Saturday, August 28, 2010

They call him Baby Jacob

Aside from good health, almost nothing makes a parent more proud than to see his or her child interacting, learning and having fun with other children. And you know you've been accepted by your peers when they give you a nickname.

Jacob's new day-care buddies have dubbed him "Baby Jacob." The older boys have taken Jacob under their wing -- literally, he fits under their armpits.

They play a game with him where one of the older boys connects a couple Lego blocks and hands them to Jacob, who then takes them apart. Everyone thinks it's hilarious. Jacob's day care provider, Barbara, said they could do that for hours and laugh every time.

The other day, one of the girls was singing at the top of her lungs. Barbara said Jacob was chiming in with some type of high-pitch noise. Erin and I wish we could be flies on the wall one day and just watch how Jacob interacts.

Here's how Jacob's first week went:

Day 1: I carried Jacob into the room. After prying him from my shoulder like a cat digging into a sofa, I placed him on the floor. He just stood there, stoic, motionless, like someone still in shock after surviving a traumatic event. I called his name. "Jacob. Jacob, go play. C'mon, let's go play."

He just stared straight ahead. Dazed.

Seconds later his eyes began to well up. His bottom lip quivered. His recently developed separation anxiety was on full display. Jacob knew something wasn't right.

I couldn't help by laugh, and I couldn't resist not giving him sympathy. I gave him a hug and then picked him up (I know it's bad form, but even the most heartless person with a stone-cold soul would do the same). I tried handing him over to Barbara, but he just turned his back, dug his claws into me and buried his face in my shoulder. Finally I just sat him on the floor and let him cry it out.

Barbara said he opened up not too long after I left.

Day 2 yielded similar results. His neurons were firing on all cylinders, though, as he just stood back and observed the other children.

On Day 3 I decided to let Jacob walk into the room so he wouldn't cry when I put him down. Turned out to be a smart move. He felt more comfortable. He even walked up to Barbara to give her a high-five.

Days 4 and 5 looked as if Jacob had been attending this day care his entire life. Barbara said he never gave her trouble, slept well and ate like a little piglet during feeding times. We couldn't have been happier to hear that news!

Now when Jacob walks in, he immediately goes over to the toys, or sits on the couch, or gives Barbara a high-five, or lets her pick him up. If I were to leave without saying bye, he probably wouldn't realize I'm gone until long after.

We're sad to see him grow up so fast, but we couldn't be happier to see how much he loves going to day care. As everyone knows, day care is expensive, but you can't put a price on learning and happiness.

From a boy who cried the first few days we left him now cries when we take him home.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Toes in the sand, fish in a tank

Editor's note: Videos to come later.

The Karlin Clan's summer has come to an official close. Erin went back to work. Jacob is back in day care. But we refused to let summer go quietly into the night.

Before Erin headed back to work, we embarked on an Interstate expedition to Houston, Galveston, Dallas and Atlanta. The nearly 3,000-mile trip took Jacob to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico and on a deep-sea exploration of the millions of wondrous creatures that inhabit our rivers, lakes and oceans, with plenty of pool time in between.

Getting there

Having already made the 11-hour trek from Nashville to Dallas when Jacob was 2 months old, we learned a few things in preparation for this go-around:
1. It's a really, really long drive with a baby and a dog.
2. If the baby isn't happy, none of us will be.

So we made a few adjustments:

First, we decided to break up the drive to Houston into two days. Last summer's 11-hour trip to Dallas turned into 13. There was no way we were going to drive straight to Houston, which was already at 13 hours. We drove eight hours to Texarkana (so nice, they built it twice), spent the night and then proceeded with the remaining five hours.

Next, we moved Jacob's carseat to the side behind the driver seat to give Dolly more room. Poor 60-pound Dolly was stuffed in the corner last summer for the entire drive. This time she was able to lie down, stretch out, and occasionally rest her head on the middle console like she did before Jacob stole all of her attention. Jacob now faces forward, so unlike last time, keeping him entertained would be much easier.

Erin came up with an idea to fasten our portable DVD player to the back of the driver seat with a bungee cord. It held up fine, but Jacob's legs were long enough to reach it. So he felt obliged to kick it. Erin then stacked it on top our cooler and a Cheez-It box so he couldn't reach it. That worked well until he figured out he could reach the Cheez-It box. So he felt obliged to kick it.

Annoyed, we placed the DVD player on the console between us. I couldn't rest my arm and Dolly couldn't come up to the front, but the baby was happy (see lessons learned NO. 2).

We were worried before the trip that Jacob would show a disinterest toward the DVDs. We couldn't have been more wrong. Elmo and Sillyville saved our sanity. The only times Jacob took his eyes off the screen were during boring parts. Then he would he just look out the window.

We also allowed him to suck on his pacifier. He's been 95 percent weaned from his paci (only using it when he sleeps), but we knew it would help him keep him content. Sure enough, when he wasn't feeling fussy, he would place it in his cup holder.

Overall the drive went surprisingly smooth. Jacob and Dolly behaved and didn't complain about stopping on our schedule.

Toes in the sand
After a brief overnight stop in Houston, the Karlin Clan (minus Dolly; she stayed at our friends' house), Uncle David, Nana and Papa Bodzin drove down to Galveston. Erin's parents rented a condo overlooking the beach.

Tropical Storm Bonnie was there waiting for us. Luckily she was out on her way out as we were getting in.

The rain stopped before sundown that night. After dinner we took Jacob to the beach. He was a little hesitant of the waves at first. He loved playing in the sand, though. We went to the beach the next morning. We plastered his pasty skin with sun screen and spent nearly the entire day on the beach. He napped in his stroller for a couple hours so we didn't have to cut the day short.

He preferred to play in the sand.

He helped me build sand castles. Well, I would mold the castle with his bucket and he would tear it down. He loved tossing the sand in the air and watching the rest trickle through his finers. And yes, he tasted it, too. He didn't make that mistake twice.

Georgia Aquarium
A couple weeks later, we drove a mere four hours to Marietta, Ga., to see Jacob's Mimi and Grandpa and Aunt Heather and visit the Georgia Aquarium. The spectacular view inside was well worth the pushing, kicking and biting through hoards of sweaty people outside. Atlanta's a very busy city.

Inside, Jacob saw sharks, sea dragons, penguins, otters, Beluga whales and jelly fish, among many other sea creatures. He also touched a sting ray.

After the aquarium, we walked across the street to Centennial Olympic Park so Jacob could cool off in the Olympic-ring fountains.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Little update

We're experiencing technical difficulties with our new video editing software we purchased along with our new computer. Apparently we need a more powerful graphics card. Thanks Best Buy representative for informing us on this minute detail after we repeatedly asked if the new setup would handle HD-quality editing.

After we solve this problem (if a graphics card truly is what we need), we'll post stories, pictures and videos from our summer-ending road trips to Texas and Georgia.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jacob at 15 months

SOOOOO.. we took Jacob to his 15 month appt. with a new Pediatrician. I am not thrilled about it. We love love love Dr. Rhoads!!!! He is absolutely wonderful and def. spoiled with a great doctor. The new pediatrican was not kid friendly and seemed like she really didnt know what she was doing. We are going to try out a new pediatrician for his 18 month appt. Hopefully it will be better.

We are going to compare stats from 1 yr and 15 month appt

1 yr.- 19.1 lbs and 29 in. long
15 months- 19.9 lbs and 29.5 in. long

Jacob is having a hard time growing. The Dr. told us to not give him us much liquids and give him more meat. He eats wonderful at daycare so hopefully something will happen and he will go through some kind of growth spurt between now and his 18 month appt.

Also, the Doctor told us that Jacob is a little delayed in speech and asked if we wanted to do a hearing test. We decided to wait till his 18 month appt and see how many words he can say then. At that time he was saying 3 words when he should be saying 5-7 words. He was saying mama, dada, and Hi.
Now, Jacob can say talk a lot but having a hard time getting the consonants out. He can say all gone but cant say the consonants with it.. he can also say night night but with out the consonants. I am a little worried so I have scheduled a hearing test for next week and see what we need to do. Since scheduling the hearing test, he now says 2 more words. He says bye-bye and ball. So hopefully he will be ok and wont need Tubes!.. other than that.. he is an extremely healthy boy!
Stay tuned for more posts!