Baby, Grandparents Enjoy Last Morning Together

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Who has the Metro Section?
The family that reads together, stays together. Maddie and her grandparents made it a super Sunday before the baby began her long drive home.

As is her way, Madeleine was up with the sun and ready for action this morning. After her morning bottle, the grandparents were in charge while Maddie’s parents started packing.

The trick was to try and get on the road in conjunction with the baby’s naptime. After the trio made their way through the Sunday paper, it was time for a break.

Can you come back later, we’re a little busy

Maddie and her grandfather got down to the business of cartoon watching. A short time later the car was packed and Maddie extended her heartfelt goodbyes to the family.

It was a tough for the little tiger to leave her grandparents and she shared that discontent with us most of the way home. It was a great visit for us and Maddie can’t wait to come back.

Road Warrior Running on Empty

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I need a day off bro!

Maddie obviously has a little too much on her plate right now.

Her mom is on the road – New teeth are breaking through – And she’s racking up the miles. Factor these things together and Maddie is running on a short fuse.

She’s actually dealing with the stress quite well. Most of the issues are once again surfacing during the clothing and diaper changes. It seems like every time we have to change one or the other, Maddie is fighting mad.

She actually screams as if she is being interrogated underneath a long-forgotten Gulag. When other people hear these crazed protests, they worry that the baby must have fallen off of the changing table.

It doesn’t last long – once the change is completed, the baby is all butterscotch and ponies again. We have theorized before that it is always better not to mess with Maddie, but she can’t wear the same clothes all the time.

So, the question is, how do we alter Maddie’s perception that changing her clothes somehow violates her life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? There must be a way to distract her, but so far nothing seems to work.

We’ve gone through this stage before, but her protests have never been so over-the-top as they are now. As always, all suggestions are welcome!

No Good Way to Undress a Tiger

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Why don’t you try to take off my hood?

Just moments after Maddie’s mom left for a business trip, things started to unravel for Stay Home PaPa. Before beginning our bedtime routine, I thought Maddie’s outfit seemed a little too fancy for feeding time.

We went back to the changing table to take care of what should have been a quick change. Within 20 seconds it became painfully obvious, “Houston, we have a problem.” I have no idea how her mother got this thing on the baby in the first place, but it was some type of Hannibal Lecter straight jacket that had NO intention of coming off.

And let me tell you, there are few things Maddie hates more than jerking around with difficult clothing. The longer we struggled, the more the baby’s frustration level edged towards the redline. C’mon, this isn’t my first ‘undress the baby’ rodeo, what was the ancient secret I was missing to undoing this Gordian Knot?

I obviously needed more room to maneuver. I scooped up Maddie and we went to the bed where we both would have some more room to work with. This only made things worse. Now Maddie was thrashing around like a Marlin on the hook and I was in grave danger of serious bodily injury. At this point, I was seriously considering gently ripping the back off of the garment for a nice clean removal.

Before taking this extreme measure, I decided to get a woman’s opinion. Maddie and I went downstairs to see if our neighbor Cynthia had any bright ideas for us. It turned out that getting this thing off was a two-person job.

We pried off that straight jacket, thanked Cynthia and headed upstairs for some dinner. Just as we got to the top of the stairs, Maddie ejected a stream of spit up that spackled a different neighbor’s door. “You can not be serious!” It took another trip to Cynthia’s door to get that mess cleaned up.

So Maddie’s mom is gone less than an hour and the baby and I are mired in some lost episode of the Three Stooges. This is shaping up to be a very exciting week!

Winds of Change Taxing the Baby

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I’m going to need a moment before you speak to me.

With so many developmental changes assaulting the Mad Madster, it’s no wonder she’s feeling just a bit overwhelmed right now. Today she launched a full frontal assault aimed at none other than her dear old dad.

We seemed to be having a grand old time this morning. Maddie was tearing up a magazine with great vigor and right or wrong, I was letting her pursue this course of action. However, when she tore out a page and tried to stuff it in her mouth, I had to intervene.

I grabbed the offending page as it was going into Maddie’s mouth. At the time, this seemed to be a reasonable course of action, but Maddie did not see it that way. Taking that piece of paper away from her was apparently a capital offense.

She screamed, she fussed, she pouted – and that was just the beginning. For the better part of an hour, Maddie let her dad have it and then some. She was about as angry as I have ever seen her.

It didn’t take long for me to understand that this wasn’t about the non-edible paper, but something much more complicated. I think Maddie’s rapid development is temporarily getting the best of her.

The baby is trying desperately to communicate with us. She’s working on her standing, crawling and eating skills and is meeting new people everyday. All of this stimulation has to confusing, exhausting and probably downright frightening. Maddie is also craving the one thing I obviously can’t provide for her, more female interaction.

So I have to take my lumps with a smile for now and hope she feels a little better tomorrow. There’s a great deal on her plate and she needs all the support we can offer. It’s not fun to see her struggle like this, but I know she’s a “toughie” and will bounce back happier than ever.

Rolling Baby Racking up the Miles

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My skills continue to impress
So Maddie is rolling now. This is not a metaphor, my 9-month-old daughter spent the entire morning rolling all over the living room. She can roll left or right, onto her stomach or onto her back. And although its true that a rolling baby gathers no moss, it is a parental workout of epic proportions. Cue “Rollin” by Lymp Bizkit!

The biggest pitfall of baby rolling is that she is not equipped with a crash helmet and therefore her melon is susceptible to injury. So while Maddie rolls along the floor, I’m running (actually rolling) interference to make sure the princess is safe.
Despite my safety concerns, Maddie was also able to charm me into submission despite her antics. I smiled at her from more than six feet away which prompted an attempted a visit. It took Maddie about three rolls to cover the distance and very quickly she was at my feet. I was most impressed and she could tell.
Maddie is also very pleased with her new skill and is determined to perfect it through multiple repetitions. I tried to take Maddie outside for a break, but that didn’t go over well. She complained the whole time because she actually wanted to get back in and go to work.
I think it would be a little easier to deal with if she were crawling instead. So after working on some more commando rolls, I put the baby in the highchair for a little lunch
She snacked very lightly and was pretty grumpy. Before I knew it, her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she had fallen asleep in the high chair. This has never happened before, but she’s also never spent the morning circumventing the living room one flip at a time.
I gently lifted her out of the chair and made a beeline for the crib. She was asleep within seconds and her dad was completely wiped out. Now its a wait and see game to see if Maddie will eventually get bored with all of this rolling or if she is determined to roll right over her dad.

Baby Schools Grandfather on Evasion Tactics

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Trust me, I’m on it!

You  can fool some babies some of the time – but you can’t fool Maddie. Maddie and I play a good deal of peek-a-boo and sneak up games with each other. This is due to the fact that Maddie was born observant and loves to catch people in the act of doing whatever it is that they do.

Because she is only 9-months-old, its very easy for people underestimate her heightened awareness level. Ninety percent of the time she’s like a hawk all hyped up on Mountain Dew ready for whatever life may throw her way. Last night, Maddie’s grandparents watched the baby for a few hours and got a front row seat to some of those mad skills.
Maddie’s grandfather had just rocked Maddie to sleep and lowered her into the crib. As soon as the baby made contact with the mattress, her eyes popped open. Making a radical split-second decision, her grandfather decided to hit the deck trying to hide from the baby.
So grandpa is hiding on the floor when he notices that Maddie has pulled herself to the edge of the crib and is staring at him with great curiosity. BUSTED! Then as if to drive the point home, Maddie decided to initiate a game of fetch with grandpa. She began firing her pacifier out of the crib so she could watch her grandfather pick it up and return it to her.
We’re not sure how long this exercise lasted, but we strongly suspect that Maddie was having the time of her life. We’re not sure what grandpa did for an encore, but Maddie assured us that it was worth the price of admission.

Baby, Grandparents Begin Pat-a-Cake Training

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As soon as Maddie opened her eyes this morning, it was obvious that her gaggle of new teeth were not treating her very kindly. She’s been grinding these enamel barbarians against one other for almost 48 hours now.

It’s frustrating as a parent to have such a happy baby who is struggling to stay in good spirits even when she is in obvious discomfort.

This morning we took Maddie to Panera to munch on a bagel and give her teeth a rest from all that grinding. This was one of many distractions we tried with the baby to distract her from those erupting teeth.

Maddie’s grandmother MiMi came up with a great distraction technique when she engaged the baby in a winner take all game of Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake Baker’s Man.

Maddie seemed to be getting the hang of the Baker’s Man hand motions when she turned the tables on MiMi. Once Maddie got the moves down, she grabbed her grandmother’s hands and started instructing her. It’s always reassuring to have a 9-month-old who is so ready to pull from her vast pool of knowledge.

Next up was naptime for the baby, but Maddie wasn’t having it.

I put her down to sleep and the waterworks broke out just a few minutes later. It was strange because for the past few months, Maddie has insisted on putting herself to sleep.

Today was a different story. I went up to the crib and it was obvious that Maddie needed some company. I rested my hand on her tummy and she held onto my arm until she finally drifted off to sleep.

Luckily she woke up in much better spirits and enjoyed a great day with all of her aunts and uncles.

Maddie Becomes the Finder of Lost Flapjacks

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Nothing left here but the crumbs my friend!

As my 8-month-old daughter Maddie continues to reject stage 3 baby food – her appetite for the real deal is quickly growing out of control.

This morning as the sun was coming up, we had cakes on the griddle – and business was a boomin! I kept setting up the mini-pancakes and Maddie kept knocking them down!

  • I’d pluck the fluffy disc off of the stove
  • Maddie’s mom would tear the cake in half
  • And Maddie would bring the magic

By magic I mean that my little girl seizes the tiny cake in her paw, crushes it into a ball and slams it into those gaping jaws. Holy cow lady, “Take Human Bites!”

Just to slow her down on the fun cakes, we tried to mix things up with some strawberries, but Maddie barely skipped a beat! She has a new favorite and wanted to make sure she got her fill.

What’s makes this pancake pandemonium even more remarkable is that this was just round one. Just a few hours later at brunch, Maddie put on second eating display more prolific than her morning performance.

We met our friends Michelle and Dan for a brunch to remember. Maddie quickly situated herself onto Michelle’s lap and then went right to work. She tore into a myriad of foods with an unbridled enthusiasm that must be seen to be believed.

The baby conquered the cantaloupe, beheaded the berries and even downed a decent sized portion of sweet potato fries. It was a true festival of the foods and Maddie was more than happy to take center stage. Even after the meal, Maddie made it a point to chew on Michelle’s necklace a little bit to make sure that no morsel was left behind.

Road to Better Sleep Runs Over Parents

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All this talk about sleep is exhausting!

Even though it’s only day one on the road to establishing proper sleep habits for the baby – it is taking a heavy toll on the parents. Maddie loves a good throw-down and a couple of wide-eyed, eager-to-help parents is just what the doctor ordered. This is in no way a stiff challenge for someone like Maddie, it’s more like an appetizer to get her warmed up.

It all started with the first nap attempt of the day. Maddie was giving PaPa all the right signs to show him that she was ready to sleep. She was relaxed and her eyes were heavy as I began to ease her into the crib.

Maddie was like a little angel straight from heaven as she settled in for what was potentially a nice long nap. About 12 seconds later, she went off like a booby trap on the side of the road. Screams, sirens and carnage now ruled the morning as Maddie lashed out against this horrible indignity. How dare you try to put me down for a nap, “Do you know who I am?”

I tried to soothe and reason with her and that only made things worse. It was now eight in the morning and Maddie already had me on the ropes – Good Times! The experts indicate that you must be persistent in pushing the naps, but they never had to go head to head with the Mad Madster.

After about 10 minutes of soothing, Maddie finally gave up, stopped crying and gave into sleep. My Lord, I’ve done it!

I strolled into the kitchen like William the Conqueror – hungry for breakfast after my epic victory. That’s when I noticed the walls of Jericho beginning to sway to and fro – the little girl was awake and was on the verge of bringing the walls down! Once again, Maddie was forced to communicate her extreme displeasure with the ineptitude of her father at the top of her lungs. Now the little girl is dug in and more determined than ever to put an end to this sleep nonsense.

By 8:20am, the signs of parental damage were everywhere. The vanquished father lifted the triumphant and sleepless baby out of the crib to show the throng of Maddie admirers the power and majesty of true defiance. Keep in mind this was only the first nap attempt of the day. Believe me when I tell you that things never got any easier. By 8pm, both parents were dead on their feet and already wondering what wonderful late-night plans Maddie had in store for both of them.