Monday, July 30, 2007

Grover: 1 Eli: 0

Every Saturday and Sunday, I take the boy and the dog out for a long early morning walk to give Diana at least one hour of uninterrupted sleep. I load the baby into his car seat, put him into the car seat stroller, throw the leash on Grover and slowly walk to Starbucks and back.

Don’t give me guff about corporate coffee houses, they have a dish of water for Grover. As soon as “People’s Republic of Coffee” gets a Grover dish, I’ll start wearing hemp pants.

Anyhoo, I was walking home with boy, dog and piping hot cup of coffee and all was right with the world. Enter: Hipster Family. This nice, cool looking couple wheeled their cute stroller towards me for another one of my unofficial “Baby Cute Offs.” This is where I challenge another couple (in my mind) to see whose kid is cuter. Eli always wins.

Well, the nice couple started cooing at Eli and the mom turns her attention to Grover. “Is he a poodle?” I was just entering my standard Golden Doodle explanation when Grover goes bonkers. He starts leaping at the mom, trying to lick her to death. The mom reacts the way any normal person would when a big black dog tries to lick your eyeballs: She freaks out. Grover then tears off in the direction of Mecca.

I noticed I was still holding onto his leash as it snagged the stroller. Stroller down. Stroller down. I swore loud enough to rattle windows. Luckily, Eli was strapped in tight and his car seat is designed to survive a piano being dropped on it. So the boy was fine. Scared and pissed. But fine.

The couple did their best to calm the situation. The dad kept repeating, “He’s fine! He’s fine!” The mom quickly told a story about the time she fell down the stairs with her kid in a car seat.

I scooped up the dog/boy/spilled coffee and beat a fast retreat towards the home of the Worst Dad In the World.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

First Roll

Mark your “Elijah Milestones” Calendar. He officially rolled over today. What? You don’t have an official “Elijah Milestones” Calendar? What kind of fan of this Blog are you? They sell them at all the Elijah Hamann outlets.

I think Eli was excited about rolling over today because he didn’t sleep a wink last night. Diana was in zombie mode rocking him from 3-7am. Before you call to tell me what a bad husband I am, I’m taking the night shift tonight. Although I suspect his lack of sleep last night will result in a big sleep tonight. I’m not happy about it. Just a fact.

Back to the roll. I got up with the boy this morning and put him on his stomach on his jungle mat. I stumbled into the kitchen to find some coffee (we didn’t have any). When I came back, he was on his back. I looked at Grover and said, “Did he just roll over?” Grover just shrugged (in my mind). I rolled Eli back onto his stomach and sure enough, he rocked onto his back. I hooted and put him back on his stomach. At which point he started angrily shrieking. His limit for on demand rolling is apparently two.

Rolling leads to crawling, which leads to walking, which leads to running, which leads to driving.

I met an old woman on the street today who pointed at Eli and said, “Be careful. Time goes fast.”

p.s. Today’s photo was taken just after Diana dipped Eli’s head in olive oil. Some people say it helps with the cradle cap. I think it just makes him look like Squiggy from “Lavern and Shirley.”

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Word From the Dog

Honestly, things have been a bit slow on the baby front. Elijah is doin’ good. No real big news. So I’m going to let the dog have today’s post. Take it away Grover!

'Hi everybody. It’s me, your lovable pal Grover. Life with the human puppy has been pretty ok. I’m not really sure the human puppy’s name. I think it’s ‘Get A Bottle.’ That’s what the Man and the Lady call it when it makes a racket. Get A Bottle doesn’t do much. He can’t throw tennis balls. He isn’t tall enough to reach the treats. And the Man and Lady get all jumpy when I give Get A Bottle a nice paw to the face. It’s not like I’m going to give him a bite on the butt, we’re not that good of friends yet.

Don’t get me wrong, Get A Bottle has his positive points. His hands and face taste like milk all the time. And once a day he smells like poop, which you know I love. If I lay down next to Get A Bottle, the Lady gets all weepy, pets me on the special spot behind my ear and says, "I love our family" over and over.

And when Get A Bottle goes to sleep, the Man pays a lot of attention to me. I think he feels guilty, the sap. Like I’m going to get a complex about Get A Bottle. I’m a dog. As long as I have a tennis ball handy I’m great. But I’m not going to turn down a few extra Greenie Brand treats.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to give The Lady my sad eyes and see if she’ll give me an extra scoop of food.

Grover out!'

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Eli is a real person

It’s official. Elijah Steven Hamann is a real person, recognized by the government. He got his Social Security Card. Which means he’s eligible for…stuff that you get with a social security number…

Well, since the government can take their chunk, he can officially get a paycheck. So I have to find him a job. What’s he good at? Sleeping. He can be a co-sleeper tester. I hear they pay good. He’s good at crying. So he can be a patience tester. I’m not sure the pay for that. He’s very good at being cute, but we must use his cuteness for good, not for money.

Yet another milestone, poked fun of by his father.

p.s. I covered up his number on the photo because I don’t want any of your computer hackers to steal his identity and slash his credit rating. He can accomplish that on his own by getting easy space credit cards in space college.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mommy 2: Mommy's Revenge

The second crappiest thing about not being independently wealthy is the fact that both Diana and I have to work to keep us in the lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed. Somebody has to pay for all of my x-box games and cycling trinkets.

The first crappiest thing? The fact that I can’t afford a hot air balloon that says, “Rick is awesome.”

Well, Diana has to work now which means we had to find childcare. Ain’t nobody gonna replace Diana. And my cloning machine (Diana hair + salsa + microwave) didn’t work.

Enter Pam. Pam is my twin brother Steve’s wife. She agreed to come by and take over Eli duty 3 days a week. She’s very nice and is very good with Eli. In other words, she has lots of patience. The first night she watched Eli? He screamed bloody murder for 2 hours straight. What did Pam say? “Oh, he was fine.” I would’ve been curled up in a ball under his crib.

She also gets pizza and beer for me and Steve every Friday night.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'm hilarious

I spent a ton of quality time with the boy today in the attempt to give Diana some time to actually sleep. Part of the reason Diana was able to sleep was because Elijah was in a fantastic mood. The books all say the fussiness drops off severely in the third month and if today is any indication, gimmie all the 3rd month you can.

Anyhoo, I was doing my stand up routine with Eli, which consisted of trying out different words in the attempt to make him laugh. The two funniest words in the English language according to Eli? “Boo.” Followed by “Goo.”

The following is the funniest joke I’ve ever told:

"A Boo walks into a bar, with a Goo on one shoulder and a Boo on the other. The bartender says, 'Goo. Booooo. Gooo.' The Boo says, 'Goo. Boo boo goo goo boo.'”

That slayed him.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love

Elijah’s latest trick is sitting up, semi unaided. Which means his cuteness factor increased by ten in just one day. It also means that Diana can take hundreds of photos without having to use one hand to prop Eli up. Hence yesterday’s and today’s pics.

Today’s is beyond hilarious. It’s as if Elijah is channeling Elvis circa 1968. Just look at him. Yellow jumpsuit open to his waist. Devil may care grin. Odd floral pattern in the background. The only things he’s missing is a plate full of peanut butter banana sandwiches and a bowl full of Amphetamines. I’m extra glad he doesn’t have a bowl full of Amphetamines.

On a personal note, Diana officially hit the wall of tiredness. She went back to work this week and Eli coincidentally decided that he doesn’t particularly enjoy sleep anymore. I’ve tried to take over a couple night feedings, but Diana is still taking the brunt of the abuse. At last count she had 35 seconds of sleep this week. The poor little lamb has vaulted over tired and into some kind of half sleep/half wakefulness that Lindbergh felt on his first transatlantic flight. Who likes non-fiction books? Me!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Delicious baby

Mmmm. That's good baby.

p.s. What? You want a novel for every post?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Side baby

Having a baby is a series of very small and very large discoveries. Like say, exposing your child’s genitals to cold air makes him pee (still haven’t hit me, boy). Or a child who doesn’t sleep becomes an evil evil creature who spits venom and tries to eat your liver.

The other morning, Diana and I went on a family walk to Starbucks. On the way, we met up with this super nice mom named Jenny. Diana and Jenny, along with our friend Kitty, frequently engage in “porch sittin.” This involves buying trashy celebrity gossip magazines, drinking wine and, uh, dishing. I usually try to be in another state. Or at least downstairs playing X-Box.

Anyhoo, Jenny has a 4 month old, which in our mind makes her an expert on baby raising. Upon meeting Jenny, she joined us on our family walk and the subject of napping came up. While not a complete failure, I would judge Eli’s napping as “needs improvement.”

She said her son Charlie likes to sleep on his side for naps because he hates sleeping on his back. It was as if the heavens opened up and a choir of angels started singing. Could it be? That our son hates sleeping on his back and that’s what makes him so nuts?

Diana and I ran home (after I got a huge coffee) and put Elijah down for a nap, on his side. I am not lying here people when I say he fell instantly asleep. Miracle!

After Eli falls asleep we usually roll him on his back because, unlike Charlie, his neck isn’t strong enough to prevent him from getting a mouth full of co-sleeper if he falls on his face. And the new side sleeping isn’t 100% effective. He did have a couple awesome meltdowns today. But overall, I’d say we owe Jenny a new car.

Friday, July 13, 2007

First Guffaw

Part of my purpose in writing this blog is so Elijah will have access to hard data about his “firsts.” I clearly remember asking my mom, “When did I first laugh? When did I say my first word? When did I do my first successful back flip?” I think we’re still waiting on that last one. But since I was usually asking a decade or two after the event, my mom would be forced to either tell the truth (“I have no idea, it was the 1970’s”) or lie (“June 23rd. Now go drink your powdered milk”).

But now, because of the world wide interweb, Eli can see exactly when he first did things and all the dumb stuff his dad had to say about it.

Anyhoo, Elijah officially had his first guffaw! For those keeping track, it was Thursday, July 12th. His technical first laugh was at his Grandpa, who was playing the “Boo” game with him. But his first uncontrollable guffaw was at his mom, who I assume was doing her impeccable Carol Channing impersonation.

Unfortunately, I was at work so I missed it. But I am planning on being responsible for guffaws number 2 through 3,000,000.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Magic Finger

In trying to get Elijah to sleep, we usually throw him in the co-sleeper when he’s drowsy. At which point he gets really mad at being thrown in the co-sleeper. You can see it in his face, one minute he’s having fun baby time with lots of big people making hilarious faces and the next minute he’s in baby jail. “Noooooo baby jail!”

Rather than shut the door and sneak off to drink wine, Diana or I will sit with him and soothe him until he calms down enough to fall asleep. This can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour, depending on how mad he is.

The books suggest rubbing his head to soothe him. But as you know, he has Cradle Cap, which grosses me out to no end. So instead of rubbing his head and getting skeeved out, I take my finger and rub along his hairline. And wouldn’t you know, it works. He actually likes the finger rub, to the point where I can get him calmed down from a raging fit to sleep in a couple of minutes.

I always imagine I’ve flipped over an angry crocodile and the finger rub is the equivalent of rubbing the croc’s stomach, Popeye style.

I’ve also convinced myself that the finger rub will calm him down for the rest of his life. When he’s 16 and argues with me about borrowing the space car, I’ll rub his forehead with my finger and say, “There there, boy.” And some subconscious trigger will cause him to call immediately asleep.

But more likely he’ll just punch me.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

My teeth itch

Anyone who’s spent time with me at a bar knows I have a hair trigger gag reflex. Even the thought of something gross makes me nauseated. In fact, typing the thought of something gross has me nauseated.

Diana used to torture me by reading passages from “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” The juicy bits would make my teeth itch.

Yesterday I discovered Elijah has a disgusting scalp thing going on. Diana, who is far less clueless than I am and has known about this condition for weeks, says it’s called Cradle Cap. It’s a flakey scalp grossness that makes Eli’s head look like the cracked earth in Death Valley.

It gives me the heebee, jeebees in the worst way. I am not lying to you when I say I am currently scratching my own scalp with such ferocity that I will soon draw blood. I carried Eli in his baby Bjorn this morning, which put his Death Valley head right under my nose. I was jerking around trying to shake out the heebee jeebees to the point where I was sure our neighbors called DCFS. I briefly considered wrapping his head in cellophane to provide a protective barrier between the head grossness and me, but then Diana would be forced to call DCFS.

Diana assures me the Cradle Cap will go away as long as we wash his hair with my Head and Shoulders shampoo. She declared my sissiness untreatable.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Ha ha?

Over the last three months, I’ve tried to keep the blog on the funny side. Let’s face it, if every time you logged on the content was “Today, mother and I took the boy to the park. Good times were had by most…” you’d fall asleep and smash your face on your keyboard. And as someone who spilled an entire coffee on his office keyboard, they don’t come cheap. So I at least attempt to yuck it up.

But there are some things that happen with the boy that defy mockery.

Last night, Elijah and I actually communicated. I was changing him and he began to make little chirping noises at me. So, I chirped back. He smiled a huge smile and chirped again. We repeated this for a good ten minutes. Until Diana raced over with the video camera. Eli became distracted by his true love, his mommy, and he forgot all about Senor Second Banana.

I was blown away by my baby breakthrough.

On my way in to work, I tried to think of ways to make light of it. Helen Keller jokes, re-creating the finger touching scene in “E.T.” Referencing the movie “Enemy Mine,” with Louis Gossett Jr. (anyone who can name his co-star gets five nerd points). But there are some things that you can’t make fun of. Sorry. Keyboards are on sale at Best Buy.

p.s. I wrote this at work, so I’m using another one of Eli’s photos in his Ed Norton hat.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

This 4th of July, Elijah went as a firecracker

When babies encounter their first holiday, they must get confused. For Elijah’s first 4th of July, he mistakenly thought he had to dress up like a firecracker.

Let me back up. We’ve been trying to get the little man to sleep during the day. According to the books, when babies get too tired, they forget how to sleep and turn into the undead and try to eat your brain. By our calculations, he is already 500 hours short on sleep.

And wouldn’t you know, the 4th of July started with Eli skipping his morning nap. We thought he would catch up in the car ride out to Diana’s parents’ place in the western suburbs (insert laugh track). My calculations didn’t include his utter hatred of car rides.

So when we arrived, he was already irritated with us, with Grover, with the hot dogs, etc. Luckily, Diana’s dad has a trick to calm angry babies. He lays them on his stomach and pats their butts and whispers to them. I think he tells them the secret to making his patented bricks that decorate our sidewalk.

Anyhoo, that worked for an hour or so, at which point Eli decided enough was enough and went ballistic. The forecast was hyperventilation, with periods of screaming and contorting. His tiny, red-rimmed crazy eyes made him look like a meth addict. Diana and I took shifts rocking him while the other quickly crammed hot dogs and hamburgers.

He managed to calm down enough to go back to the grandpa butt pat. But I generally felt terrible for him. He hasn’t figured out how great sleep is. If Diana and I had our way, we’d never leave our bed we love sleep so much. We were going to start a company called Bed Inc. But we couldn’t figure out how to make money by sleeping.

The good news from home is Elijah actually slept today for a couple naps and is feeling much less insane.

p.s. If you look closely at today's picture, you can see my 15 chins.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Dadness and 2 broken legs

Aside from a constant clueless expression, “Dadness” is creeping into my life without me even noticing. I find myself hollering at the kids in the neighborhood for “Driving like a bunch of lunatics! This is a residential street!” I’ve also rejected any and all fashion sense. I looked down at my black socks and sandals over the weekend and thought, “Lookin’ good, Hamann.”

But over the last 3 months, I’ve had this overwhelming desire to fix things at the house. Which is strange, because it has absolutely nothing to do with raising Elijah. It must be some kind of dad gene that I inherited from Neanderthals who wanted to keep their caves in working order.

Saturday I was determined to clean out our gutters. As if clogged gutters would somehow damage my son, who was sleeping in his crib. I went to The Home Depot and rented a 24 foot ladder from a clerk who assumed I knew what I was doing from my sweat pants/super hero t-shirt combo.

It was only after climbing to the top of said ladder that I realized I was desperately afraid of ladders. I alternately cursed and prayed to the Higher Power while shaking like a leaf, two stories above the hard, hard Earth. Diana would come out of the house every once and a while to check on me and I’d weakly whisper, “Doin’ fine.”

Thankfully, the Illinois storms had cleaned most of the gutters for me and I was able to go back to yelling at neighborhood kids by the afternoon.

Today’s photo is of Gus McNulty, son of our friends Dan and Jen. He was born 4 days before our boy and looks like he could lift Elijah over his head with no problem. I’m afraid Eli inherited his father’s sinewy frame. Maybe he’ll follow my footsteps into marching band.

5 star cuteness rating

Diana spent a week trying to convince me to buy a new car. I’m not sure if you know this about me, but large purchases give me hives. It’s not that I’m cheap, I’m just convinced that my bosses will discover I’m a fraud and run me out of my lucrative advertising career and I’ll actually have to work for a living.

So Diana approached me, with a chair and whip, and suggested the idea of buying a new car. I started to get an eye tick. Our green Subaru was perfectly fine, although at the grocery store I can never tell which green Subaru was ours in the sea of Evanston’s green Subarus. But it’s starting to fall apart and get weird and expensive clanks in the engine. Still, I rolled up into a ball and started moaning.

But Diana had an ace up her sleeve. “Well, the new Subarus are much safer. You know, for the baby…” I looked over at Elijah, who was looking especially cute. His eyes seemed to say, “Da da, me need side impact air bags. By the way, I wuv you.” I think they planned it.

Next thing I know, I’m sitting in the Subaru dealer, fighting the urge to turn over the salesman’s desk. In the end, Diana negotiated a kick ass deal for our car, so my hives were controlled.

We got a great new red Subaru that can withstand a howitzer shell.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My son the snake

The little man is really starting to take notice of his surroundings. He particularly likes the view from his Baby Bjorn. That’s right, I carry him in a painfully dorky Baby Bjorn. I lost the ability to be cool roughly 11 weeks ago.

Back to the baby. He loves to peek out over the, ahem, Bjorn and watch the trees. Maybe he’ll be a tree doctor when he grows up. Or in 2029, he can be in charge of reminding us what trees used to look like.

However, Elijah is developing an interest in exploring the world with his…tongue. Granted, the only real stimulus in his first two months has been through the end of a nipple. But it’s a little disconcerting to see him lead with the tongue. Not to mention grosser than gross.

“What’s mommy’s shoulder taste like? Don’t mind if I do. This Baby Bjorn? Delicious. Grover the Dog? Mmmm. That’s good Grover.”

p.s. I'm pretty sure my arm is covering his naughty bits in the picture. I prefer to keep the FBI off this Blog.