My experience in Indiana is limited to driving across the NW corner of the state on I-94 when Sweetie, the Hedgehog and I were circumnavigating Lake Michigan this summer.
We stopped for gas just east of Gary, Indiana, because you do not want to have to stop for gas in Gary, Indiana. It was at a truck stop/minimart/Subway/McDonalds, and we were obviously not the only people with such a plan in mind.
Luckily, Sweetie and I travel well together, it's one of our great strengths, and a necessary skill when traveling with an infant in tow. We executed the dance perfectly at that pit stop - gas, bathroom breaks, and snacks for all in an efficient manner.
He doesn't do it on a completely consistent basis, but he can.
Watching him learn these new skills it totally astounds me at how quickly he picks things up.
Two days ago he army-crawled for the first time. It wasn't so much a crawl as it was a stretch that stretched so much it resulted in forward movement so he could get the toy a few inches out of his reach. He knew not what he was doing, just that he had his toy.
Now it's much more intentional. He wants to get to that spot a few inches in front of himself, and the idea of rolling himself there is just far too much work.
It's also still very experimental. He's done the standard army crawl. He's done a move I'm calling the froggy crawl, as his legs were in froggy position and he sort of leapt forward with them. He did a little bit with the knees. He's trying to figure out the best way for it all to work, so that it can become a regular part of his repertoire.
I fully expect by the end of the weekend he'll be a full-fledged crawler.
If only I, as an adult, could pick up a new skill so quickly and fearlessly.
If there's one area of being responsible for another human being's growth and development and every need that turns me into a neurotic mess it has got to be nutrition and safely and healthily transitioning him to a diet of real-live human food that he will be eating for the rest of his life.
It's hard enough to feed Sweetie some days (and let's not talk about the issues that arise when trying to feed Sweetie's extended family), adding the issues inherent in feeding an infant. Really, why can't I just breastfeed the kid until he's 18 and leaves for college?
Part of the problem is that there are so many different approaches that it can be hard to figure out which one to follow - if you're going to follow one at all. And, best as I can tell, all the approaches and information out there deals mainly with introducing new foods to little ones and when and how to give them sweet potatoes or honey or peanuts or a whiskey sour and there's not so much information about the big-picture issues. How do you make the transition from breastmilk to giving new foods a try to actual meals to multiple meals over the course of a day? What constitutes a meal for a little one? What constitutes a balanced diet, and how is that best achieved?
And how do you do this without killing your kid from an allergy? While making sure they don't become the world's pickiest eater. Or morbidly obese.
The neuroses, they're almost inevitable.
And today they got to come out in full force.
One of the nice little soundbites you often hear in regards to infant feeding (usually spouted by the militant breastfeeders of the world) is "food is for fun until they're one." I liked that little soundbite because it gave me something solid to work towards - by 12 months old he should be eating actual meals and such - whatever that might mean.
I even went to a class at the local hospital taught by a nutritionist that billed itself as helping with issues of feeding the little ones. I asked her "So, when and how should you make the transition to feeding your kiddo more than once a day and how do you make sure you give them a balanced diet?" Her response was something along the lines of "If Hedgehog is 8 months old now you could be feeding him twice a day."
But that statement tells me nothing. I WANT INFORMATION, PEOPLE!
Well, today we got the information: Hedgehog may not be gaining weight at an ideal rate. He's not having developmental issues, so it's not OMG! DANGER! STOP THE PRESSES! But it is a "Hey, here's something we should address and keep an eye on." Long story short: Kiddo may not be able to get enough calories from me over the course of a day, so it's time for him to be eating three meals.
And so it is, Hedgehog is now an eater.
On the way home from the Doctor's office I was in a bit of a tailspin, but I think I've caught myself and am moving forward. I'm starting to form an idea of when and how he's going to eat, and we'll adjust on the fly as needed. Weight check in a month and, God-willing, everything will be hunky dory and the kid will get the free and clear.
Luckily, this all comes in time for Hedgehog's first Thanksgiving - so he can have seconds of everything. At BOTH Thanksgiving dinners he'll attend.
I had this lovely post planned for today, about how attached the Hedgehog is to me and how it just gets to be a bit much at times and it would be nice to have just the tiniest bit of a break.
But the Hedgehog must sense it, and wants to make sure I am VERY well informed when I write that post. So getting him to sleep tonight is going to take every last ounce of energy I have, including some I had reserved for the weekend.
By far, one of the most annoying bits of parenthood has got to be the unsolicited advice from strangers on how you are mistreating your child.
Today it was a bit chilly out - what with being mid-November and all. Hedgehog and I had to go to the store to pick up rations, but beyond that were going to be holed up at home all day. I decided it wasn't worth the effort to have the sock battle today (Hedgehog will pull off socks the instant they are put on his feet, so if you want him to wear socks he must also wear shoes as well, which can add complexity to the diaper-changing process depending on the outfit), and if I wasn't going to make him wear socks it seemed almost silly to put him into a sweater or jacket for the 2 minutes he would spend outside between home/car/store. So I threw caution to the wind, and took him out in just a t-shirt and pants.
It's not like I'm going to freeze my son to death. It was 50 degrees out. He has a wool blanket that I put over him in the car. The grocery store and the house are both climate controlled. I even took the time to go through the checklist in my head and know that there were warmer clothes (and a wool hat) in the diaper bag should some unforeseen circumstance arise that necessitated us being outside for longer than a minute at a time.
Yet I still get the woman outside the grocery store chastising me for not putting the kiddo into a sweater. Thankfully, she was exiting the store as I was entering, so it was quite easy to bite my tongue and just walk away.
I need to think up some sort of snide comment for when it happens again.
This afternoon while the Hedgehog was napping I went into his room to retrieve some laundry. He had one eye half-open, but was most definitely asleep. It was really quite off-putting, and never before have I paid quite so much attention to his breathing and movements to make sure everything was a-ok.
I know that sometimes people will sleep with their eyes open, but that doesn't make it any less freaky.
We are over halfway through the NFL season and it is occurring to me that I have yet to really publicly acknowledge the existence of my fantasy football team. The problem is I don't have the time or inclination to do my standard rating of the players' hotness, and they're just so darn mediocre it makes me yawn just thinking about them. Honestly, if I didn't have to come up with something new to talk about on my blog tonight I probably never would have been compelled to write about my team at all.
The catch this year is that I have decided that my winnings - whatever they may be - will be used to purchase myself a new pair of shoes. I win it all (unlikely at this point) I can get some Italian leather. I come in 9th place (10th place wins nothing) I can manage a pair of flip-flops at Old Navy. Right now I sit on a 5-5 record and I am right on the verge of (as my brother-in-law and league commissioner put it) being able to buy shoes that actually come in a box rather than ones hanging from a plastic tie on a rack.
The state of my Superbowl bet isn't helping things any. Historically, without fail, if Ben Roethlisberger is on my fantasy football team the Steelers win the Superbowl. This year Ben was a keeper for me, so I placed a bet on the Steelers to win the Superbowl. They're still in the thick of things, but aren't looking to be favorites or anything at the moment.
So now it's just a matter of managing my expectations. My new football goals center almost exclusively on teaching the Hedgehog to raise his hands in the air when we shout out "TOUCHDOWN!"
The end is starting to come into sight on a project Sweetie and I have been working on for about the past year.
We're going through our music collection on iTunes and creating a family-friendly playlist of songs that are approved for Hedgehog's listening pleasure at this young age.
If a song contains bad words, reference to violence or suicide, or other inappropriate content it gets cut from the list. We're OK with the drinking and metaphorical references to sex. Basically, what would I say if the kiddo asked me a question about something in the song.
It' an interesting project, and makes me realize how rarely I really listen to the lyrics of some songs.
I don't know that a single Nine Inch Nails song is going to make the cut.