Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

This past weekend, Eric and I were talking about how much "people food" Alli was eating. We both laughed right after we said it, because it's not like we've been feeding her dog food or anything... baby food is people food, just mushed up, pureed, etc. So, we're calling it "adult food" now to be a little more proper. She had her first hot dog this weekend (yes, cut long ways, then cut into small, tiny pieces for everyone worried about the choking hazards), had quite a bit of adult food at Zane's birthday party on Saturday (bites of jello, bites of a ham sandwich, mac and cheese, watermelon, etc.) So Monday, at daycare, Eric asked how we'd go about starting her on the adult foods while she's there. They gave him a menu, said they provide breakfast and lunch, and to just let them know what she can and can't have! That day, Eric said, "just throw whatever you've got at her, she loves it all!" And so they did. She had cut up grilled chicken, peas, and pears. Yesterday, she had cut up fish sticks, carrots and peaches. And goldfish crackers as her afternoon snack. I think we're getting off of baby foods completely... she still has some once in awhile, but can pretty much eat everything we do, with the exceptions of things babies aren't supposed to have until their older. I'm so excited for her, and us (no more buying baby food!), and the countdown is on for no more formula either... less than 2 months!! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Letting kids be kids - Part 2

Being the OG that I am, there's another hot topic out there right now that I have a big problem with. And that is all the scandals that have broken out among big Division I college football programs and their players receiving improper benefits. I'm not just upset because the school at the forefront of these scandals is Ohio State (heck, I didn't even go there), as there are plenty of other big schools in the mix. Miami (FL), University of North Carolina, USC (that's the University of Southern California, for all you South Carolina fans. FYI, everyone outside this state thinks of SoCal when you mention USC) - just to name a few. Ironic that OSU and Miami play each other this year. I'll take "Shame Bowl" for $100, Alex.

Each school has their own set of issues, but the overall "crime" is the same - players received some type of benefit strictly for being a football player at their respective school. This has been an NC-double-A rule since the beginning of time. When a college recruit signs their name on the dotted line stating they can basically get a college degree for free (as long as they don't receive anything extra on the side), they more or less become the property of their school. Each player is told from the beginning that they are not allowed to receive ANY type of benefit strictly for being a ball player. They aren't supposed to get discounts on food, clothing, cars, whatever... and they aren't allowed to sell anything given to them by the college for cash or discounts on services received. Everyone clear on the rules? K, good.

I have a couple issues with this whole situation. First, I think these colleges forget who they're dealing with. These are kids (usually fresh out of high school) who typically had nothing growing up. They have been thrust from the poor neighborhood they grew up in to the big stage of DI college football. They are blinded by the bright lights of stardom and are surrounded by people who want to reward them for being a star. When you were growing up, rich or poor, you wanted to be rewarded for your effort, right? So some booster slips you a handful of Benjamins after you have a good game, so what? Who's getting hurt here?

I'll tell you who: the kid who buses tables late at night just to pay for his/her next semester's $900 worth of textbooks. Or the kid who spends more time in the library than the football player does on the field. I bet those kids get better grades than the jocks who are on a full-ride scholarship - and where is their reward? Is there a booster standing outside their classroom handing them a free pass to the local gentleman's club just because they got an A on their last mid-term? I don't think so, Scooter.

Some argue that the degree is their reward. Ok, I'll buy that. But, they aren't getting their degree for free like the jock is. Let's be honest, most jocks are basically getting a 4 (or 5)-year audition for their next job (the NFL, in this case) for free. Go ask the busboy how much he's had to shell out to spruce up his resume. Ask him how much he's had to spend on nice clothes for his job interviews. Or what about the non-paid internship he completed last summer? I'll take "Broke as a Joke" for $200, Alex. Oh, it's a Daily Double? Good thing I can risk up to $1,000 since I don't have any money at the moment.

Bottom line: surrounding teenagers with the opportunity to do the wrong thing but telling them not to take the bait is a recipe for disaster.

Many people feel that since the colleges are making so much money off these star athletes that they should pay them. Well I got news for ya - they kinda already are. As much as we try not to admit it, higher education is a business - and a big one at that. It's simple economics - us normal folk pay money for a good and/or service (which in this case is getting educated on various matters of the world) and we receive a shiny piece of paper with the school's emblem on it stating that we paid for said goods and/or services. Kind of like a receipt, yeah?

Well, in this case - the busboy is paying in cash and the athlete is paying in sweat. Now don't get me wrong, I realize that the football players pay a hefty price too. Only their currency is their body - pulled muscles, torn ACLs, separated shoulders, broken fingers, etc. Trust an aging has-been, they'll miss their knees when they're older.

My point is that the payments aren't equal between the athletes and the non-athletes. The bookworm (or their parents) pay tens of thousands of dollars for them to go to college, study hard and bust their behind for years in order to obtain their receipt... I mean, degree. The football players don't pay a dime, skip class, barely stay eligible, and go to practice for a couple hours six days a week. Then, the overwhelming majority don't even finish their degree and leave for the big NFL payday. And the ones that don't go to the NFL stay in college and still earn their degree for free.

Everyone knows that athletes on full-ride scholarships to big-name schools don't get treated the same as the John Q. Student's of the university. What really bothers me is that shady boosters and rich alumni don't seem to care. These football players are getting enough help as it is... they don't need your wads of cash, free cars and scantily clad women dangled in front of them. It's not going to make them play harder, it's just going to confuse them when they get into the real world and realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Just let the kids be, you know, kids.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ten Month Stats

10 months? No way. It really doesn't seem possible that Alli has hit double digits. People told us how fast all of this would fly by, and we're really experiencing that ourselves first hand these days. She is such a little person, and continues to amaze us, impress us, and make us laugh every day.

She is cruising around pretty much everything these days... the couch, her toys that are tall enough to stand up and lean on, the end tables, the doors, chairs, us... everything. She has been brave enough to stand alone and take a few steps toward something she wants, but once she realizes she's not being supported by something, she'll fall to the ground and do her turbo crawl toward something else. She's also become quite the mimic... once you say or do something to her a few times, she'll try her best impersonation of doing it back. This morning, her loyal buddy Scarlett was laying right next to her (typical), and was panting... you know, the usual dog pant. Alli leaned over to her and started panting too. It was hilarious, she did it a few times, and when she sees us laughing, it only eggs her on. It was precious.

The Stats:
Weight: Not sure, no weigh in or doctor's appointments this month (thank goodness), if I had to guess I'd say right around 19-20 lbs
Length: Same as above, no for sure measurements, but she seems to be getting taller to me... especially because we see her standing all the time now
Diaper Size: 3's (we're down to our last 3 packages from our baby showers... still so grateful for all of our family and friends so we've really only had to purchase one pack of diapers in 10 months!)
Clothing Size: 9-12 month, depending on where it's from
Shoe Size: 3's... we did go to the store to get her fitted for some shoes, but she kept curling her toes so much that we just said forget it still, she's still not a huge fan of shoes
Food: Similac bottles, trying with the sippy cup (formula and water), lots of "adult" food and less and less baby food, Gerber crunchies are still her favorite snack
Naps: Well here's a kicker... she moved up to the new class at school and they only give them one nap from around noon to 2:30-3ish.. so yeah it's about 2-2 1/2 hrs... but at home she still does her normal 1-1 1/2 hrs in the morning and about an hour in the afternoon too... so her patterns are kind of crazy depending if she goes to school or not
Sleep: Bed by 6:45-7ish, up by 6ish
Teeth: SEVEN, working on #8, you can see it and almost feel it, just hasn't quite broken through yet
Sounds: Dada, mama, baba, ga, "daaww" (dog), "uhhhhh" (uh-oh), and lots of other squeals and shrieks we haven't quite figured out yet
Play: Pulling up, clapping (a lot), waving bye-bye, "cruising" along things, turbo crawling, mimicking, getting into everything... etc etc etc
New buddies: Her new classmates in her new room at school and new friends from the birthday party she went to today!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Letting kids be kids - Part 1

When it comes to sports, I'm a bit of an OG. No, not an Original Gangsta, but an Old Guy. In my 16 years of competitive/varsity sports, I was the epitome of what many people call "Old School". I didn't have the latest flashy shoes that were guaranteed to make you run faster, jump higher, etc. I didn't take supplements to grow muscles out my ears. I didn't get tattoos or piercings to intimidate the opponents; I still have zero to this day, for what it's worth. I didn't trash talk during the game to belittle my opponent. And I damn sure didn't celebrate excessively after I performed well.

Obviously, much of this isn't applicable for the really young kids - elementary/middle schoolers aren't really getting tatted up or getting hormone injections. Or are they? These days, prodigies seem to be younger, stronger and faster than their predecessors. Maybe it's just the older I get, the faster everyone else seems.

But my question is, how young is too young? When is the cut-off from being just a kid playing a pick-up game to being on television as the next quasi-amateur sports champion?

The lead on the 10 pm SportsCenter last night was the Little League World Series. OK, I guess. But then they interviewed a 12-year-old. Asked him how it “felt” to have the game-winning hit. He said it felt “great.” Well, of course he did. Then the “reporter” asked him if he’d like to elaborate. The kid said he couldn't. Well, of course he couldn't. HE’S A 12-YEAR-OLD KID.

Can we dispense with interrogating little kids, please?

I really hate this kind of reporting. As such, I don't understand why a high school football team from Cocoa Beach, FL, is playing a game in Cincinnati, OH. I abhor the whole AAU culture in kid basketball. And I really don't need to hear the words of a 12-year-old baseball player.

Can kids be kids, or do we need to corrupt them, too? Nothing says false self-importance quite like the Worldwide Leader interviewing you before you reach junior high. Unless it’s some recruiting website/magazine deciding you’re the 6th best 5th grade basketball player in America. Just stop, K?

Now, then...

This has been a growing trend for many years now. It ranges from the Stage Moms dressing their daughters up like prom queens and prancing them around on stage to win a big shiny piece of metal, all the way to the overbearing father who has junior in the back yard throwing footballs through a tire swing until the sun goes down... even though he's only nine years old.

My father played lots of sport growing up, and he was pretty good at just about all of them. And by pretty good, I mean really good. He not only still holds his high school's record for the Shot Put, but still holds multiple basketball records as well. He also received a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of Mississippi for basketball (back when white guys got basketball scholarships). In other words, the guy could ball. But did he have me out on the driveway shooting free-throws until my arms gave out?


He let me choose which sports I wanted to play - and which ones I no longer wanted to play - which included his beloved sport of basketball. I'm not saying that a little piece of his heart didn't break the day his youngest son told him he didn't want to play b-ball any longer, but he hasn't given me an ounce of grief about it to this day. Being that I was in 6th grade at the time, he was just letting a kid be a kid.

That's something I have kept in the back of my mind ever since then. When you learn that you're about to become a parent, even if it's not for the first time, you can't help but think about what your child will take interest in as they grow up. Will they like music or sports? Reading or arithmetic? "Catcher in the Rye" or The Immaculate Reception? I think too many parents are making those decisions for their child instead of with their child.

It's this type of parental pressure that has caused kids to become so driven and over-competitive that they take all the fun out of the game. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those wussy parents that thinks "everyone should get playing time at every level" and even the losing team gets a trophy. Some good, healthy competition prepares kids for real life where everything isn't just handed to them. But, they should still be having fun, right? That's why we play the game in the first place isn't it?

They're kids... just let them, you know, play.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When it rains, it pours

As Mommy B mentioned in her latest cartoon post - the whole fam damnily has had an unfortunate run of luck lately. I'm not going to go into all the details because no one wants to hear me whine. And besides, things could be a lot worse... we could live in Tripoli.

To boil it all down, Alli has been sick and is now teething, Mommy B and I have medical/insurance bills coming in the door like they're on a conveyor belt (and we're actually a really healthy family), and the weather has kind of blown this summer. We've been able to get Alli to the beach a couple times, but not nearly as many as I was hoping - it's just been too damn hot. I'm talking 110-120 degree heat index hot. I don't care where you are, that's too freakin' hot... especially for an infant who can't exactly dive under water when she gets too warm. And now that things are finally cooling down a bit (low 90's), we have Hurricane Irene barreling towards the eastern seaboard.

I've always noticed that things come in waves - things will be really calm for a while, then all of a sudden the fit hits the shan and you have to deal with a whole bunch of things at once. When it rains, it pours - especially this weekend when the hurricane rumbles past the South Carolina coast. I can't wait to see how many people freak out and start heading for the hills. Should be interesting trying to evacuate 300,000+ people with only 2 lanes of highway heading out of town that actually lead you away from the coast. Oh there are other highways out of town, but none of them will get you out of harm's way.

The silver lining to all this is that it will all be over soon. Alli's teeth are almost in, which should get rid of the coughing at night. We have plenty of savings to cover the bills (that still doesn't make me hate them any less). The storm will pass - both literally and figuratively. Hopefully that means that there are calmer waters ahead so we can get back to normal. But then again, when you have a bouncing baby girl around the house, nothing is really "normal" anymore. We have a crazy life, but it's better than having a boring one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

This makes me laugh to no end. Eric & I were just talking about the way our luck has been lately, we'll probably get a notice from our insurance company saying, "Your policy only covers hurricanes that start with the letter A through H", not "I" for Irene. I've been watching this link and it looks very promising for us that Irene will keep moving to the east and stay away from us.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It all makes sense now

Ever since Alli's hospital visit for her "Croup" illness, Mommy B and I have noticed that she hasn't been 100% her normal self. She's had a lingering cough (which is typical for Croup) - but it just never seemed to go away. The doctors told us that it could last for a couple weeks, but that was almost a month ago now. The cough has slowly gotten better, and only seems to happen at night. This, of course, leads to her waking herself up slightly and interrupting her normal sleeping time. Now she knows how we feel...

All jokes aside, it concerned Mommy B and I that she would still cough at night. Even if it didn't wake her up all the way, it still disturbed her sleeping. And it woke us up, no matter what. We were on the verge of taking her back to the doctor and asking WTF? Sunday was a real picnic - she was fussy all day, wouldn't take her afternoon nap, and had a runny nose basically all weekend. We tried putting her down for her afternoon nap, but she wasn't having it. Her nose kept running, and she tried to wipe it so much that she actually cut the side of her nostril with her fingernail and it started bleeding. Needless to say, Mommy B freaked out when she went to go check on Alli and saw blood coming from her nose.

We picked her up and she was hot to the touch. We took her temperature and she was running a low-grade fever. Nothing major, but she seemed to just be all-around miserable. We stripped her down to her diaper and tried everything we could to cool her down. After some Tylenol, a cool rag on her back, a few minutes of clinging to Mommy and watching Dad-E do yard work, she had calmed down and was feeling better.

We decided to call it an early night for the poor kiddo, since she had been awake since 10am and it was after 5pm at that point. We gave her a cooler-than-normal bath and she seemed to be in much better spirits, although tired still. We took her out to dry her off, and that's when it all made perfect sense. Mommy B was helping Alli brush her six teeth, and was checking things out in her mouth - and that's when she saw them...

BAM! Two more bottom teeth are about to pop through! In an instant, everything was explained and it all became perfectly clear. It explained the fussiness and irritability lately, as well as the runny nose and low-grade fever. But more importantly, it explained why her cough appeared to never go away. It wasn't that it never went away, it was that she started teething right after her Croup - and the excess saliva had been causing her to cough at night!

It's been a couple months since she's had any teeth come in, and we must've forgotten what she was like when teeth are about to pop through. In any case, upon further inspection, it appears that her next two bottom teeth on both sides are about to bust through. I estimated that we'll probably be able to feel them by Wednesday or Thursday. We'll have to see if my guess is right.

It was such a relief to Mommy B and I on so many levels. We finally had an explanation for all the crap... I mean, trouble we've been going through for the past couple of weeks. And, hopefully it means that things should be getting better and Alli should be back to normal fairly soon. I can't believe she's going to have 8 teeth in by the time she's 10 months old... that's got to be some kind of record or something.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rain check!

Another great deal! In the newspaper today, Target's flyer had this car seat on sale, $129, regularly $179! Eric & I have been looking at it for awhile now as the car seat to go in his car... she'll have to weigh 20 lbs before she can ride in it, but, she's almost there at 18 lbs at her 9 month visit! So, we went to buy it today since it's 50 bucks off... and of course, they're sold out. At every Target in the area! So, they offered us a rain check to use when they got more back in stock to be able to get the discounted price! I thought it was so kind they went the extra mile to do that, some people would just say they're sold out and send you out the door. So now, we've just got to keep on the lookout when we go to Target to see when it's back in stock... and our rain check expires right before her first birthday, so if we don't find it by then, we'll just keep looking for something else. But still, thanks Target for going that extra mile, it's appreciated for cheap people like Eric & I. =)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

up, up, UP!

Now that Alli has mastered the art of pulling herself up on anything that she can grab (and some things she can't grab that well), she just wants "up". She hasn't started saying "up!" yet (I know it's coming), but she's to the point now where she realizes how much nicer it is up off the floor. Even though she's just over two feet tall, life is much better up there than it is when you're six inches off the floor crawling everywhere. It's really not so much that she wants to be picked up and held, but more so that she just wants to be up and moving around.

When she's at home with Mommy B on her days off, that's all she does... just crawls to the nearest piece of furniture, large toy or human leg and immediately uses it to stand herself up. Of course, the only problem is that she's stuck there once she stands up... unless she's standing against the front of the couch or bathtub - in which case she shuffles herself along the side like a tightrope walker. If she wants to get somewhere, she has to lower herself back down and crawl to her destination.

When she first started pulling herself up on things, it was a two-handed, hanging-on-for-dear-life type deal. She would stand there looking around, but never let go of whatever it was that was holding her steady. Now, she resorts to the one-handed, holding-my-other-hand-out-so-you-can-tag-me-like-we're-in-a-WWF-wrestling-match pose. You know, kind of like you did as a kid playing tag but didn't want to let go of "base". This is a good thing because it means she's gaining more balance and is more steady on her feet.

Yesterday, I actually caught her free-standing for about three or four seconds while she was trying to eat her plastic phone. She did great for a few seconds, but then she realized that she wasn't holding onto anything to keep her steady and it was down to the butt again. I know that in time those few seconds will become a few minutes - and it'll be game over after that. I can already tell that she's a curious little one and that once she starts walking on her own, I'm going to be in big trouble.

Either way, she just wants to be up and moving all the time now. She has reached that awkward phase where she wants to be able to walk, but hasn't put it all together yet. She went through the same phase before she started crawling, and now it's happening again. I hope for her sake that she ends up with her grandparents' genes and is tall, because I think she likes how things look from up there.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hair patterns

To say that Alli's hair has changed a lot throughout her nine months would be an understatement. We were in shock when the labor and delivery nurse said that our baby had a lot of hair... both Eric & I were both pretty bald babies, so we weren't expecting much. What we got, was this lil girl with a head full of dark brown hair...

Alli coming home from the hospital, 1 day old
The nurse had said it would probably all "fall out" and change color... we were skeptical, but as the months went on, we noticed our little girl going through some stages of funky balding patterns...

Alli 3 months

Alli 3 months

Alli 5 months

At one point, she looked just about bald... and we could tell there was other hair growing in, and it was super tow-head blond...

Alli 7 months
And now, these last 2 months, the blond has really started coming in...

Alli 8 months

Alli 9 months
We're pretty anxious to see what she'll look like with more hair as it continues to come in...

Expanding Vocabulary

I haven't seen Alli since Sunday. No, I haven't been out of town on vacation, I've just been at work. When I leave in the morning, she's not quite awake yet (although usually me opening the garage door wakes her up), and when I get back from work at 8pm, she's already asleep. I feel like she's a different little person since the last time I've seen her! Every time I'm away from her for a few days, I swear she changes so much. Her usual words at this point are mainly "dada", "mama" and "baba (babababa)" - she likes this one a lot and is soo cute at saying it, although we still aren't sure what she's referring to. Lately, she's also been doing "daaaaw" - which is hard to explain, it's a different sound than dada, and it sounds like the beginning of "doggie", which we say quite a bit referring to Scarlett of course. She's also been saying "uhhhhhhh", right after we say "uh oh".. it's so adorable. Today, she's been saying all those and more, and really saying things at appropriate times. She kept dropping her spoon and saying "uhhhhhh" at breakfast and lunch today, and whenever Scarlett walks by, "daaaw!" She was waving to Scarlett outside and she was waving and saying "babababa" (I'm still not convinced this her saying bye bye, but I'll take it!) I think she's really starting to put things together. It's so amazing to see her grow and learn things every day.

Waving to dada & daaaaw =)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Starting over... kind of

Yesterday was Alli's first day in her new classroom at daycare. They started their new "school year" yesterday and Alli has moved up to the next developmental level classroom. I was admittedly nervous about this transition, simply because we've spent the last 6 months in her first (and only) classroom. Her teachers have gotten to know her very well - probably almost as well as we do. They know what she likes to play with, when she takes her naps, when and what she likes to eat (which is just about any time and anything), how well she crawls, how well she pulls up on things, and all the other quirks that makes Alli, well, Alli.

And as of yesterday, all that changed... she is in a completely new classroom with completely new teachers. I was so nervous that we were going to be back to square one - that she wasn't going to get her naps in (which makes for a not-very-fun-Alli in the evening), that she wasn't going to eat like she normally does, that the bigger kids were going to step on her hands because some of them can walk, and every other possible negative scenario I could think of. Call it being a parent. I wasn't as choked up as I thought I was going to be when I dropped her off, but couldn't help being anxious for the day to go by so I could see how things went.

But, just like her very first day at daycare, all my fears were put to rest by the time I picked her up. I walked in and she was all smiles, just like normal. She even crawled over to me and started pulling on my shorts. I talked to her teacher and she said that she knew Alli very well and was familiar with her schedule already. She ate at the same times she normally does, and took a nice long nap in the middle of the day. While that is a bit unusual, I was glad to see that she had slept so well on her first day in a new place. Also, a handful of kids that used to be in Alli's old class are already in her new one, and a handful of kids moved up with her. So she's pretty much hanging out with the same group of kids she's been with for the past 6 months.

It was just another thing to add to my list of compliments for Alli's daycare. The teachers switch up classes every once in a while so they can learn about the kids that will be coming to their classroom soon. They also brought Alli over to her new room a few times before yesterday so she could get familiar with her new surroundings. Long story short, this was as smooth a transition as I could have asked for.

Like Mommy B, now that the nerves are gone I'm actually very excited for her to be in this new classroom. She has new toys to play with and new activities to participate in. They also have a big foam mat that the kids can climb on without having to worry about them falling and hitting the hard floor. I was really excited about that... and I have a feeling Alli is too. Plus, some of the older kids are walking - and I'm sure she'll be watching them and taking notes the whole time... just like she did before she started crawling. It'll just be a matter of time before she puts it all together and starts walking around to keep up with them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

This makes me smile :) Probably because I'm not the one that has to drop Alli off in the morning. These kids are pretending to be sad while their parents can still see them so they get "guilt points" for later, yet they'll be having fun with each other and their daycare teacher as soon as the parents are all out of sight. Alli is moving up to the next age group/developmental level classroom tomorrow, and we're so proud and yet sad too! We have grown to love her teachers, we know that they know Alli's ins and outs, what she likes and doesn't like, etc... now she'll have new teachers and new kids to play with. Hopefully it all goes well, and she doesn't come home with bite marks from someone else, not self-inflicted this time.

Birthday Party Countdown

As many of you know, we've already set a date for Alli's 1st birthday bash. It's going to be October 29th, the Saturday after her birthday. The week before her birthday, we'll be driving down to Duck Key, FL to go to a friend's wedding, so we'll be quite busy in the weeks prior to her big day. Being the planner that I am, I've already been looking into what type of theme, cake, decorations, etc. we should do for her. I know she probably won't remember any of this, but you only turn one once... and I want it to be special. So, any good ideas or thoughts? We have friends that suggested doing a dress-up theme, and letting the other kids that are invited wear their Halloween costumes to the party since it's so close to Halloween, but I'm not sold on that. I remember how much I hated (and still hate) if people combined Christmas and my birthday just because they were a few days apart. I don't want that to be the case for Alli as well, I want them to be two distinct celebrations. I'm sure that maybe one day we'll have a Halloween themed party, but I want that to be only if she chooses she wants it that way. I've got some ideas on decorations, cake, etc... but still can't decide on a theme. So, on that note, I'll just leave you with a picture of her from last Halloween... see look, I'm already combining her birthday with Halloween in the same blog post. Parenting fail. :(

Who's Who?

Lately, I've been noticing that Alli is actually associating words with things/people/actions rather than just babbling aimlessly. She said "dada" first (of course!) about 3 months ago now, and it's still always been her favorite to babble on and on with. A few days ago, Dad-E came downstairs after a shower, and Alli was playing by the couch. When he caught her eye, her eyes lit up, she smiled a huge tooth-filled grin, and yelled, "dada!" We both looked at each other and were just so impressed! Later on that day, I was in the kitchen on the computer and she crawled straight for me, saying "mama, mama!" Her other favorite is "baba", and we're not sure what she thinks that is, if it's actually her bottle, or Scarlett, or what. She seems to call everything else "baba" for now. We also get some "gaga's" in there, and even a "uhhhh" when she drops something, which I think is her attempt at saying "uh-oh" like we do. It's just so cute to see her figuring things out. The waving has really melted our hearts lately too, it's such a cute whole arm wave, but she's really good at it and "hi" and "bye" are accompanied by a big wave of the arm. Who is this tiny human that's growing and learning so fast, and where did our little blob of a baby go??

Friday, August 12, 2011


I believe I've mentioned before about how now that Alli is becoming more mobile by the day, she's going to be getting more bumps, bruises and scrapes. Sometimes it just can't be prevented and is all part of growing up. After all, if we never let them feel a little pain, they'll never learn that life is full of it.

Anyway, anytime a kid gets hurt/injured at daycare, the teachers are required to write up an "incident report" that details exactly what happened, what care/first aid was given, yadda yadda yadda. Alli has only had one of these reports written up in her 6+ months at daycare, and it was just for a bump on the head when she pulled a large toy over on herself. That's my lil weight-lifter... The good part about that situation was that she wasn't assaulted by another infant, otherwise I'd have to whup some baby behinds up in that piece. I can live with self-sustained injuries because that means she was just being curious and maybe a little clumsy (as all infants are) - but if it was another kid just being an ass, we were gonna have words.

Well when I picked Alli up on Wednesday, they had another incident report for me to sign. This time, it was for the bite mark she had on her left bicep. Her teachers explained that they didn't see who bit her, and part of the reason why was because Alli never cried about it. They just happen to look over and there were teeth marks on her arm. They took care of it as best they could, but it didn't seem to bother Alli at all.

Normally when you see teeth marks, you naturally assume that someone else put them there. I was all ready to roll up my sleeves and start tossing babies around, but no one fessed up to the crime. And since Alli can't talk yet, she isn't able to tell me who tried to take a chunk out of her skin. Obviously I'm not going to roundhouse kick an infant for biting my child, so there really wasn't anything I could do about it anyway. But needless to say, I was still a little upset about the whole situation.

I brought Alli home and we played together for the rest of the afternoon while Mommy B was still at work. I happened to notice something interesting about Alli's behavior that afternoon though - she was biting everything she touched. Her toys, the dog's toys, my fingers, the strings on my shorts, everything. I also began to notice the position of the teeth marks on her skin. Then, the light bulb went off.

I think Alli had bitten herself. It made perfect sense... her teachers hadn't seen anyone do it to her, she never cried AND there aren't that many other kids in her class that have that many teeth. I could almost count the teeth on her skin, and it looked very similar to the pearly whites she's sportin' these days. The more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself that Alli's injury was self-inflicted. Maybe I was just trying to convince myself of that so I could sleep better that night. Either way, I'm glad that it didn't seem to bother her at all and the marks are pretty much gone now. Mommy B has been working so much the last few days that she didn't even get to see them! Perhaps that's a good thing...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Daycare Crud at 27?

Now that Alli is nine months old, I can really tell who in our house has grown up in a daycare setting and who hasn't. Want to know why? It's not because of developmental signs in Mommy B and I or how easily we make friends - it's because of the sicknesses! Allow me to explain...

Those of you out there who have put your child(ren) through daycare know all about Daycare Crud. Let's be honest, putting a dozen infants/toddlers together in a room and turning them loose isn't exactly the most sanitary environment in the world. Basically, it's a petri dish of germs. And since kids are born with next to no immune system, they catch anything and everything that's out there. The only good side to this is that they get sick and get better relatively quickly (compared to older folks). Usually it's minor colds and coughs, maybe a low-grade fever here and there - but typically nothing major.

While this process can be draining on us parents - with constantly waking us up at night and breaking out the Children's Tylenol - it's a part of growing up that helps strengthen their little immune systems so they won't get sick later on in life when it's harder for the body to fight off the infection. Well guess what? Dad-E didn't grow up going to daycare - which means I never had the opportunity to build up an immune system to battle the Daycare Crud. Which, in turn, means that I catch everything that Alli brings home with her.

Alli has only been sick a couple times since she was born, so I guess we've been lucky in that respect. However, guess who has gotten sick each week after Alli did? This guy. That's right, I'm now fighting sinus congestion and a sore throat (which has been my M.O. since I was born) a week after Alli was. I don't have the cough that she did, but that could be coming soon. Adults don't get Croup, but this could just be the way my body is fighting it off.

So here I am, 27 years old and I'm having to fight off the same colds that Alli is because I never spent a minute at daycare when I was young. And guess who is galavantin' around all healthy? You know who - Mommy B. She not only spent her childhood at daycare, but also has years of pediatric nursing under her belt. A kid could sneeze into her open mouth and she wouldn't get sick. Makes me sick-er just thinking about it. I have to say that it stinks getting sick right after Alli does, but at least I'll be ready for when the next kid starts bringing home the Daycare Crud.

Cartoon of the Week

I would totally work as a janitor right now if that meant I was actually getting to work. When I took this new Meduflex position about 4 months ago, I knew going into it that I would possibly be cancelled once in awhile when the hospital census was low, and there was not a need for extra nurses. Lately however, it has been the norm for me to get cancelled. I took the initiative to go to my manager and ask to get some orientation time on the adult side of the hospital so that I would have more opportunities to work. Hopefully this means within the next month or so, I'll be able to pick up shifts in the adult world as well as pediatrics, and get my hours in each week. There may be a "nursing shortage" throughout the country, but with budget cuts in hospitals and medical spending cuts all over the place, most hospitals and units are working with a shortage of nursing staff, although there may be nurses available (like me) to work. They just aren't willing to spend the money to pay us to help out. Crazy.

Sippy Cup Wars

As many of you may or may not know, Alli is moving up to the next age group of classrooms at daycare next Monday. (We're so proud!) You can just tell that the group she's with now is a little below her development level, and she's crawling all over them and pulling up on everything. It's time for her to be with the older kids (I'm talking 9-12 month olds), and play with some kids who are doing the same things she's doing. Her one new buddy at school, Scarlett (ironic, eh?), is only one day younger than her, and to see them beside each other is so adorable. They are right on track together developmentally, they do the same things, sound the same, etc... and she's also moving to the new classroom on Monday too, so we're happy for that.

One big thing her teachers from this classroom told us to work on with her is using a sippy cup, They like for them to be using sippy cups in the new "big kids classroom", so we've been trying. Needless to say, it has not been easy. (Has Alli really ever been easy?? She's been quite a handful since day one... ha!) We have the soft rubbery spout ones, the hard spout ones, the ones with handles, ones without, the straw type ones... nothing really seems to work. She does okay when it's just water she's drinking out of it, but when it comes to her milk time, she wants her bottle! I do remember how long it took and how frustrating it was for her to ever take a bottle to begin with... and now, she won't let it go! She drinks out of our regular cups, our water bottles, our Gatorade bottles, etc... but she's just not feeling the sippy cup thing. They try with her at daycare too, and say she's getting a little better each day, but it's been a battle. Any advise in this department from anyone? Maybe she can skip sippy cups and go right to regular cups?

Monday, August 8, 2011

What's your 40 time?

Being a former football player, it makes me laugh when I hear how much weight analysts and coaches put on a guy's 40-yard dash time. They believe that it is a good measuring stick for how "fast" a player is and how quick he'll be on the field. Well, other than when wide receivers run a fly route, how often does a football player ever actually run 40 yards in a straight line? Pretty much never.

Even though I've run track ever since I could walk, my 40 time was never that impressive. I would always tell people, "I'm not quick, I'm fast." Meaning that my first few steps weren't my best, but once I got going, you had better watch out. Once I became a cornerback in college, I dramatically improved my lateral speed - which comes in handy when you have to change directions all the time.

Well, this weekend I got to unofficially test my 40 speed for the first time since I began my retirement. Only this test was a much different situation than cleats and a stopwatch. Allow me to paint the picture for you...

It's probably 40 steps from the couch in our living room to Alli's crib. That includes walking across the living room and foyer, up the stairs to the second floor (which has two landings and takes three turns just to get into the hallway), down part of the hall, a 180-degree turn into her bedroom and a few steps across her room to her crib.

It was Sunday afternoon and Mommy B and I had just put Alli down for her afternoon nap and were lounging on the couch. After a few minutes of Alli crying (which is normal these days), it got quiet - which Mommy B and I took as a good sign that she was probably asleep or very close to it. Then, we both heard a loud noise come from upstairs. It sounded like something had hit the ground really hard.

Mommy B and I looked at each other for a split second and feared the worst - that she had fallen out of the crib. I was up off the couch and to the stairs faster than a jack rabbit - Mommy B close behind me. As I raced up the stairs, I couldn't help get more worried that I didn't hear Alli screaming. This could only mean that she had fallen out of the crib and had knocked herself out, right? Using the wall and railing to guide myself at breakneck speeds, I bounded up the stairs and flew through her bedroom door like it wasn't even there.

And that's when I found Alli...

Standing up, leaning on the side of the crib railing with a big smile on her face - perfectly safe and sound. My heart was racing, but I was finally able to take a breath once I saw that my baby girl was unharmed. Mommy B came in right behind me, and took a deep breath once she saw that Alli was okay. I picked Alli up, giggles and all, and held her close. I was so relieved that she hadn't fallen out of the crib.

I looked at the crib again and realized that since we just lowered it a couple weeks ago, there was no way she could have gotten out. So, I looked around the room to see what could have caused the loud noise we heard just moments before. Nothing seemed out of place in her room, which we found odd. I walked down the hall into the other bedrooms - nothing. Mommy B walked into our bathroom and found that her shampoo bottle had fallen off it's shelf and hit the floor of the shower.

We're still not sure what could have caused something like that to happen, other than ghosts, perhaps. Regardless, we were just happy that our little girl was safe. We put her back in her crib and went back downstairs. We both sat on the couch for a few minutes to let our hearts stop racing.

Mommy B commented that she's never seen me move that fast before. I said "It's a little different when it's your kid you're running after as opposed to a stranger with a football." I guess I still have some moves even in my retirement years. I'm not sure what my real 40 time might be these days, but now I know how fast I can make it from the couch to the crib - no time flat.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Feel better soon

Dear Alli,

I am so sorry that you still have an annoying cough that continues to wake you up at night. (Which wakes mommy and daddy up too.) The cough wakes you up throughout the night, which means you aren't well rested, and you're miserable for most of the day. (Which means mommy and daddy are miserable too.) You're cough and sickness has been passed on to Dad-E now too... (Which means mommy has two babies at home, everyone knows how guys are when they're sick!) =) But honestly, we just want you to feel better so you can be happy, smiley Ru again. You are getting better, but slowly. Please hurry up.

We love you and hope you feel better soon!
B & E (& Scarlett too!! She definitely misses her sleep!)

Scarlett does not want these days back... she's starting to think we have a newborn again!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

How much crib would an Alli Ru chew if an Alli Ru could chew crib?
She'd chew enough crib to leave teeth marks and ruin it for her future lil sib.

She'd chew enough that her parents need to buy protectors for the rails of the crib,
She'd chew enough that she may need a wood absorbing bib.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

Well, no boring summer here for our family! Like Dad-E mentioned, Alli and I had our first (and I pray, last!) ride in an ambulance this past weekend, which is definitely something I'd never wish for anyone to experience, especially with their child. Now granted, Alli's condition was not as severe as many that require an ambulance, but the physicians were concerned. I've only been a patient a handful of times in my life, but I can tell you, it's a real eye opener to see everything from the patient perspective rather than the nurse's. I was so relieved when we didn't have to get admitted (I love all the nurses on the infant care unit, they are all wonderful! But not where I wanted to spend my Saturday night, especially with friends in town!), and just knowing Alli was doing better than when we'd brought her in. She is hopefully getting through the worst of it, and seems to be getting a little better each day. Nights are the worst, but that's to be expected. We're back to those sleepless nights we thought were long gone... silly us!

P.S. Thank God for our friends Rob and Gena (& Anneliese & Wallace!) for hanging out at our house, feeding and watching Scarlett for us, supporting us through a scary time, and just understanding that our lives aren't like they used to be, but still love us regardless. Hopefully the next visit will be more fun!

We raise them to leave

Soon after I started working at Blackbaud, I found myself surfing the web during lunch time to distract myself from the mind-numbing phone calls I had just taken for the last 3+ hours. I consistently found myself on the Cincinnati Enquirer's web site, reading up on the local news from my former home town. Being the football fan I am, I stumbled across the blog of one of Cincinnati's sports columnists. I've posted about him before, but today he posted about how his son is moving out because he's beginning his graduate school career in New York City.

He actually quoted the Kenny Chesney song "There Goes my Life", which I think is fitting for that type of situation. We raise them to leave. We start by teaching them... and they end up teaching us. We tell them to be good, be kind to others, and do unto others as you would want others to do unto you. Oh yeah, and eat your vegetables. I know that in a blink of an eye, I'll be hugging my little baby girl before she embarks on whatever life has in store for her. Or, perhaps, whatever she has in store for life.

This past weekend Alli got sick - she had a raspy cough and she began wheezing every time she took a breath. We took her to the MUSC after hours facility in North Charleston, and they believed she had contracted Croup. It's a breathing difficulty accompanied by a "barking" cough... so it seemed to match the doctor's diagnosis. They gave her an oral steroid to help relieve some of the inflammation in her airway, but informed us that we would have to be admitted to the ER downtown (Mommy B's work) in order to get the breathing treatment they recommended for Alli. OK, no big deal - I know where my wife works, right? Wrong.

Because it was a respiratory illness, Alli had to be taken by ambulance to the ER. In the event something happened to her on the way, the paramedics could give her the appropriate treatment. Being that we had just taken Alli to the beach earlier that day, Johnny Thinwallet over here just saw dollar signs flashing in his eyes the moment the doctor mentioned an ambulance ride. Even with insurance, I couldn't fathom how much this trip was going to cost. But in the end, I knew we had to do what was best for Alli.

So in came a stretcher and two paramedics, and out went Mommy B and Alli, riding on her lap. They told me to follow them to the ER, but if they flipped on the lights and took off, not to try and keep up. I said to myself, "The hell I won't! You guys take off, and The White Flash in the Honda Pilot is right behind you. I know where I'm going, I'll beat you there if I have to." Nothing of that nature occurred, but that was a drive I hope to NEVER experience ever again. Even though it wasn't a true emergency - I couldn't help but think about my wife and baby girl in the ambulance in front of me... just hoping with everything I had in me that things would turn out all right.

Luckily they did, and Alli showed enough improvement after her breathing treatment that they discharged us after a couple of hours. Alli is still getting better, slowly but surely. She still coughs a little, but nothing like the "barking" we heard before. Things should be clearing up all the way by this weekend.

After reading the columnist's post this morning, I couldn't help but think back on the whole experience. He recalled the big moments in his son's life that he had a direct involvement in - teaching him how to throw a baseball and ride a bike and taking his picture before Prom. It made me realize that these "big" moments are fast approaching for Alli, and that I have to make the most of them. Of course there will be bumps along the road to adulthood (like this past weekend's trip to the ER), but they just make the journey that much more memorable.

We raise them to leave. Equal parts pain and duty and pride, and a sadness that breaks you in two. While Alli still has a few years until she leaves Mommy B and I as every child eventually does - I want to make sure that when she looks back on the moments that shaped her life, she smiles with the same happiness I'll have knowing I helped create them.