Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Test Results

Following from my last post, we've been testing out methods to get Gilbert to sleep through the night. Gone is the late night feed, but now the challenge is getting the Little Man to sleep through the entire night.

Monday night did not fare well. Gilbert was a bit bunged up as his body continues to adjust to solid food. He woke up three times due to gas pains. You know the difference in cries, Parents! As a result, Monday was not a good test.

Last night was better. Gilbert did wake up twice, but we attempted to let him cry it out. The midnight wake he eventually feel back asleep. Same for the 3am wake. That waking, we suspect, was due to a very wet diaper. No wet diaper and chances are he would have slept through the night.

However, we are happy with his progress of napping during the day. Basically, he's down to two naps a day. An early morning nap of about 45 minutes and then a nice, long 1 1/2 - 2 hour nap shortly after lunch.

Gilbert is also down to eating three times a day - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, progress is being made to establish a normal routine!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Test

Tonight is a big night. We are going to see if Gilbert can sleep without being covered with a blanket. Contrary to the picture to the right, Gilbert does not stay under his blanket. As I mention in the post below, he is quite active flailing his arms and kicking his legs.

Well, he has a growing tendency to kick off his blanket in the evening and then wake up crying or just upset that he doesn't have his blanket. Because he likes to wake up with it, grab it, pull the blanket over his head or snuggle with it against his cheek. See the dilemma? Leave the blanket and he kicks it off and wakes up. Take the blanket away and he'll likely wake up anyway not having it to snuggle with. Either way we lose!

So tonight is a test. No blanket. Instead, he's in a sleep sack for warmth and the extra layer. And, we've add Emmit, his trusted 'snuggee' for him to grab and hold and rub against his face. Only the night will tell. But after waking at midnight, 2am, 3am, and then again at 5'ish. It is time to experiment!

Stay tuned...

Our Little Gymnast

Well, at least he looks the part. Kristen and I always joke that Gilbert looks like a male gymnast when we put these pants on with his onesee. Usually, this is a transition outfit - puked on his jammies or is awaiting bath time - and is for his comfort.

And he's all smiles. Must be the elastic waistband! We'll put him in his 'gymnast' clothes and he goes crazy! Arms a-flalin', legs a-kickin' as you can tell from these photos. Er, maybe not as the pics are stills of his in-action actions!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Playtime. Gymboree Style.

Today Gilbert is six months old. Figuring it was time to release him on the greater population of Chicago, we enrolled Gil at Gymboree.

What fun! His play group had about 15 kids - from 6 to 10 months. It was amazing to see the range of development. 8 month olds dwarfed by Gilbert. A ten month old still without teeth. Another 8 month old that was walking unassisted. Regardless, all were smiling, active and having a good time.

For 45 minutes we sang, played on the equipment, and interacted with our son. At 1pm in the afternoon, the session is right in the middle of his afternoon nap. We feared it would not go well. However, Gilbert was fantastic. For 30 minutes. The last 15 he just zoned. No crying or eye rubbing, but just zoning. He did interact with the other kids which was important for us. An 8 month old, Lorelai, was next to us and she kept staring and smiling at Gilbert. A ladies' man. Sweet!

Breakfast at Flat Top

Where did the warm weather go? 80 degrees yesterday. 40 this morning as we headed out for breakfast. Oh well!

For those of you veterans to the Flat Top Grill experience, you will be pleased to know they now do breakfast. Being the lover of breakfast that Kristen is, we decided to give it a try. Joined by friends Tony and Vanessa (due to be married next month!), we had a great time!

Flat Top Grill is like the Mongolian BBQ's you be more familiar with. Pick your fresh ingredients, pick sauces, add meats and then hand off to the grill man for completion. Flat Top is that, but better! Kristen and I are big fans of Flat Top so when we heard breakfast was now an option we had to find out for ourselves if it lived up to their dinners.

And the answer is Yes! Choose from omlettes, egg bakes, pancakes or french toast. Pile your ingredients high. Add cheese, perhaps some meat and let the grill do its work. Meanwhile pastries and fruit tide you over. And here is the best part, it is ALL YOU CAN EAT! Oh yeah. PJ got his money's worth. And some!

It was great to see Vanessa and Tony. Especially as the craziness that naturally surrounds a wedding is less than a few weeks away. They seem to be handling it all well and can't wait to head out to Maui for their honeymoon. Sun and fun. We're jealous!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cause and Effect

Gilbert is learning there are results to his actions. With his roll-a-round balls he's learning how his interaction with the balls can roll it away or how by grabbing the ball in a certain method he can bring it closer.

This video is actually from last week, but I forgot to post it. Had to split it up in two sections in order to upload. The first video is just him being his typical sweet self as he plays and the second is funny as he sees what his actions can result. Note the facial expression and realization at the end.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bike vs. Car. I lose.

First, I'm okay. Quite sore and stiff with some bumps and scraps, but otherwise okay. Nothing is broken, but my bike is shredded.

I went out for a lakefront ride - quite a lovely evening - and was finished heading home. In fact I was about 100 feet from the condo when - BAM! - it happened. I caught the blue of a car out of the corner of my right eye as the car was turning left. Coming out of a parking garage - the wrong way, I might add - he never saw me, nor did I see him.

I had about a second to react, clamped on the breaks, but he was accelerating so my bike crumpled into his front fender and I learned how to fly - for a few seconds, anyway. My forearm hit the other side of the hood and I rolled over landing on my head - thank you helmet! - and then on to my shoulder and arm.

A bit dazed at first realizing what had just happened, I seemed to be okay. A few bystanders rush over and everyone seemed intent on getting me to my feet. That was the last place I was going and told them to let me just sit for a bit. My right forearm had already swelled and was going numb and tingling. ER doc said later I bruised the Ulna nerve thus the sensation.

I'll give credit to the driver, he was a stand up guy. Did everything by the book. Then again, the whole accident would have been avoided if he had not exited the parking garage through the Enter Only entrance! We called 911 and was greeted by EMT, Chicago Police, and the Chicago Fire Department. Sirens blaring of, course. Great response time from all parties.

Paperwork completed, everyone having gone back their stations, I cleaned up and caught a cab over to the ER room at Northwestern where after 2 1/2 hours I was sent home. Didn't even get x-rays.

I was 100 feet from the condo entrance door when this all happened. 100 feet. Being so close I called Kristen while I was waiting for the EMT's to let her know what had happened. She came down with Gilbert and thankfully brought me a sweatshirt. I was getting cold.

So, here we are a day later. I am definitely stiff from the neck through the back and down my right arm. Right hip is sore as well. Dealing with insurance now. At least I should get a new bike out of this. Need to send a letter to the helmet manufacturer with a big Thumbs Up for making great products.

Oh yeah, flying is overrated unless you can learn how to land safely.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Laundry's Done

Gilbert and I were just relaxing this morning. I was eating breakfast while he enjoyed a stint in his exersaucer when the clothes dryer buzzer went off. Funny!

Monday, April 21, 2008


You've read how Gilbert has begun eating real'ish food. Rice cereal. Applesauce. Well, his digestive system has reacted, naturally, by clamping down. He's been a 'regular' little man, but with solid food entering his diet, the cogs of the digestive system ground to a halt.

For the past three days, it has been nothing but clean diapers. Poor guy. He didn't start showing discomfort until Sunday. We had a few bouts where it was obvious either a gas bubble was left lane passing the slower poo or he was making an attempt to activate the ejector seat. Either way, his face would get red, tears would form, and he'd be vocally making the effort. All to no avail.

To help Gilbert along, I bought prune baby food. He enjoyed it and I hoped the affect would be instant. A few farts later, no such luck. But his farts. Holy cow! It smelled like a landfill had taken residence in his lower intestines!

We warmed Kristen the Nanny about Gilbert's condition. Well, the prunes must have made some progress. He had three episodes, but were not the explosions we were expecting. Tonight was my night to work out, so upon returning home, Kristen the Mom informed me Gilbert had his own version of the 4th of July fireworks. Explosions! Little Man did his usual struggle, but this time he pushed through the line of the defense for a touchdown. I won't go into the details, but according to Kristen all I can say is "multi-colored".

She also described Gilbert's demeanor during bath time. He simply laid back in his tub subdued and smiling. As if he had been relieved of all the world's issues. In terms of his small sphere of influence, he was definitely relieved of something!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


We've begun to lead Gilbert now the culinary brick road of food. First, was rice cereal. Not much of a departure from breat milk so we chose applesauce as his second food experience. All I can say is "He likes it! He likes it!" Okay, that was generational. Hope everyone got that quote.

Anyway, the video below is of his first feeding. Note the facial expression at the end. He now knows what tart is! Remember, click twice to activate the video player.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nobody Looks Good In The Morning

I went for a bike ride this morning. And while I was away, apparently Kristen woke Gilbert up to take some pictures. No, no. I'm sure he was already awake. But these photos attest that even infants - precious as they can be - need their morning coffee!

Father Son Weekend

FREEDOM! Kristen just left for the weekend. She's hosting a shower for her sister-in-law who is expecting later this summer. So it is just Gilbert and me!

Currently, he's sleeping. But we have BIG plans. I'm thinking we'll head to the local watering hole where I can explain the finer points of lager. Meanwhile, I'll explain the rules and nuances beyond America's past time.

Back at home, I have an assortment of movies - the classics; Caddyshack, etc. - for us to watch. There might be some peanut M&M's and pizza waiting as well.

Chores? Who needs them! Sure, Kristen left me a list 'to-do', but I'm my own man. I say when. I say where. I saw how! She'll be lucky if I change my clothes this weekend!

Okay. Charade aside. I'm looking forward to our time. The weather does seem to be quite nice and an afternoon walk will definitely be in order. I'm sure we do some quality play time as well. Gilbert has been particularly active reaching and grabbing so we'll work on developing that skill set.

Privately, I do hope he'll go to sleep early as I do have the third season of Rescue Me from Netflix to watch. I've found watching series is much more enjoyable to wait and then rent so it is possible to watch episodes back to back. Keeps me enthralled. Just did it with Dexter. Highly recommended it.

Tomorrow I do have some chores. Self-imposed. Kristen didn't leave me anything to do, but I'll scour the condo as I'm sure there is something that needs to be done!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Could This Be My Son?

Hard to tell. You know, since I'm such a serious person.

The Morning Routine

Monday - Wednesday Kristen works outside of the home and is first to leave in the morning. The routine goes like this...Kristen wakes up showers, PJ sleeps. Kristen gets out of the shower. PJ sleeps. Kristen wakes PJ up. PJ goes back to sleep. Kristen makes PJ breakfast. Just kidding! Well, some of it is true!

About a half hour gap exists between the time Kristen the Mom leaves and Kristen the Nanny arrives.
This gives Gil and his daddy some solid father-son time. What a great way to start the day. Just him and me, we play in his room doing developmental activities or sometimes just lay and talk. Well, I do the talking imparting my infinite wisdom on his nascent, but sponge of a brain.
Lately, Gilbert likes to play with his balls (here I go again!). His dexterity in handling his balls has greatly improved. Now it takes only one hand to grab it! He likes to roll it around and recognizes the cause and effect from his actions. Each day he seems to build on what he did the day prior. I just sit and watch. The funniest part is when he leans all the way over to pick up the ball and is so excited he jerks back up into a sitting position, but overshoots and falls backwards! I've been placing a pillow behind him to brace the fall. He's still yet to learn not to overshoot!

Back to the morning. Once Kristen is dressed and ready to leave she needs one last dose of Gilbert. Here's a picture from this week. Mommy and Gil. As happy as can be!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Frog Legs

Apparently, Gilbert is a foodie like his dad. Here he is sampling stuffed frog legs for the first time. Must admit, never had frog legs stuffed like this before!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Home Improvement

As the night's stay lighter longer, we knew Gilbert's room would be in need of some 'blackout' shades or drapes to keep his room dark during sleeping hours. We have horizontal blinds in his window now, but light could still creep through during the daytime naps and the fluorescent hue of the street lamps at night could cast rays of light in as well.

Sunday was project day and it was my responsibility to hang some drapes, curtains, or whatever you want to call them. Looking to do something economical, but cool Kristen picked up some denim blinds from Target and she decided to go with an industrial look for the hardware. So, we bought a ten foot length of conduit that I cut down with a hacksaw and hung the drapery on it. The new drapery rod hung from industrial fasteners and we used pipe connectors on the end to mock a finial. All in all it looks good.

But like every home project, it was not without its challenge. We hung the drapery from below a sofit, but I knew from painting the duct work was not directly behind the drywall. Oops. Of the three hangers the duct work had dropped not allowing for enough depth to use drywall anchors. Long story short, I solved the problem with machine screws. Quick on my feet, yes, I know. Thank you. However, I had to drill another set of holes, so of course I need to patch and paint. Damn!
In the end the drapes look good. To me. The resident designer wants to make improvements, so chances are some color will be added.

The real effect is Gilbert's room is substantially darker during the day. Hopefully leading to longer naps in the day and a fitful full night's worth of sleep (for him and us!). He oversaw the home project from the comfy confines of his exersaucer and like union help was resting most (see top photo) of the project.

What's Yours Is Mine

Gilbert's interest in other people's stuff continues to grow. First it was a drinking glass. Then the remote control followed by the cell phone. Well, this morning, it became my food. He was sitting in my lap as I attempted to enjoy an apple fritter courtesy of my wife trekking out for it this morning. Don't go "Aaah, what a nice wife". Her reason for going wasn't me, but rather a cup of coffee from Starbucks. I benefitted from her benevolence!

Anyway, as I held Gil and my plate with one hand and tear off a piece of the fritter with another, his outreaching hands came closer each time to grabbing the edge of the plate. Eventually his paws latched on and the strength surprised me. The fritter almost tumbled off the plate.

Family Time

Again, with little opportunity to be outside we've been enjoying 'play time' with Gilbert in his room. From 'airplane' and 'earthquake' to peek-a-b00' and 'so big' we're accessing all the games in our aresnal. Fortunately, Gilbert loves them all. Incredibly easygoing, he smiles at just about anything silly I do. Whew!

Here are a few photos from a recent play session. We just both happened to be wearing blue. Definitely not planned!
I know it has been a few days since my last post, but the Masters is on. And the world stops during those four days. Not a very exciting tournament this year, but when you are devoted, it is still fun to watch.

So, it has been a fun weekend despite the shitty, yes, shitty weather! I had plans to do my first outdoor bike ride of the year on Saturday. Rain, wind, and below 40 degrees negated that dream. Grr.

Luckily we saw some good friends on Friday. In from Indianapolis, the Schmidt's met us for an early dinner at Bar Louie. Although a short visit, it was great to see them. What was interesting was seeing how Gilbert interacted with their two boys. To date, Gilbert has had very little interaction outside his parents and Kristen the Nanny. We hope to rectify that with Gymboree classes.

Their oldest, Brady, was enamored with Gilbert and kept offering up his matchbox cars. What was fun was to see Gilbert smile and react to Brady's playful engagement. And no, the Mich Ultras did not belong to them!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gilbert The Ham

Gilbert knows what a camera is...and does. Now when we attempt to photograph him, he stares intently and smiles. And smiles, and smiles.

Granted, after bath time is a happy time for the little man, but he was particularly smiley for these photos. Here are a few of dad and son and Gilbert semi-'air dried' after his bath.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Connecting With My Food

Well, today is a watershed day. I placed an order purchasing a cow directly from the farm. Part of a cartel (five carnivore-friends!), we pooled to purchase a 1/4 of a cow, from this point on will now be called Delicious.

Delicious should be ready in early June and I'm already drooling in anticipation. As the leader of this folly, I got to talk with the farmer, learn about the process, do research on all the different cuts of meat, understand the best combination of cut thickness for each and ultimately decide how Delicious gets sliced up. Ooohhh, the power!

If you remember from my earlier posts, I've been wanting to improve the food chain I devourer and one way was to buy locally direct from the farm. So, as this process unfolds, I'll be sharing my experiences. Who knows, with 25-30 pounds of red meat that will reside in my freezer, there might be a 'meat party' on the horizon!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Walk In The Park

That is what we did with our day Sunday. After Gilbert woke from a very nice, long morning nap we packed up and headed to a local park for the afternoon.

Returning to the old 'hood, we visited Oz Park - a large multipurpose park - in Lincoln Park. The park was hopping with activity. Ad hoc softball games, dads and sons throwing baseballs and kicking soccer balls, couples playing tennis, and freshly minted college grads holding on to their ultimate frisbee prowess.

Families were in abundance as well and they swarmed over the swing sets and jungle gyms. Before marking our spot in the park, we walked around it as well as up and back some of the nearby streets where amazing single-family homes reside. The area is well-known for some of the largest, most extravagant homes in the downtown area.

We settled in a 'family only' area part of the park where dogs, ball playing and other types are activities are restricted. The area is fenced in and allows parents a little peace of mind as their kids can run around in close proximity. Gilbert wasn't overly interested in the happenings. However, he was fascinated with all the cars that passed by. The sun was bright and he'd shy away from looking up, so he was content just playing with his frog and chillin' with his P's and acted as if it was just...another day in the park.

Escape From The Cage

The weather this weekend has been fantastic! Finally sunny, dry, and over 60 degrees anxiously awaited Saturday to get out of our cage. So, we packed up Gil (without the usual layers of clothes and blankets) and walked around the city. Kristen had a few items to return to H&M and I was in need of some shirts, so we walked over to shops on State Street and much like Superman soaked in the rays of the sun for strength.

On our way home we walked back along the river stopping at a new favorite spot of ours called Wow Bao. They sell Asian buns filled with great stuff like BBQ pork, Mongolian Beef, Teriyaki Chicken, etc. They also sell some sweets so Kristen had to get one of those as well. The buns are incredibly cheap and make a great snack. I highly recommend checking the place out.

We took a short nap and then headed out to the local Bar Louie for dinner and to watch the Final Four. Our friends Tony and Eric joined us. Gilbert was fascinated with the place and particularly enjoyed the plethora of large screen televisions surrounding the joint. We sported him in a fun 'city shirt' courtesy of Kristen's friend Sherry. Note the words suburban friends!

Mental Health Day

I took Friday off from work and declared it a 'mental health day'. Instead of toiling in the office, I used the opportunity to prepare for better weather. The golf clubs and bike came out of storage, a load of clothes went to Goodwill and I helped Kristen with some 'spring cleaning' (that was fun?).

But the best part of the day was breaking out the exersaucer from storage, putting it together and letting Gilbert take his first spin on it. The new toy overwhelmed him at first, but as he settled in to his seat he became incredibly focused on the items attached to the exersaucer. Check it out.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Attack of the Barking Frog

Gilbert received a talking frog from my mother for Easter. It is a puppet that allows you to open and close the mouth of the frog. When done, the frog makes noises. The sounds come out a different pitches, but hardly resembles a frog's ribbit.

No matter, Gilbert loves it as you can see from the video. He's a giggling machine. And as a new dad, the best sound is my child's laughter.

Thanks Gram!

Click on the video link twice to activate the player.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In my post yesterday I made jokes and reference to 'balls'. Well, last night it was the real deal. Gilbert has been taking his baths (in his tub) in the kitchen sink. He's progressively begun to make a bigger mess as he's perfected the art of splashing.

So, last night we moved him into the bathroom so he can splash at will. And so he did. He was having a lot of fun. Smiling, kicking, reaching and grabbing. I mentioned his grabbing dexterity has improved. In his state of play he discovered his 'junk'. First it was the little guy. He'd give it a squeeze and smile. Then he found the jewels. Squeeze there, not so much of a smile. Anyway, he kept reaching for his junk all during the bath. Kristen was rolling her eyes saying, "Oh boy, here we go." I was a proud papa, of course!

We've heard from friends who have boys that once their junk is discovered they have a fascination with it for awhile, but that it will wane. Let's hope so!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tired of playing with rings and rattles for four months, we gave Gilbert an Easter present of balls to play with (I struggled with this opening line and no matter how I wrote it I giggled).

He loves playing with his balls! (Giggle again!). At first they were too big for him to pick up. (I can't help myself). But quickly his thumb and forefinger dexterity began to work in tandem and he can now pick up any of his balls (okay no more).

Each ball varies in weight and texture and Gilbert definitely has his favorites (sorry!). He likes the one with a rattle. It is the lightest of the bunch and has diversity in textures.

When all the balls are on his tray and he starts to roll them around on the surface he gets all excited and begin to flap his arms as he watches them roll around. Makes us laugh. It is fun to watch Gilbert get excited and worked up over his toys or any little thing that stimulates him.