Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lying Piece of Shirt!

Walk into any baby store, and a vast array of slogan-bearing clothing greets you. They range from predictable ("Cutie Pie," "Here Comes Trouble") to more progressive ("Protect My Earth," "Future Democrat") to downright questionable ("Diva in Training," "Future Republican"). Ahem.

I couldn't resist buying several of these shirts and onesies, some of which have turned out to be more fitting than others. One t-shirt which hasn't gotten much use proclaims "Grandpa and I have the same hair." This was never true, and especially not now. On the flip side, there are the shirts which, for better or for worse, are completely true...
.
Then there are the shirts that true only some of the time...

And the ones that could be true or false, depending on who you ask...

Finally, there is the shirt with the only slogan that matters to me, because it's a slogan I try to live up to every day...
.

As long as the tiny wearer of this shirt believes what's printed on it, then I've done my job.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Don't Call Them "Legwarmers"

A mere week after pledging to knit a pair of manly legwarmers for my son, I have finished... one legwarmer. Are you wondering why I'm already bragging about a half-finished project? Well, you should know that there are weeks when I don't find time to perform the most perfunctory of tasks. I mean, I can't remember the last time the caterpillars on my face have seen a pair of tweezers. So half-finished or not, I think I deserve a medal.

Another thing you should know is that I've decided not to call this article of clothing "legwarmers." A boy wearing legwarmers might get beaten up on the playground. A boy wearing BOOWARMERS, on the other hand, is safe from ridicule.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Like Mother, Like Son?

Benjamin kind of hit another milestone in recent weeks. I say "kind of" because I'm not sure if what he's doing really qualifies as a milestone. He started crawling. Backwards. He'll see something he really wants to grab (like a toy, me, or the pug) and bounce up and down with excitement. Then, with his eyes focused intently on the object of his affection, he'll start moving - in the opposite direction. It doesn't take long before he realizes he's getting farther and farther from his quarry, and that's when the tears start. I was pretty concerned until my mom told me that I did the same thing. I guess that means I have nothing to worry about, because just look at me now. I turned out fine!

Nolan and Benjamin flash goopy smiles while proprietor Theresa looks on.

Thankfully, things are going a little better in the eating department. My little Benjamin has quite a voracious appetite. He has yet to meet a food he doesn't like, though green beans are still somewhat of a hard sell. His current favorites are fresh mashed avocado, ripe banana, and steamed butternut squash. Since it's nice to eat out once in a while, my friends and I arranged a tasting session for our little ones at Homemade Baby, a company that specializes in making 100% organic baby food. I was hoping to expand Benjamin's gastronomic horizons, but he seemed more interested in hanging out with his friend Nolan.

Benjamin's best gal Lucy showed up a little later. Unfortunately, Lucy and her ma Catherine took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up in Crensha-- I mean, Lucy and her ma Catherine were a bit late because they had to stop and save a bunch of nuns from a burning building. As they were waiting, Nolan and Benjamin took time to do some male bonding. They talked about sports, beer, and how excited they were to start eating red meat. As soon as Lucy showed up, though, Benjamin only had eyes for her. And who could blame him? It takes a rare beauty to look this ravishing while covered with organic baby puree!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Endless Summer

The days have been getting shorter and the temperature a little chillier (which for us spoiled Angelenos is anything below 70 degrees), so we've been busy trying to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of Benjamin's first summer.

Last weekend, we attended the last of the free summer concerts in our neighborhood park with our buds Deb and George. As Deb and I sang along to every song the band played (Come on... What normal person doesn't sing along to Earth, Wind, and Fire?), George and Vince did their best to pretend like they didn't know us.

Benjamin watched from the sidelines at an outing to play beach volleyball. I didn't want to make Vince look bad in front of his son, so I decided to sit the games out and join Benjamin in the jeering- I mean, cheering.

We kicked it with friends of the pint-sized variety, too. Last Thursday was a double-whammy: Benjamin hung out with neighbor Nolan in the morning and then met up with ladies Lucy and Presley in the afternoon.

Not wanting the Daddies to be left out of the summer fun, we got together for a family day in the park on a recent Sunday. In the pic above, we see Benjamin holding hands with Bella; neighbors Julie, Shawn, and Nolan; Lucas having fun with Henry; Kylie munching on a chip; Pilar and Elijah watching brother Henry run around; and Vince and Benjamin saying "hi" to Jennifer and baby Hailey. Our neighbors Holly, Rusty, and baby Isabelle were there, too, but they left before I got it together enough to pull my camera out.

As I write this post, two things occur to me: #1. It looks like Benjamin has only two shirts in his wardrobe, and #2. Benjamin seems to have a lot of lady friends. In regards to #1, let me say that Benjamin has far more than just two shirts. It's just that these two are his Daddy's current favorites, so he's trying to get as much mileage out of them as possible. And when you're doing laundry every single day, one of those shirts is always clean. In regards to #2... Well, what can I say? Benjamin is The Man!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"He's a MANIAC! MAAAAAAY-NEE-ACK!"

Yes, you are seeing correctly. Those are my baby boy's legs and feet encased in legwarmers. Ah, legwarmers... provenance of Jane Fonda and Jennifer Beals circa 1983. Before you rush to judgement, let me tell you that there is a very good reason for why my baby boy is sporting such girly gear. As I mentioned in a recent post, Benjamin and I just started practicing infant potty training. Sometimes, there are only moments between the time he cues me and the time the show hits the road, so wasting crucial seconds trying to wrestle pants off of Benjamin's burgeoning bottom is not an option. So now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (Are we feeling the 80's love, people?)

The other half of the battle is convincing my husband that the legwarmers do serve a real purpose. Judging from the look on his face, he'd rather see his son freeze than see him run around in dance gear. My feeble suggestion that he could think of Benjamin as being a hip, metrosexual baby didn't really fly, either.

Further compounding the problem is the fact that I've only been able to find legwarmers for baby girls. I can't for the life of me imagine why! So since I believe that Benjamin should have a variety of legwarmer options on his road to Pottydom, I've taken it upon myself to knit him some more manly-looking ones. As they say, variety is the spice of life.

Going along with the 80's theme of this post, I'd like to point out that that is, indeed, Vanna White on the wrapper. Apparently, she has her own line of yarn. Who knew?

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Song for my Boo

After writing so many songs about love gone wrong, it's nice to write one about love gone right.

video

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2008: A Potty-sey

I first heard about Elimination Communication when I was in my second trimester of pregnancy. Also known as infant pottying, EC somehow came up in conversation over dinner with friends. One of them had a brother who'd practiced EC with his two sons. He began when they were newborns, and both kids were diaper-free by their first birthdays. In a nutshell, EC is the process by which a parent uses timing, cues, and intuition to know when his or her infant needs to use the toilet. The goal is not to potty train the child per se, but to expand communication and respond to one of your child's basic needs by increasing bodily awareness. Sounds crazy, huh? If not crazy, it certainly seems like a whole heckuva lot of extra work, right? That's what I thought, too.

Fast forward one year later. I had noticed that Benjamin was making it increasingly clearer through his facial expressions and vocalizations whenever he needed to, um... use the facilities. Vince joked that we should just dangle him over the loo and save a diaper, and that's when it hit me - I was seeing Benjamin's EC cues! So even though in the world of EC, Benjamin would be considered to be late starter, I decided to give it a try. I purchased a Baby Bjorn potty and a copy of The Diaper-Free Baby (by Christine Gross-Loh), and got to work. To ensure that I don't gross you out, I'm going to employ the use of some euphemisms. We'll refer to pee as "polliwogs" and the other stuff as "shalalalas."
.
Various potties in our EC Arsenal. Would you believe that there's a tiny collapsable potty in that little blue bag? What will they think of next??
.
To our surprise, Benjamin took to EC really quickly. By the second day of our Potty-sey, he'd gotten about five polliwogs in his Baby Bjorn potty as well as all of his shalalalas. To be sure, we've had a few "off" days in which it seems I'm reading his cues just moments too late, or when I'm not positioning him quite right on the potty and getting sprayed with polliwogs. Also, practicing EC is definitely more work than just slapping a diaper on Benjamin and calling it a day. But the joy of being able to communicate with and respond to my little baby on a new level makes it all worth it. Not having to scrub shalalalas out of his clothes after a blow-out diaper is nice, too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mama Mia!

After nearly seven months of what can only be described as New Parent Boot Camp, my commanding officer has finally thrown me a bone: he called me by my name.

video

The moment I heard him utter those syllables, I ran to him so fast that I left a vapor trail. I then proceeded to bounce up and down in front of him while shrieking with joy and clapping my hands. Benjamin seemed to enjoy my ecstatic theatrics quite a bit. Indeed, no sooner than I had left the area did he call "Mama" again, sending me rushing back to his side for a repeat performance. Next, he'll be saying, "Dance, Mama, dance!"

And just in case you don't speak Chinese, in the video I'm asking Benjamin if he knows who I am.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Spy With My Little Eye...

...stirrup pants! When I saw some for sale at a trendy local store, I had to take a picture. I mean, who would believe me otherwise? That being said, my mom is going to be VERY excited to hear that her old standby is making a comeback!

Monday, September 8, 2008

He's a Lover, Not a Fighter

Benjamin gets a hand from Liam.

Maybe it's because of the sunny weather. Maybe it's because he's a precocious little bugger who already understands irony and is acting in direct opposition to the frightful image his mohawk presents. Maybe it's because his mom is so winsome and non-combative herself. Ok, probably not that last one. Whatever the reason, Benjamin has developed into one of the happiest, most sweet-natured creatures I've ever known. Everything gives him reason to smile. Oliver's curly tail, Daddy's goofy faces, tree branches stark against the blue sky, even his own bowel movements bring out a giggle or a grin.


His cheeriness extends to interactions with others, too. During their last playdate, Benjamin's best gal Lucy reached over to inspect his pacifier. She pulled on the pacifier, Benjamin went with it and toppled over. His face scrunched up in protest for a brief moment, and then he was completely fine. Whoa! Had I just fallen on my face I would have pouted for far longer, held a grudge, or both. Instead, Benjamin just kind of shrugged it off and let it go.

A few days later, Benjamin and I went to our first class in the new parent education course we were taking. I found myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by the din and chaos created by the dozens of parents and babies present. Benjamin, however, took it all in stride. He sat back for a moment before diving right into the melee. When classmate Avery crawled over to check out his mohawk, Benjamin said, "No prob, bro. Give the mo' a feelsky." So Avery palmed his head for a second, and the boys went back to playing. Here I was obsessing over whether or not I was looking like fun playdate material or a haggard housewife to these new people, and Benjamin was already out there making connections. Literally.

I suppose I could learn a thing or two from my tiny son. At the tender age of six-and-a-half months, he is able to do things that I no longer can - or have forgotten how to - do. Benjamin goes with the flow, he doesn't take himself too seriously, and he doesn't let his panties get into a bundle over little things. Maybe it's because he's not actually wearing panties yet, but that's all the more reason why I should be able to do the same.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Warriors

Once you have a baby, your social scene changes. You may still get to do many of the same things you did in your pre-baby life, but you don't get to do them in the exact same way. For example, Labor Day weekend in years past has been spent hanging out at a pool or a BBQ and getting tipsy with our pals. We did spend this Labor Day weekend hanging out at a pool and barbequeing, but most of the drinks we had were nonalcholic, and many of our pals were still in diapers.

Benjamin got to take his first ever dip into a pool at one BBQ we attended over the weekend. It was hosted by Vince's college pals Jim and Heather, and their two kids, Mackenzie and Cole. Benjamin's initial reaction to the water could hardly be described as enthusiastic. Well, enthusiastically unenthusiastic, perhaps. But as long as he was clinging tightly to Mom or Dad, he seemed to be fine, and he mellowed out after a few minutes.

We hosted a last-minute BBQ of our own over the weekend. Of course, Vince used the get-together as an excuse to get his video-game ya-ya's out with our guy buddies. Instead of Grand Theft Auto, they busted out the more family-friendly Rockband. And once they got started, they didn't stop. I had to laugh while these guys were playing. I mean, is there any greater cliche than a bunch of Asian dudes playing video games for four hours straight?

I was especially tickled by the sight of my hubby getting into his virtual guitar solos. Look at the sheer concentration on his face! The funny thing is that I swear I've seen those same expressions during diaper changes!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Poops-A-Daisy!

Introducing solid foods to Benjamin has been an adventure, and like any adventure, we've had our ups and our downs. On the upside, it's been fun seeing how Benjamin responds to each new food. To our relief, he's loved everything he's eaten so far, especially fresh avocado. On the downside, his poo now smells like, um... poo. You see, the poo of a baby before he starts eating solids smells remarkably unremarkable. Now that he's started eating more than just his mama's milk, however, the smell is very remarkable. Vince had a few remarks of his own the other day while changing a particularly offensive diaper. As he peeled it back from Benjamin's butt, his hand flew up to his nose and he exclaimed, "OH, MY, GOD. It smells like HUMAN sh*t!!" I guess Benjamin has fallen from the status of cherubic angel to mere mortal.

Benjamin exacted revenge for his father's potty-mouthed comment (no pun intended) later that day when half of the contents of his diaper managed to wind up all over the quilt he was sitting on. To add insult to injury, Vince stepped right into the mess as he rushed over to assess the damage. In the interest of decency, I've pixellated the offensive material in the pictures below. I don't want to scare any of my friends into not having children, now do I?
.