Saturday, June 19, 2010

Musings on Fatherhood on Father's Day Eve

I should be studying Portuguese.

But Sam went to bed 15 minutes ago (it's already 9:30). I put him to bed no less than 4 times. He didn't want to go to bed so badly he let me read my Portuguese compositions to him (this from the kid who screams, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" if I say one word of Portuguese). About a year ago, I would sit on the floor in Sam's room, leaning against his crib, my legs outstretched and Sam in between them, leaning against my chest in the dark. As he fell asleep this way, I would run my fingers through his hair. If I stopped, he would, eyes closed, find my hand and put it on top of his head. I am thankful that Sam isn't too old for me to do this still.

What do I want to say about being a dad?

This afternoon, Sam, Pete and I went to Target in search of a high chair for Pete. I found bright green t-shirts for all of us with the Brazilian flag on them (and we all shouted, "GOL!" when we found them, much to Pete's delight), but no high chair. Sam was extremely helpful clothes shopping. He would bring me t-shirts on hangers for my review. Oftentimes, he brought me multiple shirts of the same design and same size. He brought me a sleeveless muscle shirt and overalls. I would have to tell them that I didn't think mom would approve. I hope she likes the things I did pick out for them. I think it might very well be the first time I bought clothes for them. I don't know where Sam put the shirts we didn't buy. I apologize to the women and men working the infants and toddlers dept. at Target.

Of course, we couldn't get out of the store without lingering in the toy dept. Conveniently the toy dept. is centrally located directly adjacent to every other dept. in the store. I bought Sam a click-block-not-quite-Lego-not-quite-Playmobil bulldozer that ended up being a total piece of crap. When we got it home and put it together, the shovel on the bulldozer didn't work and Sam started balling. I felt so bad for him because I knew how excited he was about his new bulldozer and there was no reason that the shovel shouldn't have moved. He even made me get down the Quarry (an invention of Elise''s actually quite ingenious if not a little messy. The Quarry is a glass cake pan filled with dry beans. Sam drives his bulldozers and dump trucks through it scattering dried beans everywhere. But the Quarry does have the power to occupy him for literally hours on end. It's just a pain in the ass to clean up).

I don't have any words of wisdom or deep revelations on what it is to be a dad. I will confess that the absolute hardest part about being a dad is...

...cutting their fingernails! They're so tiny and I can't see worth a damn anyway!


Sam looks a little like Casper, but I'd rather put too much suntan lotion on him than too little.

I apologize for the video. My assistant director yanke the camera from me as I was filming my last shot!

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Earth Below Us..."

As you may know, Sam is somewhat of a bookworm. He will come up to us with a book and implore, "Reading books pwease." about 15 times a day. Usually, we oblige. But it's really hard to want to read Little Critter or Richard Scarry's 'Cars and Trucks' for the 15,000th time at 5:45 a.m.

Instead, I offer to tell him a story. It's much easier and usually has the same effect. The story I told this morning had Elise and I dressed up in crinkling aluminum-skinned space outfits and our apartment building turning into a rocket ship. All his new friends in the building had on their space suits, too, and so did their moms and dads. Everyone had helmets on and had to talk through their communicators like this, "Sam wants mik dis....roger that....eagle one out....over....krzkszk" and "This is ground control....reading books pwease.....over.....krsshz" in a muffled radio voice as though being transmitted over thousands of miles through the vacuum of space.

Then, I busted into the chorus of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom":

Earth below us
Drifting falling
Floating weightless
Calling home.....whoooah...!"

Sam wasn't amused, but Pete started busting a gut. It could've been the hands waving back and forth over my head...I don't know. I told him if I ever took up stand-up comedy, I definitely would want him in the audience.

He just laughed and smiled. Thanks, Pete.

The View from our Bedroom Window

I want to take a picture from the bedroom window of everywhere we will live. When we looked out the bedroom window from our townhouse in Jupiter, all we saw were the tops of trees. We called our home our nest or our treehouse, then. It was our haven.

Hopefully, we have better views than our current one in our future. Though I doubt I will ever forget opening the shades for Sam every morning to see what's going on below. There are two giant cranes on our construction site now. The mama crane built the bitsy crane and now they duel. We watch the crane operators crawl down from their perches in the afternoons, making sure they clock out. They hung American flags from the winches for the weekend.

Monday, June 14, 2010


We have had an interesting relationship with sleep. It is a love-hate relationship. She plays hard to get, her nature being highly elusive. She is bittersweet.

That being said, Pete slept from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. last night. He squeaked once. I don't know the exact time. Two nights ago I unplugged the clock radio in the middle of the night because the alarm buzzer went off twice. Someone...uhhem!...(Sam)....somehow set it to go off at o'dark-thirty while fiddling with the tuner in search of Lady Gaga. I have yet to plug it back in.

Elise tells me Pete woke around oneish. He cooed and squeaked for a few minutes, then the air conditioner kicked on. I had every intent of getting up, but never did. Not that I needed to. Pete, unswaddled and without pacey, put himself back to sleep.

An hour or so later, Sam, who has been sharing a room with Elise and I while Pete learns the finer points of sleeping through the night, padded across the carpet in his footed pajamas and stood at the edge of our bed, his steady, bleary-eyed stare requesting entry. He was gently redirected back to his own bed. Elise laid with him for a moment. I don't know how much time passed before he was back again, his second attempt at positioning himself between Elise and I more successful than the first.

We had--what I hope Elise believes was--a delightful birthday weekend. Friday night was sushi sozinhos (without kids) and the driest chocolate cake in Arlington. Not that we doth protesteth, but the bartender assured us it was homemade by his Kazakh grandmother...I'm sure it was. Elise enjoyed the best massage of her life at the Ritz in Georgetown while Sam, Pete and I rode the Metro to the Apple store in search of a gift. We emerged (literally) in the center of a professional cycling criterion just in time to be present when the lead female sprinter ate pavement at 39 mph. Fortunately, Sam was spared the sight. In the afternoon, we packed and double-packed supplies to go to the waterpark. It cost $24 and we only stayed an hour, but it was an absolute blast. Sam stood in the two feet end threatening to actually swim, while Pete played in the kiddie pool for the first time, grinning from ear to ear. For those that know Pete, they can appreciate what a sight this must have been, as his entire face grows to accommodate the size of his smile.

Yesterday, we journeyed to Elise's favorite breakfast place, Le Pain Quotidian. is it coincidence that this is the breakfast place where Elise and I ate in New York City right before I asked her to marry me? Probably :) At any rate, they have the best coffee in the world bar none. We yogurted at Red Mango for dessert (because is it really a birthday if you don't have dessert after breakfast, too?), then after naps, Sam and I made Elise a cake.

Sam ate half the sprinkles before they made it to the top of the cake and tried putting the candles into the cake before it had actually been baked and was just a puddle of batter in the bottom of the cake pan, but the venture proved highly successful. It was the best cake I've ever made. The exclamation point on the weekend was PF Changs take-out. Nothing special in-and-of-itself, but when enjoyed after both boys are in bed and we are able to talk--if in hushed tones--over a glass of wine and bottle of beer, makes all the difference in the world.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Hewie!

Happy Birthday to the best wife/mom/hewie in the world! We love you!

Advanced Swaddling

In this course you will learn the ins and outs of infant swaddling using whatever you can get your hands on in a pinch. Baby needs to nap? Trusted swaddle blanket is still wet in the dryer? No problem. You will be equipped for all swaddling situations. Learn to scan your home or immediate surroundings while your baby is screaming of exhaustion in the background for swaddle worthy items (such as the fitted jersey crib sheet shown above).... make a safe, spontaneous and triumphant decision with just seconds to spare.

Prerequisite: Basic Swaddling

Course Times: 24/7

Fee: Your sanity

Instructor: Elise Hanna, Mother, Wife, Photographer, Creative Maven, Swaddling Genius!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mall Walker

Elise accused me of dressing Sam like a 70 year-old South Florida mall walker for our trip to the grocery store. I can't help it if he picked out his own clothes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

$200 Run

Does Paul look twice as happy to you?

I assure you, he is.

The first photo was taken when Sam was about three months old. We had just purchased the stroller and had taken it out for a test walk. That stroller has seen more miles of open Florida road than what I'd venture to say that any other jogging stroller in the world has. Sam and Paul used to go out most every morning for anywhere from 5 to 10 miles in the morning with just their cheerios and made up morning songs.

We just ordered and picked up our dualie version from REI last Friday on the cusp of Peter's fifth month, and as Paul mentioned took it out for its inaugural run(s) this weekend.

Our family is at its best when we are on the go, free to get out, explore the great outdoors, breathe fresh air and taste adventures big and small. When deciding on the millions of rediculous 'must have' baby items on the market when we became parents we always knew that anything that would keep us mobile would be worth any dollar amount we spent and all the rest we could do without.

We laugh about the first jogging stroller and if we were to figure it's cost per run that it would be less than a penny a run. We took our second run on Sunday with the dualie, the best $200 run we've ever had. With two sets of tiny feet kicking happily in the breeze we'll be off again this weekend to run on the mall as we've dreamed of doing for months.....

Monday, June 7, 2010

On the Road Again

This weekend marked Elise and I's official return to running. We invested in the dualie version of the wildly-successful jogging stroller that has--at various instances in the recent past--saved both our health and sanity.

We started on Saturday with a what became a somewhat hilly loop around our homestead. On Sunday, we drove to a nearby trailhead that linked us with the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Trail that winds along a creek and through the heart of Arlington, though you feel as though you are in the middle of the woods without a soul around save other runners, cyclists and centipedes (Sam met his first one which ended in an impromptu lecture on the value of all lives both big and small).

I also visited my first 'sprayground', though Elise, Sam and Pete had already been. This will, no doubt, be our salvation this summer, and I vowed to bring a camera the next time we go.

The weekend was peppered with some of our best and most trying moments. The later occurring when we missed Sam's nap window, not returning from the sprayground until after 2:30. This only served to reiterate the importance of naps. Though some of my most memorable moments from the weekend occurred when just Sam and I were sent to fetch supper.

On both occasions, he ended up in my lap, demonstrating a proclivity toward snuggling he, as a rambunctious, untameable two-year old, would like one to believe he could do without. After we ordered our food, we sat to wait for it, and, after a few moments in his own chair, he would slide down, scoot over to my chair and surreptitiously climb up. On Saturday especially, exhausted, he let me wrap both my arms around him fully like a strait jacket and rest my chin on the top of his curls. We watched Sportscenter that way until our burgers were done.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

There's More than One Way to Skin a Cat

Our latest attempt to get Sam to use the big boy potty. Still no luck, but stayed tuned....(pun intended :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sam Took These Pictures!

He took 9 pictures of Pete and 1 picture of his new race track, yet I am still not sure which one he loves more!

War Wound

There's nothing that heals quite like a band-aid with puppy dogs on it.


He looks even bigger in real life when he's not sleeping in a crib.

Sam's Good Behavior Chart

Week One

Can you tell what area's Sam needs to work on?

Yesterday after work, we drove to Toys R Us and REI. We picked up our new dualie Ironman jogging stroller which we took on its inaugural journey this morning and we picked up a Matchbox car track set (the kind with the flexible orange strips that I remember being slapped with as a small boy) for Sam as a reward for his good behavior and amassing so many stickers.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Puppy & Boppers | A Very Pediatric Morning

I have been dreading this day for a month now. At 10am I began my first journey as a mother-of-two to the pediatrician....without Paul. We have always gone together.

I packed snacks, a lollipop, milk, formula, diapers, vaccination records and all of my patience. We drove 2.9 miles up the road, guided by two directional websites, one on my phone and one from my home computer and arrived at the pediatrician exactly one hour later. Awesome. I had been prepping Sam (read: myself) for this appointment for several days, reminding him that he was to have only the best behavior and that he was to set an example for Peter on how to navigate the pediatrician's office smoothly. I told him he would be weighed, and measured and that he may have to get a 'shot' but that he had to be a tough boy so Peter wouldn't be scared.

After filling out a stack of identical forms for each child, containing all the same insurance and family information with only slightly differing first and middle names donning each, we were called back into the examination room. Sam promptly jumped up in the guest chair and pointed out to the nurse that "Sam no ouchie, Pete ouchie," He would not be receiving any 'shots' but his little brother emphatically would. He took the lead on being weighed and measured, we only had to compromise slightly when I had to step on to the scale holding Sam (YES THE SCALE! i don't believe in scales, especially not at 5 months post partum) then step off and be weighed alone while the nurse subtracted all 800lbs of me to reach 28lbs of Sam. Again, awesome. Sam waited patiently while an apprehensive Peter was placed on the scale, measured and examined.

When the time came for Sam to get his shot, I had to wrestle his pants to his knees, whereupon I revealed his proudly fashioned homemade belt that he'd crafted this morning by stepping into my headband. He freaked but only for a moment, got his lollipop from me and waited patiently as Peter took to the crinkling paper of the exam table.

Pete let out a series of screams that nearly cracked all the windows and eardrums in the entire office and then received his two puppy dog bandages to cover his 'wounds'.

We packed into the car and headed home (the right way) and walked into our apartment just 5 minutes later. Ahem.

When we got upstairs, I took Peter out of his car seat and we all laid on the floor relieved to be home, stretched out and cooled down. Whereupon seeing Peter kick his bandaged legs Sam firmly, but carefully grabbed Peter's ankles holding them still and pleaded: "Pease Petey, no kick, ouchie, pease no kick".

The moral of the story: mapquest is crap, lollipops can and should be tried to cure most everything, worry is wasteful and brotherhood is absolutely breathtaking.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sam's New Big Boy Bed on backorder until the end of July.

I found this out about 2 hours after the furniture company came to haul away the twin bed in his room to make way for the new bed.

Since I had already given Sam the orientation on the new sleeping arrangements, we decided to put his mattress on the floor where his new bed is going to go and give it a go, "Sam's bun."

We read 'Eloise goes to Paris' on the floor next to his bed and then when it was time to go to bed, he did. In the morning, I peeked in on him after Pete woke up and found him sleeping on the floor next to the bed. A few minutes later, I hear, as we hear every morning, "Mom Daddy Pete!" Followed shortly there after by "Out."

When he slept in a crib he would ask to be taken out in the morning. I don't think he had yet realized he could get out of bed himself, and we saw him sitting, somewhat perplexed, probably still groggy with sleep, and the word 'out' was as much a question as a request.

Thought the first night went swimmingly, I am mentally preparing myself for a mid-evening interloper in nights to come.