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."