LTD has become LTD, boy genius as of late. In fact, some days it seems like he is trying to start first grade early. How is he manifesting his intelligence, you ask? He is showing how smart he is by making his parents spell. That’s right folks the little guy hears the words, stop pulling hair or stop screaming and he takes that to mean, I should pull hair and continue screaming maybe even harder and longer. This behavior has forced us to spell things out to each other so that LTD doesn’t hear words like yell. My hunch is that he learned this stuff from the dog who when she hears the word walk runs to the door.
The flip side to these troubling new skills is the hidden cute factor. When the little guy overhears the word “knows” he grabs his nose. If he hears the word “dog” he makes his arf-arf sounds. Does LTD acting cute make up for screaming after I say stop screaming? Sure it does (since I don’t have a choice) sure it does.
On certain days, like recently when LTD turned 14 months, The Mommy and I will reminisce about earlier moments from our parenthood journey. I was laughing about our last childbirth/Lamaze class. Our instructor was a mother of two, had been an ob/gyn nurse for over 20 years and was very nice. The class was great because she wanted us to practice the Lamaze breathing and lessons at home allowing her to teach more and us not to have watch each other breathing heavily. The Mommy and I learned a lot each class because our instructor was cool, experienced and realistic. She answered all our questions and gave us the straight poop about what to expect (pun intended).
At the last class, we finished up our lessons quickly and she opened the floor to questions. Everyone blew past childbirth and peppered her with questions about what to do when we go the kid home. We are talking rapid-fire crazy detail questions about every possible situation we could ever experience with a baby under our care for the first time. In fact, it didn’t take long for all the questions to become the one big question that was on all our minds, how do we not kill the kid and ourselves? Thankfully, our patient instructor talked us all down from the ledge. She calmly went through what would likely happen during the first few days. The one piece of advice that The Mommy and I found particularly helpful was her instruction to not have the baby sleep in the same room as us right from the jump. She told us that we simply would not be able to sleep because we would be startled awake every time the newborn made any one of the millions of newborn noises they make. Now that we are over a year in it really was funny to think about that last class and how crazy we must have sounded.
We are way past coos and ahhs, LTD has granted us an audience with his melodic voice and blessed us with the gift of lovely words. Is he reciting Shakespeare you ask? Is he presenting the poems of Keats? Is he singing the love theme from Ice Castles? No, he is doing none of these things, but what he is doing is saying, ‘Baa’ and ‘Maa.’ For the last several weeks he has been serenading us with a chorus of ‘baa, baa, baa, baa’ or ‘maa, maa, maa’ and various combinations of each. Normally, he lets loose with a string of them at a time, but what truly cracks The Mommy and me up is when he lets out a lone ‘Baa.’ It feels like LTD uses the string of ‘baas’ to mean one thing and the lone ‘baa’ to mean another. Don’t think I haven’t forgiven him for saying ‘ma-ma’ first instead of ‘da-da’, but I console myself by believing it is a marathon, not a sprint and that he says ‘ma-ma’ when he is looking at the couch.
Perhaps being a father has made me more sentimental, but the baby has been doing some pretty cute things lately. He commits these acts of cuteness during the day while I’m watching him by myself. He has been daring me to find a cuter baby by doing things that make you want to turn around and say, ‘did you see that’ but of course there is no one here to tell. I inform The Mommy over the phone but some of the brazen acts of adorableness you have to see for yourself and I suspect The Mommy is a little sad at having missed them.
Let’s go down the list. The funniest thing he does is fall asleep with the pacifier in his mouth and when the pacifier falls out he continues to make sucking motions with his mouth in a move the experts call The Phantom Pacifier. Like all babies LTD sneezes a fair amount and that in and of it self is pretty funny but the other day he went for a big sneeze and nothing happened and the look on his face as the sneeze fizzled out was priceless. Then there is the fact they he recently discovered the dog. LTD has been cracking up when the dog goes in to lick his face. I’m talking about a full-blown belly laugh. Not to mention the time he spends staring at the pooch. All in all, LTD’s quest for the title ‘most adorable baby on Earth’ makes changing stinky poo diapers almost worth it.
During the countdown to LTD’s birth, The Mommy not only read a lot about what products to buy, she read a lot about what not to buy. There are a lot of baby products out there that are really designed to make the parents feel better, but don’t really do anything for the baby, like the Diaper Genie (where Aladdin pretends to seal in odor) or designer sneakers for newborns. However, one of the items that The Mommy and I received before LTD arrived was The Sleep Sheep, this stuffed animal comes stuffed with a sound generator featuring four different settings.
Many parents told us that The Sheep should be put on our must have list and with their endorsements we put the big sheep on his crib and the little one on his car seat. For some reason we settled on the whale sound and don’t really ever use the others. Probably cause the water sounds make me have to go to the bathroom. The truth is that I don’t know if the noise really soothes LTD or not, but I do know that because we turn on the whales at bedtime I feel he knows the sounds mean time for sleep. The only drawback is now all I ever dream about is Moby Dick.
The baby book warned us that babies breathe through their nose. I’m here to tell you that, brother, they ain’t lying. LTD alternates between sounding like a train whistle and Frankenstein depending on how deeply congested he is. It is kind of freaky to hear a baby make creepy prank phone call heavy breathing noises using just his cute little button-like nose. However, sometimes, when he isn’t stuffed up, he doesn’t make a sound at all when breathing and that can be just as unsettling. After a long stretch of grunting, watching him sleep without making even a slight peep, causes me to stare at the chest to make sure it is going up and down.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I had the hiccups. However, I can tell you the last time LTD had them, it was ten minutes ago. The kid seriously has the hiccups all the time. Turns out babies get the hiccups on a pretty regular basis. I guess their little baby lungs and whatever else causes hiccups are still developing and it is all part of growing up. Sometimes when he has them they are shallow and quiet, but man I other times they are loud and he looks at me as if to say, ‘what the hell is happening to me, make it stop.” It’s not like you can make him hold his breath, eat a spoonful of sugar or stand on his head to get rid of them. I did try scaring him once. I told him how much college was going to cost in 2027, but it didn’t work and he kept hiccupping.