How to make an old lady blush

This last weekend, Grandpa and Grandma treated us to time away from our children. Eventually, grandma needed to relieve herself. Because Kayla has recently completed potty-training, and Lucas is beginning, we have an open door policy in effect. When Grandma headed into the bathroom, Kayla followed. After a bit of negotiating, Kayla was ushered back out of the bathroom and waited just outside the door. As soon as the tell-tale sounds of success emanated, Kayla let loose a proud cheer, “Yay Grandma!”

The difference a couple years make

Two years ago, the focal point of our lives was a fascinating and wonderful little creature named Kayla. We were pretty smitten by her upon arrival but it seems that was just the tip of a monumental iceberg of joy that she is. It doesn’t seem possible that she turns two today. She is such the little treasure and there isn’t a single day I’d give back.

Since that day two years ago, I enrolled at DTS and we moved to Texas. Jen transitioned from office worker to telecommuter as I adjusted to life as a graduate student. After two semesters, I learned all I had set out to. After the conclusion of the school year, we bought a minivan and departed for Seattle to be near Jen’s family. Bill had been diagnosed with Leukemia and it would likely be the last time we’d get to be with him.

We stayed two months and returned to Texas. Lucas arrived in October. I cannot overstate how much life changed with #2. With an infant and a toddler, there is always a need for one, and frequently two parents attention. Combined with family visits, from Lucas’ birth through the New Year, getting anything done, let alone caught up, was wildly optimistic. Things we normally kept on top of did not receive the attention they were due.

But little in life is permanent. When the 2007 tax season rolled around, I caught up on over a years worth of bookkeeping (corporate & personal). In mid-April I accepted a position with Layered Tech, a hosting company. After a number of other less than satisfying interviews, LT seemed like a good fit so I accepted. So far, they are quite pleased with me and vice versa.

As Lucas rapidly progresses from infant to toddler, we seem to be finding a sense of balance. Unlike the last, this year our trees are pruned and the flower beds are weeded, mulched, and planted. The Jetta even got a fresh coat of wax and Rain-X. On Friday we celebrated our 5th anniversary. Not only was it a night out at one of Dallas’ nicest restaurants, but it was the third weekend in a row that we had been out as a couple.

With all the changes in and around our lives, there are a few things that remain constant: I found the love of my life, and she said yes. On that foundation we have build something that exceeds all expectations. Last night I sat on the floor in the dark, looking out the back windows. Cuddled in my lap was Kayla, a most treasured possession, giddy and exuberant, every time a firefly pierced the darkness.

Oh poo!

It all started innocently enough. Kayla was standing at the gate to our room, watching mommy prepare Lucas’ lunch. It being the time of day that Kayla is productive, she stood at the gate and delivered a fine specimen into her diaper. Mommy witnessed the event.

Meanwhile, daddy was in the office tending Lucas and working on a clients web site. Due to past excitement, Kayla is not allowed to remove her diaper without permission. So she trotted out and announced she wanted to sit on her potty seat. Daddy granted permission to remove her diaper and she did.

As the diaper slid off, the delivery from two minutes prior fell out of the diaper onto the floor. Thankfully, daddy had the good sense to put the potty seat on the tile floor. “What’s that!” Kayla asked quizzically. As she attempted to step away she instead stepped into it. What had great potential to be humorous turned ugly fast. Instead of trying to get away from the steaming heap on the floor she was trying to get away from her own foot!

Being dangerously close to carpet, damage control daddy swept in and restored sanity and hygiene.

PS: Diaper wipes are truly wonderful things.

It’s good to be big

We thought it would be nice to share life from the perspective of Lucas.

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Click the photo for a bigger version.

Kayla is getting ahead…ache.

We had read that Kayla will soon be climbing on things (which she’s mastered) and attempting to scale her crib walls. This normally happens at about this time, but she is 4 inches shy of the “36 inches required for a successful crib escape.” We had her mattress in the lowest setting, and assumed we needn’t worry yet. After all, it’s only her head that is significantly larger than normal.706

We are not exactly certain how she managed it but after hearing the cry, mommy returned to find her standing beside the crib, a bit distraught. Did she scale the crib walls? Did she use her head as a counterweight? There were no bumps or bruises. That was Wednesday. Figuring that she almost certainly has climbing in her blood, the only sensible thing to do was move her mattress to the floor. Today we picked up her new toddler bed which she thinks is quite dandy.

Kayla is 18 months!

Adorable. Cute. Sassy. Fun.

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I’m sure she does not see the irony of her, with a head that measures off the charts (greater than 100th percentile), wearing my cap that says, “fatbrain.com.”

Kayla Update

Sorry folks, but we just have too much fun playing with Kayla to spend time writing about it. She is too much fun!

At just over 16 months, her personality is really starting to develop. She displays a surprising number of emotions and jabbers incessantly, unless someone else is around, or we are videoconferencing with grandpa and grandma, in which case we can’t get a peep out her. She has 5 pair of shoes now, well on her way to becoming an American woman. Except that she really has a thing for daddy’s tools, and is quite curious to see how things work. When she has decided it’s time for our daily walk, she brings her socks and shoes to us. Once shod, she stands by the door and makes pitiful little sounds until one of us complies.

She has learned most of her face parts by name and is just starting to learn the names of colors. At the top of her reading list is 101 Dalmatians, Goodnight Moon, and her touch and feel bedtime book. Her two favorite objects are the moon and birds. Both are quite thrilling to see in real life and in pictures. Two evenings ago we were walking around our cul-de-sac and had to pause to see the moon. And we paused, and paused, and paused, and paused….

She very much enjoys baths but disdains a wet face. That makes rinsing her hair challenging. Mommy tries the delicate approach. Daddy just dumps handfuls of water over her head. Neither way prevents her from recoiling but one method only lasts for 5 seconds, which is not quite long enough to work up to a cry. Despite the aversions to a wet face, the wading pool Grandpa & Grandma Ruby sent home with us continues to be a big hit. We would toss that pool onto our back porch on 100° days (Aug-Sep). The very instant she could see it, anxious cries of excitement ring out.

We are also learning a lot from her. For instance, we did not know the primary reason why bathrooms have doors. Jen and I have lived in a fairly “open” environment. We never bother closing any doors except the ones that keep the hot Texas air out (or the Michigan mosquitoes). This has changed. It might have had something to do with the toilet paper Kayla loves to unroll, but I doubt it. It was the sinister news I received one night while I was in Atlanta.

While talking on the phone with Jen, she told me that she had forgotten to close the guest bathroom door. With the two of us in the house, one of us always catches that detail. It slipped by unnoticed until Jen heard the sound of the toilet lid closing. Not content to simply play in the conveniently placed pool and drench herself from head to toe, Kayla decided that her stuffed animals would like to play in the mini-pool as well. That door remains closed now at all times.

We have also given Kayla a new nickname, “harm.” We spend a part of each day making sure anything that she could hurt, or might hurt her, is out of “harm’s” way. She is at the point where she knows no limits, but she is very smart. It only takes whacking her head once to dissuade her from doing “that” again.

She has taught us to be fastidious housekeepers. Anything within 12 inches of the edge of a desk is subject to relocation under the Kayla World Organization Plan. We haven’t entirely deduced the logic behind the KWOP but the results are quite predictable. One, or often two, adults walking around the house, checking the trash cans, toy bins, and anywhere else about knee-height for something that was too close to the edge of a desk or counter. Being quite wise, mommy has taken to planting decoys to help distract her.

Bedtime has become somewhat ritualistic. Late in the evening she starts getting tired and silly. Then we play and be silly until she crashes. Tonight I recorded a couple minutes of us being silly.

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If you’ve got the bandwidth, click here to see the Kayla-Go-Round movie.

Development milestones

It is fairly well established that a direct correlation between brain size and intelligence exists. It is commonly held as fact that brain size is directly proportional to skull size. This is apparently why skull measurements are one of three that Kayla gets at each of her checkups (weight, height, and skull size).

Weight: Over the course of her life, Kayla started out on the small side at 6 lbs, putting her in the 10th percentile. Since then she made it over the 50th percentile once, but has since slipped back down to the 25th. In simple terms, she does not weigh much (22lbs). This is not the least bit concerning when we consider that for his entire childhood, her daddy was a wee little runt.

Height: She started in the 25th percentile for height. At four months she was in the 50th percentile and by the eight month, in the 75th. She is holding steady, just above the 75th percentile, a trait that is likely attributable Jen’s side of the family. Height is a rare gene in my family.

Head Circumference: This is where things get interesting. As her mother will attest, the cute little thing had one mighty big head upon arrival. That, in and of itself, is not unusual. Since then, her head size has steadily been outpacing her peers. At four months she was in the 80th percentile and at 6 months she was in the 90s. At nine months her doc read her chart and said, “Well, she’s definitely college material.” This last week he read her charts again and this time he upgraded her, “She is scholarship material!”

After looking carefully at the chart, I saw the basis for his comment. Her head size is literally off the chart, and not just a little bit either. The NCHS charts cover from the 3rd to 97th percentiles and she is far enough past 97 that if there were a 100% line, she’d be dancing on top of it. That means that her head is as big as you are going to find on any child her age.

This has very practical implications on a day to day basis. For example, just try getting a t-shirt for an 18-month over her 15 month old head. It takes a good bit of stretching. When we go up a size, we can get the shirt on but it is far too big for her little body. There will be other concerns that we are already starting to see. She is surprisingly smart. Unfortunately, Amazon does not have a How to Raise a Child That Is Smarter Than You Are book. We can already see that it will become quite the challenge to stay a step ahead of this pint sized dynamo.

What’s for dinner?

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One is a fish that has a reputation for eating people, the other is a people that has a reputation for eating fish. Guess what we are having for dinner? (hint, not the shark)

Mother’s Day

Today we celebrate the most wonderful of humans. Mothers often make great sacrifices in personal comfort and many other personal ambitions for the sake of doing their very best to provide for another human. There are few mothers I have met that would not give everything they had and often more for the precious little charges in their custody.

I am thankful for my lovely wife and the love and affection she has for our children. After all the hours spent reading books and articles on caring for babies, the many hours spent hugging the porcelain throne, midnight and early morning awakenings to feed her, and all them diapers; after all that, she still loves the little thing. It is amazing, and it just makes her that much more lovable.

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To all you mothers, I salute you. To Jennifer: I salute and adore you. You were wonderful when I met you, and you are even more so now.