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...