Monday, November 29, 2004

Turkey Day

Aidan’s first Thanksgiving has come and gone without much excitement. He did enjoy turkey and vegetables for dinner – the Gerber variety which looks very similar to the chicken and vegetables, and beef and vegetables - a small jar of brownish mush. For all I know, it could all be the same stuff, how am I to tell (without actually tasting the stuff)? Are Aidan’s taste buds even developed enough to discern the difference between the darker brown mush and the slightly more tan colored mush? Who knows, I think I should buy stock in Gerber, they’ve obviously got a racquet going that’s lasted generations.

I have found that, if we are attending a function, any function, where other small children will be in attendance there really isn’t any need for us to load up the wagon queen family truckster with enough toys to start our own ebay store. Other children seem to come with their own truckload of toys that Aidan can play with, slobber on, chew on and then make a quick exit – what could be better! Although to be fair, we should start bringing some toys for Aidan to play with. Besides, who knows where those other toys have been, who’s been chewing and slobbering on them before Aidan landed his pudgy little hands on them.
It sounded like a good idea at the time...

Recently, during a discussion concerning raising children, something I decided I had a mild interest in cocking one ear towards given my present situation, the subject of how to get your infant child to go to bed (and to sleep), at a time of your choosing rather then the child’s. This is certainly something I was interested in as our nightly ritual is waiting on the couch, waiting for young Master Aidan to fall asleep so that we can then relocate him to the nocturnal confines of his crib – only to have him wake up anywhere from 2-5 hours later, but that’s a different issue.

So, as I continued to listen to the conversation, it appeared to be mutually agreed upon by those recent yet experienced parents participating in the discussion, that putting the child in his/her crib at the specified time, say eight o’clock, and simply allowing them to cry themselves to sleep quickly established a nightly routine where the child fell asleep without much fuss.

As the adage goes, you get what you pay for (this being free, eavesdropped obtained advice).

Being tired of waiting up until anywhere between ten and eleven each night for Aidan to fall asleep, I decided that it might be worth a few nights of crying for a long term gain of an established routine. It had worked for others – so they said – and if it worked for them, chances are it would work for us too. So I carted the semi conscious offspring up to his crib, placed him in his nocturnal crate, and covered him up with his blanket. Aidan immediately rolled him self over and stood up against the side of the crib. I picked him up, put him back down in his crib, carefully covered him backup, quickly exited the area and returned downstairs to the near immediate crying of young son number one.

The noise coming out of Aidan’s room ranged from, sniffling whining to something akin to what must have been heard during the battles the crusades. After approximately five minutes, I returned to the scene of the crime. Poor Aidan was all red-faced, tears running down the side of his cheeks, laying down, on his knees, face buried in his blanket. I picked him up and immediately found that his night sleeper was fairly damp – much damper then five minutes of crying could have produced… I investigated further… to find that poor Adian had cried so hard that he had thrown up – all over his blankets, all over his bedding.

What a terrible parent I am! How could I have put my son through this traumatic experience? What was I thinking? Nothing quite stabs you through the heart then having your 10 month old child cry so hard he throws up. I don’t think we’ll be trying that again any time soon. Man, I hope we work out the bugs on version 1.0 before version 2.0 is placed into production on May 2nd.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The early bird... is generally tired and ruffled
I’m not really sure where I lost control; it may have never had it to begin with which is certainly the most likely explanation. At some point, even if I did have any control – it’s long been lost to a mini-me like clone who’s only real means of communication is laughing, crying, or trying to rip my nose off of my face. Heck, the kid can’t even walk yet (although, to be fair, he’s working on it, taking a few steps here and there before crumbling to the ground like a member of the 2004 Washington Husky football team).

I used to be able to sleep through the night – now, my mini-me alarm clock cranks up the vocal chords at the not so reasonable hour of 5am. The problem with this is that the Aidan alarm is early enough to be really annoying and provides a rude awaking from a semi restful slumber, but late enough that there really isn’t any point in going back to sleep before having to get up for work anyway.

So, at my bride’s subtle, pillow muffled, “Will you go get him.” suggestion; I drag my half aware, semi conscious carcass out of bed and over to Lord of the Manor Aidan’s room to find him, yet again, standing up in his crib, hands against the railing as if waiting for the newly established airport security TSA pat-down slash breast fondling examination.

He is pretty cute in his fuzzy little full body suit fleece pajamas though.

Depending on the hour, either the aforementioned 5am hour or the earlier, seemingly ever-popular 1-3am stretch, Aidan is either appeased by stuffing any one of his hundreds of pacifiers into his constantly open, semi-toothed oral cavity which seems to be enough to get him back to sleep at the earlier hours – or he gets brought to the big bed for a early morning snack to put him back to sleep. The pacifier solution is great. Stuff the thing in and stumble back to bed before ever really waking up.

The snack solution pretty much bites.

Not only does the snack solution generally result in it not being worth going back to sleep, but Aidan is brought to our bed for his snack. Why is this so bad? Well, first there is the period of time where Aidan seems to have a need to roll and squirm all over the bed, so there’s no rest to be had during that time. Plus, of the 25% of the bed that I’m normally allotted, having to cling to the headboard with every fingernail entrenched into the wood so as to keep myself from falling off the edge of the mattress and on to the unforgiving floor, I find that Aidan now takes half of my already meager 25%.

Given my now 12.5% mattress allowance and really annoying, control losing 5am hour, I give up on any allusion that I might get a few more winks closer to 40 and resign myself to the fact that the day should be considered started and I should just get up and head to work. While I may not have any control at work either, at least I command 100% of my chair real-estate and requests for anything from me come via email, not a wailing set of 10 month old lungs.

Monday, November 22, 2004

He’s a Bruiser
So here are Aidan and I - playing on the floor having a fun time. Aidan is laughing and screeching - enjoying being played with… when it happened. I never saw it coming. Aidan thought it was such great fun; he tried it more then once. I, on the other hand, had a slightly different opinion.

As we’re playing on the floor, my face close to his, he suddenly (I’m going with lighting quick as I’m refusing to admin that my reflexes are already starting to slow) reached out with his short, pudgy fingers and took firm hold of my right nostril and tried to detach my nose from my face. Sure, it kind of smarted the first time… It was the third time where I started to get a bit annoyed – and finally smart enough to move out of arms reach.

The kid’s getting stronger. Ouch. On the bright side, I was able to breathe better after that. Maybe I should schedule Aidan in for regular sessions, “Come on son, come over here and give me a good nose rip.. no, don’t mind all the blood, I’m fine, really.”

Aidan also managed to have his first unsupervised experience with the stairs. He slipped past the (and I’m going to step up to the plate and, well dispense the blame) normally eagle eye of my blushing bride…. Ok, no, that’s not true. It was me – my fault, my lack constant of parental supervision which allowed the stealth like Aidan to slip past the check point and move towards the stairs. Now, to Aidan’s credit, he must have made it most of the way down the first flight of stairs as I only heard two thud like sounds. No real damage done (thankfully) only a shocked and surprised Aidan who provided a short pause before starting to wail. After a short bout of tears, all was well again – as he attempted to make another dash for the stairs a short time later. Guess it’s time to put that second baby gate up – although we were really hoping that Aidan was going to pick up on the going down the stairs backwards. He may have picked it up though as he didn’t fall very far… he must be close to a breakthrough, so to speak.

Aidan is also close to another breakthrough – walking! He’s taken his first, unsteady unassisted step. Not really on a regular basis, but it’s a start. He’s quickly mastered the little wheeled walker toy – where he stands up, grabs the handle and starts nearly running down the hallway. The only problem is that he seems to kick one wheel with each step, so he unknowing turns himself away from his straight line generally ending up into a wall, a piece of furniture or visiting guest. Now if only he’d figure out how to redirect himself we’d be in great shape. As it is he’ll walk himself into some object then wait there for assistance – as if AAA is going to send a tow truck to help him out. Once straightened out, he’s off like a shot, making it another 10 feet before running into another obstacle. I’m sure it’s due to my providing the shallow end of the gene pool. Probably should have found a walker toy with a built in airbag.

Monday, November 15, 2004

It's true, Aidan used to be cute.

It was cute when I would be holding him and he'd lean over and start sucking on my nose. Now he has teeth. It's not so cute any more as he tends towards using these jaw bone entrenched knives of Satan.

It was cute when he'd reach out with his tiny hands, grasping hold of my lower lip with those short, pudgy fingers. Now he seems to have the strength of a side show freak who wants to detach my lip from the rest of my face.

It was cute when Aidan would reach out and try to grasp Anya's hair and look at it with wonder. Now Aidan appears to be trying to provide Anya with a hairline much like my own - one handful of hair at a time.

It was cute when Aidan would wake up in the middle of the night and be standing in his crib, steadying himself on the front rails of his captive cell. Now it's just not; It's old, and I'm generally just too tired to notice and provide him slack for evoking anything resembling a cuteness factor.

It was cute when Aidan would take his naps in the afternoon and early evening. It is probably still cute, if only he would stop moving and settle down long enough to take his naps in the afternoon and early evening and not fight sleep with every inch of his compact, red eyed, constantly fussy and whining being.

It was cute when Aidan would reach up and try and grasp the knobs of the kitchen cabinets. Now he pulls them open and attempts to empty all the contents on to the floor - and not just the lower drawers but the second ones up as well -those that he needs to stand up on his toes in order to see into to grab the most breakable item. (Mental note: need to stop at store for more thick rubber bands - possibly duct tape.)

I can hardly wait for his sibling to arrive. That should double the fun... and double the bar tab.

In all fairness to Aidan - he's still cute (at least to his parents who must consider him cute and accept him as is - it's illegal to post him on eBay), he's just growing up.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Relative Fun
Sunday was probably the most complete Ridgeway/Furse/Stutz family gathering held in a number of years. Everyone was there including all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and of course all the cousin’s children. Aidan, not the youngest in attendance this time (that honor went to newly arrived Logan of Cousin Mike and wife Lauren), was still the youngest, mobile kid in the house. Crawling from one person to the next, from one room to the next – each move made with the vigor and enjoyment of, well, an infant in the midst of a large group of people, Aidan seemed to enjoy himself and was constantly on the move. Aidan seemed to either be on the move trying to keep up with the other kids running around or trying to chase after one of the two dogs in attendance.

Aidan even let loose his musical talents while sitting at the piano pounding and poking at the keys along with older, second cousin Kyle. Aidan seemed to really enjoy hitting the keys and having them make noise back. He even found that simply poking at individual keys resulted in a solid tone to be emitted from the light wood colored upright.

The evening was a great success and Aidan seemed to have a great time with the other kids and the dogs and Aidan was asleep about 10 seconds after being placed back in his car seat for the trip back home – thoroughly tuckered out after a full evening of food, relatives, fun and activity.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Blissful Slumber - Not if I can help it.
What is it about a sleeping baby? They're so cute, so peaceful, so innocent. Let's take like Aidan for example; lying there without a care in the world and yet I just have to disturb him by sticking my finger in his ear. Not enough to wake him up, but just enough to cause him to twitch a bit. Sure, it's mean. I know that. Hey, let's be honest, why should he get to enjoy such restful sleep during the middle of the day when he won't allow me to get a full nights sleep? I figure a minor ear poking for my own personal entertainment is a small price for Aidan to pay for keeping me up hours on end in the dead of night. Besides, it's fun. A little poke in the ear and a minor face puckering results - that in itself is cute and provides minutes of entertainment. Although, it is pretty amazing that, even as an infant, he knows to bring his hand up and try and swat away whatever it is that is disturbing his blissful slumber without hardly a thought to it.

I also noticed that Aidan snores on occasion. I think he must get that from his mother. I've never heard myself snore so he couldn't possibly have obtained that trait from my shallow end of the gene pool. Little Aidan, eyes closed, looking so peaceful... suddenly SNORT! Snore... SNORT!... and back to uneventful rest. I'm thinking of starting my own on-line Aidan Sort betting pool... hey, I have to come up with some way to pay for his European horse shoe mentorship program - now just where did I put that spam email that told me how to help a displaced middle east royal family by accepting five million dollars from them... I may need that.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Aidan's First Halloween went by without much fuss. We did go to a friends house who has their annual Halloween pumpkin carving party - it used to be a bunch of semi intoxicated college friends playing with gords and knives - but these days it's mostly kid chaos. So may kids running around you can't hardly move without stepping on either a small human or a discarded toy.

Aidan was certainly the youngest child at the orange gord fest and, while he wasn't feeling 100% as he was still recovering from his bout with a bug, he certainly made his best effort to fit in and play with the other kids. The problem was that few of the other kids wanted to play with Aidan. Granted, Aidan is at a bit of a disadvantage in that he was the only one in attendance who was not yet able to walk - but he'd crawl around trying to keep up with the other kids as they ran around the house. Aidan would crawl one direction, following some child who had just gone past in a flurry of flying Halloween costume material, then, just as Aidan had reached a half way point, the target child would come flying back the other direction. Aidan would stop, sit up, turn himself around and head back in the new direction of the faster then a speeding bullet ankle biter.

I had to give Aidan credit, he never gave up. Kids would go racing up the wooden stairs, Aidan would slowly follow - One step at a time, making his way up the first few steps before the kids came back down the steps past him. The problem is that Aidan has yet to figure out how to descend the steps he's just crawled up. So he'd stand on the step he's last conquered, hands on the next one, looking around trying to figure out what to do next... Whoosh! up the steps go some more kids and Aidan takes off up the next step in hot pursuit! Until myself or Anya would go grab him and bring him back down the steps; much to Aidan's dismay.

The eldest of the non-adults didn't care to have Aidan hanging around with them as they played with wooden train track segments, creating any number of different track routes for the next 'train of doom' to go flying off of. Aidan kept taking the train engines off the track and putting them in his mouth as soon as they came within hands reach. Heh Heh. Serves those kids right for not wanting to play with Aidan in the first place. But I may be biased.

Aidan was not without costume as some friends had some smaller costumes from holiday's past and brought a tiny tiger outfit with them for Aidan to borrow. There certainly is an advantage to having a child so much later then all of your friends - they all seem to have outfits, costumes, shoes, jackets... all hardy used but much too small for their now walking and talking offspring. There really should be some kind of online children's clothing swap meet website or something - as long as it's not hosted by that evil empire of cash swallowing baby merchandise Babies R Us. So Aidan was a small tiger for Halloween and fit right in with all the other children in their variety of princess, pirate, roundtable knight and other live animal outfits. I can't wait when, after a few years, Aidan the youngest is suddenly bigger then some those who were to busy running around or building train tracks to play with him. It will be interesting to see what he does. Although I did notice that many of the female kids (and adults for that matter) did stop and try and play with Aidan.... that's my boy.