Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Bee's Knees
Just when you thought it was safe to back in the water... Last Tuesday I convinced my fine bride that we should go down to the boat, and, having nothing else better to do, we packed up the family, hitched up the horses to the wagon and headed south to the marina.

Upon arrival, we all climbed aboard and A2 (Anya and Aidan) headed below decks to occupy their time while I pretended to clean the boat up a bit. Some time passed and from the depths below I heard the tell tail audible indicator, '..Brad....' and I knew it was time to leave. I ventured down below to see what was going on and here was Aidan up on his hands and knees, rocking back and forth! Not going anywhere but just supporting himself on all fours. Yet another milestone in the life of Master Aidan. He still hasn't quite figured out that he can move himself using all four of those ground contacts, but he's one step closer.

It may have just been Aidan's way of telling us we need a newer/bigger boat. Or not.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Hot Fun In The Summer Sun
Generally I have tried to relate specific events which appear to me, in my young life as a father, to be notable; something which transpired while trying figure out what this whole fatherhood thing is about or provided clues as to the answer.

Since my last posting I must report that I have nothing to report. No Aidan firsts, no Aidan blunders, no Aidan mishaps no father noeable fathering mistakes (that I'm aware of) or anything that is going to promote future lengthy and thus costly sessions with a thearopist - for either Aidan or myself. Although he does currently have a cold. There, that's it. That's all there is to report. I'll refrain from providing descriptions of baby sniffles and snot - this time.

Aidan really hasn not done much but continue to grow. Which prompted some thought (generally speaking any thought on my part usually requires some prompting). The simple fact that Aidan does just continue to grow is eventful in itself.

Over this past weekend I went back through some of the older pictures of young master Aidan and realized that, as many of you experienced parents can easily attest, babies grow. They grow right in front of you, bit by bit, day by day, but you don't really notice until you compare them to themselves as they were a month or two ago. It then occured to me that this daily groth is a noteable event in itself.

A month or so ago Aidan only able to lie on his back and act like a turtle - frantically flopping his arms and legs around in some random manner just because he could or had nothing else better to do. Today you can't keep the kid in one spot. You put Aidan on his back, on the floor and he's already half rolled over by the time you take your hands away. A few minutes later he's ten feet away from the original spot reaching out for something he's worked so hard to move towards. Another example of this growth came as we recently took his 6th month baby footprint. Anya had it framed and put it up next to his newborn footprint and I was amazed by how much larger the newer, green inked, slighly smugged foot print is as compaired to the first, equeally as smugged but smaller print. He's growing up.

I also noticed this weekend ,as we were walking around the front of our house, a few months ago when I'd carry him around he would simply stare into the void which is my head. Now his head whips his head around from side to side as if he's afraid he's going to miss something new to look at, miss some new experience, miss the chance to whip his little head around and catch his fathers nose with it - he thinks that's so funny. I think he does it on purpose.

Aidan did have a new experience this weekend which was that of being introduced to Lake Washington. Aidan had the opportunity to become one with the water. Well, one with a baby floating doughnut type contraption that one of this grandmothers had provided. This contraption can only be described as a doughnut within a doughnut where the inner doughnut held a set of cross straps where the soon to be water conquering Aidan was to place his feet through and provide support while he floated around. Aidan was a natural and soon didn't even seem to notice that he was floating around in his little baby doughnut until he became a little chilled and expressed his desire to be removed back to the mainland.

After being placed on a towel on the grass where he promptly fell asleep in his customary spread eagle position his less then grown up father immediately placed a pair of sunglasses on him, stuck a peanut in his belly button and bookended him with a couple of empty beer bottles... pictures to be posted shortly and to be made readily available for his date prior to departure for their first formal.

Another new experience, more growing up (for Aidan, obviously not the father).

Monday, July 19, 2004

Where's the return address for this kid?

Infants, I've discovered, seem to have bad days. Sure, young Master Aidan/mini-me, has had times where he's been less then happy and expressing himself through a frustrated cry here or there and, this being normal I've come to just accept it. Last Sunday was a little different.

Anya was committed to attending a shower of some sort; baby, bridal, ivory - who knows what kind it was, I'm not really sure there's much difference between them anyway, other then the ivory as it is 99.44% pure according to all the marketing materials. As a result, I was left in charge of watching Aidan... And watch him I did. I watched him cry, I watched him scream, I watched him bellow, I watched him sniffle, whimper and cry some more. And I'm not talking about just the normal 'I'm bored with this toy and want another' cry, this was more of a 'Someone gored me like a luau pig and I want you know I'm holding you responsible for it' cry. The full on, closed, watery eye, mouth can't be opened any wider, cheeks red as cherry tomatoes, full lung use type of crying.

There was just no stopping it. Food didn't help. A pacifier (ironic name in this instance) only seemed to make matters worse. Changing positions - front to back, back to front, laying down to standing up, being held horizontaly, being held vertically, being held upside down (while i found it funny) didn't help. Chaining a diaper that was hardly used didn't help. Nothing seemed to appease the poor kid.

Figuring he must be broken I immediately started looking for the return address and a receipt. Strangely enough, he didn't seem to have been delivered with either. New humans should have some kind of warranty provided by Babies R Us... They charge enough for everything you can't live, or, more accurately stated, your baby can't live without - they should provide some kind of kid return process when all the items purchased from their store don't seem to help stem the raging river of tears and torrential onslaught of yelling, searching noise coming out of Aidan's tiny body. Oddly enough, they only accept return with receipt, which, of course, I didn't have. I have a sneaking suspicion Anya has hidden or filed the receipt for Aidan, knowing such a day of torment was inevitable.

A break in hurricane Aidan was provided only after Aidan had worn himself out from crying so much that he need a nap. Which he took. On the floor. On his face. Apparently the most comfortable position he could find.

Whew! An entire 15 minutes of silence. Yes, 15 minutes. Then it was back at it for Aidan - more loud crying, more trying to feed him, pacify him, adjust him, change him... All to no avail.

At last I decided there was only one thing to do.... Go to the boat. Why should I be so selfish as to horde all this parental bliss for myself? Others would surely wish to experience and bask in the glow of all that was Aidan this fine day. I packed up the diaper bag, poured a new bottle of formula to take with us, packed up our sobbing, red faced, tearing child and off we went. Once arriving at the boat and unloading Aidan all was well with the world. He even took a nap. A real nap.. Not the previous kind of nap where he's only pretending to nap so as to lull you in to thinking you are actually going to get reprise from the ongoing wailing only to whisk it away after you've gotten comfortable on the couch and select some random program on TV.

This break/nap was encouraging. It was nice. It was healing. It was short lived. While it did last around 40 minutes, it seemed to have only provided Aidan with a fresh set of lungs and allowed his tear ducts to refill themselves... Then we were at it again. So we packed up the diaper bag, packed up Aidan and headed home. Anya was there when we arrived home.

Oddly enough, the crying stopped.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

For those interested, a new album of Aidan photos has been posted. You can find it here:

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Here A Stain... There A Stain

It wasn't that long ago that I can remember having clothes without stains on them. Oh, sure, occasionally I do something stupid like work on my car while wearing my work clothes and get something on them - but for the most part I work in jeans and t-shirts - a polo shirt if I have to look nice for a meeting, so getting something on my work clothes wasn't an every day event.

Recently I find that I'll go to put on a pair of pants - more khaki then jeans these days... get them on, agonize over which belt ( a huge decision, either brown or black) to go with the pants, pick out a shirt to go with the pants and belt, get everything on - to discover that the pants are stained with baby spit-up that didn't quite come out - but hey, that's ok, because it matches the stain on my shirt which also didn't quite come out and may have very well been the result of the same half digested, milk based formula, spewing without warning event.

Sure, the first couple of times when Aidan was only a few weeks old, spit-up was cute - it was kind of like interacting with mini-me on some level. I feed him some food, he smiles, burps, then spits it back out at me. If it weren't for the cute interface, the data in, data out might have been a little disgusting, but seeing that little newborn face smiling back made it all worth while. Well that was five months ago - now it's just yuckie (yes, that's a technical term, I've looked it up in "Nipple Confusion, Uncoordinated Pooping and Spittle: The life of a Newborn's Father"; Roger Friedman, I'm sure you can find it on FindAnyThingForSaleIncludingThingsYouWouldNotEverNeed dot Com.).

So here we are, Father and mini-me, each testing the other's will. Which will flinch first? Will I grab a drip cloth before Aidan spits up? Will Aidan do his best to spit up as quickly as possible so as to not allow me grab said drip cloth?

I'm going to need to go shopping for new pants.

It's a good thing he's cute and didn't come with a gift receipt or return address.

Monday, July 12, 2004

6 Months
Somehow Aidan has survived to be the ripe old age of 6 months last Saturday. To commemorate this notable milestone we packed up around 30 drip cloths, along with the Drool King of the Eastside and headed to the local J.C. Penny photography studio. For those who have yet to experience the department store based studio for a few quick pica - it is entertaining.

Upon arrival we were blessed to witness the rantings of some mother who couldn't believe that the poor, trying only to do her job JCP employee wouldn't give her some coupon package price when she DIDN'T HAVE THE COUPON! After what seemed like hours of bickering (an excellent example for the young'ns in attendance by the way), a visit by some ineffective manager, who didn't contribute any assistance or support for the employee and simply stood there, arrived as if the simple presence of his hulking 5'3" frame was speaking volumes and the participants should recognize the power held by the position of 'Manager: JCP Photo Studio' and wrap up the difference of opinion. I know I was in awe. The employee and mother were apparently just as in awe of the manager's presence as I and, ignoring the manager, continued their argument.

Now, let me take a break from this exciting tale to explain that these picture packages range from all of $3.50 to some $7 a sheet of pictures. The two women probably burned up more money in slimfast breakfast bar calories then the picture sheets were arguing over were worth; Not to mention the months of therapy that the poor womans daughter, subjected to this less then polite debate, is going to have to endure in her later teen years as she tries to discover why she can't find a date for the prom and has no friends.

Eventually, if for no other reason then to move on to her other customers (us) the employee finally agreed to allow the woman to bring in the coupon on the following Monday and the package price would be adjusted. Whew! I turned towards Anya with a look of pure fear and hesitancy to which she replied; 'I have the coupon.' I could breath easy again.

Once actually getting into the photo studio room there was a whirlwind of poses, costume and backdrop changes and camera flashes. Our JCP employee was very good at her job - moving from one pose and picture to the next with great efficiency. Once all the shots were taken the arduous task of selecting the pictures to be printed, and which package to be applied began. I stepped up and recognized what I needed to do - I left it up to Anya while I took Aidan wandering around the rest of the store. Sure, I occasionally returned to the computer where Anya was toiling over not only which pictures to select, but whether to have them in color, black and white, or sepia, but only to provide the occasional opinion, 'yup, that's great. Good choice.' then make a quick exit back to the rest of the store. There's nothing more helpful then a quick comment and exit. Anya may not agree.

Aidan did a very good job with his pictures; Smiling on queue, not being fussy and seemingly enjoying the entire experience Aidan was a natural in front of the camera. We'll see if that turns into an actual job where he can start supporting himself. It's never too soon to learn good work values - and contribute to the family's boat fuel fund.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Aidan's First Fourth

Well, he slept through it. That pretty much sums it up. The Eastside branch of the Stutz Clan went to Oak Harbor by boat to enjoy the 4th along with other members of the Sea Ray Crusing Club. We attended the Oak Harbor 4th of July parade (mostly made up of farm equipment, gardening clubs, obnoxious political groups and local high school cheerleaders) and Aidan slept through nearly all of it. Aidan did wake up for lunch however - after we walked into the downtown area of the main road.. then again fell asleep while carrying him back to the marina. In between bouts of sleep, he did exhibit his 'happy baby' side, along with his 'fussy baby' side... so more or less the holiday went like this for Aidan:

Happy baby (eat)
Fussy, Fussy, (eat), Fussy
(eat) Happy, Fussy, Happy/Fussy
Sleep, Sleep

Such is the life of young Master Aidan on his first 4th of July.

Aside from the 4th of July experience, it's amazing how much progress Aidan has made over the past week. Where he was only able to roll over one direction - and only from back to front; He's now able roll either direction front to back, back to front.. and has started to figure out that if he keeps going in one direction he can actually move himself across the floor.

He's almost figuring out the crawling thing, but hasn't quite figured out that he needs his knees and hands supporting him at the same time, not just one set or the other, but I'm sure he'll figure that out quickly enough.

I did give him a taste of my ice cream cone last night - which he seemed to like a great deal as he immediately grabbed my hand with both of his and brought the cone back down to his mouth again for some additional tastes! I just found it fun that Aidan not only liked the ice cream taste, but then to knowingly grab my hand an bring it down to his mouth for more just reminded me of his continual mental and physical development.