Archives for the month of: April, 2013

…someday I won’t need my fingers to count to ten?

Look Into My Eyes and Tell Me What You See...

Look Into My Eyes and Tell Me What You See…

July 2011

But what happens if I lose track of where I was?  Could I use my feet instead?

The other night, I was watching a show on military men going through something called “Hell Week”.  These guys were voluntarily being pushed to their physical limits just for the opportunity to try out for the special armed forces, the Green Berets.  (NOTE:  A Green Beret is a legendary forest-lurking, swamp-eating, shadow warrior.)  (ANOTHER NOTE:  A Green Beret in a dark alley would have me running in the exact opposite direction than if the dark alley presented me with a Raspberry Beret.)  If you’re looking for a non-stereotypical depiction of a green beret and what skills they possess, check out the movie First Blood.  After seeing that flick, I could easily pick one out of a crowd of people…as long as they were wearing the signature headband and bloody tank top.

I don’t know what it was.  Maybe fatigue set in.  Or maybe a dram of rum permeated my intestinal wall and ignited a few scattered brain impulses. I had an idea.

What if I could make encourage Smushie to participate in a form of “Hell Week” for babies?  Kind of like a rite of passage from newborn-ness to baby-ness.  If she passes the rigorous physical examination, she’ll get to wear the coveted camouflage baby headband which signals to onlookers that this here is a bona fide Green Beretby.  (Beret + Baby = Beretby.  Still with me? Ok.)  Also upon successful completion of the training, Smush will be given the opportunity to carry her very own AK-47, that will signify to all that the government can’t take away a baby’s rights to bear arms, which is in the constitution.  (There’s nothing like the liberal mind interpretation of the English language.)

The idea is pure genius, as most of my ideas are.  I would be gauging her physical abilities, as well as strengthening her for the exertions of daily life (i.e. sitting up, standing, walking, etc.).  I mean Smush isn’t anywhere near being pushed to her physical limits right now.  She practically lays around all day eating, sleeping, and burping.  Not that I compare my children, but Worm was sitting upright and juggling bowling pins at 3 months of age.  (Ok, slight exaggeration.)  He set the bar and I we have to clear it.  There’s nothing like a little sibling rivalry to coax the best out of us.  (But, it’s ok for my two children to compare themselves to one another.)

Smush’s training program is pretty simple.  7 days of physical (also mental and emotional) endurance.  Since I’m a nice guy, I won’t wake her up at 4am to start training.  She’s allowed to wake up when the sun rises.  Next, she will do:

  • Tummy time until she falls asleep on the pillow or vomits
  • Assisted sit ups until her body fatigues or her arms give out
  • Eat until she falls asleep
  • Upon waking, repeat tummy time and assisted sit ups.  Eat.  Sleep.  Repeat.

Training ends at 7pm every night for Smush to wind down and relax.  In the evening, she’s allowed to chat online with her pals, play cards, or watch TV.  Alcohol and smoking are strictly prohibited during Baby Hell Week.  Visits from family are kept to a minimum to reduce the unnecessary distractions.

…I have to let the cat out of the bag.  Her Hell Week started on Monday.  (I couldn’t wait for the sergeant to approve, if you know what I mean.) And on that day, she did extremely well.  It was fruitful and Smush showed incredible strength and endurance.  She looked strong, capable, and determined.

But on Tuesday, I don’t know what happened.  She slept until 10am.  Woke up to exercise once and then proceeded to drink twice the amount of milk that she had ever previously ingested in one sitting…and napped for the rest of the day.  (She’s already being defiant!  I don’t know whether to pat her on the back or on the bottom.)  The competitive fire was no longer in her belly.  (Doused by the milk, I reckon.)

I think Smushie’s taking me for a fool.  I swear I saw her peeking out at me from the slit in her eyelids.  The rules don’t allow me to wake her from sleep and I think she’s found this little loophole.  If Wednesday is anything like today, I will be forced to put my foot down and cut out the day naps.  Hell Week will go on!

Smushie! If You're Smiling, You're Not Working Hard Enough!

Smushie! If You’re Smiling, You’re Not Working Hard Enough!

Really?  Totally naked, you say?

Worm, I Too Thought it Was a Bit Too Risqué...

Dad, Please Say it Ain’t So!

July 2011

Yep, you came out totally naked, Worm.  And you made sure your presence was felt, at the very least, on our eardrums.

It won’t be the last time you get embarrassed, turn beet red, scream at the top of your lungs and then get the whole room to stop and stare at you.  It will happen again.  I promise.  (I cross my fingers for that inevitable event to occur with you as a stage actor rather than you at a Saturday night college frat house party.)

If there’s anyone in the world that can make my kids cry more than I do, I’ll walk on water.  (Actually, I’ll probably key their car.  And if it’s a kid, they’ll get a firm wedgie, fork-lift style.)

I’m not sure what the percentages are, but in my house, we are 2 for 2 when it comes to infant torticollis.  Worm had it.  (Which is expected, because the uterus goes from apple size to watermelon size for the first time.  It’s a tight space.)  Now Smush has it.  (Which is strange because after having one baby, the uterus should be the size of a hot air balloon.  Plenty of room for a baby to ride a bicycle in there, let alone sleep for 10 months.)

I treated Worm myself (after sleeping at a Holiday Inn Express) and although his torticollis was more pronounced, he was much more compliant when compared to Smush.  I would massage his neck and perform range of motion tests.  15 minutes after softly sobbing, his brain and body would check out and I would finish up his session a short time later.  (It’s easier to work on babies that aren’t squirming, kicking, and flailing…)  Two weeks worth of treatments and full ROM and strength came back in his neck.  I did this early enough in his life so that he shouldn’t remember a thing.  (Hopefully…)

But Smushie is a different story.  This is the third time I’ve treated her and it’s the same story as the last.  With the lungs of a lion, she proceeded to cry for almost an hour while I worked on her neck muscles.  (Crying is an understatement here.  It is more like a life-threatening shriek, bleeding from every cell in her body.)  Did she get tired?  Nope.  Could she cry for another hour?  I’d bet another four hours were possible.  Why did I stop?  Because I had enough.  I couldn’t bear to do any more work on her.  When my child is screaming at the top of her lungs in pain and looking me in the eyes the entire time as if to say, “Please, make it stop.  I’m hurting.  I want to snuggle you for comfort because you are the only thing I need to feel safe and secure.”, it’s difficult for me to muster the emotional strength to keep going.

Without exaggeration, my little girl is usually happy and content for 23.5 hours of the day.  She has maybe cried for more than 3 minutes a handful of times in her life.  I make her bawl her eyes out for 60.  She has never cried so hard and so intensely before I started physical therapy on her.  Ever.  I’m the source of her agony and that’s a hard pill to swallow.  So during treatment, I subconsciously absorb some of her pain to overcome the guilt of being the one delivering it.  And in trying to bear some of that burden, every session leaves me spent and wanting to crumble to pieces.  Barely holding me together is the fact that this is necessary.  The very definition of a necessary evil.

The good news is that she now turns her head in both directions almost equally.  I hope that she needs only one more session before full neck flexion, extension, and rotation are restored.  It’s not that she can’t take much more.  It’s that I can’t.

“Everything’s going to be alright.” I whisper in her ear as she falls asleep, exhausted from the physical therapy.  Deep down, I know it’s more for me to hear than for her.

Shame on You Honeydaddy!

I Forgive You Honeydaddy!

When I’m chillin’ at my crib waiting for the girlies in the ‘hood to drop by, I like to relax with a Colt 45 warm milk.  Happy Monday ladies!

Does Mommy's Milk Come In Strawberry Flavor?

Does Mommy’s Milk Come In Strawberry Flavor?

July 2011

Honeydaddybars - Gluten free, dairy free, meat free home made fruit and date bars!

Honeydaddybars – Gluten free, dairy free, meat free homemade fruit and date bars!

Yes, they’re named after me.  Didn’t Mr. Lara name his bars after himself?  If you like Larabars, these will make you jump for joy.  Larabars are delicious, but I thought I’d add some extra ingredients and nutrition to this traditional date and nut bar.  So, I put on my baker’s hat (you know, the puffy white one that only true chefs wear), studied a few homemade larabar-esque recipes online and designed the most tastiest bar ever, the Honeydaddybar.

My bars are an awesome snack to everyone in the house except for Worm (because he’s two and hates everything edible right now)…and Smush (because, well, she doesn’t have teeth to sink in to them yet).  So, that just leaves the dogs, Steph and I.  The dogs aren’t the most discerning foodies, but then that keeps me from setting the bar too high for myself.

Now the great thing about these bars is that they are vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy free, and easy on the gastrointestinal tract.  (I think they’re Paleo diet friendly as well.)  They’re great tasting and a healthy snack for anyone on the go.

This is my first batch and I’ll update with more flavors down the road.  It’s a great snack for kids that is healthy and tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pitted dates (make sure all the pits are out!)
  • 1/2 cup dried fig (I use Calimyrna, but any type of fig should work here)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (roasted and salted)
  • 1/2 cup cashews (roasted and salted)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seed
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (pitted, of course)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Preparation:

Toss everything into the food processor.  Grind until it becomes uniform in mixture.  It should turn into a big ball when everything is mixed up properly.  If the mixture doesn’t stick together very well, you can add more dates or add more coconut oil to moisten it up a bit.

Use a roller to flatten the mixture onto parchment paper or flat surface.  Cut into animal shapes or former presidents’ faces, whatever floats your boat.  Serve.  (I only had Halloween cookie cutters in the cupboard, so that’s what I used.  So, no the ones in the picture are not from last October…)

Keep refrigerated in air tight container.

My two babies have nicknames.  Cutesy little monikers that I dreamed up on my own (with the help of my animal friend, Gosling’s Black Seal).  Names that one day may embarrass the tears from their eyes, when shouted in a crowded room of their peers.

First came Worm, the wiggly, shifty one.  From early on, he was a master of escape.  As hard as I tried to swaddle him, it was never enough to keep all of his limbs secure.  15 minutes of sweating, squirming, and shuffling was all it took to thwart my best wrapping effort.  Even with the lights off.  And with a wet diaper, he was doubly fast.  The writhing contortionist was so worm-like, that it didn’t take long for me to think of what to call him.

Then there’s Smush, the cuddler.  She loves to be close to another warm body.  Her spaghetti noodle arms aren’t developed quite yet, so she mainly cuddles using her face.  We have ultrasound pics of Smushie trying to ‘hug’ her mommy’s womb from the inside.  Her cheeks mashed up against her mom’s uterine wall and reminded me of a pug.  (But I drew the line at calling my daughter a pug.  I’ve got standards!  Besides, Steph didn’t approve it.)  I can’t blame the little girl.  She’s got cheeks like pillows and still uses them to shamelessly nestle and snooze anywhere on anyone.  Sometimes, I smush her cheeks together for my own amusement.  (I have a feeling that will come back to bite me in the ass.)  Smush.  Looking at those pudgy cheeks, I can’t think of a more fitting name.

When I was younger, I thought I would get a cool nickname from my friends.  (You can’t give yourself a nickname.  That’s against the rules.  Besides, it’s lame.)  Maybe they would see my mathematical prowess and call me ‘The Human Calculator‘.  But, now I see that most people can do double-digit addition without a pencil and paper.  Or maybe I would be called the ‘Big Injun’.  But, I couldn’t eat enough cheeseburgers to really nail the ‘Big’ part.  Not to say that I waited 36 years for a nickname like this one…but since it was first uttered from the Worm’s mouth in the sweetest sing-song tone ever, it has firmly planted itself into my heart.

I am the ‘Honey Daddy’.  (Take your shots now, you soulless, cold-blooded, insensitive people.)  And it’s not to be confused with the fierce honey badger.  No no no.  Worm likens me more to honey butter than honey badger.  I guess it fits.  Because everytime he says it, I melt.

Gavin – 24; Dad – 12 (Worm, can I get a tougher, more manly nickname later?  Pretty pretty please?)

How Can I Say No To That?!

How Can I Say No To That?!

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