Archives for the month of: February, 2013

There’s a limit to the amount of risk I’m willing to take with Worm.  Holding a pointy scissors inches from that flailing toddler’s ears and eyes is outside of my comfort zone.  So I happily deferred this task to a professional.  That way, if anything happened to Worm’s precious little head, I could be a savior rather than the villain.

It wasn’t that we didn’t like Worm’s coiffure.  We just tired of washing the juice, peanut butter, and snot out of it.  (A slippery kid in a slippery bath being washed by my slippery hands for longer than 30 seconds, is a recipe for disaster.)  Less hair for him equals less work for us.  Besides, Worm’s hair is in that awkward stage between crew cut and mullet.  Yep, he’s got helmet hair…not quite the Gene Simmons look, but pretty darn close.

So off to the internet we went in search of a toddler friendly hairdresser.  Surprisingly, my Googling didn’t turn up more than a handful of local shops.  We picked out one that wasn’t too far away and hopped in the car, anxious as to what was in store for us.

Worm, Next Time I Get The Car!

Worm, Can I At Least Ride Shotgun?!

We strolled into the hair place and the first thing Worm saw was the big red car in the middle of the floor.  When his eyes lit up, we knew we had a winner!  Feeling kind of left out, I asked if I could get a haircut too.  (There was only one car and it took every last ounce of restraint for me not to shove Wormie to the floor and jump in behind that steering wheel!)  I settled for the normal lame-ass (I’m not bitter.) swivel chair.  At least I was sitting closest to the TV blasting the cartoons.  Yeah, the closest.  Me.

We both ordered our haircuts:

“What cut would you like sir?” said the hairdresser.

“Ung. Dat! Pop! Bebop Bo!” responds the diminutive communicates like a caveman.

“So how do you like it cut?” asks the other hairdresser.

“Could I please get 1/2″ off the sides and have the top cut short enough for me to spike it, shall the need present itself?” replied the sophisticated, dashing and debonair gentleman.

(Guess which conversation was Worm’s…)

And so the hair starts flying in all directions.  I braced myself for a deafening cry from the other side of the room, but I heard none.  Worm never once screamed or pitched a fit.  In fact, every time I had the opportunity to glance in his general direction, he was contently playing in my his little red Beetle or watching the cartoons on the TV.  He was eerily quiet.  (As the old saying goes, “A quiet toddler is the devil’s workshop assistant.”)  Today was the exception to the rule.

And at the end of it all, no tears were shed from either of us.  Worm got a nice big lollipop for his effort as well as a lock of his own hair that we will bake into a chocolate cake for his 18th birthday and serve it to him in the name of recycling.

The haircut was a resounding success!  Hooray for Worm being on his best behavior!

Two Good Looking Dudes!

Two Good Looking Dudes!

Next time though, I GET TO DRIVE THE BEETLE!

Gavin – 22; Dad – 11 (I was certain you were going to scream bloody murder during your haircut.  Guess I was wrong…)

When Smushie came out, I knew she was Worm’s sister.  She had such similar features to him, I thought that maybe we were the first couple in history to have identical twins born years apart.  But someone broke that ground already.  (Reuben and Floren Blake are twins born 5 years apart.)

Anyways, using the magic of photo editing software, I made a picture of both of our children side-by-side.  The game is to guess which one is Smush.

Which One Is Which One?

Which One Is Which One?

The battle of wits has begun!

All you have to divine is what type of person am I!  Am I the type to put the pictures in order or not?

Now it’s easy to think that the photo on the left is Worm because of the blue hat.  But if the hospital ran out of pink hats that day, you WOULD BE surely mistaken!

You may also think that I would subconsciously put Smushie in the picture on the right because she was born AFTER the Worm!  But, I’m cunning enough to know that you might think so and maybe that’s why I put her picture on the left!

But I am a man and it’s OBVIOUS that I think that men are always right, so maybe I had to put the photo of Worm on the right!

Though, it’s perfectly clear that the whole idea of this game is to trick you!  If so, then it would be preposterous for me to keep the pictures in order and I would HAVE TO put Smushie’s photo on the left!

And you may assume that the dark ambient light would be on Worm and the soft light projected on Smushie, because Worm was born at night and Smush was born in the morning.  But, I KNOW YOU KNOW THIS! It would be too undeniable for your naked eye to see that the picture of Worm was indubitably on the left and therefore Smushie on the right!!!

I know you’re trying to trick me into giving away something.  It won’t work!

If that wasn’t clever enough, then maybe they are both pictures of Smushie and I have had you utterly fooled this whole time!

Ha ha ha!

Related Links:

Twins Born Five Years Apart

Worm looked too happy to be doing “grown up” things like sitting on the couch and watching TV at only 2 months of age.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he hasn’t defied gravity just yet.  I taped his onesie to the couch cushion so he wouldn’t tip over.

This is a Very Fetching Picture of You Worm!

This is a Very Fetching Picture of You Worm!

June 2011

“Dad, I can’t feel my arms…and I’m not laughing.  I’d rather you practice on the stuffed animals before we try this again.” says the Worm.

My Arms and Legs Are Asleep...And That's About It.

My Arms and Legs Are Asleep…And That’s About It.

June 2011

As a dad, I get to teach my children about emotions.  Today’s lesson is about the emotion of fright.  So, I told Worm that there was no more milk in the fridge and that he would have to start eating real food.  I pointed to the brussel sprouts in the vegetable drawer and this is the face he gave me.

The Fridge Light Captures Your Eyes So Beautifully, Worm!

The Fridge Light Captures Your Eyes So Beautifully, Worm!

June 2011

The Birth Partner - A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

The Birth Partner – A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin is the quintessential birthing book for labor companions.  I read mine from cover to cover before each of my kids were born.  I loved it and here’s why.  I’m the type of father that wants to be involved as much as possible.  Do I trust the hospital to deliver my baby in the best way possible?  Not quite.  I trust the hospital to 1) follow their rulebook to avoid lawsuits, 2) manage labor & delivery to be profitable first, and 3) be as efficient as possible with doctors’ and nurses’ time, and finally 4) deliver babies safely within their guidelines.  The hospital’s primary focus is (sadly) not my best interest.  They are a company with profits and losses and will be run as such.  It’s my responsibility to look out for myself and my family first anyhow.  To do that, I need to understand something that all men fear, labor.  (Sorry for the diatribe, but it ties into why I liked The Birth Partner so much.)

In the interest of self-preservation (and wife-preservation), I wanted details on the birth process.  For me, it’s comforting to demystify a situation as much as possible before confronting it (and in this case the situation is the labor and delivery room).  TBP is a reference book dense with childbirth information and gave me the details to ready myself for Steph’s childbirthing.  Note that this is not an easy reading Harlequin romance novel.  Some dads (or other partners) may get overwhelmed and toss the book on the shelf.  Others, like myself, revel in having so much information in one place…and want to sleep with it under our pillow.

I know that birth partners come in all different types.  The amount of involvement from a partner during labor differs substantially and depends upon the comfort level and relationship of the partner towards the mother-to-be.  My wife pushed two human beings out of her body for us.  The least that I could have done is be knowledgeable enough to support her as best I could.  So, I took the boy scout approach to childbirth and prepared myself for the delivery room (mostly by catching watermelons and slapping myself in the face), but also by studying up on the subject.  My philosophy was “Give me all the information so I can deliver a baby in the back seat of a car, if I have to.”  (With as fast as our second one came, a third child may very well get that opportunity.)

Now for the material.  It starts out talking about what goes on in the last few weeks of pregnancy.  The aches, pains, and signs that a birth partner should always be on the lookout for.  It includes all the basic things that you should be thinking about doing and packing before the trip to the hospital.  The crux of TBP is dedicated to the actual labor and delivery.  The signs of pre-labor, how to understand contractions, dilation, and all the stages of labor are laid out and organized well.  (I had to re-read this section a few times.  It was pretty dense.)  As well as the normal labor scenarios, this section also talks about complications of labor and what you can do as a partner, should they arise.  The third section of the book is dedicated to the possible tests and medical interventions that can take place at the hospital.  This section is important.  Personally, I had a huge issue with the hospital staff that were involved with our first baby’s birth.  They had wanted to perform quite a few (unnecessary) medical tests during my son’s birthing.  Had I not known about the medical equipment and intervention techniques used, I would not have been able to make an informed (and what I thought was safe) decision on what to do.  I felt confident in my knowledge and valuable in protecting my wife (and baby’s) health.  The final section is about the postpartum period.  It mainly discusses the first few days after delivery and breastfeeding.  It’s a short section and just gives some practical tips for coping with a new baby.

Below is a partial list of material found in The Birth Partner

Section 1 (Before the Birth) – perineal massage, tracking fetal movements, birth plan, phone list of important contacts, things to take to the hospital, baby supplies

Section 2 (Labor & Birth) – signs of labor, what to do if water breaks, prelabor signs, timing contractions, when to go to the hospital, how to act during labor, techniques to comfort the mother,

Section 3 (Medical Side) – group B strep, ultrasound, nonstress test, IV fluids, fetal monitoring, fetal scalp monitoring, fetal pulse oximetry, rupturing membranes, induction, episiotomy, vacuum extraction, foreceps delivery, complications to mother, pain medication during labor, cesarean, VBAC, postpartum aches and pains.

Section 4 (After the Birth) – baby exam, circumcision, postpartum depression, planning for the first few months, breastfeeding

In conclusion, I could go on in detail about what Simkin has compiled in TBP, but this review would be overly long.  Let me just say that this book is more geared towards those fathers, doulas, and partners that want to understand labor and want to take a very active role in supporting their laboring partner.  For those that are willing to leave every decision up to the hospital, this book would be more useful as a doorstop.  For everyone in between, this is a valuable resource to pull off the home bookshelf and answer most of the common questions a partner (as well as the future mother) would have about childbirth (in a hospital, birth center, or other).

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10_worm_ratingOverall Rating:  10 Worms

Readability:  9 Worms  (A little dense for most readers.)

Usefulness:  10 Worms

Manliness:  10 Worms  (This book tells you how to deliver a baby in the car.  That’s the instant mustache kind of manly!)

Retail Price:  $16.95

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Pros: Everything about this book.  It’s detailed, well-organized, thorough.  It has plenty of pictures to help you understand certain ideas and concepts.  It will prepare you for just about anything between the end of the prenatal period and beginning of postpartum.

Cons: Very doula centered.  I can see it being a bit dense for the more “let the professionals handle it” fathers.  If you are not into natural childbirth, this book may be too much.  Although, you could get some good information on how to naturally help the mother cope until she gets the epidural.

Things I would modify:  Nothing.

If there’s anything in life that tells you that you’re an utter failure at parenting, it should be the time around 3am, when you and your infant are both crying because neither one of you has slept in days.  I, my friends, am doing everything wrong.

“I’ve done this before.  It’s not new to me.” I told myself.  So why doesn’t Smush want to sleep?  She’s been out of the proverbial water (maybe not really proverbial) for 3 weeks now and I can’t figure out why she’s not sleeping at all.  Let me rephrase that.  She sleeps during the day.  But, as soon as the moon rises and the lights are out, it’s a relentless grunt-a-thon.

Between the hours of midnight and 7 am, Smush turns into a sleep monster, eating up the slumber of her once loving parents.  Her viciously effective torture method is to squeak and snort often enough to scoop us out of our delicious dreams.  Once we flip on the bedroom light to discern the matter, she’s quiet as a mouse (and maniacally laughing inside).  Six minutes later, the cycle repeats itself…like every six minutes.

To limit Smush’s damage to just one parent at a time, Steph and I take turns sleeping with the enemy baby.  Meaning, the living room couch has recently become the best place to snooze and be snoozed.  As much as we’d both like to sleep on the couch, one of us has to comically karmically suffer for our life’s misdeeds (like the time when I was 10 and I put a frog on a railroad track during the summer time and watched it sizzle in the hot sun and then get run over by a freight train.  I’m sorry for doing that.  I really mean it this time!).  In the past couple of days, I’ve pulled the short straw.  That means grabbing an extra pillow and hunkering down in the trenches until sunrise.

I’ll be the first to tell you that Smush is not a sweet pea at 3am.  (She’s more like the pea under my mattress.)  During the witching hours, she dons horns and carries a pitchfork (or a spork.  I can’t tell.  My eyesight’s a bit blurry SINCE I HAVEN’T SLEPT IN DAYS!).  In the dark, I feel her cold, calculating stare.  If I fake like I’m sleeping, she knows.  She waits patiently until I really nod off and fills the air with “Ughhhhhh!”.  I bolt upright and curse in her general direction.  This series of events is looped until morning.

On the worst night, I was sans wits.  Wanting to do something to help Steph’s daughter (I’ve disowned her already), I thought that I could try a few things to help her (and I) get some much-needed rest.  They were a string of bad ideas.

Here’s a list of things that I did that are sure to help me win the “Parenting Failure of the Year” award.  I’ve set the bar, ladies and gentlemen.  So, if you’re wondering how NOT to get your newborn to sleep, read on.

  1. Massage the baby – Um, nope.  This is supposed to relax a person!  Since babies are not people, don’t try to do this at night.  You’ll only serve to wear out your hands and invigorate your child.  Trust me, I know.
  2. Stretch and exercise the baby – No again.  I thought that I could tire her out physically by making her do pushups and working her bicycle kicks.  About an hour in, I was both proud of my girl’s stamina and pissed by my girl’s stamina.  Still wide awake…
  3. Practice martial arts techniques while holding baby – With baby fully exercised, I strapped Smush to myself in hopes that my movement would fatigue her and myself.  I know, brilliant right?  Wrong.  I was worked up and so was she.  Wee hours of the morning….
  4. Burp the baby – Well, it works well for about 5 minutes after she eats, but something (a little voice in my head) told me that maybe my girl just needed to be burped again.  30 minutes of burping techniques and I could only manage to burp myself.  I’m 99% sure now that any air that makes its way past the stomach is only going to come out the other end.  Ah, the cock’s are crowing…
  5. Rum – For me, not for her.  A glass or two helped ease my pain, but not my hearing.  Nope.  Besides, who drinks at 7am?  The sun’s up and so is the rest of the house.  Yay…

I was just overstimulating the Smushie.  She would get more stressed and so would I.  The smoke from between her ears should have tipped me off, but I thought it was another devilish trick.

Yes, I’m irritated.  Yes, I’m frustrated.  Yes, I’m tired.  I’m thinking about returning her to the hospital and getting a new one.  This one may be broken.  It squeaks too much.

Don't Tell Me That's Your Eating Utensil, Smushie!!

Don’t Tell Me That’s Your Eating Utensil, Smushie!!

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