Archives for the month of: March, 2013

I’m not the expert on gaining weight.  I’ve been lean and lithe all of my life.  But, I assure you that it’s not from lack of nutrition.  I can eat enough food to support a small neighborhood.  My body happens to be a pretty efficient machine.  When I eat a small amount in a day, my activity levels drop to conserve energy.  When I eat a lot, my activity levels go into overdrive.  And vice versa (or visa versa as they say in the South).  My activity levels will also direct my food portion size.  A big mountain bike ride will require the minimum equivalent of a carne asada burrito, a chicken taco, and an order of chips and salsa.

I think the Worm has taken his inherited energy efficiency to another level.  His body has evolved to run on air, juice, and a couple of gummy snacks (no, not a couple of packages…a couple of pieces).  He’s done an inordinate amount of jumping, playing, and exploring on barely a whiff of French toast and syrup in the morning.

It’s no secret that we’ve our doctors been having problems with Worm’s weight.  So much so, that the pediatrician is holding the phone and ready to dial child services.  (This is our last-ditch effort to keep the government from crying child neglect and placing Worm in a foster home to be ‘better’ cared for.)  Desperate times call for desperate measures and health gets thrown out the window as we must get Worm into the ‘normal’ weight range for his age.  Or else.

The other reason to fatten up the little guy is that at some point, survival mode will take over and Worm will start eating everything.  Not wanting to wake up one day to find Worm feasting on a handful of dirt and leaves from the yard, I thought it best to open every door of opportunity to get calories into his body the normal way.  (Pica is a pretty cool physiological mechanism until the doctor has to pull rocks out of your kid’s belly and you get slapped with a fat bill.)  If it was up to me, I’d keep with the car analogy, drop a funnel into Worm’s mouth and just pour a bunch of peanut butter and molasses down his gullet.  But, the boss doesn’t agree with me treating Worm like a transportation vehicle.  So I have to improvise.

It’s common knowledge that the best way to put on weight is to eat low-fat/non-fat foods and anything with artificial sweeteners krapfens, Berliners, ponchiks, oliebollens, beignets, or as we Americans call them, doughnuts.  We thought to visit the local Krispy Kreme to show our son that empty calories can be deliciously filled with custard and garnished with rainbow sprinkles.

On the way to the doughnut shop, I was explaining to the Worm that doughnuts are in the same family as almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and peanuts.  They grow on trees like other nuts, but not here on Earth.  There are farms in heaven that are owned by Monsanto, where angels pick the different varietals (eclairs, glazed, jelly-filled, etc.) during the summer season.  Most are brought down here for human consumption and delivered to places like Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Doughnuts, and supermarkets.  The rest of the doughnuts are eaten by _____ (insert your God here) and that’s what makes him/her larger than life itself.

I finished my story just as we pulled up to the KK and Worm nodded as if he understood.  But, it wasn’t until we walked inside and he bit into his first ever doughnut, that it sunk in.  We were standing inside an extension of heaven eating fruit of the deities.

I think we may have found the answer to our weight gaining prayers…

A Place with Free Doughnuts?  It's Out of This World!

A Place with Free Doughnuts? It’s Out of This World!

Related Post:

MVG – Weight a Minute, You’re Still the Same Size?

Oh boy, here we go again…

The wife decided to kill two birds with one stone and schedule both our children’s doctor visits for the same day.  A 2-year checkup for the Worm.  (I can’t believe he’s made it 2 years.  I pat myself on the back.)  A 2-month checkup for the Smush.

Steph and I bring both kids to the doctor’s office.  As I sit in the waiting room, I look over at one child and think to myself “Wow, This girl has got a jovial attitude, plus a great appetite to boot.  She’s growing.  She looks healthy.  The doctor is going to love her.”

I look over at my other child who is dripping snot all over the floor and trying to cough up his left lung for us to see.  I think to myself “Oh my god.  He’s sick and miserable.  I can see all of his ribs.  The doctor’s going to think we’ve stopped feeding him.  We (I use the term ‘we’ loosely.  I really mean Steph) are going to jail for neglect.”

It’s obvious where all of our efforts have been focused.  (Can you guess who our new favorite child is?)

Smushie checks out great.  According to the NIH, here’s where we are with her development:

  • Physical and motor-skill markers:
    • Closing of soft spot at the back of the head (posterior fontanelle)   (SO SHE’S GOING TO BE HARD HEADED, HUH?)
    • Several newborn reflexes, such as the stepping reflex and grasp reflex disappear  (WOULD HAVE BEEN COOL TO MAKE A HUMAN MARIONETTE OUT OF HER.  TOO LATE NOW.)
    • When on stomach, able to lift head almost 45 degrees  (IF I WAIT LONG ENOUGH, SHE’LL EVEN SHOOT MILK FROM HER MOUTH)
    • Less flexing of the arms and legs while lying on the stomach  (BUT SHE’S STARTED DOING A BIT MORE FLEXING IN FRONT OF A MIRROR)

    Sensory and cognitive markers:

    • Beginning to look at close objects  (EVEN GOES CROSS-EYED FOR THE REALLY CLOSE STUFF)
    • Different cries means different things  (SHE CRIES FOR RED WINE AND CHOCOLATE TOO)
    • Head turns from side to side with sound at the level of the ear  (DOG CLICKER TRAINING WORKS ON KIDS TOO!)
    • Smiles  (ALL THE TIME!  BEAUTIFUL!)
    • Responds to familiar voices  (RESPONDS TO CURIOUS GEORGE’S VOICE THE MOST.  THANKS WORM.)

The Smush is on track and passes her tests with flying colors.  Worm, on the other hand, brings about a host of questions from the doctor.  Since most of communication is unspoken, I will translate the literal dialogue into the real interpretation conveyed.

Doc:  “He hasn’t gained any weight in the past 6 months.”   (“You are feeding him, right?”  Let me just make note of the signs of neglect in my records.)

Me:  “He just doesn’t have an appetite for food.  He can go days without eating.”  (“He asks to eat M&M’s and ice pops every day.  I say no.  So he starves himself to spite us.”)

Doc:  “Our charts also show that Gavin has shrunk 2 inches since we saw him a week ago.”  (“What the hell are you doing to your son?  He’s reversed growth!  Another sign of neglect to add to my records.  People like you shouldn’t be having kids.)

Me:  “I think the assistant may have written it down wrong.  He’s not 3 feet tall.  He’s only 34 inches.”   (“Your nurses are roughly estimating an important developmental data point in my son’s life.  Don’t you understand? Every quarter inch counts at this age!”)

Doc:  “Since Gavin is quickly falling off the chart due to his lack of physical growth, do you want to consider our nutrition counseling?”  (“You obviously can’t feed your son properly.  We’d like to get child services involved and send your son to an orphanage where the state will do a better job of raising him.”)

Me:  “We’re going to try some new foods with him and see if it helps.”  (“I think we’re going to hide out in Mexico until this all blows over.  Maybe we’ll live off the grid and pay for things in cash to keep child services from pinpointing our whereabouts.”)

We may have to take the easy way out and disappear from the authorities until Worm fattens up.  On the bright side, at least I’ll get to use the fake mustaches we have leftover from Halloween…

We're Going to Live In The Woods?  That Sounds Like Fun!

We’re Going to Live In The Woods? That Sounds Like Fun!

He’s 2 months old and I thought there was a skin malfunction.  (I asked the stork to bring us a little brown version of myself and Worm showed up on the doorstep.)  So, I took him outside to see if the sun could help me out.

5 hours later.  Nothing.

Yes, Worm Looks Like His Mom...

Yes, Worm Looks Like His Mom…

Just kidding.  He was only left out in the sun for 4 hours.

June 2011

This is the face he made when I told Worm that he could catch a “case of the Mondays”.

Relax, Worm.  Mondays Only Lasts 24 Hours.

Relax, Worm. Mondays Only Lasts 24 Hours.

June 2011

Can I Wipe My Nose on Your Shoulder, Dad?

Can I Wipe My Nose on Your Shoulder, Dad?

We’re all incredibly sick this week,    (9)

Save for the two with the canine physique.    (10)

One with a hack and a cough so loud,

That the force of it stirs a small dust cloud.

Snot from a nose so tiny, it’s odd

To see such outpouring. Wad after wad.

Another has fallen, now his dad.

No strength from his arms, nor stamina had.

Sickness of both sore throat and green phlegm,

Plus stuffy nose to accompany them.

Mother has had a fever of late.

A temperature rise that wouldn’t abate.

The suffering mom, in a woeful state,

Rested all day long to get herself straight.

And the youngest of all, a wee tot

Sprung a leak in her eye, I kid you not!

It’s not so bad yet, though it is red.

Please stay well.  We’ve no more room in our bed!

Worm, you’re the one that brought the germs in,

And shared them so gladly with all your kin.

Your mouth should not lick everything dear.

Else we’ll suffer again like this.  You hear?

Someone pressed the power on button.  Smushie has been activated.  (Why don’t kids come with a power down button?  Or even a pause button?  Like for when I need to take an afternoon nap?)

About a week ago, Smush came alive.  Up until then she was just a reservoir tank with a sensor that beeped when empty, full, or about to burst from either end.  Also during that time, I tested her for any outward indications of brain activity and got no response.  (The test?  We sat her in front of a few of the best ‘Scrubs‘ episodes known to mankind and there was nary a chuckle, not even a snort.)  As cliché as it sounds, one morning Smush woke up and everything had changed.  The world became apparent and her body started responding to more than just food and a couple of jabs with a stick.

Now Smushie is watching and laughing at my fathering skills (which I mistakenly thought had improved), slapping me in the face, head-butting my collarbones, spitting up on my shirts, and peeing on my hands.  It’s all good.  Sort of.

She doesn’t seem to treat her mother the same way.  In her mother’s arms, she snuggles in perfectly.  She smiles.  She coos.  She lovingly babbles at mommy, with twinkling eyes and all.  When Smush is with Steph, her poops are no longer stinky.  And pee never overruns the boundaries of her tiny diaper.  Their bond is a magical one.  The two of them have filled the space between each other with so much love that they pushed daddy right out of the picture!

It’s no secret that I’m useless to my newborn.  I don’t make milk for her.  I can’t provide warmth.  (I barely have enough warmth to provide myself.)  And nowhere on my body do I have a soft, cushy space for Smushie to bury her head into.  (Though, maybe in a pinch, my butt cheeks could work…)  Yes, I feel a little inadequate as a parent right now and Smushie knows it.  To her, I’m not much more than a walking baby wipe.  One day, I aspire to be more.  But during this time, I am not the best support personnel for baby.  Her mother is.  So there is really nothing for me to do other than drink beer and go hammer stuff in the garage patiently wait by Steph’s side and rub her feet/back/neck until I am called to help.

Until that day comes when I am needed to be the prince in Smushie’s fairytale play, or I must fill the empty seat at the imaginary tea party, I will use my t-shirts to absorb all of the fluids that exit her little body and try not to gag.

Smushie, Can't You Just Make a Normal Face?

Smushie, Can’t You Just Make a Normal Face?

I’m an avid fan of sleeping babies.  Why?  Because if a baby (particularly mine) is sleeping, I don’t have to feed her, change her, burp her, bathe her, or soothe her.  And I can get all the cuddles I want from her whenever, wherever, and however I want them.  (It’s the less is more squared principle.  I’m doing LESS for her, yet I’m MORE happy and have MORE time to do other things.)

So when I came across an article about the Finns (or is it Finlandians? or Finnishians? or Finlandese? maybe Suomalaiset?) and how their society believes that babies sleep more soundly in subzero temperatures outside, I was interested in testing out the theory.

The article said that Finnish moms and dads would park their strollers (or prams) outside during baby nap time.  Prams would be left in freezing temperatures for up to a couple of hours so that baby would take a good, solid nap and reap some health benefits on the side.  For me, I would love to shackle secure Smush to her stroller on the sidewalk while I went inside the mall to watch a movie, visit the bookstore, or have a nice, quiet, dinner with my wife.  Then a few days hours later, I could return to my child napping away because she exhausted herself by screaming her head off for two straight hours with no one coming to her aid peacefully.  I see no downside so far.

The Finns believe (yes, all of them) that napping outside in the cold weather is good for boosting the baby’s immune system and helps them sleep more soundly, both of which are inherently tied together.  The idea stems from this guy, Arvo Ylppö, a Finnish pediatrician credited with starting the trend sometime in the 1920’s.  Seeing as how he dropped the infant mortality rate significantly during his working tenure, Ylppö probably had a pretty good understanding of public health and how to avoid, prevent, and treat disease.  The general population listened to his suggestions then and they’re still following them now.

Enough of the history lesson, this blog isn’t meant to add cells to your brain.  It’s purpose is to remove them one by one.

I decided to do an experiment.  It’s winter time in San Diego and Smushie sometimes has trouble sleeping in the night.  These two facts were just the right ingredients I needed for my laboratory testing.  The opportunity was here, so why not try to see if she would sleep better outside?  I suppose that if the Finns hold the solution to happily sleeping babies, I want to inject plenty of it into my own two lapset.  That’s Finnish for children.

Yesterday was my first clinical trial.  The temperature in my neighborhood last night was 12 degrees, extremely close to 0 degrees.  (Ok, so I converted it to Celsius for additional dramatic effect.  It’s not quite the same as the freezing temperatures in Helsinki, but it is as brutal a winter we’re going to get in Southern California.)  I bundled up the Smush in her onesie.  Socks on the hands, a hat on her head and a double layer of blankets were sure to keep my baby toasty warm.

Now, I could have left Smush out on the front porch to sleep, but for fear that (A) my wife would leave me (B) my parents would kill me, and (C) I’d spend a few years in the county jail, I decided to take her for a walk instead.  I modified my experiment into a ‘supervised’ cold weather nap.  I took a long stroll around the neighborhood.

Within minutes, the little one was fast asleep.  And she slept for the entire hour walk.  Yes, she opened her eyes occasionally.  But, it wasn’t because she was awake.  She was just giving me that creepy baby stare where she doesn’t blink or flinch a muscle and it feels like her eyes are piercing my head like a laser beam.  (If you’re a parent, you know exactly what I mean.)  Smushie’s eyes were open, but her brain was on a Dreamland vacation.

I thought to myself, there’s got to be something to this whole baby subzero sleeping thing!  Those crazy Finns don’t seem so crazy after all! To take it a step further, I backed up my data by repeating the experiment again and publishing my findings to the blog universe to become the next overnight internet sensation.  With the temperatures below 10 degrees (again, in Celsius for the dramatic effect), Smush was bundled up the same as the previous day, except that her hat had little bunny ears which provided some measure of additional warmth to her head.  I had to wear a long-sleeved shirt along with my shorts.  (I had to dig deep in the closet for my cold weather gear!)

Guess what?  It worked better the second time.  In fact, she napped for a total of 5 hours during and after her chilly evening jaunt.  Some of the napping was inside the house, but the better part of it was under the moon, stars, and alien UFO lightbeams.

So,  the takeaways from the article I read along with my own experiments and observations:

  1. In Finland, they don’t steal babies.
  2. In America, leaving your baby alone outside is called child neglect and is punishable by jail time in Guantanamo.
  3. Finnish babies are born directly onto the snow to acclimate them to freezing temperatures immediately, hence increasing their ability to brave subfreezing temperatures.  (I’m not making this stuff up.  Nope.)

The cold weather experiment brought Smush and I two great nights of sleep in a row!  No, we didn’t have subzero temperatures.  No, we weren’t in Finland.  But I was wearing a heart rate monitor and thinking about the next wife carrying competition (two very Finnish inventions), so at least in my mind, it was like we were practically natives.

I'm Not Kidding, Smush.  The Finlandians do This All the Time!

I’m Not Kidding, Smush. The Finlandians do This All the Time!

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