Monday, January 28, 2013

Dad: Shark Baby

If my daughter ever learns her first curse word, it’ll be when I’m checking her mouth for new teeth. The only way to do it is to stick your index finger in there and feel around to see what new sharp pointy things have popped up.
It wasn’t really an issue when she was younger, but now that she has seven teeth and is working on an eighth, she’s gotten a bit…bitey. My wife has deemed this a "dad job" because, as she reminds me any time I try to argue that it's her turn to do something, she did push all 8 pounds, 12 ounces of Susan through her birth canal. 

Since Susan was born, I've worked hard to cut down on my cursing. I still do on occasion, mostly at the Panthers every Sunday, but no matter how hard I try to hold it in in front of my daughter, there’s just something about a 10-month-old clamping down on your cuticle with every bit of force her tiny jaws can muster that brings out the %$&@*#!$%@ in even the most clean-mouthed of parents.

Not even the Orbit lady can hold it in.

I don’t even want to go in there anymore because she’s apparently developed a taste for human skin. She opens her mouth easy enough, as if to say, “Sorry about that earlier. I won’t bite you this time. Promise,” and the next thing I know, I’ve got a set of jagged central incisors clamped onto the tip of my index finger and a salivating infant who is so happy that her eyes have rolled into the back of her head. She’s like that baby in the movie about the sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves except with parents who have more than one facial expression and don’t look like they’re going to poop themselves anytime somebody asks them a question.

I'm acting SO awesome right now you guys.

The safest way to treat teething in non-vampire children is to give the baby something to chew on. Apparently the pressure of biting down relieves some pain, which is one of the reasons why teething babies are always chewing on something or someone. What we’ve found helpful are cold teething rings. What Susan has found helpful are my fingers and other babies' ears (there was an incident at daycare). And since her teeth haven't yet become dulled by years of chewing on Jolly Ranchers and Gobstoppers, they can do a lot of damage.

“If you can’t keep your shark baby from eating you, then why do you have to check for new teeth so bad?” you may ask, because "you," whoever you are, obviously don't have children. Mary Jane and I need to know when the tooth has popped because it signals an end to what amounts to weeks of a fussy baby who doesn’t sleep well and is otherwise inconsolable because she’s in so much mouth pain. And we just HAVE to know when it's over. If we were in a Shakespearean play, it would be our tragic flaw and we'd both be giving dramatic death monologues in Act V, Scene ii, or next Wednesday night at around 7:30. (Yes, that was literary humor. I have to do something to offset the poop jokes.)

For the unitiated, just know that the teething process is slow and irritating since the tooth has to dig all the way through the gumline like a dull knife through a Golden Corral steak and when it's almost done, your baby is left with a piece of sharp bone sticking out of her mouth. Do you know what they call it when that happens in any other part of the body? A compound fracture.

Susan has been teething like a shark since she was five months old. While some babies near her age have one or two teeth, or in the case of some lucky parents none at all, Susan just cut number 7 (verified by my now-gashed index finger), and we’re pretty sure that number 8 is days away. That will give her all 4 central incisors (2 top and 2 bottom) and all 4 lateral incisors, or one more than Stu had in The Hangover. 

But until number 8 comes in, we have to keep checking and getting bit. After that, we get the joy of helping her get through molars and the eye teeth, which other parents and the internet describe as "the worst thing ever in the history of the world." But perhaps they're exaggerating a bit. All I know at this point is that Susan has 7 very sharp teeth, the biting strength of a small dinosaur and that she is, in fact, a carnivore. So enjoy this post because it may be the last I ever type with 10 fingers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dad: The Stuck and the Furious

Our 10-month-old Susan is obsessed. For Christmas, Santa brought her a toy that – at the time – we thought would promote all sorts of physical and intellectual development. Turns out that it does, but the tradeoff has us asking ourselves if this wonderful toy could be put to better use collecting dust somewhere in our attic.

The toy in question is known as the Little People Music Parade Ride-On, but in our house it’s simply known as “That Damn Truck.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful toy because our daughter loves it and it allows her to “walk” around the house “unassisted.” But I can’t emphasize the quotes around “unassisted” enough.

The toy description reads, “Fisher Price Little People Music Parade Ride-On - so much music - so much fun! Includes push bar handle and extra wide wheels for stability. C'mon...the parade is about to begin!” What it doesn’t say is that the parade begins and then abruptly ends when your daughter crashes the truck into a wall, piece of furniture or her father’s leg and gets stuck because she lacks the coordination to go in any direction other than straight. What she doesn’t lack is the ability to cry when she gets stuck, which almost always brings a parent to the rescue to put her back on track. That lasts about 3 more seconds until she nails the refrigerator. Cry and repeat. All. Day. Long.

The Fast and the Furious 8, coming to theaters soon.

The easiest solution is to either A) follow her around the house and turn the truck for her, or B) hide the toy and pretend it doesn’t exit. Option A is great until you’re guiding her on lap 15 of the living room/kitchen/dining room speedway and she’s showing no signs of stopping. Option B is no longer feasible because she understands now that when something she wants isn’t there, her jerk of a father probably hid it in the bedroom and all she has to do is cry until it magically reappears. 

As poor timing would have it, I just finished reading Christine and I'm seeing some STRIKING comparisons between Arnie Cunningham's "relationship" with his demon car and my own baby daughter's obsession with her truck. Even when we put it away, she knows where it's supposed to be and when it's NOT there, she looks right at us and whines. I can only hope that That Damn Truck hasn't become self-aware and tries run over my foot during a late-night trip to the restroom.

Heads WILL roll.
Toes WILL be stubbed.

For now we're just going to work on teaching her how to turn the thing before she destroys every piece of furniture in the house. Our entertainment center can only take so many head-on collisions, and the same goes for the walls, fridge and dog. 

At least we have another 15 years before she gets a driver’s license.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mom: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

WARNING:  This post is mainly a lot of adorable pictures.

There is a good bit to update but I feel like I can't write any other posts until I at least share some of my favorite pictures from Susan's first Christmas.  And of course we are a little late, but we have been busy.  It was a wonderful Christmas - like Chris said, the BEST Christmas either one of us had ever had.

It was a little different this year because the Duke Football team made it to the Belk Bowl, which was on December 27.  Thankfully, it was in Charlotte and not Shreveport or D.C.  Christmas at the Comfort Inn Shreveport just didn't sound too appealing.  So we were thankful that the Belk Bowl selected Duke.

Chris had to drive back and forth from Charlotte to Greensboro a lot but we got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day together.  And then his parents came the weekend after Christmas for Christmas Part II.  So while it was not the Christmas we originally planned, it was still a lot of fun.

Fun with Grandaddy!

I love this picture.  It is pure joy!

Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve before church
Susan's First Christmas Eve

Uncle Philip!

I'm so excited!

Santa came!

Susan woke up promptly at 5:20 a.m.

OMG my new favorite toy

New favorite toy!

I can ride it AND push it!

Or my daddy can push me!
Unwrapping presents

So many toys!

Did everyone see me play the piano?  Clap, clap, clap!

But really, the wrapping paper is the best part.

Where can I go?!

Taking a break with my new baby doll.

Susan's first tea party

In attendance were mama, her new bear, her new bunny and her new baby doll.

Playing with her new bear from Uncle Philip

So funny.

Thanks Uncle Philip!

Christmas Day afternoon walk.  To relieve a little cabin fever.

Playing the guitar like my Uncle Zack!

It was a great first Christmas!
After Christmas Part I in Greensboro, we went home and the Cooks came to celebrate Christmas Part II.  This is one very loved, blessed (and probably a little spoiled) little girl.

Note:  Chuck/Poppy took most of the pictures with his camera, so these are all we have.

Grocery shopping for supplies for the oyster roast with LouLou!

More presents!

A UPS truck just like the one my Poppy and Uncle Zack drive!
Oscar helping.

Playing with my new musical table from LouLou and Poppy

She seriously loves this little truck.
It was a great Christmas!  And  great New Year. On New Years Eve, I took Susan to the doctor.  Her cough that she had since Thanksgiving sounded worse (we had already taken her to the docs twice and they said her lungs were clear) and I could tell something was wrong.  I had a sneaking suspicion she might have an ear infection and I was right (but her lungs were still clear).  But we were able to get a full day of antibiotics in her and by night, we could tell she was feeling better.  She slept great that night and so did we.  Then we decided to ring in 2013 by spending New Years Day in our PJs.  But the trick was convincing Susan to stay in PJs all day.  She sleeps in footie PJs at night but when we had previously tried PJ days in the past, it didn't work.  She just knows that she isn't supposed to be in PJs during the day.  But thankfully, we had one pair of PJs that did not have feet so she partied in those all day.

But we still put her shoes on. 

Look at the sweet bubble butt!  So freaking cute!

Her daddy added the bow.  Because no outfit, including PJs, is complete without one!

Happy New Year!