Archives for the month of: June, 2012

Worm’s not talking yet, but he’s a babbling brook of ooh’s and ah’s.  I find those sounds so adorable and easily some of the sweetest sounds to wet my ears.  (Geez, I’m starting to sound like a hormonally charged woman…see what stay-at-home daddyhood does to a man?  It rips off the hair from your chest and gently caresses you with it until you’re a sensitive, sobbing mess.)

When Worm serenades us with cooing songs, I can’t help but grab him and squeeze him and tell him I love him (less than Frodo and Duncan, but not by much).  It’s when he switches from cooing to bloodcurdling scream is when I want to just grab him and squeeze him.

I always thought that my kid wasn’t going to be one yelling at the top of his lungs during a moment of silence in church.  (Actually, he can’t do this because we don’t go to church.  But, he’ll be the one screaming his lungs off when we, heathens, are dead and burning inside the gates of hell.  Ok, we’ll all be screaming.  I digress.)  I always thought that other parents just didn’t know how to control their squawking children in public.  Kids screaming at the supermarket.  Bad parenting.  Kids screaming in the restaurant.  Bad parenting.  My offspring would never do that.  I was sure that my parenting techniques were superior.  Then I was smacked with the reality hammer…

Worm goes from zero to eleven on the volume knob instantly.  At least a hundred decibels can come out of that little body on a whim.  The words “use your inside voice” return a blank stare.  My only solution to the problem was to paint lips on flesh-colored duct tape and cover Worm’s pie hole for our outings, but I can’t find a roll anywhere!  (Must be sold out in stores…or hasn’t been invented yet!  You’re welcome to hijack that idea.  Please send royalties directly to MVG.)

It’s difficult to spend time in a quiet environment with Worm anymore.  Movie theaters are out.  Malls are out.  Even the zoo is suspect.  (Why are all the animals gawking at us and running off, ears covered?)  When we can, we ask for outside seating at venues, in hopes that passersby may mistake the shrill cries of our son for an ambulance or an impending velociraptor.  Subsequently, I’ve narrowed down the list of places we can take the family to:  airport runways, drag races, and space (the final frontier).

I know that I’m losing my hearing from the pint-sized banshee.  I feel the cilia in my ear quivering and dropping dead from fright with every high frequency sonic blast.  No blood has poured from my ears yet, but that doesn’t mean I’m not bleeding inside my head.

“What did you say?”, “Can you turn up the volume on the TV?”, and “I think you’re mumbling.” are the top three phrases from my mouth.  And they’re about 30 years from being followed by “Could I get you to change my Depends?”, “I need to take out my teeth to clean them.”, and “My wrinkles sweat profusely in summer.”  I’m way too young to lose my hearing.

On the plus side, I can now use Worm as an excuse for not listening to my wife.

Worm, you’ve scored yet again.  And just for future reference, when you ask to borrow my car keys I won’t be able to hear you.

Gavin – 13; Dad – 7

“WHAT DID YOU SAY SON?”                                            “I Said That Pink is NOT Your Color, Dad.”

I’m a dad and, subsequently, get to experience the perks of fatherhood.  One day a year, I am patted on the back for selflessly donating a gamete in the name of species propagation.  On Sunday, I was rewarded handsomely (in scallops and beer) for passing my torch of bad traits and other detriments to a future generation of human!

I thought the novelty of Dad Day would have worn off after my initiation into the club last year, but I must admit that this time has more magnitude than the previous.  In 2011, I spent the day contemplating how I was going to change Worm’s life.  Today, I reflect on how much Worm has changed me.

Having a kid is like a walk in the park.  Raising a kid is like a marathon.  Every single day.

Since this is my second Father’s Day, I’ll impart some of the things I’ve learned since last year:

  1. Keeping up with my little one requires the stamina of the Energizer bunny.  For comparison, I ran 6 miles in the mud on Saturday and at the end I realized it was nowhere close to the effort of a couple hours chasing the Worm.
  2. It’s possible for humans to survive on whipped cream and ranch dressing.  Worm could eat a tub of each.  Blech!
  3. One job of a dad is that of a human garbage disposal.  Whatever Worm doesn’t eat, I usually eat. Worm’s table scraps are not quite filet mignon, especially the partially chewed pieces.  Yes, I’m gagging as I write this.  But, it’s sadly true.  (I hate wasting food.)
  4. There are some things more disgusting than wearing my baby’s body fluids.  I’m not sure what they are, but repeating this phrase gets me through those rough days when I need more than just a wet wipe.
  5. Stubbornness runs in families.  I was hoping it would skip a generation and we would be spared.  Instead, Worm’s got two servings of it.

Let me leave you with a relevant quote for the Day of the Dad:

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” — Clarence Budington Kelland

To my own dad – Thanks!  You taught me a lot just by being there for me.  You’re the best!

I hope everyone had a Happy Father’s Day!


If Steph brought me warm milk after I woke up from a nap, I’d slap myself twice to make sure I wasn’t in heaven.  (Actually, if she also brought some Oreo cookies and a toast and jam, I’d be certain I was beyond the pearly gates.)  So, why doesn’t Worm like his warm milk anymore?

That little baby is getting the King’s treatment from me.  I bathe him when he starts to stick to the carpet, brush his teeth when his breath stinks, and change his diapers whenever they leak through.  I even prepare a meal or two every single day for him.  Yes! That means weekends, too!  (With all this extra care, I’m probably going to be up for a dad-of-the-year award.)  So, when he doesn’t appreciate the gratuitous milk-in-bed offering, it gets my goat.

Either way, the decreased daily intake of liquid in milk form must be compensated for or Worm will shrivel up.  I brainstormed for the best way to add more fluids to Worm’s diet and came up with an ideal solution.  Clearly, the best way to keep him hydrated would be IV drip.  Hospitals use it all the time.  Also, there’s no need for Worm to take time out from his busy play schedule in order to ingest fluids.  (Can you say baby-multitasking?)  He could have a hands-free hydrational experience 24 hours a day.  As an added touch, wheels or a face could be added to the IV bag and it becomes a toy.  (My mind never ceases to amaze me.)

Since no one wanted to support this exceptional idea for me financially (namely my wife), I’ve decided to go with the lame already-been-overdone sippy cup option.  Multiple sippy cups filled with chocolate soy milk, juice, and water are strategically placed within arm’s reach of the Worm.  He’s got access to a beverage bonanza.  But he chooses not to indulge.  He’s acquired a taste for something else.

Instead, Worm partakes of his bath water.  Yep.  Bath water.  Not clean bath water, mind you.  But soapy, sudsy, probably been peed in, bath water.  He drank about 5 turtle cups of the cloudy stuff before he was satiated.

Maybe he thought it was pea soup, not pee soup.  I don’t know.  (Poor guy, I hate to tell him there’s a huge difference between pea and pee…)

Warning, Drinking Bath Water Makes You Shorter and More Troll-Like

He makes that face with every gulp…and yet he keeps drinking as if bath water will taste better the next time.  (Isn’t that kind of like adults and beer?  But, as we drink more beer it begins to taste like water.  I’m not quite convinced the reciprocal effect is had when you start with water.)

At the very least, I should add some electrolytes to the bubbly baby soak.  Oh wait, Worm already did.  Eeew!

Deuter Kid Comfort II Backpack

I love to have Worm close to me.  He’s my right hand man!  Besides, I’m not a huge fan of strollers.  They’re cumbersome and bulky for most situations (not to mention inconvenient for everyone except for the child riding inside).  So when I can manage it, I carry my little guy.  When our family was looking for a baby carrier, we were hoping to find one that fit our lifestyle.  And our lifestyle includes solo parent hikes while managing three creatures (a baby and two dogs) over hills, through woods, and into the city.  The Deuter Kid Comfort II was a great choice for us.

Kid cargo backpacks are pretty incredible nowadays and this one is no exception.  The Deuter Kid Comfort II has a well designed aluminum subframe, cooling system, and pockets galore.

But first, let’s talk about the most important thing.  Comfort for me.  The KC2 is incredibly adjustable and breathable.  In a backpack, those two characteristics make this backpack very comfortable.  My wife and I have two different body types and yet we both agree on the superior comfort of this pack.  The hip support belt is thick and very supportive.  I don’t get any irritation from hours of it resting on my bony hips.  The breathability is also top-notch.  I never feel like the pack is sticking to my back or that I’m not getting any airflow underneath the straps or other contact surfaces.  Deuter calls it the Aircontact system and it works as described.  Deuter also has something called a Vari-flex system built into the pack.  It allows for the KC2 to cling to your body as you negotiate uneven terrain without making the backpack feel rigid.  To me, the Vari-flex system gives me more control over the pack on technical trails.

The KC2 looks to be pretty comfortable for our baby.  He gets a 5-point harness with padded straps.  He gets a soft, removable drool pad/sleep pad/chin pad.  The kid seat is adjustable to some extent and even has a side entry/exit buckle.  I haven’t used the side entry buckle yet, so I can’t speak on the convenience of it.  For now, it’s still fairly easy for me to top load my precious live cargo.  The only issue I have with this part of the backpack is that when my boy falls asleep, his head can rest directly on the side entry buckle.  (I’ve read this about other users of this backpack as well.)  Also, please note that we started using the KC2 with a 1-year old.  I cannot comment on how well it fits a younger, smaller passenger.

A huge selling point of this pack was the built-in hydration system.  Between the carrier and the carried one, there’s a side access compartment for putting up to a 2 liter hydration pack.  I didn’t see this on any of the other packs that I looked at.  For us living in a dry climate, hydration is important and being able to store fluids in a separate compartment is extremely convenient.  The only down side is that a hydration pack doesn’t come standard with the KC2.

One of the drawbacks of the pack are the zippers on the Kid Comfort II.  They are a little irritating.  First off, I’ve got large hands.  Small zippers are not good for large hands.  The worst offending zippers are on the large rear compartment.  I always need two hands to get the thing opened and closed.  I can’t imagine the level of irritation I would get to if I was in cold weather with gloves on and had to open that compartment.

Why we didn’t choose the Kid Comfort I:  We live in warm weather so it was important to have a cooling system for the back.  We also wanted the hydration pack.  The KC1 doesn’t have either.

Why we didn’t choose the Kid Comfort III:  The KC3 had a more restricted viewing area due to its integrated rain/sun cover.  It was also taller.  I didn’t think the larger KC3 backpack was going to be as versatile for city use as well as trail use.

Overall, the Deuter Kid Comfort II does everything we need it to.  It’s large enough to carry equipment for our baby, our dogs, and ourselves for a sizable day hike.  The KC2 has a 48.5lb total weight capacity.  It’s comfortable for the wearer on long walks over various terrains.  The excellent design of this pack really shines through.  I highly recommend giving the KC2 a look if you’re in the market for a kid carrier.

— Dimensions —

Weight: 6 lbs 8 oz (2950 g)

Volume:  1100 cubic inches (18 litre)
Size:  26 / 15 / 13 (H x W x D) Inch;  66 / 38 / 32 (H x W x D) cm
Capacity:  48.5lbs (includes weight of baby)


Overall Rating:  9 Worms

Ease of Use: 9 Worms

Performance:  10 Worms

Features:  8 Worms

Durability:  8 Worms  (It’s still early, so this rating will get modified as we use the KC2 more and more.)

Manliness:  10 Worms

Retail Price:  $239.99



Extremely comfortable.  Easy to adjust for different sized adults.  I love the large compartment at the base.  Plenty of pockets for compartmentalizing your hiking life.  It comes with a cute little teddy bear for the kiddo!


Rain/sun shield must be purchased separately.  No built-in storage for the rain/sun shield in the pack.  (You can store the rain/sun shield in the hydration pack compartment, but why not a dedicated place for it?)  Hydration pack must be purchased separately.  Pack sometimes squeaks when  walking.

Things I would modify:

Add a second hip belt pocket.  Add a dedicated rain/sun shield storage compartment.  Add rings or some system to clip sippy cups/snack cups to hip belt.  It would free up my hands a bit more.

Where to find:

Deuter Website – US Version

We’re constantly trying to understand Gavin.  His lip smacking doesn’t usually produce anything comprehensible…at least, by adults.  But, I swear he said his first words on June 6 at 8:30am.

It’s Wednesday morning.  Steph left for work and I was quickly checking my emails before I had to be off too.  With Worm sitting on my lap, I pilfer through my “You’ve just won 8 million Euros!” emails and go to close my laptop.  Since our relationship relies on me speaking for the both of us, I begin dialogue with “Say bye-bye to daddy’s laptop!”

As I get ready to provide my best impression of a talking Worm, he steals the show by opening and closing his hand and blurting out “Bye bye!”

Then we stare at each other, mouths agape.


Worm giggles.

“Did you just say bye-bye?”

With a sideways “What are you, deaf?” look, Worm crawls away.

So I sat there looking at him, patiently waiting for an encore performance.  Nothing.  His words still ringing in my ears, I wait a bit longer.  Nothing.  Since I have to get to the office by 10am and can’t piddle around all day waiting for the miraculous proclamation, I try to “help” Worm repeat himself.

I grab him by the little body and squeeze him.

“Focus man!  What did you say to me?  Was it ‘bye-bye’?”

“Ah ba ayee”

“I said ‘Did you say bye-bye?'” I jiggle Worm a little bit to coax any stuck syllables to bubble up to the surface.

He laughs and squirms his way out of my grasp.  Crap, I gotta go.

For the rest of the day, I kept replaying the scene in my mind.  Did it happen?  Or was I imagining?  My brain plays tricks on me.  But this time, I wasn’t drinking.  Does this count as Worm’s first words?  I don’t know.  Anyone can accidentally rub their lips together and puff a ‘bye-bye’.  What constitutes first words?  How many syllables?

Now I’m stressed.  I need to put a check mark next to this baby milestone, but I don’t know if it’s legit.  I should have checked this box months ago, but Worm has been taking his sweet time developmentally (as if he’s got his whole life ahead of him).  I need to have a long talk with him about that and how the years are going to flash by in a couple bats of an eyelid.  Sure he may be a baby now, but tomorrow he’s going to be a geezer on a park bench who forgot his way home.  It’s imperative for Worm to learn as much as he can in the short time he’s here on earth (which will be until 12/21/2012 like the rest of us).  Thanks for the heads-up Mayans!

Or, maybe Worm is trying to tell me that he already understands the fleeting nature of life?  Maybe his first words enunciate the essence of existence with an exclamation.  Bye-bye!  He’s trying to tell me to live life to the fullest because one day you’re born and the next day you’re ‘bye-bye’.  Brilliant!  It’s genius!  I mean, he’s genius!  Children are born with pure intention and innate wisdom before we screw them up with our adult ideas of the way things are.  We have to listen to these wise children for their words hold so much more than drool and spit.

Now, I wonder what Worm is trying to tell me when he looks me dead in the eyes and puts his finger in his nose?

I Think I Feel a Little Buddha Somewhere In Here…

English: Bob Iger at the World of Color Premie...

English: Bob Iger at the World of Color Premiere Disney California Adventure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2015, foods that are advertised on Disney channels must meet some nutrition guidelines before getting airtime.  These nutrition guidelines have been established by the Disney corporation to demarcate healthy from junk food.  Since obesity is becoming such a problem for children in the U.S., Disney CEO Robert Iger wants to promote healthier foods and associate them with Disney characters in hopes that kids will start eating better.  This advertising campaign is one of the first of its kind in America from such a large corporation.

Hopefully, this nutritious move by Disney will get other large businesses and corporations to take notice.  It’s hard to keep kids away from the television.  (I know.  My Worm is already mesmerized by the boob tube and he’s only a year old.)  So controlling what kids watch becomes a large part of parenting.  Keeping kids from wanting Gummy Fudgy Chemical Candycanes after seeing 500 daily commercials of it becomes difficult.  As a parent, what are you going to do?  Turn off the TV between commercials?  It’s bad enough that commercials are allowed to increase their loudness to get your attention.  The not so subliminal messages affect kids because their brains are so spongelike and absorbent (like a Bounty paper towel).  The reason why such a move probably hasn’t happened before is that advertising pays bills.  And this is precisely the reason why TV networks have allowed almost any and everything to be aired between shows.  Money talks.

I’m in favor of this corporate move by Disney.  I’m happy that my kid won’t be completely brainwashed by the Disney media saturating his waking hours with junk food images.  (It may even get me to add cable TV to our house…ok, maybe not.)  I’d still much rather the powerful corporations make these types of changes rather than have our government do so.  Once the government gets involved, the many rules, regulations and clowns typically turn a good idea into a circus side-show act.  The majority of the responsibility though, should lie with the individual and in this case, the parents.

This is a Yummy Apricot All For Me! (Sorry for blurry.  I’m still trying to figure out how to work my camera!)

Obviously, food in America is a complex thing because we always want meals to be cheaper, faster, and better.  And in my lifetime, I’ve seen cheaper and faster become the mantra of American food, with better food becoming more difficult to find.  Cheaper, faster food now always gets more expensive later.  (Do you ever wonder why baby food and toddler food is usually organic, pure, natural, and artificial ingredient free?)

Original article:

Disney To Ban Junk-Food Ads For Kids As America Struggles With Its Fat Problem

I said yes to a jungle themed baby room.  I said yes to stuffed monkey toys.  I even said yes to a monkey-themed birthday party complete with a monkey-shaped birthday cake (even though I argued strongly for a worm-shaped one).  But a monkey for a baby?  I didn’t agree to that.

With all the primate-related gear in his room, it’s no wonder Worm feels that he is 100% baboon.  He talks gibberish to his poly-stuffed brethren every day.  They hang out in his room.  (Get it?  Hang out?  Because monkeys ha…never mind.)  In the mornings, he greets his hairy cousins with a secret opposable-thumbs handshake.  Worm doesn’t yet understand why their tail is on the back and his is in the front.  (Though he’ll figure it out after he wraps it around a tree and hangs from it.)

As most monkeys do, Worm does too.  Hunched over, his knuckles and knees smack the floor at lightning speed.  He can cover the house end to end in less than 10 seconds.  Worm has recently passed the 14-month old mark and there’s hardly a desire for him to stand up, unless it’s to grab something up high (like a banana or swing from a drawer handle, which seems to come all too naturally).  I’ve also witnessed him climb up the furniture with uncanny deftness.  For a toddler that can barely balance on two feet, he defies gravity when attached to a vertical surface.  He climbs on the crib, the coffee table, the high chair, the bookshelf, the bed, and the couch!  Crawling-standing-walking-running has shifted to crawling-standing-climbing-swinging.  And Worm has no problem with this evolutionary deviation.

To give you an idea of Worm’s climbing prowess, we’ve placed a couch in front of him.  (I would have let Worm climb a tree in the back yard, but then Steph would beat me senseless once she got home from work.)

I Need To Conquer This Couch!

I Can Do This All Day Long…

Wanna See My Swirl Move?

Victory is Mine!


5 Clues To Why Worm Could Be A Monkey:

  1. He squawks and screams to communicate.  You have probably heard the short, ear-piercing shrieks and sound bursts that monkeys make.  Worm’s cacophony of noises are identical!  I can’t quite decipher and understand the many sounds because I’m not a primate, but once some prepubescent teenager creates the first monkey-english language app for the iPhone, he’ll be rich and I’ll be…well, kicking myself for giving away such a brilliant idea.
  2. He has interestingly placed body hair.  The fuzz on his forehead, back, and ears was cute at first.  But the fact that neither Steph nor I are hairy leads us to presume there is more ape than man in our son.  The “Ah ha!” moment will come when Worm’s hairline grows into his eyebrows.
  3. He destroys objects in fits of rage.  Monkeys are notorious for doing things like this.  They just flip a mental switch and chaos ensues.  Worm has that crazy button.  Since this blog is PG, my publicist won’t allow the carnage to be shown.  It’s bad for PR.
  4. He has a strange affection for Curious George.  His eyes light up every time he sees George’s face on the TV.  Worm even seems to understand George’s monkey sounds and gestures.  Very strange indeed.
  5. He loves bananas!  Every monkey goes bananas for bananas and Worm is no exception.  You should see what happens when I put whipped cream on the bananas…

I want Worm to grow up into a functional, kind, and caring adult, even if he has to beat his chest and swing from trees to do it.  There’s a little part of me that would love for him to grow up and be a man, just like his daddy.  But the other part of me wants him to shoot for the stars and become ‘Ape-Man’ for the Greatest Show on Earth!

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