Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dear Berkley: What the Heck Are You Talking About

Berkley just runs around the house these days, destroying everything, babbling words he's picked up. Right now he just finished emptying a container of cards (like announcement cards people sent us for milestones in their lives) and now has moved on to taking all of the diapers and sheets out of his changing table.

AND now back to the cards. Which he is throwing off of the upstairs balcony.

The entire time, he's alternating "happy" and growling at whatever he is working on making a mess of.

Nicely done my boy, nicely done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Berkley: Don't Tell Your Mother

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I get a little pleasure from having little secrets with Berkley that his mother does not know about. Tonight, which Courtney went to the gym, Berkley and I went to the local bar and had Irish Car Bombs. Ok, we didn't really do that, but I gave him a couple of the nerds I was eating, and more than a couple Special K flakes. He was a big fan of both. Don't tell.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dear Berkley: You Have to Slow Down to Go Fast

Once, I got a promotion and the first thing my boss advised me to do was nothing. he said "you have to slow down to go fast, so first: slow down." Of course I had no idea what he was talking about, and spent the next 6 months beating my head against various walls. I thought he meant to work slower, and do less. But he didn't. He meant to do the right work, and let other people do their jobs, make a good plan and hold them accountable, etc. In the end, he was right. Slowing down, getting the lay of the land, weighing options, and then committing to a group decision ended up being a better way of going about things. People did their work, they were invested (as were their bonuses), work was produced in a more manageable and predictable manner.

Berkley only knows fast, until about 4 minutes before bed when he gets into his sleep sack and finally relaxes. Or until Yo Gabba Gabba is turned on the television at any point in the day. Then he'll sit quietly. Otherwise he's everywhere, into everything, discovering, getting messy, wanting things, just playing in general.

But, I notice that when he gets perplexed by something, and we DON'T help him, he slows down, studies over it for a while, and then figures it out. How to open a lid on a plastic container, how to disassemble.... anything. How to climb onto something. Last week it was how to slide down the stairs on his belly. Last night it was how to open the lid on a plastic tub. He invariably conquers these obstacles not by whining or feverishly going at them, but by stopping, paying close attention, and trying several options until he gets it all figured out.

I've noticed lots of people could really use this lesson, from both ends. First of all, kids don't need nearly as much help as we think they do. They seem to figure out how to do plenty if you stop helping them do everything. I think this is how Berkley figured out how to sleep all night, walk, feed himself, etc. We didn't coach the kid. He just wanted the results and kept at it. Second, I notice so many parents are... frantic about the littlest things.

Is my child as clean as possible, germ free, are they doing all the right things a 15 month old should do, do they have enough friends, are those the RIGHT friends? Etc, etc. This list could go on forever just from things I've observed, and quite frankly I don't pay that much attention to other people. just ask my wife.

In sum, I think kids and parents would be much better if they just slowed down, and had a little faith in things going fast in their own time. Husbands and wives might benefit from my bosses advice, too ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dear Berkley: Know How to Build a Fire

A man has to have some skills. And by skills, I mean outdoor, self reliant skills. Because even if you live in WASP suburbia like I do, every once in a while you have to do something outdoorsy, and look like a 'tard if you can't pull it off. Or, you spend a lot of money having someone else pull it off for you, which makes you look like a big pansy.

We bought a house with a fire pit. This means I have to make a fire from time to time so I can get the tasty goodness that is roasted marshmallows and on an even better night: s'mores. Of course, this isn't exactly the same as building a fire because your plane has crashed and you're stranded in the Alps awaiting rescue. But you have to know how to build a fire: here's how:

1) Rummage around the yard and get some sticks. These sticks should be dry, and all sorts of different sizes, from super skinny and easy to burn, all the way up to as big around as your wrist. Try and find some sticks that have exposed wood. In other words, if you have to, bust out your machete and chop a piece of wood into some skinny kindling where there is no bark. Bark doesn't burn well. This is called EVOLUTION. Trees do not want to burn, so they have bark.

2) If you're going to be having a fire go a pretty long time, you probably want some even bigger logs. I said log.

3) Get a piece of newsprint, of some paper that burns easily. Wad it up in a loose ball.
4) Build a teepee, or log cabin/pyramid of sticks over top of the wad of newspaper. use the small sticks on the bottom, then put bigger and bigger sticks on top the farther you get from the paper.
5) Light the paper, stand back, and enjoy. Once things catch, add more sticks or logs. Log again!

There is the odd chance you don't have anything to light the fire. In this instance, you are probably far out in the woods, and not near your house. Because chances are in your house, you have a lighter, or matches for candles, or could just go to the store and get one or the other. In this event you are probably screwed. BUT, if you're pretty handy, here's a couple of ideas:

1) If it's sunny outside, get a coke can and a chocolate bar (I know you have chocolate, for the s'mores). Use the chocolate to polish the bottom of the coke can until it's super shiny. You could also use toothpaste. Then, use the bottom of the can to focus sunlight onto the paper, and start a fire.
2) If you have any steel wool and a battery, you can rub them together and the steel wool will make sparks. This is pretty tough and you have to be quick. For this on you also have to have tinder, not newspaper. Tinder is very dry, light, fibrous, burnable wood.
3) Lastly, use a knife and certain rocks to create sparks on tinder. Again hard, so Good luck with this one.

Some people can use a hand drill or bow to make fire. There people have magic power. Stay away from them.

So, all said, go make a fire, and be a man. Oh and don't burn your house down. Try and have a water hose or a bucket or water nearby. Next week we'll learn how to mount your HDTV over the mantle.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear Berkley: Cars Need Gas

I am not a detail man. I'm an idea man. So, at times I miss details or steps in the process because I've moved onto the next idea, hoping others will finish up the work.

But, I have never run out of gas. My Dad says he got in trouble if the cars they owned growing up had under a half tank in them at any time. I think it had something to do with the funeral home they owned also serving as the ambulance back in the olden times. (For the record, that is a CONFLICT OF INTERESTS)

I hope Berkley has the common sense to put gas in the car before it runs out. Currently he just runs all over the house hollering and wailing every time he doesn't get what he wants, which is about every 14 seconds. So, he's got some growing to do.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Berkley: Know When to Ignore the Camera

On Facebook it seems everyone documents their lives, everything from the morning poo to the evening walk with the kids.

I just wish they'd do it from a little farther than two feet, and let someone else take the picture from time to time. The best shots are never posed, and the worst shots are when people hold the camera two feet from their face (and a friend's face) and take a ridiculous grinning pic that says "we're so happy."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dear Berkley: SEC Football is Wonderful

My buddy rob and I rode over to Knoxville and spent the weekend with the Cross' having fun and going to the Tennessee v Florida football game.

Berkley: listen up. SEC football is magical. The tailgates are more fun, the students are prettier, and traditions and game are more entertaining than any other games I've been to in this land. It's sort of like the English Premier League in soccer. There's just no close 2nd. It's tops.

Note 2: if it's 90 degrees and sunny, remember to bring a hat.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear Berkley: You're Going to College

My buddy Lee Cross and I used to laugh about how he had already decided his child "was going to college." His oldest son is about 5 now, so I was a DINK (double income, no kids) when he was first a dad, and his family was the first I was very close to who had little children.

Anyhow, Lee always said "Jackson is GOING TO COLLEGE." He could play in the band, he could grow out his hair, whatever. but he has to go to college. I always teased him and said "How about letting him to Peace Corps? What if that makes him happier?" "He can do that." Lee would say.. "Right after college."

Now, as a father, I cannot imagine Berkley not going to college. BUT, I will leave a glimmer of chance that if he's just an average kid, who isn't really college material, that we'll just send him to community college (which IS NOT real college) and let him get his welding certificate or whatever. As long as he's happy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dear Berkley: I Hope You're Not Damaged By 9/11

I definitely understand all those people who are remembering 9/11 today because they lost loved ones. Makes good sense to me.

But what's up with the entire nation dredging this whole thing up every year? Moments of silence and services of remembrance abound. I suppose people must need it.

I remember when I was little I grew up sure we'd have a nuclear holocaust with the CCCP. Always scared we'd have to live underground for a couple of months, then have nuclear winter, then rebuild from nothing.

Now, there's terrorism. But I'm not scared of that AT ALL. I'm not going to the Middle East for any reason. And here in the US we've had one terrorist attack (if you don't count American terrorist attacks like abortion clinic bombings and Oklahoma City) in my life. So, I'm going to consider that a once in a lifetime occurrence.

Anyhow, I reckon I hope we're done mourning 9/11 and there's no new big deal by the time Berkley can comprehend fear on a global scale. That's all.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear Berkley: This Is Going to Rock

I promise that when you're still young, we will watch all the movies that were awesome when I was young. To name a few:

Stand By Me
Weird Science
Space Camp
Top Gun

there are so many more. But, I will sit with you and watch these, and we will laugh a lot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dear Berkley: We're Trying to Move You Out of the Chicken Coop, We Promise

Well, we're supposed to be moving into a real house, that we own. Our Realtor says we have been approved to buy a short sale by the bank who holds the current mortgage. But, we were supposed to get paperwork saying so today, and didn't. This is delay #243687 in this process. In fact, there have been so many delays that now we just assume that when we hear something will happen on a certain date, we add a month.

Anyhow, if we don't get it tomorrow, we start looking for another house. The market is tanked, houses are for sale super cheap everywhere and all we want is a well built house with 3 bedrooms in a decent neighborhood. Should be pretty simple to find before it gets too cold and we have to buy all new clothes use ours are packed away in storage.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dear Berkley: Thanks For The Drive By

Every so often, Berkley will stop whatever he is doing and come over and hug someone.

Often it's sort of a drive by hugging, because there isn't always time for you to respond with a hug back.

You just get squeezed, he lays his head on you a quick sec, and then he's off to do the next thing, wailing like a banshee.

Dear Berkley: Come on Man, You're Not Going To Pick Up Ladies Like That

Berkley has shoes, finally. People are always asking Courtney why Berkley doesn't have shoes. Well, he just started walking this month. So, she got him some shoes. Pedipeds.

When he wears them, especially when he's just in a diaper and the Pedipeds aimlessly doing laps around the house, I can see what he'll look like as a 90 year old. Drooling, always hungry, rubbing his belly, pacing around the house, farting on everything he passes. This is also how I look extremely hungover, sans the diaper.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dear Berkley: You Scream A Lot

Berkley doesn't know a lot of words. He's got "mama" down, 100% success rate on that one. He's pretty good at bye bye. I'd say that one works 40% of the time. "Ball" is going well if there is a ball present, in his hands. That's a crowd pleaser.

Other than that, he screams like a 14 year old girl at a sleepover. I decide to chase him around the house? Screams. He wants something? Screams. He's hurt? Same general scream. So, if you decide to stop by our house, bring earplugs, because there's lots of screaming.

Dear Berkley: I'm Sorry About Your Nose

Last night Berkley was tired when I came home from mountain biking about 7pm. He goes to bed about 7:30-8, so this makes sense, but he was especially tired and not so full of energy as normal.
Earlier in the day, he had skipped his afternoon nap, but instead laid on my chest watching football for about 20 minutes, while Courtney went grocery shopping. I could barely keep from crying because he's never hugged for that long, or been that still since he could... move.
So we got him in his sleep sack, and brought him into our bed. Then he just layed there on his back playing with two pacifiers while Courtney sang him songs. Again, he just laid there, so still.
While he was there on his back, I noticed how perfect the curves were from his forehead down to the bridge of his nose, and then around the tip and down to his lip. No bumps, no undulations, nothing. Perfect curves. Flawless skin.
I'm sorry son, but this will not last unless there was a mix-up at the hospital. Your mother and I both have big honkers, and mine looks like someone took a ball-peen hammer to it in my teenage years.
So, I suppose there is some super-remote chance you won't get our huge honkers, but likely you will grow one some day. We're sorry. Hopefully you'll be funny, or smart.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dear Berkley: Try Not to Be Bonkers Over Jesus

When I did "log onto" the Internet and read some news, I was surprised to find a controversy about a proposed Muslim mosque at ground zero. Wow. I was shocked the congregation would even try. So, I did a little research, and have come to realize my country is full of crazy people who really just want to be sure they are only surrounded by people who are just like themselves. I'll tell you why, based on this latest news event:

1) This "mosque" isn't even AT ground zero. Its a few blocks away. People visiting ground zero most likely won't even see it. So, who cares? Once you say Muslims can't worship a few blocks from ground zero, what's next? A few miles? A few states?
2) It's not JUST a mosque. This is a community center. It has a proposed basketball court inside of it. Computers, library, food, etc. Should hospitals be called churches because they have worship spaces inside?
3) People say "it's because its MUSLIM" and they are the ones who bombed the twin towers. WHAT? Seriously? Is your view of the world THAT narrow? Ok, fine. I'm going along with this one. By this theory, and the ones above, anyone who commits a heinous crime in the name of Christianity deems is inappropriate to have a Christian church in that vicinity forever more. So, basically all Catholic churches have to go, right? I'd like to sign up for a cut of the Vatican's cash. Seriously, Islam didn't bomb the twin towers. A few crazy people did, and used the most extreme view of their religion as a crutch. People do it in the name of Jesus all the time. Remember the Crusades?
4) Christians, Jews, or whoever can't get all up in arms about a right our country was built upon, and dismiss it in the same sentence. So, if you want the right to worship whoever you please wherever you please, it might be best to relax about the Muslim community center. Maybe even use it to your advantage. Go inside, have some good food. Find out what's good about a people you've likely been reviling since the worst of those people did a bad thing. Lord knows I'd be in bad shape if everyone viewed me by the worst actions I ever made, then went and viewed all white, upper middle class Christians by the same actions.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Changes We Make For Our Children

We decided to move for Berkley. Or for me. I suppose we'll find out as time goes on.

But leaving for work before 7am and coming home after 7pm wasn't working out since Berkley gets up at 8am and goes to bed at 7:30pm. So, we took an honest look at our life in Winston-Salem, and realized there wasn't anything keeping us there. The house could be sold, the friends could be kept up with, and my relationship with my child could become something more than people sleeping in the same house.

So we sold the house in Winston, and have moved to Greensboro. We're in a rental right by my office until we can buy a house that is in "short sale." This short sale is akin to catching an eel in a bucket full of snot. It's no fun, and nearly impossible. But, we should save a ton of money. Sweet. We'll use it on Berk's college fund, which is going to need approximately 40 gajillion dollars in 18 years in order for Berk to attend a school where the majority of students aren't from that county.

I'm extremely thankful for what used to be a chicken coop, but is now our rental home. It's less than 2 miles from my office, and I get to have lunch with the fam some days. I'm also enjoying the 3 minute drive, although now I have no idea what happens in the local or national news. I opened up the web and read CNN and WSP online the other day. It turns out not much.


It's been quite a while since I posted. In that time Berkley has learned to walk, started to talk, and is pretty much moved on from "infant" to "boy." So, now I'm going to start posting again and this blog is going to contain both what Berk is up to, and my thoughts on things relating to Berk, and the world in which he grows up.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Feeding Berkley

Berkley likes food. He eats peas and carrots (just like Gump), chicken, most fruits, green beans, broccoli, sweet taters, etc. And I suppose most kids his age do this same thing. Courtney and I buy this food in the grocery store, steam it, blend it up into goo, and then freeze it in the ice cube trays.

When it's time to eat, we microwave it a few seconds, it turns to goo, and we shovel it into his mouth. Sounds pretty easy, huh?

Well, it was, for about 3 weeks.

Then Berkley wanted the spoon.
Then he hated getting his face wiped off after.
Then he got constipated.
And now, he's not interested in food anymore. So we just scatter Cheerios and ridiculously expensive "puffs" around (more about these retarded things later), hoping he'll pick them up and eat them.

Good try. I think our 9 month old might be smarter than we are.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Selling The House

We're selling our house. I work in Greensboro (30ish miles away), I work a lot, and if we don't move a little closer, I'm going to see Berkley on average 6 minutes per work day. Also, our house is a two bedroom one bath with no central air conditioning.

This is a perfect home for two people with no child. But now Berk is loud, and the window-unit air conditioners are loud, and the TV is loud, and there is literally no where you can go in this 1350 square feet and get a second's peace when people are here.

This house is also old, and we bought it with these idealistic dreams of fixing it up to its former glory and making good money some day. But, what has actually happened is that we've done a lot of labor intensive and very expensive repairs just to make the home tolerable/livable,and we're going to hopefully make a little money on the sale. Not the best planning on the Willis family's part. And now, quite honestly, I don't have time to mess with it. It's kind of fun to upgrade a home, but if I'm honest with myself, it's not THAT fun, or rewarding. It's just a lot of sweat and in the end the the result is something like the bathroom floor looks different. Whoopie.

So, we're moving on up like George and Weezie.

Now that the house is on the market, there's a new reality: keeping the house straight and clean, all the time. Well, most of the time. Well, some of the time. Well, the times when we think maybe someone may want to come see the house, and we're in town, and we're at home.

It's actually really hard to keep a house straight and clean with a baby crawling all over the place, drooling and puking all over everything, and leaving little toys all over the place.

I swear, letting the kid watch Yo Gabba Gabba 30 times in a row never looked so appealing.

And the constant cleaning. In pollen season. Dusting every 3 days. Cleaning the floors over and over again. Not letting a spot of mildew form in the tub. And all so some people can come in and offer us well below market value on the home, pointing out all the shortcomings and things they wish the home had! Super.

So recently, we've backed off big time. We let toys lie around in the playroom. It's a playroom, people will understand. Heck, people with kids will probably like it.

We dust once or so a week. Yes, we have dust in our house. It turns out people and dust can actually co-habitate.

And lastly we let Berk drool and puke and snot on everything without getting out the carpet/upholstery cleaner the second it happens. Because if we did, we'd just have to walk around with that bottle strapped to our waists. 9 month old's leave a trail of "stuff" wherever they go, and that's something else they don't tell you when you sign up to have a baby, or sell your house.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Second Child

I'm surprised how often I get asked "When you gonna have another one?" I'm usually eating lunch, or having a beverage with friends, so I usually reply,

"As soon as I'm thirsty again, maybe a little earlier."

But I know what they're asking. They want to know when Courtney and I are going to have another Baby. More specifically, Courtney. She does the having, I do half of the making.

And I might as well go ahead and say on this blog, we're not having another one. We may adopt, but we won't be biologically making another baby. Courtney wants to birth another baby about like she wants to run a marathon, and I want to go through the whole pregnancy/infant/pay for childbirth experience again about the same amount as I want to watch reality TV.

Quick defense of our actions as if I care what people out there in Internet land think of our in-home decisions: we're both only children, like it, would be excited to adopt if we changed our minds, love that other people have multiple kids, and do not plan to spoil Berkley into thinking he's any more special than other kids. Thank you.

So, to solidify this plan, I have had a vasectomy. Now, I'll explain how THAT little jewel of a procedure went.

First, we had to decide to have a vasectomy. And by we, I mean I. Just like Courtney has the baby, I have the snip snip. She isn't even in the room. But we talked it over and decided a lifetime of birth control wasn't worth a 15 minute operation and 2 day recovery. So, I signed up over at Forsyth Urology for a vasectomy.

Of course, since Google exists, I did a little research. I found out there are a few different methods, but then I realized my doc was going to do whatever he did, so I was wasting my time. In my research I found that some men suffer from post-vasectomy pain syndrome. Uh, hold the phone.

What is this "syndrome" and how do I avoid it at all costs? Apparently some dudes who get the snip have aching boys for the rest of their lives. No thanks. I'm out.

But, I went to the meet and greet appointment anyhow. They let me pee in a cup, did a physical exam to be sure it was possible (I have no idea why it wouldn't be) and then we sat down to talk it over.

The doc, who was brand spanking new out of residency, wanted to be sure I knew what I was getting into. I did. He asked all sorts of lifestyle questions, like if I was willing to go without other children, if I understood how young I was, all those sorts of things. I asked about POST VASECTOMY PAIN SYNDROME.

He said is happens to 3-5 percent of guys, and lasts anywhere from a few weeks to forever. I could live with that. So, I scheduled the procedure.

I scheduled for a Friday morning at 8am. I took off a Monday and Tuesday after to be sure I had time to recover. They instructed me to bring a jock strap and gave me a vicodin to take on my way to the procedure. I showed, and damn sure took the pill.

I arrived Friday am and they showed me right back. The nurse had me take my pants off and put on a t-shirt, then waddle over to the OR table. I did so.

Then, she took beta dine or something similar and covered every inch of my nether-regions. Cold.

The doc showed up a few minutes later with another nurse, who was much younger and very pretty. He had said something earlier about how some dudes get scared and their boys go up inside so he has to work them back out before starting the procedure. I wondered if this was her job. It was not. Her job was to hold a cup and catch what he took out of me, and talk to me and tell me what was happening. Chit-chat.

He went to work and injected my boys with some numbing stuff, which felt like a slight pinch, and then went to work. I felt nothing but the pinch. Snip-snip.

Every couple of minutes, he would reach over and drop something into the nurse girl's cup. Plop.

In 10 minutes, we were all done and he had sewed me up. I felt nothing from the procedure. Bliss.

Then, he sent me home. I rode the 2 miles to the house and got in bed. The vicodin had kicked in and I was feeling good. I got in bed and took a nap.

When I woke up, I was not feeling so good. My boy had bled on the gauze inside the jock strap, and they were sore. So I sent Courtney to fill the prescription for more vicodin, quickly. More please.

She did so and I spent the next couple of days keeping the boys clean with a light sponge bath, and riding a med high. They did get sore from time to time, but these sweet ice packs that look like peas really helped. I would just rotate them.

Sleep was easy with the meds, and by Saturday I was feeling like I could walk around easily, sit up, etc. I could have worked if my job was sitting all day.

By Monday I was ready to go back to work. I stayed home and worked just to take it easy. Tuesday I went back to work normally, no meds by script, just a couple of ibuprofen every few hours.

In two weeks, no pain whatsoever. Back to exercising.

Now, 5 months later still no pain and loving it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Seriously, can I get a minute?

Revelation number 23 I've figured out lately (now that Berkley has more personality and can move) is that there is no more free time when Berkley is awake. I established that a post or two ago. He can do the crawling thing (a little faster than you'd think if you put him down for "just a second" to take a pee). And he can walk around if he's holding onto something.

He also doesn't have depth perception. I know this because he doesn't stop at the edge of things. He just keeps on crawling, right over the edge. For instance I put him on the bed, and he plays for .00016 seconds, and then crawls over the edge, landing on his head. I put him down on the kitchen floor, and he crawls down the little step onto the back porch to rummage through the recycling bin and cut himself on a Coke can.

And, to top it all off, it turns out only people are acceptable as jungle gyms. And if he does find something else to play with/on, I must be watching. If by some chance alignment of the stars, moon and my house Berkley decides to play with something other than my face and I decide to walk into the kitchen to get a Coke (so he'll have something to cut himself with later) he knows.

I can walk out like a Ninja, completely out of his field of view and not making a sound, but he knows. And he lets me know that this is a zero on the acceptable scale, and screams at me. To make life more super fun, teething, colds (which has only happened once thankfully) and anything odd makes this behavior more pronounced.

So a couple of days ago I needed a shower and Courtney was doing something Berkles could not "help" with, so we were in a bit of a pickle. Then, it dawned on me. This kid loves water. So, a few minutes later, Courtney came in to find me in the shower, washing my hair, with Berk down under my feet, crawling back and forth playing in the fake rainstorm created by the shower head.

In my mind, if he's going to be clingy, he's got to be cool with me deciding what "we" do.

Since then, all decorum has gone out the window. Where I used to have "my" time in the bathroom, now it's just a family affair no matter what's going on in there. At least one of us get's a minute.

Now I'm just trying to decide: Is it okay to lock him in the playroom with a recording of me talking? There's a glass door where I could keep an eye on him from the couch, and maybe he'll think I'm there long enough for me to pay a bill or two on the computer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vacationing with Baby

So, we just don't do it. I know other people do, and have a great time taking their 8 month old to Disney World, Six Flags, etc. I seem them all sweaty, pushing their giant stroller through Busch Gardens with their 128oz diet coke in the cup holder and I think "how are they going to get that thing on the Loch Ness Monster?" Not for us. Plus, Berkley thinks pine straw is hugely entertaining and is amazed by the cat next door. I don't think a schlep to Cedar Point is in the cards any time soon.

What we do shove him off to the grandparents. He loves it, they seem to love it, so in silly business speak: win-win. We have synergy.

Love you Berk, but you stay home while Mama and Daddy go lay on Caribbean Beaches. When you're older, get ready for summer camp.

Monday, April 19, 2010


For the record, Courtney and Berkley were doing something in Greensboro today (spending money) and I was able to have lunch with them. Berkley sat in the high chair the entire time and played with puffs.

This post is about another food topic, baby-proofing the house.

If you've read much of this blog or Courtney's Blog, you can see we're not much into catering to Berkley. We try to keep in mind that he's here to compliment our lives. I realize some people have a child in order to provide for that child, make the world better, save the rain forest, win the Boston Marathon, whatever. We just wanted one child to enjoy and complete our family. It's Courtney and I first, Berkley second. Yeah, yeah, call us crazy.

Anyhow, let's keep this ranking in mind as we remember that Berkley is growing up and is quite mobile these days. He can walk around with his hands on furniture, crawl quickly, open and close doors, etc.

So, the baby-proofing has began, and yet here is another thing people don't know when they're day-dreaming about wonderful days in the park with their unborn child. So, here is a list of things you have to do in order to get your home ready for a child. I also decided to include whether we did it, or decided to go the hard knock route with Berk and let him learn the tough way.

1) All breakable things have to be moved out of baby reach. (partial success)
2) Electrical outlets have to be plugged. (We did a few of these. Others have plugs at times, and we figure his fingers are already too big to get in there. Everything he owns is plastic.)
3) Anything that will dissolve (like paper) has to be kept out of baby reach. Drool dissolves paper at 4 times the rate of water. (total failure, but we're improving. Berkley enjoys playing with the paper towel rolls. Sort of like a dog bone...)
4) Floor lamps, and anything that can be pulled over, like a table cloth, have to be secured. (did it)
5) Electronics are super attractive for babies. (we said screw it, he loves the radio/tv area and we encourage the interaction. We're also hoping he'll learn to work the surround sound unit, it's pretty tough to figure out.)
6) Dust must be vanquished every few days. Babies are natural dusters since they're always crawling around, but the dust bunnies that collect in corners, under the bed, etc are rough on the windpipe. (our house is for sell, so it's CLEAN)
7) No poison. So yeah, you have to clean all of the poison out of the places it lives. Like under the kitchen sink, etc. (failure)
8) No outside poison. If you spray weed killer, you have to have a map telling where is is until it rains later. (failure, we're learning fast on this one though)
9) No splinters. (we gave up in 5 seconds)
10) Nothing small in entire house baby could choke on. Since baby puts everything in mouth. (partial success)

This list could go on, literally, forever. But the point is that although we definitely put Berkley second as often as possible, as often as possible is about 3% of the time. A baby is an enormous amount of commitment and work. Your life, in no way, shape or form, belongs to you (or your accouterments) any more, until the baby goes to sleep, which makes 8pm a wonderful, wonderful time of night.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Out to Eat

Berkley has grown quite a bit lately and life is a bit easier. We are still quite the slaves to his nap schedule, but he's down to almost 2 good naps a day, so this means we have more flexibility to go out for longer periods of time.

So, when we're out we often get hungry and want to eat. So, we go to a restaurant. This is more difficult than advertised.

You'd think we could just grab a high chair, plop him in it, give him a toy and enjoy a meal. Ah, no.

Here are the issues with that little slice of utopia.
1) He doesn't like to sit in the chair for more than approximately 4 seconds.
2) Whatever he is playing with he throws on the floor every 10 seconds.
3) He is loud sometimes, and at 8 months doesn't quite get "shhh."
4) Sometimes he's getting towards nap time, and so he wants to be held.
5) Sometimes his teeth hurt, so he wants to be held, and whine.
6) Although he feels great and doesn't mind the chair, and hasn't dropped the toy, the salt, pepper, our food, and anything else that is not okay for him to play with is infinitely more interesting and he wants it.

So, when spending hard-earned money to go out and eat, there is a 7% chance we enjoy a meal, and a 940% chance one of us tends to him while the other eats, then the other gets their food boxed up to take home so he can take the next nap in today's schedule.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Daddy Day Care

Courtney had to go down to Charlotte to spend time with her mother and grandmother last night, so I came home from work and kept Berkley. (See previous post: "No More Weekends...)

Well, she took off Friday evening, and here's what happened.

I played with Berk for about an hour in the floor. We basically chewed on everything we could get our hands on.

Then 6pm rolled around, so I put Berk in the Baby Bjorn and we fixed some pears and prunes. The prunes were from Gerber Organics, but I had to actually cut up a pear, steam it in the Baby food cooking machine, blend them up, and feed them to him. It took about 10 minutes to eat those items up, so then we practiced drinking from a straw for a while. Not like sucking water through it, but rather me dipping a straw in a cup, putting my finger on the other end, and then letting it go when I get it on Berk's lips. He's a big, big fan. Cold water must feel good to his gums.

So after drinking 4% of the water presented and drooling the rest down his shirt, I changed his clothes and fed him a bottle. That went way fast, so it was 6:30 and he was still pretty awake, not quite ready to sleep. So I just put him in his crib and turned on the mobile.

The mobile is pretty high up there. But he's persistent, and he pulled himself up by the sides of the crib, got propped up on his knees, and caught the mobile dudes going around in circles and gave them hell. He's been after them for about 3 months, so I couldn't say no. Accomplishment feels so good I encouraged it.

Eventually he got whiny, so I put him in the sleep sack, rocked him a minute, and he was out. Night, done.

He slept from 7pm until 7:15 am.

After he went to sleep I came to a realization: there wasn't anything to do. And I was sort of stuck at the house. I couldn't exactly call up a buddy and go out for a beer! So, I had a few Sammy Smith beers right here on my couch and watched a guy movie. Terminator. Awesome.

Today, Berk and I went to Home Depot (or Lowes, same thing) and bought some roofing materials. He's a big hit in those types of places. I guess it's because he's a happy kid and makes eye contact with people.

All in all, it's been a successful 24 hours of Daddy Day care. Nobody died, so I feel like we're winners.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The End of Weekends

I presume most people look forward to the weekend. If nothing else, I know this from Facebook.

"This has been the longest week. Bring on the weekend!"
"I wish it was Friday."
"Yaaaaaa for Friday."

And on and on. You can't go four Facebook status updates without seeing something about somebody's weekend.

But I've noticed that this isn't as prevalent among parents of young babies. And here's why. When you have a baby, there is no weekend.

While the week used to be filled with days of work, then the weekend was a time of projects, or rest, or socializing with friends, now the weekend is just another couple of days on the schedule.

If you're staying at home with a baby, obviously there's no difference in Tuesday and Saturday, except there's another person in the house. If you're working, the only difference is that you're at home, working for a baby rather than working at your M-F job.

Don't hear a complaint in this, it's part of the deal you must understand when you decide to have a baby. Your life is no longer yours. You have signed up to live and provide for another for several years, and their needs are going to come before yours even when you've had a crappy week, or got a babysitter and had a few drinks, or you're dead tired from sleeping just a few or no hours.

But know, if you have a baby, there are no more weekends, just a couple of days where you don't go to work but instead do baby things.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's Get Spontaneous

Last winter, when Courtney was slightly pregnant, I took a little trip with a couple of life long friends to see a Wake-NC State basketball game in Raleigh. They both have kids, and knew I was going to have my first. My buddy Tom says to me:
"You know, once you have that kid, there isn't going to be any more jump up and do... well anything."
Tom, is turns out, is a soothsayer.
And when you first have a baby, it's sort of a trick, because they sleep non-stop once they get good at sleeping. But then as the baby gets a little older, as in beyond two weeks, THE SCHEDULE begins to rule all.
And honestly, we're pretty "roll with it" parents. We're cool with Berkley sleeping wherever, or eating in the car, etc. But all in all, it's just nearly impossible to jump up and leave the house with a baby. It's a minimum of 30 minutes of planning and packing and diaper changing and feeding, and nap finishing and clothes changing and stroller folding and whatever else before you can actually walk out the door.
So be warned if you're considering having a kid. Unless you're going solo, don't get in a big hurry.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Babies Make You Fat

We're going to take a quick zoom forward to present day for me to mention that I have gained right at 25 pounds since Berkley was born.

And I'm not constipated or anything terrible like that, so I'm pretty sure it's fat. Courtney, on the other hand, has lost quite a bit of weight and size. Good on her.

I'd just like to mention that they don't sell men's pants at Babies R' Expensive, and this is about the only store new parents visit.

Seriously, 25 pounds. And I'm not big "what do I weigh?" kind of guy. I mean, whatever. As long as I closely resemble a Greek god while walking down the beaches of the Carribbean, I'm not concerned with my actual weight. But I went to put on a suit to head to work the other day, and it was one I literally bought a feew after Berk's birth. Pants no fit. And I mean NO FIT. Not even close. 2 inches from meeting in the button area. Wow.

So I found a scale, which isn't that easy because we don't have one at the house. But I searched, and found one near the office in the hospital, and yep, 202lbs. 202! I have never weighed over 200. 175 is about an average for the past 10 years.

Wow again. So I thought about life for the past 5 months. And it is three things. Mess around with baby is one thing. Sleep is one thing. Work is one thing. None of those mean keeping off extra weight, especially when you're eating lots of take out and food that is not prepared at home.

So, reality #90 that I was not prepared for when having a baby is that not only does Mom have to be careful about her diet to care for baby, and then lose the weight after, so does Dad. I'm on it. Headed out to the gym now.