Malcolm at the Lap

Yesterday Malcolm had his first go at a certain rite of passage. It went about how we expected. He was handed to an older white male in a uniform. This man performs but one task for certain parts of the world: to bring toys and joy to children.

There was not much joy in Malcolmville yesterday...

Eventually we were needed to intervene and return the events to some sense of normalcy.



Malcolm fed himself with a spoon tonight. It was pretty damn cool and pretty damn messy but he totally acheived. On the menu was butternut squash and some other non-spoon-requiring items.

Also, he can now stand up on his own from a sitting position. It's on, people, totally on.


Names, Signs, Smells, Walking & Laughing

For years Pam and I have called each other "Momma" and "Daddy." We started because we thought it was funny how couples who were married a long time always seemed to stop calling each other by name. My grandparents did at least. And it was kind of ironic because we were young, and at that time, not even married. Whenver we used them, it had to be with a country accent because that was the only way it worked. Me, I chose to channel Elvis, because you can never go wrong with the King.

Now The Boy is here and the whole "Momma" and "Daddy" thing has taken a new turn. And I understand why people probably stopped using each other's actual names. When talking to The Boy, pronoun usage has really dropped way off. And so has the first person. We are full-on rocking the self-referencing third person. To sit here and think and write about it really bugs me, but in the moment it just can't be helped. Mainly, I think we do it because we're trying to help get him talking. Nobody wants to hear a baby say "I" back to you. Everybody wants "Mama" or "Dada." We certainly do.

We've been using some basic sign language with Malcolm. It's taken several months but seems like it is beginning to pay off. He hasn't used any of the signs unsolicited by himself, but he does use a couple when we use them and say the word so I think it's only a matter of time. He knows "milk" (squeeze the hand like milking a cow) and "all done" (brush hands together like wiping off crumbs (not the true sign, I Stephen-ized it).

Fun fact: Malcolm ate enough blueberries this week that we smelled blueberry when we changed his diaper.

We're flying to San Diego on Wednesday to stay with our friends Kelley & Casey for Thanksgiving. And we'll also get to hang out with our friend Kyrsten. She's got a little girl, Annika, who's a few months older than Malcolm. We'll be 4 blocks from the beach and once the turkey (2 ways) dinner has been digested (hopefully by Friday) we'll hit the zoo. We've been looking forward to it for some time. The only thing to get past is the flight out there. Malcolm's a pretty happy little guy but he hasn't been trapped in a place filled with lots of people yet. So we're curious to see what happens. If we're lucky, we won't be the people on the plane hated by the rest of the people.

Since early October, Pam's been saying that Malcolm will be walking by himself thru the airports. Well, here comes trouble:

(Now in HD goodness.)


Iron-On Winners

Thanks to everyone who voted. The top 3 vote-getters were:

B/W Radiohead
Little Lebowski Urban Achievers
Hall & Oates

Not far behind, and therefore getting put on the next blank shirt of his I come across, were:

Lone Star
Beer Chang

J.C. Penney catalog-type photos coming soon...



A few random things...

Malcolm got over his ear infection pretty easily. We're grateful because that isn't always the case. Shout-out of thanks to Dr. Marty Molina for the help.

He now has 7 teeth that have poked thru--4 up top and 3 on the bottom. They often pop out in pairs so eyes are peeled (I hate that expression) for #8.

I'm sorry but I can't remember whom it was that bought us a subscription to Parenting magazine. Thanks for that. There's been some helpful articles in several issues.

But... there is something about it that really pisses me off.

The magazine isn't geared towards parents, it's written for mothers. There are pages about the baby's health and then the mom's health. Ones with baby toys and mommy toys. And more than one article about what to do when your husband doesn't do this or that (these often contain a "men... what are you gonna do" vibe). I understand that the way things have been it is generally the woman that is the primary caregiver to infants. When only 1 of us has breasts that produce milk, it's just going to happen that way. And beyond that, child-rearing has been for centuries seen as "woman's work." The man goes out and earns the living and the woman takes care of things back home. But that's all changing. In my circle of friends, there are quite a few dads, and all of them are pretty actively involved in raising their kids, even the infants. So yeah, maybe Parenting is just marketing to the people who will buy their magazine; there are Dad-centric websites but I haven't noticed any Dad mags. But I'm a parent too (damn it!) and if you're not going to have anything in your publication aimed at the dad, then you should call yourself Mothering.

Along those lines, I also realized I don't want to be called Mr. Mom because I take care of the boy when I'm not working. It's a demeaning term for an outdated (what's up 1980s?) way of thinking. I'm the Dad, ya see? Daddy-o, El Dadarino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

I know I posted it to Facebook, but if you missed it there, he's starting to stand up on his own and has taken a few steps on his own here and there. The first time he took a couple of steps on his own he knew he had done something special. He got very excited, yelling and shaking his fists with a big smile.

Finally, any tips on this problem would be greatly appreciated. Usually when one of us is home alone by ourself with the boy we'll use the restroom with the door open. He's not cut off from us and we can at least hear what he's doing. But now that he's getting all mobile, he's coming right up to the toilet while I'm standing there peeing. I try to block him out with my legs as best I can and still hit my target, but he's a wily one and now knows to try and outflank me. And he's reached down into the bowl once and wet his hands. Thankfully, the water at the time was pure. And I'd rather not sit if I don't have to.


Malcolm needs your votes!

We're making Malcolm some iron-on onesies. I found a few images on the interwebs but we currently only have 3 onesies. Check out the images and note your top choice in the comments. We'll take the top 3 and make Malcolm even more awesome this winter.

2 versions of the Radiohead bear to choose from. Pam likes the one with the eyes but I like the plain one.

It's the Reagle Beagle from Three's Company!

BoingBoing is an awesome blog I read.

Hall & Oates!!

One of Malcolm's favorite toys is a John Deere tractor.

Some Big Lebowski-themed ideas:


Malcolm likes elephants and we liked this beer in Thailand.

I'm not going to say anything because of the 1st rule.

No explanation needed.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire...


We had a good run

It took about 9 months and 3 weeks but a day I was dreading finally happened. Malcolm got sick.

An ear infection to be exact. Or ears infection because he's got it in both ears, the left being worse than the right. It's not good but it seems like it could be worse. As long as he's not lying down, he's pretty normal other than a runny nose. He's laughing and playing and crawling around and putting his hand in the cat's* water bowl, just like any other day. It's just when he lies down that it really seems to hurt. He's not taking his naps and hasn't been sleeping well or much at night. (This started yesterday, Saturday, morning.) That, coupled with Pam having a pretty bad allergy attack at the same time has not made for an awesome weekend. Meanwhile, I'm gearing up for the Austin City Limits festival and trying not to catch anything.

Today, we remembered, or actually got reminded via the virtual mistress known as Facebook, that we have a doctor friend with a family practice. A couple of phone calls and a drive out 2222 for verification that it was indeed an ear infection and we got a prescription for some meds. Fingers are crossed that it will work because Malcolm's girlfriend, Talia, is on her 3rd set of antibiotics and nothing has worked. She's getting herself chiropractically adjusted tomorrow and hopefully that will do the trick for her.

The worst thing is when he's crying and you know it's because he's in pain and there isn't anything you can do to easily relieve it. Trying to suck the snot out of his stopped-up nose with one of these helps but is so not fun for the little guy. Seriously, the sound of him yelling and the tears running down his face is damn near the worst thing ever. Sometimes when he's coming down from a big cry and I'm holding his feverish little body, it makes me sadder than anything else. Sadder than breaking up with someone, sadder than watching Shadowlands, sadder than a death in the family. Of course, I realize that this pain is temporary and for that I am grateful, but still, it isn't temporary enough.

In other developmental, uh, developments, Malcolm's got 4 teeth coming in up top. He's talking plenty lots of "ma-ma-ma-ma" and "ba-ba-ba-ba." I'm patiently waiting for a little "da-da-da-da" action. He likes getting chased around the house. Anything he's not supposed to get into, he likes getting into.

And generally, plenty of contagious laughter, with his mouth open wide and his hands slapping at whatever is within reach and his eyes full of spark and sparkle.... I got to tell you, nothing has made me appreciate life more than hanging with The Boy. And I've seen things, been places, met people, experienced this, that, and the other... plenty of things that have made me happy... but nothing like him. He's good people.

*Yes, I said "the" cat. Most of you probably know but the Boots was killed back at the beginning of the month. She got attacked by a dog over Labor Day weekend. Surprisingly, of the 2 cats, she let the boy paw at her more than Freeway, who generally runs from Malcolm whenever he gets close. The Boots would actually come up around the boy sometimes, like she wanted to lose a clump of fur (he's not so good with the petting yet). She could be a moody thing and we made her fat because we thought she was pregnant, but... she was family.


It's been a while

I've been out on the road a bunch this summer and know I need to write a post. In the meantime, because he's like crack for the eyes, here's some pictures I took yesterday. And if that wasn't enough for you, here's the page that shows all the Malcolm pics on flickr. Try not to o.d. And if you just can't wait, here's one that Jason took over Labor Day weekend.



This past Thursday Malcolm took 2 unassisted steps. He was leaning on his grandma then took his hand away from her and made 2 small steps forward, before promptly falling down. He's been pulling himself up and standing next to things for a couple of weeks. And with this has come his desire to walk. He holds onto our fingers and laughs as we go around the house. Sometimes he even kicks a ball as he walks. Now, ever since Thursday he wants to walk a lot more, and his speed has definitely increased. Nothing on his own since then. It was probably more fluke than anything, but hey, it happened!

We've also been trying to get him to wave bye-bye whenever somebody leaves. There's been a couple of semi-waves--a shake of the arm with a closed fist at the end--but that's about it. This evening, Pam did a video chat with her sister, Amy. As the adults waved and said, "Buh-bye," Malcolm decided he wanted in on that action, too. We all watched as he said, "Buh-buh," and made a very definite wave. After a round of applause and near-standing ovation, and as Amy kept waving from 1750 miles away, he did it again. A wave and a "buh-buh." And then again.

Now, as he sits and eats his dinner (summer squash and yukon gold potatoes, cheddar cheese, honeydew melon), or at least what he isn't smearing all over his face, he's saying it again.

Current awesome factor: 9.9


it's starting

From: Pam Whitehouse
Date: July 16, 2009 11:33:53 AM MDT
Subject: it's starting

left him on the other side of the table on his play mat to go make a sandwich. this is what I found when I came back. he loves these cords!

ichat between me and Pam:

11:36:08 AM pazaam: he was just hanging out there, with his knees on the shelf there
11:36:12 AM slight: hahaha
11:36:24 AM pazaam: he unplugged my computer
11:36:39 AM pazaam: it was on the coffee table plugged in
11:36:52 AM pazaam: good thing these computers unplug easily or he'd have it on his head
11:36:55 AM slight: babyproofing
11:37:00 AM slight: wow
11:37:04 AM slight: hooray!!
11:37:27 AM pazaam: so says the man in denver
11:37:33 AM pazaam: ;-)
11:37:50 AM slight: i love it!!
11:38:49 AM pazaam: he's going to truck across the floor to see you when you get home
11:39:08 AM pazaam: omg he's coming right for me!
11:39:27 AM pazaam: seriously just army crawled back over the shelf toward my feet
11:39:58 AM pazaam: ok, off to feed
11:43:57 AM slight: he's a mover!!


7 - 7 - 7

Today marks 7 months since Malcolm got ejected from the womb.

From this:

to this:

Yeah, we hit the jackpot.



While Malcolm may very well be the World's Most Awesome Baby™, and while we have many days of awesomeness, not every day is fun-filled moments of golden rays of sunshine, magic unicorns and giant cupcakes. Some are plenty stressful. Last Wednesday was pretty much full-on fussy baby day. None of the usual suspects (tired, diaper, food) were really working to calm him. When it gets like this and you've tried everything and none of it has worked and he keeps crying, those cries turn into nails on chalkboard. And Pam's got a standing event on Wednesday nights, so I fly solo for 3 hours. I've got no problem flying solo with the kid; I've done it many times for more than 3 hours. But when it gets to be 3 hours of non-stop fussing... nails on chalkboard. And add into that the fact that he's a growing boy getting stronger and more active, it's not just dealing with his noise and the mental stress but physical stress, too. (He has gotten so squirmy lately it's ridiculous.) About the only thing that will soothe him is going outside to see what's happening. Of course, living in central Texas it's not comfortable to stay outside for any extended period of time.

So by the time Pam got home, I needed a break. Some me time, whatever you want to call it, because I was in one hell of a bad mood. And nothing makes a bad mood worse than to know that the cause of your bad mood is a helpless little baby who's only fussing because something is wrong and he can't tell you what it is and you've failed to figure it out. Woo-hoo, I'm already failing as a parent. Hooray me! Not really, but in the moment... it sucks.

I let Pam take over on Malcolm duty and went about cleaning out the cat box, taking out the trash, and throwing a pizza in the oven, all with one hand because the other was holding a freshly-opened beer. She jacks him up on the boob and he gets almost instantly content; some things only a mother can do.

Then it's time for bed and the goodnight routine. He gets a diaper change and his teeth/gums brushed, a change of clothes if he needs it. The current parent/DJ turns on some tunes and he gets a relaxing dance leaning on a shoulder. Then it's goodnight to the robots, the elephantes, the dragon, the John Deere tractor, the big blue marble, the relatives and Mommy and Daddy. Some nights we're both in there for this routine and sometimes it's just one of us. Pam, being the excellent mindreader that she is, made sure I came in to say goodnight.

They're slowly turning in the middle of the room to some Rockabye Baby. The lights are off but it's still twilight outside. She's got him on one shoulder and with her other arm pulls me in so we're a dancing family triangle and he's got us on both sides. She lets out a couple of long, deep breaths to help calm me down. She says things like, "Yes, you're a tired little boy" and "Mommy and Daddy love you so much" and such in a quiet, soothing voice.

He reaches out his arms to the side of her face and touches her forehead with his own. Then he turns and holds his arms out to me. I lean in and we touch foreheads. It's a brief touch, a second at most, but it might as well have been a lifetime. In an instant my bad mood is gone, the stress of the last 3 hours is gone, the stress of life is gone, and my body, mind, and soul are nothing but vessels overflowing with love, peace and happiness. He's given us little hugs before but nothing like this. Nothing. I don't need the golden rays of sunshine or the magic unicorns or the giant cupcakes when I have a connection like that with my boy.


Malcolm is Matt Dillon

Ok, enough already with the eating/food posts, I know. And at some point, these posts will end. But while it's fresh and new at least, we are currently cracking up at how much he talks while he eats. It is total nom-nom-nom-ville, and just like Matt Dillon's character in The Flamingo Kid.

"You in the Jungle, Baby"

Yesterday, we went to Hell and got Malcolm a new toy--a rainforest themed exersaucer. Tropical rainforest, Pam would like to point out, not temperate! We first went to an infant/kid resale shop to sell some stuff and see what they had. They had several exersaucers, but all looked beat up or worn to some degree. And though they would have been considerably cheaper than the one we bought, we just couldn't bring ourselves to get anything less than the best for Malcolm. We've talked about getting him used stuff, that it will be perfectly fine, etc. but for this, we just couldn't do it. There's plenty of waste in this society and world at large, and he does have some hand-me-down stuff, but looking at these, it was hard to tell if they all worked how they were supposed to.

So we went on to Hell and looked at what they had. There were really only 2 choices that seemed to be at least somewhat educational. But (spoiled kid alert) he already has 1 of those at Grandma's house. We were considering another one that was a little bit cheaper, and endorsed by a shopping mom: "She (her kid) loves it!" but its activities and theme seemed a bit disjointed. Also, its color scheme "offended our sensibilities." It was all red, purple, orange, and blue. If we're going to have to look and listen to this thing for the next year, then it's got to be easy on our eyes. So Evenflo Triple Fun ExerSaucer, welcome to your new home. And possible eventual destruction by Malcolm the Monster.


Last Night at Dinner

We met some friends at Trudy's North and Malcolm tried out a high chair/hi-chair/not-low-chair for the first time. He did ok for about 10 minutes.

But before too long he went into meltdown mode (adults sitting around a table are boring) and one of us had to keep taking him outside. It was ok though, because he found enlightenment.


Messiest Food Yet

Yogurt & Berries PureƩ

Sorry for the lack of updates. I had a 2 1/2 week job come up but it's over now. Some new posts once the McGroach wedding weekend is over.



Go read this guy's post. (If you work at a place that monitors your surfing, maybe wait till you get home. The post and site are totally safe for work but the name of the blog could be misconstrued. An explanation of the name is on the linked page.)

If it doesn't bring a tear to your eye, check your pulse because you are dead. Or a zombie.


New Development

Malcolm's first tooth made its presence known today. He started gnawing on one of my fingers and I felt something sharp. Sure enough, it was the top ridge of one of his lower front teeth. He's been gumming our fingers a lot in the last few weeks with ever-intensifying strength, so that will have to stop now, what with the new sharpness. And this is the part where I'm thankful I'm not the breastfeeder. Good luck, Pam!


Four Things:

1. Digital cameras are cool. Color printers are nice, too.

2. There are stupid people out there. Sometimes they work at Wal-Mart.

3. Pennsylvania state legal officials could work on being less vague.

4. I can't believe this hasn't happened more.


The Point

In case it didn't come across in the post below, here's what I was (subtly) trying to say without being preachy. 

Whatever it is you want to do, or think you might want to do, or dream about doing---do it. Maybe it's moving to Belgium. Maybe it's getting a Rhodesian ridgeback. Maybe it's walking around in ladies' lingerie. I don't care. Stop waiting. Stop dreaming. Stop putting it off until tomorrow. You might not get tomorrow.


The Force Is Strong With This One

This onesie is size 12 months. The boy is just coming up on 5 months. Sizing for infant clothing is woefully inconsistent. Nevertheless, after Indiana Jones...Crystal Skull, I'm going to blame George Lucas for this, too. And then I'm going to buy some more SW stuff for the kid.


Life, Death, Etc.

So I was out in California working the Coachella music festival (held there last weekend), for a little over a week. It was an ok time, a lot of hard work mixed with some fun here and there, and for the most part working with a team of people who knows each other and gets the job done. As a unit, we know what to do to get the job done and it's nice to be part of a well-oiled machine. At the same time, I have this definite sense of disconnect from the festival at large, and at times, my own crew. (Not that this sense of disconnect is anything new; its always been a part of me.) It can be depressing out there. This year the disconnect was with home too, missing out on the ever-changing science project also known as Malcolm.

Pam and my mom would send pictures daily and they were much appreciated. Here's some of them:

I put his ROCKER pic up at my desk and that helped, too.

We had one day of wrap at the festival site. It's always a rush to get out of the office trailer before they pull our power while the utilities roll up miles of cable and the truck crew loads up their gear. Then it's back to our condo to cook dinner, hang out with everyone, and hope it's not for the last time. The next morning can't come soon enough, but due to, um, over-indulgement, that's just what it did. A pretty good airport breakfast helps but I'm really looking forward to getting on that plane and going back to sleep. I'm not happy when the flight is delayed due to unspecified mechanical issues.

Finally though, we do board. I'm not in my seat long before I close my eyes and fall in and out of sleep. Forty minutes or so later, I wake wondering if we'd taken off. From my aisle seat, I look over and see mountains going by. Good, though it doesn't seem like we're going as fast as a plane should be thirty minutes into its flight.

And that's when we hear the speakers crackle to life: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain. As you know, we had some mechanical problems that delayed our takeoff from Palm Springs. Well... something else has come up and we're going to have to go back and land at Palm Springs."

Some people turn to their companions to talk about this, but for the most part, it seemed very quiet in the cabin. Shannon, my co-worker, is a seat in front of me and she talks with the man across the aisle from her about a noise they heard (or something) right before the announcement. Later, she would say there was a noticeable decrease in speed shortly before the captain spoke (probably around when I woke up). Occasionally, I think the couple across the aisle from me are talking about places to land.

The aisle seat in this situation was very disconcerting. I wanted that window to give me geographic points of reference. The pilot seemed to be wagging his wings every so often (maybe he was making some exaggerated moves to burn off fuel?) and I would see houses out one side and mountains turn to sky the other way. Were we getting close to the airport? It's pretty much forty miles or so of non-stop irrigated developments out there--strip malls, golf courses, and condo developments--so if there's man-made construction, we must be getting closer. But the minutes just seemed to go on and on.

This is not a good thing when you have no control over your situation. I'd look out the windows. I'd curse the pilot for not saying anything more. I'd drink from my bottle of water, wishing it was something stronger. And yeah, I thought about my family. About Pam having to raise the boy on his own and the boy without a father. I kept checking the time on my dying phone and wondering when was the right time to call in your not-so-average life-and-death situation. Was it worth it to put Pam thru that? Nothing was going to happen, we were going to land safely at the airport... and then we'd hit some turbulence. At least I hope that's turbulence. What would Malcolm say when he learns to talk? That's really what I'm looking forward to the most. I can't wait to have conversations with the little guy and it was going to be all kinds of unfair if this plane were to fall from the sky. But it wasn't because surely the captain would have said so if it was really serious, right? So why hadn't he come back and said anything else, given an update? Because it was serious and it was all he could do to keep the plane in the air and suddenly we're dipping one wing towards the ground again and is that the hull creaking under the strain? What's that grinding sound? Is that normal? At what point would everyone freak out? Would there be a moment where somebody would freak out and then everybody would follow suit? By now, it was very quiet in the cabin. Watching the time was not helping so I began to thumb thru the American Airlines in-flight magazine.

Their hidden gems of Europe did not call to me. The article on the museum of bad art was not much of an article. The crossword had been worked. Only the half-page Q & A with Lt. Dangle accomplished any kind of distraction. For about a minute.

And that's when Captain Silence comes back over the air to say, "We're going to circle the airport for about ten minutes to burn off some fuel."

Well, that's awesome. It's not going to be the fall that gets me; it'll be the fire. Great.

In this instance, there was no rush of adrenaline like I thought there would be. I'd tried to imagine what it might have been like to be on one of the 9/11 planes. The fear. The anxiety. The knowing of what's coming. The ability to stand up and try to do something about it. Maybe it's because there was no one to fight and nowhere to run to. I was stuck there and the experts were doing all they could. So... just had to wait it out. I wasn't panicked, but I was getting infuriated that I couldn't do anything about it, that some guy in a coverall had missed something important when checking out the plane, that Captain Talky McTalksalot wasn't telling us what the frak was going on, that by the time I finally convinced myself was the right time to call Pam, it would probably be too late. 

I'm out of water by this point. My palms are sweaty and squeezing the bottle. But at least I went to the restroom before I got on the plane. I also notice that I'm no longer hung over. More mechanical noises from the plane. Was that landing gear? I thought I heard landing gear ten minutes ago. The circles he was making were so big, I still couldn't tell what was going on. It didn't seem like one side was angled towards the ground more than the other. I started willing the plane to land safely, willing the problem to right itself, and I said a couple of prayers. I can't say it was to God in the Judeo-Christian sense, or any kind of sense, or religion, for that matter. I just started requesting that the plane land and everything go ok and we all have the opportunity to continue living.

The plane is getting lower now, noticeably lower, as well as going slower, but it still doesn't seem to be flying that straight. And there's a moment or two where it doesn't quite lurch, but definitely makes a move that isn't very smooth. Finally I hear someone say they see the runway and the airport; I wonder why there wasn't a "prepare for landing announcement" while at the same time I'm glad the pilot is concentrating on his work. I am pleased and it seems like the tension lifts a bit in the cabin, though this isn't over. We haven't touched the ground yet and if we had to use up some fuel before we landed, then the problem could very well be with our ability to land. The plane swayed side to side. Out the window, a distant foursome on a golf course flashed by. Nobody had said anything about assuming crash positions so I took that to be a positive sign.

The back wheels touch down. They decrease the power more and the nose came down. We pass by emergency vehicles with their lights spinning along the runway. They don't seem to be applying the brakes like they normally do. But we do eventually slow enough to taxi. When we finally get to the gate, the emergency vehicles (fire trucks) pull up along beside us. A few minutes later and we're back inside the terminal.

Part of me didn't want to get on the next flight out, but I wasn't staying in California anymore if I didn't have to. Luckily, we got on the next flight to DFW leaving in an hour and got home at 11 instead of 6. Then, there was almost a wreck in the shuttle bus to the parking lot, but that's a story for another time.

According to later reports, it was a false alarm. But even now, a week later, I have to keep reminding myself of that. "I could have died" is now "I thought I could have died." It's not so much whether or not it did happen but the thought of it that really blew my mind for a few days. Thankfully, it did not turn into Final Destination... at least not yet. But the thought of having everything that I love taken away from me was quite the stunner. Not to mention the thought of everything I want to do but haven't. 

Nothing makes you want to do more--of the things you haven't done, of anything, of everything--than thinking you may not get to do those things.

It's like Andy Dufresne says in The Shawshank Redemption, "Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'."

The t-shirt says it all


Comments, etc.

I've fixed the comments so anyone should be able to make one now. Sorry about that. Email me directly if there's still a problem.

I flew out to California today to work the Coachella music festival, here until next Tuesday. Pam gets to try parenting solo for more than a few hours and I get to miss them both.


Malcolm vs. Moby

The question normally asked here is: Separated at birth? 

As a personal witness, I can assure you the answer is no. Still, there is a striking resemblance.

PS. Moby sucks.


"I love it when they call me Big Poopa"

It was some time around 3pm yesterday afternoon that for whatever reason, Malcolm had his first poo in 2 1/2 days. We'd started to get concerned about 36 hours in and by this morning the worrying was passing the "Should we call the doctor?" phase and getting close to "We should call the doctor." But it still hadn't passed the "Let's check the internet" phase so that's what we did.

And basically, like we've found out about many other things, a halt in poo production is totally normal. In all other regards, he was totally fine. Not overly upset, not spitting up any more than usual, not unhappy. He wasn't eating as well as he had been, he was eating and getting enough food, just not buckling down and concentrating on the job at hand, er mouth, as usual.

Pam ran into her lactation consultant on Tuesday who confirmed that this just happens sometimes and as long as he was ok otherwise, it wasn't anything to worry about. But, she said, be prepared for when he at last made a new deposit at the Brown Town Bank, because it would be epic. Have a change of clothes for him and a change of clothes for you, she was told. It's going to go everywhere.

So we got home from lunch and I went back to work in the dining room while Pam fed the boy on the couch. About 15 minutes in, I hear, "Oh good." 

"Do we have poop?" I ask.

"Oh, there's some kind of surprise in there," she says. A few minutes later, she says, "Yup, there is definitely a present for us."

Malcolm finishes his lunch and gets taken back to his room for a change. "OH GOD!" I hear. "It's everywhere... it, uh... it... Daddy, we need help!!" I go in to see that it has blown out at the front of both legs, even caking the plastic grabby-teeth thing that holds the diaper together. The diaper is an emergency disaster zone and the diaper cover did the best it could, but was overwhelmed by the onslaught. 

And it's runny. A gooey, gross mess that's been stored up in his body since sometime on Sunday. And he's squirmy, so it's getting all over him, all over the mat under him. Pam's cleaning him, I'm taking care of the dirty stuff, we're both making references to the Lord and blessed fecal matter, and all the time Malcolm is just laughing and smiling at the hubbub, pleased as punch to have his tush cleaned by professionals.

Lucky for you we didn't think to take pictures. You're welcome.

Never before has relief been mixed with such a strong gross-out factor. Of course, then I remember we haven't even started on solid foods yet. There's something to look forward to....

Official weigh-in and height check from the doctor.... 14 lbs 12 ozs and 25 1/4".


Petri Dish

This is not exactly a pleasing comparison but I do think it's pretty right-on, more or less:

Watching Malcolm grow up, day-to-day, is like watching mold grow in a petri dish. 

I know, I know, "OMG! How can you say that about your baby?!! That's disgusting! He's a perfect little angel sent straight from heaven!" I will not dispute the angel part (see all previously published photos), but chillax for a second and let me make my point.

Almost every day he does something new and/or different. A couple of weeks ago, he rolled over on Mom's bed twice. Naturally, we were impressed and began watching it for it to happen again and trying to encourage it. Before too long, he was doing it more. Earlier today, he did it like 3 times in 10 minutes. It's practically become rote. (Ok, not really.) But this has all been rolling over from his back to his tummy, so now we need it to happen the other way. (He was aided by a slight incline on the day of the naked pics so that doesn't really count.) He's starting to sleep on his side (on his own) and is trying to turn over on his changing pad, which means not turning away to toss a diaper in the dirty can.

His ability to laugh has gone from a single "Kah!" (Translation: "Ha!") to full-0n giggle-fests where he occasionally has to stop to catch his breath. His laughing makes us laugh more and hilarity to ensue.

Today, Pam sat him in his Bumbo, which he hasn't been tolerating for more than a few minutes, but today it took longer for it to bother him. He was on the table looking at me while I was working on the computer. I think this might have been the first time he actually regarded me. As soon as I looked him in the face, he smiled, bounced his head and bashfully turned away, and cupped his hands in front of his mouth. (That little action, especially the little bobble-head part, is probably my favorite thing he does right now.) So then we played that game for a few minutes--where I'd look away while he looked at me and then we looked at each other and laughed.

Also, there have definitely been a couple of hugs, or squeezes at least. One of us will be holding him on our shoulder and he'll have one arm around our neck and the other around the arm. I've hugged a lot of people in my time but I'd never had one that stopped me in my tracks.

So yeah, my son is like a piece of mold. What of it?

4 month check-up on Thursday. Unofficially, he's at 15.5 lbs and around 24.5 inches. We'll see what they say, officially, at the doctor's office.


He'll Hate These When He's Older...

It was a nice day today and we'd been waiting for one so he could have some naked baby time outdoors. There was much rolling over both back-to-front and front-to-back and a lot of laughing and screaming like in the last video. So it's not quite a furry rug, but here's a series of  cliched on-the-belly-with-the-butt-in-the-air pics. Enjoy...

New Music Friday

Malcolm got some new tunes today, courtesy of Rockabye Baby.

He got the Bjork and Nine Inch Nail albums, and a few other random tracks.

There's about 20 or so albums. He's already got Radiohead, next up might be the Rolling Stones or some Beatles. Some of the bands translate better than others. AC/DC and Green Day... not so much.


Grabbing Hands

Malcolm grabs something on purpose for the first time:

...ok, so that was like the 20th time he'd done it, but hey, it's still impressive to watch!


In the Fridge

Malcolm's drink. My drink.


...is when you get throw-up on you and you're not bothered by it at all.

And then you blog about it an hour later and realize you still haven't changed your shirt.


self-portrait at jiffy lube

"boy tossed his lunch on me not once, not twice but three, big, trailing-from-the-shoulder-down-the-pant-leg times."
------- Pam


Got It Bad

It's coincidence that I write this on Valentine's Day, I swear. And yeah, that's a "holiday" for relationship love, and not so much for other kinds of love, but, well, it's in the air, or so they say. And that being said....

There is no love like what I have for Malcolm, or extrapolating, like what a parent has for a child (and I think Pam feels the same way). 

Last weekend I said to her, "If I'd known it was going to be like this, I'd have wanted to do it sooner. But then, we might not have had Malcolm." 

She agreed, saying, "Yeah, he's what makes it perfect."

"Everything in its right place. Everything in its right time."

And of course this love is going to be different from the love of siblings, the love of friends, the love of lovers, and the love of couples. But it's not just different, it's mad, crazy, wicked awesome, spin-me-round like a record player, big-wow-finish of the fireworks on the 4th of July different. Looking down on him sleeping in his crib in the semi-darkness of his still room, his fists balled and arms raised up by his head like he's cheering, his face turned to the side in a series of plump, curved lines like Hitchcock's silhouette, his growing body pushing against his clothes, and all of it punctuated by the occasional stuttering grunt that accompanies a contorted, back-bending stretch, it is very hard not to be awed by his perfection. All you want is for his life to be full of happiness and success and love and goodness. And even though you know it won't be perfect, that there will be disappointments, that yours isn't the charmed storybook you dreamed of, that doesn't make you want it any less for him.

The way that he turns and looks at you and his face lights up with recognition. Then he smiles and laughs and shakes his hands at you and speaks a word of baby-talk gibberish. Gibberish that you can't help but be pleased with and repeat back to him, hoping that he'll keep going and that the next sound will actually be a word.

Almost every day, he does something new or different. Watching him grow and develop is probably the most fascinating science project ever. He'll get fussy and start to cry (luckily there have been very few of the big, loud, holy crap screams) and we get to try and figure out what's upsetting him, and can we stop it before it's too late. It's kinda like CSI: Baby.

I'm not here to proselytize. I'm not here to criticize. But if you ever thought about having a kid, I do recommend it. 


Doctor Doctor

Malcolm had his first doctor visit this past Tuesday. It was the 2 month visit. He weighed 12 lbs 10 ozs, up 4 lbs 11 ozs since birth. He had grown from 20 3/4" to 23 1/4", up 2 1/2". That's a better-than-average growth rate so he's clearly getting enough nourishment. 

There was definitely some trepidation with this visit because it's typically when the kiddos get the first round of vaccinations. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, and if so, when to do it, is a hot-button topic in parenting and child care. Just this week, a vaccine court (!) ruled on a family claiming vaccines gave their child autism (not proven by the science). There are questions regarding the ingredients of some vaccines, the schedule proposed by the government, and the potential reactions of the still-developing immune systems.

We've decided that we'll be giving him the vaccines, but not at the recommended schedule. He can grow a little more before we get started. Many of the vaccines are things he won't face (polio) or he can get the illness and then lifelong immunity or get the vaccine which won't last his whole life (rotavirus, chicken pox). There are kids who have adverse reactions to vaccines and reading their stories will break your heart, but it's generally in the 5% range, not more than 10% (according to what we read). The numbers have been good to us so far (knock wood), and after much reading of a variety of sources, have decided to go on and do it. Might something still happen? Sure, and we'll deal with that if it does. But until then....


New Pics

One is too tired to smile, one is too asleep...

Checking out the action in Pease Park

Bath time (and the answer to what he'd look like with green hair):

He likes to be clean