Tuesday, January 30, 2007

classical baby

If you have HBO, tivo & a baby, this will be your new best friend. It's this series for babies and young children that features classical music (and some jazz) paired with art, dance and cute as all get out animation. Jake loves it. Who am I kidding, I LOVE it, not only because it totally calms the Jake, but it also calms the Jeannine. And it ain't that plinky plunky Baby Einstein tripe. It's honest to god music. My little man will be in a total funk, I'll turn this on (as a last resort), and he'll just be mellow as yellow. I'm not even a fan of babies watching tv, but for some reason this seems quality enough to pass the test. Seriousthly tivo or buy it. No need to thank me. And no, I don't work for HBO.

to fret or not to fret?

okay, is it just me or has this autism thing gone completely out of control. I don't just mean autism, but also how much you have to hear about it in the media these days. You see, I've been doing plenty of fretting lately about how a lot of the other babies we know around Jake's age are already doing one or all of the communicative skills, i.e. pointing, waving, clapping saying mama or dada (with intent), and Jake doesn't do any of those things. THEN, I get a call from my sister yesterday to tell me that I should really watch The View that morning because they were doing a segment on autism. OKAAAY, so apparently I wasn't the only one worried. And yes, I know I shouldn't have watched it for obvious reasons and because Rosie O'Donnel sometimes scares me... but I did, the fool that I am. I got what I deserved I guess because it basically left me in a state of freaked out paranoia. I kept running a checklist of warning signs & I was suddenly convinced that Jake was, you know. No, he doesn't have any of the reg flag warning signs, but that didn't stop me from believing it. I know, it sounds completely insane, but I'm telling you, that would be my worst fear realized. So, of course, you start to imagine it's true. Oh that, and I'm a neurotic nut job.

Anyway, I talked to Jonathan about it last week, even before watching The View, and he just reassured me that our boy will make a great linebacker someday. oh yay! I was worried there for a minute. Later that weekend I noticed Jonathan started obsessively trying to get him to wave and say dada. Basically all weekend we were going, "Jaaake, wave bye bye. Can you wave bye bye? BYE BYE? Look. JAKE. BYE BYE.", taking his hand and flapping it around. He just looked at us like we were insane. I'm starting to think he knows exactly what we're trying to do, but is stubborn and enjoys watching us squirm. He has actually come close I think. He's raised his arm so I'll just take that as a sign he's A-OK. But then, he'll do something to completely undermine my new confident way of thinking. Like this morning for instance, I was watching him on the monitor & he started rocking back and forth, banging the back of his head repeatedly against the crib. ack! fret, fret, fret.

I was so distraught after seeing that, I even brought this up with the Mom & Me group today. Apparently, I wasn't the only one fretting or the only one to watch The View the other day. Sophie, the instructor (is that what she is?), said all the babies in the group seemed completely "normal". She said that when a baby excels at one thing like say crawling, they're usually delayed in another developmental area. It actually seems true because all the girls in the class are clapping, waving etc. and not crawling or standing, while all the boys are crawling and standing but not communicating. Well blimey! I feel better. She also noted that rocking and hitting ones head at his age was completely normal. I even looked it up, she's right. My kids normal, my kid's normal, my kids f-ing normal!

So here you go, I give you "normal":

Friday, January 26, 2007

Have a drink mama!

Jake persists to love our kitties more than life itself. He'll see one of them and just let out this anguished scream like they were the Beatles or something. They, of course, retreat in terror. Except for Blue sometimes. He's a really good sport about letting Jake pull passionately at his face and ears. good kitty.

Jake also likes to pull and poke passionately at other babies faces which of course is a problem and is unbelievably exhausting. They just don't seem to understand the concept of being gentle yet. Although, that never seems to stop me from scolding Jake and saying, "no Jake, be gentle." I guess eventually he'll understand. The other day I met some friends at a park and Jake, being a few months older than the other babies, decided it was high time to show them how much fun it is to move. By move I mean crawling at a cheetah's pace across the grass towards a homeless person laying under the park bench. During the hour and a half we were there we played this game over and over again where I basically chased him from point A to point B, diving at times to stop him from swallowing fistfuls of acorns, grass & leaves. He thought it was great fun. I think I terrified the other two moms (of boys) because it gave them a frightening glimpse of their very near future. When we finally got home we both collapsed & I had a drink.

Which brings me to this piece they had on the Today Show. Honestly, I hate that show because all they ever talk about is what jeans are in style and the new diet craze. But anyway, I happened to have it on this morning in the background when I caught this bit they were doing about moms who drink while on a playdate. GASP. Hold on now, get your panties out of your butt. By drink they mean a glass of wine, not a slew of martinis or anything like that. Anyway, it got sort of heated with this one mom they were interviewing who supported the idea of booze on a playdate. This woman actually writes this great blog Suburban Bliss and was basically given this ridiculous amount of grief for her stance on the subject. It was like a Puritan ambush. They kept angling the interview to make her sound like she was some raging alcoholic for condoning a glass of wine with some friends while kids were present. Um, I'm sorry, but if you ask me, having a drink is downright condonable. When you have to run around like a headless chicken, chasing after your son or daughter, a drink just sometimes helps you not to loose it. Which is a good thing. In fact, Jamie & I had a glass of wine last night while hanging out with the babies. It was a definite good thing. Why can't adults be adults even around kids? Plus, during that 5-7 stretch when dad's not yet home and Jake's a big bag of bad attitude, a glass of wine with a friend is just what the psychiatrist ordered.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

touch my kid and I'm not sure what...

So why is it that strange waiters at California Pizza Kitchen with fuzz & crumbs stuck in their dreadlocks feel it's okay to touch my kid? Or any stranger for that matter (by touch, I mean in the totally benign way, mainly the hands & face). Well?
You know the type: bold, touchy & chatty, albeit a well intended stranger. They just somehow think it's okay to come over and put their germy, sweaty hands on my kid. These must be the same people who thought it was just fine to give my belly a rub down when I was pregnant. Random people in elevators, the check out line at the store or the bank. Personal space is obviously not a widely embraced concept.

I actually had a college professor do that to me once. So, what did I think (or not think) to do? I of course, I reached out and rubbed his. It was ripe, not quite as ripe as mine, but still well nourished, and I simply asked, " how far along are you?". Amazingly, I didn't fail the course after that & no one in the class dared touch my belly for the rest of the semester.

Anyway, back to those baby touchers. Babies are usually undoubtedly cuddly and have a very strong gravitational pull for whomever gets locked in the spell binding gaze. It's hard to resist them. I tewtelly get it. And yes, I know these touchy feely feelers mean well. Really, I do. That's why I'm probably a jerk for thinking this, & that's also why I find it so hard to ask them to stop. It's one of those weird social situations where you might sadly hurt someones feelings. Someone so genuinely nice. Nice people are difficult to come by these days, lets face it, so I don't want to be that person who puts up yet another social barrier. Plus, I don't like to offend. I'm VERY anti-offend. I'm a big ol' wimp. On some, SOME days someone could basically walk up to me and slap me up side the head and I'd respond, "sorry, I really didn't mean to get in the way of your hand.". I'd just rather avoid confrontation at all cost. But that's only on SOME days when my hormone levels are pretty level. You don't know when those are so I wouldn't try it. Please don't try it.

Personally, I have never thought it to be socially acceptable to go over and hug some random stranger's kids. I'll hug my friends kids, but that's different. I trust them and hopefully the feeling is mutual. So lets get down to the root of this social phobia. I think the big problem I have is I don't know these people, nor do I know where they've been with those hands. bleh. These people touch his hands, people possibly crawling with the flu, e.coli, norovirus, meningitis or some other sick, and then he puts his hands right into his mouth. Almost at lightning speed. I've actually (discretely) grabbed my purel out of my bag as soon as a touchy person started to approach so I was armed and ready to disinfect.

There was this one time when we were getting off a plane and this overly infatuated flight attendant came over and offered Jake her finger to suck on. Her FINGER. Oh. My. Gawd. I thought, this woman has lost her bloody mind. But then, something happened that will probably keep her from doing that ever again. He bit her. Hard. With his brand new, razor sharp teeth. I tried to pull him off, but that just made him bite down harder like a little pit bull or a shark. He finally released and she got her somewhat mangled finger back. I just smiled & said, "sorry about that, kids. heh.." and disappeared quickly.

Okay, so yes, we're all now undoubtedly clear that I'm a certifiable germaphobe. I am, after all, a huge fan of the cleanshopper, the clean diner and purel. So I'm not even going to try to deny my neuroses. But my kid does like to gum everything within his mouth's reach so I think however neurotic I may be, it's totally justifiable. I've seen Jake actually grab my shoe off the floor and just slurp away. Thankfully, I've been told this is also just a phase. I'm thinking this whole thing where strangers feel okay about touching your kid is too. Because soon, Jake will be bigger and will be just as creeped out as I am, and creeped out kids usually make their feelings quite clear. For now, I'll keep trying to figure out polite ways to ask them to not touch my kid. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. touch him & die a slow, horrible death.

2. (in a low whisper) he's might still be contagious, they never identified that rash of his. It's still oozing, poor thing.

3. he might bite a little.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Quite simply, this is why.

I have for you here Exhibit A of why the fun, happy play zone is sometimes very necessary. Imagine what craziness he could cause to say, the fireplace. I dread to think. You can see Oliver inspect what he's doing and you can almost read his mind. In case you can't, he's saying,

"man, you are going to be in such trouuuuuubllllle. Wait till mom sees."

I actually let him explore the Tupperware cabinet while I was preparing dinner the other night which is what I routinely do. It is the one cabinet in the kitchen that is not locked up. After all, what's the harm? And I ask you, what could be more fun than Tupperware? Look how much fun he's having? It's as if he felt like he was getting away with something which, of course, makes it all the more enticing.

Which brings me to a question for all you other parents out there with extra inquisitive little babies like mine. Why is it that, your child could be sitting on the floor surrounded big sea of colorful, imaginative toys, and what will catch their attention? The remote control, the camera or just about anything that is not a toy. I should make a line of toys that look just like the real adult thing only you can let them have without the fear that they'll somehow swallow the batteries. Toys that don't look like toys. Because they do actually have toy versions out there already, however, they're bright red or blue and sometimes squishy.
Now babies may not be as sophisticated as you or I, but they're a whole lot smarter than I think a lot of toy creators give them credit for. Why on earth would a baby look at a bright blue cell phone with a Bob the Builder sticker on it and think,

"gee, I finally get to play with mommy's... hey! wait a friggin minute here. This isn't a her cell phone. It's rainbow for a start!".

Who do we think we're fooling? Of course, if they did have such realistic toys, it would be my insane luck the I'd grab my kids toy phone instead of my own. I can just see myself standing in line at the bank when all of a sudden my phone starts playing "if you're happy and you know it"... no, not happy at all. I'm in line at the bank you silly phone.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Meet My New Ally

be afraid Oliver, be very afraid.

you almost feel sorry for him in this photo.

Some might liken this to a cage, but we like to call it Jake's fun, happy play zone. It just seemed easier than wall to wall carpeting and padding the furniture. Before I get any hate mail, for the record, I don't leave him in there all day. It's just there as containment when I'm in a pickle or need a break. After all, he can crawl really fast these days, like a lizard. This is a huge step up from his old digs, the pack n' play. Now he can scoot joyfully from one end to the other or do laps like a gold fish. He can also routinely pull himself up to a standing position which of course makes his naps REAL fun. Life as I have known it is officially over. I know this is only a temporary solution, but it's here for as long as deemed appropriate or at least until he can mutter the words,
"let me out of this damn cage mom".
The other day when Jake was napping , Oliver our cat jumped into the, er, happy play zone and then couldn't figure out how to get back out. I wasn't about to help him. This was just too entertaining to intervene. Then suddenly Jake awoke and I plopped him right down next to Oliver. Oliver looked at me like I had just fed him to the lions. Needless to say, Oliver became quite proficient in playzone escapes after that. Jake looked up with this expression like,
"well for crissakes, he's amazing! Wait. back up. How'd he do that?".

he looks like he's right out of one of those old jail house movies, shouting idle threats.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

O Holy Night

Jake dazzles everyone in his christening finery on Christmas Eve.

Jonathan, Me, Jake & godmother Kathy

Getting christened is awfully tiring.

nothing a little cake won't cure.
(baked with love by Grandma Brenda)

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Jake's U.K. Introduction

So, as it turns out, traveling on a 12 hour transatlantic flight with a baby is really hard. No, let me rephrase, is hell. On our outbound journey, there was a big misunderstanding about whether or not British Airways supplies Britax baby seats so we, thinking they did, didn't bother bringing our own car seat. Stupid us, because as it turns out they don't. They do actually supply a Britax bouncer type seat which had to be attached to the flip down bassinet holder in front of us, is made of hard uncomfortable plastic and can only be used when the plane is experiencing no turbulence. TURNS OUT, we had turbulence for 3/4 of the flight. It was a fun time.

(Here's Jake looking a bit lost after waking up on the plane.)

The return wasn't much better. We ended up purchasing a car seat in the U.K. so we could actually use the seat we had purchased for him and maybe be able to nap, read, watch a movie and generally not loose circulation in our arms and laps. It was a long day one of which I'm not sure I'd like to ever repeat. On the two hour flight from Manchester to Heathrow during which he was on our laps, he pretty much screamed the whole way. During the 3 hour lay over at Heathrow, he was passed out. Of course. And on the 12 hour flight from Heathrow to L.A., he managed to sleep for a good part of the trip apart from the time a rather bitchy, little flight attendant tried to tell me I had to take him out of his FAA approve, 5 point harness car seat and sit in my lap during turbulence. QUA?! How is that possibly safer??? Needless to say, after shooting my eye death rays at him, stifling a scream and having words with his supervisor, Jake was sitting pretty in his new car seat for the entire flight. 24 hours, two butt explosions, two changes of clothing & one meltdown later we were home. God I love home. I love traveling, but I also really do love home.

It really wasn't all bad...

Aside from the getting there and coming home part, the trip was great. Jake's feet basically never touched the floor because there we so many eager family members & friends around to hold and snoogle him. He was in heaven. Who am I kidding, I was in Heaven. It was like having 12 extra hands. Now that he's home I think he might be a bit depressed or at least really confused. All his new compadres are gone & he hasn't the foggiest idea as to why. I took him out today to get lots of his missed sunshine in hopes to cheer him up and cure his jet lag. Grandma JoAnn and Aunt Kat will be in town for the next 4 day which will be great but will probably throw him for another loop.

So here are some highlights of our trip.

Jake met his Great Grandma Annie for the first time;

(Great Grandma Annie & a very festive Jake)

met some new friends;

(Naomi, Tim & Sam)

"saw", or should I say, was present in London (jet lag can be a bitch);

and rode on a train for the first time.

He was even christened at St Mary the Virgin in Oxenhope. For some reason I haven't got a single photo of the event which is too bad because it was beautiful. He looked like a little angel in his christening gown. The christening gown was a much heated debate between Jonathan & I. Gown vs. 49rs. jersey. I won. hee hee. (so whoever has photos please email them to me. K, thanks.)

Jake was also very popular with Santa apparently because he received everything he wished for(many, many thanks Santa). All of which had to somehow fit in our already expanded suitcases.

(Jake with new maraca & hippo)

He even got two brand spank'n new front teeth.