A stay-at-home-dad offers thoughts on the joys and sorrows, and everything in between, of fatherhood.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Bottle-feeding blues

Alright, cranking up the blog after a long hiatus. I had determined, once Annalee reached a certain age, that I was arguably compromising her right to an anonymous life when I wrote about her here. That might have been a good decision, or I might have been over-thinking. Probably somewhere in between.

What's new, you ask? Baby number two is the glorious, transcendent Rell, whom we welcomed to our family two months ago and change. I'm having to start her on a bottle a little earlier than I did Annalee, as my lovely wife has less time off from work than she did in the Ocean State.

How's the bottle-feeding going, you ask? Not so well. Or, let me put it another way: Probably the greatest challenge of my life so far. My beautiful, sweet, brown-eyed baby doesn't want the bottle when she's hungry, and she doesn't want to try it when she's not, and she doesn't want to try it when she's in-between. She doesn't want it. She expresses this by turning her head, pushing her legs off whatever's near to move herself away from the bottle, batting the bottle hard with her right hand, crying to the point of screaming, etc.

Additionally, she can't really be put down. So, what I have is a baby that most would describe as "colicky." For reasons that I can easily understand, my wife doesn't really love that word, and doesn't think it applies in this case. What I believe is that she has, through a combination of insight, willpower, and a physical endowment that I lack, been able to see our girl through some real hardship.

Labels and diagnoses aside, I need help. I need help slowly and methodically inducing Relly Belly to take a bottle. The sense that I am water-boarding my beloved baby is KILLING me. So, I need tips. Not ideas, not theories -- tips. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tippy Toes

Kim and Annalee are in Rhode Island for nine days, and I have been more forlorn than is politically correct. On the bright side, Annalee had more to say on the phone with her old man today than usual. Below are some of the things that I can remember her saying, as close to word for word as I can recall. For reference: Papadoopa is her maternal grandfather; Krissy is her aunt; Caleb is Annalee's "twin" cousin, born 6 weeks before she was, and Caitlin is also her cousin and is 18 months old. From here on in, it's Annalee speaking:

1. The building show is on in Rhode Island.
2. For breakfast I had noodle soup.
3. Is it nighttime in Texas?
4. Papadoopa is not here. He's playing cards on a trip.
5. Papadoopa said I could open presents on Valentine's Day, after breakfast.
6. The presents are downstairs in the basement.
7. Yesterday, I told Krissy not to let Caitlin look at the presents.
8. The snow is melting, but tomorrow we're going to get new snow.
9. The old snow is melting, but the new snow is coming.
10. There are icicles outside.
11. I can see one through the window if I stand on tippy toes.
12. I was very angry, grrrr, when Caleb wouldn't come over yesterday.
13. Krissy said to ask Mom if I can sleep at Caleb's house one night.
14. Would that be OK?
15. The trees don't have leaves here.
16. If you want to look at the presents, you have to sneak up.
17. I love you, too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How 'bout Some Music?

I am told that children have active imaginations. Judging by the proliferation of names around this house, I am going to say yes to that.

Annalee has now referred to her father as: Prince Steven, Eric, Grampa, Brother, and at least one other term of fantasy and endearment that I wish I could remember.

She has referred to her mother as: Queen, Sister, Lacy, and at least one other term of fantasy and endearment that I wish I could remember.

She currently prefers to be known as Genevieve and, sometimes, Princess Genevieve. Woe be unto you if you call her "Annalee" at the wrong time.

Yesterday, when a friend of hers was having a down moment, Annalee put on her lullabye CD for the two of them to listen to when the two of them were alone in Annalee's room. (The friend had been told that she and her folks would have to leave soon and didn't want to go.) Of course, putting the music on was just a friend being a friend, but it's not something I remember doing when I was three and a half.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Smart Lady

I have been silenced, to some extent, by the idea that by writing down Annalee's amazing doings and sayings I would be diminishing her somehow.

However, after much soul-searching, I am returning to my jottings here in an effort to preserve a record of one of the world's most beloved people during her early years.

A couple of weeks ago, she understood something faster than I thought made sense and I said, "How did you know that?"

"Because I'm a smart lady," she said.

For most of the first half of her fourth year, she responded to questions regarding her age with just about any number greater than her actual age, having gleaned, evidently, that older people have more say in the world.

At the park: "How old are you?"

"Seven," Annalee answered.

At Whole Foods: "How old are you?"


At the pool: "How old are you?"

"Eighty-three." (This was her favorite age for weeks.)

Although she is no longer "with child," she has successfully accepted several new beings into the world as her sister-daughters: Monica, Katelyn, Baby Pink, and Apple Dumplet. All of them are beloved, and well-attended to.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Our princess is with child. Or, anyway, she thinks she is. "My baby is coming out today," she says. Initially dubbed "Harmonica," her unborn child's name has been shortened to "Monica." The "pregnancy" has been going on for nearly three weeks, and seems to have sprung from spending time with a friend whose mommy was pregnant.

Noting that the friend's mom had evidently decided to become with child, Annalee decided that she, too, would make such a decision. And she has been resolute, never drifting from the reality that there is a special someone inside her. "Monica likes chocolate," she has mentioned, more than once.

She has also been resolute in the decision to refer to Kim and me as "Sister" and "Brother" for nigh on six weeks. It is not impossible that she wants to have a new sibling. One would especially think so, given that she sometimes refers to "Monica," too, as "Sister." For instance, I have heard her say, "Sister is going to come today," not quite looking at her belly, but somehow gesturing toward her "oven" with her entire being, without actually moving a muscle.

On the other hand, Annalee may call Kim and me "Sister" and "Brother" just because she likes it and had tired, temporarily one imagines, of the top-down power structure of parents, named as such. By a striking coincidence, my own parents had me refer to them by their first names, Read and Jenny, until I was ten. It was a hippie, California-in-the-sixties, power-to-the-children sort of thing. Until everyone pretty much longed for the words "mom" and "dad," which, eventually we did.

And which, today, I pretty much do again.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

And Then You Do

When your child falls, as Annalee did last night, there is a tendency to question your parenting skills. Because parents enjoy more power over their children than over anyone else in their lives, it's easy to go overboard with this questioning, as though it is God questioning God during some hideous phase of the Inquisition. "What were you thinking when you invented gravity? Didn't you foresee this child's terrible fall?" "What were you thinking when you invented concrete? Not a very good idea, in the end, was it?"

We were sitting on the front porch when it happened, I with my guitar in my lap, and Kim with a glass of lime-aid that she and Annalee had just made in her hand. I was singing songs, and Annalee was run-dancing, as joyous as we had seen her. We knew she was tired, and we'll kick ourselves for weeks. On the last of Annalee's trips up the concrete path from the front door to the sidewalk, she tumbled at full speed, getting her hands out in front of her but taking far too much of the impact with her forehead.

The air in this house is saturated with love most of the time, but last night, when Annalee woke up hungry around mightnight and the three of us had some pizza before putting Annalee back down, the air was super-saturated. You think you can't love them any more than you already do, and then you do.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Learning Curve

At age 2 years and 9 months, Annalee has ridden a sled, her Jetsons-like one-girl car, her friend May's pink scooter, roller skates, and her tricycle. While either her mom or I have hovered helpfully nearby for just about all of these ventures, she has grown more autonomous on the trike, able, for instance, to steer competently within the confines of the sidewalk on the way to the playground as well as pedal more or less steadily on flat surfaces and down hills. Uphill is still a minor challenge. Luckily, I am never farther than a few feet away, so a push is proffered and, eventually, accepted. Unlike four decades ago, a helmet is de rigueur for all of the toddler gravity games.

We swam in Barton Creek today, after watching performers celebrate Mother Earth Day at Zilker Park. Annalee bragged to her mama, "I went under the water and came back up all by myself!"