New Jersey

Road to Nowhere Trumps Shot Trauma

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New Jersey Roads - Just Another Day in Paradise

After two rough rounds of baby vaccinations at the two and four month mark, Maddie’s parents tried to shake things up a little for today’s 6-month shot extravaganza.

  • Instead of an afternoon doctor’s appointment we switched it to morning.
  • We gave Maddie baby Tylenol before her appointment even though she swallowed very little of it.
  • We also decided that I would carry her home rather than put her into the stroller.

As expected, the shots themselves were not pleasant. We got Maddie home quickly and she was literally falling asleep in my arms. Unfortunately that nap lasted less than 20 minutes and trouble was brewing in Maddie’s world.

A sleepless hour later, it was apparent that if the baby was going to get any sleep – we had to go not just the extra mile, but also several of them. I strapped Maddie into the car seat and followed the advice of Horace Greeley and Kid Rock – we headed west. Within five minutes, Maddie was zonked out and sleeping soundly.

We had no destination in mind, just the Beirut-like war torn roads of New Jersey rumbling beneath us. It reminded me of the 80’s song by the Talking Heads called Road to Nowhere.

As the miles ticked by, I thought about this McDonald’s drive-thru about 70 miles away. I figured that after forty years plus, it was time to try my first shamrock shake. I considered waking Maddie for her approval, but ultimately decided that she should rest up after her ordeal.

140 miles and two and a half hours later, we arrived back at home and Maddie was just beginning to stir. It turns out that shaking things up was just what the doctor ordered to help the baby make it through her 6-month vaccines. Thankfully, Maddie was able to sidestep any major shot trauma and I finally got to try my first green milkshake. Life is good!

Maddie Tries Out the Gorton’s Fisherman’s Look

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Is that you Alec Baldwin?

With the temperature hanging in the mid-fifties – it was another day to bundle up the little bean, if Uncle Jason, Gina and John were going to enjoy a nice outdoor lunch. So we got Maddie all decked out with her windbreaker, leggings and some sweet thick socks.

Maddie’s windbreaker was a wee bit too big – even for her prominent noggin. Her little face kept disappearing into the hood as if it were in a giant bucket and she was quickly growing tired of these antics. To avoid any type of confrontation, I folded the hood back over her forehead and she immediately took on the appearance of the Gorton’s fish stick guy. Of course she was missing the Alec Baldwin beard and stache – but she really looked like a little girl who was ready to tackle the sea!

We loaded her onto her trawler-like buggy and cast off for Marco & PePe’s in Jersey City. The sidewalks were rough and a stiff breeze out of the north slowed our progress – but finally we got ourselves situated outside and we were ready for some grub from the galley.

It took only moments to realize that the mid-fifties indicated by the thermometer didn’t really count if you were sheltered from the wind and sitting in the direct sunlight. The sun was baking the back of my neck and we all realized that Maddie had to shed the commodore’s look before she became a baked bean.

This is easier said than done, as I had to unstrap Maddie and pull her out of the buggy in extremely close quarters. The good news is that the little girl thought all this activity was a hoot. First we rescued her from deep-sea slicker – good-bye Captain Gorton – and then we peeled off her Flash-Dance leggings.

It was all going so well until I realized that one of straps on the stroller had become unthreaded. I tried to thread it back through, but there was a little leg kicking against my arm every time I tried to patch the strap through. I have to give her credit; my little girl sports a real spirited sense of humor.

Finally, Momma had to take the baby so I could complete the task that took all of about 15 seconds without the assistance of Daddy’s little helper. Maddie really enjoyed the company of her Uncle Jason and is looking forward to meeting all of her aunts and uncles back at home later this afternoon – it’s just a shame that they won’t be able to enjoy her sporty deep sea look.

Mass Transit Mayhem Triggers Maddie Meltdown

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Maddie the city girl made it clear that she needed to put in some time on the waterfront this afternoon. So Maddie, mom and poppa jumped a Jersey Light Rail train and headed for the action.

At 5-weeks-old, Maddie is a long-time veteran of train travel (her 3rd trip) and handled today’s eight-minute rush hour journey like a real pro. She was not as impressed with the bumpy sidewalk we encountered when we got off the train. After each bump, her little hands jutted out as if to say, “Hey driver, you missed one of the potholes back there!”

We were enjoying a nice breezy evening on the Hudson River when suddenly, Maddie ran into some Diablo-diaper issues. Her mom and I made a beeline for the closest hotel because they have the cleanest bathrooms. The change was successful and a mini-crisis was averted, but Gina and I knew that we were playing with house money and it was time to get the baby back home.

We hopped the homeward bound train and everything was falling our way – that is until we got greedy. The motion of the train lulled Maddie into a deep sleep and we foolishly decided to push our luck.

Why not extend the good times and troll around Liberty State Park with our sleeping angel? We hopped off at the Liberty stop with pep in our step, ready to let the good times roll.

We hadn’t gone more than 50 yards when lady luck snuck out the back. Maddie was in a state of sleep perfection when we got to the train crossing. We had just crossed the tracks when a CLANGING noise of cosmic proportions ripped through the day’s tranquility like a sonic boom. There was no place to hide, the damage was done and Maddie was not the least bit impressed.

The artificially induced shockwaves buffeted us – sending Maddie into a panicked rage and leaving us with the unenviable task of walking a mile with the angry baby.

And what a walk it was – there was no calming our little girl now. She was ready for war and our multiple lame tempts to calm her were of no consequence. We were now forced to make that “Walk of Shame” parents must endure when they have unwittingly unleashed the fury of a tired child.

Maddie to Hurricane: Good Night Irene!

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Sleeping in the pale light of the lantern

Maddie blew town Saturday morning in the wake of Irene and headed for her grandparents place in western Jersey. Riding out the storm with the grandparents has been the quite the adventure for young Madeleine.

She’s been terribly fussy and you have to wonder if it’s the bizarre climatology that’s driving her to the brink. Between the rabid rain and loss of power – she’s had a great deal to cope with.

At around 10pm – Maddie took her dad out for a closer look – We opened the garage door for a little peek at the ill-mannered conditions.

As soon as the sound of the rain hit the baby, her inner commotion stopped in mid-strife. Her eyes opened wide as we watched the rain pepper the driveway. There was barely a hint of wind, but Maddie seemingly put her stamp of approval on these questionable conditions.

But as soon as we returned indoors – the inner turmoil returned with a vengeance. After a restless feeding around midnight, I took Maddie downstairs and left Gina with a portable battery-powered lantern.

Maddie had just fallen asleep in my arms when the power blew! Gina appeared like a character from a Dickens novel behind her lantern. I sent her back up to bed while Maddie settled down for a snooze in the pitch-black hurricane darkness with her papa.

Once she was knocked out – I left her with her Mom so I could join Maddie’s grandpa for hurricane hijinks with the generator and bucket brigading in the basement!

Maddie slept soundly until the winds picked up around 4am. She woke up angry and made it perfectly clear that she’s fed up with Irene and her wicked ways.

Maddie Prepares for Hurricane Evacuation Adventure

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You can not be serious!!

What a way to celebrate your first month on planet earth as we are just moments away from Maddie’s Jersey City evacuation adventure. The hurricane is slated to unleash her fury later this afternoon and we are already about 70 miles inland with Maddie’s grandparents.

Little did we know that our daughter had some real issues with our evacuation strategy yesterday and she employed a wide variety of civil disobedience tactics to distract us from our plan. Friday morning started off well with a nice walk in the park – but Maddie had obviously spent her quiet time plotting a little bit of chaos to unleash against her parental units when their guard was down.

Lunch seemed to go well enough – and Daddy was more than happy to take on that afternoon’s burping duties. The baby seemed to be a bit restless when she launched her first preemptive strike of the day. Maddie reared back her head and belched forth a surprisingly generous stream of mother milk down Stay Home PaPa’s shirt.

I looked down to inspect the damage when I realized that the magical goop had already doused my shirt and pasted it against my chest. She looked at me coyly, apparently very satisfied with her art work. It reminded me of a line from the movie Juno, when the store clerk tells a pregnant teenager, “That’s one doodle that can’t be undone home skillet.”

Well that shirt was shot – and Maddie was still trying to figure out new and creative ways to avoid the inevitable evacuation. Since the baby had gotten covered in some of her own goo – It was the perfect time to try the mini bathtub for the first time. Suffice it to say, bath time was a complete success and things were really looking up.

We watched the non-stop hurricane coverage while the baby took a little nap. When Maddie woke up, we went to her room for a quick diaper change before dinner. The change started off well enough – Everything was in the green, all systems go, the finish line was in site, when suddenly my little race car developed a problem.

It was eerily similar to a NASCAR crash on the final lap. First your engine coughs, then it sputters and suddenly parts and oil are flying across the track – Or in this case, stuff is shooting out of our little girl and I have no place to hide.

The yellow caution flags came out – but the damage was already done. I had some post-race cleaning to take care of before more damage could be inflicted. Casualties included my hands, the changing pad, the cloth diaper we use for added protection and even the fresh diaper that was supposed to cover the chassis.

But hey – that’s what dad’s are for – better luck next time.

As for Maddie, her tactics were brilliant – but rain or shine –we’re headed west to seek shelter from the storm with her grandparents. Hey munchkin, better luck next time!