Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Happy

We're back from our big trip back east, and we have so much blog material that it's kind of overwhelming.  For now, here's yet another glimpse of Santa Zack.

We had an excellent time and learned a lot from our experience traveling with a baby.  Lucky for us, Zack is such a mellow kid.  He really took it all in stride and he loved meeting all his cousins.

We are enjoying a day of doing nothing.  I made some cookies and ate a lot of them.  That's about all I could muster after the trip yesterday.  We're staying in tonight and will most likely be ringing in the new year from our apartment.

In fact, Jeff and Zack have been taking a monster nap, and I couldn't be happier for both of them.  I think that in addition to loving a warm body next to him, Zack feels comfy with the sound of Jeff's snoring.  Maybe we should make a looped tape of it for him to listen to in his crib.  We all slept in until 11 a.m. today.  Loved that!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Six Month Doctor Visit

Zack spent most of the visit shredding this paper.  He was upset about the shots but got over it very quickly.  He's so good natured.

The stats:

Height:  29.5 inches
Weight:  22.5 pounds
Head Circumference:  18.5 inches

All off the charts.  He is as big as an average 13-month-old!  He's just 22.5 pounds of goodness.  We love him so much.  If you'd asked me a year ago, I would not have been able to predict that Jeff and I would have the biggest, most red headed little sweetie pie I've ever met.  He really is just such a smiley, happy dude.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And he loves this thing.

This is the Fisher Price Intellitainer, which I picked up used for twenty bucks.  Best twenty bucks I ever spent.  I thought I was getting an Even Flo Exersaucer, but I actually really like this thing a little better I think, and Zack loves it.  Turns out it's discontinued so I feel like we got this special edition toy.

Funny, but I read a lot of books on parenting, and Jeff reads none.  I think I might burn all my books to keep our apartment warm.  We like a woman named Magda Gerber.  She started Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE).  RIE seems cool, or at least a little less hyper than the Attachment Parenting (AP) folks.  But in RIE, you're not supposed to prop babies up into any position they can't get into by themselves, because that doesn't respect the infant's actual abilities.  Also, RIE frowns on toys with batteries, since this makes infants passive instead of active.  Strict RIE also bans pacifiers and rocking chairs and swings.

Whatever, losers!  I love to see Zack propped up in his Intellitainer, banging on the keys that make noise due to the magic of batteries!

And I saw Zack roll over, both ways.  So he does do it.  The daycare folks said he's been rolling there...but they only see him after it's happened.  It's been like getting a shot of Bigfoot or something.  He's a secret roller.

Zack's Favorite Book

Zack does not bite this book like his other books.  He loves Brown Bear.  He smiles whenever we start to read it.

He will hold it like this and stare at it for a long time.

He touches the pictures reverently.  He sometimes gets excited when you turn the page and he sees each new picture.  I think he is so much like Jeff when he does this.

I lucked out.  I took this picture by holding the camera away from me while Zack was in my lap.

Seriously, he likes books, but it's only this book that he treats this way. He has an actual literary preference.  Of all the many things I love and adore about Zack, this one is so utterly charming that it flips my wig like nothing else.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Super Snuggles

I'm starting this post at 4:30 a.m.  I guess it's fair to say that "sleep training" isn't going 100% smoothly.  Mostly that's because since Zack appeared in the world, he's been a little snuggle bunny, and he prefers to sleep next to Mommy.

And really, that's what Mommy prefers, too.  I finally gave in after a couple of months of constant transferring to the bassinet.

When he sleeps in the crib, he always props up one or two legs on the side like this.  I think it's because, as you can see in the first picture, that's where his legs naturally fall when he sleeps with me.  He's trying to recreate that feeling of comfort for himself on the rail of the crib.  It's just a little heartbreaking.

I lived in Japan for a year when I was a youngster, and I taught kindergarten to Japanese kids at this English immersion school.  I got close to a lot of the parents of my kids and spent time in their homes.  I also went on overnight trips with them.  (Parents in Japan are wildly generous to teachers.)

In Japan, moms usually sleep with their kids, and I got used to the idea and thought it was a good one.  Now it seems to have caught on in the US, but we were afraid of safety issues.  So here in our place, we put the futon in Zack's room on the floor to avoid the hazards of Western beds.  Now he can't roll too far.  (And actually, he really doesn't roll--it's a developmental milestone he seems to have skipped.  He can sit up without support, he "talks" a lot, he's doing everything he should with his hands...he even has a favorite book, which is a constant source of joy and amusement for Jeff and me.  But he does not roll, at least not that we have witnessed.  I wonder if he will get into college without ever learning to roll.  I think he believes rolling is for kids who don't understand books or the simple pleasure that comes from sitting up and looking at everything.  He's definitely the child of two parents who used to hide during P.E.)

The evening ritual of putting Zack to sleep, only to have him wake up repeatedly until I join him in bed, is wearing me out.

So we tried some sleep training. We're still trying it.  Jeff and I are very torn about it.  When Zack was sick (which has been more or less for the last month), we got into this routine:  I would wake Jeff in the morning so he could come in and lie down with Zack on the futon.  Then I would get ready for work.  Zack just wants a warm body next to him, so he can sleep.  Jeff fell in love with this routine and with snuggle bunny Zack sleeping next to him.

But we think Zack should be able to settle himself.  I am reading books on this and trying to figure out what to do.

And yeah...we're getting off easy.  I don't have to bounce Zack on a yoga ball or rock him for an hour.  He just needs a little nursing and a warm mommy beside him.  It's not too demanding.  But I would like a little freedom.  Come on.  A little.  I'm also slightly worried that nursing at night will wreck his new teeth, and I can't seem to find a consistent opinion about this.  Bottles are bad, but nursing...not so much.  Maybe.  Anyway, we're trying to break him of the habit of nursing to sleep, so I can watch some TV with Jeff at night.

By the way, Zack can play by himself for almost an hour.  He's wonderfully independent during the day.  He just doesn't really like sleeping alone.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First Solid Food!

Awaiting the big moment.

This is actually a few spoonfuls later.  Jeff videotaped
me giving the first ones.  You can see here that Zack
is grabbing the spoon.  We couldn't get it back from him.

Zack figured we were just giving him a spoon to chew on.
So we had to use two spoons.  He'd drop the first one when 
he saw we had another one coming.

But then he started to get it.

We were very impressed with how fast he caught on.

So now he grabs the pink spoon, and he'll release the green one. spoon down.  The blue one was already on the floor by now.

 Green spoon in, pink spoon goes out of commission.

And now he's a pro.  Mouth open, waiting for the cereal!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Zack is a half!

That's right, Zack turned six months today. One half a year. That means he's hit the mark for solid food, and I'm sure that will be interesting.

I thought maybe the big boy would fill out this sweater, but you can see here it's still swimmingly large.

Not that he didn't have a sense of humor about it.

Once I got the sweater off of him, Z got less cooperative, trying to check out the traffic beyond our little front yard...

or checking out the baffled plumbers who came to fix the sink of someone named "Hugo" who as far as I know doesn't live in our building...

or pulling off his cool Japanese anime-ish socks. These feature a red robot and the word "traitor."

I suspect that for later milestones I'll say "gosh, that went by really fast," and in a way this half-year did. In another way, I feel like I experienced every second of the last six months. I love being a dad. This stage is wonderful and intense, as wonderful and intense as it promises.

Just look at that little guy. That huge little guy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Latest Pix


Waiting in the doctor's office, sporting the recently rediscovered hat that goes with this outfit. Looking very "escapee from doggie prison."

Partying on T-day with Great Grandma, playing with Grandma's stethoscope.

Looking good white on black. Zack.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gratuitous Adorableness

Some pictures from the weekend.  Jeff took Z on a little walk to distract him from his illness.  Z loves being out.  Mom gave us this jacket.

And it just happens to perfectly match the little hat worn by Mr. Bunny, a gift from Kristina.

How cute is this little jacket?  I can't even stand it.

Daddy's trying to get Zack to smile, but someone inside Starbuck's is waving wildly at the cute baby.

My boys, resting after a tough weekend.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zack's first trip to the emergency room

The little guy's been fighting a cough for a day or two, but then suddenly last night he started sounding a lot worse, like there was too much fluid in there. What they call the "barking cough." We debated the ER at about midnight, but by the time I got my shoes on he'd kind of coughed it out and was sleeping soundly. Team Cross hit the sack, but only for a little while.

About 2:30 in the morning the bad sound was back, and his breathing was affected enough that he couldn't nurse himself into a comfort zone. Getting him out to the car was the worst, as he got increasingly honked off -- there was one bad moment when he had real trouble breathing, but he coughed through it and then totally calmed down once the car started moving. By the time we got to the waiting room he was still hacky, but mostly very interested in all the new stuff around him.

The wait outside was miraculously short, less than ten minutes. When he applied the sensor to measure Z's vitals, the nurse said "okay, let me wrap this around his hand... huh, his finger is actually big enough I can just do it the normal way." Another nurse named Edgar hooked us up with a mini-humidifier rig that we held in Zack's face. Dr. Lai checked him out and confirmed the admitting nurse's suspicions, it was a case of the croup. That's a virus that hits the tissues just below the vocal cords, swelling the trachea. The second-best thing he told us, besides that Zack would be fine, was that we had made the right move by bringing him in. We'd already discussed that we didn't care about anyone rolling eyes at the hysterical new parents, but it still felt good to have called that right. (If calling it wrong meant he had a less severe problem, that of course would be better, but you get what I mean.)

Then Rich the RN came in with a syringe full of orange-flavored Motrin, which Zack pretty much managed to not eat. We had a little success, then he burped it back into his lap, then he turned his head at just the right moment and the syringe shot a splat of Motrin onto my jacket.

We did way better with the steroid shot, which naturally drew the harshest criticism from the boy. While Z was going all the way up to eleven I looked at the people working at their desks ten feet away and asked Rich if we should shut the door. His reply: "The whooole wing on the other side of the ER is full of crying babies with croup. Don't worry about it."

The steroid shot started working in about ten minutes, after which Zack's breathing became noticably better. He calmed down from the shot pretty quickly and was soon asleep in Julie's lap. Julie lay him down on the examining table thingy and curled up next to him while I held the humidifier.

Z got more sleep than either of us. He woke up breathing well and in good spirits. They sent us back home at 5:30 am. Today's been a little dicey. Although he's still better than he was in the bad parts of last night, Zack is still cranky, coughing a lot and just ten minutes ago decided to go for the "nausea" option on the list of croup symptoms by spewing all over his dad a couple times. I wanted to get him outside and get me some Starbucks so Jules can grab some much-needed sleep, but it looks like he's not in the mood.

"Oh, we're up? Awesome! Whatta we doing?"

BIG shout out to the good folks at St. Joe's: Dr. Lai, Edgar, Rich, George, the nurse who admitted us, the receptionist who got us in quick and gave us free parking, and the nameless guy who pointed out how the heck you got outta there. And another big shout out to Julie's mother Marjorie and grandparents Paula and Murray. They were expecting us for a visit today and we had to cancel out of sleepiness and croupyness -- which makes two weekends in a row because last week we cancelled so we could avoid driving Zack through wide swaths of raging fire.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


That's right, teeth plural. Zack's been working on the two front bottom teeth simultaneously, and on Sunday they made their way out.

Before Julie spotted them, she was playing with Z on the couch.

Zack is probably checking the newcomers out right now in this shot, but we didn't know it. About twenty minutes later Jules called me in to his room to see the little fangs. I insisted we go for a shot.

Whoops, hang on... well, there's one of 'em anyway.

Oop, no, not that time. Gimme a second, here...

Yeah, there we go. Two bona fide baby teeth. He'll be getting a driver's license any day now. (He's already gotten a paycheck.)

As a bonus, here he is in the new jungle onesie that Grandma got him. We have to put him in 12-month-old outfits now. We thought this would be huge on him, but as you can see it fits pretty darn good. Still roomy.

He's dreaming of biting stuff.