Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Talk To Me

The baby experts say one of the big keys to getting your little person to learn how to talk is to talk to him a lot (duh). They recommend narrating your life when the baby is around so he can pick up on the basics.

This is actually a lot harder than it sounds. Especially when you’re a strong, silent type like me. I get a little embarrassed chattering away all the time. Mostly because when I speak to Eli, every other word gets an “ie” attached.

“Time to change your diapie. Let’s put some socks on your feeties. Daddy’s going to get on the computie and blogie.”

For some reason, this morning Elijah refused to sleep past 5am and none of our tricks (Ether) worked to get him back to sleep. Diana was exhausted, so I took Eli with me for my morning Grover exercise (Grover gets the exercise, not me).

I was especially tired this morning, so my creativity was at an all time low. Here’s a transcript of what Eli heard from his talking teacher:

“Grover…gets…ball. Grover…drops…ball. Grover…ball. Ball…ball…ball….bbb.”

p.s. Diana is having ear surgery tomorrow. So put all your good vibes towards a speedy recovery. While you’re at it, put all your good vibes towards us winning the lottery.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Son The Donkey

Elijah has been putting in huge multi hour sleepies at night (yeah, when you’re 4 months old they’re called “sleepies”). Which means we no longer have to wear those snug straightjackets. The only bummer is Eli usually falls asleep at 6pm, so his up and at ‘em time can be as early as 5am. That’s even early for the milkman.

So Diana is attempting to get the boy down later in the evening with the hope he’ll sleep in. And that means I have a way better chance of catching him at night before he goes to sleep. Man, I’ll knock over old ladies and shove boy scouts down stairs to get a glimpse of my son before he beds down.

Last night I got to see the little guy as his mommy put the finishing touches on bedtime. He lit up when he saw me and started guffawing, which shattered my heart like a piece of peanut brittle. To top it off, his guffaws included a spot on donkey impersonation. And since he’s never seen, nor heard a donkey in his 4 months on Earth, that makes him a genius.

p.s. For those of you keeping track, Elijah’s “Tummy Doctor” declared his stomach acid free today so he’s going to stop the Prevacid. But we’re not going to be feeding him chilidogs any time soon.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Here's a trick. Nod your head vigorously while looking at these photos. It looks like Eli is jumping up and down.

Yep. I got nothing to report.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Awesomely Boring

For the first four months of Eli’s life, Diana and I tip toed around the house on edge like damp cats. The slightest peep from Elijah would send us scrambling around, racing up the stairs, knocking over each other to fill bottles, change diapers, etc. We’d refuse visitors, lock ourselves in the house for fear that any upset in balance would create a crying baby.

It’s not that we were nuts (although lack of sleep made us come close), it’s just that we had no idea what we were doing. Every day was a new chance to screw up.

Well, now we’ve established a beautifully sane routine. We’ve kind of figured Eli out and he’s figured us out. We know what the whining cry means: “Feed me.” We know what the ear pulling means: “Need sleep.” We know what grabbing Grover’s fur means: “I want to grab Grover’s fur.”

So now we have something akin to a life. We make dinner, we visit with in-laws, we watch TV. Sound boring? I’ve never felt happier in my life.

Hmm. Yeah, this post isn’t very funny. I’m still a little brain melted from Atlanta. If you want funny, I suggest re-reading some of the old posts. I especially like the ones where Grover fills in.

Maybe something calamitously hilarious will happen today and tomorrow’s post will be funny. But I doubt it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Home Team

So all the 12-hour days, seven days a week, over the last month climaxed with a humungous presentation in Atlanta yesterday. I can’t tell you the name of the client for legal reasons, but it rhymes with “Porsche.” It was fun, but I’m pretty sure the stress took ten years off my life.

Now, when I was a younger man, leaving town for a couple days was fantastic. Nice hotels, expense accounts, hotel bars, rented cars, movie stars (not really movie stars. I put that in because it rhymes. I’m in a rhyming mood). But now that I have Diana and Eli, my main goal when I leave the house is to get home as soon as humanly possible.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. As I took my first sip of a well-deserved Atlanta airport beer, waiting for my flight home, Diana called. She informed me that she, the boy, and the dog were huddled in the basement seeking shelter, as instructed by the National Weather Service. Well, I said, at least she could watch TV on my awesome basement boy-room TV. No. The storm knocked out the power. My baby, my beautiful wife, and my best dog friend were sitting in the pitch black during a horrific storm, wondering if and when the basement would flood.

Just then I noticed all flights to Chicago ceased to exist.

My beer suddenly tasted very sour.

Long story short, the home team made it through the storm with nothing more than a little scared dog barf and a soiled diaper. And I made it to bed at 4:15 a.m. I’d never been happier to hear three snores in my life.

p.s. Com Ed got our power back on pretty fast today. I thought Diana was going to kiss the guy in the Com Ed truck. But they aren’t allowed to accept gifts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Eli The Actor

Between work this weekend I managed to spend some time with Elijah in intense, two hour bursts. I’d rush home from making magic and try to entertain him as best I could before he needed to go to bed.

Friday, I started a new game where I’d grab him, hold him on his back and dip his head towards the ground while saying “Boo” in a hilarious voice. Elijah would laugh as if he was a fifteen-year-old watching “Caddy Shack” for the first time. Mental note: set DVD player to play “Caddy Shack” in 2022.

Cut to Saturday. I came home from work and grabbed Elijah for the Boo-Swinging game. He still laughed hysterically, but towards the end I detected a touch of forcedness in his laugh.

On Sunday, I tried the Boo-Swinging game . Eli’s laugh was so fake it seemed like he was trying out for the Shakespeare touring company. “Ha ha, father. Ha ha.”

I gotta keep my material fresh.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Welcome To The Monkey House

I know I mentioned this in the last post, but Elijah Steven Hamann is a completely different baby.

All of his acidy stomach, “I’d like to go back into the womb, please” fussiness has been replaced by this amazing little hilarious guy. I got home last night at 11pm (I was working, pray for me) and I found Diana changing Eli in his room, pre bottle.

I snuck over and peered over Diana’s shoulder. Eli saw me and instantly started his latest game of “How many different kinds of smiles are there?”

There’s the smirk.
There’s the sh*t eating grin
There’s the surprised, mouth wide-open smile
There’s the fake out frown that turns into a smile

The list goes on. Unfortunately, the game made him wide awake and Diana couldn’t get him calmed down to go back to sleep. Diana was cool about me ruining her night because if feels like I haven’t seen either one of them in three weeks. Wait. That’s because I haven’t seen them in three weeks. If we win this pitch I’m buying both of them a pony.

This morning I was watching my pre work news when I heard horrible shrieking coming from upstairs. I bounded up to see if Diana was holding Elijah up by his ears, which was the only plausible explanation for the shrieking.

I found Diana on our bed, laughing. Eli was on his back and he was…just shrieking. He’d shriek, Diana would laugh, he’d laugh and shriek again.

I can’t wait to get back to the monkey house.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Old Lead Belly

The toy conglomerate Mattel said they’re recalling a billion toys made in China for lead paint. Now, a year ago a story like this would give me as much pause as say a story about a sneezing panda. But now, as a dad, all kinds of alarm bells went off.

I now crawl around our house inspecting every rattle, Whoosit and rubber frog for the telltale “Made in China.”

My latest advertising adventure has me hanging on by a thread. The hours have been brutal. So last night, Diana took pity on me and sent me to sleep on the non-baby-waking-up couch. I was the only husband in America who was excited about being banned to the couch.

Around 3am, I bolted up in bed (couch) and yelled, “We gave Finn recalled Thomas The Train Toys for Christmas!” Regardless of whether the trains were actually tainted, I was convinced the next time I saw my nephew he’d be wearing dark glasses and selling pencils out of a tin can.

I contacted my brother first thing today and told him to round up all the Thomas The Train toys he could find and burn them. In typical Steve style, he responded, “Finn’s got a couple in his mouth right now. They make him see beauuuutiful colors.”

Lack of sleep is making me paranoid.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

First Non-Milk

Sometimes the “firsts” get away from you.

Yesterday both Diana and I had to work (it was a Saturday, pity us). So there was a fair amount of running around, passing the boy off to each other and to Pam, the greatest last minute babysitter/surrogate mommy ever.

Well, the family unit finally came together at 5pm, when it was time to get Elijah bathed and ready for bed. After his nudie time, Diana whips out a jar of mushed bananas and starts cramming spoonfuls into Elijah’s mouth. Upon seeing my look of surprise, Diana informs me he’s old enough to get some baby food and they’ve been experimenting for a few days.

I started stomping around whining, “But Di…the blog. I need to know about this stuff to keep the blog up to date.” Diana looked at me in the way I assume she’ll look at Elijah when he throws a tantrum in Toys R Us.

Well, the bananas went down ok. Not to quote every father since the invention of fathers, but he got more of it on himself than in his mouth.

I know it doesn’t reflect much in the blog, but Eli is one hap hap happy baby. His crying is done and making him smile is easier than falling off a log. Although falling of a log is an instant gut buster for him.

By the way, it’s Sunday at 4:54pm and I’m still at work. I’m doin’ this for you, Eli and Diana. And yes, Grover. You too.

p.s. Eli didn't sleep through the night last night. The other night was a fluke.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Eli Slept Through The Night*

Baseball Man Barry Bonds beat the all time home run record last week. But sports fans the world over will put a little asterisk (*) by his name because his record is shrouded in controversy. For anyone who is reading this blog in the year 2024 (Elijah), Barry Bonds is well known for being a steroid monster. Thus, tainting his accomplishment with performance enhancing drugs.

What the heck does this have to do with Elijah anyway? This is an Elijah nerd blog, not a baseball nerd blog. There are enough of those.

Eli slept through the night last night. I woke up and stumbled downstairs and Diana was almost weeping with joy and general non-sleepiness. She declaired, "Elijah slept from midnight to seven..." In the midst of my happy dance (my happy dance includes batons, fire breathing and a fruit hat) I realized something: Eli had a fever yesterday and we gave him enough baby Tylenol to drop a mule (that’s called an exaggeration, nervous nellys).

So, while is accomplishment was awesome and couldn’t have come at a better time, given Diana and my ridiculous schedules, me thinks it deserves a Barry Bonds asterisk (*).

Prove me wrong tonight, boy. Prove me wrong.

Friday, August 10, 2007

First Fever

Elijah had another first today: First fever. Poor little guy.

Diana took him for another round of shots yesterday, for which he was a complete trooper, except for the ten minutes of heart shattering screaming. But this morning he woke up with a 102 fever. I guess when babies get shots they sometimes get fevers. Sigh.

I keep thinking about this as a hacky comedian from the 80’s. (Do your best Jerry Seinfeld impersonation as you read this) “What’s the deal with these shots they give the babies these days? Aren’t they supposed to KEEP your kid from getting a fever? Am I right, here people? What are they sticking in there, the Bubonic Plague? Are you with me? Huh, people?”

The good news is Diana has broken his fever already with a combination of Tylenol and Grover spit.

The doctor also said Eli is somehow very tall for his age. He’s like, freakishly tall for a 4 month old. Which is strange because neither Diana nor me are hitting our heads on any doorways. Di’s older brother, Donnie, was a basketball star in high school, however. And both my brothers Luke and Noah were basketball players. So there’s some tall DNA out there.

So keep your fingers crossed. If Eli becomes a basketball star he’s gonna have a super hot prom date.

Although I’m not sure how he’ll have the time, what with his marching band commitments.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

How to sleep

The first couple weeks Eli was on Earth, he slept all the time. Then he got into his “Please put me back in the womb” stage where he didn’t sleep at all (I still have the scars from trying to claw my eyes out). Now, he’s entering a new stage. The “When will he sleep through the night?” stage.

Every night we put him down and pray a little prayer. Will the stars align? Will tonight be the night he sleeps through the night? Will Diana get more than fifteen minutes of sleep? The answer has been “no” for 4 months now.

The truth is, a lot of babies need to be taught how to sleep through the night. They get so used to waking up every couple hours and getting some mommy action that they have no use for sleeping more than 4 hours. I, on the other hand, have a lot of use for sleeping more than 4 hours.

There are a couple schools of thought on how to get babies to sleep more. One is throw them in a room and come back the next morning no matter how hard he cries. This is the “My child will hate me for the rest of my life and become a successful poet” method. Another is to pick him up every time he cries and rock him back to sleep. This is the “My child will manipulate me from now on/let’s go buy him a Porsche” method.

Diana and I are experimenting with something in between. We put the little drool monster down for sleep, tell him we love him and then leave. If he cries, we come back after 3 minutes. We tell him he’s handsome and then take off again. If he cries, we wait 5 minutes, come back and tell him he’s a great dancer. Then we take off again. If he cries, we wait ten minutes. Ten minutes is the most we’ll let him cry.

But yesterday, the trial run day, Diana put him down and he cried for five minutes before sleeping for almost 6 hours straight. We could be onto something.

I’m at work today, so I don’t have any cute Eli pics. But I do have a weird picture of my brother Steve with muttonchops.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Dis. Gus. Ting.

When Elijah was born, we knew it would be a full time job, but we weren’t prepared for the fact that the job is 3 shifts, round the clock. And there aren’t days off. Which means time spent doing non-Elijah stuff (X-Box, drinking, riding your bike over home made ramps) goes right into the diaper genie.

Unfortunately, our housecleaning has suffered over these last 4 months. It happens slowly. One week we skip vacuuming to change diapers. The next, we choose feeding our baby over dusting. Before you know it, opossums are living in our den.

Now, anyone who knew me I college knows I don’t mind a dirty house. One of my landlords decided it would be easier to knock down my house than to try to defeat the funk monster in my bathroom.

Di, on the other hand has OCD (Obsessive Cleaning Disorder. Hahaha. I’m here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress). She hates a dirty house and the inability to clean has driven her cuckoo.

So today was Distract Eli While Diana Cleans Day. It basically meant throwing the boy into the Bjorn and taking Grover for an extended walk. You’ll notice I don’t take Eli in the stroller with Grover anymore. I learned my lesson.

So I was in front of Starbucks and this old woman starts hassling me about Eli being too young to be in a Baby Bjorn. I yelled at her, “DON’T YOU BE TELLING ME HOW TO RAISE MY BABY, YOU HAG!” But in reality I ignored her and bought an iced coffee.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Busy busy busy

Hey gang,

I've been supremely busy this week and unable to update the blog. Hopefully this incredibly cute picture of Elijah will tide you over.