A Dad Alone

I've missed um, months of dadblogs. That's my bad. It's not like baby G has been sitting still (oh no, much to the contrary, as we'll get into), but I just didn't quite have enough to write about for a while, and I've been busy doing other stuff on my usual bus rides--writing code, mostly. I actually started writing this a whole month ago but didn't finish it promptly. Now half of this blog is obsolete, because he's constantly changing, so I had to insert some updates! Punishment for procrastination.

My wife went out of town, traveling for the weekend, so that's where the blog title comes from. She left on a Thursday night, so it was basically an extended weekend all alone with the baby. It's a weird feeling.

Just numerically, he typically spends more time with mommy, so having that block of three days was kind of neat for me. Complete daddy time. He got to see a lot of me, and in a selfish way, I didn't have to "share" him with anyone.

At the same time, it made me reflect on what it would be like if it were just me all the time. I love him and love taking care of him, but if I had to do this 24/7 forever? That's kind of a chilling prospect. Thinking about all the life changes I'd have to make if I were a single parent is really depressing. I don't like thinking about that.

Even during that short weekend, what if something happened to him, and I didn't know what to do? Sure, I could call relatives to help, but without my wife nearby, who keeps me from freaking out too much about everything, I felt a bit like I was on a tightrope without a net. Anyway, he was great and we had a lot of fun, but I was definitely ready for her to get home so we could go back to taking care of him together.

One of my favorite parts of this weekend was, unexpectedly, he was way more willing to eat real food than he usually is with me on other weekends. He chowed down on green beans, chunks of watermelon, baby beef and tomato ravioli (sounds good, tastes pretty bad for adults), whole strawberries (I watched him very closely for choking), and several different types of baby food.

Slowly but surely, it seems, he's taking more interest in real food. We more or less abandoned giving him a spoon to eat oatmeal with. At this stage he's far more into finger foods, so we give him a lot of those. Oh, the other day we gave him shrimp. He loved it, and we could cross that one off the allergy list.


One of the big life changes going on now, of course, is teething. Poor little dude is afflicted with teeth in the mouth. He's got two center ones poking out from the bottom all the way. On top, he's got the middle four coming in at the same time, and I think they bug him sometimes.

We give him plenty of good chewable stuff, and at feeding time he especially likes the cold watermelon chunks and frozen strawberries, which he gnaws on for a while.

At naptimes to help him sleep, sometimes I'll give him these little baby teething tablets that are supposed to ease the irritation, and a little oil that smells like cloves (but I call it snake oil, for some reason). He loves getting these. The tablets are kind of interesting--he sees me with one between my fingers and opens his mouth in anticipation. That kind of visual recognition caught me by surprise at first.

Speaking of visual recognition, the other day he picked up a little baby photo album (i.e. indestructable photo album) into which we'd put photos of ourselves and the dogs and cat. He managed to open the page with the dogs and was immeditately entranced, just looking at it for several minutes straight. As far as I can tell, he was actually recognizing them in a photo. His developmental chart says he wants us to start naming objects and other things now. This was unbelievably cool to see.


Mobility, it's starting to be a real problem, in that he is gaining more and more of it by the day. For a while now he's started pushing himself on to hands and knees. He'd sit like that and rock back and forth, some kind of precursor to crawling. The other day I saw him put one knee forward, basically a first crawling step, but he hasn't figured out what to do next.

Well, he recently has started sticking one leg way out to the side, as if he's going to bring it around to the front. It looks ridiculous, and I don't think he's going to succeed there. Along these lines, though, we've seen him push himself from his belly up to a proper sitting position. I have a feeling he hasn't quite internalized that he can do this reliably yet.

UPDATE: he can now change position from lying to sitting to rolling over at will and very competently.

His rotation is pretty competent. I have a video of him on his belly just turning 360 degrees on the floor. Oh boy. And now he's figured out how to scoot backwards, so if I leave him anywhere and step away for a moment, he's liable to teleport by the time I come back. Oh man, are we ready for this?

UPDATE: eventually he put together all the pieces and started crawling forwards with a fierceness. Now he has as much mobility as crawling affords him. He sees something he likes and dashes for it. Especially stuff on the floor that he's not supposed to get, of course. Somehow he has this sense for things that are off limits, like power cables, the dogs' food and water, and all kinds of other things, the little imp.

It's funny when our little dog, Laika is on the floor and he wants to go over to see her. He basically charges at her, and she deftly sidesteps and sits somewhere else. He tracks her and keeps charging her over and over, and she calmly keeps moving aside. He is completely unfazed, with a baby's infinite patience for repetition. It's pretty funny to watch. Our other, bigger, older dog, Poppy, just doesn't care. He goes right over to her and grabs her fur and her ears and especially her collar (he loves shiny things). We stay near and tell him "gently, gently", so he doesn't hit her or pull too hard.

Pretty much his favorite free-time activity is when I just put him on the floor and let him go wherever he wants. He'll crawl all over the place and investigate everything, just happy as a clam.

Continuing his trend of trying to grow up too fast, he's now also started trying to stand. He can stand with assistance now, like if I give him a little support around the hips, or he can hold on to a chair or something. He's still wobbly, but he can do it. I like seeing how much he loves doing this. Now after he's done eating, I let him stand on my lap for a minute, and he immediately starts smiling and looks really enthusiastic and makes little happy sounds. It's like he recognizes this is the next thing for him to do to be a big boy, and he's eager to get there.


At this point baby G has pretty well dominated his arms. They don't flail about anymore, and he can control them pretty well. Coincident with this, his latest schedule has him eating solid food with 4 out of 5 of his daily meals.

His formula intake is gradually dwindling. Whereas before, I would make 64 ounces for 2 days of feeding, I'm now starting to find I have to dump some of that, because he's just not as interested in it. He used to drink at least 4 ounces at basically every meal; now sometimes he won't even drink half an ounce, but will go on to devour a ton of food.

I try to practice with him and the spoon. I hold it in front of him and let him guide the spoon into his mouth, but then I pull it out, so he doesn't hang onto it and start playing. I want him to get used to holding and directing the spoon, but I also don't want a giant mess on my hands at every feeding (especially because we feed him solid food so often!).

When he grabs finger food with his hands, he's still using a whole-hand grip. With the piece of food in his fist, he uses his thumb to slide the food into his mouth. It's a weird manuever, not one that adults really use. It's got to be a temporary holdover (pun intended) until he masters the thumb-and-forefinger pincer grip--the next step in hand control development.

He's started trying to pincer stuff sometimes, but he's still bad at it.

One of my favorite things with him is sharing food. I feed him his breakfast every morning, and it's usually something and a banana. In these summer months it's been bright with sunlight in the morning. He sits in his high chair and I sit with him and break off pieces of banana and hand them to him, also taking turns and eating pieces, myself.

The other day we went up to a restaurant where a friend of mine is a cook. The baby sat at the table with us in a high chair and just ate pieces of our food we handed him through the whole meal. Just having him sit at a table, eating the same things we're eating, makes him feel even more a part of the family.

The next blog I write about him will either be during or after our multi-week trip to Australia, which I'm sure will be an adventure.


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