After three-plus years, I’m taking one week off from this daddy column, as my family heads south for a vacation. Therefore, here’s a look back at one of the early columns from 2008 when only Beckett was in the picture. My apologies for the repeat.
I am constantly amazed these days at how our little boy is changing, and it seems like he picks up some new sound, facial expression or activity every day. As of this writing, some of the biggest changes I have noticed have to do with diapers, teeth and clapping. Here are some thoughts on each.
Dirty diapers have no impact on me anymore. That was not always the case. In the early days of fatherhood, there were times when my gag reflex was put to the test, but it’s no big deal any longer. The bigger and the nastier the better, I say. It confirms all is operating the way it’s supposed to inside our little guy, but I digress on these specifics.
The toughest part these days with diaper changes is wrestling my 25-pound bruiser to get his clothes off and then having to exert my will to keep his back flat. There are times when I think his will is strong than mine. When that happens, things can get messy pretty quick, particularly if he is allowed to roll, sit up, kick and all that other nonsense that seems to go along with a diaper change around our house.
Since he’s now mobile, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep him contained. There are things to see, objects to hold, taste and chew, feet to play with and fingers to pull. It seems anything basically beats having to just relax for 30 seconds while the deed is done.
It’s essentially just a wrestling match, and it amazes me how strong and agile he is for a 9-month-old. He can squirm out of just about any kind of hold and always manages to slip a leg or arm out of my grip. Oftentimes, the only tactic I have found that works is placing an open hand on his chest plate and doing the diaper change with one hand.
Even with this literal heavy-handed approach, it can be a challenge because he likes to use his little fingers to pull out arm hair and use my arm to pull himself up. That’s when the true wrestling match begins.
As for those little legs that pack a tremendous kick, they are always in motion and also make the diaper change a trying time. It also makes the getting dressed part of the process tricky.
Basically, we have discovered our little one craves (demands) constant motion. Sitting back and relaxing while his diaper change is not part of his game. He’s fascinated and interested in way too many other things for that. It’s something to laugh about once it’s over, but it’s a blood pressure riser while trying to complete the task.
Six And Counting
The teeth are coming in quick, and the drool is there and everywhere to prove it.
First came the two teeth on the bottom row, followed closely by the top row’s two center buckers. He now has two teeth coming alongside on the top row, giving him a newfound chomping power.
I am not quite sure if he knows what these white things in his mouth are yet, but one thing I know is they make for a hilarious smile. It’s quite the image to see those two teeth on the bottom row joined by the four teeth on the top row that are not completely in place yet and varying in size.
One thing we have learned in recent weeks is these teeth can hurt. In those pre-teeth days, it was fun to let him gnaw a bit on my finger (yes, clean). He would just suck on it and chew on it and play with it in his mouth. However, what was once cute is now painful, and it’s no laughing matter. Those little teeth are like daggers and he has no idea that’s the case because he is constantly trying to pull a finger or two, or anything else for that matter, to his mouth to help with the teething process.
Giving Himself A Hand
The other morning my wife and I woke up at 6 to the sounds of clapping. This was a first. Sure, we have grown accustomed to be awoken by a baby who could be crying, screaming, giggling or babbling, but this was new.
One look at the baby monitor showed Beckett was sitting up straight in his crib and clapping his hands together, a new trick he has learned and now perfected, and moving his head in the same manner Stevie Wonder did the other night with the Jonas Brothers. It was hilarious and quite the sight to start off a day. I figured it would be all down hill from that point on with this particular day.
This clapping thing has become the favorite trick of the week. Sometimes he will do it with two open hands with fingers spread as far apart as possible; other times with a toy in one hand or in both hands (more of just a clanging noise than a clap in this case). There are other instances when he forgets to open each hand, leaving one fist clenched and the other open. Add to this an odd grunting noise and he resembles something akin to a playground bully sending a message without words.
I am looking forward to the next trick because he will soon tire of this activity. His aunt was in town last weekend and she was working on the waving bye-bye and the blowing kisses. I am anxiously waiting to see which is next. I am secretly working on just trying to help him get over a serious case of the ‘dropsies,’ as one book so maturely put it.