Some Baby Firsts

Yesterday evening, Seventy-Six observed me eating popcorn from a bowl and indicated by facial expression and reach that he wished to share my snack.  Of course, with only two very small teeth in front on the bottom, he’s not ready for popcorn.  Caution-Lady instead took part of a slice of whole-wheat bread and broke it up into tiny pieces, made ‘pills’ of them, and fed them to the boy out of his own bright orange, blue, and green solid-foods bowl.  That made him happy.

Then, a little later from another room, I heard Seventy-Six make his happy crowing sound and my wife clapping her hands exclaiming, “Good boy! I knew you could do it.”  In I went to see what was going on, and the Cautious One informed me that our baby had rolled over from his back to his stomach while chewing on a sock he’d pulled from one of his feet.  This advance in mobility delighted the little guy, his affect brightened considerably, and he appeared to view every familiar object in his play area in the light of this newfound ability.  He spent the next hour or so playing, rolling around to get things.

Our son in his first boat - pool practice session at the Sheraton Read House

Our son in his first boat - pool practice session at the Read House

First time for 76 in a real kayak - practice session in the back yard boat on saw-horses

First time for 76 in a real kayak - practice session in the back yard boat on saw-horses

Reading Seventy-Six to Sleep

While my wife bathed, I held little Seventy-Six and read to him from Thomas Nettles’ By His Grace and For His Glory, a book Amazon finds currently unavailable.  Although I’ve just started reading this history of the doctrines of grace in Baptist faith and life, I find its style what I expect from a clear-thinking man who has got his mind around what it is he wishes to say.  Seventy-Six listened for a long while as I read aloud, then began trying to turn a page after grasping it.  Because I hadn’t finished reading that page yet, I gave him his blanket instead, and he soon fell asleep.


About 25 years ago, I could set and glaze window panes without the slightest difficulty. Yesterday, I had a lot of trouble. Not only that, but I felt all day like I’d been drinking Kryptonite milkshakes – fat, tired, listless, insipid. I made mess out of part of one window, then gave it up as a bad job. Maybe I will return to the task come fall. Went back into the house and played with the baby, fed him, nodded off while feeding him.

Little '76 waiting with Daddy outside the baby stores at the outdoor mall. He's playing with a toy that reminds one of a demonic Aztec bird soul-snatcher, but the kid likes the duck-toy, and lacks Daddy's theological baggage

In the afternoon, my wife and I drove to Murfreesboro to meet a Nashville couple we know. They’ve got triplets, born a month before our son, but very tiny still. The mall has all its shops outdoors, and all of the baby stores in one area. Sort of like a baby park. Interesting to see, meet, speak with so many parents with their infants and small children. The triplets, in their triplet stroller (with steering wheel) attracted a lot of attention.

Jon and I debated whether Elmo is a demonic squirrel. I said he is, as evidenced by the fact that he’s red and sings. Jon claimed Elmo’s nothing like the demonic squirrels he had as pets, or familiars, when he was a kid. I asked how he could be so sure, and he claimed he couldn’t tell me on account of a sulphuric oath. My guess is he couldn’t think of a nonsense response sufficiently amusing to win the debate.

We ate at a girly restaurant called Mimi’s built of frame and stucco to resemble a WWI French inn of the sort where you might see Snoopy in flying helmet drinking rootbeer, cursing the stupidness of that most unnecessary and stupid of wars. My headache began splitting after supper while the wives shopped for more baby clothes bargains. The triplets began to fuss, and their mother told their father, “Jon, they’re falling apart…”

“Me too,” I thought.

At home I crashed. A cold? Kryptonite in my toothpaste? Who knows. I’m not a hundred percent today, either.

Accomplished nothing this weekend.


Write-In Candidate

This was another rough day for the working parents of Little ’76…

My wife phoned me at work (we never call each other at work, we each understand that the other is busy working) as she drove home to tell me that the sitter called her saying that our baby cried for three hours. She said she called my mother, and that my mother and my sister-in-law came to our house, got Little Squall, took him to my mother’s house. The sitter returned to her home with her own infant. Did I want to have supper at my mom’s house? Yeah, sure. I had a haircut scheduled in the neighborhood, anyway. Then planned to go vote before going home.

Supper at Mom’s took basically all evening, but I drove to the polling place and voted before the meal was served. The office of Constable was on the ballot without candidate, so I voted for myself as write-in candidate. I also cast a ballot for myself as write-in candidate for state representative, and Stepford city alderman. Why not? I voted against measures that would have given the city board of aldermen greater discretionary powers, and in a small, contrarian way attempted to subvert Stepford’s established order.

Finally, back at home, I was about to get on the Soloflex to work chest, shoulders, and triceps when friends from Nashville telephoned about meeting in M’boro – yeah, that’s Nigerian – for supper Saturday. Wound up talking way longer than I normally ever talk on the phone.

Then I wasted some time, and now it’s time to crash.

Burp or Barf

Babies sometimes burp and barf, although burping’s supposed to prevent that second B-word.

Later in the day, usually around 7:00 pm another series of B-words comes into play – Bath, Book, Bottle, and Bed.

Although Daddy’s gorge rises during sticky, stinky diaper changing, the baby’s barf has mercifully so far failed to result in paternal regurgitation.

Couldn’t Sleep

It’s been awhile since I’ve awakened and been unable to get back to sleep.  Today, evidently, is my lucky day.  The house feels too hot, my pillow and t-shirt are damp with my perspiration, I could hear the baby restless in his bassinet.  I wake up a couple of times every night thirsty, get some water, go back to bed, and sleep again.  Babies can’t do that.  Ours sometimes makes sounds that make me think he’s got dry-mouth.  If that’s it, it must be pretty horrible.  What if he’s too hot?  He’s zipped up in his little footed sleeper.  What a torment that must be.

Lifetime Member & Other Stuff

I’ve made it to Weight Watchers Lifetime Member. Means I got down to my target weight, maintained it for six weeks thereafter, and now no longer have to pay to attend meetings. Monday night, I weighed in at 169.8 pounds, fully clothed. I’ve got to work out more, but have been doing better this week with the aging Solo-Flex resistance trainer, something called The Perfect Pushup, abs, and another device called the Gripmaster. Finger, hand, and forearm strengthening exercises seem to work in preventing elbow tendonitis, which can be, and has been for me, extremely painful.

We’ve got house guests scheduled for visit this weekend through next Wednesday morning, but I’m planning to spend most of Saturday on a lake, paddling.

Our infant son’s thriving, and clearly enjoys having nonsense songs sung to him, appears to enjoy conversational sound-making and responses, like’s peek-a-boo, and likes the get-you game. What a great kid. Caution-Lady took him to a professional photographer Tuesday, so we’re going to have to shell out some money to pay for a lot of photos because the will all be so beautiful or cute it will be difficult to choose just a few.

Last night, Caution-Lady and I had our first date alone since the baby. My mom came over and looked after the small one. We didn’t stay out long. Ate supper at a golf course on the other side of the county. But we enjoyed our time out together, and we laughed about goofy stuff, talking, during the ride back to the house.

Today’s exercise goals are abs, chest, shoulders, triceps.

Yesterday, I ordered a cockpit cover for the E68, having read K7Baixo’s Alabama paddling report on FKO reminded me I needed to get one. Keep the bugs & snakes out of the boat.

My wife wants another child, and I want another boat. This time, I’m thinking Seavivor Greenland Solo, but I’d like some more information about the Intrepid Traveler. I’ve called the manufacturer, left a couple of messages, but have heard nothing back from him, yet. Heck, if any of you folks in the blogosphere have either of those boats and want to sell them, post me a comment here.

I also sort of like the Folbot Kodiak, and the Folbot Cooper.  Because I’m pretty rough on my boats, the Kodiak’s probably a better choice.

Later: Here’re a couple of pages of stills from one of my favorite movies, Metropolis, that I found while searching for an image of the film’s Babel Tower visionary guy to illustrate a remark I made in a post at the Folbot forum.

Also: This afternoon I got a call back from Logan Fleckles of Seavivor, and we spent some time talking about his boats.  Really an interesting guy.  Turns out the Intrepid Traveler is intended for larger people.  “Think ‘football player,” Logan said.  He’s got one Greenland Solo in stock, a red one, but unless I won the lottery last night without knowing about it yet, and without having purchased a ticket, I think my beloved Caution-Lady would balk at the $3,200.00 plus expenditure.  Bummer, yes?  Here’s a review of the Greenland Solo by one of the guys at FKO.  Those are Paul’s pictures of the boat linked above.

Christian Rogues Camping Trip

Caution-Lady, 76, and I returned yesterday afternoon from a weekend at Lake Jocassee with the Fattony and the Math Doc families from the Christian Rogues bulletin board. We left Saturday afternoon because the Cautious One didn’t like the idea of another night in the tent with our almost 11-weeks old son. The boy, however, really liked the tent. His first reaction upon being placed therein was to look around at the lamplight reflected greens and shadows of the tent fabric, and to pronounce for the first time ever the happy baby word, “Ah-goo,” that is, “It is good.”

ah-goo - it is good

Turns out the tent-site I’d reserved back in January had no drive-up access, although that information was not available on the Reserve-America website. Caution-Lady trekking a hundred yards with camping gear, kayak gear, and baby gear? No way. At the Devil’s Fork State Park check-in and information center, the lady behind the desk rented me campsite #45 for $11.00 more. Located across the lane from the remarkably clean bath-house, #45 was situated at a considerable distance from the lake’s shore, but just up the hill from our friends’ campsites closer to the water.

I think it was shortly after we’d set up the tent, or while we were working on it, that two little sandy haired girls walked by our campsite. One of them asked, “How old’s your baby?” Told he was about 10-weeks of age, the older of the two girls asked, “Are you Christov?” I answered, “Yes,” and asked how she knew. “We’re Fattony’s kids,” she said. “See that red tent right down there,” she pointed, “that’s ours.”

Mosquito Netting for Babies

Once we completed setting up camp, we put the Small One in his stroller, covered it with bug netting, and made our way down the hill, past the campsite I’d originally reserved, and into the Fattony domain. What a gentleman – more soft-spoken than I expected, Tony resembles the gun-toting, cigar smoking avatar cadged from the sketchbook of Matt Groenig, only he didn’t seem as portly in person as his cartoon fiction twin appears on the pixilated screen. Tony, his wife “Special-K,” son, “The Boy,” and daughters characterized by freckled nose and continual smile, respectively, invited us to visit with them for awhile. As we were getting acquainted, Math-Doc, Vic-Chic, and their three sons Nacho, Burrito, and Fajita arrived. They didn’t have any trouble toting their own gear, but we walked with them to their car, helped them carry some stuff back to their campsite, and helped pitch their tent.

Tony invited us all to share the hamburgers and hot-dogs they grilled, I walked back up the hill and returned with a couple of camp-chairs. Had to go back and get a can of powdered formula for ’76. Weekend travel and camp-food were totally off the Weight Watchers charts. The Vzzztbot clan was pretty tired, so we said our goodnights and returned to the green tent beside our rented van.

A word about that vehicle, a Dodge Grand Caravan with Stow & Go seats – I’d be willing to own one. Decent mileage obtained, I think, with an engine management system and transmission that keep RPMs generally in the low 2000s. Handled well enough I never worried about skidding out of control into some ravine on that narrow, winding road between Highlands and Cashiers (pronounced “Cashers”). Carried with room to spare 18′ Pouch RZ-96 in bags, bag of kayaking gear, baby gear, camping gear. I think the one we rented was an ’06 or ’07 with maybe 26,000 miles on the odometer.

Because we arrived late Friday afternoon, because our campsite was far from the water’s edge, because our RZ-96 weighs well over a hundred pounds, and because we had to leave by mid-afternoon Saturday because my cautious wife didn’t want to spend another night in the green tent with our infant son I never did assemble the RZ. Too much of a headache to assemble for two or three hours paddling, then disassemble, towel dry, and repack before a long drive. Tony had arranged with a local outfitters to drop off a couple of rented tandem kayaks. He paddled with his smiling, fearless youngest daughter while I paddled with MD & VC’s youngest son, Fajita to a jumping off rock and some caves, normally submerged.

The ranger I spoke with said the water level at Lake Jocassee is about 27 feet below what is usual for this time of year, so although Fajita climbed the rock, he didn’t jump in. The sandy beach at the bottom of the photo should be lake bottom. Fajita, standing upon the rock, did spontaneously pose like Il Duce – someday he may make the kayaks run on time and the water reach its appointed level by fiat and dam.

Of course there’s more to say – Fattony’s cigar box, the aggressive squirrels infesting Fattony’s campsite, exchanging speech with friends as opposed to internet correspondence, the retired couple at the campsite adjacent to ours, the Microtel with microroom at Franklin, North Carolina, discussing chemical toilets with Caution-Lady after having used one at a Lake Ocoee boat ramp.

Looks like the Christian Rogues website is offline just now (10:30 pm Central Time 5/20/08). seems to have frequent problems keeping its hosted sites online.