Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gilbert's First Plane Ride

Tomorrow is a big day. Team Johnson is heading to Dallas for a long weekend with my family. This will be Gil's first plane ride and ours as parents. Strategy is already being formed on how we'll pack, check-in, where to sit on the plane, etc. Serious stuff!

But the best part is we get to meet Maddie - my niece - for the first time! Maddie was born on my birthday last year. She's almost seven months old. I can't wait! It will be fun to see Gil and Maddie together. Of course, they'll probably be oblivious to each other, but who cares. It will be fun. My P's are driving up from Houston later in the week so the entire Johnson clan will be together. Oh boy!

So, for those savvy travelers who have taken their kids on plane rides, any sage advice you can offer?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back in the Groove

Sorry for not posting lately. Took the weekend just to relax and get acclimated to being home after a week in London. Our sitter-nanny has started and she is working while Kristen is still at home to get in the groove of how Gilbert operates.

Gilbert changed greatly during my week away. His sounds have evolved and now his range of noises, gurgles, squeals has broadened. As I write this blog he's carry on a fantastic conversation with himself!

He's also grown, or more accurately filled out. Gil's dexterity hs improved too as he's discovered how to suck on his hands with ease, but still hasn't located his thumb!
With greater vision comes the desire to see more. His favorite vantage point currently is to look over your shoulder. He props up his forearm on our shoulder so he can survey the back 40. And when he is on the ground, he loves to stand up (as demonstrated by this picture).
One thing we have to be careful of is the television. We don't have it on much, but if he sees it we lose him. He'll just stare intently at it and zone out. Same thing for the computer screen. Personally, I think it is just the illumination coming from the screen. One time I caught him staring at the glowing blue light coming off the DVR. The light had the diameter of a quarter!

It was definitely to get back out on the road for travel, especially to a cool city like London, but nothing beats being at home with Kristen and Gilbert!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Coming Home

I've been in London working all this past week, but tomorrow I'll be home. Sitting in my hotel room, I'm all packed and ready to go. A bit tired from the intense work sessions and jet lag, but the week has been fun. The folks in the office have been amazing hosts and the camaraderie built over deciphering each others language jargon was priceless!

But there is no substitute for the joy that awaits me when I get to give the little man a hug! I brought with me a little deck of pictures that I could flip through when I was jonesing for some Gil. And yes, of course, I can't wait to see Kristen! That goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway!

Cheers mate!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Big Day!

Today is the first day our nanny/sitter starts caring for Gil. Officially, she'll be on for the full time in early February, but are bringing her in a few days this week and next so she can get acclimated to Gil and our home with Kristen together.

This signals the first real shift back to pre-Gil life; Kristen returning to work. Her business is now official. The paperwork is filed with the State, she's doing design work on her own and now she'll be a contractor for her prior design firm. Lots of good things are happening for her!

From a parent perspective, knowing the shift is coming has been - at times - hard to accept. No matter how good the care is for your child, it is not the same since you are not the person providing it. Plus, giving up the control is probably the unspoken hardest part. Maybe that is why in other countries the maternity leave is so much more extensive.

For example, in the UK it is one year. I've heard in Germany, the leave is as much as three years! And in both cases salaries are paid close to 100% for the entire length. This might not be completely accurate but regardless the US policy of 12 weeks (salary provided is optional) pales in comparison. And remember, prior to the FMLA (signed into law during the Clinton administration), there was nothing concrete. Scary, huh!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We Survived!

Our first night out and away from Gilbert went off without a hitch. Katie was excellent in both feeding him and getting him to bed. Thanks!

As for the evening, it was enjoyable. The event at Nau was quite interesting. Packed with design-types, Kristen definitely fit in more than I did, but even so she was still a bit on the conservative side compared to many of the more eclectic. There was plenty of food and beverage and the sample of eco-friendly or sustainable building materials were quite interesting. It is amazing what is being done with natural or recycled products nowadays!

With the evening going so well, we decided to keep it going and did go to Webster's Wine Bar. The place was just as we remembered it, but the menu of food has exploded! Kristen selected three fantastic cheeses and the sliced spicy Spanish sausage I picked was the perfect companion to the large reds we drank.

What surprised us the most is that we thoroughly enjoyed our evening and still somehow ended up back at home before 10pm! Heck, I've got friends who don't even think about going out until then!

So, the evening was fun and we look forward to doing it again.

It is quite cold today so we spent our time indoors playing and taking pictures. Here is the latest batch.

Friday, January 18, 2008

First Date

Tonight will be the first time Kristen and I have been out together since Gilbert arrived. Well, now that I think about it, we have been out before when my P's were up for Thanksgiving, but tonight is the first time we'll be out for an extended period of time.

Gilbert will be placed in the trusty hands of Katie for the evening. How did we convince a young, single girl to give up her Friday night, you ask? Food and the ability to do her laundry for free (apparently public laundramats freak her out!). The bitterly cold weather didn't hurt our case either!

So, what are we doing for the evening. Fine dining, perhaps? A romantic rendezvous at a hotel, maybe? Nah!

We are attending an event held by Nau, a progressive clothier that makes eco-friendly, hip clothing. I learned about Nau through the foundation I volunteer - Taproot Foundation. Nau donates 5% of the profits from every sale to a variety of local and national partners. Taproot is one of them. As a result, I've had the opportunity to get to know the folks at Nau and am often invited to special seminars, parties, etc. the store holds to promote their eco-philosophy.

Tonight is a seminar on eco-friendly and sustainable building materials co-hosted with They have developed the first freely accessible on-line database of sustainable materials for architects, builders, furniture designers, fashion designers, and more.

Since this might be of interest to Kristen, we are both attending. Of course, the enticement of free food and beverage at the event was nice too. And 50% all the stores wares!

And yes, if all goes well we are going out afterwards with plans to visit a familiar haunt...Webster's Wine Bar to spend a little one-on-one time together. Kristen has been jonesing for some good cheese and I know she'll get her fill at Webster's!

The question that remains is how many times will Kristen call Katie to check in on Gil!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

City Playdate

With a sense of structure and some normalcy settling in at Casa de Johnson, Kristen has begun to ease back into her pre-birth activities; working out, seeing friends, enjoying what the city has to offer. For her, a big reason was also the ability to reconnect with past co-workers/friends.

Well, yesterday Gil and Kristen had a playdate with her friend Lauren and her son, Ty, at their place. Not privy to their conversation, I'm sure Kristen and Lauren talked about their work, parenting, and I'm sure did some good gossip dishing!

I did talk to Gil and he said that he and Ty had a fun time together. A year older, Ty provided Gil some sage advice on how to deal with nannies and baby sitters, eating solid food, and how to hold one's pee until the very minute your diaper is being changed so you can spray mom and dad.

Additionally, Gil said they attempted to address some of the more serious issues facing their generation such as equal access to the sandbox and how television baby models are poor role models for body health issues along with a friendly debate on what is "the ideal nipple". In the picture above, Gil is laughing at Ty's retelling of his famous first pee after eating creamed asparagus story.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Road Trio to the Suburbs

Today we took a road trip out to see our friends - Emily and Derek, along with their two kids - and enjoy the day together. For those of you not familiar, Kristen is the Godmother to their oldest, Taggart. The day was great as the ladies tagteamed for the lunch and we spent the remainder of our time together just talking, hanging out, and being entertained by the kids.

Taggart is stringing together sentences quite well, but like all kids whose vocabulary is expanding while enunciation still a challenge it was good to have Emily around as Tag's interpreter!

Cammie (Campbell) will soon be up and walking. She can hoist herself up with ease to stand and climbs, but when it comes to moving north/south she still prefers to go low. But her laugh! She has two; a high-pitch joyous scream that surely dogs can hear within a mile radius and a second; this deep Ha! Ha! Ha! that is crazy funny and totally infectious. I simply laughed in response!

Gil was his usual self. He enjoyed the new surroundings and did his best Stevie Wonder as he head seemed to be on a swivel as it darted back and forth to take it all in. During play time, he seemed to be enamored with both Cammie and Tag as he stared intently at both of them. We ran the entire Gil gamut - feed, sleep, diaper change, fussiness, smiles, and repeat. When it came time to depart when lulled him to sleep in his car seat prior to guarantee a quite ride home!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Results Are In, Part 2

Gilbert had his two month (okay, more like 2 1/2 month) check up yesterday. His visit can be summed up in one word, GROWING!

The typical measurements were recorded and his growth chart is progressive upwards. Here's the results:

  • Weight - 13 lbs. 7oz. (up from 10lbs. 11oz.) in the 70th percentile (up from 50th percentile
  • Length - 24 3/8 (up from 23 inches) in the 70th percentile (same)
  • Head size - Whoa! 16 7/8 inches (up from 15 inches) in the 90th percentile (up from 75th percentile)

However, the big surprise of the visit was the four shots he had to receive for a variety of vaccines to ward off nasty diseases and viruses like Ebola, Avarian Flu, etc. Just kidding! But he did receive four shots and was not at all thrilled about the experience.

The first shot went fine. A little grimace and pout, but he quickly recovered. However, the second shot was fast and in the same vicinity. That did not meet his approval and he expressed his displeasure.

Of course, he calmed down and regrouped only to be stuck two more times in the other leg. By the time all the shots were finished, he was simply pissed and let us know verbally. However, we quickly comforted him by wrapping him up in a snugly outfit (see picture).

The rest of the day seemed to progress nicely with no signs of being upset or side affects of the shots. We even interviewed a nanny and everything went swimmingly.

However, his pleasant demeanor shifted to painful at bedtime. I had just left the condo for the gym when he began to wail in obvious pain from the shots. Able to provide only mild comfort by holding and soothing him with word, he'd relax only to shout out in pain in intervals throughout the evening. Eventually he fell asleep, either from total exhaustion or from finally finding comfort, but the ultimate surprise was he slept through the entire night!

This morning we all woke up and it was back to the status quo. A happy child wanting to play!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sleeping Upright

In the early weeks, any time we would hold Gilbert against our chest (whether sitting or walking around), he craned his neck. Call it a reflex to having his face laying against something or was Pavlovian to tummy time.

However, in the past two weeks he's finally begun to relax when we hold him against our bodies. Now to the point where he'll actually cuddle up and fall asleep. For me, I love it! Now I can lay back on the sofa, watch a little tele or take a nap myself, and relax my hold without worrying about Gil suddenly arching up and flying off me.

The downside is now when we do 'tummy time' he has the tendency just to lay there and drift off. Either he's comfortable with his ability to lift his head and no longer finds the need to amuse us or he's realized his nug has become so large that the effort to raise it up isn't worth it!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Best Thing About Waking Up

is not Folger's in my cup, but play time with Gilbert. Originally, he was would sleep most of the morning and then upon waking demand a boob. Now, his new morning pattern is to want to play before feeding.

So, I get up early and get cleaned up. He is typically awake cooing in his crib as he stares at the black and white mobile overhead waiting for me to pick him up. We gather on the couch for some quality face-to-face and I get to enjoy his smiles, laughing, talking, and on occasion farting (this morning, he destroyed not only his diaper, but his onesee and sleep sack. Where does all that poo come from, really?).

For the past few weeks his hands and arms have been quite active. We've snapped some awesome photos only to capture a blur of his arms and hands because of the fast movement. He's developing quite the karate chop as he reaches for objects in front of him. However, without his depth perception fully in place yet, it is often 'swing and a miss'. He's whacked both Kristen and I a few times in the face as well as hitting himself on the noggin too.

His favorite item to grab right now is his burp cloth. He loves the texture and often will latch on with both hands, pull it into the center of his body and attempt to put some portion of the cloth in his mouth for a taste test. It is pure joy to watch.

If he does grab my fingers, he either attempts to eat them or, on occasion, will pull himself up especially if he's already in somewhat of a sitting position (see the photos).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What better way to welcome in the new year...

than to get naked and take a bath! Looking to get the new year off to a good start, we partook in a guaranteed good time for Gilbert. Of course, it is fun for us as well. His balance in his tub has improved dramatically and he's learned how to stay upright by stabilizing his body by placing his elbows and forearms against the sides of the tub. I knew he was a prodigy!

Turns out the bath was the highlight of the day as the rest of it went downhill from there. The little man had a bad bout of rumble-stumble belly and he let it be known he was unhappy. Helpless to sooth him beyond a comforting song or embrace, this lasted most of the afternoon.

By nighttime he calmed down, but continued to let us know his discourse. His cries were more like audible pouts just to let us know he is pissed.

I have a hard time not laughing when he does this, because the face is funny as he sticks out his bottom lip and gives his "Waaa" - long pause - "Waaa". I equate it to a 'hear me roar and I will not be ignored' cry.
He's not doing it in this picture, but his discontent is easily recognizable!