Wednesday, December 31, 2008

All grown up, but too short to go!

As 2008 draws to a close, I thought I'd race the clock to try to get at least one more post up (so at least then I could say I got two new posts in for the month of December... which sounds only slightly less pathetic than just one!)

Let me start off by saying that Jeff and I are pleased to announce that we are in fact just raising two healthy babies, and not, in fact, a family of black holes (as some may have interpreted my last post as implying).

In fact, according to Tyler's and Austin's most recent trip to the pediatrician, they are moving up the baby growth charts quite smoothly and uneventfully. Whew!

First, let's take a peek at Tyler's new stats... At the tender young age of just 19 months (that's slightly over 1-1/2 years for those who don't like speaking in months), Tyler measured in as follows:

  • Length (or should we be calling it height now??): 35" -- This means he's now taller than 97% of all the other toddlers his age. Although we're not growing black holes, it appears that we are raising at least one kid who's part weed.
  • Weight: 28 lbs. -- Weighing at the 77th percentile of others his age seems rather respectable for little Ty since, as just stated, he's also quiet a bit taller than the average toddler-bear!
  • Head: 47 cm, which puts him smack-dab in the 50% of his age group. Not bad considering he started life closer to the 10% range.

Now on to our gurgle-boy, Austin... We were a bit more concerned about how Austin would measure up considering he's developed quite the affinity for food - which almost borders on an obsession...
  • Length: 25-3/4" -- Unlike his sprouting brother, Austin is not quite as gifted in the area of height. He's only taller than a mere 75% of his cohorts.
  • Weight: 16.2 lbs. -- Not as scary as we were expecting, so he must be pooping more than we think. This also puts him in line with 75% of his peers - which sounds pretty good to us right now!
  • Head: 42.5 cm. Just like his brother, Austin is smack-dab in the 50% of his age group.
Considering that at around Austin's age, Tyler was in the 97% for height, 50-75% for weight, and 25% for head, I'd say it's safe to assume that, at least until he starts working off some of his milk gut with baby push-ups and marathons, Austin is destined to be the slightly shorter, slightly rounder baby of the family.

But, chubby as he is right now, he sure is a cutie!

As for Austin's first Christmas, well... it's a bit of a blur for him. All he knows is that Tyler has now found more objects to toss in his lap when he's lounging in his swing or on his boppy. He really likes his new toys - like his musical snake, singing flowers, and stuffed Grover - but would probably prefer to play with them one at a time instead of all at once.

Tyler, on the other hand, is just starting to finally "get" Christmas. Or the toy/present part of it at least. He had a great time discovering all his new treasures. Some of them he still has to do a little growing into, unfortunately, like his new Big Wheel and Fisher-Price Smartcycle - but he still likes trying them out (just can't quite reach the pedals yet...)

Okay... on that note, I must quickly end my post for today or I'm going to miss my December window of opportunity!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How do you fill a black hole?

Okay, so earlier today while clearing my head from lots of stuff I've been working on at my day job, I decided to take a peak at the much more frequently updated blog of Austin's second cousin, Henry (although you might know him better as Barnabas Monkeypants).

In the blog, Henry's father laments the fact that Henry is a hoover - sucking up anywhere from 20-36 ounces of milk each day - and that Henry's doctor was none too pleased.

Henry is just shy of 4 months old. Austin is almost 5 months old. So, where am I going with this blog post? Well, if Henry is a hoover, then Austin is a black hole.

You see, when it comes to food, Austin could probably gulp and eat little Henry under the table - in fact, I'm starting to think he might just decide to eat little Henry instead! I guess this could explain why Austin's become a bit more rotund than Tyler was at this age.

For example, here's Austin's intake for today alone...
  • Five 6-ounce bottles of formula (with a slow nipple, of course, because Austin prefers to savor his milk and gets really ticked off if you try to pull a "fast one" on him...)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of baby cereal
  • 1 container of Gerber bananas (level 1 foods) - divided between 2 feedings
  • 1 container of Gerber sweet potatoes (level 1 foods)
At least Austin's cut out his last bottle of milk in the evenings preferring to sleep instead (he's out, on average, from about 7:30pm until we wake him up the next day at 6:30am - definitely inherited his mommy's desire for lots of sleep...)

Yes, as stated in a previous post, Austin doesn't just LIKE his baby food, he DEVOURS IT! Lunging for each spoonful like a vulture attacks its prey.

In fact, last night at dinner, Austin's bumbo seat was positioned about 6 inches from a container of carrots that only people with teeth could enjoy. By the end of the meal, Austin was leaning precariously close to the carrot container, had grasped the end of the spoon in his hand, and had opened his mouth as wide as possible in anticipation.

Fortunately, Jeff caught him before he could proceed any further and moved the carrots to a safer distance from the little toothless vulturette - but that just sent Austin into a raging bout of tears. So, I caved and gave him the rest of his baby bananas from the fridge. Then, he demanded more and proceeded to chase it with a full container of Gerber apples.

I'm really serious here... this kid knows what food is, wants it now, and thinks he knows all about how to get it!

Tyler still hasn't mastered the concept of using utensils... but was almost shown up by his 4.5 month old little brother. How sad is that??

So, needless to say, both Tyler and Austin are due for their checkups this Friday (Tyler @ 19 months; Austin @5 months). Should be interesting to see how the little guy measures out on the scale... But, I'm a little nervous about where the results will land!

Should we start taking bets now on what percentage range his weight will fall into?? Hmm....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Inspector Gurglet

Lately, a lot of people I know have been having babies - mostly because the 10 or so other pregnant women I work with have all recently started to pop themselves. And since I create and send out the monthly electronic newsletter for my company's corporate services team, I get early dibs on seeing the photos of most of these new arrivals.

However, what it's really made me realize is just how quickly time goes by with a baby. I look at little Austin and can't help but think how cute and little he is. But, then when I see how much littler the newborns are in the pictures coming through my work email, Austin suddenly looks so much bigger (and he is, of course).

Yes, Austin is now just past 4 months old... although sometimes it still feels like he just joined us. And at just 4 months old, the changes we see in him are impressive.

They say you shouldn't compare your kids... but when they're this close in age, it's impossible not to. I'm not talking about debating if one is better than or smarter the other - there would be no winner since they're both our little angels and both so incredibly unique from each other... but looking at how differently they interact with the world as they age.

One of the biggest differences that I've noticed with Austin, from when Tyler was this little, is his attention to detail in the world around him. I guess you could say that Tyler's more a big-picture guy.... but Austin's more about the many little pieces making up that big picture.

When Tyler was a 4-month old, as much as tried to entice him, little toys and stuffed animals never really held his interest for long. And now, even though we tuck him in each night by putting a baby blanket in one of his arms and a stuffed monkey in the other, Tyler still could probably care less if one of those was missing for whatever reason.

Austin, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He's already found himself a "lovey". It's a cute little ladybug his grandmom gave him, which we appropriately just call "Ladybug". Austin doesn't just grasp Ladybug. He fiddles with Ladybug, snuggles Ladybug to his face, sucks on her nose, and gnaws on her antenna (unfortunately, gnawing on Ladybug's antenna is also something Max likes to do... which means that we're actually already onto Ladybug #2, with Ladybug #3 hidden away in a safe place in case of another antenna emergency).

But, it doesn't end with Ladybug. Austin also now pays very close attention to other things around him - tags on someone's shirt sleeve, designs on a T-shirt, a bib around his neck... He loves to tinker with stuff, move it around with his hands, investigate how it feels and how it moves. When holding a different toy the other day, a stuffed dog, he spent about 5 minutes just twiddling and focusing on the toys little ears.

Now, that's not to say that Tyler was never interested in these kind of things... just that I don't have a big recollection of him doing these sorts of investigations.

Difference #2 has to do with baby noises. Tyler loved to babble and laugh as a baby. He still does, in fact. Austin, on the other hand, has been more of a cryer until recently. Now, he too loves to laugh. But, a key thing we've noticed about Austin is the bevy of "baby noises" he actually makes. They say babies coo, gurgle, etc... we never noticed it with Tyler. But Austin really does coo and gurgle. He's also the inspiration for our "I wanna be a baby dinosaur" song - because, yes, he actually sounds exactly as you would imagine a baby dinosaur would sound. He just makes the absolute cutest baby noises you've ever heard! Tyler, on the other hand, seemed to have passed the baby noises pretty quickly, and if you've seen his very first YouTube video, you can see he moved right into giving full speeches in babble.

And the third main difference we've noticed centers around food. Tyler likes his food - especially anything sweet. In fact, for a toddler, he had a very hearty breakfast this morning of 2 sesame street cereal bars, a handful of teddy grahams, a banana, and one Pillsbury Cinnamon bun. (Okay - not the healthiest, I admit - but it was mommy's day to get up with the pipsqueaks and after battling a fun stomach bug for the past week, she was in no mood to put forth the effort needed to make egg and cheese burritos as she had originally been planning). But, as a baby starting on baby food, it took Tyler a little while to get started. His first feeding had him covered in sweet potatoes because he just couldn't get the concept of the spoon needing to make it in his mouth.

Austin, however, seems to have that part down pat. In trying to give him sweet potatoes for his first foray into baby food, and applesauce on his second, Austin showed that he not only understood the concept, but he was going to help you out by lunging for the spoon to get it in his mouth even faster. Unfortunately, this approach also leads to the ending of a baby whose face is covered in baby food. But, needless to say, he's big on the idea of moving beyond just bottled fluids. And if you had any doubts, the crying you hear when all the baby food is gone should help convince you otherwise.

So, those are the latest updates on how Austin's been changing... but here's a brief snippet into Tyler.

Tyler's now moved on to trying to feed the dogs, much as we feed Austin. The other day, he was caught red-handed trying to feed Loki water from his sippy cup after having laid a burp cloth across Loki's back. Interesting image... I was really sorry I didn't have my camera handy for that one - but by the time i grabbed the camera, Tyler had moved on.

He's also gotten more concerned about helping out his little brother. Upon hearing Austin cryig upstairs one day, Tyler went to Austin's swing, took out his brother's binky, and carried it all the way upstairs to his brother without putting it in his own mouth! Isn't he such a sweetie??

Anyway, that's all the news we have to share today. It feels like I've been typing forever, so I guess it's a pretty long post as well. So, if you're still reading, then thanks! And hopefully, we'll have more stories to share soon. I intended to add a bunch of pictures to this post too, but just realized how late it is - and since I have a really long work day ahead of me tomorrow, it looks like the pictures will have to wait... Maybe I can get them up later this week...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monkey see, monkey do...

I've recently realized just how different raising a puppy is from raising a baby.

Okay... before you start to question my sanity... of course I realize that they really are nothing alike - after all, one is a furry animal, and the other is human.

But, being that my only past frame of reference in raising something to become a "grown-up" was raising Max to become a bigger furry animal, a few things have caught me a little off-guard in the department of raising little humans.

Most notably, they observe and actually learn things even when you aren't trying to teach it to them.

Max knows a lot of stuff for a dog. He is great at letting me know very clearly when he needs more water. He knows when we've spotted a bug, and promptly runs for cover. He can even open doors with the right kind of doorknob (although he doesn't really care to close them.) But, what Max doesn't do is continue to learn once he's done figuring out the minimum that he needs to get what he wants. Once he's done, he turns himself off and putters away.

Tyler, on the other hand, doesn't do that. Even when you think he's tuned you out and is off in his own little world, he is secretly still absorbing information from his surroundings. In other words, you have to always be on guard with a baby around, unlike with a puppy.

Here are some recent examples of things Tyler has learned to do on his own through this silent observation:
  • Give hugs... and lots of them... to everyone. Today, his daycare teacher asked us if he hugs his brother a lot at home. After we responded that he does and that he also likes to hug the dogs a lot whether they enjoy it or not (they typically don't) - she commented that he often chases his friends around in school to hug them too all the time. Apparently, this might not be a good thing (or at least that's kind of the impression I took away from the brief conversation.)
  • Respond "Uh-Oh" when Austin starts to cry. This one, I'll have to admit, Tyler picked up pretty quickly from his parents. Funny kid.
  • Hold Austin's bottle for him. Sometimes, he squishes it with a little too much pressure into his brother's face, but Tyler definitely has a new sense of joy from helping to feed his little sibling.
  • Feed Snookies to the dogs. Unfortunately, however, he hasn't learned to stop at giving them each just one. The dogs love this. We don't.
  • Brush his hair with daddy's brush, using a water spray bottle to help wet it down. Too bad his aim is off though, and he usually just ends up with a wet face and hair that really doesn't look much different than when he began.
  • Fill a cup from the fridge water dispenser. Fortunately for us, although he seems to understand the process, he doesn't use enough pressure to actually make the water come out.
  • Use a revolving door. The tricky part is getting him to stop revolving with the door and exit from it.
  • Properly use a phone. Or at least a play phone. Now, unlike before when he would just press buttons, he holds his play phone up to his ear as if he's having a real conversation!
The funny part is that you don't know when or how he learns some of these things... and there's not really much going on to indicate he's even paying attention - until one day you just happen to catch him doing something new. Something you know he had to have learned just by watching you. Scary.

So, that's Tyler... but what about Austin? Well, he's turned a bit of a corner. The daycare people now talk about what a joy he is - what a happy baby he's become! Astonishing!

Sure, he still has his moments on occasion, but for the most part, he's been a pretty content little guy. He still loves to have people sing to him and dance with him. His favorite song is most definitely the "Stinky Stinky Baby" song (although the Chicken Dance is quickly gaining steam). And, he loves his bumbo seat - for which we've learned giving him a bib is a lifesaver since the bumbo seems to make him extra drooly.

Austin's also really anxious to grow up. They say the second baby develops quicker when it comes to some of the major milestones, but with Austin, you can really see it. He is determined to sit up on his own - and gets really frustrated when he can't do it. He's also incredibly close to crawling - something that took Tyler a really long time to master.

While it's cool to see Austin picking up on all these things so quickly, it's also kind of scary and sad. Not because "he's growing up so fast" (although that in itself is a little depressing), but more so because it means that soon we'll have to chase two of these little beings around the house instead of just the one. And that's a truly frightening thought!

Monday, November 3, 2008

What I think I hear you saying is...

Well, really, with Austin, we haven't got a clue what he's saying. But now that he's finally found his voice, we're one step closer to something!

About a week ago, a faint babble from across the room let us know that Austin has finally decided he has some things to say, and is more than determined to say them.

He also laughs a lot more now too - especially if you sing to him. Austin seems to have a real ear for music. His favorite songs right now are "Stinky Stinky Baby" and "I Wanna Be a Baby Dinosaur".

Just in case you'd like to sing these tunes to your own brood, I've included the words below...

Stinky Stinky Baby
Stinky stinky baby
Stinky stinky boy
Stinky stinky Austin
Makes a lot of noise
... and poo.

I Wanna Be a Baby Dinosaur
I wanna be a baby dinosaur
I wanna roam and stomp and ROAR
I wanna be a baby dinosaur

Truth is, neither is really a real song. Just a bunch of words we put to catchy little melodies. But, Austin doesn't care one bit. He's an equal-opportunity laugh-er.

I leave you now with some parting words from baby Austin...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The legend of the tiny chicken...

Legend has it, that if you open your door on Halloween to find a tiny, quiet chicken with big eyes staring up at you, you will suddenly find all your candy missing...

Actually, Tyler did quite well with his first Halloween working the street.

His busy day started with school. He was asked to bring his costume. So at 7:45am, if you happened to be in the lobby of the office building that houses his daycare, you would have caught a glimpse of a little chicken toddling down the corridor. By the time I arrived to take him back home for the evening festivities, he already had a pretty good start on building his candy collection (they must have gone trick or treating through the offices upstairs).

Once we got home and finished dinner, the chicken and monkey were prepped to hit the streets. The typical scenario at each house (at least at the beginning of the evening) was as follows:
  • Chicken walks up to the front porch, big plastic pumpkin tightly gripped in one hand.
  • As parent presses doorbell, chicken points at doorbell and grunts (wanting to press the doorbell himself - even though he's too short, and doesn't press it hard enough when lifted to its level)
  • Door opens, house occupant presents bowl of candy to chicken.
  • Chicken doesn't say a word... just looks at big bowl of candy until prodded to take a piece.
  • Chicken gingerly takes something from the bowl, places it in plastic pumpkin, then stands staring at stranger until directed away by parents to the next house.
Occasionally, the chicken would be stumped when told to take even more candy from the bowl!

Eventually, the chicken got a little braver. He didn't say a word to the people at the houses the entire evening, but he did try to walk into a couple homes. And at one place, he even tried to share the goodwill by taking a handful of his own candy to place into the candy-givers bowl.

However, for a little guy who didn't say a word all night, he came home with quite the bounty. Even Austin was offered candy along the way, but gracefully declined, as it wasn't in a liquid form.

Unfortunately, while Tyler came home loaded with candy, all his parents came home with were sore, tired bodies from carrying a monkey, a chicken, and a big plastic pumpkin-head throughout the neighborhood. (If you think the chicken walked the entire way himself, you are grossly mistaken... besides the fact, if he did, we would still be out there trying to make it to the rest of the houses!)

Overall though, my concern that Tyler "might not get it' were completely unfounded. In fact, he seemed to completely enjoy the fact that dressing up as a silly, poofy chicken got him so much of that good sugary stuff!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why did the Monkey and the Chicken cross the road?

To get to the candy on the other side!

Well, craziness at work has left me with no time lately to update the blog... but since it is Halloween, I thought I'd take a quick moment just to give everyone a sneak preview at tonight's attire. Hopefully, I can find some time this weekend to provide a few good stories on Tyler's first Halloween. We do plan to try taking him to at least a few houses on the street. Oh boy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Great Day!"

At the daycare that Austin and Tyler attend, the caregivers fill out daily report cards for each child. Although they tend to be a bit more straightforward and generic in toddlerville, infants get personalized details about how their day went and a brief blurb about something they did that day.

When Tyler was in the infant room, a majority of his reports would begin with "Great day!". If his day was so-so, it would begin "Good day." Once in awhile, it would say "Okay day," and if it was a really bad day, it would just start with the day's activity description, with no mention of what kind of "day" it was.

Up until this point, Austin has had mostly "good" days, and a few "okay" days. But, this past Friday, he finally got the coveted "Great day!" Yay!! Apparently, he also spent the day listening to different types of music. According to Ms. Stephanie (his caregiver), Austin hates rap (made him cry... makes me cry too though) and he likes Country and R&B. Go figure!

The 3-month milestone!

Hard to believe the little guy is already 3 months old! He's growing so fast, and time is really flying! He's adopted a new buddy - a little stuffed ladybug he got as a gift. Tyler's never been into the whole "lovey" thing, but Austin apparently is. He loves to cling to the little bug and gnaw on his antennas.

Tyler's New Chair

As for Tyler, well, if you read my last post, you can see he's ready for his own "big boy chair". So, that's what we did last weekend. We got him one. And it's a nice one too! Ironically enough, most of the pictures we took today actually have Austin in the chair, but not to worry - Tyler loves his new chair and really does spend far more time in it than his brother (who only visits it when we want to get a cute picture of him lounging in it).

And the final news of the week is that we seem to be running a baby infirmary. Austin has now had his second ear infection in his short lifetime of 3 months, and Tyler picked up his own bug of some sort (at least we're hoping it's just a bug and not the result of numerous concussions from all his run-ins with furniture this week.)

Three strikes and you're out... so if Austin gets another ear infection anytime soon, it does indeed look like we could be headed for tube-ville again, just like his big brother. In the meantime, we're hoping those fevers stay away so Austin and Tyler don't get evicted from daycare again. Neither Jeff nor I can really afford to miss anymore work at this moment in time!

And since I have so many pictures of little Austin in this post, here's a few gratuitous ones of Tyler romping through the beautiful weeds that were growing in our back yard until Jeff mowed them all down today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The week in review...

It's amazing how much can happen in a week - or at least how much new stuff you can learn about your kids throughout the course of a week when they're babies!

So, rather than waste time with the formalities, let's just get right to the good stuff!

First, let's start with what we've learned about little Austin this week...

1. Austin is still an angry baby.

No, not joking... we actually have validation now! Even the daycare people seem to agree (although they've been far to nice to actually come right out and say it out loud...) What gives it away? Hmm... well, on one of his report cards last week, the question was actually asked if they could bump him up to 6 ounces of milk to get him through the 3 hours between bottles... or maybe "even though he's just 2.5 months" he might enjoy a little cereal by spoon between bottles? What are they trying to say??

And needless to say, in passing conversations with Jeff, they have remarked at "how different Austin really is from Tyler!" Considering they always referred to Tyler as "such a happy baby", I think this is their way of being polite. Poor little Austin!

2. Austin really likes his bumbo seat.

Austin is a pro at knowing when it's dinner time. Our dinner time. And he likes to make sure we know he knows by crying throughout the entire meal - even when he's just had his bottle moments before and should be pleasantly sedated by his meal.

But, we've finally discovered the secret to a quiet meal... the Bumbo seat! Apparently, all Austin really wanted was to sit with his family during their meal. Who would've thought? So, now, when he gets cranky during dinner, we sit him in the middle of the table in his bumbo, and he bobs away in silence as we dine.

Now on to Tyler...

1. Tyler wants his own big boy chair.

... and we don't mean an adult-sized seat. As much as Austin enjoys his bumbo seat, lately Tyler seems to be enjoying it even more. In fact, he likes to carry it around with him to make sure it's always ready for him when he's ready for a seat.

2. But he's not ready yet for a big boy bed!

Thanks to the close-timing of our little offspring, and their penchant for growing a bit longer than the average baby, a bit quicker than the average baby, Austin will soon be exceeding the length of his bassinette and looking for a more accommodating sleeping arrangement. This means, Tyler will have to vacate the crib for its new occupant.

So, it seems most logical that rather than buying a new crib, Tyler upgrades to a toddler bed. Well, he hates it. A lot. In fact, at 3am this morning, he was curled up on his bedroom floor with a blanket. By 6am, he was curled up under his crib. Yes, under it.

Evidently this will take a little more time than we anticipated.

3. And last, but not least, Tyler understands far more than we think he does...

Tonight, when trying to help him accept his new bed, I was lying in the bed and told him I'd read him a book if he brought me one. Wouldn't you know it, he actually understood exactly what I was saying! I guess it's easy to underestimate what kids know when they can't actually talk using real words.

He set his bedtime bottle of milk down at the top of the stairs, slid down the stairs, then returned a few moments later with one of his treasured Dr. Seuss books - handing it to me to read. Of course, with his short attention span, we didn't get more than half-way through the book, but it's the thought that really counts, isn't it?

And at least for that brief moment, he was willing to snuggle in his new big-boy bed. It's a start, right?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Things that go bump in the night...

I've only ever had two nightmares in my life that I can remember vividly... The most recent one happened in college when my nightmare centered on my getting stabbed and dying. Yes, it pretty much freaked me out.

The first one, though, was much milder and happened when I was just a little kid. I imagined that someone had kidnapped all the characters from Sesame Street and had each one tied up between two plant stakes along a hillside. Okay... sounds pretty silly now, but as a little kid, it had me completely terrified.

Needless to say, my sparse past with nightmares has left me completely unprepared for dealing with tonight's round of night terrors in our toddler.

Heck, I didn't even realize such a thing was even possible until recently. After all, how much life experience does a toddler have that can actually lead to scary dreams? What can they possibly get upset about? All the milk's gone from the fridge? Maybe the red fish and the blue fish escaped from the Dr. Seuss book and are chasing him around the house?

Regardless, tonight we were faced with Tyler's first extreme case of night terrors. He was sleeping soundly in his crib one minute, and screaming his head off the next... completely inconsolable. So, while Jeff was treating Austin to his nightcap, I did what my motherly instinct told me to do, and went in to try to comfort Tyler.

I took him from his crib, sat with him, took him into the guest room to lay with him in the bed, rubbed his back and the hair on his head, offered him a bottle of milk, etc... But, even with all that, it still took at least a good 1/2 hour for his frantic screaming to subside.

In the meantime, I asked Jeff to google "night terrors toddler". Turns out, my motherly instinct still needs major fine-tuning. The article compared night terrors in a toddler to sleep-walking and said not to pick them up or soothe them. Just stand nearby to make sure they don't hurt themselves, let them work through it in their sleep, and be there to comfort them if they wake up.

Too late. We already had a screaming Tyler out of the crib and on the loose.

Eventually, he did seem to "wake up" and calm down. Then, it turned into a game of making him laugh with the assistance of a stuffed monkey, a crazy Loki, and a grumpy Max. But, at least he had stopped crying and finally had a smile on his face.

Much to our relief, he is now once again sleeping soundly in his bed. Hopefully dreaming only of happy things now - like dancing monkeys, a fridge full of milk, and colorful fish in a fish tank where they belong.

Good thing he has that nightmare-proof chicken suit lined up for Halloween -- At least we hope it's nightmare proof... Jeff and I sure don't want any more of those night terror things again if we can help it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Laugh, baby, laugh...

Tonight, Austin actually laughed! Except that no one else was around when he did it, and he wouldn't do it in front of Jeff. So even though I know it happened, I have no witnesses to the big event...

However, assuming it really did happen, it was his first!

In the process of changing his sleeper for a clean, non-milk covered one, I was singing him his "Austin's Full of Milk" song, and he was enjoying it (as evidenced by his big smile). But, then, as I looked down at the big milk-filled belly below, I just had to activate the "kissy-monster". Then I heard it... that sweet little baby laugh!

It only happened once, though... and then it was gone - replaced by a silent ear to ear grin. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow I can make it happen again - maybe even with a witness!

Of course, Austin had another good reason to smile tonight, as did we all... we attempted another family night out, and this time it was a true success!

Instead of a serene Italian restaurant, this time we took the brood to Friday's (compliments of a buy-one-get-one-free coupon).

Tyler was in rare form. Considering how close we cut it to his bedtime, he was in a remarkably great mood. Aside from the tear constantly forming in his left eye, you'd never have known he just had a surgical procedure done.

Anyway, as soon as we sat down, he started hitting on the older woman seated behind him. She was 2 years old, with flowing blonde hair. Every few seconds he'd peek around to see if she was looking at him, and he'd wave (regardless of whether or not she was looking back). We tried to subtly let him know that perhaps he should be a little more discrete, and that most girls don't really appreciate stalkers, but he believes in following his heart. And tonight, it was all about her.

After she and her family departed, though, Tyler was willing to once again acknowledge our presence. After filling up on fried green beans, he was ready to dance to the beat of the loud music playing throughout the restaurant and wave to anyone within a 10 foot radius of the table. And as the lights dimmed to set the evening mood, he "ooooooo-ed" with joy.

In fact, he was so pleasantly distracted by the girl, the green beans, the music, the servers, and the lights, that he didn't even leave a huge mess in his wake!

And as for Austin, well, although he spent most of the evening with a bottle in his mouth, he wasn't crying...

So, all in all, the evening was a success all around!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tyler Goes Tubing

This morning, Tyler went in for his eye surgery. He needed to have his unopened tear duct opened. Basically, they run a tiny tube (supposedly looks like fishing line), through his tear duct and inside his nose to open things up (or something like that...).

Tyler is our little bionic kid. For a 16-month old, he's had more procedures done than I think I've had done my whole life. At 2 months old, he was in the hospital for a few days for his pyloric stenosis surgery. Then, around 9-months old, he got ear tubes to combat his constant ear infections. And now this.

But, for the most part, the little trooper always comes out like a champ.

Today, we had to report to the pediatric surgery center bright and early - 6 am. Since Tyler wasn't allowed to eat before the procedure, we didn't wake him up until it was time to go (fortunately, he could just wear his jammies there). And for a baby who didn't get breakfast before leaving, he was actually in a very good mood!

By around 7, they had finished the preliminary work-up on the little guy and took him away for the procedure, where they'd knock him out with general anesthesia through an IV.

By 7:30, we were getting the post-report from the eye specialist, then sent back to the waiting room to await Tyler's transition to the recovery area.

While in the waiting area, we could hear a baby screaming quite loudly and consistently (this is through 3 walls and quite a few doors, mind you). Never in our wildest dreams would we imagine this would be our very own happy little Tyler. Apparently, it's quite common for little kids to be really upset as they're coming out of the anesthesia. It's not so much a pain thing, as a confusion thing, I guess, because they had given him narcotics to take care of any pain...

They soon brought us in to be with Tyler, commenting on how strong he was for such a small kid (it took two of them to hold him down as he was waking up since he flops around so much). He was livid, of course. Didn't even want his binky - anyone who knows Tyler knows this is a really bad sign.

Poor little guy. NOTHING was going to console him. Not mommy, not daddy, not the binky, not apple juice... It's really rough seeing him so upset - especially knowing how happy he was when we first went in there!

Eventually, they released him, and assured us that the kids often calm down once they realize they're going home. He was too upset to pick out a "prize", so we picked out the tiger in the t-shirt for him, then we left.

Fortunately, the nurses were right. He calmed down enough in the car to take his binky. Then, right after we got home, he was ready to drink his apple juice. Once he had a full breakfast in his system, the old happy Tyler was back!

Now, the only evidence of this morning's procedure is a consistently bloody nose (which is normal and should go away soon) and the eye drops he'll get twice a day for a week.

Amazing how quickly little kids can recover, isn't it?

Here are some pictures of our much happier Tyler, taken this afternoon!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The 2-month milestone!

Yesterday, Austin had his 2-month check-up. It's so hard to believe he's already 2 months old!

He was actually in a great mood - even smiled at the nurse - until he got his shots right before we left. He was most definitely not a fan of those (not that I can blame him).

Although he was slightly shorter than his brother at birth, it seems that Austin has caught up quickly. In fact, he's grown 3 and 1/4 inches since his 2-week appointment. What a little sprout! It effectively puts him in the 90% for height among 2-month olds. Yes, between him and Tyler, we really are raising our own personal basketball team.

He's also gained a very respectable 3.4 pounds - which makes him heavier than 75% of the other 2-month olds out there. But considering he's also a lot taller than all of them, it seems the weight is just about on par.

Happily, he is right in the middle of the stats when it comes to one attribute. His head. The size of his head is exactly at 50% of the other 2-month olds.

So, all in all, he's tall, a good build, and has an average head.

But, of course, all this makes me wonder how he compares with Tyler's stats at 2-months old. So, I pulled out Tyler's little blue book.

First, let's compare how they look:

Now for the numbers... When Tyler turned 2-months old, he was just in the process of undergoing surgery for pyloric stenosis. So, the numerical differences are actually quite notable - but not real surprising since it wasn't like any of the milk Tyler drank at that point in time was actually staying in his belly!

Compared to Austin's height of 24-1/2", Tyler was just 24". So, despite that Tyler was born about an inch longer than his brother, it looks like Austin caught up!

Next, Tyler was only 10.5 pounds (25% percentile) compared to Austin's 12.6! No wonder Austin looks so much rounder than Tyler did!

And Tyler's always had a rather small head - only in the 10% when he was Austin's age (but he's in the 50% now!)

However, as you can see above, despite the size differences they experienced at 2 months, they do have a close resemblance to each other physically. I guess whereas Tyler was quite the stringbean, Austin is closer to being a snowpea.

As for the rest of Austin's appointment, it well pretty well. But he does appear to have a minor ear infection - so now he gets the lovely goopy medicine twice a day. Hopefully, he's not following his brother on the path to ear tubes...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blink and you'll miss it!

As I was feeding Austin one of his many bottles this morning, I noticed something that kind of creeped me out a little... he wasn't blinking. Nope. Not once. Just staring straight up at me as he chugged away with his eyes wide open.

I also realized that it's probably the same thing that makes it a little creepy when peeking in on him late at night when he's swaddled in his bassinet and not yet asleep. Nothing gives you the chills like walking up to a bassinet in a dark room to check on a quiet sleeping baby, and all you see are the whites of his little eyes staring back at you.

So, after I made this blinking discovery this morning, I, of course, had to go check it out on the glorious Web. And the results, I'm pleased to announce, confirm that I am not raising an alien. Apparently it's perfectly normal for a baby to not blink that much.

According to a web site called The Register (
"Babies blink less often than adults. In normal circumstances, newborns blink at the rate of less than two times per minute. In childhood, the blink rate rises. Thus, by about age 14, the blink rate rises to about 10 blinks per minute. In adulthood, the blink rate remains at about 10 to 15 times per minute."
Very interesting, I think! Funny, though, I never noticed this with Tyler.

So, with that educational bit of information for the day, I'm signing off now to check in one last time on the wide-eyed bundled non-blinking baby in the bassinet, and call it a night!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

Have you ever gone out to dinner and been seated near a family with little kids? Your first thought was probably "%@!#%, why do I always get stuck next to the crazy families??"

Well, tonight, we were that crazy family in the middle of the restaurant. And for future reference, just because you may have the same number of adults as babies at the table doesn't necessarily mean you are equally matched for the event.

All in all, it was a learning experience in many ways. So, without further ado, here are a few key lessons we'd like to pass along to others who may be contemplating a similar "adventure":

  • Always have a backup sippy cup on hand. Fortunately, this time we did, as Tyler was very intrigued with the squishiness of his styrofoam kid's cup. In other words, no sippy cup equals one very milk-soaked toddler.
  • If a little bowl of red sauce arrives with the kid's meal, remove it from the plate before the toddler spots it. We failed on this one. Watching him dunk the first noodle in it was cute. Watching him squish the rest of his meal into the little ketchup-filled bowl then proceed to "paint" the table was not.
  • If you order fettucini that has peas in it, and your toddler loves peas, don't give him a taste of your meal - unless you want to spend the rest of your time spearing peas with your fork for the demanding pea-lover (who doesn't like anything else on your plate).
  • Always keep a backup bottle of formula handy for the wee one. If you read my previous post, you know that milk can sometimes make an angry baby happy. Well, it didn't really work so well this time, but it did buy us a little time.
  • If angry baby won't stop crying unless he's being held, let the fastest eater eat first... then trade off the baby and let the slower eater eat their meal. That way everyone has a good chance to eat while their meal is at least a little bit warm.
  • If the toddler drops a big piece of bread on the floor, and you put it back on the table to help prevent the area from looking like a complete warzone, put the bread far enough out of hubby's reach so he doesn't mistake it for a simple toddler reject that must be consumed. (Sorry, Jeff!)
  • And finally, chug a glass of red wine with the meal. It really does make everything just a little bit easier...
Fortunately, at least two of the couples seated near us were understanding and did proceed to "ooo" and "ahhh" over the little guys... but I still couldn't help feeling we were at risk of getting a standing ovation from everyone else in the place when we finally got up to leave.

But, despite the chaos, we did get a full meal in, Tyler left without getting any of it in his hair, and Austin made it home without completely losing his temper. So, I guess that still counts as a successful night out, right?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Turning Godzilla into the Sleeping Giant

When today began, the angry baby was actually not all that angry. In fact, he seemed downright content throughout the morning and most of the afternoon... but once evening came, the angry baby returned with a vengeance.

So, how do you turn an angry baby into a happy one - or at least one that's willing to fall asleep? Well, in general, we've found the following are some of Austin's favorite things:
  1. Milk... lots of milk (formula actually... and lately he seems to prefer the Gentlease over his special hypo-allergenic high maintenance kind - a good sign!)
  2. Being held. Austin loves to be held.
  3. If holding him isn't doing it, then you have to add walking to the mix. The only thing Austin likes more than being held is being held by someone who's walking around.
  4. Gripe water - liquid gold! (basically appears to be the equivalent of sugar water with a few herbs thrown in to make it sound really special)
  5. The swaddler. We are horrible at swaddling. The arms always find their way out. But fortunately, you can buy a swaddler for dummies - it's soft and cozy for the baby with velcro enclosures for the swaddler-challenged parents. You gotta have the non-stretchy kind of swaddlers though - or he'll still wiggle his way out!
  6. Someone rubbing a finger lightly across his cheek and chin while making that "Shhhhhh" sound.
  7. A Binky. The no-brainer... but Austin doesn't always want his binky. And he seems to have inherited his mom's ultra-sensitive gag reflex. So, even when he does want the binky, he sometimes has a tough time keeping it in his mouth.
  8. More milk. Just like Tyler when he was a newborn, Austin is a bit of a piggy - and he loves his milk.
And if none of those work, then we really are scewed until he decides to cut us a break... Fortunately, one of the those things above will usually be successful - it just might not always be the choice we were hoping for (such as wanting to be held when you want to go to sleep!)

Tonight was one of those nights when we pretty much had to go through the list to get him to agree it was time for bed. So, what does an evening with the angry baby look like? First he gets his milk... then he gets a clean diaper and swaddled. Looks content. Goes into the bassinet. A few moments pass before the warning call comes - "Nyeh". Give baby a binky. Binky promptly pops back out. Reinsert binky. It pops out. After about 5 rounds of this, the binky finally stays. For about a minute. Give up on binky. Hold baby and walk around for a few minutes. Maybe he has a bubble stuck, so try to burp baby. Small burp. Put baby back in bassinet. "Nyeh, Nyeh". Binky game replays. Take baby out of bassinet and give to hubby to snuggle with him in bed. Hubby is like a human furnace - so it seems to provide an ultra snuggly environment for angry babies - but, tonight, no dice.

Next comes the gripe water. Baby LOVES gripe water. But doesn't love when the gripe water is all gone. Finally, we give up. Solution of last resort is to give baby more milk and hope for a "milk coma" - that pleasant moment when baby falls fast asleep with an overstuffed belly, much the same way as adults pass out after a big meal on Thanksgiving day.

Judging from the silence coming from the other room, it seems we were finally successful with the milk coma approach. When in doubt, pull out the milk - Yay milk!

At least he's gradually starting to spend more of each day as a happy baby than an angry one as he gets older! And nothing give you that warm fuzzy feeling as much as when you get to see an "angry baby" smile and hear him happily coo! (and yes, he really does coo!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Angry Baby, Tornado Tyler. and Our Crazy World...

Welcome to our new blog - where you can learn the latest about our crazy little lives...

So, let's start by catching you up on what's happened so far. Jeff and I have 2 babies. One is now 16 months old (Tornado Tyler), and the other is 2 months old (Angry Austin). We also share our home with two bouncy, shaggy bearded collies (Max & Loki) who are both quite over the whole baby thing.

Tyler is what I assume to be a typical toddler boy. He toddles everywhere... and into anything in his way. In fact, just in time for today's picture day at school (daycare), Tyler got to sport a fresh gash on his cheek from toddling right off a toy the day before. This is in addition to the bruise on his other cheek from flipping head first into his dump truck a few days earlier. The other marks covering his face most likely originated during one of his toddles into the wall, or the table, or a dog... you get the idea, I'm sure!

From almost the moment he was born, Tyler has been a very happy (and independent) baby... Now that he's older, he's a little moodier of course - but overall, he's probably destined to be the class clown.

Austin, on the other hand, is Tyler's polar opposite. He's much more demanding, a bit more unsatisfied with his life as a baby, and generally more interested in being held and coddled than swinging in a swing or playing on a playmat.

Before Tyler graduated to Toddlerville at daycare, he shared the infant room with a baby named Elizabeth. Cute as she is, she also likes to cry a lot. So much, in fact, that it wasn't uncommon to hear her referred to as the "Angry Baby".

So, in our little world, we affectionately refer to Austin as our own little "Angry Baby". His role is playing mommy's boy to Tyler's daddy's boy... and unlike Tyler's potential future as class clown, Austin may very well be our quieter, more sensitive son.

And that's where the intro ends and this story begins...