My wife and I have decided to take a full set of self-defense courses to meet the threat presented by my 7-month-old bundle of joy named Madeleine. Apparently spending day after day with dear old dad is making Maddie a little rough around the edges. We are working on toning things down, but it’s still a work in progress.
We have a few areas of concern, but so far the greatest threat to Maddie is some her hard surfaced toys. She swings them with real authority, but with no concern for her own well-being. She gave herself two powerful whacks in the face today. This might be due to the fact that she’s been wearing a protective helmet for the past couple of months. So right now, her little noggin is taking a beating.
Maddie also loves the soft skin on both of her parent’s necks. She digs into the skin with those tiny fingers and gives it a mighty pull. As you might imagine, between her sturdy little grip and sharpened talons of death, she is leaving behind a trail of destruction.
The baby also has a real affinity for anything that looks like a string or chord including human hair. This causes severe hair pulling issues for my wife and has caused me to leave behind a fair amount of chest hair. If she spies the slightest trace of hair near the top of my shirt, she latches onto it and does her best to make it her own.
But the greatest challenge I face as the stay-at-home parent is her wild kicking legs. When she wakes up from a nap, I can actually hear her double-kicking the mattress with all of her might. Her kicks are so powerful that they actually lift her in the air and echo throughout the house.
These kicking feet are especially interesting during diaper changes and feeding time. I’ll leave it to your imagination the impact these kicks have during a diaper change. And the kicking is not really a problem during feeding time. That is as long as you use some sort of cushion on your lap. Without the proper protection, a lucky hit could ensure that Maddie never has any brothers or sisters.
This isn’t to say that Maddie isn’t one of the sweetest children known to mankind, she just likes to mix things up and always keep them interesting.
We often refer to Maddie as the “Honey Badger” because of her rare brand of toughness. But this morning, the baby adopted the characteristics of the honey badger’s archenemy, the dreaded spitting cobra!
More and more, Maddie has taken to expressing her displeasure by sticking out her tongue and blowing spittle. You really can’t miss the noise or saliva splatter that carpets the area when little Maddie is acting out.
When Maddie directs this behavior towards her Dad, I cancel the transaction by placing my finger on her bottom lip. This type of behavior has recently started to ramp up during one of three activities:
- Diaper changes
- Wardrobe changes
- Headband adjustments
This spackle/spittle issue really didn’t cross my mind when the baby arrived at the craniologist’s office this morning. We had a simple appointment to get Maddie’s headband adjusted. Once the adjusting process began, it didn’t take long for Maddie’s fussiness meter to start pinging.
I warned the headband technician to beware of Maddie’s spittle. She told me not to worry just as Maddie tried to apply her first coat of spackle onto the poor woman. I gently touched the baby’s bottom lip to remind her that we don’t spray people with our saliva. Luckily, the spray missed its mark, but I cautioned the tech again to be on the lookout.
Just as Maddie was getting the back of her head examined, she fired a second round of liquid love that fell helplessly to the floor. Once again, I apologized for Maddie’s boisterous behavior and the tech assured me that I had nothing to worry about.
Well, we’ve all heard that the third time is the charm. No sooner had the tech relaxed when Maddie the cobra let loose a venomous splatter of biblical proportions. The generous spray caught the tech right in the face and in one of her eyes. The tech staggered back, struggling for composure while Maddie eyed her suspiciously and I spewed my vehement apologies.
I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to watch your child do something wildly inappropriate, I just never thought the first incident would occur so early. I suppose this was how little Maddie decided she would celebrate her 6-month birthday. We can only imagine what goodies she will cook up for us when she turns one-year-old.
Maddie and her PaPa didn’t get enough foul weather this weekend in the snow, so today we thought we would venture out into the rain. That wasn’t the actual plan, but as soon as we got outside, it started dumping. Luckily, we have a massive golf umbrella that is about the size of a circus big top!
We made our way to the local Starbucks where everyone was especially chatty today and the main topic of conversation was Maddie’s headband. First people would say, “Oh she’s so cute!” Then would come, “Why does she need the helmet?”
I didn’t answer at first and then the wild speculation began. “Does she crash her head into the crib?” “Does she fall down a lot?” “Is it some sort of athletic band?”
Maddie is a few days short of 6-months-old. As far as I know, she doesn’t fall down at all and has yet to pick up any full-contact sports. But I was enjoying this line of questioning so I helped where I could.
First I told them that once we took down the cushions around the crib, Maddie actually split the wood siding with a headbutt. We actually have the helmet to stop her from damaging the furniture. “Nuh uh, no way,” they protested.
“I know, it crazy, right? She’s some sort of commando baby,” I assured them.
They looked at me suspiciously, but I kept a straight face. Finally one of them said, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard about those things before.”
At this point, Maddie was rolling her eyes, obviously stunned at what she was hearing. But the Starbuck’s barista was onto me, “So let me get this straight, she wears the helmet to protect your furniture?”
“Well, it’s for the baby’s protection as well, but when you can break wood with your head, how much protection do you really need?”
I grabbed my coffee with a smile, Maddie gave them a quick wink and we disappeared into the rain and fog leaving them to ponder the power of Maddie’s little noggin.
Maddie’s grandparents were ready to get out of Dodge this morning after the baby serenaded them with mournful cries deep into night and beyond. You could see the vapor trail from space as Maddie’s grandparents high-tailed it out of New Jersey bright and early this morning. Their rig disappeared into a huge plume of smoke before the baby had a chance to react.
During the night, Maddie struck early and often. This was an effort to properly demonstrate to her parents how difficult it was to sleep with her new headband on. Every hour or so, the tiny town crier let the household have it with both barrels. The windows shook, dishes tumbled out of the cabinets and a few sonic booms were heard across the Hudson River each time my little girl let loose.
Rocking and humming the baby to sleep is still my most effective weapon, but it is now only working for the initial sleep startup sequence. Last night, I scored a 90-minute sleep session and two 60-minute short-but-sweet catnaps. Not nearly enough for Maddie and certainly a little tough on those trying to sleep in our humble abode.
The craniologist (if there is such a thing) told us that there might be some nighttime backlash from the headband. (Do ya think?) The poor grandparents got a front row seat to Maddie’s madcap antics through out the night.
Anytime they tried to contemplate an escape, Maddie was onto them. Her constant demand for crib liberation banished any thoughts of making a clean getaway. So after a night of wild and debaucherous celebration, Maddie made sure to get up nice and early to share her love with all of those around her.
Her bleary eyed grandparents wished us well, packed the car and peeled out, ready to return to a more quiet and civilized existence.
Maddie’s magical headband continues to provide trials and tribulations for the entire family. Our most recent trip to the cranium tech came with a little added parental spice. Since the start of this process, we had insisted that the band was not fitting the baby’s head properly.
This was proven true the very first day when Maddie developed a nasty welt on her left cheekbone. In fairness, I suppose that a parent should have a pretty good idea of how well something fits on their baby from the start.
After a quick examination and acknowledgement of the obvious welt issue, the tech agreed that the band needed a little bit of work to fit better. Maddie was the model of decorum through the entire examination process.
So the headband got a little bit off the top and it was time to head home for the evening meltdown. I have to hand it to the cranium techs, they are true experts at keeping the baby entertained while they mess with head and neck. They accomplish this feat with an amazing arsenal of noise making toys.
Every time we are in the office, I’m reminded of the Batman movie in the late 80’s. Jack Nicholson, who plays the Joker, has just been befuddled by one of Batman’s space age gizmos and exclaims, “Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?”
I know he didn’t get them from Amazon, but I’m pretty sure we will be able to replicate some of those at home. If Maddie doesn’t enjoy them, I’m sure I will!
Whether it’s the new DOC headband or some diabolical conspiracy, Maddie the Sleep Slayer emerged from her lair Saturday night laying waste to all of those in her path. With her 6th month birthday just days away, the little girl spent the entire evening and early morning announcing her presence with authority.
The dream killer first struck just before 11pm and little did we know that this was just an appetizer for a night filled with sleepless thrills and chills. Normally we are able to pinpoint one distraction or another, but not this time.
When Maddie was at it again at 12:30am, I had a feeling the night was shot. The baby would wake up wildly unhappy and then completely chill out and smile each time we liberated her. The smile would fade into sleep within just a few minutes and then it was back into the crib. Forty minutes later, the princess was on the brink again and even a little bit of milk would only buy us another 90 minutes of sleep.
Maddie was obviously trying to soothe herself, but I we wonder if the DOC Headband is providing just enough discomfort to spoil a good night’s sleep. Even after several jarring wake up calls, the baby was again sounding the alarm at 3am. The parents were bobbing and weaving, but it was just a technicality, they were done and the baby knew it. The only work she had to do now was deliver the deathblow.
At 6am, in honor of MLK Day, Maddie let Freedom Ring yet again. I staggered over to her crib, lifted her out and her smile said it all, “I have a dream that one day every parent shall be awakened, every hope of sleep dashed, every drowsy eye opened so that all shall cater to my crooked night time schedule. Free of sleep oppression – Free of nap time – Free of all sleep no matter what form it might take – When we see that day brothers and sisters, we are truly free at last!”
The DOC Headband has weighed heavily on our parental minds for weeks now. We knew the appointment was coming, but did our best to try and forget about it. Our greatest fear was that the band would be uncomfortable for the baby. However, it seems that the band is bothering the parents a great deal more than it’s troubling Maddie.
The fact that baby is not bothered is a great relief to us, but we know that could change. I actually like the look. When Maddie is wearing the band, she looks like one of the PowerPuff Girls, the black-haired one named Buttercup!
The band is designed to help shape the head in a certain way so the baby has no jaw problems when she gets older. Of course it is all but impossible to believe that there are any issues now. You can already tell by her pictures that Maddie is perfect.
So now comes the trial period where we check for sore spots on the baby’s head every three hours. This is to make sure that Maddie is not having any adverse reaction to the material against her scalp.
It’s certainly not designed to be an attractive piece of headgear, but Maddie makes it look good. And what’s up with the name, “the DOC Headband?” In most states, the D-O-C stands for the department of corrections. That’s right, jail, prison, the big house where society houses the bad guys. I guess we’re lucky that the doctor didn’t suggest that Maddie wear the orange correctional jumpsuit. Next thing you know, they will have her working on the chain gang with Cool Hand Luke.
So back to the headband – there will be no pictures of this little time period in our lives. Maddie may check out this blog in the future and lord only knows what the World Wide Web will be doing with photos 10 to 12 years from now. The band is only supposed to be on for about six weeks. So for now, we just follow the doctor’s orders and hope for the best.