Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Extended Vacation

Well, it’s the second day back from vacation, and Chris is still feeling the worst of the cold. Gabe and I are putting up with a residual cough, which would have meant going back to work for me. But just as I was about to head out the door, snow started falling. I checked the weather report, and the storm looked serious, so I decided we all needed another day of rest. Happy new year to us!

Gabe’s grip is now amazingly strong and accurate. If he grabs a handful of skin, it pinches; if I lean over him in a hoodie, he grabs one hoodie string in his left hand and the other in his right – and quickly, too.

He has become a danger with small but hard toys, because he will shake them up and down so violently that the toy is likely to crash into his face.

His newest stunt is to go rigid. I was wondering how I would know when it is time to start holding him up to hold his weight on his own feet – and now I know. And this is perfectly timed to go with the two bouncy seats that he got for Christmas!

The Christmas gifts were amazing, but the best gift was seeing Gabe and his cousin Mason side-by-side.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Playing with the Camera

We still have a bunch to learn about how to use our new camera to its full advantage. In between coughing fits I took some time today to learn more about how to use customized settings on the camera to achieve different results. Overall I ended up with a lot of blurry photos, but managed to get a couple that I liked.

Here Gabe was tiring of Daddy fiddling with the camera as he sat next to his companion cube. Eventually he curled up around it and eyed me sleepily.

While he has a neutral expression, I liked the depth of field change keeping his left eye blurry and his right eye sharp.

If you click on this picture and look at Michelle's left eye (the one on the right) you can see me in the reflection of her eye. While some detail is lost in the translation to web, it is amazing how much detail the camera captures.

Finally a happy smiley Gabe munching on his fingers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Return of the Sleepy King... Please Return... Please!

From the mouths of babes,
A divine keening arises.
Stirring all parents.

We woke up this morning at 5am in order to catch our train back home. Now, you'd think that since Gabe only really napped for an hour or so to the station, and maybe for another hour on the train that he'd be ready to drop. He's not. As far as I'm concerned this just lends further credence to my theory that the energy sucked into black holes is used to power babies, and allows them to drool as much as they do among other gifts. No baby powered by mortal means could possibly still be protesting everything we do with the fervor he's sustaining.

Right now Michelle is feeding him his second bottle of formula after draining his first and milk-shake and hamburger. There are some ever so subtle signs that he might be ready to drop, which is good because both mommy and daddy are ready to. Next time we catch the later train, since getting home early really hasn't bought us much in the way of unwind time.

Still it is good to be back home, and the trip was a resounding success on all fronts. We just need to get back into our routine with Gabe and bring some sense of order to the chaos that vegging out over the wonderful holiday break created.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Great holiday cheer,
With love to those far and near.
On this Christmas day.

It was a fun morning down here in Washington, with lots of excitement and smiles. Mason was adorable beyond belief and Gabe seemed to really enjoy himself. Michelle's present was a new Canon Rebel camera with some nice lenses, so expect a flood of pictures in the near future!

Grandma Sullivan with Gabe.

Gabe picking up a present.

Mommy helping Gabe open the present.

Gabe's cousin Mason bringing joy to all.

How sweet!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Assorted Photos

Just cleaning out the camera. . .

Early Christmas Gift

Gabe got to open some of his Christmas gifts before heading down to Virginia. We remembered to snap some pictures for this one. . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Fever

Gabe was making unusual little grunty and grumbly noises as he slept this evening from around 10-11pm. When he woke up mommy at midnight he felt warm and sure enough his axillary temperature was 100.6. This is high enough to prompt a call to the doctor who said so long as he was consolable and alert that we should give him Tylenol and keep an eye on him until the morning. Since we can still get him to smile he'll be going in for a visit in the morning to check for ear infection and such so we know what is causing the fever.

I'm feeling a little under the weather myself and the only thing that could be worse than watching your child be sick is being sick while their sick! Allergies, definitely allergies on my part.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Night Time with Daddy

Like a burrito
Wrapped snug and tight in my crib
Drifting off to sleep

Gabe has a clogged tear duct, so his left eye has been full of wonderful puddles of gunk today. Michelle thought it was pink eye at first, but having grown up in a pediatrician's office I was quite confident it wasn't. The lady at day-care suggested a plugged tear duct and that made the most sense. Overall Gabe could care less as far as I can tell and Michelle has been clearing out the gunk with wet cotton balls.

Michelle has passed the torch of putting Gabe to sleep at night to me, and I have to say that tonight went surprisingly well. Though he clearly was trying with all his might to stay awake, he drifted off fairly quickly. My swaddling is still rough so the first time he managed to escape it, perhaps aided by the power of his staccato of gas dulling my senses. The second time though he was clearly and unhappily immobilized for the minute or so it took to rock him into dreamland.

Not unlike a clown
You work to make me smile wide
And giggle with joy

Michelle was on the phone with her mom while I was working to get some giggles out of Gabe. Nan could hear Gabe cooing and asked what was up. In reply Michelle explained how I was so good at making Gabe giggle. Nan's response was "Of course he looks funny!" Sigh:)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's Up Doc - Gabe's 4 month checkup

That goes in what hole?
Yikes your hand is ice cold doc!
What horse gets that shot?

Gabe got he's four month immunizations yesterday, and while somewhat sore and cranky he's doing fine overall. The real shocker, that wasn't so much of a shocker is that he's 28 inches long now. That means he's been growing about two inches a month since he was born, and puts him above the 97th percentile by enough that it looks like he's on the wrong chart. He's still above the curve until you get to 7 months. He's in the 75th percentile for weight, so he's doing better than his dad there.

He's taking up nearly the whole swing. I'm beginning to understand my parents comments on how hard it was to keep me in clothes when I was a little weed growing up.

It's hard to believe that just a few short months ago he was this tiny little guy that I dwarfed. He hasn't been really snugly lately, but hopefully we'll be able to get a comparison picture soon. My arms are telling me to believe it though as he becomes heavier and more unwieldy. He's long enough now that there is a lot more places his arms and legs can end up:)



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gabe's Car Seat Haiku

I rage at restraint.
Shackled to the car I cry.
Can you not hear me?

Gabe cried the whole car ride home this evening. I have particular trouble with this because there isn't anything I can do to calm him down, and I really don't like to hear him in distress. Especially not for a half hour or more in a confined space. About twenty minutes into it I pulled over abruptly and let Michelle drive the rest of the way while I tried in vain to calm Gabe down.

Once we arrived home it became clear that our assessment that we didn't need to change his diaper before the ride home was wrong. His diaper was soaked and this clearly displeased him. To drive the point home after I had him all cleaned up and dried off he pissed all over my hand and the changing table.

During the bath tonight Gabe was practicing his new kissing sound. He would make a kissing sound or two, and I would in turn. This would make him smile and then he'd start the process over. It was adorable in the extreme. He's been working on his razz as well. He doesn't always get it right, but he's getting better at it.

He's upgraded to size 3 diapers and he's getting too long for the sleeper sacks we got him. They're supposed to be good until 9 months, but he's turning out long and lanky like his dad. It looks like we'll need to do another round of baby clothes shopping after the new year.


Solid foods – or should I say “solid foods”, since rice cereal thinned down to a runny gruel nearly thin enough to be fed through a bottle can hardly be called solid, are coming along nicely. Gabe opens his mouth willingly for the mysterious non-milk substance, and then rolls it around in his mouth looking concerned. He doesn’t yet eat any significant quantity, but he doesn’t reflexively spit it out, either. We are officially in the land of new mouth experience.

The toughest part of solid food so far is finding the time to feed it to him. During the work-week we’re on a rather rigid schedule, and spooning goo into a baby’s mouth takes both time and focus, so we can’t exactly multi-task this. Miss Kathy at the daycare says she’ll be happy to start feeding Gabe, but I’m not ready to turn over this exciting new development to someone else.

Gabe looks so tiny in the highchair! I will have to get pictures soon.

I think we have already got Gabe off on the path of adventurous eating, because we periodically give him a tiny taste of whatever gravy or sauce we are eating. The raspberry jelly was a particular hit. Gabe now watches our toast go to our mouths, enraptured. I suspect his concerned look when contemplating rice cereal has something to do with it not tasting as exquisitely nummy as jelly.

At the Christmas party I let Gabe gnaw on the rind of a tough and flavorful whole-wheat dinner roll. To say he liked it would be an understatement. He got angry when I took it away.

Gabe’s first session with rice cereal was terminated abruptly when he ninja-grabbed a loaded spoon. Rice cereal squished out between each finger. I realize this is the wee tip of the messy iceberg of baby-feeding, but somehow I wasn’t expecting mess just yet. Silly me.

The age of bibs is upon us.


Oblogation: an incessant need to maintain one's blog.

Hello loyal followers of Gabe! I know there are at least two of you! You are under no oblogation, but if you leave comments on the posts, we are likely to post more often. Just sayin'! We love you! Gabe sends you big, drooly smiles!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mister Personality

Many parents had told me that were able to see their child’s personality “from the beginning”. So ever since Gabe was born I’ve been watching him and trying to put my finger on that essential “Gabeness”. But is wasn’t until month four, when he became social, and daycare, when I had the chance to compare him to other infants, that I could really see what was unique to Gabe.

For comparison, there is a little girl named Emma at the daycare who has a sweet sweet smile when happy, but who has an icy glare otherwise. When she wants something, she lets the world know. And don’t try to stop her from getting her hands on that toy on the other side of the room! Little Emma has a warrior’s spirit. She is going to be a lawyer or a politician someday.

Another kid at the daycare, Logan, is a passive and fussy sort. He hasn’t got the hang of entertaining himself, and when left for very little time unattended he will quietly cry. Once he has the attention he wants, he has got a delightful smile. I imagine he will be a gentle and soft-spoken adult someday.

Gabe. . . is a charmer. He is the one who still beams when all the other babies are bawling. He is the one that the other daycare teachers come to visit when they want to smile.

In the words of his teacher, Miss Kathy, written on one of Gabe’s daily reports:

Gabe “had belly/play time on the mat, lounged on the boppy, flirted with all the girls, and played with toys on the bouncy toy bar.

Watch out ladies, here comes Gabe!

Anger Management

Growing up I never quite understood how my dad could get quite so upset when we woke him up at night by being too loud. Having Gabe around has clarified that for me, as I've found in the wee hours of the night that my temper flares to anger without warning and I have to tamp it down after the fact instead of working with it before it happens.

When I tell people at work that I have a horrible temper it usually gets a confused look or even a laugh. The reason is I work incredibly hard to keep my temper in check and have a full suite of behaviors to diffuse it before it becomes a problem. For instance getting up and walking out of meetings is me diffusing my temper, and is seen as someone getting pissy instead of enraged. This is damage that is much easier to repair and keeps the myth that I don't actually have a bad temper alive. I've had a decade to master these work coping skills, but only four months of being a father to call on.

Last night my temper flared to anger twice, and twice I had to tamp it back down. I was trying to get Gabe to go back to sleep and failing miserably. I didn't do anything to Gabe, but it scares me every time I get angry around him. Even if its only for a few seconds before I squelch it, it is a state of being that I don't enjoy being in. Emotions are a tricky thing, you can't control them so much as you can acknowledge them and then move on. I hope to get to the point that when I'm tired and cranky I have an opportunity to acknowledge that I'm becoming angry and move on before I actually get angry. It is something to work on.

In the light of day it is hard to imagine I could ever get angry at sweet little Gabe, I do love him so.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday Party

Michelle and I braved the Turbine Holiday party with Gabe in tow on Saturday evening. We we're quite sure what to expect from Gabe, but overall he acted like he was on his best behavior. It reminded me that it won't be long before we'll have to find a sitter if we want to attend a function like the Holiday party. The age of immobility is coming to an end, and I can see its harbingers emerging day by day.

Gabe is doing much better at sitting up with a little help from cushions or some other support. During the holiday party he was in the baby bjorn on my tummy facing forward, and he had enough head and neck strength to let me fill up my own plate at the buffet. Though I would have dropped my plate of food in a heartbeat if I needed to catch and support him for any reason.

Gabe and I have taken a bunch of baths together lately and I have to say it is something I look forward too. He's long enough at this point that it is really awkward to wash him in the baby tub, but I can support him in the water with my long thighs. His head sits between my knees and he delights in kicking my tummy with his feet. Tonight he laughed delightedly at my response to his kicking my tummy.

He's been much more fussy the last couple days. When he doesn't want to be on his back he will really turn red and fuss if you set him down. If he decides he isn't happy he'll just let fly with the cry. I look forward to the point when he'll be happy to crawl in and snuggle with with his daddy. I truly enjoy that few chances I've had to just curl up in a ball around a sleeping Gabe.

I had a funny thought this evening. Is it worse to have no stories to tell, or to have no will to tell the stories you have inside you? Until next time take care.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blurry Baby


Gabe must be ready for solid food. He hasn’t got a tooth yet, but anything that he can get his hands on gets pulled towards his mouth. This includes toys, his clothes, blankets, and other peoples’ hands. If his sleeves aren't kept rolled back, they become soaked with drool. When nothing else is available, he sucks on the fingers of both hands, all shoved into his mouth like a sandwich.

When I let him suck on my finger, he chews and chews. When nursing, he tries to cram a hand in his mouth.

What to Expect has not mentioned that long before the days of canned baby food, forks, and sanitary dish-washing, that that the way to give a baby his first solids was to chew it for him. Gabe has surprised me by instinctually opening his mouth when I lean close to kiss him. He’s just like a baby bird saying, “Mama, put worms in my mouth please!”

Solid foods coming soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mutant Baby

Last night I put Gabe to bed swaddled, with his head pointed south. This morning, he had one arm out of the swaddling, a big grin, and his head pointed north. Our baby can teleport!