Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Have You Seen My Weaner?

One of the hippie things the Wifey wanted to accomplish with the Baby was her belief in “baby led weaning”. 

The concept is simple, introduce solids to the Baby around six months, and let the Baby figure it out.  You have to totally disregard baby food feeding and allow the baby to utilize her natural instinct in eating.  The theory behind it is that if a baby is constantly spoon fed, the baby won’t realize when she’s full and where her gag reflexes is located.  The parents will just continue to shovel food into a baby’s mouth until the jar is empty. Most people don’t realize that babies come in different sizes and have different appetites. Just because you scoop the last gunk out of a baby food jar and playfully say “it’s all gone!” doesn’t mean your baby is full.

Obviously there are other things involved in order to make baby led weaning successful and the most important one is supervision. We never gave the Baby a chicken leg and said go to town. We started off slow and soft. The Baby’s first foods were smashed up avocados and bananas. We laid the food in front of her and let her grab it herself and attempt to put it in her mouth. The first experience did not go over so well. But eventually she figured it out. It was around this time that her first tooth popped out so decided it would be a good time to present her with the best stuff on Earth: MEAT! The Baby actually had a piece of steak. The Wifey and I both just stared at her just in case anything would happen and she ate the whole piece of steak. It was quite impressive. The Baby would utilize a combination of her tooth, saliva, and just sucking on the food to eventually break it down. She knows not to shove the whole thing in her mouth or she will start to gag which in turn tells her to stop. For some odd reason, she likes to gag herself with her own fingers, seems like we have a future gymnast!

Another big issue is the actual messiness of baby led weaning. I’ll be honest, it’s pretty messy but it’s an adorable, cute messy. The Baby had to learn the hand eye coordination to get the food in her mouth and so the baby ends up painting her face with food. But over time she has gotten really good at it. We usually don’t even have to wipe her face after she eats, but the mess on the floor is another story. Baby led weaning has given the Baby the ability of choice and if she doesn’t choose something she likes, she throws it on the ground. Since we usually feed her whatever we’re eating, there are always corn kernels, pasta, peas, and everything you find in my wife’s best dish, Voila

There are also other “milestones” that need to be reached before baby led weaning can be introduced.  A major one is the establishment of the “pincher” grasp, which usually occurs around six months. The baby needs to be able to grasp with the index finger and thumb and actually take the food. Otherwise you’ll just have baby palm smashed food smeared across the table and nothing near the mouth.
If you really think about baby led weaning, it all makes sense. What did parents do prior to jarred baby food? Despite the fact that we think of little babies as cute and helpless, they are designed to be resilient and have an innate ability to be adaptive. There is nothing wrong with jarred baby food; it’s easy, convenient, and very clean.  

 The only downside to baby led weaning is the fact that I have no excuse not to share my food with the Baby and it doesn’t help that she loves steak so much.

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Year Thoughts

The Wifey and I have never been too keen on the Baby watching television and for the most part, she keeps herself occupied enough to not even pay attention to it. I think the thrill of exploring the house seems to capture her imagination far better than the television will. But anyways, we own a copy of Toy Story 3, for sentimental reasons, Toy Story 3 was the first movie we actually took the Baby to go see. She was only three months at the time and slept throughout the whole movie but it gave us hope that we could catch a few more flicks at the theaters before she get loud and rowdy. So we have the copy of Toy Story 3 sitting in the television cabinet and the Baby finds it and instead of ignoring her discovery, she just stares at the cover. And then she starts walking around the house with it, pointing at each character and talking to them and laughing every time she sees the stupid box to the movie. We figured the next step would be to actually put the movie in so she could watch it. And the rest is history. The Baby will just sit and stare and watch Toy Story 3 from beginning to end; the only time she stops watching it is to get up and find the dvd box so she can hold it while she watches it. She even has gotten to the point where she can only nap when it is playing. The Baby will kinda watch other shows but if you really want to shut the baby up, pop in Toy Story 3.

All right, well the Baby turned 1 on March 23rd and it wasn't spectacular. But then again, she had no idea what was going on. She wouldn't wake up, so I couldn't put on her birthday outfit. Her grandmother had already made plans for her, so that ruined me and the Wifey's plans of taking a half day of work to pick her up from Mother's Day Out and take her to the mall. But that was fine, she got to spend some special, quality time the Grandmother, who probably is one of her best friends. Keep in mind the dvd box of Toy Story 3 is probably her best friends as well, so the Baby isn't really picky about her friendships. We ended up picking up the Baby around 2pm and decided to take her to the park so she can actually swing in her own swing. We figured the Baby would enjoy it, but we had no idea she would enjoy it this much. She just smiled and laughed the whole time as she gripped her little paws around the chain and seat.

I honestly didn't know how I would handle being a father, to think that for once there was somebody's life who was more important than mine. I know, I should feel the same way about the Wifey, but if she hasn't learned how to stop, drop, and roll when she is on fire by now, she's on her own. The Baby on the other hand is still learning. And I think that's what I enjoy the most is just watching the Baby develop every single skill in her brain. This is her first exposure to everything we have taken for granted. The texture of a brick wall, the texture of a furry wall. The sound of a siren or the dogs barking. Or the gentle caressing feel of a steady breeze on her face. And the Baby absolutely loves the wind. She will stick her chin out like a Glass Joe from Nintendo's Mike Tyson's Punch Out and let the wind splash on her face. Those little things make me happy. It also makes me appreciate the Wifey even more. Yeah, I know, I wouldn't even extinguish her body if she somehow caught on fire. But she probably got caught on fire because she was trying to cook me something. The Wifey just has this total disregard for her own self just to make sure our family is happy.

There were the nights that I somehow would sleep through the Baby crying. And she would get up and calm the Baby down even though she would have to go work in a couple of hours. She never complained (passive aggressively she complained but that is neither here nor there) she just did it because frankly if nobody else did, nothing would get accomplished.

I know I have written in the past about the little things that the husband could do to make everything easier for the woman. Honestly, just appreciate her. Appreciate the sacrifices, appreciate everything she does.

The Baby is going to grow up and all those things that were new are going to become old (le duh) and nostalgia will kick in. But also keep in mind that the Baby isn't the only one that is growing up either.

Happy Birthday Baby.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Eve

Laughing, winking baby
Well I do apologize for being missing in action for the past week or so. I had forgotten how much time a 40 hour week can consume. The Baby is only a day away from finally turning 1.

She has grown up so much and so fast, it really scares me. She is now walking more than she is crawling but if she is looking for a quick getaway, to the hands and knees it is. Whenever we let the Baby roam the house, she always seems to venture to the guest bedroom. The only thing we had in there was a mattress on the ground and the guest sheets on the bed. And while the Wifey and I are in the kitchen, we’ll hear shrieks of laughter and we see the Baby wrapped in the comforter and just having a grand time. So we decided to move her toys in the room and completely baby proof from her falling off anything and covering all the outlets. And she absolutely loves it. Her favorite part is climbing onto the mattress and standing and trying to jump. The Wifey and I enjoy watching her climb off the mattress. We figured she would just fly off the side but the Baby actually turns her body and goes down feet first, despite it only being a few inches off the ground.

Last Friday it was daddy and daughter night out since the Wifey was getting wasted and practicing her graffiti with her friends. So I took the opportunity to take the Baby out to dinner to a local pho place. If there was any doubt in mind that the Baby wasn’t mine, it was quelled when I saw her destroy a bowl of pho. She just absolutely loves the noodles and just shoves it in her mouth as soon as I put them on the table. She probably could have kept on eating if I wasn’t fat and hadn’t eaten the rest of her noodles. She just lies to sit there with the noodles hanging out from her mouth and her feet propped on the table. Pictures don’t lie.

The Wifey has been planning her life away for the Baby’s 1st birthday party. She probably has spent more time researching and buying then she did with our wedding. It’s kind of scary. But I am proud of her and on paper it’s going to be a great party. Let’s see how well she pulls off all the details.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Soy Sauce Spaghetti

I would like to remember my mom as a shining saint that never did wrong. It's a lot easier to imagine her that way but where is the fun in that? Of course, I will argue to the death (too soon?) that she was the best cook ever. Better than Paula Deen, Julia Childs, and the Pioneer Woman. One quick glance at me and I am living proof that my mother never made  a dish I refused. But it's all of my mother's foibles and idiosyncrasies that make me miss her the most.

There would be the time she made me spaghetti and since we were too poor to buy jarred sauce she used packets of ketchup. Okay, I lied, she was just too lazy to go buy sauce but pulling the poverty card always works. And when I told her friends about it, she gave me a dirty look. So the next time she made spaghetti she used soy sauce and Sriracha. My older would come home and tell her how delicious it was and from then on that was her spaghetti specialty. I know the Wifey would throw up (literally) if she ever had to experience this crazy concoction since she is part Italian but I will admit, I do miss me some soy sauce spaghetti.

Then there would be the time she would try to make hot wings because we were too poor to buy Wingstop (this is not a fabrication, despite it's deliciousness, Wingstop isn't cheap). And instead of deep frying the wings to a crispy golden brown, she hard boiled the wings in a chili garlic/Sriracha mixture. But then, once again, my older brother came home and informed her how delectable the wings were and she would continue to make them. And then there was the time she learned how to make cheesecake and she made one every single day for an entire month. Luckily no soy sauce was involved.

Despite the random hit or miss meals she would make, I miss dinner with the family. I was always in charge of setting the table and refilling everyone's rice bowls, and we would get to listen to my parents bitch about work. My dad would smack his food and we would have a decent, uninterrupted family dinner.

Now my dinner conversations are dependent on how often the waitress comes by our table to check up on us.

As the Baby approaches her first year, I sometimes think about how she would react to some of the food my mom made. And honestly, there is no doubt in my mind that the Baby would go crazy for some soy sauce spaghetti. The Wifey on the other hand....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Child's Play

I have never really liked it when someone tells me "time flies by" in regards to the Baby. It's just an overused statement. But it's painstakingly true. We are fast approaching the Baby's one year birthday. The Wifey, for the first time ever, has finished making the invitations and mailed them off in a timely manner. She made them herself (with a little help from friends) but I am really proud of her. Although I do disagree with the schematics and realism of the invitation, it is a very cute and novel idea.

And with the Baby's first birthday, we are deciding what to give her as her gift. Luckily because of our laziness of never removing her Christmas toys from the trunk of the car, she has a steady stable of new toys to enjoy. And with credit to her very generous and fashionable grandmother, the Baby has a large wardrobe that extends multiple seasons. But I think we found the perfect gift in the form of cardboard. I received a nice singing card for my birthday, the one where you open up the card and get blasted with some crappy, overplayed, white trash song like Bad to the Bone or Achy Breaky Heart. Fortunately my card had a Men's A-capella group singing happy birthday so I was pleased. But the Baby got a hold of the card and she absolutely loved it. She figured out how to open and close the card over and over again to piss off parents. So now every time we head to the store we go through all the singing cards to find another good one to add to the Baby's collection.

Another example on how "time is flying by" (ugh) is the Baby's progression with walking. Last Monday she was barely taking steps and two days later she was practically skipping across the kitchen tile. Skipping might be a gross exaggeration. In order to get a better physical, the Baby's first steps are more like when Forrest Gump was a kid and he was gyrating around in his braces but it doesn't matter how she is walking, she is walking now. If I really think about it, it's pretty creepy that she is walking now. Don't get me wrong, she is the cutest baby on Earth but the fact that she is still relatively tiny makes her a creepy walker. Whenever she gets on her feet and slowly steps her away towards you, she reminds me of Chucky from Child's Play.

She even looks like him with her thin hair. Yikes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Family is Back.

I am going to take advantage of some extra lunch time to hammer out an update.

The family made it back safely from Boston and it's nice having them back in the house. I do not like the fact that the house instantly becomes thousand times messier as soon as the Wifey sets foot inside the house. It seems that the family up North absolutely loves the Baby but I already knew that was going to happen. The Baby even came home with some new tricks up her sleeve.

She now knows how to blow kisses but for some reason she blows a kiss and then touches her head. She understands the concept of waving goodbye and when to accurately use it. Previously she would just flail her arm around like she was "raising the roof" and trying to pump up the crowd like a WWF wrestler. But now she waves when someone is leaving and returning.

The Baby has also discovered clapping and that's probably best her trick. She does a nice little soft, golf clap when you ask her. And any time someone says "yay" she will start to clap. She still does the "nice to meet you" handshake but changes from her left and right hand whenever she pleases.

She is so proud of herself after these tricks but her shyness has really kicked in lately. Luckily it's the cutest shyness in the world, so it's okay if she doesn't show off her moves.

The Baby is extremely close to walking. She has taken some stutter steps and even a jab step to the wall. Last night she took a few steps on the bed and it was in total slow motion. Although it would be awesome if she started walking, we aren't in a hurry for that to happen.

In other news, my father is in town. We still don't know if the Baby really likes him or not but she does tolerate him. Which is a lot better than anyone else in the family. But my dad will grab the Baby and take her to the light switch so she can flick it off and on.

The new job has definitely changed our routine. I have to be out of the house by 7:25AM to make it to work on time at 9AM and the Baby usually doesn't wake up until about 830AM. So it's a hassle getting her dressed without waking her up. By the time I get home, usually around 630PM-700PM, I only get to spend an hour or two with her before she heads to bed. So right now we're just enjoying the weekends.

I'll try and get videos up of the Baby doing her tricks pretty soon.