.

Lately, and out of nowhere, the Ninja has taken to putting his cheek against our cheeks or laying his head on our shoulders when we're holding him. It's extremely sweet and therefore we assumed that it must have been an accident. Like some little girl baby way off in the distance was flashing him and he just needed to crane his neck to see it. But at this point, we're starting to think that it's for real.

This happens mostly in the evening, when he's milk drunk or sleep deprived. Most times, he won't sit still for more than 10 seconds which includes his steadfast refusal to cuddle in bed with us in the morning. At this point we'll take what we can get. Especially since his one true love is clearly himself. He'll sit and stare at our Best of Finn screensaver for hours, smiling whenever he gets a closeup. And last weekend at the cabin, I caught him making out with himself in the mirror.

To be fair, he is extremely good looking. If I were a mirror, I'd be putting the moves on him too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Very (belated) Ninja Thanksgiving

Finn would like everyone to know that he survived Thanksgiving at the cabin. Never a sure thing when you cram him, 6 adults, 3 dogs and an extremely flammable turkey fryer into a tiny little log structure way up in the woods.

He also wants everyone to know that his parents will be trying to up the pace on their blogging following a (modern-era) record poor showing in November. I'm sure he's getting beat up in daycare over it. I doubt he's getting wedgies, because really, who'd put their hands anywhere near a baby's diaper if they didn't have to.

In the meantime, here's a pic of Uncle Rob encouraging Finn to pull things out of Smokey's mouth. Don't worry, we took every precaution in case things got out of hand with their rough-housing. We had three Spider-man band-aids and some Infant Tylenol. Turns out you can fix anything with those supplies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stairway to Headwound

The War of the Grandmothers is in a cease-fire with Mema/GF/Grandma Finn's reluctant departure on Saturday. The votes have been tallied and the winner is...

Everybody! Shocking, right?

Finn wins with two G'ma visits in two months. The G'mas also win because the Ninja is so freakin' awesome. And of course, we win because we're
repeatedly told what an amazing child we have and what exceptional parents we are.

Not that we needed to be told.

It was a pleasure having the Grandmas here. Finn spent both weeks getting his pants spoiled off. Which is different than getting his pants spoiled - something that happens every two hours
regardless of where he happens to be. They all enjoyed the beautiful (and rarely so) Seattle fall weather with walks around town and he enjoyed the fact that they chased him around the house, most recently with GF on her hands and knees.

We enjoyed that too. How often is it that you can watch your own parents crawl around the floor squealing like idiots? Sean Preston and Jayden James Federline excepted, of course.

They both added ingenuity to the party - GP with her cheetah costume and GF with her ingenious baby toy inventions. Whereas we were content to continue buying toys and binkies at a rate sufficient to keep up with his tossing them from his stroller, GF immediately invented a super-fancy apparatus to tie his toys & pacifier to the stroller using some space-aged material called "shoo-laces". I had never heard of it either, so don't feel bad.

Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and tequila shots. GF did reprimand me for my handling of Finn's latest trick. Turns out the boy lurves the stairs. He can't get enough of them. I've certainly stoked this adoration by constantly helping him learn how to climb them. And he's awesome at it. He can handle two flights in under two minutes. He comes down them even more quickly, at a rate of a stair per second - on his head. Apparently, this is bad.

I was instructed that if I was going to encourage stair-climbing, I also had to teach the descent. I don't think so. That's Mom/Grandma work.

Here's a pic of the boy climbing like a champ. I'd show a picture of his return down, but I'm afraid the Dept of Social Services might use that as an excuse to visit and the house is very messy.


P.S. A
big shout-out to our faithful readers in St Helena. According to the size of the dot in our traffic map on the lower right of the blog homepage (here, for you email/RSS readers), most of the 4,250 inhabitants must be regular Fussy Ninja readers. Let me know if you guys think there's a market for t-shirts. I'll whip some up ASAP.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Great Unwashed (Toys)

Autumn arrived in earnest in Seattle this past weekend, as the magnolia tree in our front yard informed me by dropping all of its leaves in a 24-hour period. That meant that my Saturday was earmarked for raking -- one of my least favorite pastimes, as each magnolia leaf is as light and easy to rake as an encyclopedia. But given that it was a dry fall weekend, a relative rarity in the PNW, I was excited to get Finn gussied up in his little snowsuit that we bought down at the local secondhand store for some outdoor fun.

We had originally intended the snowsuit for the cabin this winter, in the event that we got some snow before the ski mountain opened, in which we could take him sledding. Judging by the fit of the suit, however, we have approximately 18-hours before he outgrows it. It better start snowing, stat.

I figured that if I was going to have to rake, Finn was going to be jumping in some leaves. Even if I had to throw him into them. The problem was that our front yard, where all the big leaves are, was still too wet and the magnolia leaves were like a big pile of mashed potatoes with a gravy that you didn't want to get anywhere near. That left our little dinky ghetto back yard. I cobbled together a pile of birch leaves, sticks and common household garbage and tossed in some Finn.

This picture's a little blurry, since he was listing heavily to starboard and was about to faceplant in a large twig and/or Big Gulp straw. It sure does look fun, though, doesn't it?

This past weekend also marked our introduction into full contact parenting -- i.e., toy shopping. Ever the conscientious hippies, we of course were focusing on second hand toys at the coolmom.org toy swap. For weeks, I had been complaining to Kitty that we didn't have enough scratched up toys with weird stains on them, so this was really her gift to me.

This place was insane. I was completely out of my league. It started at 9 AM and we showed up at 9:05 AM, only to watch the two toys that we had pre-agreed that we would go after heading out the door as we were going in. Five minutes into the event and the place was already picked clean. It was elbow to elbow with kids and parents scrambling to grab something, anything, just so they didn't leave empty handed.

Here's a picture from the West Seattle blog (including Kitty, Finn and Lisa), but it doesn't do the scene justice. When this was taken, I was outside splashing water on my face and checking my body for broken bones. We did score a 1950's phone, a little steering wheel and a Thomas the tank engine, along with some random shapes that don't seem to light-up, beep or blink, which is weird. It took about 2 hours of scrubbing with lye, but I think they're finally clean enough to go in his mouth. Which is the only destination these days.

Finn's Memaw / Grandma Finn arrived on Sunday for the latest salvo in the War of the Grandmas, so hopefully she'll be able to show the boy a better time than Mommy's crappy toy dash and Daddy's pile of dangerous garbage.

It won't be hard.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Everyone needs their 15 Finn Minutes

Congrats to Jerry Espinosa for FINALLY making it on the blog. He gave a whole new meaning to the term "casting couch".

Give me an "F"!

Monday, November 10, 2008


For the last couple of days, Finn has really been stretching his lungs. He's yelling pretty much constantly. Seriously, constantly. In fact, I'm sitting here now listening to him yelling on the monitor. And he's fast asleep. It might be due to the two new top teeth coming in, since he wasn't too thrilled about that last time.

Or, it could be due to the fact that he watched the Penn State vs. Iowa game with me on Saturday. We don't watch nearly as much TV as I'd like anymore, focusing entirely on CSI: Miami, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and on the hourly reruns of the Travel Channel's 25 Sexiest Vegas Hotspots
. Penn State football is a given.

Kitty was out running errands, so it was just me and the boy. I had intended to take Finn to our friend Sichel's house for some ribs, but his nap hit right at game time, so I settled in to watch at home. He slept through the first half, but he got up just in time for the fourth quarter. I tried to contain my disbelief & horror, but I get kind of excited and I don't think I did very good job. Even though he woke up right in the middle of "daddy freak-out time," considering that there were several Iowa Hawkeyes at Sichel's, I still think it worked out for the best.

Ever since then, Finn's turned up the volume. In fact, at daycare today his yelling made Grace cry. I felt really bad about that and want to apologize to her parents, Todd & Jennifer, who incidentally are big Iowa Hawkeye fans.

Sorry about that. I clearly need to be setting a better example. It had nothing to do with Saturday's game. Congratulations.

Here's a quick video of Finn and his new best friend, the lighty-blinky-loud thing that we keep in his pen. We've got to teach him that yelling at this is a more appropriate outlet for his sports frustration than yelling at sweet little girls at daycare.

Even if they are stupid, lucky Hawkeye fans.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Goodnight noises everywhere

Over the last seven months, Kitty and I have developed a pretty standard routine. She does everything, while I watch quality television. Mostly. In the evenings I will pick Finn up from daycare and whip up some dinner -- typically something orange & mushy, as orange is a color that he apparently finds delicious. Not like green, which must taste like crap.

From there, it's all mommytime. While I try to put the house back together after Hurricane Ninja & Hurricane Kitty collide, usually in the kitchen, the two troublemakers will retire upstairs for some quality time as Finn gets ready for bed. Apart from occasionally wandering upstairs to giggle at how adorable the boy is in his baby-in-a-bag setup, I stick to the basement with my good friend Horatio Caine.

Lately, however, Kitty has had stuff to take care of in the evening, which has left me on night-night duty. I've learned something very important as a result: night-night duty is awesome. The only time you can actually snuggle with this kid is when he's tied up, and he gets good and tied up for night-night. With the snuggle sack and a super-swaddle blanket on top of it, there's no way he can fight off the kissy-train and he's a captive audience for storytime.

Which leads me to the second important thing I've learned. Most baby books suck. Devoid of character development, illustrated by monkeys and generally lacking in any sort of compelling narrative. I'd like to take a moment to review five of the books that are currently in our bedtime rotation: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?; The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Guess How Much I Love You?; and of course, Goodnight Moon.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear starts out strong. With a brown bear. But it goes downhill from there. The theme is repetitive, with a new colored animal appearing with every page. The author lost me once he introduced a purple horse and the ending is completely confusing. Are the schoolchildren supposed to represent the animals? Which child is which animal? I think I've got the goldfish pegged, but how do I get the other ones right, especially without seeming racist?

Polar Bear, Polar Bear
, by the same author, is an entirely derivative work, however the action this time does make a little more sense and it is clear at the end that the children do represent the animals. The problem I have with both of these books is that I feel compelled to read them in silly animal voices and I can't remember which voice I used for which animal for previous readings, which just leaves Finn confused and me frustrated. Thumbs down.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar does have a cute little caterpillar and a neat little gimmick whereby the caterpillar eats through an apple, then two pears, three plums, etc. As you work through his meals, you flip little pages with holes in them representing where he's been. Once he's eaten his fill, he builds a cocoon and reemerges a butterfly. Right when you're thinking something cool might happen, you flip the next page and it's blank. The book is over. The butterfly moves to Paramus and stars in dinner theater for all we know. Terrible ending.

Guess How Much I Love You? was the book I read to the Ninja when he was still baking in the oven, so it gets sentimentality points. It's a cute book, but one of the protagonists (Big Nutbrown Hare) is a real jerk. Little Nutbrown Hare spends the whole book telling BNH how much he loves him, only to have BNH try to top him every time. Even at the end, BNH waits until LNH is asleep before totally one-upping him again. That's not cool. Big Nutbrown Hare is an a-hole, if you ask me.

Which brings us to Goodnight Moon, arguably the greatest book ever written. It's understated -- it can be read cover to cover in about 2 minutes. It rhymes funny words (Goodnight mush!). It has surprising developments (Good night nobody? Who saw that coming?!). Plus, it's got the single most soothing closing line in all of literature: Goodnight noises everywhere.

I fell asleep on the keyboard just typing that.

The worst part is that Brown Bear and Polar Bear are Finn's favorite books. He gets a big smile whenever we pick them up. I can't wait to retire them. Goodnight Moon will remain in the rotation indefinitely, but I'm already looking ahead to Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry. Since those books have actual paper pages, as opposed to the board books that we're reading now, we have to wait until Finn gets past the "reading with his mouth" stage before we can introduce them to storytime.

Paper cuts on the tongue will really kill the night-night vibe.

Before we put the cheetah away for good, here's a quick video of him racing across the Serengeti to attack his delicious prey: the Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, weiners!

Fierce cheetah costume courtesy of Grandma Parker, who actually made the hat & tail from scratch last week while Finn napped. It's a good thing someone in this family's got skillz, because Kitty and I were frozen at the prospect of what to do about Halloween. Once we realized that Finn wouldn't be too pleased with the idea of a face mask, and therefore wouldn't have made a very convincing ninja, we were at a total loss.

Anyway, the ninja costume is probably best saved for when he can actually hit someone other than himself with his nunchucks. This year he'll just have to vanquish the bad guys with his fearsome falsetto screams, sharp claws and prodigious vomit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ninja Zoo

It was with a heavy heart and an even heavier liver that we bid my mother farewell on Saturday. She earned her share of the Grandmas of the Year award with her tireless babysitting, her delicious dinner-making and her competitive wine drinking. But with her out of the picture again, Kitty and I had to reacquaint ourselves with a son that we hadn't been allowed to touch for a week.

And we were immediately reminded that we are out of our league.

Finn has already decided that crawling is not nearly a fast enough means of conveyance. He now requires constant assisted walks around the house, where we hold his hands as he runs as fast as he can from dangerous corner to sharp protrusion and back. Our baby gates couldn't arrive fast enough.

But arrive they did, and the first one is now in place. Surveying our house and realizing that we are, above all else, very lazy people, we opted to first babyproof the only room without grabbable knobs or furniture -- the kitchen. It only takes one baby gate and some cat food relocation to turn the kitchen into a little Finn-pen. Add in some hand-me-down playmats and toys and we've got a little Ninja Paradise.

Of course, paradise gets a little dicey when we start cooking and bacon fat starts flying everywhere, but the grease on the floor helps him get across the room that much faster so it's win-win. Plus, he smells awesome after crawling around on the floor. It's almost like he's wearing a bacon onesie.

Here's the kitchen-dweller trying on a new hat in his new digs. Notice all the crap on his shirt that he's cleaned up off the floor. Given the fact that this kid moves constantly, it took extreme patience to get this shot. Art Wolfe, eat your heart out.

In other news, for the past 3-weeks the Ninja has been sleeping from 8 PM through until 4 AM. This is an unprecedented development and came out of nowhere. We didn't do anything; he just decided that he didn't need to wake up at midnight for that bottle anymore. I've been hesitant to mention it, since I'm superstitious about this stuff. I spent 15 minutes knocking on wood and trying to "un-jinx" Penn State toward the end of last weekend's game when the announcers were already talking about the Orange Bowl. But at this point, I'm totally digging it.

Of course, I'm now terrified of how he's going to handle the Fall Back. Kitty's been steadily moving back his bedtime by a couple of minutes each night, but we have no idea whether that's going to work.

Let's just hope that this doesn't happen. I'm afraid that the borders between my Swear Zone and Helpful Parent Zone aren't always clearly marked.

Thank God for mommies.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Puree Genius

With my mother's arrival last Saturday, and with her pathological obsession with her grandson, Kitty and I have found ourselves with a surplus of free time on our hands. Back in the before-time, we would have devoted such free time to intellectual pursuits such as trivia night at Talarico's, but with our new responsibilities, we now use all of our free time for the betterment of our child.

And what's better for the boy than whipping up some delicious chicken, carrot & squash puree?

Not content to torture Finn with cold carrots, Kitty cracked open The Top 100 Baby Purees book that's been sitting on our shelf for who-knows-how-long and dove right in. Knowing how much the Ninja likes carrots, she opted for a chicken, carrot & sweet potato dish. Unfortunately, with Finn's potato-intolerance, we had to substitute squash for the sweet potato.

Now, I'm not sure that the squash is entirely to blame, but somewhere in the mix, something went horribly wrong for the boy. Please witness his first taste of non-jarred food:

Notice how worried everyone is about his happiness. Uncle Rob can barely drink his beer he's so concerned.

And just to prove that he doesn't hate all foods, here's a picture of him licking spilled carrots off the table. The boy's got class and he's very eager to help clean up around the house. Now if I can just get him to take out his stinky diaper trash, we'll be all set.


For the record, the puree was actually delicious. I finished what Finn wouldn't eat. I'm hoping it becomes a regular on our dinner rotation. I'll eat the puree and Finn can have my tofu stir fry. Sucker.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crack is whack

We use the term "crack" too frequently these days. It seems like anything that can hold our attention for more than 5 minutes is a form of crack. Certain toys are "baby crack." Nitrous Oxide purchased in a balloon at a show is "hippie crack." Methylbenzoylecgonine is "crack... um... crack."

I'm not down with that. I don't throw that term around loosely. In this case, however, I believe it's warranted. I have it on good authority, that the crackiest of all crack is right here. I present to you, "Grandma crack."

I defy any Grandma to watch this video less than 400 times. You'll find yourself selling crack, just to pay for your internet connection, so you can keep watching this.

Now that's "crack."

Notice the snort at :22. He's definitely his parents' kid.

In other news, we are now in the midst of a four-day sleeping streak. The Ninja has slept for 8 hours every night this week. Granted, those 8 hours end at 4 AM, which is less than ideal, but we'll take it.

With Grandma Parker's impending arrival, and with her East Coast metabolism, 4 AM should be no problem for her.

Thanks in advance, Mom.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon

The past six months have been full of developmental milestones, but it's become clear lately that we have entered the Lightning Round when it comes to new stuff. It seems like we've got new blog worthy items to mention every couple of days, but my new addiction to going to bed early prevents me from informing the blogoverse. Which is a shame, because it's all so very awesome.

Before I know it, this kid is going to be asking me for the keys. And 30 minutes later asking me to pick him up at the police station. I'm getting all teary-eyed just thinking about how proud I'll be. In the meantime, I'll just have to try to take a moment to really drink up the little things that make this point in his life so special.

Things like his absolute hatred of cold carrots. Check it out. He looks like an extremely sad baby clown hooker. At least his lipstick matches his shirt.

We recently upped the ante in the babyfood department, introducing carrots to the stale menu of formula and rice cereal. Full disclosure: he actually LURVES carrots. He can't get enough of them. He just doesn't like them cold.

I hope that this is just the first of many pictures I'll take over the years of him looking absolutely miserable. I find them very entertaining. I'll make a deal with him now, however, that I won't take any naked pictures of him to share with girlfriends in 16 years.

That's his mom's department.


OK, so maybe my choice of gender in the title was a bit off, but I had to work in some Neil Diamond in honor of his current tour. Our other obligations have kept us at home for this run, but we did have the pleasure of seeing Neil 6 or 7 years ago. The only concert that I've attended where the PA announcer warned everyone ahead of time that the lights were about to go down. Apparently, with 75% of the audience using walkers, they wanted to give everyone plenty of time to get to their seats. Neil did not disappoint. He thanked the audience between every song as if it were the encore to his farewell appearance. We were up in the rafters of the Key Arena, but we were still blinded by his shirts.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Movin' Out (Ninja's Song)

Ever since Finn was born, we've had one goal in mind - to get him out of the house. All he does is sit around all day in his own filth, forcing us to wait on him hand and foot. We slave all day and all we get in return is a house that looks like a dilapidated used-toy store and smells like a public toilet. It's high time that kid got a job and a place of his own.

As far as the job part goes, we've put feelers out to all sport footwear manufacturers in the greater Beaverton, OR area. We heard they're always hiring and they don't ask for proof of age. We haven't waited on getting him his own place. As of last Thursday, he now resides right down the hallway in Nurserytown.

This is a big change for us, since he's lived in a little elevated box next to our bed for the past six months. This has been great for those times that you're just dying to wake up at 3 AM, terrified that he's stopped breathing, since you can just reach over to check before rolling back over to your side of the bed and staring at the ceiling for another hour. Unfortunately, having him there cuts down significantly on "adult" time in the room, if you know what I mean1.

Determined to reclaim our room and hoping to begin down the road toward sleeping through the night, we moved Finn into the nursery on Thursday night.
After weeks of sleeping portions of the night in different rooms, we figured that now we could just take turns listening to the monitor. Things did not go exactly as planned. Don't get me wrong, Finn slept fine. It was the parents that had the problem.

Turns out the monitor is at least as disruptive as the live boy in the room, without the cuteness to balance it out. Every little sound he makes in his sleep shoots right through the ether, into our ear-holes and through to our sleeping brains, waking us instantly. We both tossed and turned until I bailed out for the guestroom with my little electronic son in hand2 in an effort to give Kitty a little break.
Thus as we work through this transitional period, we've fully adopted a 1950's television approach to sleeping and taken it to the extreme. We not only each have our own beds, each member of the family now has his or her own room.

Having my own room again is sweet. Sharing with Finn was really cramping my style. I'm thinking about covering the walls in late 80's Absolut ads and the windowsills with "fancy" beer bottles, just like in college. Back when Sam Adams was fancy.

Finn seems to have settled into the new situation too. He's sleeping more or less the same as he did before, but he has had a couple of longer stretches in there. Most notably, from 7:30 PM until 3 AM. Unfortunately for Kitty, at 3 AM he was pretty sure it was morning time. Luckily my shift was over by then and I was back in my room playing beer pong with the co-eds from across the street.

Here's a pic of Finn doing his best Kilroy impersonation in his crib. I think I need to lower that mattress before he starts climbing over.


1 If you guessed that I meant time spent giving nightly feedback on every outfit that Kitty plans on wearing for the next 6 years, you were exactly right.
2 As Kitty has opined, it seems unfair to assume he'll sleep through the night when we can't.
And I used to be so good at sleeping. Ask all of my former bosses.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We're goin' mobile

Every time we discuss the trials and tribulations of raising a young-un with friends or coworkers, the response is nearly unanimous:

"Enjoy it now, because once they start moving, it's a lot more work," they'll blabber while my eyes glaze over and my thoughts drift away to pillow-top mattresses and delicious, but forbidden, movie theater popcorn.

"Oh, I'm sure," I'll agree enthusiastically, nodding my head vigorously in an effort to keep from falling asleep and drooling on their shoes.

Of course, as with most things that my friends say, I instantly discard their opinions as foolish. When I think of Finn moving, I think of running the bases, snowball fights and watching him mow the lawn while I sit on the deck sipping a frosty one. Far from "enjoying it now," I actually can't wait for that lazy poop-factory to get up off his diaper and start earning his keep. And as long as he doesn't turn out like Latarian Milton, I think it'll be just fine.

But it looks like enjoying it now is no longer in the cards for us. Apparently, Finn has been reading the emails from the baby-development-faerie and has decided to celebrate his 6-month birthday by hitting the front of the curve and learning how to crawl. Not full on, hands-and-knees, crawling yet. This is more elbows-and-ankles Ninja crawling. But it's enough to move him across the room.

I woke up the other night and he had completely unswaddled himself and managed to reach the baby monitor and was happily chewing on it. It was as cute as anything at 2 AM could be, until it occurred to me that watching him chew on electronics was probably not World's Greatest Dad qualifying behavior. That then led to the thought that we haven't baby proofed the house. At all.

We'd heard that the best way to baby-proof a house was to drink a bottle of tequila and crawl around the house on your knees. We've tried this multiple times, but after a bottle of tequila, we always forget what we were doing. They also say that you should pick drawers that are within your baby's reach and fill them with things that the baby can play with. The trick, however, is that they can't be the baby's things. They have to be "your" things, since that's what the baby wants. I doubt that Finn will be much interested in my Phish poster collection, but I bet he'll love my collection of antique pocket knives.

While we're on the topic of tricking your loved ones, I wonder if I could do the same thing for Kitty? Maybe if I put the vacuum cleaner in a drawer that she can reach, all of a sudden she'll want to use it. It's worth a shot. I tried to test her the other day by betting her that she didn't even know where our vacuum cleaner was. It was sitting about three feet away from her at the time. I won that bet.

Now that I'm a dead man, I'll leave you with this video of our son crawling. Be sure to tell him that I am proud of him and that I would've loved to have been around to watch him play guitar in the 2025 Motley Crue reunion (poor Mick Mars), but I just couldn't resist poking fun at his mom. Like our good friend Latarian says, "It's fun to do bad things."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sleep training

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Finn had cut his first tooth. It now appears that the first tooth brought a friend to the party and this second guy is a real jerk. I don't know what he's done to the Ninja's cry-hole, but over the past week and a half it's been WAY more active than normal. We've had to dump an entire baby pharmacy into his face in a futile effort to get our smiley baby back.1

This is a very inopportune time for this level of discomfort to arrive as we were just about to embark on some "sleep training." Finn will be six months old this weekend and we still swaddle him as tight as a tourniquet to get him to sleep. Failure to do so results in DJ Spazzy Jeff 2 instantly punching himself in the face and waking himself up. He has a total inability to stop moving for even a second. Jena thinks he's got a wicked case of Restless Leg Syndrome, but unfortunately they don't make Baby Mirapex so we're stuck with the swaddle.

To complicate matters further, Finn's first order of business when put down for a nap or night-night time is to flip himself onto his stomach using only his legs. He's gotten really good at this and can have himself flipped over and crying before anyone can say, "Let's have a glass of wine before we pass out from sheer exhaustion." Not surprising, considering how long it takes to say that, but when you're this tired you run out of clever and/or concise things to say.

In the beginning this stomach-sleeping sans arms freaked us out. We still live in constant fear of SIDS and the idea of a kid sleeping with his face planted in his mattress and no easy way to pick it up made sleeping tough for us.
It quickly became clear that his neck and back were plenty strong enough to lift his face up, even without the benefit of arms, so that crisis was averted. However, every sound he makes wakes us up, and even when he's not making any sounds, we still wake up every hour or so to make sure he's still breathing. The only option available to save our sanity, other than just tossing him out the window and being done with it, is to move him out of our room and into his nursery. Finally.

This is a great time to do this, since I recently finished decorating. Check it out.

Just in time for spring training 2009.

Anyway, we decided it would be a bad idea to try the put him down for the first time without his baby straitjacket in an unfamiliar room, so we opted to do it in our room instead of the nursery. And would you believe that it worked perfectly?

I hope not, because that would mean you're an idiot. It didn't work at all. At least not the first night. It has gotten progressively better since. Last night he slept for almost 4 hours with one arm out of his swaddle. That was huge. Granted, I woke up at 2 AM to see him wide awake trying to crawl around the co-sleeper and had to wrap him back up, but it was still an improvement.

Our new goal is to get him in the nursery by early October, since Grandma Parker arrives mid-month and we'd like to make him accessible for her 24/7. Getting between her and her grandson is like getting between an investment bank and a bailout offer.

Yowza - topical zing alert! I should sell that one to Leno.

Here's the champion sleeper taking a break from his training to do an imitation of a 13-year old New Kids on the Block fan, circa 1990. Hangin' tough, indeed.


The great thing about baby drugs is that they're so little and the boxes all have cute pictures of babies on them. Which means, of course, that even though they're half as strong they cost twice as much. I gotta find a way to get into this racket.
2 Forgot that one last time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Ninja by any other name

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Parker household is very fond of nicknames. In fact, I would wager that half of our friends don't know Kitty's or my real names. And did you know that our cat "Tango's" real name is Richard?


Finn acquired a nickname long before he saw the light of day. We're not alone in that; many people saddle their babies-to-be with cutsie nicknames that the mother gently whispers to her bell
y, which she repeatedly insists that the father feel, even though it freaks him out and drives him to drink. At least, that's what I've heard.

Ninja didn't lose his pre-partum moniker when he came wheezing out. In fact, he's only picked up more nicknames in his first six months. We'll alternately refer to him as Ninja, Little Bud, L.B., L.B. Sure, The Boy, Finnja, Finn D. Lou Who, H.R. Fussnstuf, and Dylan McKay. OK, maybe not Dylan McKay, but seriously, what's up with Luke Perry snobbily shrugging off any suggestion that he would return to the show now that it's been revealed that Dylan is the father of Kelly's baby? I mean, how lame is that? And what's up with Kelly calling her little sister by her last name? Silver? That's stupid.

What, you're not watching the new 90210? You say that you have lives? I don't believe that for a second.

Meanwhile, back at the point: The problem that we are now faced with is that as a result of all of these nicknames, Finn does not appear to know his actual name. In fact, upon applying the time-tested infant IQ test of "Is my kid smarter than my cat?", the boy is coming up well short. Tango & Cash both come when called... eventually... at dinner time. Finn doesn't even acknowledge that you've spoken. According to the internet's smartest anonymous baby experts, he should be writing his name in Kanji by six months1.

Thank goodness for daycare. At least someone is trying to learn this kid properly. If he knows his name by the time he can talk, it will be thanks to Jena & team. At our house, it's more likely that he'll start responding to "Tango."

It's obvious that we should be trying harder to teach him his name, but therein lies the rub. The things that we should be doing aren't nearly as fun as the things we'd rather be doing. I'd rather be speaking back to him in his nonsense pidgin or screeching along
with him like a caffeinated hyena than trying to teach him how to pronounce "shoe." I'd rather be running in and out of the room in a manic game of peek-a-boo to keep him laughing than trying to settle him down for bedtime.

I'm sure this is just a sign of things to come. I just hope that his math teacher is OK with the fact that the only support he's getting at home is tutoring in the calculation of on-base-percentage and win-shares. You know, the important stuff.

Speaking of baseball stats, here's another shot of Finn from the Yanks game a couple of weeks ago. Someone on his left is calling his name, hence his look to the right.

1 Incidentally, "Finn" in Kanji is spelled "Finn." "Ninja" is spelled 忍者. See? Nicknames are much cooler.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So this is what life used to be like

I feel guilty posting this, since this is the Ninja's blog after all, but we just got done with a Finn-free day and I'm feeling very refreshed. It was 80 degrees in Seattle today, surely one of the last days of our summer, and as we spent the last five and a half months trying to keep the harsh rays of a cruel Seattle sun off of our darling boy's alabaster skin, we decided at the spur of the moment to play hooky on Uncle Rob & Aunt Holly's boat.

We dropped Finn off at Jena's this morning and as we were driving to the boat launch Kitty and I were both very unsettled. We didn't exactly feel guilty as much as we felt that something was missing. After nearly six months of parenthood, I can safely say that I no longer remember what it was like in the before-time -- the long-long-ago -- when we weren't responsible for another's happiness.

As much as I enjoyed the day on the boat, I enjoyed even more seeing Finn back at Jena's. I don't want to get all sappy here, but I've gotten very used to spending every minute with that little a-hole. Even now, I'm happily listening to him coo up in his crib when he's supposed to be sleeping.

Dear Finn: GO TO SLEEP!

Here's a pic of Kitty, with Holly, enjoying her one adult-entertainment day allowed this year. I apologize for the lack of Ninja content, but we've added some pics to the slideshow to make up for it.

And congratulations to Derek Jeter for bypassing the Iron Horse for the most hits ever in Yankee Stadium. Even though we don't have October in its final year, we've still got history.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You say po-ta-to, I say diet-ary in-toler-ance

The word from the naturopath is in, and it ain't pretty. As I've already discussed ad nauseum, we have to juggle plenty of special dietary needs here in Ninjaville, including dairy, wheat and sugar/fruit. Eager to make his mark in the family, Finn has decided to add his own meal-plan-crippling issue. The results of the "Carroll" test say that he can't have potatoes.

Now I'm no scientist, but I think I read somewhere (O Magazine?) that it's against the laws of nature, not to mention illegal in Ireland, for a boy named Finn to not eat potatoes. Oprah wouldn't lie about that.

When faced with this, I did what I always do in an effort to come to terms with grave news. I immediately went about trying to debunk it. I considered sitting him in a pot of potato salad, but mayonnaise doesn't come off easily with baby wipes. French fries down his pants would probably be uncomfortable too. So I scrapped those plans in favor of some good ol' fashion interweb research.

Turns out that the Carroll test is not administered by a lady named Carol, but rather was developed by a doctor named Carroll. He was a physician and electrician back in the olden days, the two disciplines apparently tightly intertwined back when both medicine and electricity were still considered magic. He developed a method for testing digestive intolerance that has proven quite successful among many of our friends' children.

Considering the track record, I'm willing to play ball. It would be easy enough to just eliminate potatoes from his diet, since he doesn't eat them, but the problem is that we also need to remove anything that is made from potatoes, distilled from potatoes or that went to high school with potatoes. This includes pretty much every ingredient under the sun. Luckily the only thing that he's eating right now is formula, so we don't have too many ingredient lists to scour. Unluckily the ingredient list for formula is about 4,000 items strong.

But if this clears up his perennial problem with boogersnots and helps him sleep better, then it will all be worth it. If not, then maybe I do need to find a woman named Carol, or Linda, or Diane to see if they've got any other tests we can administer.

In the meantime, here's a video of Finn eating his potato-free rice cereal that I'm sure you'll enjoy.


Editor's note: I would like to take a moment to clarify one point from the last post. As I reread it, it occurs to me that I could have been misconstrued as whining about the Yankees having missed the first playoff run in eleventy-million years. I'm sure you think there's nothing worse than a whiny Yankees fan. I would argue that there are several things worse, including serial killers, the Beverly Hills, 90210 season 3 Christmas episode, and people that put pineapple on their pizza, however that's not the point. It's not me that's whining, it's Finn. And since this is his blog, I can't censor that. I'll try to teach him to be a gracious loser, I'll just need someone to teach me first.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Damn Yankees

I'm sick and only part of it is due to Cold #347 deposited into my sinuses by my darling little son. The balance is due to the final, crippling revelation that for the first time since the strike-shortened '94 season, I will not be watching the Yankees play in October.

The first time that the Yankees overcame the awfulness of the 80's and early-90's and made the playoffs happened to coincide exactly with my move to Seattle. In fact, the game 5 of the 1995 ALDS that they lost to the Mariners (the single greatest thing that has ever happened to the M's, if I am to believe the daily reminders from every Seattle sportscaster throughout every baseball season since), was one of the first nights in our apartment. The sting of the Yankees loss was soothed a bit by the fact that we went out later that night and ran into Tino Martinez (then a Mariner) and Vince Coleman at a bar. Tino shook my hand and Vince Coleman didn't try to explode me, so it was a great night.

I had really wanted Finn's first Yankees game to be under different circumstances. When I bought tickets to this game, the Yankees and Mariners both were bathing in the early season glow of naive optimism based on unproven pitching staffs. I got online and bought Finn a Jeter t-shirt timed for his age/size and started counting down the weeks until it would finally be September. Alas, it was not the September either team wanted to be playing.

It was also apparently not a game that the Ninja wanted to be attending. Finn's first game was easy. He was so small that he could pretty much sleep in his Baby Bjorn. This one was a wee bit more difficult. Our little shortstop was fussy from the get-go, which I attributed to the fact that the Yanks were en route to losing the series against the worst team in the American League. Turns out that more likely it was due to the fact that he had acquired the aforementioned cold and had, as we discovered later that day, decided to cut his very first tooth.

I had assumed that the first indication of an incoming tooth would be a human tooth1. Nope. The first indication was a tiny little tiger/crocodile/dinosaur fang that he apparently stuck under his gums to stab me with when I put my knuckle in his mouth.

What? I suppose you've never played "bite my finger." If not, you don't know what you're missing. Don't look at me like that.

Here's a camera phone pic of the boy taken during a brief moment of happiness at the game. Sorry the picture is so blurry, but we had to take it in a hurry before he started crying again.

Now c'mon. Bite my finger.


1 That is, the first indication other than the drooling & fussiness, which I just take for granted these days as an indication that he is still, despite all of our stretching exercises, a baby.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Ninja Training Begins

Finn discovered his new favorite toy and luckily it helps develop key ninja-ing skills, like silent stalking and acrobatics. You will never hear this kid coming....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Formula: goes in a lot easier than it comes out

The Ninja took his first trip to the witch doctor last week. Keeping with the Things Seattle People Do theme, it is also required that everyone have at least one alternative healer on staff. This alternative healer can be in the form of a naturopath or masseuse (beginner Seattleite), acupuncturist (you're getting there), or reiki master or rolfer (head of the class; come pick up your Subaru Outback). Since Finn is only five months old, we're still in the beginner stages and have only gone so far as to engage a naturopath to complement his regular doctor.

I buy into the tenets of naturopathy. It seems like common sense medicine; treat the system and not the symptom. If your tires keep going flat, rather than returning over and over again to get them patched, it probably would be smarter to stop driving through the Broken Glass & Nails Factory. I'm not a big picture man, though, and I've got a real hankering for indulging myself. It just so happens that the Broken Glass & Nails factory has the best pale ale in town, so I'm back at the tire repair shop often.

With this working against me and with Kitty's tendency to allergy, it probably makes sense that we get the kid into the alternative healer community ASAP. At this point, we're focused mostly on environmental allergens - specifically food. Kitty is allergic to everything in the "Delicious" food group, which includes dairy. Since we are now on formula for most of our feeding, and since most formulas include dairy, we wanted to get him checked out.

Not all formulas contain dairy. For the first few months, we splurged on super-hypo-allergenic formulas, but those run $25/can or ~$300/month and smell like a seeping septic tank. That's no good. We went to a soy-based formula, but that resulted in some weird green diapers. We then figured we'd go with the dairy, which worked relatively well. It didn't smell like raw sewage and was affordable, which were pretty much our only two criteria at the time. But he threw it up a lot and started waking up every half-hour during the night. The throwing up I can handle, the waking up I cannot. We finally found a nice organic, lactose-free formula that was only half the price of the hypo-allergenic stuff and that actually tasted OK and didn't result in any additional vomiting.

In fact, it didn't result in any waste removal for a good 3-4 days leading up to Labor Day weekend. We headed back up to the cabin for the weekend, so it was in the beautiful scenery of Mount Baker that I feel that we truly became parents. On Saturday morning, the little guy's poop chute was 3 cm dilated with 4 days worth of backed up and dried out poop and it was not moving. We tried sweet talking it, spraying water on it, chipping off pieces of it and squeezing his hips to pop it out, but nothing worked. Needless to say that he was not pleased with the situation. All of his crying and struggling to push eventually tired him out and he fell asleep with his little concrete turtle still poking its head out. While he slept, I ran down to the country store to score some chamomile tea and prepared for the worst.

An enema. With chamomile tea. Apparently, it's soothing no matter which end you put it in.

We brewed the tea, we prepared the room (lots of plastic) and we repurposed his favorite nasal bulb syringe (won't be putting that one back in them nose holes any more). When he finally woke up, we geared up and got ready for battle, but something was wrong. He was smiling. A quick check of his drawers confirmed that he had passed the Diaper Rock of Gibraltar in his sleep. Crisis averted. But needless to say, he was back on the dairy. I'd rather get thrown up on every half hour 24-hours a day than deal with that again.

So while we await the final verdict from the naturopath, we're hedging our bets and alternating his bottles between dairy and lactose-free. Hopefully, the nappie boulder was just a result of our having rushed his system into taking a new formula and is not indicative of something else.

In the meantime, here's a pic of the boy chowing down on some sure-to-be-constipating rice cereal in his super fancy, Swedish high chair. I'd hate to have to put it in hock just so we could keep him in formula that tastes like toilet water.

Friday, August 29, 2008


The War on Breastfeeding is finally over. It was a long war -- 5 months -- and there were many casualties, nearly all of them financial. In the end, we didn't so much lose the war as we simply agreed to stop fighting it. As I'm sure you can all guess, this was not a decision arrived at lightly by Hurricane Kitty, but luckily it doesn't mean the end of the breast pump. The only thing that she likes more than playing with her son is sitting in dark closets for 20 minutes at a time with a large vacuum attached to her chest while the people outside stare at the door and wonder what in God's name is going on in there.

I'm sure it would be tougher to let that go.

But now that it is over, we must direct our attention elsewhere. We must focus on the tools that we now must use to grow our boy up healthy and strong. I'm speaking, of course, of super fancy high-tech baby bottles and ridiculously expensive imported small-batch artisanal formulas.

When the Ninja was in his final stages of arrival, Kitty and I got in an argument on the depressing drive to Hell on Earth. Kitty was explaining about how, when we introduce the bottle, we would need to have several kinds available to ensure that we had one that Finn would take. I pondered that thought for about 3 seconds before declaring it "full of crap." "There are no differences between baby bottles," I exclaimed with absolutely zero knowledge on the subject. "It's just a jar with a nipple, why do we have to buy more than one kind?"

First off, I'm an idiot. Secondly, I had not yet learned about BPA and how it is guaranteed to kill your child within 30-seconds of it entering the house. Kitty knew both of those things already and we left Babies R Us seventeen hours later with two bottles: BPA-free Born Free and BPA-filled Dr. Brown's. Of course, Finn hated the Born Free. Turns out, this was OK because I loved the Dr. Brown's. There are so many parts! It's like you're putting together a model car 6 times a day! Unfortunately, there was the BPA.

I don't know how much you guys know about Seattle, but there are two things residents here excel at: looking down their noses at you and passive agression. I was afraid that if I were out in public, feeding Finn from a bottle with BPA, that legions of Seattleites would pedal their recumbent bicycles over, stop right next to us, and discuss with one another the risk that I was posing to my child while watching out of the corners of their eyes to make sure I could hear them. That on its own wouldn't bother me, but I'd be worried that they'd spill their half-caff non-fat triple grande lattes on the boy and I'm afraid their North Face jackets wouldn't clean that up very well.

So I did what I do best. I searched for the most expensive bottle I could find. With the BPA scare in full effect, BPA-free plastics and glass bottles are all the rage. I couldn't find a Dr. Brown's BPA-free bottle at the time, so I began my hunt for the Dr. Brown glass bottle. I probably would have had an easier time finding Nessie. These things were sold out all over the interwebs. Amazon.com had them for $50 a pop, when list price is only $15. If I was going to pull this off, I would have to rely on the most important skill that I learned in college.

Those of you that misspent your youth and young adulthood in the same way that I did are likely very good at this too. I'm speaking, of course, of scoring tickets to sold out shows. I can count on 1/2 of one hand how many concerts that I've been shut out of. Working the phones, while filling out my mail-order and simultaneously hitting refresh on my browser used to be old hat. The problem here is that unlike on-sale dates for concerts, none of the baby bottle sites would tell you when the bottles were coming back in stock. You had to wait for an email and jump right on them. I was 15 minutes late on the first email and 7 minutes late on the second and stock was sold out before I got there. It wasn't until the seventh email that I hit paydirt.

I've now succeeded in doing this twice, since I had forgotten that I had to buy bottles for daycare too. I had to give them my first score, because I certainly didn't want to look like a bad parent feeding my kid BPA.

I won't get into the formula bit here, since my fingers are bleeding from typing, but here's what my bottle setup looks like now. Pretty sweet, huh? Let me know if any of you want to come over and put some of these bad boys together. It's a good time.