What do Toddlers Dream About

Posted September 14th, 2011 by Aaron

Apparently, “Dinosaur Train” and chicken nuggets.

Luke requires two things at night:

  1. for one of us to lie in bed with him until he falls asleep
  2. to sleep in our bed after he wakes up and finds that we’re no longer in his bed.

Last night was no different in regards to his needs.  The difference came around 5:45 this morning when he suddenly said, “Dinosaur Train.”  I looked at the clock, and disregarded it when I saw the time.  I thought he was awake and asking to go watch the show.  But then he said it twice more, each time with increasing volume.  Then…silence.

He went back to sleep after that, or stayed asleep and moved on to the next dream.

A while later, he said with a little distress in his voice, “no nuggets.  No nuggets!”

Of course, we weren’t lying there in bed with him offering him chicken nuggets.  I mean, who would eat chicken nuggets in bed before 11:00am?  McDonald’s is still making breakfast at that point!  Sheesh!

So, to answer the question that I think has been on your minds for many years now: what do toddlers dream about?  The answer is simply, “Dinosaur Train” and chicken nuggets.

Luke’s “Big Boy” Room

Posted August 22nd, 2011 by Aaron

For a couple of months, we had a lot of trouble getting Luke to go to bed.  He just didn’t want to be in his crib.  There was very little that we could do to convince him that lying down and going to sleep was the right thing to do.  Instead, he felt that crying and screaming was definitely what he should be doing.  And maybe it worked.

Every time.

We aren’t sure what it was about his crib that caused him to hate it so much.  He’s still small enough that he’s not touching all four sides.  There aren’t any monsters in his closet anymore.  Maybe the bars remind him of the time he spent in a San Juan prison.

Whatever the reason, he doesn’t like it in there.  Plus, we have a second baby on the way, and he needs to get the hell out of her room.  Now!

Sarah decided that she wanted to get his bedroom furniture at IKEA.  So, we borrowed her mom’s van, took all the seats out, grabbed our friends Bryan and Heather, and headed south to West Chester!

We got quite a few things there: Swedish meatballs, mac and cheese, chicken fingers.  We were living LARGE!  We also picked out a ton of stuff for Luke and me.  The “me” part was for my office furniture.  The rest of it though was Luke’s bed frame and mattress, a matching dresser, a storage unit for his toys, and a little wooden train set.  We got some other miscellaneous things for ourselves.

We were at IKEA for about six hours…

The following weekend, I finished prepping the walls of his room, and I painted.  We chose “Cinderella’s Ball Gown” as the color.  It’s a blue.  Sort of sky blue, but less manly.  I told Sarah that Cinderella’s Ball Gown would look better on the floor.  Based on the glare she gave me, I think she got the joke.

That was the Sunday before his birthday.  The next night, I assembled his dresser.  That was painfully tedious.

The next night after that, I assembled the bed.  That wasn’t so tedious.  The mattress though was rolled up tight.  It was rolled up so tight, I was afraid to cut the plastic to unwrap it.  I imagined the mattress unrolling with such force that I would be thrown backwards against the wall either giving myself a concussion, or putting an Aaron-shaped hole in the wall like a Bugs Bunny cartoon!

Unrolling the mattress was horrifying!  As the tension in plastic wrapping released, the mattress quickly uncoiled within the loosened plastic making some disturbing rumbling noises.  Eventually, it unrolled enough that the tension released, and the danger passed.  I still put my full body over the roll to keep it from just flying open as I removed the plastic.

I put Luke’s queen size mattress on the frame, put sheets on it, and Luke got to sleep in it that night.  Wait!  Did you just make a face when you saw “queen size”?  I know it seems a little weird, but here’s an artist’s representation of what Luke looked like sleeping alone in our queen bed a few nights earlier:

Luke in our bed

Artist's representation of Luke sleeping in our bed

Also, Sarah pointed out to me how economical it is that we don’t have to buy new sheets for his bed!

Here are some pictures of the room, and some of Luke’s reaction:

Luke's new bed

Luke's new bed

View from the door

View from the door

Testing out the new bed with Mom

Testing out the new bed with Mom

Climbing up next to Dad

Climbing up next to Dad

I like this

"I like this"

Stomach Flu

Posted March 26th, 2011 by Aaron

This news is a few weeks old, but the misery is still pretty fresh in my mind…

A few weeks ago, I stayed home from work because I was feeling a little under the weather. Nothing serious mind you, just not good. Near the end of the day, I got a voice mail from the day care. His teacher mentioned that he threw up, and she wanted me to call back. I immediately got my coat and drove to pick him up.

When I got there, he seemed fine. His teachers said that it seemed like it might be an isolated incident.  Stereotypical and hilarious side note: he threw up in the ball pit!  Of all places that kids throw up, why is it ALWAYS the ball pit?!?

I took him home and said I would keep an eye on him, but don’t expect to see him the next day.I thought he was going to be fine, but once we got into the driveway, he did it again. Unfortunately, when a kid is strapped into a car seat, they don’t have a lot of freedom to lean forward. Instead, they just sit there. I wasn’t concerned about the mess, just about him choking!

I got him inside, cleaned him up, and changed his clothes.  Again, he was deceptively fine.  I gave him something to drink.  Within 15 minutes, again with the throwing up!  This was starting to get obnoxious.

After being sick all evening, we finally took him to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital urgent care.  After a couple of painful, boring hours, the doctor finally saw us.  He sent us home and told us to give him Gatorade or 7-up.  We took him home and put him to bed.

Sarah was the first to come down with the flu two days later.  I was the next, but I wasn’t as bad off as either of them.

There are a couple of valuable lessons that I learned from this experience.  The first is that toddlers aren’t considerate when they throw up.  No less than three times did the boy walk up to me to throw up on my feet.  I held a trash can under his face a couple of times.  He proceeded to try pushing the trash can away.

The second thing is that urgent care was almost a wasted experience for stomach flu.  I say “almost” because we did come away with how to tell if he’s getting dehydrated.  Apparently, all we have to do is check for moisture inside his cheeks.  If his mouth starts drying up, he’s getting dehydrated, otherwise, just give him some Gatorade and ginger ale (if they’re over a year old), and call it a night.

Single Dad – Day 4

Posted October 24th, 2010 by Aaron

This could be subtitled “success!” or simply “last day”.

It was another pretty easy day for me.  I did go out to eat for dinner though.  I took Fred and Regina with us.  It was nice to have a little adult company, and to have somebody else cook and clean up for me.

The boy went to sleep at 8:00 again with no problems.  He woke up at 5:00 or 6:00 though, which felt pretty ridiculous.  We were going to sleep in a little bit!  So much for that.

I picked Sarah up from the airport a while after he went to bed.  Fred came over to babysit while I went to the airport.  I mean, Luke would’ve been fine, but apparently people get all huffy and “you’re a bad father” when you leave them home by themselves.  Whatever.

Based on this week though, if Sarah was going to go out of town again, I can safely say that I can do it.  I can take care of Luke by myself.  Fortunately, the most I’ll probably have to do for a while is an evening while Sarah goes out with friends.

Single Dad – Day 3

Posted October 21st, 2010 by Administrator

And so continues my “Single Dad” posts…

Last night was much less boring than the previous nights.  While I was making dinner, Luke was getting into absolutely everything!  He just seemed to have a lot of energy.

After a brief dinner, probably caused by his grandmother feeding him dinner also (which pisses me off incredibly), he messed his pants (horribly!), and then we had a little rough-housing session to help burn off some of that extra energy.

He had a bottle and again went to bed at 8:00.  He cried briefly, but it wasn’t a worrisome, “I hate you, get me out of here” crying.

I proceeded to do some work and fold up my laundry.  Around 11:30, he started crying.  This was the “I’m awake, and I want out of here” cry.  I let him cry for about 20 minutes hoping that it would stop.  It didn’t.

I went and got him out of his crib and gave him a small bottle.  After he finished the bottle, he seemed to be resting peacefully beside me.  I figured he was going to sleep, so I shut my light off and snuggled up with him.  That’s when the fidgeting began.

I fidgeted around.  He tossed and turned.  It was a little annoying, so I decided it was time to go back to his crib.  When I walked into his room, it was as if somebody poked him with a stick.  I felt him get suddenly tense, and he wrapped his pudgy, little legs around my waist.  I tried to put him in his crib, but he started crying and held onto me with bodybuilder strength!  I caved and took him back to bed with me thinking maybe he’ll be okay.

I was wrong.  Same thing.  Fidgeting, tossing, turning…  He was even doing this thing where he kept scooting closer to the edge of the bed away from me.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  It was almost 1:00 in the morning, and I needed sleep.  I took him back to his room where he had essentially the same reaction as the previous attempt.  This time I was NOT sympathetic, and left him in his crib to cry and scream  It lasted for about 20 minutes, then he went to sleep, as did I.

I haven’t set my alarm clock all week.  I’ve been living off of baby/toddler time.  This morning though, I woke up at 7:00 all by myself.  I heard Luke cough, so I knew he was fine, just sleeping late and maybe has a little cold.  I showered, got my stuff together, fed the cats, loaded the car, talked to Sarah, and he still hadn’t woken up.  I had to get him out of bed at almost 8:00 to put his sweatshirt and slippers on to drop him off at his grandparents’ house.

Tonight, Sarah comes home.  I’m looking forward to a little break, and a little adult conversation.  Ducka ducka and dooga followed by ear-piercing screams are great baby/toddler conversations, but I’d like to be able to have some adault conversation now.

Single Dad – Day 2

Posted October 20th, 2010 by Aaron

This morning ended Day 2 of single dad!

It was pretty much the same as the day before: easy evening, bottle, in bed at 8:00, up at 6:15.  After he woke up, we sat on the couch together, him on my lap, and we watched the morning news.

I have discovered over the past couple of evenings that Luke knows which box in the pantry has the vanilla wafer cookies in it.  When the pantry is open, he grabs that box nad holds it out for me so I can get him a wafer.  *sigh* Smart kids…

There isn’t anything exciting to report.  That’s good though, right?

Single Dad – Day 1

Posted October 19th, 2010 by Aaron

Yesterday is the first time since Luke’s been born that I’ve been 100% responsible for him.  I was responsible for feeding him, getting him ready for bed, putting him to bed, and getting him ready this morning.  Sounds terrifying doesn’t it?  Not for me, but for him!

I have to say, it wasn’t bad.  At all.  He was a trooper yesterday.  He sat down beside me while I was at the stove cooking dinner.  He was in the lazy susan (What did Susan do to be considered “lazy”), playing with the tupperware, grabbing travel mugs and pretending to drink out of them.  It was great!  He was even good-natured for me while I left him in his booster seat while I cleaned up.

Shortly afterward, I put him in his bedtime clothes and diaper.  We played a little bit.  I gave him a bottle close to 8:00, he chilled out on my lap while he drank it.  Afterward, he started doing his calm, sleepy babbling.  I put him to bed, and he went to sleep.

He *did* wake up at 3:30 this morning.  I got him, gave him a small bottle, and he went back to sleep until 6:45.  Not bad.

He was great this morning too.  I felt bad for him though.  I had to put him in his crib while I showered.  He hated it!  But it was the safest place for all parties involved.

So far so good.  Tonight will be “Single Dad – Day 2.”  Wish me luck…

Babies are…interesting

Posted October 17th, 2010 by Aaron

It’s been a couple of months since I last posted anything.  Not for a lack of want, I assure you.

Two weeks after Luke’s birthday, he started walking.  I don’t mean he was mostly crawling and wanted to walk a little bit.  He did that for a couple of days.  I mean, he took off walking, and ever since then, he refuses to crawl.

I feel like I make him sound like Forest Gump when I describe him like that.  He didn’t just keep running and running and one day stop.  He takes breaks every now and then.

What else has been going on over the last couple of months?  I guess the most recent thing that gave me the idea for the title is, we went to my mom’s yesterday.  It was a great time.  We met her new boyfriend/manfriend/main squeeze.  My grandmother was there, whom I haven’t seen in too long.  My sister, her husband, and their daughter was there.  It was a great time, and a good gathering.  In fact, we’re going to do something similar again next weekend.

For a little while, Luke was a little reserved.  He didn’t say anything.  He didn’t do anything.  He just sat there.  After about an hour or so, we gave him a bottle.  After drinking it, he became a new man!

He was the life of the party!  He was talking, petting the cats, walking around, peeing his pants!  He was a crazy man!  This is the interesting part though:

He was talking to everybody, depending on who was around.  I noticed that his speech pattern, or babble pattern, was different.  At least it seemed different to me.  He was telling my family different things than what he usually tells me and Sarah.  I was fascinated!  I eves dropped to see if I could tell what juicy tidbits of his life he was passing on to everybody around him.  Of course I couldn’t…

He was making eye contact with people.  I noticed that he would focus on specific people, and then he would tell them a story or something.  it was very heartwarming for me to see him interact with my family like that.  He spends a lot of time with Sarah’s family and very little time with mine.  Not their fault of course.  We’re not exactly reclusive, but we’re a far cry from being social butterflies.

The fact that babies interact differently with different people is something that I find pretty intriguing.  To me it really shows personality and intelligence.  Luke definitely has a shy personality.  He goes through phases where he’s less shy though.  He’s currently going through one of those “less shy” phases right now.  I love it.

Aside from that, I know there’s more that he’s been doing from a developmental standpoint.  Things like identifying his head, belly, lips, and saying certain words as well as mimicking sounds and actions.  But it’s difficult to convey two months worth of development in a single post.  It’s also amazing to me that there has been so much change over the past couple of months that I can’t describe it.

Babies are interesting, but they’re also wonderful.  My life has been so much better since we’ve had little Lucas.


Happy birthday, Luke!

Posted August 17th, 2010 by Aaron

Happy birthday TO you!  Happy BIRTHday TO YOOOOOOUUUU!  Happy BIRTHDAY dear Lucas!  Happy birthday to YOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUU!!!

That’s right!  Today is Luke’s first birthday.  It’s also his grandma’s birthday.  Obviously it’s not her first *snicker snicker*

Exactly one year ago, I was exhausted, hungry, and scared for my freedom.  Rightfully so too: have you ever had a baby???  Wow!

Realistically, having Luke hasn’t been as enslaving as I thought it would be.  Make no mistake though.  I don’t get to do nearly as much as I used to.  Nor do I see everybody as frequently as I used to.  But having Luke around feels pretty natural.  I don’t really remember what life was like before him.  I think that it was pretty much the same.  The only difference that I can make out right now is that I didn’t have to block the cabinat doors.  Nor did I have to stop anybody from getting into the cabinets.  I think the cats used to open them, but they weren’t as obsessed with opening them and getting in there.  Plus, when I caught them, they ran with fear.

Luke isn’t like the cats though.  He’s more like a Terminator: he can’t be bargained with.  He can’t be reasoned with.  He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.  And he absolutely will not stop, ever…

It has definitely been a year of patience, frustration, failures, and personal triumphs.  One thing I can say with absolute certainty: it’s all been worth it.

Happy birthday little buddy.

Mom and Dad

The Above Average Hillbilly

Posted May 18th, 2010 by Aaron

Not to be confused with this guy. That’s right, at the ripe age of almost 9 months, Luke got two more teeth! He has a total of four teeth, and he’s not even over 30 yet! That’s much better than them city-folk that have all 23 of theirs when they get older.

I encourage you to try to do that math. You’re probably sitting there right now trying to figure out just how many teeth you actually have. Stop counting, it’s 32. Well, for most adults anyway.

What else is going on with the little tiger cub?  I mentioned before that he’s crawling now.  He has officially graduated from crippled insect to lame animal.  In fact, he’s such an animal that when he crawls after me, I fear for my ankles!  As a point of clarification, I really mean “after me” and not “to me”.  He gets a ferocious gleam in his eyes, he bares his teeth, and he’s off to the races!  It’s a slow race, but apparently there’s some tortoise and hare story that I should be aware of?  I’m sure it’s a story about how they had a delicious dinner together, or maybe how they were the delicious dinner.

He’s become significantly more chatty too.  When I listen closely, I can make out “da-da”, “ma-ma”, and the occasional “pity the fool!”  Sometimes it really sounds like he’s trying to converse with us.  Eventually he’ll be a lot clearer.

Also of note, and this’ll be the last thing before I go to bed, he likes to be walked around.  He definitely lets us know he wants to stand, which means that his legs are straight out in front of him and he’s pulling himself up with all of his might.  While we’re holding his hands, he likes to walk around.  I definitely let him lead the way, but I try to keep him away from the stove, dishwasher, and laundry room.  I just remind him that those are mommy’s job, and not for big guys like us.

It is fun walking him around though.  I’m always interested in what he wants to see.  He’ll sometimes lead me to Mommy, up to the oven so he can stare at his reflection, or just random places.  He loves it, and I’m reluctant to deny helping him walk around, even though I have to hunch over to walk with him.

He’s a good kid, and we love him very much.