Sunday, December 26, 2010

More videos

Happy feet
This is a really cute video. It's fairly long (about 2 minutes) but it's worth watching the whole thing, particularly at marker 1:53. Jacob is obsessed with the hot dog song that ends each episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He will stop whatever he's doing, wherever he is in the house, and run to the TV when he hears the music start.

Jacob helps "clean up"
Jacob loves cleaning up; we trained him well. In this video, taken over the summer in a Texarkana, Texas, hotel room on our way to Galveston, Jacob discovered the tissue dispenser. He started to remove them one by one and hand them to Erin. I don't know if this was just a game or if he thought he was cleaning up the room. A toddler's naivety is our entertainment.

Jacob learns to feed himself
This video is from August -- at the height of Jacob's new found independence -- when he decided he wanted to feed himself. Needless to say that was the last time we spoon fed him anything (in his high chair). Now he's getting the hang of sticking his food with a fork. Don't think we'll let him use a knife anytime soon, though.

Jacob sucks through a straw
Erin was really excited he finally learned to suck through a straw.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New videos

I'm finally getting caught up on cleaning out the video camera. Keep checking back this week for more videos.

Jacob meets Mr. Potato Head
It's amazing to watch Jacob fit pegs in to small holes. He gets frustrated, but for a 21-month-old, he exhibits incredible determination and concentration.

A fun evening with Jacob
What Erin thought at time of recording would be a boring video has turned into one of my favorites. I was hoping to record Jacob and Dolly playing, but what transpired was much more entertaining.

Here's another one of my favorites. There have been a few videos where you can see Dolly snap at Jacob. Hopefully this video will dispel any notions that Jacob's isn't safe around her. She really is very good with him; she just gets annoyed at times and reacts like anyone would who's constantly poked, prodded, hit and targeted by a book-throwing toddler.

It's snow time
This last video is of Jacob playing outside after our recent snow storm. Unfortunately it was too cold and windy to stay out for a long time. He was less than pleased, to put it mildly, when we brought him inside. None of that is on the video, though.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Big Boy in his Big Boy Bed

Yup! Its officially! We all said goodbye to the baby crib as Nate took it down this morning and moved Jacob in to his big boy bed. Jacob is currently loving Mickey Mouse so we decided to buy him Mickey Mouse bedding and he loves it! I put him down in his bed for his nap, put his new comforter over him and he fell right asleep. I am so proud of him. I can't believe he is old enough for a big boy bed. Next step is potty training. LOL (not for a little while). We ordered a video monitor and it will be coming in the mail today, so we can watch him and make sure he is not getting into any trouble if he gets out of his bed. Hopefully he will fall asleep nicely tonight.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New video... finally!!!

I'm still experiencing technical difficulties with my editing software, so it may be a little longer before I post more videos dating back to our summer trip to Galveston. It really sucks. I apologize to everyone who hasn't seen Jacob in motion in quite some time.

But, for now, enjoy this little piece of cinematographic mastery featuring Middle Tennessee's cutest toddler.

FYI: Jacob is eating a piece of chicken.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Austin on a Saturday night

Sixth Street, Austin, Texas

After 18 months of servitude to an infant-turned-toddler, Erin and I were freed from the shackles of parenthood. Together. For an entire weekend.

Free to sleep past 8.
Free from changing diapers.

Free from schedules.
Free from having to find a babysitter.
Free to wake up late, run late and stay out late.
Free to go where we wanted, when we wanted.
We were free, free, free.

It was a moment we'd long been dreaming about. And yet, we couldn't stop thinking about the reality back home -- our lives filled with giggles, cries and dirty diapers -- from which we temporarily escaped. Leaving Jacob for the weekend was a difficult decision, but ultimately it was one we were happy we made.

* * *

We traveled to Austin, Texas, this past weekend to help celebrate our good buddies from college FINALLY tying the knot. My parents and sister came up from Atlanta to watch Jacob and Dolly.

It was a great weekend to catch up with friends who we hadn't seen since our May trip to Kansas City, hang out with the in-laws and party on Sixth Street til 3 a.m.

The Kansas crew at Mike and Paula's wedding

And of course everyone was eager to see Jacob, too. This was one of a couple reasons that made it difficult to leave him behind. Plus, we had yet to be away from him for an entire weekend.

On the one hand we were excited to show everyone all the new tricks he's learned since the last time they saw him. For some, this would've been the first time to meet him.

But on the other hand, their attention to Jacob would've lasted for maybe 5 minutes here and there, leaving us to plan the remaining 23 hours and 55 minutes around his needs.

And as the following sequence of events unfolded, Erin and I guiltlessly admitted we made the right decision:

12:30 p.m. -- Our plane lands, already past lunchtime.
12:50 p.m. -- Our friends pick us up. Our suitcases, along with their tuxes, barely fit in the trunk. Where would we have put the stroller and pack 'n play?
1 p.m. -- We arrive at our hotel to check in. We can't. Not until 3. Where would Jacob have napped?
1:30 p.m. -- We arrive at Salt Lick for lunch (incredible barbecue, by the way).
3 p.m. -- We leave Salt Lick. Jacob probably would've made it through lunch without a nap, but he would've been absolutely miserable at the rehearsal dinner. Our night would've been cut short.

Some people may view our decision-making as loaded with selfish intentions -- that Jacob is part of our lives and we just can't dump him off whenever we want to have a good time.

That is far from the truth.

For a year and a half, we have waited hand and foot to meet Jacob's endless needs. And we did so without the help of a nanny or grandparents, who live too far away to relieve us at any given notice.

We've been able to stay out late with friends only a handful of times since April 2009. Twice were on separate occasions when one of us stayed home with Jacob.

Wherever we go, our son is right there with us.

That being said, we earned this vacation ... we
needed this vacation.

* * *

Meanwhile, back in Music City, Jacob was having a great time playing with two dogs, his mimi, grandpa and Aunt Heather. They went to the zoo, visited a battlefield in Murfreesboro and came home with some Elmo bath toys from Toys R Us.

He slept well, ate well and minded well. He's such a good boy.

Over and over Erin and I reassured each other he was having much more enjoyable time at home than he would have had during a hectic wedding weekend in Austin. My dad e-mailed us photos throughout the weekend. Here are a few:

Train wreck

"Howdy, y'all"

"Was that your horn I heard on Yom Kippur?"

Smashin' taters with Mimi

Bath time with lots of "Memos"

Reading with Grandpa

Partners in crime

Crossing the bridge with Aunt Heather

"Take that, you damn Yankees!"

"What you lookin' at?"

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Up and down the streets of our subdivision, neighbors sat on their covered porches, front stoops and driveways, transforming the most spine-chilling night of the year into a pleasant aura of sugary Southern hospitality.

Portable fire pits blazed, illuminating the night sky.

The distinct piano tones of the Halloween melody softly pervaded the cool air.

Dozens of families with small children, and groups of tweens and teens lined the streets, asking for candy from folks who welcomed the costumed youngsters to grab from bowls full of delectable treats.

It was an evening well worth every stressful minute of working the past Friday and Saturday nights to have off this one special Sunday.

Oct. 31 in the Chaney Woods subdivision was a night that exceeded our expectations. We couldn't believe how many kids were out.

Jacob's first official trick-or-treat experience, and our first as homeowners, will go down in Karlin Clan history as one that will be difficult to top.

Perfect weather.
Perfect costumes.
Perfect candy.
Perfect neighborhood.
Perfect memories.

Little lion and his flower

For the final time this year, we donned Jacob in his lion costume - the one that drives women wild and even brings the toughest men to utter the words "ain't that cute."

We wrapped a cloth flower around Dolly's neck, rolled out the wagon and hit the pavement at 5:45 p.m.

We were early. We caught the first few homeowners a little off guard, but we didn't want Jacob to stay out late, and we wanted to get home in time to catch a few trick-or-treaters.

Not long after, as the Titans wrapped up their fifth consecutive loss to the Chargers, people began unfolding their camping chairs and preparing themselves for the frightful evening to commence.

Jacob's costume was a hit, of course, especially when he would growl after we asked him what a lion says, but we think Dolly actually received more compliments. Many kids wanted to pet her, and two police officers patrolling the area stopped to ask what kind of dog she was. We thought they were going to say something about her being part pit bull, but they just wanted to pet her.

The first homeowner we approached let Jacob pick from an assortment of candy. He grabbed Skittles. The man asked if he wanted another piece. He grabbed another bag of Skittles.

Noticing his redundancy in selection, the man asked Jacob if he wanted to grab one more piece. I told Jacob we have a big bag of Skittles at home and tried to guide his hand toward a mini Reese's or Kit Kat.

Just as I thought he was reaching for one of them, his hand followed his eyes right back to the bright red bag of Skittles.

The man gave him the Kit Kat, anyway.

About an hour later, we went home to try to catch the last leg of trick-or-treaters. We followed neighborhood suit and sat on our porch. Jacob, jacked up on sugar, had a blast running back and forth across the porch. He thought it was hilarious running into our fake webbing - until he got tangled up.

Jacob collected enough candy to fill his Elmo bucket to the top.

And not one of those pieces was of those crappy peanut butter kisses.

I love our neighborhood.

Pre-Halloween festivities

We made sure to get our money's worth out of Jacob's costume. By Halloween, Jacob had trick-or-treated three times: twice at the zoo and once at The Avenue, an outdoor shopping center in Murfreesboro.

Ghouls at the Zoo was an after-hours event where parents could take their kids for a safe night of trick-or-treating, go on a hay ride, ride the carousel, play games and see spooky shows.

Here are some pictures from those events:

Trick-or-treating at the zoo

Jacob coloring a lollipop ghost

"Check out my mad colorin' skillz"

Cleaning up the pumpkins at the zoo

Trying to pick up a pumpkin bigger than him

Getting candy at the zoo

Daycare Halloween party

Erin and Jacob with our Clarksville friend, Bri, and her son, Waylon, at the zoo

Riding the deer on the merry-go-round

Our haunted house

What's "Memo" doing in the "nah-nah"?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

18-month checkup

The weight-gain woes continue.

It's been no secret Jacob is petite, as he's drifted along the bottom of the growth chart his entire life. But after stuffing his face full of high-protein foods for the past couple months, his weight continues to hover around 20 pounds.

Our pediatricians, both former and current, said they typically don't fret over a child's impeded growth as long as it remains consistent with the child's percentile.

However, at his 18-month checkup last week, our new pediatrician, Dr. Bottoms, said his growth was beginning to plateau.

She said if he doesn't show progress in a couple months, he'll need to be screened for Coeliac disease - a condition that disrupts the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, resulting in a child's failure to thrive.

My heart sank when I heard this. I just stared at Jacob sitting obliviously in Erin's lap, playing with whatever he could get his little hands on. I tried to combat a heap of negative thoughts infiltrating my mind with positive explanations.

Dear God, let it not be true. Is this our fault? How could we let this happen? Why have we been letting this go on for so long? What will this mean long-term?

He's fine. He eats. He eats plenty. He just had a bad week; He's getting over a nasty bug. He's constantly moving; He burns a lot of calories. He's fine.

One good thing going for Jacob, when asked by the doctor, is he's a good pooper. Diarrhea is a symptom of Coeliac disease; Jacob's had none. His lungs and heart also are in tip-top shape.

Regardless of what happens at his next appointment, we're pleased our new doctor is showing concern over Jacob's weight struggles, rather than telling us he's just petite.

So now we're trying to fatten him up - again - at a time when Erin and I are trying to trim down. We've been ordered to feed him healthy fats, such as avocado, butter, and the mother of all healthy fatteners, Pediasure.

At 240 calories a bottle, this love-handle-inducing drink is advertised as a sure bet your toddler will lose further sight of his feet every time he steps on the scale. Jacob can down an entire bottle in one sitting, and still have room for dinner.

Erin had to drink Pediasure when she was a child, so it could hereditary. Our day-care provider also tries to ease our worries by telling us her two children were petite just like Jacob, and now they're average size. Every child grows physically, emotionally and cognitively at his or her own pace.

That being said we're certain he'll be OK. Just because he's not morbidly obese, which seems to be the encouraged norm for today's children, doesn't mean there's something wrong with him. We'll find out in a couple months. For now, think heavy thoughts.

Girth aside, Jacob has grown upward 2 inches since his last checkup - a sign that maybe, in a family of many vertically-challenged people, he inherited his uncle's gangly genes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The next Rembrandt

Jacob finally brought home his first piece of artwork from day care. Ms. Barbara transformed his little pale feet into little orange ghosts. When Erin picked him up at the end of the day, she said he was so excited to show her his painting. Barbara told Jacob to go to his cubby and show his mommy what he made. Understanding every word, Jacob went straight to his cubby and pulled out his picture.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Patchin' Boy

Jacob has been to the pumpkin patch 3 times in the past month. He loves pumpkins aka Nanana's. We are looking forward to taking Jacob trick or treating for the first time next Sunday. Pics to come soon of Jacob in his Scary halloween costume. LOL

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Words Wednesday!

So I am going to update you with his words on a Wed. just this one time because I won't have time to do it tomorrow due to parent/teacher conferences. Also, I probably won't have a lot of time to update next week because Jacob and I are flying to Dallas on Saturday and will stay a week to spend time with my family and friends.

Anyway, New Words in the past month

1. dada
2. mama
3. ball
4. bear
5. elmo
6. more
7. hi
8. bye bye
9. car
10. here
11. All done (still working on consonants)
12. Night Night (still working on consonants)
13. He can roar like a lion.. its too cute!
New Words
14. Juice
15. Cheese
16. CiCi's... i dont know why but he says it
17. Zoo
18. Tickle (loves to tickle Dolly)
19. Head
20. Ear
21. Mouth
22. I am trying to teach him Trick or Treat.. but it comes out Too Tee (he's trying)
23. He can Moo like a cow
24. He can make a car sound when playing with cars and when asked to make a car sound

More to come in November! Can't believe Jacob will be in 1 1/2 yrs on Sun. Crazy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The plasma babysitter

Thousands of DVDs that have been created to entertain children all over the world and soak their little sponge-like minds with as much knowledge as they can absorb.

In Jacob's world, there are only two that matter: "Sesame Street's Kids Favorite Songs 2," featuring Elmo, and "Wee Sing in Sillyville."

All other movies and TV shows, for some reason, just don't grab his attention. He'll stop for a second to stare at what's happening on the screen, but then move onto something else. But pop in one of the two aforementioned movies and Jacob will fall into a hypnotic trance.

Jacob has become a big fan of Elmo and Snuffulupogus. He always says hi to Snuffy when he appears on screen, and he turns his head when he hears Elmo's distinct, affable voice.

Erin and I often accuse ourselves of lazy parenting when we turn on the DVD player, but it has yielded a few positive results:

— Half-hour window to get stuff done (i.e. emptying the dishwasher, cleaning) without Jacob's little paws reaching and grabbing for everything we're trying to put away.

— Thirty minutes of serenity. We love when Jacob's jovial personality is on full display, and tolerate when he's crabby, but I think it's safe to assume every parent welcomes a bit o' quietness every now and again.

— Jacob has shown us he can sit nicely, albeit for a short amount of time in one given spot. He loves to moves back and forth between his Toy Story chair and wedged in the corner of our couches. He's learned to use his stool to boost himself up onto the couch. He'll occupy just about every spot on the floor before the movies ends.

— He's beginning to make connections between what he sees in the TV and in real life.

One example is he recognizes the songs from the movies when Erin and I sing them. Every morning I sing "On Top of Spaghetti" when I'm changing Jacob's diaper, and he always forms the biggest smile. He knows that song because Snuffy sings it in the movie (spaghetti and meatballs is his favorite meal, by the way).

To enhance his obsession with Elmo, we bought him a bucket shaped like Elmo's head for Trick-or-Treating. He's developed a fear of almost everything that the average person would consider scary, such as zombies, skeletons, witches and things that crawl abnormally or make unusual, loud noises. I thought at the time of purchase that walking around on Halloween with an Elmo bucket would give him a sense of security. We'll find out in a few weeks.

For now, he carries that bucket with him all over the place, along with his Elmo cell phone our friends Eric and Kelly bought for him.

Ironically, he's afraid of his Tickle-Me Elmo hands.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Give me liberty or give me death!

Today is the 16th of September.

In the Karlin household, today is independence day. In fact, every day is independence day.

Jacob is at that age where he hates -- and I mean HATES -- when we force his dependency on us.

If we try to help him when he thinks he doesn't need it, he sets off a barrage of fireworks in the form of cries, screams and tears.

I thought about this the other morning after he refused to hold my hand down the concrete steps in front of our house.

Jacob never learned to go down steps like the typical infant/toddler, scooting butt first, so it always makes us a little nervous to watch him go down a flight of stairs. His depth perception, however, has kicked in nicely. He's learned to hold onto a railing or another object as he makes his descent. Before yesterday, he would grip one of our fingers with one hand and grab the railing with the other and, not really paying much attention, sort of just fall from step to step while we held onto him.

But yesterday was a new day, and he was determined to seize the opportunity. He wanted to step down by himself. So I let him go. I kept my hand in front of him, of course, but I didn't touch him.

He gripped the railing with both hands and twisted his body forward. You could see the hesitation in his face as he slowly inched his right foot closer to the edge. Carpe Diem! I'm sure is what he was thinking. Within a matter of seconds, he firmly planted it on the step below. Just as quickly hesitation turned to elation.

Then came the second foot. Confidently, he wrapped his left leg behind him so he could keep both hand tied to the railing. Gravity assisted him the rest of the way, pulling his 20-pound body down six inches in the blink of an eye.

Balance sustained. No trip to the emergency room. Next three steps no problem.

But there was still one more. This time there was no railing, only a wall. Jacob was not deterred. He pressed his palms against the brick facade, slightly leaned his shoulder into it and took the plunge.

He nailed the landing. Perfect score from the judges. Jacob rewarded himself with a congratulatory round of applause.


We do feel sorry for him at times when he wants to do something on his own, but he just can't because he's either too small or he just doesn't understand what to do and becomes frustrated.

For example, he almost always cries and squirms when I put him in his carseat. Partly it's because he doesn't like straps and buckles confining his mobility, but the bigger reason is he wants to do it himself. The problem is he's not tall enough to reach his leg onto the step bar on the side the truck. So I have to pick him up, as he's squirming, and stand him up on the seat. Then he tries to get into his carseat, but again, he can't pull himself up.

So what does he do? You guessed it. He emits a piercing scream, upon which the decibel level quickly doubles within the cab's enclosed space. When I try to distract him with some toys or his sippy cup, he responds by throwing them on the ground.

Here are a few other things he would prefer to do on his own (unfortunately changing his his diapers is not one of them):

-- He wants to feed himself. He'll close his mouth and shake his head if we put a piece of his food up to his face. So we put the food on the end of a fork and lay it on his tray. He puts it in his mouth, pulls the food off and claps for himself. He's OK with us taking the fork to add another piece of food, but every now and then he tries to spear the food himself.

-- He doesn't like sitting in a grocery cart. He'd rather help us push it or walk beside us. He loves walking, which is fine with us as long as he doesn't wander off or pull everything off the shelves.

-- He doesn't like holding our hands in public. He screams and snatches his hand away when we try to grab it. We try to explain to him that he could get hurt if he doesn't hold our hands, but he doesn't understand. If it's a busy area, then we pick him up and he has to suck it up. When he realizes a particular place is crowded, he'll hold our hand to stay close to us.

-- Bathing himself. He likes to pour the bucket of water over his head while in the bathtub and then pull the plug to watch the water disappear down the drain.

All of these are just more signs of our little baby Jacob growing up.