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24 Weeks and She Still Drinks Like a Fish

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Here we are in week 24. I’ve said to H, E, double hockey sticks with not giving my daughter solid foods. Actually I’m going to plan on saying H, E, double hockey sticks… I haven’t yet. Why not you ask?

I’m scared.

I’m not scared of my toothless progeny not being able to handle solid foods. That’s just a mild concern. If she’s anything like her old man then she’ll be able to handle food. That’s when we have a problem; several, actually. Childhood obesity (not for the aesthetics, but for the healthiness of it all), cost- I used to put down 2 entrees at a time at Denny’s and IHOP and it took its toll on my wallet (I don’t expect Emma to down a club sandwich and a lumberjack breakfast in one go like her daddy, but I also don’t want her learning that that’s OK), and competition- when she’s old enough to find my secret stash of snacks I don’t want to have to fight over Oreos in my own home.

What I’m scared of is the whole change in her digestive process. I do about 90% of the diaper changes and I have it on good authority that once solid food is introduced into your child’s diet then you enter a whole new and horrible sphere of hell when they soil themselves. To be clear, my buds who have described this change in their own children to me prefaced the whole dynamic by telling me that baby dookie from a milk and formula only diet doesn’t smell. FREAKING LIES. Baby poop smells at any stage. It’s not like we brought her home on day one and thought to ourselves, “Oh, we can save on air freshener and Febreeze because now we have an endless supply of dirty newborn diapers.” My fear is that if solid food baby poop smells bad enough to make milk and formula baby poop seem odorless then I’m going to be covered in legit dookie for the next 5 to 10ish years. I don’t know… when do kids stop getting poop everywhere? Whenever that happens… that’s how long I’ll have to battle this evolved and hideous dook.

I’m not allowed to give her solids, though, thankfully. It’s not that we’ve heard from the pediatrician and were denied this opportunity. Not in the slightest. That would be amazing if we got a call; we tried to circumvent the whole 5 month limbo I talked about last week where the 5 month milestone of eating solid foods rests between her 4 and 6 month check-ups by calling our pediatrician. They never told us yay or nay about if we could or could not so we were never green lit to go solid. Alas, I can’t feed her solid food because …wife. And as the mother of my child, the oven that baked the bun, my other half, she has a solid say in how we raise Emma and she said “not yet.”

So my kid is still on a liquid diet, but it has to be some sort of amazing milk. I’m talking roided out to the max, get you kicked out of the Olympics good, because my kid is super strong. Despite my wife, or any lady for that matter, making super milk my advice still stands to new and expecting dads and significant others- if your baby mama is nursing do not call her your “prized heffer.” I still haven’t tried it, but I know it would be one of my less well received jokes.

Taking Baby Shopping

This week presented a bit of a nightmare for me. As it’s the beginning of the holiday season I decided to bring Emma Christmas shopping with me, which, I don’t know, was a mistake. Once again we were accosted by the the elderly and my baby thought so little of shopping that she literally poo pooed the whole experience. On the upside, she’s doing a lot better in public; less freakouts, but still, there are some occasions where I think I should have just stayed home. She’s growing up so fast and we’ve stopped using the baby carrier/carseat/stroller combo so she gets to sit up in her stroller like a big girl whilst we’re out and about. She LOVES stink eyeing people; it’s her serious disposition. I love when older women walk up all lovey dovey talking their baby talk to my kid and she just mad dogs them. It results in them a) talking baby talk louder in public in an attempt to make her smile and ultimately b) them taking a step back and saying something like “Oh she’s a serious baby” or “Oh somebody’s grumpy.” No lady, you’re just not as charming as you think you are… now back away.

So we’re out at Costco this week, like we do, and this happens a couple of times. The first time Kelly was there and this Laverne and Shirley looking duo make a b-line right for the stroller. I’m taken aback by this since they approached with such speed and ferocity. I had a bad dad moment. I wanted to whip the stroller around and put myself in a defensive pose between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and Emma, but I took a queue from Kelly and observed helplessly as these women descended upon my child, proffering up unsolicited parenting advice. My fave. Kelly knows I hate that and the look she gave me after they resumed their baby-less course told me she knew exactly what I was thinking. I should have stopped them in their path and I feel like I punked out a little bit.

Afterwards, I needed to shop without Kelly since she gets a gift this year, too. My solo experience with Emma being fawned over by strangers wasn’t as bad. Let me preface by saying that I dress differently now-a-days than I used to. I wasn’t necessarily “thugged out”, but I was into a lot of angst alt rock as a kid and some of that style sticks with you. Ya gotta love the 90s. Sometimes, when my wife isn’t around, I slip back into that fashion sense. I don’t have the baggy ripped cargo shorts anymore since Kelly spent 6 or so years trying to get me to throw them out.

What is it with not liking cargo shorts? They have a purpose. Why do women hate pockets? Y’all have these tiny pockets in your own pants barely big enough for an oreo, complain about it, and then try to strip men of their extra pockets. What’s up with that? Pocket envy that is. If I still had my baggy cargo shorts I wouldn’t need to carry around the diaper bag!

Anywho, on this occasion I dressed a little like I did back in the day- shorts, rugged looking kicks, and a baggy black hoodie (courtesy of my lady I might add.) Only this time I have a baby and a beard. I’ve come to realize that in today’s political climate a tan man with a beard isn’t necessarily perceived as your friendly neighborhood hipster barista. On the contrary, I get more looks like I’m about to cause an incident with an incendiary device rather than make you a latte with a perfectly pulled shot of espresso and expertly foamed milk. And the lady who approached Emma this time took notice of me just a little too late. As she approached like a ravenous hyena, she reached out for my child. Without Kelly there to temper my reactions, I recoiled and withdrew the stroller from her grasp. Then she noticed me… the unabomber looking ambiguously Hispanic, maybe Middle Eastern dude who’s probably never perceived as either Italian or Filipino and obviously jumped the border illegally to be here. Then she recoiled. Emma must have been mad dogging her, because she backed away mumbling something about a serious baby and how she wished she was a grandma.

Leaving the store I thought I’d stop by Kelly’s work to grab some lunch with her. “What a nice husband!” THANKS! So I ring her and set up a date, but her lunch is still like 45 minutes out. So I have time to kill and shopping to do, why not go to the mall? Good idea. Wrong. The parking garage at our local mall has the TINIEST parking spots. And as it’s December it was crowded with holiday shoppers. Horrible, greedy holiday shoppers. So after 15 minutes of pulling off a 30 point turn, I squeeze Emma out of the car through the tiniest space between me and a double parked douche only to feel something wet on her back.

What was it, Chris?

The dooks.

She had a blow-out, so we went right back through the tiny car chasm, into her car seat, and on to the tantrum that accompanies someone being made to sit in their own doo doo. It was screaming like you’ve never heard. On occasions like this I usually just go home. With a tear in my eye I called Kelly and canceled our lunch. Driving home Emma’s screaming became horribly, terrifyingly, panicked and louder than I’ve ever heard her cry. So much so that I pulled over to check on her and wound up changing her diaper in the trunk. Afterwards she was all giggles and I called my wife to let her know lunch is back on!

En route the screaming starts up again and this time it was hunger. I didn’t bring enough bottles to make it through a spontaneous lunch with my lady so I called her up and canceled again. Swipe left, huh? And that’s my first Christmas shopping experience with my baby.

Consumerism Sucks

To clarify, Kelly and I aren’t big on gift giving. A few years back, we took a page from our friend’s book and decided to stop giving “things” to each other and spend the money we would have spent on gifts on experiences and trips instead. It’s a hard change in a sense, considering that we’ve grown-up and continue to live in a consumerism driven society where a good deal of self worth and validation comes from material objects. But it’s great to know that we’re getting out, seeing new things, and living life. Plus, my wife is super hard to shop for and super hard to surprise. Since we have a joint Amazon account and a joint bank account it’s pretty hard to buy anything without the other person knowing. If I look up, oh say, a slingshot that shoots arrows on Amazon (it’s a thing) then Google, Facebook, Amazon, and big brother internet at large, flood her online feeds with ads for slingshots that shoot arrows (look it up).

Since it’s Emma’s first Christmas in the new house, though, I wanted to have presents under the tree. So I suggested that maybe this year we be a little materialistic and get gifts. Nothing expensive, just some stuff to open on Christmas morning. But my wife is still hard to shop for because she doesn’t want anything. Or she doesn’t want for anything; as part of the shrinking American middle class (which I’m not sure we are if you consider crippling student loan debt) we have everything and anything we could need or want at our fingertips. If you don’t have cash you have credit. If you can’t leave your house you can order online. It’s kind of gross, if you think about it.

Our deepest desires for each other aren’t things that can be packaged and shipped, though. We want stuff like reaching our fitness goals, will power, a healthy lifestyle and outlook on life, wicked time management skills, time together. And sure, you can buy books and equipment that claim they can help you achieve all that, but really it’s just more consumerism dressed up as a helpful means to an end. Anyway, we already have too much in my opinion. That being said, if we need something we buy it. So we don’t need anything when gift giving occasions come around.

But Emma needs stuff! She’s outgrowing clothes left and right and her books and toys seem old- to me.

Boring Daddy/Digital Daddy

I’m at a point right now where I’m not sure if my child is entertained enough and I’m starting to think that I’m boring. We read, we play, we eat and nap, but for me, it’s the same old stuff. It’s a sort of routine, but is SHE bored? I’ve read all her books to her, but she only chews on them. I’ve played with all her stuffed animals with her, but she only eats the faux fur. We do tummy time and practice sitting up on her own and maybe, hopefully crawling soon. But is it enough? Also, I think I might have as much separation anxiety as she does. If I put her down she screams. If she’s not screaming I think something’s wrong and rush to her side.

Friends have told me it’s when you don’t hear your kids that you worry the most and that’s totally true. If I’m being absolutely honest, though, all the noise is bit of a downer. Here I am caught between a loud place and feeling totally boring.

So this week I turned to the kids programming available through our cable provider for help. It’s this bright over-saturated world of animated kids songs on demand. And it’s blowing my mind. Emma loves it, but like I discussed last week I’m trying to limit how digital her home life is going to be. I even took the leap and bought a companion device. Not the Light Phone or some other secondary tiny phone. I gots me a smart watch with a speaker phone in it. I’ve already reduced my phone usage by like 1000%. The nice thing about the holidays are all the sales and the new Samsung Galaxy Watch was available at a huge discount. So, since we’re part of the shrinking American middle class with crippling student loan debt, I bought it of course, and it really has changed everything! It has a timer app so I can track how long her naps are or how long her bottle has been in the warmer. It also stores and plays music so I loaded some lullabies on it and can play them softly right behind her head as I cradle her to sleep. I can take calls and text without Emma even looking at it. That’s huge for me; there was a point where I swear I was texting or something dumb with my phone and out of the corner of my eye I caught Emma looking down at the phone in my hand and then looking up at me with a little feeling of neglect in her eye. Worst feeling ever.

Amazeballs doesn’t even come close to describing how useful it has been for, ironically, decreasing the amount of tech in Emma’s life. Now when she cries for food or a nap I’m not fumbling with a phone to set up music or a timer.

The Switch-a-roo, Nap Time, and the Sleepy Time BFG.

Speaking of crying, she’s started crying for different reasons now and sadly, my new smart watch isn’t smart enough to make her stop. I mean, crying from being hangry is a constant, but other than this week’s blow out she’s switched it up a bit. Whenever she would soil herself we knew because she would let us know in no uncertain terms that she needed a clean diaper. Screams and tears definitely accompanied a smell, despite what people say about newborn poopies. She doesn’t seem to mind doing her business that much anymore. What sets her off now that she’s all alert and curious is her hatred of sleeping. When before she would sleep without a fuss, now she fights and screams if she gets a little drowsy. So she’s gone from crying everytime she pooped and passing out without a fight to pooping with a certain amount of joy and crying when she’s about to sleep. Is that normal? Should I be concerned? I mean, I understand not crying when you have a decent BM, who doesn’t, am I right?! Lately, to help stem her crying and fits I’ve been reduced to a carnival ride when it’s time for her naps. I’m either walking her around in the daddy saddle like a Big Friendly Giant or I’m loading her up in the car for a little nap time drive. I’m a little concerned about her falling asleep with either method because her head always tilts forward and I don’t know if she’s falling asleep ooooor blacking out because her head’s so heavy that she’s putting herself in a sleeper hold. I don’t want her pulling an elephant man and just clocking out by letting her gigantic head slump too far into her chest. Plus, there was just a story about how a child passed away when a daycare left her/him to sleep in their carseat for too long. I check on her when she falls asleep this way to make sure she’s breathing. I had to do this with my grandma when she got super old. You just walk in on a situation where they’re blacked out and you look for the chest or belly to be going up and down or you creep close and feel for breath under their nose. Getting caught that close to someone’s face is always weird no matter if they’re the elderly or an infant. They always look at you like “WTF, dude?” Is it safe? Do you let your kids fall asleep in the car seat? I’ll ask her pediatrician what we should do at her next visit.

As a friendly reminder, though, always read the safety instructions on your kid’s stuff.

Dad Bod Update

I’m still pudgy.

People Read This?

I recently found out that more people than my five friends read this. That’s awesome! I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to learn about my family and my journey as a stay-at-home dad. It means a lot! I wish I didn’t write about my daughter’s poops so much, now, but I’m stoked for the audience. As always, if you have any advice for my particular dilemmas feel free to comment below or on social media and as always happy parenting.

UPDATE:

There was an issue where the post from last week was sent out a couple of times. I think the problem was from using the WordPress app and WordPress in a browser. It’s all very technical, I don’t want to bore you with it, but we think we solved it and the interwebs should be all good now. We apologize to anyone who may have subscribed for any misleading and confusing posts. And a special thanks to my father-in-law for giving me a heads up every time it happened.


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The Boogie Exchange

23 Weeks or This Is How I Work

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The Boogie Exchange

This actually happened.

 

This Is How I Work

(If you’re not interested in my working life skip this part.)

I’ve always wanted to do one of those “this is how I work” posts that I read about on tech and life hacking blogs. They always have some cool editor or globe trotting journalist talking about their working habits, tips for staying productive, and the cool tech they use to get the job done when they’re stuck in some hellish commute in some romanticized, overly crowded city. How I envy them. Truth be told, I used to live in big cities, had a hellish commute, and just stared at my phone the whole time. Being stuck on a train for an hour to go nine miles is not romantic. I guess I never took to city life. I could never see myself having a family and raising kids in a place like NYC. Luckily for me, given my penchant for road rage and distaste for large crowds and pickpockets, we live in a small town. Life is calmer, but how is the career now with a baby? How’s the working life of a stay at home dad/illustrator?

Well let’s explore.

Raising Emma is my first and main job. It’s essentially all the positions you need to run a hotel all rolled into one. During the day I’m the manager, the receptionist, the cleaner, the plumber and maintenance crew, the chef, the bellhop… I’m everything. Then when Kelly is home she can be everything because I sneak off for a long break that leaves her saying, “where the hell is that guy? It’s only a fifteen minute break!” (She’ll never know where I sneak off to..)

So my days are eventful… and very full.

I’m really just trying to keep up with Emma’s development since it seems like she grows into new habits and new developmental stages each week. Once you think you have her figured out she up and jukes ya. One constant that I can bank on is her nap time. That’s when I try to get some work in. I’ll either tackle client work, this blog, personal projects, or try to manage the constant disarray which comes with having a baby and has consumed our home.

Mainly, in regards to professional illustration, I work at night. Sometimes I lose sleep and sometimes I dread going to sleep because I know I’ll be up in 45 minutes when Emma needs to be fed or changed. Oh, holy crap, btw, night time changings are the devil.

La Scenario Del Diablo

Here’s a scenario- your baby has a wet diaper, you can feel the weight as the diaper sags off of their tiny tuchas, what’s more, you can smell it. Now, most parents have an instinctual urge to keep their children clean and for me that kicks in with a fury when I get a whiff of the dookies.  So now you have to change your kid’s diaper, but you also know that if you go to change them they’ll wake up screaming bloody murder and they won’t go back down for another hour. That’s another hour that you’re awake in the middle of the damn night and you really like to sleep because you don’t get a lot of it.

I’ve never had a hidden addiction or a vice that would ever get me on that show Intervention; nothing I’ve ever had to hide from my family and sneak off to enjoy. If I did, though, it would probably be sleep. There’s no greater feeling than the way I feel when everyone one else is asleep, I finally put the baby down where she’ll stay down for the night, and I slowly creep through the house, double check the locks, and finally crawl into bed and await the warm embrace of slumber. I am dead to the world when I sleep. If I get more than five straight hours I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

That being said, I also have obligations to my clients, so sometimes I don’t get to sleep.

Back to Work

When I started working from home I got myself a nice set up, I did. I recreated the the old workstations I had when I was an in-house artist for various studios- a really strong desktop, big @$$ Wacom Cintiq, and a dual monitor setup. Only this time I got myself a good strong, gaming PC that won’t buckle under pressure because I do a bit of animation, too. I also set up a very respectable studio space in the new house and it’s done up to the nines. I’m surrounded by all my reference books, art, degrees, toys, and a nice mini bar with seating for clients and friends. What’s it like spending my days in this amazing space you ask? I couldn’t tell you, I don’t have any daytime to myself.

During the day the majority of my work is done on one of two devices- my phone or my tablet. I’m a big Samsung fanboy and have been a huge geek for their S Pen since it came out because it uses Wacom tech to operate. From these devices I’m emailing clients, researching, getting some preliminary sketches done, tracking hours, sending invoices, chasing down payments, and of course taking calls. I even get to write this blog and do my weekly doodles from the comfort of my companion devices. Well, it’s more convenient than anything. They let me multitask while I’m caring for Emma. I can be in the same room when she’s sleeping, playing… that’s it. She sleeps and she plays. She eats, too, and I can feed her while I’m emailing or making calls.

I do try to keep that to a minimum, though, because I don’t want her learning bad habits or growing up wanting to spend all her time on phones and gadgets, it’s apparently unhealthy for children. Plus, I really want to spend quality time with her. I don’t want her seeing me pay more attention to a phone than to her.  In fact, I’ve really considered decreasing the amount of tech in our life so Emma isn’t completely surrounded by it at home. The phone is a big problem as it’s my sketchbook. I’m always on it and not necessarily sketching. I’ve wanted to switch to a Light Phone or a companion phone that limits the amount of time I’m staring at a screen by simply offering me less to do with my phone. That’s partly why I got a desktop instead of a Surface or a laptop- I don’t want to bring my work everywhere I go. Unfortunately, when you run a business, and in the case of being an artist where you are your business, you can’t stay disconnected during the working hours of the day. I’ve actually lost a client because, despite the quality of work, I wasn’t as available as they wanted. Luckily, word of mouth and social media have actually found me more work than I would have imagined, which is good and bad. I’ve ended up prefacing all my deals with the fact that I’m a stay-at-home dad and pull my 40 hours a week in the early mornings, at night, and on weekends. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have Kelly, though. In fact, I couldn’t do a lot of stuff without my wife. I’d probably be a troll living under a bridge right now if it wasn’t for her and Emma.

23 weeks or 5 months… something like that

Speaking of which, Emma is an old lady now! She’s got that Benjamin Button disease…

Nah, she’s 23 weeks old and amazeballs. She looks so different and more grown up every time I look at her. She’s almost crawling. She has all the pieces she needs; she can prop herself up on her arms and reach out (for toys), scootch, pull her legs underneath her and push them back out. Everything’s there, she just needs to put it all together. Sometimes I feel like a Russian gymnastics coach for the Olympics. I’ve instituted regular tummy time so she can become more mobile, which I’m told, is something that I don’t really want. I can see that. She’ll be going places and it’ll be hard to keep an eye on her… but it might give me some reprieve from carrying her everywhere. I don’t know. I’m new at this so I’m probably getting it wrong.

She should also be on solid foods by now, according to the experts. Kelly and I are waiting for our pediatrician to give us the OK, though. Here’s the weird thing about waiting for the pediatrician to green light solid foods: your baby has a 4 month check up and a 6 month check up so they can get their shots.

VACCINES, PEOPLE, OR WE’LL ALL DIE OF THE MUMPS!

Well, what about all the milestones in month 5 like grown up human food?! Huh? Am I just supposed to figure it out on my own? I can’t do that! Example- Kelly’s parents told us how they dissolved puffed rice cereal into her milk to help fill her up. I said, “Like Rice Krispies?”

No, wrong, dumb.

They have puffed rice cereal just for babies, apparently. I would have been pouring bowls of Rice Krispies for my kid thinking everything was fine. How many adults who don’t have experience with baby food know about this mysterious Rice Krispies Jr.?

Am I psychic? Are my cartoons premonitions?

I’ve had a revelation- I’m partially psychic. Or my cartoons are psychic. I might have a super power. Last week I drew a strip where Emma grabs Shinobi’s ear and she yelps. Well 2 nights after that post that literally happened to us. We were just sitting on the couch, Emma on my lap, Nobi on her blanket next to me and all of a sudden this very sad and pathetic whine started to grow. Shinobi didn’t bark, growl, or nip at Emma… she just sat there and sadly whined at us. It kind of intoned, “Are you serious with this right now? Why me? Pay attention and fix this situation because my life is really crappy right now. PLEASE GET THIS KID OFF MY EAR. PLEEEEAASE!”

It broke my heart, but it was a teachable moment. Emma got another lesson in good touch/bad touch, which I’m sure stuck with her considering her excellent grasp of the English language, or as I like to call it “American.” And as it turns out, since Shinobi didn’t bite back, we don’t have to kabob her. Not an edible pet. That’s good news for the family.

I’ve also been drawing Emma grabbing my beard. I thought it was funny, you know, for the pictures. It’s now a reality.

Now that I might have a super power or magic drawing abilities Kelly wants me to draw other things that might become a reality. So I’m drawing us having hit our health goals. I might draw me in a jetpack or with a really cool sword riding a winged tiger and a like a Viking braid in my beard with a wicked little skull bead. That would rock.

The Boogie Exchange

Ow, my beard

Speaking of beards, thank God I started proper beard maintenance or I’d look like Mr. Clean. My little girls favorite thing is to grab two big handfuls of beard and yank my face around like she’s driving a car. It’s funny until it hurts. Oh, and if she grabs the stache part it’s all over. Daddy cries. It does have its uses, though. I’m the fuzzy face in the house and I think my beard has become a symbol of comfort and something familiar for her. I came to this conclusion after a few nights of rocking her to sleep. Sometimes, when she’s fighting how tired she really is, she’ll reach up and caress my beard. She won’t look at me, she’ll just close her eyes, snuggle into the nook of my elbow, and reach up and pet my beard. It melts my heart every damn time and I feel like a good dad.

That’s it for this week. I’m off to train my kid to crawl. Thanks for reading and Happy Parenting.

 


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Object Permanance and the Horror of Separation Anxiety

Emma 2

 

You’re 5 months old… maybe learn some independence?

I started writing this really early on in the week to avoid coming down to the wire, but it seems that my baby had other plans for my time. As I type, it’s Thanksgiving Day and I am indeed thankful for all the great many blessings in my life. Though, since I’ve only had an hour of sleep because Emma decided that last night, the eve of a holiday which would allow us to sleep in, was the perfect night to stay up and cry, I’m finding it hard to feel thankful. Despite not feeling it at the moment due to exhaustion, I am very thankful.

Emma hit the 5 month mark and things were going rather smooth. Well, we had a loose and adaptable routine that was in a constant state of flux. I guess, by definition, that’s not really a routine. It’s more chaos theory than anything. What I’m mistaking for routine is the fact that my daughter still eats, sleeps, and dookies every day and I still assist in facilitating these events for her. So “routine”.

5 months for a baby is a crazy, adorable time for learning how to control people. She’s so damn attentive and learning to manipulate me like a Sicilian mother. I know… I have one. She’s at this point where all she wants is to be held. All. The. Time. I think she’s going through a bit of separation anxiety. I’ve tried being rude so she doesn’t want to hang around me, but that hasn’t worked. All the expert advice says that she needs to learn “object permanence.” That is to say that every time I walk away and she can’t see me that I haven’t stopped existing. If I’m out of sight she freaks. If I walk into the room she raises her arms as if to say, “UP! UP! UP!” If she could speak I’m sure that’s what she’d be saying. For someone so bossy I think it’s time she starts to learn some independence. Needless to say I pick her up and hold her… a lot. So much so that my doctor thinks I’ve hyper-extended my shoulder from picking her up incorrectly. Maybe so. Lump another ailment under my dad bod syndrome. We’ve ended up trying to teach her object permanence by playing peek a boo. I don’t know of it works, but it makes her laugh and that just makes my day.  My mom, coincidentally, bought her an animatronic stuffed elephant that covers its eyes with its ears and plays peek a boo, too. Toys like these are a great distraction for your kid you so you can surf the web, write a scathing Yelp review about your old apartment complex, or type out your blog. It’s pretty brilliant and has already helped me out with calming her tantrums. It also sings “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” which has three verses. I didn’t know it had three verses. Did you?

Anywho.

Emma’s growing attentiveness and curiosity means that she’s grabbing at things and ramming them in her face like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Her favorite thing to do is eat cloth. Her appetite is piqued by anything made of cloth or faux fur. After a while of her sucking on a burp rag she pokes her tongue out like a little snail coming out its shell. That’s when I know the cotton mouth has really set in. I don’t think it’s healthy. Now a majority of my day is spent taking rags away from her and swapping them out for binkies, which she throws across the floor. It seems that silicone is out this season and fur is all the rage.

The Good Touch, The Bad Touch, The Dog Meat

Speaking of which, she’s become super curious about our dog, Shinobi. Shinobi is 50% Dachshund, 50% Beagle, and 100% a clingy, neurotic, paranoid pup that suffers from separation anxiety as well. She’s freaking smart to boot. You can’t get ready to leave the house without her panicking over the fact that she’s going to be left behind. I mean you sit up in bed and put one foot on the floor with the intent of going out 2 hours later and she starts shaking like an old washing machine on the fritz. Well my smart, manipulative baby has found my smart, spastic dog and she’s in love. If they’re anywhere near each other Emma stops what she’s doing and tracks that dog like Varuka Salt trying to capture an Oompa Loompa. I like to joke that it’s the tasty temptation of dog meat that’s awakened a more primal aspect of her Asian heritage.

To be clear, I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten dog meat, but I have sat down at tables full of scary ethnic meals at large family gatherings on my dad’s side. If you’re eating at a table where one of the dishes still has its eyes and face and is looking at you you might just happen across an edible pet.

Gross food aside, my daughter’s intrigue with our dog has presented us with some teachable moments like “good touch, bad touch”. There’s not a whole lot of coordination at this age so it’s all  just grabbing and shaking. I’m sure my dog will lose an ear if I let them near each other any time soon. She’d probably react like dogs due and nip at the baby… at which point, if you came to my house that night for dinner you might come across an edible pet.

She’s also grabbing my beard more and for a baby she’s pretty strong.

My Glorious Beard

Ever since Emma was born I feel that my beard has become thicker and more beautiful. I used to suffer from the sparse patchy facial hair that a lot of my Filipino kinfolk suffer from. My whole life my face has had its own culture war- there’s an Italian guy in there trying to grow an amazing beard and there there’s a mischievous little Filipino hacking away at the growth leaving blank patches of skin like a lazy landscaper. Becoming a father has really helped keep that guy at bay and as a result my beard is lush and thick like my own personal face jungle.

Or it could be that I started properly grooming it with beard oils, waxes, and balms. If you or someone you know suffers from a spotty beard where the white trash just grows in like Joe Dirt send them this as a gift. If that doesn’t work maybe they need to have some kids?

Well, it’s Thanksgiving and while sometimes it’s hard to be thankful for the things you have like a beautiful baby while she’s screaming in your face at the top of her lungs, just remember that nothing good ever came easy. For all the tears and heartache I don’t think I’d trade any of it if it meant that I’d never have my little girl, never got to rock her to sleep or hear her laugh, or watch her grow up and change my life.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy parenting.

 

Just because you can’t see me doesn’t me I’ve vanished… oh wait.. maybe it does.

 


  • 3

Unsleeping Beauty

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“Babe?”

“Yes?”

“I’m very tired.”

“I’m extremely exhausted.”

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!”

(Translation: Screw you guys! Feed my face! Clean my dookies! ATTEND TO ME, SERVANTS!)

That’s a literal conversation I’ve had several times with Kelly.

Sleep? What’s Sleep?

What is it like to sleep through the night? It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten. My daughter wakes up every night, like clockwork, hungry as a shark with a wet diaper that adds like another 10 lbs to her when picked up. SHE’S SO DAMN HEAVY NOW. She’s been getting heavier this whole time but I’m not getting any stronger. My buddy had a kid way before I did and he described the first three months of raising a new baby and not getting enough sleep like constantly walking through water. I took that to mean that moving was slow and getting around was a bit more difficult. We’re going on 5 months soon and we’ve hit colic 2.0 and I’m basically a freaking zombie.

“Thanks, Wife”

We’re pretty frugal people, my wife and I. We don’t feel the need to upgrade our phones, computers, and TV every year despite the barrage of ads and commercials making my current tech seem dated, and thus making me feel dated, unhip, and out of touch. We like to save our money so we can invest in things that last, like a nice bed. Beds should last like 20-25 years, right? We spend a good deal of our lives in them so why not spoil ourselves with a bit of luxury if it’s not going to be outdated in the next 6 months? So we did; we bought a Tempur-Pedic and an adjustable base that vibrates and inclines, reclines, declines, Calvin Klein…. All the clines. It’s great. Buying it was one of the best decisions of our lives and we can’t wait to pay it off and get the title from Wells Fargo so it can become a family heirloom. The only bad thing about the bed is that I have to share it.

Like, not with my wife. That’s fine. She’s more than welcome. No. I have to share it with the whole family. When we got our puppy she would not, for the life of me, take to her kennel training. She was a rescue and the family she was with before us let her sleep in their bed. As a result, she would whine through the whole night. Out of desperation we let her out of her little puppy prison to sleep with us in our bed.

Cuddles and snuggles of any kind went right out the window. Human on human snuggles, anyway. My pup likes to get right up next to us when we sleep, preferring the back side like she’s the big spoon. Have you ever been spooned by a 15 lb animal? It’s weird. She just hangs out like a fanny pack.

Once she established herself as a permanent fixture in our bed she started stretching out- full leg extensions right into my back, shoving me to the edge of a king size mattress. And if I move she has the gall to growl at me! I’m still paying off this bed, who are you to growl at ME!? But that’s our fur baby and she’s spoiled.

Fast forward to today. Emma is going on 21 weeks and Kelly let her sleep in our bed. She put the baby right in the middle of our king size memory foam mattress and turned the vibration on, essentially guaranteeing that we will never get her to sleep anywhere else… EVER AGAIN.

In her defense, just like the long nights trying to train our puppy, she was desperate for some peace and quiet and looking for anything that would appease our little adorable cry baby.

Muay Thai

Emma has two beds- a crib and a bassinet. She never uses the crib to sleep in because we co-sleep. That is, she sleeps in our room and will until she’s six months old or learns to roll back to front and front to back. It’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics so your child doesn’t die in their sleep. I think it’s from SIDS or just rolling over onto their face and not knowing that the air goes in that way.

Does she use any of those beds, though? No. To boot, she’s started fighting us when it’s time for a nap or time for bed. I mean, she is screaming up a storm, twisting and contorting her body like she’s had some really bad Indian food and she knows the diaper won’t hold it.

No, she’s a fighter. So we have to tag team each night like the championship belt is on the line. We bust out the white noise, a warm bottle, a binky, and get to rocking in the glider in a pitch black room. It takes about half an hour but she eventually fades and we walk her to her bassinet like we just won WWII.

But we know that at 2 am she’s going to wake up. She’s going to be hungry. And she’s going to be pissed- literally and figuratively. The difference now, since she’s had a taste of the good life, is that she won’t go back down in her bassinet. Nope. No sir. She will fake sleep repeatedly until we put her in our bed, where she proceeds to sleep with her arms up next to her head like a Muay Thai fighter. God forbid there’s a sudden noise or jostle of the bed because those little fists will fly out and hit anyone and anything while she remains dead asleep. If you’re going to hit me in the side of the head at least have enough respect to be awake when you do it.

There’s no way she’s going to go back to sleep in her bassinet. I’ve felt the padding. It’s essentially cardboard with two-ply paper towel as cushioning. No, it’s not gonna happen. It’s memory foam and I’m pretty sure they call it that because you will never forget how #$@%ing good it feels.

Now here I am… sharing a bed with my wife (obviously), my dog, and my baby. You can’t sleep with a baby in the bed. My wife and I stay up like it’s a game of chicken, making sure the other one doesn’t roll over onto her. We never would, but that crap happens; I saw it on the news once. It was tragic. To avoid this, we both scootch to our respective edges of the bed, stare at each other in the dark like creepers making sure the other doesn’t get comfortable enough to fall asleep on the baby. All the while, our puppy is curled up at Emma’s feet, growling at me as I jostle her awake when my baby sucker punches me in the back of the head.

On a side note, I couldn’t be happier because Emma and our pup, Shinobi, are becoming very aware of each other. Shinobi has become super protective and I just want to share a very proud experience of mine. We had some blinds installed in the new house and the guy who was doing the install had to come into the master bedroom where Emma and Shinobi were chilling on the bed… because they’re spoiled little princesses. Well, as soon as this guy walks into the room Shinobi starts growling and barking, gets up, stands between him and Emma and proceeds to stand over Emma and then lay at her feet when she’s decided that the threat has passed. I’m so proud and I can’t wait for their adventures together.

A Poem

I wrote a poem about my situation and figured I’d illustrate it. Enjoy. And as always, happy parenting.

The Remembering Bed

by

Chris Mendoza

There once was a baby

Who wouldn’t sleep through the night

And when it was time for a nap

She put up one helluva fight

Her mother and father

Felt trapped in their own home

Until mom laid her in their bed

Made of remembering foam

It held her and snuggled her

And she slept through the night

And when it was time for a nap

She didn’t put up a fight

The bed remembered her

And she remembered bed

And together they would sleep

As sound as the dead

Until Dad tried to move her

To her crib or bassinet

Then an ear full of screaming

Is what he would get

So there they all laid

All three and the dog

Everyone except dad

Asleep like a log


  • 3

Midterm Blowout! How I Voted With a Baby.

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Another week, another seven dozen dirty diapers. Ah, parenting. This week was a mild week, filled with a whole slew of first world problems, intrusive elderly folk, and a midterm election, which for me… was a blow out.

20 Week Old Starfish

Emma is 20 weeks old and the apple of my eye. To be honest I don’t know what that actually means. I’ve just heard it said before. She’s trying to crawl like a fiend, but is still my little starfish just scootchin’ around on the floor. Her range of scootchin’ has spread so much, though, that we ended up buying her some foam floor mats. You know, the square ones that lock together like a puzzle. They’re a necessity because even though she can hold her head up when she’s on her belly she can’t quite rest it on the floor without headbutting the ground. I saw her face slam once and was like, “Oh hell no.” She was unphased, but daddy? Not so much.

We had the option of getting multi-colored ones with numbers and letters; very educational and full of teachable moments. Instead we went with these pretty grey and white tiles with animals and shapes. They’re probably less educational, but they really go with the decor in her room! (though they’re currently in the living room so I can keep an eye on her). C’est la vie. All in all, we love them, they look great, and she’s safe from smacking her face against the hardwood.

Dad-bod Update

Last week I talked about dad-bod and how I was planning on getting rid of mine. I’ve had great feedback and really appreciate everyone willing to help me out on this journey. Well I’ve made a couple of strides towards hitting my goal. First, I put all the leftover Halloween candy in the freezer. I actually stapled the bag shut because while rearranging some stuff in there I noticed a hand sized, cave-like opening into the bag, like someone was sneaking candy. Afterwards I asked my wife if it was her and she denied it, but was laughing the whole time. Laughing while denying something just makes it seem like you’re really bad at lying, which she is. Luckily for me she’s not a big liar. After I had accusingly asked her about the cave into the candy bag I remembered that I was the one who snuck some candy last week. I was stress eating because I had a helluva daddy day. Sorry, hon, but I was wrong. I also started going to my Weight Watchers meetings again. I had previously lost like 50 lbs. on Weight Watchers, but with the stress of life and all the changes we’ve been going through I just stopped checking in. I was surprised to find out I was actually down 2 lbs!

I haven’t started working out yet. I think I may have induced some sort of full arm carpal tunnel syndrome. I wake up with a cold, numb arm and tingling in my fingers. Chalk it up to age and my temple being in ruins, but I’m pretty sure I have a pinched nerve.

The Geriatric Menace

One of the weirder things that happened this week, though, was when I was waiting to weigh in. We were accosted by an elderly woman who really wanted to see Emma …up #$&@ing close, once again verifying my theory that the elderly are just trying to suck the youth from my child. I mean, this lady was all up in the car seat, head under the handle, like some sort of boa constrictor about to coil itself around my baby. I almost kicked her in the damn hip she was so close. And then she tells us “What beautiful blue eyes she has!” Kelly and I immediately looked at each other like, “BLUE!?” OK big bad wolf… wtf? Emma’s eyes are brown like her mother and her fathers. Weirdo.

Then I had another scary lady call my baby her baby while grocery shopping. She wasn’t claiming that Emma was hers, which is a fear of mine- how would I prove that Emma is mine if some psycho said she wasn’t? Like if I’m at Target and some creep-o lady takes a shining to my lil’ girl and starts screaming that I took her baby I’m pretty sure that all the other women in the immediate vicinity would side with her. They’d have to call the cops, have the manager review the surveillance footage of me walking in with Emma, and I’d have to show all the photos of her on my phone, but all the while I‘m sure I’d be detained. That’s how I see it playing out. OH THE LAWSUITS I WOULD FILE!

This lady, though, was just fawning over Emma and creeped me out by saying, “OOOOH MY BABY!”

Lady, no.

Midterm Blowout

Anywho, that was my week. Women everywhere asking to see my baby. It happened while voting, too, which was a literal $#!^ show. Since we moved into a new development my address was too new for me to be found in the system at my local polling location, so it appeared that I wasn’t a registered voter. I blame Russia for that. Oddly enough, my wife, who lives with me, moved with me, and has had all the same addresses as me since I tricked her into falling head over heels for me, was in the system. She got to vote while I had to trek across town to the election office HQ where they could sort me out. And sort me out they did. But everyone who helped me looked at the stroller and was all, “Oh, whatcha got there?”

Dumb… it’s a baby.

It took 5 people to get my address in the system and 5 people wanted to see Emma. “Dammit, I’m trying to get her to sleep. Don’t rile her up.” They finally got me a ballot and it was time to vote. By this time, 5 nosey ladies later, my baby, who was as calm as a Hindu Cow, was now awake and very much wanting my attention. To boot, there was no way I could fit a stroller in the voting booth so they told me to fill the ballot out anywhere I wanted. I really value the sanctity and privacy of my vote so there I was, off wheeling from corner to corner with my baby and ballot trying to find some privacy, clutching my precious ballot like Gollum with the one ring. Emma, though, wasn’t having any of it. So it was time for the daddy saddle.

I strapped it on, strapped her in, and sauntered over to a voting booth, all eyes on Emma and me like we’re some sort of street performers about to do a jig for everyone’s amusement. Emma, the whole time I’m trying to fill out my ballot, was trying to eat the damn thing.

So Emma, at 20 weeks of age, has participated first hand in the democratic process. She’s a real ‘merican!

M’nards

On a side note, now she’s tall enough to kick me in the nards while in the harness. Joy!

What the crap?

When we got home I discovered that Emma had a blowout while voting. Being in the harness just smooshed it all everywhere it shouldn’t be. This crap-tastic spectacle revealed itself to me when I placed my hand on her belly in an attempt to settle her down during her diaper change. The feeling… wasn’t quite right. I expected baby soft skin, but what I got was a tacky paste all over Emma’s tiny tummy. Now situations like this call for a bath. So I strip her down, throw the poopy clothes in the utility sink in the laundry room, get the water running, and start filling her baby tub. Then, out of the blue, sitting on my lap on the side of the tub, she peed MY pants. Let me tell you, when someone pees your pants, the sensation of warm liquid running down your leg and quickly cooling off as it reaches your sock is pretty much identical to when you do it to yourself. I’m not saying I’ve done it recently, but boy, did it bring back a rush of memories. So, stinky, drinky, binky… after her bath it’s time for lunch, where she promptly vomits all over me. I wear a lot black shirts. Spit up does not go well with black shirts. Every time I get poop or vomit or pee on me I think back to my younger days before Kelly and Emma when I was a bachelor. My mom would tell me not get anyone pregnant. It always came with a warning threat of dirty diapers, but no one said that I would have poop, pee, and vomit on me on a regular basis. If they had said that I would have become a monk. Well here it is, fair warning, if you’re planning on having a kid you WILL have all the dookies all over you.

So in one day I took part in my civic duty and had feces, urine, and vomit all on my person. Sometimes it’s like I don’t know what I’m doing. But hey, Emma is still alive and I’m down 2 lbs!!!

If you have any advice on how to cope with people peeping on your baby without reacting with physical force please, please, please feel free to let me know what you do. I’m about to lose it with people getting 2 inches from my baby’s face during flu season. Also, what do you do with a 20 week old baby to entertain and educate them? I’d love to hear about it. Oh, and what’s an apple in your eye have to do with kids? As always feel free to comment below or on Facebook and happy parenting.

‘merica!


  • 1
Dadbod

Dad Bod, what is it and do you have it? If you do, how do you get rid of it?

Dadbod Runner

I wanted to start running this year in an effort to get into shape, but my wife and our friends knew that wasn’t going to be a thing I did. I suffer from an affliction of being out of shape and unmotivated to find a new and better one. My shape? …Dad Bod.

What is Dad Bod?

The body of a dad, right? Not quite. It’s rather specific and a Google search comes up with a legit definition: “a male physique that is relatively slim but not lean or toned.” Urbandictionary.com has some more entertaining takes on it like, “Having a “dad bod” is a nice balance between working out and keeping a beer gut.” I guess I’ve had dad bod since my mid twenties.

I think it’s starting to move beyond dad bod, though. It’s like double dad bod. Now that I’m actually someone’s dad I don’t think I want the body that comes with the job. It definitely doesn’t help with the day to day daddy activities.

My body is a temple; a run down and abandoned temple that no one worships at.

I grew up naturally skinny, like so many kids. I attribute it to being half Asian and having a killer metabolism. The truth is that I was taken care of. I had a healthy diet with home cooked meals. We ate dinner as a family without the TV on. We didn’t have cell phones to distract us from real face to face conversations and if someone called the landline, well, everyone looked up with a different reaction. My dad would get pissed at the world for having been interrupted. My mom looked excited that it might be one of her friends calling to give her a reprieve from whatever nonsense I was spouting. My brother and sister had different reactions depending on what age they were and how many friends they had; ambivalence mainly because it was usually someone calling for my mom to give her a reprieve from whatever nonsense I was spouting. I didn’t care because no one calls a child and I was more into toys and cartoons than boring old phone calls. That was the 80’s. I loved the 80’s. I didn’t have to try to be in shape in the 80’s. My meals were healthy and made for me. I exercised in the form of play. My temple was good. All I had to do was be smart and get good grades- my dad was Asian and that particular stereotype of strict Asian parents wanting you to be a doctor or lawyer or getting some high paying job held true in my family. I’m sure my dad was a little defeated when I went to school for art.

And that’s when I stopped really taking care of myself- college. College life was life on the go- parties, fast food, waking up in different places not knowing how I got there, and no one to tell me to slow down and hit the gym. But my body was fine. I had an unnaturally low percentage of body fat, could eat what I wanted, and my temple was still good. Then I stopped paying the mortgage on it. My metabolism just quit at around twenty five. I was still just as hungry as ever, but all that crap started to stick to me and ultimately bad habits became a lifestyle. That lifestyle turned my temple into dad bod.

Oh the pain.

Now everything hurts. From my head to my toes. Every. Thing. Hurts. Last week I wrote about how we moved into our new home. Ever since I started hauling our stuff over from the old apartment I’ve been racked with pains. Pains in my joints. Pains in my muscles. Pains in my brain. I’m pretty sure I gave myself full body arthritis or kick started some sort of degenerative syndrome that laid dormant in my beer gut for the last 12 years.

I was expecting some sort of “dad strength” to kick in by now after carrying Emma everywhere for the past 4 months, but nope. I’m still stuck with normal strength. Dad strength, if you’re curious, is when you see a dad who’s usually out of shape, perform some amazing feat of physical prowess. For example, I used to work for a crappy company, that’s not important, I just wanted to say it out loud. It was a crappy company. There. That felt good. Anywho, there was a programmer there, a big dude, no stranger to donuts, a father of 2 or 3 kids, and he was moving a giant metal cabinet which I’m sure was full of crap. After 3 or 4 guys in their mid-twenties had trouble getting this monstrosity to scooch, he just waddles over and picks it up like some sort of Baby Hooey. That’s dad strength.

19 weeks and counting…

The point of this week’s rant is that I want to be able to keep up with my kid. I want to be there for her as long as I can. Is it because I have dad bod? No. It’s because I’m generally out of shape. I went to school to work a very stationary job. I don’t play like I used to. And I eat like my metabolism didn’t give up and die years ago. Why? Because food is good and working out sucks. I’m determined, though, to be a better dad than I think I can be with my temple in ruins. PEOPLE WILL WORSHIP AT MY TEMPLE AGAIN!!! (“I wish this dude would stop calling his body a temple.”)

That’s why I’ve decided to get into shape. Emma’s 19 weeks old now, almost crawling, definitely rolling over and getting stuck, and I’m already having trouble keeping up with her. For being mainly immobile, she can be pretty sneaky. If I turn my back for a second she’s flipped over and become stuck somewhere. Or she’s scooted around in a circle and she’s a few inches closer to me. Just looking at me. Creeping up on me when my back is turned. She might be out to get me.

She really might be. At her 4 month check-up the doc said she was “advanced” because her stranger danger instinct is in full swing. Normally, from what we were told, babies are cool with strangers until about 6 months. Emma, at 4 months, is very wary of… well, her doctor. Advanced? Maybe secluded, because it’s just me and her all day. But the doctor says advanced, so, I’ll go with “advanced.”

Because of her nefarious scooching I’ve resorted to locking her up in baby jail. One day, out of absolute desperation, I went through 2 different baby bouncers. The first was the type that hangs in the doorway and dangles your kid like some sort of bait. To my dismay, the doorways in our apartment were too damn tall. It was a “luxury” apartment so I guess that means you have 9 ft doorways. She would have just hung there in the middle of the air slowly spinning in place like a lonely tether ball. That crap wouldn’t have worked so I went back to Target, baby in tow, and decided on a wicked baby bouncer that will eventually become a play table. Her little prison is loaded with toys that can be suction-cupped to anywhere on the surface and should last us till she’s about 4 yrs old. If you don’t have a bouncer yet and you’re in the market, I think this one is pretty nice.

So here I am resorting to locking up my advanced child in solitary while personally, I’m feeling pretty un-advanced. If I’m already racked with pain at 19 weeks, I’ll be stuck in an iron lung or a bubble by the time Emma’s two if I don’t do anything to fix my situation. On top of that, I want my daughter to look at her father and think that he can do anything. It’s not an ego thing, I just want her to feel secure. I’m sure one day she’ll get into an argument with kids at school and someone will say, “My dad can beat up your dad”.

Now, I’m not a violent guy. I’m not a fighter by any means, but I don’t want to make my daughter a liar either. I’d like to be able to beat up other dads if I’m called to action. That’s just my giving nature.

How do you get rid of the flab? KILL IT WITH FIRE!

So I’m looking for advice on how to get into shape. I’m sure I need to get a little cardio burn going on. I’ll need to fix my diet, too. I’ve had success in the past, but damn… food. It’s so good. All in all, I need healthy habits to pass on to my daughter.

What do you guys do to get in shape and keep in shape? What’s your motivation? How do you stay accountable?

Got my back?

For my daughter’s sake, so she has a dad she can be proud to say can beat up other kids’ dads, I’m putting it out there to the world, that I’m going to get into shape… right after I eat these bags of Halloween candy, since we had zero trick-or-treaters this year. I’ll post little updates on my progress and hopefully one of my five readers will keep razzing me on to do better (Abiel!).

Be sure to hit me up in the comments or on Facebook about what you do to keep in shape. Or just troll me, but as always, happy parenting.

Dadbod

Dat gut tho


  • 2
How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it.

Moving Day- How to Move to Your New Home With a Baby

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August:
“Hey Babe?”
“Yeah?”
“We should get a puppy.”
“Ok.”

October:
“And have a baby?”
“Sure.”

April:
“And buy a house.”
“Huh? But we got the puppy and the baby.”
“The house is for them
“…what do I get?”

Who says, “Let’s get a puppy, get pregnant, have a baby, buy/build/move into a new home” all in like a year? This family.

So… we’ve moved!!! And we did it all with a baby! “That doesn’t sound hard” you say?! “Stop fishing for compliments” you say?! What if I told you we didn’t hire movers? What if I told you that after dealing with builders for 6 months, an annoying flooring company, and painters all with a baby strapped to my chest, that I boxed the contents of a two bedroom apartment every day for two weeks and transported it all to our new home across town with a Hyundai Elantra? Aaaaand, on the last day of using said Elantra to move it started to break down with me, Emma, and a bunch of our crap inside, the result being that I had to switch to an even smaller Mazda 3…. ‘CUZ THAT ALL HAPPENED! Oh… and I had to keep working to boot.

Now, having work done on a house, you might think it’s emasculating to speak to a bunch of dudes working with power tools, doing back breaking work, making a living off the sweat of their brow all while carrying a baby in a daddy saddle. Not, really, no, because I’m paying them to be there so I will call out every late arrival, ding, chip, splatter, etc. until I am satisfied that the home we’re building for our daughter is perfect in every way. Plus, I kind of wore Emma as a badge and a shield, simultaneously; everyone who we hired would know or soon find out that I was a picky and particular father, but would they dare argue with (or God forbid hit) a dude carrying a baby?

(Actually, our flooring guy did… I won’t be recommending them. Just you wait till my Yelp review!)

I’m like those parents you see at the mall or zoo who use their kid’s strollers like a battering ram to break through crowds. Yes… I too, am an ass.

Seriously, though, a lot of that was done with Baby Emma strapped to me. Last time I discussed the benefits of the daddy saddle and these past couple of weeks while moving boxes it really came in handy. However, due to the location of my baby girl being right dead center of my chest, I ended up balancing boxes on my head like some sort of primitive early version of man. I was definitely the gathering kind, not the hunters, all the while grunting out my monosyllabic disdain for manual labor and cursing the California Sun for being 80 degrees in October. The fact that our apartment was like 3000 miles from our parking spot didn’t help. Moving to a home where you can park INSIDE is amaze-balls. The whole process of emptying the apartment was this arduous task that spanned two weeks and felt like carrying the one ring through Mordor, my precious Emma just getting heavier and heavier.

We’re here now though, and harness got me through it all without having to abandon Emma to the elements. I also have to give a special thanks to our friends who helped us move the big stuff. They’re the best and there’s not enough Thai food that could ever repay their generosity.

Well, all that being said, I haven’t had a lot of time to organize my thoughts on the whole experience of parenting while pack-muling to our new home. So I’m posting a little poem I wrote for Emma about one the grossest, yet satisfying experiences I’ve had as a parent so far- picking her nose. Seriously, it’s so sickly satisfying.

I’ll Pick Your Nose

An Ode to My Daughter

By

Chris Mendoza

Never fear my daughter!
In my duties,
I shall not falter.

I, your father,
shall pick your boogies
so you breathe without a bother.

How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it.

Boogie Picking Daddy

I’m not a poet.

So what’s the grossest thing that you have to do for your child that is oddly satisfying? Comment down below or as always, feel free to hit us up on Facebook or Instagram.


  • 0

Saddle Up!

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“Hey there. Whatcha got in the car seat, fella?”

“… Seriously? In the car seat? Well, a boat load of responsibility and a woeful longing for solitude and crapping with the door shut.”

“OOH! Let me see!”

“Back up you old bitty!”

I wanted to discuss how the elderly behave as if they have a right to my child when they see us out in public. They see the car seat and flip out like someone just said they were getting a new hip for free. I wonder if they would be so demanding and invasive if I was a mother. My theory is that they’re trying to get close enough to suck the youth out of my daughter’s breath, like that Goblin in “Cat’s Eye.” I’m not going to write about that, though. We’ve hit the 17 week mark and $#!& has hit the fan.

Everything I’ve written about calming and soothing can go right down the crapper. Emma has started rolling over and now it’s like everything about her is different. She doesn’t want to be cradled. She’s completely abandoned the week and a half of scheduled nap times I’ve had her on. She doesn’t want to finish a bottle in one sitting, preferring to take little sips throughout the day, resulting in a bottle of milk reaching the 5 hour mark of un-refrigeration, the point of spoiling according to our baby making class. My baby… likes to take her milk to the point of expiration. (Coincidentally, that’s how I drink a beer; nursing it till everyone around me complains about how warm my drink is. Mind your business! It’s not like you’re drinking it.)

Anyways, sometimes I feel like I’m back to knowing nothing about my child and I’ve been needing my wife’s help figuring out 17 week old Emma. The upside to all her development is that she’s starting to look more and more like a real person. You know what I mean, right? Newborns and infants are weird… they just flop around and their facial features haven’t filled out yet. They’re a little alien. At 17 weeks, though, Emma’s face is filling out, she’s cooing up a storm, rolling around, actually grabbing for all her toys that have sat around collecting dust for the past year, waiting for her to be born and then grow up enough to notice them. Oh! And she found her feet! That’s adorable right there!

The biggest difference in her now is how curious she is. She wants to sit up or try to stand, be held in a manner where she can look around, and she hates going to sleep. She just wants to be up all the time, especially when she’s tired. That’s when the crap hits the fan. I know you’re tired! YOU KNOW YOU’RE TIRED!!! JUST SLEEP!!!

The new “binky” this week is her harness. It lets me carry her so she can look out at the world and watch everything I’m doing while freeing me up to actually do said things. It’s extremely useful. We have two harnesses, because we had to buy one that fits an infant. She didn’t fit in the one we put on our registry. We chose it because it has this awesome hood with animal ears. ANIMAL EARS!! From behind she might look like a bear or a Pokemon or something. I don’t know because she’s not big enough for it yet. A word to the wise- make sure you buy a harness that fits your baby. The daddy saddle, as I like to call it, kind of reduces me to nothing more than a means of transportation, a sort of weirdo centaur-like beast- half man, half horse, half dad- to take her from room to room so we can play with the same toys, read the same books, and listen to the same lullabies over and over and over, but I’m OK being nothing more than a baby taxi if it can quell a screaming tantrum.

Now I’ve had several side glances and smirks thrown my way by moms, random ladies just passing by, and bros with tiny dogs. Fine, whatever. Judge me in my daddy harness. I’m proud to have full mobility of my upper limbs. I join the ranks of other giants with tiny jockeys like Krang’s Android Armor, Master Blaster, Willow and Madmartigan, Hodor and Bran… Seabiscuit and Tobey Maguire. Being judged for being an attentive and caring father with a child strapped to him like a suicide bomber’s vest is not my concern.

Since it frees up my arms to work, I thought about doing some illustrations while ferrying my girl about. I tried a little digital painting without the harness for last week’s image of me fighting Emma’s symbiote dookie. Unfortunately, I was holding her in my lap while trying to work… needless to say I’ll never do that again. It resulted in a muddy image and a crap ton of frustration. But it was an experiment in mobile art- can I draw and paint while holding a baby?… hell no. Next time I’ll try drawing while harnessed.

Another upside to having a harness it that Emma will fall asleep in it easier than me trying to rock her @$$ out while holding her in a way that she hates… and she hates every way that I hold her this week.

One of my best buds who’s also a new dad JUST sent me this harness/baby seat/fannypack thing that he got from Kickstarter called TushBaby and I have to say it’s pretty damn useful. It doesn’t give you as much freedom as a harness, but it’s easier to put on and take off, and doesn’t result in you and your baby overheating from her being stuck to you like Kuato from Total Recall. Essentially, your baby is perched like a gargoyle on this seat sticking out of your hip while you steady them with one arm. It also has storage! So I can put my phone, keys, pocket knife, etc all in there and travel a little lighter sans diaper bag or car seat. I haven’t had the guts to wear it in public yet, but I’ll try it this weekend and let you know if anyone laughs at me.

If you’re on the go a lot or need to free up your arms, but you can’t step away from your kiddo for a while try a harness. Happy parenting!


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Week 16… a rant

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What the Poop?

I wanted to write about other topics but I’ve been burdened by a very specific subject this week. I feel like I should have written about this earlier and I meant to eventually get to it, but since I’ve been victimized several times by the same assailant the past few days, I might as well just tackle it now while it’s fresh in my mind. I’m talking about secret poops and poo creeps.

You might be asking yourself “What’s a secret poop?” “How can a poop be secret? I mean you got the diapers with the blue line that tells you when they’re soiled. Then there’s the smell. What’s so secret about poops? How do you not know your baby’s dirty? What are you, a bad parent?”

It’s not that easy. First of all, screw you, don’t judge me. Secondly… I hate poop. All poop. My wife knew this and tortured me with the thought of dirty diapers for nine months. She was relentless. She was mean. She took her knowledge of my unnaturally strong aversion to poop and she used that to torment me by constantly reminding me that babies poop… a lot.. It’s ironic really, that I became the primary diaper changer.

I mention this because it’s not just stinky diapers and dirty wet wipes that have invaded my day to day operations. There’s also poo escapees. In the past, I’ve mentioned blowouts and projectile poop and how fun those can be. Those are poops that escape the security of a diaper. Secret poops are less obvious. They too, are poo escapees and they’re just what they sound like- a poop that exists in complete secrecy. One day you’re doing the dad thing, parenting away, and then all of a sudden you need to change a diaper. You do your best to clean everything up and just as you’re about to fasten that last Velcro strap, WHAM… how’d that poop get on your foot, baby girl? And on the back side of your thigh? And your tummy… and hand… AND OH MY GOD IT’S ON MY HAND!!!! IT’S EVERYWHERE!!!!

Secret poop. It just shows up. How much random poop do I have floating around my person? Am I filthy? Is my daughter dirty? AM I BAD DAD BECAUSE I COULDN’T FIND ALL THE POOP?!

I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW!

I do know that poo escapees don’t stop at these gross little ninja particulates. There’s also poop creep. Poop creep is that little bit of filth that creeps out from the side of your kid’s diaper… yeah, the expensive name brand diaper that you so meticulously fastened to your child to secure all that filth to their body. Here’s how I discovered poop creep.

We were having hardwood floors installed in our house and as the “work-from-home dad with the flexible schedule who does all his work at night anyways “ I spent my days dealing with the flooring installers. If I was lucky, Emma stayed calm in her car seat as I carried her from room to room inspecting the day’s progress… or problems (but that’s a different story). She has a love/hate relationship with that car seat. She loves to hate it. For the most part, she was great. Except one day she let out a little cry, and like I do, I plucked her from that car seat as fast as I could to get her to hush up.

I did the whole, “my forearm is a bench seat” type hold… you know where they just cop a squat on your forearm like a parrot? Well I held her in one arm, then once I got tired I switched arms. In the process of moving her I noticed it. The smell. The distinct smell that parents with older children say, “Oh, it doesn’t smell like anything. Wait till they get on solid food.”

The hell it doesn’t!

My baby’s dook, though she’s on a milk only diet, smells like so many different foods… combined with crap. The most prevalent smell is that of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Ruined for me. Other foods that have been ruined by my baby’s poop scent shifting abilities are caramel corn, caramel apples, and buttered baked goods. I can no longer eat any of that without calling to mind a filthy diaper. Do you know how often Costco has caramel corn on sample? ALL THE TIME! Now the holidays are rolling in they have caramel apple samples and all sorts of baked goods to try. Holidays…ruined.

So I smell that faint Kraft mac and cheese odor while shifting arms and immediately knew we had a dirty diaper to contend with. I wasn’t sure if she had a blow out or what, but in situations like that you sniff around like a bloodhound looking for clues. I did that weird parent thing where I lifted her up and sniffed. I SNIFFED. I hate seeing people do that and now that’s me. It’s not OK for people to sniff each other like dogs. I digress. Where I noticed the smell wasn’t where I would expect a blowout (which can pop up in the front or back, like God is playing a cruel trick on you). No, the smell was coming from my forearms… MY FOREARMS!

Did I mention my aversion to poo. NOW I’M LITERALLY UP TO MY ELBOWS IN IT. IT’S ON MY SKIN!!! WHERE ELSE IS IT!!??

So now I have to talk to this guy about flooring and why my baseboards aren’t perfect all the while smelling like Krap mac and cheese. “Does he know I have a thin film of crap on me? He’s not being very helpful… I should hug him.” Inside I’m freaking out. I rush home, clean the baby, clean myself, and wait for Kelly to get home so I can sneak off and eat my feelings.

So now, do I really want to post this to the world? Yes. This is my PSA to new dads. Be vigilant and never drop your guard or else you may find yourself covered in a thin film of poop creep.

Do you have any experience dealing with over exposure to your child’s excrement? I’d love to hear about it! Or if you’re a parent with tips and tricks on how to entertain a four month old or keep sane feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page.
Happy parenting.


  • 2

Wrap It Up! The Swaddle.

“Hey babe, do you think the baby is ok? She’s wrapped up kind of tight?”

“Yeah, she’s fine. Is she crying?”

“Nope.”

“That’s because I swaddled her up tighter than a double meat quesorito with guac at Chipotle. …guac is an extra two…”

” I KNOW GUAC IS AN EXTRA TWO DOLLARS!”

And that’s how quickly you can get back to living life once you’ve mastered your swaddling skills. As a new dad, the swaddle is one of your primary defenses against a crying baby. It’s one of my “binky” techniques I used to soothe Emma when she would freak out for no apparent reason. She’s too big to be swaddled now, but for the first two and half/three months after she was born she would need to be swaddled up to fall asleep.

I guess the reason it works is because restricting their range of motion reminds them of being back in the confines of the womb. That makes sense; the first three months of a baby’s life have been referred to as the “fourth trimester” …since babies are utterly incapable of survival without parents, a wolf pack, or gorilla to adopt them and raise them to be the hero of the jungle, so feeling like they’re back in the womb must be a comfort to them.

Kelly and I learned the proper technique for swaddling in our baby making classes, though there has been some debate, I’m told, as to how tight to actually bind your child into submission. I’ll go over the general maneuver, you decide how safe you want to be. I suggest taking a class or talking to your pediatrician about what they consider to be “correct.” If you break your kid it’s not on me.

So you start with a large square cloth, that’s the swaddle. They come in a range of styles and patterns. I recommend something basic,, but one with a bit of texture in the weave, though. That’s going to come in handy when your kid tries to struggle free from your loving embrace. They’ll squirm, they’ll fidget, and ultimately they’ll tucker themselves out when that texture starts to stick to itself like velcro. Texture.

First, lay out your square nice and flat so it’s rotated 45° (like a diamond.) Then fold down the top corner. How much you fold over depends on how big your swaddle and your baby are. Above this little fold is where your baby’s head rests when the mummification soothing begins.

Second, once you have your baby in place, wrap one side over and behind your kiddo. I found that rolling Emma on to her side allowed me to really tuck that sucker behind her. Lock it in good because babies will pull some David Blaine Houdini crap on you as soon as you turn your back. I’ve had many a night ruined by a weak and lazy swaddle.

Ok, step three, gently roll baby back so they’re flat again. Now take the bottom corner and fold it up over and behind the opposite shoulder of the first fold. I’ve found this fold to be the weakest point in my swaddle. You need to make sure you have enough material to tuck behind them so they don’t kick it all loose.

Finally, wrap the fourth and final corner over and around baby then tuck it up under itself on the topside.

That’s it. Easy, right? Maybe for you but it took me two weeks to master. I clearly remember the night I got it- it was out of pure frustration. During the midst of a screaming fit I had decided that tighter was better and I was going to wrap up my little chunky monkey like a pig in a blanket. Which, I might add, was nowhere near as tight as the nurses had her swaddled when she was born. Unwrapping that first clinically applied swaddle was like unboxing a new iPad that craps on you. The packaging was immaculate!

Over time, we developed various styles of swaddle to accommodate Emma’s growth and arm movements. She got to a point where if her arms were confined she took it out on us like we owed her money. So we employed the toga swaddle and the mermaid swaddle. These seemed to work; as long as her legs were bound but her arms were free she would stay calm.

We tried other products that make swaddling easier. Like this big velcro swaddle sac. Emma, true to her nature, hated it, like she hates anything that simplifies parenting for us. Also, the first time we washed it the Velcro stuck to all her trifolds and clothes. It tangled up everything, ruining my life.

On a final note, we were told to stop swaddling when baby starts to roll over because it poses a suffocation risk. We stopped before that because Emma just sort of outgrew it and as soon as I can start cutting steps out of my routine, dammit I’m going to.

I hope this helps. Swaddling is your friend- learn it. Use it. Happy parenting!

If you have any advice or tips that your want to offer feel free to leave a comment down below or on our Facebook page.


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