Monday, August 23, 2004

For those who haven't yet experienced shopping at Babies R Us let me begin by setting the scene - IT's A TRAP!

Babies R Us (BRU for those of us who are too lazy to type the entire name of the store) provides the new gaping mouthed, wide, horrified eyed parent with anything and everything one could ever imagine for the latest 'isn't he/she the cutest' recipient. From a grand assortment of formula bottles (each with it's own distinctive can't live without feature), passifiers in every shape and size (these are referred to as 'binkies' to some however I just can't bring myself to call something a 'binknie' and feel adult enough to run with scissors later), to strollers, playthings and furniture. Each 300% marked up item providing the casual baby shocked new parent with it's unique way of suggesting you would be a horrible parent and that your X month old is never going to get into a good college if you don't just back up a UHaul truck to the front door, hand over your wallet to the cashier and say 'filler up'.

Yes, I'm certain I've commented on BRU before however, having just again returned from escaping the evil diaper empire here are some serious thoughts.


Don't go if you don't have to.
If you have to go, Don't go without doing your research before buying larger items like high chairs, cribs, strollers and the like.

We, and when I say 'we' I mean my diligent wife Anya, did our research ahead of time on high chairs and 'booster' child car seats. We (again, Anya) looked at the Consumer Reports listings and talked to friends who had recently had an occasion to make such purchases and determined which manufacture/model of each we were after.

Oddly enough, when arriving at BRU (which, coincidentally, sounds like a fine, imported malted beverage required after escaping the store with your wallet only marginally dented) we found that quite a number of other gaping mouthed parents were also in need of such items as their little bundles of joy had out grown their current car seats and methods of being propped up while eating. We talked to a few of these couples who had done the same research, come to the same conclusion - the most expensive was the Consumer Reports selection of the month and which (I know this is hard to believe) was sold out at the moment! Oh No! What to do?! None of the parents (wisely) wanting to make a second trip back to this money pit of postnatal pampering were now franticly pouring over the multitude of alternate selections. In our case it was the new 20-40lb rear facing car seat - upping the tonnage to 100lbs when turned 180 degrees to be a front facing car seat so that the potential nighttime oncoming headlights dont' interfear with the latest Gameboy super-duper-mondo advanced hand held parental piece of mind entertainment gadget - either that or it has something to do with safety. It's pretty much a toss up.

Nothing that the car seat that we (again, Anya) had researched and targeted for a quick purchase was not in stock, we exchanged opinions and quick factoids with other parents about the alternate selections.

'Well this is the same as that, except for the leather option.'
'This one reclines easier that that one over there.'
'This one seems to be the same as that except for the color.'
'This one has a side cup holder where that one does not.'

For a moment I thought we were shopping for a car, not a car seat.

After some additional short conversations of car seats and some ooh-ahhing over the other couple's youngsters (difficult to do with a straight face when you know your child is much, much cuter then theirs is. I'm sure they had the same problem.) we made the decision to select the one with the optional cup holder and fake leather sides - the one recently referred to as 'snooty' by some other new mother. I'm sure she must have made her way to the Evil Diaper Empire by way of horse drawn carriage as she selected the same model without the optional cup holder - Geeze, where's the kid going to put his morning Tully's?

We packed up our selections threw as many Franklins at the less then pleasant cashier stormtrooper and made our escape.

I can't wait until Aidan needs new furniture.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Beep Beep - Baby X'ing
Oh, those were the days... days where young mini me would simply look up, slowly develop a big, full open mouthed, toothless smile and all parties involved would be content with that. Aidan would be happy that someone was looking at him, we'd be happy that he was smiling - life was good.

Now, just a few days past Aidan's 7 month milestone Aidan is a baby on the move. A baby on the move towards anything that he shouldn't be moving towards. No, he hasn't learned to crawl on all fours just yet, but he quickly propels his tiny body across the floor in such a manner that it would make any army sergeant proud. Aidan moves across the floor by working his forearms and elbows and one leg/foot. Leading himself with an outstretched elbow he'll recoil his leg and thus his foot up to his side and with one quick extension of the leg he's move forward about 8 inches.

Now you wouldn't think that moving 8 inches at a time would enable such a small person to move so quickly - but I assure you that in the time that I've increasingly large caboose off the couch, gone to refresh my beverage of choice and returned to the mothership Aidan has traversed the 15 feet across the light maple hardwoods and is trying to pull the leaves off a low plant only to, upon success, stuff the leaves into his mouth - everything goes into his mouth. Sure, I notice this, go pick him up, return him to a safe, no leaf zone only to blink and find Aidan hoisting himself onto the lower shelf of an end table or up on to the lower glass shelf of the TV stand, knocking over family pictures as he moves his way towards the multitude of spaghetti like wires in the back.

After removing the hardwood based Jacque Custou from his latest TV stand exploration it's immediately known that Aidan has learned to express his displeasure on cue. Immediately the face scrunches up into what should be featured on a bitter beer commercial, the downturned mouth slowly starts to open and out comes a very unhappy baby sound. However, just as easily as it seems to be turned on, as soon as Aidan finds something else to capture his attention, suddenly he's a happy child again. The most entertaining is when he's sure he should be upset about something but is happy at the same time.. this results in a mouth slightly upturned at the corners, eyes still upset and squinty, but a semi giggle, semi cry is emitted from the the confused face. Well, at least I find it entertaining.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Sea-going Aidan

It was a dark and stormy night... well, not quite. It has been a while since the last posting as the Stutz family departed on what Aidan determined was a much needed vacation. We packed up all of our gear and headed to the San Juan Islands to hop around a bit. Aidan did pretty darn well throughout the entire trip. Now, one would think that with an entire week's worth of vacation time with yacht master Aidan there would be many tales to regail around a pint at the local pub - however the entire week went fairly smoothly with only a couple of notable events:

New Teeth
During our fun in the sun Aidan finally poked his first two bottom teeth through! Let me tell you, those puppies are sharp. It used to be fun to lift Aidan up and, with his gaping mouth open, he would attach himself to my nose - well, not any longer! The two tiny tooth tops may be small but they've got grip! Aidan doesn't seem to mind the new teeth and has actually started to figure out how to use them to grab onto his rubber baby spoon making it difficult to pull it out of his mouth after a nice spoonful of cold, blended carrots (given the horrible facial expression following a spoonful of blended peas I think we'll be waiting to try those again).

Aidan visited three different swimming pools while on vacation. He seemed to take to the water pretty easily in his baby float toy (see previous posting about Lake Washington) and putting up with being lathered up in a thick application of SPF 4000 baby sun block. Aidan would float and kick his way around the kiddy pool attired in his little blue baby swim suit and blue foreign legion looking hat to protect his fair skinned, blond haired head.

While Aidan was kicking and walking around one kiddy pool, with myself and mother Stutz only a few short feet away, Aidan decided to see just how far forward he could stretch himself - and he did quite well - stretching himself clear over the front of the yellow, doughnut shaped, baby float toy and head first into the ever so slightly yellow tinged kiddly pool water. It really went in slow motion as I watched from a little more then an arms lengh away. ... he's stretching... he's stretching... he seems a little top heavy... and with a small arm flail, a splash and a pool toy upending - into the water he went. I, with my sloth like reflexes, flashed into action, quickly covering the thirty six inch ocean of pool water, scooping up the now submerged Aidan and bringing him back up above the surface of the water where he gave a small cough and then a big toothless (well, now semi toothless) smile. Disaster averted. The overall end result was that Aidan doesn't seem to mind the water. Good thing.

The rest of the vacation was fairly uneventful. Aidan crawled around the boat, was carried around to look at different flowers, different points of interest such as English Camp at Garrison Bay, different boats (I think Aidan is wanting a bigger boat, but that's just a guess) and he was able to spend time with my aunt, uncle, cousins and their kids who were also all on the trip in their own boats.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Wanted: A Full Time Village
This past weekend we attended a boat cruise with our Sea Ray Cruising Club at Port Orchard. Everyone seemed to want to take Aidan - which was certainly a welcome invitation to unload mini-me and allow someone else to entertain him for a while. Now, to be honest, Anya does 90% of the entertaining and for my 10% I'll play with him until my arms get tired then put him down to crawl around and play with his stuffed animals. Regardless of this fact, I'm still happy when someone comes up and offers to do 90% of my 10% and so it was this past weekend.

Many a club member offered to take Aidan and entertain him for a bit. Whoever came up with this 'It takes a village...' but was on to something. Aidan enjoyed being carried around by different people, getting a change of scenery while his parents are able to socialize without having to constitute watch after Aidan at the same time. What a deal! Aidan was able to visit other people, crawl around on other boats, drool on any number of rugs, feet, and upholstery up and down the dock. What a great educational and brain stimulating experience. When Aidan was returned to us he had obviously been on a boat with dogs given the amount of dog hair collected on his shirt and had apparently kicked one kind club member in the mouth and given her a slightly bloody lip. Well, at least we know his legs work and are getting stronger.

A number of club members commented on what a good baby Aidan is and I would have to agree. This particular weekend Aidan was a great baby. Rarely fussing, only crying at inopportune times as we went through the locks but never on the docs during the weekend. By this time next year he'll probably be driving the boat to the next village gathering.