My son has discovered the joy of blowing bubbles. Not the sudsy kind that can be purchased at the store that are equipped with plastic wands. His bubbles are homemade, mouth-crafted from his own bodily fluids, including saliva and spit-up, as well as fluids intended to become bodily, such as breast milk, formula, and baby food. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing–eating, playing, fighting crime–he’s always perfecting his new hobby.
He employs two methods in bubble creation. His first, preferred technique is by sustaining the “TH” sound, partially sticking his tongue out just underneath his forthcoming top row of teeth, allowing bubbles to emanate from either side of his mouth. The second strategy involves vocalizing the “hard C” or “K” sound and holding it, creating a sort of artificial static white noise usually incorporated in the use of imaginary walkie talkies.
Whichever method he employs, he is growing in both enthusiasm and proficiency daily, making him a veritable sprinkler. Most of the time this is incredibly adorable, as he sports a proud, accomplished grin at demonstrating such bodily control. However, this new talent can be cumbersome when attempting to feed him.
He’s hard enough to feed as it is. At 6 months old, he is highly distractible while eating. Books I do not have time to read suggest that many babies at this age have newly-acquired 20/20 vision and are thus becoming increasingly aware of their surroundings, which can be infinitely more exciting than eating, their first love. This newfound awareness does not seem to faze our daughter, though. Despite these biological developments she is a focused eater, eyes on the prize the whole time. She’ll chug an entire bottle without once coming up for air and is always ready for each new bite of baby food, oatmeal, rice cereal, or whatever else we’ve prepared.
In stark contrast, I’d estimate my son’s feedings to average 1 1/2 times to twice the length of his sister’s.
At mealtime, his attention is everywhere except the intended ingestion–the pictures on the wall, the pattern on Daddy’s shirt, the swirly shape of our pole lamp’s energy-conserving bulb, the toy I’ve given his sister to occupy her since she finished eating 20 minutes ago, etc. While drinking a bottle, teething has even prompted him to nipple-gnaw instead of drinking through it.
And then, of course, there’s the Spoon Games. One of his favorites involves putting his head down so his chin is virtually attached to his chest, making for a less-than-ideal spoon delivery. Another is when the spoon comes his way, in the time-honored tradition of pretending it is an airplane, he denies the plane in what we have dubbed the King-Kong-F*ck-You Swipe, rendering the plane useless as its engine fuel splatters the floor. Luckily, our dog waits patiently for this occurrence and is an excellent cleanup crew.
I’m sure you can imagine what bubble blowing had contributed to this repertoire, particularly as food is often sent back to the chef in an aerodynamic manner. I have removed puree’d peas from my eyes on several occasions.
Regrettably, in frustration, I recently I caught myself uttering a phrase I hoped never to utter to my kids, particularly because they’re twins and will always compete for our approval: “Why can’t you be more like your sister? Look how fast she eats, Buddy!”
Totally my bad, but trust me, 20 minutes of desperately trying to get him to eat even half of his food seems way longer than it actually is.
At the same time, the battlefield that is feeding my son recently provided the setting for what may be my favorite father-son moment to date.
The meal was carrots and green beans. Having seen the stains the carrots leave on some of our baby spoons, I looked down in horror at my off-white $40 Paul McCartney Tour t-shirt. He smirked at me from his high chair, as if petting a supervillain cat in his lap.
“Be right back, Buddy.”
Once I slipped into something more ruin-able, a bell sounded, signaling the beginning of Round 1. Luckily, King Kong was tame today, and he actually started out cooperatively. After a few successful spoonfuls, however, as the plane approached the hangar, I saw him winding up. His tongue partially protruded, the “TH” blowing technique was imminent, and would be unleashed the moment food hit baby mouth. I found myself in a game of “chicken” with my 6-month-old.
Then, a half-inch from impact, I pulled the spoon back, saying, “Oh, no you don’t. I know exactly what you’re doing.”
Shocked, he stared wide-eyed for a split second, and then just started dying laughing. But there was something special about this gigglefest, and it’s a moment I will remember for the rest of my life because it was my first real intellectual interaction with my son. I could tell he knew that I knew he was about to blow green beans and carrots all over me, and he recognized that Daddy was on to him–that I was a formidable opponent.
It blew me away. We had connected and communicated on a higher level than greetings, tickling, or wanting to be held. This was an intellectual, joking moment between the two of us. My son was being a smartass, just like his Dad.
Arriving at this realization, paired, of course, with the contagiousness of baby laughter itself, I had no choice but to join him. We giggled at each other as chunks of carrots ran down his chin and he gleefully slapped his high chair tray.
Once the laughing fit was over and he acknowledged me as the Undisputed Champion of Bubble-Blowing Prevention, the remainder of the meal went off without a hitch.
This, along with the recent arrival of tiny teeth, admittedly makes me a little sad, as the initial “baby” months are really starting to fade away. At the same time, though, I’m elated to see my son becoming the sharp little man he seems to be turning into. I have a feeling he and I will riff with each other for years to come, much to the annoyance of the females in our household.
I can’t wait.
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If not, please don’t spit food in my face. I get enough of that already.
The rare, sought-after occurrence (especially among stay-at-home parents) of orchestrating all of one’s children to nap simultaneously, awarding the ecstatic parent the opportunity to do whatever he or she desires…at least for a little while. Often punctuated and commemorated with celebratory acts such as Twinfamy’s “Holy Crap, a Nap Overlap” Shuffle.
Due to an unwelcome household visit from the fabled Teething Fairy, the ever-elusive Nap Overlap had now become the stay-at-home father’s White Whale–his obsession–while his tiny first mates alternated between laughing in his exhausted face and wailing along with the Sirens just off the rocky coast.
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If not, watch out for those Sirens on your way out. They sing a killer rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Almost gets me every time.
I always escape singing “Mama mia, let me go.”
PHOENIX, Ariz. – In a reportedly packed surprise press conference late Wednesday evening, John Pseudonymous, esteemed author and CEO of Twinfamy made an announcement sure to rock the Internet to its very core: the unveiling of Twinfamy Logo 2.0, the site’s brand new game-changing brand.
“With the advent of Google+ and its pretty animated circles and colors,” Pseudonymous commented, massaging the unkempt stubble on his chin, “I found myself asking, ‘Where’s my plus? I can add, too. I was a Mathlete, for crying out loud.'”
Amidst an onslaught of hand-raising journalists and blurted, burning questions, Pseudonymous impressively set the entire throng at ease by directing the audience to the chilled teething rings that had been placed underneath their seats.
Over the faint sounds of glomming and lip-smacks from what Pseudonymous estimated to be “at least a kajillion people,” he continued. “See, when I first started Twinfamy, I had an idea of what image would best represent the site, but realized that not everyone has a pair of 3-D glasses at home, or especially for viewing on-the-go via smartphone, so I spent minute after painstaking minute crafting the logo you’ve come to love and have doodled over and over again on your Trapper Keepers.”
“However, as we enter Twinfamy’s third month, I thought it was time to reassess our visual marketing campaign, so for the past few weeks, our Graphic Design Division has been completely rebuilding, revitalizing, and digitally remastering the logo, optimizing it not only for HD viewing but also Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. The new look may feel a little drastic and unfamiliar at first, but we’re thrilled with the results and without further ado, will proudly present it to you now. For the first time ever, I give you Twinfamy Logo 2.0!”
Met first with a collective gasp and scattered fainting, the crowd erupted in enthusiastic applause.
One member of the press remarked, “I just…I can’t believe it. For the longest time it’s been unclear as to whether your daughter was the stick figure on the left or the right, and now…well, let’s just say I finally have clarity and will be able to sleep a lot easier tonight.”
“Thank you, O Loyal Reader,” Pseudonymous replied. “But how do you know for sure which one is my daughter?”
“…The…the bow. Isn’t that a bow on the one on the right?”
“Yes, it is, but how do you know it’s my daughter? Can’t boys wear bows, too? Don’t you think that’s a little gender-biased to assume?”
Pseudonymous’s stone-faced demeanor dissolved into a chuckle. “I’m just messing with you. Of course my daughter’s the one in the bow.”
Hilarity ensued as an estimated kajillion burst into a hearty round of laughter.
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If not, please file a complaint with the Twinfamy Quality Assurance Division.
“Every once in a while, when I’m changing a poop-filled diaper, I feel the slightest gag reflex.”
…and as I underwent this very special feeling today, it occurred to me that this is the first-ever situation I’ve experienced where I don’t necessarily mind the possibility of impending nauseous retching, aside, of course, from the occasional amusement park thrill ride.
It is also in this moment that I felt I graduated from New Father Academy, and may even be able to pass “Go,” and collect $200.
So today, this Fathers’ Day 2011 (my first as patriarch), please join me in celebrating myself, and I guess, if there’s time, all of the other fathers out there, who, too, have quietly and determinedly pushed through rear-end sanitation and other such thankless tasks; who animatedly read bedtime stories in voices that, in public, would warrant the permanent revocation of their Man Cards; who construct playthings while suppressing the exasperation engendered by the Worst Assembly Directions Ever Written; who throw out their backs while playing a little harder than necessary at the park for just one more giggle from their little people.
This is their day, and they’ve earned it.
While on the topic of fecal matters, please allow me to apologize, O Loyal Reader, for the lapse in posts on this fine publication as of late. After consulting its physician, Twinfamy is now on fiber supplements, which means you can expect more regularity again starting this week, starting with a brand new Twincident tomorrow, which, faithful to today’s brown-hued theme, will feature the unification of Number Two and a Pseudonymous family member’s face. Yes, you heard me right: Poop + Face = Ensuing Hilarity.
Try to contain yourself ’til then.
Happy Fathers’ Day!