Archive for November, 2011

Waiting to Walk

Mason can't quite walk on his own yet...by choice.

Mason is starting to stand up without needing support such as couches, chairs, Daddy’s legs, etc. Problem is, he won’t walk on his own. He’ll walk with his support device (I forget the name of it, it has 4 wheels and resembles a pint-sized shopping cart). As long as he has someone to hold onto while he walks, he’ll move just fine. As soon as we let go, down he goes to a crawl. Damn! My parents said they remember having to trick me to walk, so I put my thinking cap on and tried a drumstick. Feels like a finger, right? Well, Mason would not agree. As soon as he grabbed it, he knew it wasn’t a human finger and sat down, even throwing in a look that said “Daddy, do you think I’m that gullible?”

Developmentally, he’s right in the range to walk. Doc says mason should be walking very soon. His daycare provider guarantees by Christmas. I’d sure like to see him walking by Thanksgiving, but with only 3 days to go…looks like I’ll have to wait. The bright side is, I have more time to work on a bubble-wrap helmet that will protect his little brain from inevitable skull trauma as he takes his first steps. Who’s good with duct tape?

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Photo Phriday: Brady Bunch

Daddy and Mason practice the "over the top QB sneak"

Sports are a big thing in our household. We’re big baseball fans, and UConn rules the roost. I’m a Red Sox fan and Holly goes for the Yankees, so there are no MLB team logos on anyhting Mason touches; we want him to find his own team for that. I’m into football but Holly is indifferent on it, so I won the battle of team affiliation, and Mason was officially knighted as a Patriots supporter. We found an adorable Tom Brady jersey in Mason’s size and I got an early Christmas present from Holly around the same time. Holly’s aunt got this shot at her house a few Sundays ago. It’s definitely an NFL-Season Sunday tradition I’d like to continue for a long time! 🙂

Pots ‘N’ Pans!

Well, we knew it was only a matter of time before Mason found the contents of the drawer beneath the oven. Baking pans and pot covers galore! He’s still not quite sure what to do with them, but he’s learning rather quickly that they make noise! Mason loves to make sure we know how he’s feeling…you can see him constantly looking at me and smiling. My guess is, he was also seeking Daddy’s approval before continuing with his tirade of noisemaking. He even left Special Agent Oso (one of his favorite shows) hanging to enjoy the wonder of molded aluminum and steel. After emptying the drawer of most of its contents, Mason was distracted by one of the cats and bolted away, leaving me to clean up the mess, of course. 🙂

We keep the pots locked tightly in the cabinet doors behind him, and the metal and wooden spoons in the drawer just above that. We won’t be divulging that information to Noisy McGee any time soon for the sake of our ears…

Tolerating Tantrums

Ah, the temper tantrum. What better way for a little one to draw immediate, undivided attention to himself? Whether you’re a parent, sibling, caretaker, or anyone who’s spent any amount of time in a grocery store, you’ve likely observed a tantrum. Take it one step further: we’ve all had them ourselves! Screaming, crying, banging, throwing things…every parent’s nightmare. Psychologically, tantrums are a child’s way of testing limits, exploring communication and testing the last axon of Daddy’s last nerve. Usually, parents feel embarrassed and helpless over the state of their child, praying for it to stop (though I must admit, Mason is usually remarkably serene and happy in public…it’s at home that he plays the tantrum game). Since Mason cannot talk yet, tantrums remain his main gateway to communicating his feelings and needs to us.

Mason has a Master’s Degree in temper tantrums. He knows just when to throw it and what to expect from it. No, I’m not saying he’s an unhappy baby, but like child transitioning from infant to toddler, he knows our buttons, how to push them, and in what sequence to achieve maximum effect. Locking him out of the bathroom? How dare we! He makes sure we know he’s livid.

I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down Mason’s tantrums into five basic types. Each comes with its own characteristics and manifestations of anger and sadness and Strength of Stress (SOS) on Mommy and Daddy.

Slug N’ Scream: This tantrum is most commonly demonstrated upon denying Mason an activity or access to a specific location, i.e. the bathroom or drawer underneath the oven. Mason crawls slowly towards an adult at about half the speed he normally crawl, crying loudly.

SOS: 2/5 – Usually mild and easily controllable with snack foods or funny faces.

Blue-faced Bitchin’: This was Mason’s first tantrum type. He screams, and screams…and screams…in one gigantic exhale, until he runs out of breath, at which point he holds…and holds…and holds, to the point that we question whether he’s lost the ability to inhale. Deep inhale..and a massive, eardrum-popping scream.

SOS: 5/5 – Very stressful, painful on ears, and usually continues despite any redirection attempt.

Whine N’ Whimper: Mason uses this tantrum when he’s feeling uncomfortable with something, or to indicate he’s somewhat unhappy and needs a change of pace, snuggle, hug, etc. Surprisingly, he does not use this tactic often, but when he does, it’s usually during the climax of a TV show where we kind of want to see what happens.

SOS: 1/5 – Easily taken care of, not loud at all, and after all, family comes before TV!

Fluid Freakout: This is specifically used by Mason when he’s thirsty. If he’s eating in his high chair, he begins with the Whine n’ Whimper, which quickly moves into loud crying. He then begins tossing food to the floor and banging the food tray. If not in the high chair, he displays loud cries and sometimes even heads for the refrigerator.

SOS: 3/5 – This is often taken that he doesn’t want his food which is very stressing. However, once liquids are administered, the tantrum immediately ceases.

Midnight Madness: This one’s a doozie. Mason is usually a pretty good sleeper, but if he wakes up without his “bing” (pacifier), he wants it back (we’re working on weaning him off of it). But it’s not always just “bing.” Sometimes, Mason just wants to snuggle with Mommy and Daddy, time be damned. This wish results on non-stop, blood curdling screaming similar with Blue-faced Bitchin’ until he’s satisfied.

SOS: 6/5 – Disrupted sleep for all, rarely redirected without giving in fully, and believe me, I know that it’s not good to establish a habit of kids on the parents’ bed. Gah!

As Mason learns some basic words to voice his needs, some of these tantrums will cease, only to be replaced by tantrums of just plain annoyance with any situation that rubs him the wrong way. Yay… just have to keep in mind that this is normal, a part of any child’s development in learning limits and boundaries. It’s all in how they are handled. That, and keeping the good behavior going at the grocery store!

How about you? How did you/do you handle temper tantrums?

The Kid & the Camera

Mason strains to reach the camera. Nice try, son...

Mason is such a curious little bug. Now that he’s mastered crawling, he looks for anything he can get his little hands on…or in his mouth. Toys, food, dust balls, the cat’s tail…you name it, he’s tasted it. Recently, he finally decided to attempt some hands-on time with the big black thing Daddy constantly points at him…the camera.

We do photography as a side gig, so our cameras are hardly compact. Just about all of the photos you see on this blog are taken with a Nikon D90. It’s a big honkin’ piece of photographic equipment! Even bigger with the SB-600 flash sitting atop it. Add in the red beam the flash shoots out to calculate exposure, and you’ve got a kid’s biggest curiosity. At first, Mason was an anti-camera kid. He’s get pretty upset if you pointed it at him. Then, it was almost impossible to get candids of him, because he immediately focused on it the second it was at my eyes. Shooting “blind” (camera at the hip, pointed in general direction) sometimes worked, but not always.

As of last week, Mason has put his curiosity to action. The above photo was snapped as I was trying to get Mason in a standing position. Of course, the brat didn’t want to stand at that point, so he crawled instead. Right up to me. I took a series of shots just as he reached up to grab the flash (at which he failed, HA!). I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if the little monster actually got his paws on the camera. He dismantles toys like it’s nobody’s business, I’m sure it would result in a service call to Nikon.

Someday…well, maybe someday, I’ll let Mason hold a digital SLR. Heck, I’m not going to hold back my kid’s curiosity forever…just long enough to save up for a new camera…

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Dr. Destructo!

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In need of some demo? Call 1-800-DESTROY & let Mason take care of it!

Standing Tall

Standing and telling the world he can do just that.

In the past few weeks, Mason has learned to stand on his own two feet without support…as long as he starts with support. The little guy can pull himself to his feet using a couch or chair, or an adult can set him on his feet in the middle of a room, and he can stand independently for up to 30 seconds before plopping himself on his bottom safely. Even more exciting (and scary), Mason can take a step or two as long as someone is holding both of his arms and guiding him forward. Steady supports like a walk-behind device (its actual name eludes me) allow him to walk/slither along floors with relative ease. All I can think when I see him ready to take his first steps any day now is:

“This is the end.”

Of course, I mean the end of my sanity. This knocks be back to my default status as a father: worry-wart. Mason is going to walk, that’s inevitable. Also inevitable is the falls and smashed lips and skull trauma that only comes with learning to walk. We’re talking about a kid who while sitting on the floor, suddenly flailed and flopped himself into a wall (just like Daddy sometimes does). Gah! I’d really like to encase the child in bubble wrap, but aside from comical YouTube entertainment, I would probably be socially scarring poor Mason for life. Sure, I learned to walk just the same, and I’m sure my parents have wonderful stories of head/body trauma while learning to do it. We all encounter the pitfalls of learning to right ourselves and ambulate. It still doesn’t help me. In the meantime, I’ll work on a device that will protect the boy without ostracizing him in public, as well as help avoid criticism from my own peers. Any ideas?

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