As we experiment with more and more foods for Maddie, the feeding process changes a little bit each time. We are now beginning each morning with a variety of three foods for the baby to work on.
This morning we introduced Maddie to the world a watermelon and what an introduction it was. The first bite was met with shock and surprise. But after a few seconds, Maddie realized she had a new favorite.
However, she had a very difficult time wrapping her mind around the fact that with each bite, she would get a new splash of flavored water. After making sure she got her fill of melon, bananas and strawberries it was finally time for the main course.
Maddie ripped into her oatmeal with a vengeance seemingly savoring each bite. We were about half way through the bowl when Maddie came up with what I can only describe as an oatmeal epiphany.
I didn’t notice at first, but Maddie had stored the last few bites of oatmeal in her mouth. This is when I decided that mealtime was over. I would let Maddie work on her large mouthful of magic and then clean her up for playtime.
That’s when Maddie pulled the trigger. She scooped a heaping portion of oatmeal out of her mouth and started massaging her scalp with it. There was really nothing to be done but watch and enjoy the show.
She made sure the clumps were mixed well inside of her hair before she put her hands at her side to gauge my reaction. I just smiled at her and began the arduous clean up process. Normally this would warrant a bath, but I just wiped her head down with a wet paper towel and let her ride out the day with the SLICK look. I can hardly wait to see what she does with the new salmon baby packets we bought.
It’s been several months since Maddie began unleashing her deafening sonic scream. At first, it was a once or twice a week phenomenon. But the screech has unfortunately become part of Maddie’s every day routine.
The good news (I guess) is that the motivation for Maddie’s screeches has changed dramatically. There was a time when this ear-splitting event was the result of some type of frustration. Now when Maddie unleashes her howl, it is because she is wildly happy or entertained. And since she is a happy little girl, this sonic scream is shocking the airwaves in my vicinity several times a day.
Each sonic installment of Maddie’s eruptions is follow by some form of raucous baby laughter. She thinks this noise of hers is terribly funny. Although I try not to let her know it, I think this ridiculous scream is a laugh riot. Despite the actual pain it causes to my ears, it makes me laugh inside every time.
The problem is that no one else enjoys having his or her eardrums ripped inside out. I have tried to modify this behavior, but Maddie figures that if it doesn’t really bother me, there’s no reason to change it. The screeches are not only increasing day-by-day – but they also seem to be getting louder. It’s really nothing short of impressive.
When she lets it rip in a store or in a restaurant, there isn’t really much you can do. I gently touch her bottom lip and tell her, “No.” I’m just not sure she is taking me seriously in regards to this issue.
It actually startles and physically shocks those people who are within earshot. The howler monkey was once considered to be the loudest land animal on the planet. I contend that Maddie is ready to show this primate who the true Queen of the Jungle is when it comes to deafening and obnoxious sounds.
It’s very rare when I actually wake up the baby. Maddie either wakes me up or I cater to her whenever she wakes up. So it was a new experience when I had to get her up this morning to go to a doctor’s appointment in the city.
Many people use the word precious very freely. Not me. It’s a word that I have rarely had any occasion to use unless I was doing a Lord of the Rings imitation of Smeagol. But Maddie’s reaction to being woken up this morning was the spot on definition of the word precious.
I softly called her name. Maddie wiggled and just barely opened her eyes to determine who was waking her up. She saw it was her father and gave me the warmest and most loving smile I have ever seen. Then she closed her eyes and went back to sleep.
I gently prompted her again, “Madddieee.”
She greeted me with that same smile before quickly falling back asleep.
Its little moments like this that makes this the best job anyone could hope for.
However, by the time we got out the door, we were in a serious time crunch. I bundled Maddie up in the stroller against the nasty wind blowing off of the Hudson River and took off.
We had 14 minutes to scamper one mile, buy a ferry ticket and board the ferry. And they’re off… Maddie and I were half speed walking and half jogging as we made our way through the streets of Jersey City.
I could see the ferry crossing the river as we steamed towards the ticket terminal. We burst through the doors with our adrenaline pumping! There was only one person in line – Niiccee!!
Maddie wheeled up behind the woman in line who was counting out $13.75 in quarters??? And the clerk was going through each one, “Nope, this quarter is Canadian – oops, so is this one.” Meanwhile, our ferry is docking right out front and the clock is ticking. “Oh, this one is American, right?”
“Hmmm, let’s see, I only need one more dollar,” said the befuddled woman. Before she could make a move I slapped down a buck and calmly said “Sold – Please print her ticket and give me one to Wall Street!” Maddie eyed me curiously as people started to board our boat.
The clerk laid down the woman’s ticket and ours came next. I snatched the ticket just as the ferryman was chaining up the entrance – “One more coming!” I announced. He lifted the chain as Maddie and I darted onto the platform. The boat lurched backwards and Maddie gave me that coy smile that said, “You can not be serious!”
Maddie’s driving continues to improve each day, but her parallel parking is still a disaster. Actually, Maddie was great a passenger both to and from the airport during this most recent trip.
We had to find the perfect balance of snack time, bottle time and naptime but it all seemed to come together with a minimum amount of carnage during these 3-hour-marathons back and forth to Chicago.
I’ve become the designated sleep whisperer for all trips surpassing the two hour mark. If I’m not driving, I’m in the back seat sleeping with my little commando. The motion of being a passenger in any vehicle or airplane puts me right to sleep. Maddie is not the best sleeper in a moving vehicle unless she’s stuck with me.
The best way to keep the baby sleeping comfortably in the car is to know where a pacifier is at all times. This is true even if you are sleeping right along with the baby. As soon as Maddie starts to stir, my eyes snap open so I can quickly locate the closest pacifier.
Maddie opens her eyes the tiniest bit. I pop the pacifier into her mouth. Then the baby confirms that she is in the company of loved ones. In less than 8 seconds the event is over and the princess is back in dreamland. I always make sure that I am not too far behind.
For whatever reason, this shared sleep method does not work for us during air travel. But at least Maddie gets a reasonable nap before we begin to battle the forces of evil at the airport.
For the second flight in a row, Maddie was treated to more mechanical meltdowns compliments of United Airlines. (They hate to fly and it shows)
It was a long and arduous trip home, but it did not tarnish a wonderful Easter weekend with the entire family. We pulled up to the airport in Chicago this morning with plenty of time to spare. We even breezed through security and things were proceeding almost too smoothly. That’s when we saw that our flight was already delayed by a couple of hours.
Actually, being stuck at the airport was the best part of the day. Maddie and Aunt Jacque got to hang out and throw food together at the airport Chili’s. There was no pressure, plenty of food and a happy baby. But once we made our way down to the gate, things got a little dicey.
There was a mob of people who had been waiting for some time to get to Newark and United had one person manning the gate. We shuffled onto the airplane and found our seats. We had no idea that our time on the runway was just beginning.
Once again, Maddie managed more than an hour of runway naptime only to find her parents wondering if they were ever going to take off. At one point, we were supposedly taxiing down the runway for takeoff when the pilot had to turn around for mechanical issues.
Hot tip: Babies as a general rule don’t like to sit still in a plane. Especially if they already were stranded for several hours at the airport due to “windy conditions.” Once we got into the air, Maddie’s patience’s was on shaky ground.
We pulled out all the entertainment tricks in the book, but after four hours plus on the plane – Maddie was fed up. You can’t blame her, we could have flown to the moon and back by the time we left O’Hare. After a while, Maddie staged a few mini-meltdowns – but her behavior went above and beyond. She fought the good fight and we were very proud of her.
Whether it was a simple pair of rabbit ears or a stunning Easter dress – Maddie made it all work this weekend while visiting family in the Illinois farming country. She was in a festive mood and was a great crowd pleaser throughout the entire weekend.
Even her behavior at the Sunday Easter services was a far cut above the show she put on last week in Jersey City. We will take advantage of this Easter Holiday to share a little holiday photo shoot courtesy of the Mad Madster.
Maddie’s look seemed to say it all, “You guys are pushing your luck!” After a flight to Chicago and three plus hours in the car, my 8-month-old super star was winding down before our eyes. Today’s flight wasn’t as adventurous as her faux-emergency landing at Newark last week, but it did have it moments.
We hit the airport early armed with snacks, stealth and experience. Our plan was to feed Maddie before boarding the plane. Do to unforeseen circumstances, that didn’t quite happen. But Maddie kept her spirits high and was patient enough to let us feed her on the plane.
Once again, we were all underwhelmed by the grandeur of Newark Liberty Airport. We taxied so long that Maddie finished a full bottle, some English muffin pieces and almost an entire apple worth of slices. We actually thought that the pilot had diverted to the highway and was going to taxi us all the way to Chicago. Anyway, by the time Chucky Lindbergh got the bus in the air, Maddie was celebrating her Sweet 16.
At the tail end of our flight, Maddie started to unravel a little bit. But before she could get out of hand, a woman across the aisle started telling her what a good girl she was. Maddie has never been one to shy away from attention. She made fast friends with the woman who chatted with her until we actually landed. Good stuff!
Maddie endured another 3 hours in the car like a champ as we pulled up to the thriving metropolis of Peoria, Illinois. Both of my lungs collapsed before I could actually blowup Maddie’s little inflatable tub. As we got Maddie into the tub, it was obvious that her sense of humor had left the building. We needed some baby supplies so I slipped out to the store and left bedtime operations to her mom.
As the door closed behind me, I could hear Maddie lighting up her mom with high-pitched screams and fussing. But I figured that after the day she had, the baby was more than entitled to vocalize a few well-placed complaints. Tomorrow we will have a full report from the baby’s first fish fry!
Maddie’s parents have been forced to battle the noise of multiple construction projects using the loudest industrial fans made by man. Instead of a baby’s sleeping area, Maddie’s room looks and sounds more like a vintage aircraft carrier flight deck.
This is all necessary because some guy in our building hired the Acme Construction Crew from the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons. These master craftsmen have been trying to build a recreation deck for months now. The only problem is that they are moving at a snail’s pace with no noticeable progress. If Noah had hired them for arc construction, none of us would be here today.
However, this doesn’t stop them from hammering and power sawing every day like they were building a wooden dock out to the Statue of Liberty. They power saw so frequently that they have literally cut every piece of lumber within a 50-mile-radius. You would think that they were nearing completion on a full-size wooden replica of the Great Wall.
The problem is that Maddie’s bedroom has windows that overlook the courtyard where this historic undertaking is underway. So today I decided that since I can’t beat this deafening symphony of confusion – I should add to it. Gentlemen start your engines! That’s right, break out the fans and yell, “CLEAR!”
So as we fire up the engines, the $64,000 question is will Maddie be able to find sleep on the deck of an old school aircraft carrier? Maddie and I fought our way through the gale-force winds of the bedroom to lay her down in her crib.
Like many parents, we have a baby monitor to make sure the baby is sleeping peacefully and not repelling off the side of the crib. I stared at it with unabashed curiosity watching every move Maddie made. Within just two minutes, Maddie had already checked out and was sound asleep.
Obviously we don’t want to get too cocky, but for one day, we found a way to overcome the slow motion construction project forever taking shape outside of Maddie’s window.
I’ve always heard that the teething process is no picnic. Maddie is driving that point home while her bottom gum line is under assault by an erupting tooth.
Her eating and sleeping schedules are in complete chaos as she searches for some balance during this process. Maddie is such a good girl, and it makes it all the more difficult that she really is trying to be sweet despite her obvious discomfort.
At this point we are all about the distractions. We are trying everything from juggling clowns to large jungle cats to keep Maddie’s mind off of her aching mouth. We took a long walk this morning, but by the end, the offending tooth was sticking it to my little girl.
We’ve also been trying a variety of tricky items for Maddie to chew on. Since Maddie likes chewing on her own toes so much, we thought a little fake plastic foot that goes into the refrigerator might be pleasing to suck on for a while – No Dice!
Someone suggested that we freeze or cool off a washcloth and let the baby gnaw on that. Maddie is still pondering what road scholar came up with that one. She took one look at thing all the while giving off that famous McEnroe vibe, “You can not be serious!”
The baby did enjoy chewing on a bagel and gumming up a few slices of pear this morning, but that was the extent of our success.
My wife and I had a pharmacist tell us that soothing medicines for the gums can cause problems for children later in life. This might be due to the fact that many people grapple with the concept of moderation. I’m pretty sure a little Baby Orajel here and there isn’t going turn the baby into a werewolf or a zombie.
So for now, the baby is fighting the good fight – thank god we only have about 6 to 9 months of this to go!