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Baby Breaks Opens Bag of Tricks for Unlimited Mother’s Milk

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Baby pulls out all the stops to keep the milk flowing!

There’s actually a great deal of gamesmanship when it comes to breast-feeding. Babies expose their parents to a myriad of tricks and tribulations to keep the milk bar open well past closing time.

Our baby (the maestro) is so well versed in the Milk-Manipulation Manifesto, that we decided to brand and define some her more overt tactics as she wages the never-ending battle for unlimited mother’s milk.


Stevie Wonder:

A blind series of head maneuvering for mother’s milk. Little Stevie tries to find her food source without bothering to open her eyes. This leads to the Stevie Wonder head fakes swiveling back and forth while blindly trying to locate the milk bar. This tactic rarely meets with any real success.


False Start:

Baby is locked and loaded and seemingly ready to eat – but then inexplicably and spontaneously pops off – This is quite similar to the lineman who flattens the quarterback before the ball is snapped and then bitterly complains about the penalty.


Helen Keller:

This is when Little Helen breaks into a screaming feeding frenzy-induced tantrum accompanied by multiple kicks and flailing arms. If you notice a Helen Keller coming on – it’s best to put in a mouthpiece and crash helmet before things really heat up. Once she hits pay dirt however, the craziness is called off and all is right in the world yet again.


Sleeping on the Job:

The feeding is underway, but the baby is dead asleep at her post. She barely goes through the motions, but won’t allow the fact that she is sleeping to deter her from going for the gold. Any attempt to remove the subject from the bar results in vigorous, but short-lived attempts at additional feeding.


Gaming the System:

This is similar to sleeping on the job except for the fact that the baby is wide awake. She’s pretending to feed, but just going through the motions without taking on any milk. This is a direct attempt to mislead the coach so that the baby can stay in the game. The last thing she wants is to be pulled from the game to sit and sulk on the bench.


Buyer’s Remorse:

The customer feigns being satisfied after a feeding – but then quickly becomes distraught after realizing she really wasn’t full. Or was she? Even we can’t remember. If the milk bar isn’t opened again in short order, this could trigger a Helen Keller response and an angry call to the corporate office.


Baby Asserts Control through Unique Torture Technique

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Please lighten up on the chest hair!

As my wife and I settled onto the couch to watch a movie last night – I had a 7-pound, 5-ounce little bean clinging intently to my chest. This particular bean is not a member of the legume family, but rather my tiny daughter named Madeleine. She wasn’t the least bit tired when we sat down, but was completely content to hang out on Dad’s chest while he manipulated the television controls.

I looked down and she was staring straight up at me with those penetrating dark eyes. During our little stare down, it was hard to determine who was paying closer attention. We chatted briefly, well, I chattered on and she just sat there and watched.

I winced on multiple occasions because her little hands have mastered the art of partially ripping out chest hair. Her proficiency with this particular activity vastly improves on a daily basis. It’s stunning to me that such a little creature has the ability to inflict so much discomfort onto a fellow human being that outweighs her by more than 200 pounds. (think of the mouse that helped the lion with the splinter)

But despite the rapidly dwindling population of my chest hair – this is one of those precious moments that will be forever etched into my memory. Holding your little girl close to you seems to slow the time around you. Fatigue, anxiety and any conceivable negative emotion just seems to shrink and fade into the woodwork as you feel undeniable bond between you and your child.

The connection is unmistakable – and even though I just met this tiny person a couple of weeks ago – she already fully comprehends that she owns the rights to me.

Maddie evaluated her father and took in the sights and sounds around her for about 30 minutes before she began the descent into dreamland. I watched with rapt attention – taking in each blink and twitch until she was completely out.

There is no question that this little girl is more work than I ever could have fathomed. But by the same token, never has so much work paid so many dividends in such a short period of time.

What do Kisses, Raspberries and Monkeys Have in Common?

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C'mere Monkey!!

There are two things in this world (besides food) that I know Maddie loves so far. Kisses and Raspberries – we also believe that Maddie really digs the concept of monkeys, but we’ll get back to that later.

Let’s start with kisses. (You know what they are)

Maddie didn’t necessarily love them at first, but it’s safe to say she has really come around. When the little girl starts working herself up into a lather, a few well placed kisses on the cabeza seem to do the trick. I’m not saying these strategic smooches will ward off evil or hunger – but they seem to have an impact on Maddie’s general disposition.

Once a couple of quick kisses are delivered to the cheek – she looks up quizzically and seems disappointed if a few more are not close behind.

Let’s move on to raspberries. (Not the fruit!)

The definition of a raspberry (verb) is to deliver a rude noise by putting your tongue between your lips and blowing. This causes ones lips to vibrate and produce a noise reminiscent of flatulence.

However, if you put these same vibrating lips against a ticklish area like the tummy – the baby seems absolutely delighted.

I must admit that my initial motivation was to wake up the baby when she kept falling asleep in the middle of her feeding time. However, since the discovery that Maddie loves it – It is now used to entertain the baby when she is feeling a bit fickle.

Finally, we move on to monkeys. (Yes, the furry mammals)

We have no idea if Maddie really loves monkeys or not. We have them on her clothes, her shower curtain and even her swaddle blankets. What we do know, is that when Maddie is swaddled inside of her baboon blanket – Maddie starts chewing on the chimps. This always triggers Gina’s now famous saying for the baby, “Don’t eat the monkeys, Maddie!”

Pancake Pandemonium Delights Daughter and Mother Alike

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That's how we do pancakes!

We all have days or nights when we just aren’t feeling up to par. After keeping her Mom awake for most of the night – Maddie was still grappling with a restless spirit. She’s not hungry – so we are left to speculate as to what might be troubling our little minx. I’m winning the battle to keep her calm this morning, but hanging on by only the slimmest of margins.

In an effort to keep Mom’s sanity intact – I promise Gina a pancake breakfast while Maddie and I head off to prepare a meal that would make Paula Deen green with envy.

Mad Maddie is wound up tight, but not quite inconsolable. I strategically place her in the living room so I can eyeball her from the kitchen – She’s wide awake now – but focused on matters far beyond my scope of imagination.

Before pancake operations can really get going – Maddie is once again teetering on the brink. She’s snapping and snarling, but has yet to unleash the full range of her fury. I hatch a half-baked MacGyver-like plot to keep Maddie engaged while I can still cook breakfast.

I tie a four and a half foot long ribbon to Maddie’s rocker and loosely fit the other end to the oven handle (No, the oven is OFF) The purpose of the ribbon is to rock the rocker in the hallway while preparing breakfast.

Maddie seemed to think is a fine idea – she’s being rocked while watching the theater of the one-armed bandit toiling away in the kitchen. Soon the pancakes are flowing and baby is cooing. Gina joins us for the festivities as MacGyver has saved the day.

I was in the process of flipping Gina’s third pancake when something strange happened. The arc and trajectory were perfect as the cake began its descent – but like a second-basemen with brain freeze, I missed the tag. I watched hopelessly as cake raced passed the out-stretched pan.

Gina and the baby seemed perfectly delighted as the lightly browned disc landed with a splat on the floor. I stared uncomprehendingly at the splendid griddlecake perfectly placed in the middle of the kitchen floor as it waited patiently for a dollop of butter.

Did Maddie sense her Mother’s delight or father’s befuddlement? Suddenly – the baby was high spirits – Oh yeah, good times in the Adams household this morning!!

All it took was a Daddy mishap and all was right in her little world. Perhaps that quirky sense of humor of hers is advancing too quickly!

Great Infant Debater Sounds Off in Jersey City

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Plato in Athens - So much yet to learn

Just after being put in her swing yesterday, Madeleine decided to introduce us to her newly acquired and exciting range of verbal skills. As the swing made its arduous journey back and forth, Maddie decided that she was ready to open up and share some of her unique communication techniques.

It sounded like simple gurgling, clicking and grunting at first – but then we realized that through the strong influences of Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, Maddie was debating us on the merits of this swing and her placement onto this primitive device.

Perhaps she was not directly engaging us, but for more than 70 minutes, she seemed most intent on sharing some ancient cosmic message with anybody who was in earshot.

Whether it was simple gibberish, platitudes or a series of essays on the meaning of life – we were not sophisticated enough to decipher these messages. In this case, the message was not as important as was her method of delivery. Each sound that emanated from this little girl was punctuated with an intensity and focus that was not to be ignored.

This enigmatic little speech might have held the briefest of warnings for us, as to what we might expect as she gets a little bit older. When Maddie is awake, her level of concentration borders on the severe. She is acutely tuned in to her surroundings and is gathering and organizing input from the outside world at a dizzying pace.

When her eyes are open, she is hard at work, trying to dust off that infant haze and make sense of the environment around her. Stay Home PaPa has tried to tell her to take it easy.

Time and time again, I’ve told her, “Honey, if you want to reinvent Schrödinger’s Cat, let’s hold off until you are at least a month old.”

Yet she assures me that Erwin had it all wrong and has already developed her own principles of quantum theory – the question is now, will she share them?

Daughter Dominates Father in Bathroom Follies

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This image has nothing to do with this story!

August 13th was the day my beautiful daughter Madeleine was actually scheduled to be born. As you might have guessed from our previous entries – Maddie has her own ideas about timing and schedules. She also has a rapidly developing sense of humor that is leaving her daddy in the dust!

First things first, Maddie became an official member of society Saturday as her Social Security card came in the mail. I hate to admit, but there is something oddly appealing about seeing an official document with your baby’s name on it – kind of like her first invitation to play in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. (But, perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself)

Maddie also planned a wide variety of bathroom hi jinks and adventures for Daddy to celebrate what was supposed to be her “scheduled birthdate.”

At 2am – I was doing what originally appeared to be a typical diaper change. However, once the diaper came off – Crouching tiger, hidden Maddie had a sneak attack planned for her father. The urine started to flow and the Stay Home PaPa was not prepared for combat!

Round One went to Maddie as we had to change course for an impromptu bath in the sink:

  • Maddie – 1
  • Stay Home PaPa – 0

At 4am – It was diaper change city once again – and wouldn’t you know it – Maddie’s bladder was spring loaded. The cold air hit my little comedian where it counts and the Fountain of Youth surged forward yet again. This time, in the process of trying to save her nightshirt – Daddy played opposite Brad Pitt in the movie A River Runs Through It. The mighty Blackfoot River of questionable liquid swept down Daddy’s bare chest and both father and daughter were in dire need of a good HAZMAT scrub down. I can assure you that there was no fly fishing that morning!

Round Two was no contest:

  • Maddie – 2
  • Stay Home PaPa – 0

I believe that once you hit 15 days old – you should slow down a bit. Not Maddie – she had one last card to play. More than 12 hours after her last assault – my little girl was looking for the sweep and PaPa was ripe for the picking. Cue the “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor!

Maddie had just enjoyed a premier milk-fest feeding and Daddy was in the process of burping her when he felt an odd disturbance in the force. Was there something on my arm? Yes, some type of foreign vinaigrette dressing matter had taken shape on my arm and was spreading quickly.

Suffice it to say it wasn’t pretty.

Well played my friend!!

Final Score:

  • Maddie – 3
  • Stay Home PaPa – 0

The Deafening Sound of Silence

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What was that noise??

In the movie Step Brothers – Dr. Doback is so disgusted with Dale (John C. Reilly) and Brennan (Will Ferrell) – He’s forced to make the ultimate final decision.

“We’re putting the house on the market!” he shouts at them.

Brennan is suddenly on high alert, “Is the house haunted?”

I have noticed that when Maddie is out the house – and I’m not tuned into listening for her every move – the house may not seem haunted, but it’s definitely a little creepy.

As a new parent, you are so focused on what the baby is up to at all times, that it’s virtually impossible to turn off your brain. Butttt, when she’s out and about with her Mom – suffice it to say, it’s just a little too quiet! 

My wife took the baby for a walk at the local park this morning without me. Truth to tell, the silence is deafening! Maddie was born exactly two weeks ago. However, in just 14 days, there is no question that both of our brains have been recalibrated to listen for every possible noise that the munchkin might emit.

On the flip side, when the baby is home – you perceive many noises incorrectly. The squeak of the chair on the floor or a gurgle from the dishwasher can be completely misinterpreted as a cry or whimper from the baby.

I’m sure sleep depravation plays a role in this – but I have never had more fun being exhausted in my entire life!