Monday, May 31, 2010

New crib

I'd like to share a moment of silence for a dear member of our family.

Jacob's crib did not survive the cross-mid-state move from Clarksville to La Vergne. The crib made the 80-mile journey safely in the back of the truck, through the front door, around the narrow hallway, and that's where it stopped. It couldn't fit through Jacob's door.

Its time with us ended there, just across the threshold from its new home.

We decided to take it apart in an attempt to salvage the year-old crib. As we began to dismantle its delicate frame, the plastic clips that lock the drop-down side snapped off. Even if we were able to figure out how to reassemble the crib sans instructions, Reassembling it at this point would have left us with a faulty crib. With the recalls and discontinuation of these cribs, we decided to call its time of death at 5:30 p.m. and rush out to buy an emergency replacement before Jacob's bedtime.

It wasn't the best crib in the world, but it lasted longer than either of us originally thought. We never worried about the drop-down side collapsing — even with Jacob's constant banging and Dolly occasionally resting her paws on it to peer down at jacob — because we never used it for its intended purpose. We always simply reached over the side.

We weren't thrilled about having to spend the money on a new crib but ultimately we're happy we did. The new crib looks similar, but the absence of a drop-down side makes it much sturdier and leaves us feeling even more confident in its safety.

Jacob's new crib is much sturdier, and safer, than his old one.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back-seat driver

No longer must Jacob look at where we've been, forced to talk to himself as he stares at the rear window.

Now he is a forward-facing toddler.

He clocked in at 19 pounds at his 1-year checkup -- a pound shy of the minimum recommendation to face forward. We decided to turn him around anyway. His legs were pressing against the Corolla seatback in the smaller carseat, and besides, we figured a pound won't make a difference.

It's a lot easier for us to tend to his needs when we can see what he's up to and we don't have to reach over the back of the seat to get to him. Plus, it's more fun for Jacob.

He loves having the ability to see us all the time. That's good for him, but bad for us. If we're not giving him attention, he knows what he needs to do to change that.

A week ago he was screaming nonstop. It was one of those annoying, albeit happy, high-pitch screams. I often wonder while eating dinner at a crowded restaurant which is more annoying: incessant, shrill crying or joyous screaming. Anyway, the screeching was so piercing that we were forced to turn around to tell him to stop. Played us like a fiddle. That's exactly what he wanted us to do.

Every time one of us turns around, Jacob would flash a sly grin. It looks similar to a ventriloquist's dummy. His head is cocked slightly to the side, his mouth open just enough to show his gap-tooth pearly whites and his eyes shift between Erin and me.

It's hard to get mad at that face, and he knows it.

Jacob loves facing forward, like a big boy, with his friend, Emerson.

He loves falling asleep now with the wind blowing through his hair...

Dolly, too, loves facing forward.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sleepy baby

Jacob's exhaustion is inspiring.

Jacob was so tired one day at day care that he sat down on the floor and fell asleep with his head titled on the couch. It was hilarious, but it also was sad to see a baby so depleted of energy that he falls asleep in the most uncomfortable position.

Well, that sadness gave me the idea to create a slideshow of Jacob's many lullaby moments dating back to his birth.

Who doesn't enjoy watching a baby sleep?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Survivor dad

One year!

One whole year is in the books. It has been, hands down, the wildest trip of my life. Here's how I would describe it: happy, sad, anxious, eager, angry, frustrated, annoyed, lethargic, amazed, ACCOMPLISHED.

I've been meaning to write about this since Jacob turned 1, but I haven't had much time since I started my new job and living temporarily without a computer.

Now that I have a year of parenting experience under my belt, I'd like to share some thoughts, feelings and advice to those other dads still wet behind the ears (as if the backs of mine are anywhere near dry).

At Jacob's birthday party, my friends congratulated me on "surviving the first year." I laughed at the time, but then I began to think about the truth behind that statement. Early parenthood really is a game of survival. Just like being lost in the woods, you must adapt your knowledge and resources to your new environment to help find your way back to a more comfortable setting.

Once that baby is here, it's go time. There's no turning back. There's no more sitting around. There's no more going about life on your own accord, at your own pace. You are forced to change your habits in order to protect this new life, as well as your own. Your life is no longer about your wants and needs. It's all about what's best for the baby.

When he's up, you're up. When he's hungry, he eats. When he cries, you better figure out what's wrong and fast. When he's ready for bed, you go home. When he sleeps, you sleep. But then there are days you must forgo your nap to get stuff done during your elusive free time. You learn to schedule your days around feedings and nap time.

Oh ya, how could I almost forget one small detail: Babies are freakin' expensive!

For some parents, like Erin and me, survival becomes more intense when you don't have others to rely on. We didn't have that luxury of dropping off Jacob at the grandparents when we needed to get out for a night as our nearest family, my parents, are a good five hours away. We had to learn to calm ourselves during peak frustration levels. Sometimes our annoyance with each other made the situation more difficult than what Jacob was doing, but we always managed to work through it and talked about how we could make it easier the next time.

Sure it's every dad's dream to watch his son catch his first fly ball, score his first goal, touchdown or basket, take him to the rodeo, the air show and monster truck rally. But those thoughts are furthest from your mind when your son is only six weeks old and can barely roll over.


A few weeks ago, one of my good friends from college asked what it's like being a dad. I told him it's hard, tiresome and frustrating. It's nonstop work from the sleepless nights to the early mornings, to the incessant crying and abundant diaper changes, to the round-the-clock feedings and back to the crying.

Quick anecdote: When I was watching Jacob during the day, I remember one time my friend, on his way out of the office, called me a slacker as I strolled into work at 5 p.m. My quick reply was as such: "Please, this is my second job. I've been up since 7 a.m. watching a 9-month-old. Who's the slacker now??" But I digress.

Raising an infant is a full-time job. It's ain't easy. But I told my friend there's no greater feeling than when Jacob flashes that first smile in the morning, or when a pat on my leg in a crowded area indicates to everyone I'm his dad or when he gives me a quick hug as he walks around the room, or when he smiles and runs to me as I call his name.


More than a year ago, I wouldn't have felt comfortable talking to a baby, let alone touching it with a 10-foot pole. There's a story Erin vows to never forget that I'll voluntarily share with those who have kept reading this far.

Around Christmas time one year, I was in Kroger when a little girl sitting in a shopping cart said to me "Merry Christmas!" I turned around, looked at her, opened my mouth to say something, but couldn't muster any words. I awkwardly stood there for a few seconds until the mother wheeled the girl away. I quickly walked back to Erin. She couldn't believe what had just happened.

I blamed it on my upbringing. Not everyone is Christian so don't wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Erin insists she was just a little girl, and that I was afraid of kids. Needless to say she was embarrassed... for me, she said.

So here we are, more than a year later. Erin and our friend Rebecca went shopping last weekend during Jacob's first trip to Lawrence, Kan. I stayed home with Jacob. Man, did that kid tire me out. For an hour straight we ran around the house. I chased him. He chased me. I would catch him and tickle him. He would laugh and squeal, and run away. I would sit down. He would pat me on the leg, and run away.

From the den to the hallway to the dining room to the den to the kitchen to the den to the hallway to the den to the kitchen to the den to the kitchen and back to the den. He was a little Energizer bunny. I finally put up a baby gate to corral him inside one room.

He absolutely loved being chased and playing peek-a-boo. The giggles and smiles were endless.


So let's recap. Babies are a loud, smelly, tiresome, life-changing bunch, and only doctors and lawyers who live next door to their parents should have them.

Looking back, though, I wouldn't trade any of it.

Parenthood will only get harder with Jacob's evolving tantrums and curiosity. But the fun is just beginning.

Here's to waving and pointing. Here's to more hugs and kisses. Here's to whispers of "da da" and "ma ma" becoming shouts of "daddy!" and "mommy!" along with a growing vocabulary.

Oh, and here's to that little baldy growing more hair!

I love you, lil buddy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flood Craziness!

Wow! Thats about all I can say about all of the floods going on in the middle Tennessee area. Its incredibly devastating. Fortunately we are very lucky and were not personally affected by the deadly storms/floods.
On Saturday, May 1, 2010 I had a job fair in Murfreesboro. I found a job that i want so bad. Its at a school that is about 3 miles from the new house and its a Pre-K Teacher position. She sounded interested in me so hopefully i will get an interview. It was pouring outside and I was drenched at the job fair. I walked outside afterwards and it was still pouring. It was raining even harder. Nate and I went to the new house to paint the guest room. A good friend of mine, Rachael, babysat Jacob for the day. We finished painting the guest room a pretty yellow color and decided to leave around 3:00ish to head back to Clarksville to pick up Jacob. Also, Dolly was with us and we just needed to get home before the storms got worse. We got in the car and drove around the neighborhood and most of the lawns already were flooding. We got to Sam Ridley PKWY (the main street in Smyrna) and it was completely flooded. When we got onto the highway, there was horrible traffic. It was awful. We finally drove 6 miles in 1 hour. We got up to the problem that was causing the traffic and we saw a huge lake in the middle of the interstate and cars were not able to drive through that. SOme Semi's were trying to drive through it but other cars tried and got stuck. So we turned around and spent another couple of hours just tryin to figure out where we were and figuring out another way to get back to Clarksville. We were going to go back to La Vergne and wait out the storms but we heard on the radio that they were not letting people back into La Verge/Smyrna area. There were tornado sirens going off and they were already under a State of Emergency. But THanks to our wonderful Handy Dandy GPS, we found another way and finally after 4 hours on the road we were on our way back to clarksville. I have never seen anything to horrible before. I think the worse part of my experience with all of this was the idea that I couldnt get home to Jacob. There was too much water inbetween Jacob and I. We got home safely with Jacob and woke up SUnday morning with more storms and more rain. Clarksville ended up with over 8 inches of rain and Nashville ended up wth over 15 inches of rain. I didnt have school for 3 days and finally going back tomorrow but no school for the students. This is something that the Tennesseans will never forget. Flood of 2010. INSANE!

This picture is in Smyrna which is about 2 miles from our new house