Diary of a Stay At Home Dad: Teat of Terror

Ok this is going to be a bit delicate for some of you, but I’m positive you’ll see the punch line by the time you’re done reading.  Here goes.

Tracy has breast fed both Frank and Anne Marie.  I have had an up close a personal view of both experiences and probably learned a lot more than I wanted to.  You’ll have to buy my soon to be released book to read about my experiences in Le Leche League breast feeding class.

As I type this I can’t really think of one aspect of the breast feeding that was the same for both kids.  Tracy had a hard time producing for Frank.  She produced the day after Anne Marie was born.  That’s three and a half months prior to the due date.  So in other words five and half months into the pregnancy she was producing.  It was slight at first but it was more than enough for a 1lb 12oz baby.

When Anne Marie finally fed at the breast, she was all business.  She latched on and started going at it.  Frank was a lazy SOB.  He just wanted to hang out, relax, etc…  At 2am he was the only one relaxing, trust me on that.  Once he did latch he took his good ole time.

Tracy went five months with Anne Marie.  We only got to six weeks with Frank. Ultimately it came down to need in my opinion.  Frank didn’t need it.  Six weeks was enough to boost his immune system.  After that it was nothing more then a water cooler visit for him.  He moved on to formula and then rice cereal and solid food pretty quick. He was dropping puree’ed squash around 10 or 12 months.  After that he was dusting off egg rolls and chalupas with regularity.

Anne Marie needed it so Tracy produced it.  Simple as that.  There are a lot of reasons Anne Marie is alive and thriving so far.  Not the least of which is the breast milk she was getting daily from Tracy.  The baby is alive in part because of Tracy’s efforts.  That’s one experience I’ll never get.  I was a bystander for the whole NICU experience really.  Tracy was in the trenches with the staff fighting it out the whole time.  My connection to the whole thing was being the guy who said stop when the docs asked if they should continue with the extreme measures on Linda Claire.

In the NICU it seemed like Tracy and even her mom were bonding with AM.  She would look at them, feed from a bottle for them.  Outside of falling asleep with me a few times I wasn’t feeling the connection.

Well I got my connection the other night.

The other big difference between Frank at that age and AM is snuggling.  She is a snuggler.  Frank was not.  AM will find the crook of your arm, stick her face into your neck or even the crease of your armpit.  When she sleeps on me she likes the crook of my arm just below the armpit.  Two things to keep in mind before I move forward.

1. I quit, cold turkey, my 4 liter a day diet coke habit 2 months ago and have subsequently dropped 22 pounds.  Still have about 35 to go but I’m making good progress, apparently just not enough.  This will become clear in a second.

2. Remember what I said about Anne Marie and breast feeding, she ‘s all business.  She latches quick and gets to work.

Keeping all that in mind it may come as no surprise to you that whilst she was snuggling into the crook of my arm and sleeping, or so I thought, she found, through my shirt, what she must have felt was a teat open for business.  It, of course, was not.  No matter, before I realized what was going on she latched on “to my left one” as my sister Carol would say, and got to work.

The pain was surprisingly intense.  The horror was worse.  Tracy always said it was calming and meaningful when she breast fed.  No meaning or calm here.  Just straight up pain and freaking terror.  How Tracy and Frank slept through my school girl type screams is beyond me.  But they did.  I eventually got her off there with a little flick on the nose.  Yeah she wasn’t letting go.  She apparently was positive there was milk in them thar hills.

Sorry kid, these are just for show.


My resulting counseling will take up too much time for me to blog about everything so here’s a gratuitous but completely unrelated picture of Frank’s first day of school today, with new haircut and everything.

Joe cool going to school.

Diary of a Stay At Home Dad: I know that’s not mud.

Well, she got me.  She got me good.  I am now 2 for 2 with my offspring in this particular area.  The area: them taking a big hairy crap on me.  You might remember Frank’s epic struggle to cover me in his diaper doilies, chronicled here: It looked like mud!

I know we all get peed on by our kids in the normal course of changing a diaper or two. This wasn’t even close to that.  This was a surprise attack.  This was a calculated flanking “movement” if you will.  This happened during the 11pm feeding period when I would least expect it.  Crafty this little one is.  Here is a mug shot of the accused.

Don’t be fooled she is armed and dangerous.

Here are the facts.  She woke up at 11pm for her last feed of the day.  It was all going so well.  I changed her diaper before we started so as not to lay her flat after feeding an enflame her reflux more than normal.  Then she was knocking back her formula, humming along.  I was making up my own words to some of my favorite songs, as I am want to do while I hold my children. Most are not safe for public consumption. Ironically they mostly are made up of toilet humor. The songs I was working on at that time was a harbinger of the nights festivities.

So we’re cruising along, I’m thinking she’ll get done by 11:20, then 30 minutes upright to let her reflux die down, and then it’s off to bed for her and I’m snoring by 12:15 waiting for her 2:30am feed.  Yeah, not quite.

At the halfway point of the bottle I sat her up to burp and noticed/felt like her onesie was a little wet.  So add 5 minutes to changer her diaper (again) before I put her down to sleep.  She cranks out a huge burp and was back at the bottle.  She took care of four ounces in no time at all, but my arm felt really wet now.  I’m thinking is this stuff just running out of her.  I wish.  I sit her up and in the dim lights of the late evening my arm appears to have changed color.  Black in fact, it appears to be black.  It’s late, I’m tired, mind not clicking.  Then I lift her up and my lap is black, but she is clean, nothing on her legs, onesie, nothing.

Then I see it.  Her diaper was sticking out from under her onesie and was pinched to the point of making a nozzle from which the black tar of terror was spraying.  I’m a man of math and physics.  I love seeing the laws of such in action.  This was a form of the Bernoulli equation in action.  Think pressing your finger over the end of a garden hose to get the water stream to shoot father and faster.  Problem: this wasn’t a garden hose, that wasn’t water, and I’m not loving this at all.  The flow finally subsided, or so I thought. Just to make sure I knew what was happening she fired off one last burst that hit my shirt and got dangerously close to my face.  Time to move.

For the moment I was sitting still trying to figure out how to get up but keep the black tide of death from getting all over the chair, the carpet, etc…  Well once she took aim at my face that all went out the window.  I shot up and moved to her changing table.  I don’t think I’ve moved that quick since almost missing the ice cream truck on my street.

Of course as a lot of you know, Anne Marie came home on a heart monitor.  It has two little leads that run from her chest into an adapter then into the machine.  If her heart rate drops or her breathing slows the alarm starts to beep.  If the leads lose contact with her the alarm goes off in one long ear splitting tone.  As I moved with cat like quickness to escape the tsunami of excrement, I stepped on the wire and the two leads popped out of the adapter.  It’s now about 11:45pm and the alarm is blaring, I’m holding the kid who is now screaming, I have a metric ton of baby bowels on me and the monitor takes two hands, or two very dexterous fingers from the same hand, to turn off.  Turning it off is my only hope here.  No way I can reach down to the floor and reinsert the two minuscule leads back into their adapter.

There was a moment of freedom hidden in all this.  With all that noise I was free to unleash an avalanche of vulgarity, unheard by anyone, which of course solves nothing. But don’t believe the bad press, it does make you feel better.

At the end of the day, and I mean literally at the end of the day as it was now 12:20 in the am, I got the whole thing cleaned up, tossed my “dirty” clothes in the trash, and commenced to putting Anne Marie to bed.  There was no saving the clothes.  They were history.  Shame too, my favorite pair of home shorts.  At least to Tracy they were supposed to be home shorts, but I would sneak out to the Kroger or CVS in them. Faithful they were, till the bitter end.  The muffled somber sound of Taps could be heard playing in our neighborhood as I buried them in our big green Waste Management trash can, like the scene from the movie A Christmas Story, when the old man buried his leg lamp.

Here are some shots of the pint size perpetrator, now 10 pounds 6 ounces.

Clean, dry and empty.

Heh Heh, you like physics, I’ll show you some physics.











So both my kids have managed to evacuate their bowels all over me.  I’m trying to find the silver lining, the lesson, the part of this experience that makes me a better man.

Eh, I got nothing.

Derision 2012! Summer of Stupid

You ever have that feeling when you make a prediction about something but in the back of your mind you hope it doesn’t really come true?  Yeah, that’s where I’m at after this little beauty of a prediction.  From the post Are you smarter than a campaign manager?  back on May 20 I wrote this, “Anyone looking for the level of campaign discourse to be raised is in for a big disappointment.”

The campaign of President Obama is making me look like Nostradamus.  The post that quote is from details how the President’s campaign people kept opening what they believe to be cans of whupp-ass on the Governor, but turn out to be big cans of worms instead.  Every ridiculous charge they made against Gov. Romney over the summer was contradicted by the fact their guy, aka the President, had done something of equal or greater numb-nuttiness.  I won’t rehash it all, you can re-read it of you like.  Just click the link above.

Well the gang isn’t done.  I guess they feel like we have not properly appreciated the level of stupidity they can rise too.  However in this case to add to the degree of difficulty they have coupled stupidity with outright shamefulness.

At issue: a democratic super pac ad run by Priorities USA in which an older man, Joe Soptic, tells the tale of how Bain Capital, Romney’s Bain Capital, bought the failing steel mill where Joe worked and shut it down, causing the loss of Joe’s health care.  Some unspecified time later his wife became ill, Joe took her to the doctor and found out she had stage 4 cancer.  She died 22 days later.  Joe implies in the ad that the illness occurred almost seconds after Romney personally called to cancel Joe’s health insurance.

In the ad Joe implies that his wife was probably sick a lot longer then she let on, but he figures she kept quite because they could not afford the insurance.  He claims he had no idea how long she was sick.  The ad concludes with Joe saying he believes Romney has no idea what he has done to him and the lives of thousands of Americans.  I didn’t need it explained to me.  Joe is implying that Romney killed his wife.  Bill Burton, former Obama deputy press secretary and head of Priorities USA and author of the ad is implying Romney killed Joe’s wife.  The President, by not only staying silent on this hatchet job, but then co-opting part of that ad for his own campaign to use, is saying Romney killed Joe’s wife.  This was roughly but more eloquently the same conclusion that most political pundits on the airwaves and social media came to.

The only thing that killed Joe’s wife is cancer.  The steel mill in question went under in 2001.  A lot of steel mills went under in 2001.  Bain offered Joe a buyout but he refused it.  Romney was off organizing the olympics when all this went down so I’m not sure how he even figures into this.  Oh that’s right the President’s new strategy is to lie his pants off before they catch fire.

Joe’s wife was diagnosed and died in 2006, the plant closed in 2001.  By most accounts it would have closed then or before 2001 had Bain not propped it up long enough to realize some profit from it.  In other words, Joe was losing his job one way or another, but he could have made some money had he taken the buyout, he refused.  Had Bain not bought the plant and it closed in 2000 or earlier, Joe would not have even had an offer of a buyout.  Once more, Joe’s wife had a job and insurance through 2003.  So she must have become ill after that time, some 2 years down range from when the plant closed.

The lies, falsehoods, faulty implications and outright made up BS in this ad would take pages and pages to unravel.  Suffice to say, the President and his campaign people have decided there is no bar low enough they can’t slink under, if it means falsely accusing Governor Romney of murder in an attempt to stay in office.

That was the Shameful. Now for the stupid.

This attack opens the President up to countless charges of murder.  It’s the same nonsense as with the dog, and the bullying.  The President is guilty of far worse then what his team accuses Gov. Romney of.  In this case however, the President can actually be linked to murder.  It took all of 5 minutes for right wing bloggers to bring up the story of the border patrol agent Bryan Terry killed by a gun used in the failed Fast and Furious operation run by the current White House administration.  See this: Red State

Why on earth would you do that if you were the Presidents election team?  How could they not see what the counter attack would be and avoid it?  It stagers the mind of even the most meager intellectuals among us.

The summer of stupid is just getting warmed up I’m afraid.  Don’t even get me started on the fake christian solidarity over some chicken samiches.  I don’t have time, I have to protest the presence of synchronized swimming at the olympics.  What fast food chain would one go to protest something like that?

Five Guys I hope.

Derision 2012! OK, now it counts.

The pick has been made, the game is afoot.

Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin is the Vice Presidential candidate for the republican ticket.

Cute Little bugger ain’t he.
Photo courtesy of Congressman Ryan’s official home page

Congressman Ryan serves Wisconsin’s 1st District and has since 1999.  The 1st district is home to Janesville, where Ryan is from, and the town of Racine.

You may have heard of Racine, it featured prominently in the Tom Hanks movie A League of their Own, about the Women’s Professional Baseball League that sprung up, largely in the mid-west, during WWII when Major League Baseball was going on hiatus for the war.

After the nonsense with the recall vote in Wisconsin, the stupidity with the dog on the roof (Romney), the eating of dog (Obama), the bullying of classmates (Romney), the using and selling of drugs in high-school (Obama), we may actually get to some serious issues in this campaign.

So you can forget all that crap, it counted for nothing.  We have the other player now. Now it all counts.

Tale of the Tape

Born in 1970 – so yeah he’s only 42, 23 years younger then Governor Romney, but more importantly only 3 short years younger than me.  Maybe my guidance counselor was right.

The congressman is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio with degrees in business and political science.

Married to Janna Little and has 3 children.  So we have four of the most boring faith based family men in the history of American politics going head to head for the White House.  As my friend John said the other day, they are all so alike personally, they’ll have to make stuff up about each other in order to attack.

Mr Ryan is Roman Catholic, coupled with the Governor’s Mormon faith, this is the first presidential ticket in some time without a traditional protestant.  Not sure this is an issue, no actually I’m sure this is not an issue, but with the dopiness that seems to define the President’s current campaign strategy, my gut tells me we’ll hear a little more about this than we should.

An odd but possibly serious fact – Ryan’s father, grand father, and great grand-father all died of heart attacks before the age of 60.  I’m almost positive this will come up.  Medical history is common fodder for campaigns, and that’s some serious history bro.

My $.02

In the interest of full disclosure, I voted for the President in 08, but I was probably voting for the Governor this time around.  The president’s campaigning has led me even further in that direction. This pick all but seals my vote.  I mean excluding the fact the guy is a heart attack waiting to happen, from appearances and speeches he is a no non-sense business guy with the only official budget proposal on the table.  That’s not just between the candidates, that’s all of the body politic in Washington.  His economic plan, like all plans, has rough edges but some republicans even ran from it.  Newt Gingrich, as you may recall, was one of the first to jump ship.

You remember Newt don’t ya: big ass blow hard, ego bigger than his belly, 3x loser on the marriage/adultery circuit.  Has plans for a moon base by his THIRD term as President and thinks little black kids should be taken from grade school and sent to be janitors of Moon Base Gingrich. Yeah that’s him.  Anyway he called Ryan a right wing radical on the morning talk shows when Team Gingrich thought they still had a shot, way back in February.

The right wing radical charge may well be true, and I don’t think it is, but as of this moment no one, not even the republicans, have come up with an official budget proposal even though they don’t seem to be fully behind the Ryan budget.  At least Mr Ryan is working, trying to fix things, a trait that seems foreign to most politicians in DC at the moment.

For the Governor this was a good pick.  Congressman Ryan gives the Governor a solid conservative to lean on.  It would appear to me the two of them can get the conservative base and have a good chance at all those independents and undecideds that will sway the election.

Passed Over 

Senator Rubio of Florida is a little young and Mr Rubio muddled his own history by claiming to have fled Castro’s Cuba when in fact his parents left before the crackdown started.  They didn’t escape or flee on a raft.  They bought airline tickets and basically immigrated to the US.

My pick, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, would have been a good pick, but he probably would not have brought the charge to the ticket the way Mr Ryan will.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio was in contention but like Thune, a solid pick with no pizzaz.

Mr Ryan it is.  I like it.  I’ll probably buy the t-shirt.

I believe the R&R campaign will be civil and focused on the issues at hand.  They better be.  Unlike McCain and Plain, who sidetracked themselves with the nonsense of faith, country of origin, and other derogatory tacts towards then Senator Obama, Romney and Ryan can run on actual truths.  Truth 1: The President is a decent man, but his policies for the last four years have not fixed things.  Truth 2: They should stand up and declare that the President is indeed an American, just not the right American for the job.

All you weak minded folk can wallow in the stupidity of wether he is christian/muslim, American/Keynyan, socialist/communist.  Most of you wouldn’t know a communist or a socialist if they kicked you in the ass.  The irony is President Obama is losing votes from the progressives because he failed to deliver the socialism so many right wing nut jobs said was coming.  It would be laugh out loud funny if it wasn’t such a sad expose of the way the media, left, right, and center, seems to be able to lead the general public around by the nose.

In my opinion, much like President Bush, the current President is a good guy tying to do his best.  President Obama’s best is just not good enough.  Dissecting his polices without slinging mud at his character should be easy enough for the likes of R&R.  (credit Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina for the R&R tag)

However the President’s campaign has shown a bizarre willingness to crawl in the mud, and for no apparent reason.  The Governor never went there, but all the Presidents men seem in a rush to dive into the lowest level of the cesspool.   (A forthcoming post titled “The summer of stupid.” will go into much detail.)    The Governor has yet to make a personal attack against the President.

R&R need to stay on that path.  The high road should lead them to the White House.

You can read Vice Presidential candidate Ryan’s speech here: Romney/Ryan 2012



Diary of a Stay At Home Dad: “She is very soft.”

“She is very soft daddy.”

That was Frank’s first proclamation when he came down stairs the day after we brought her home and realized his sister was here to stay.

It’s been a while.  This may be the longest break I’ve taken from Frank’s Place since this all started last November.   To say we have been tinkering with a workable sleeping schedule would be an understatement.  Currently I have the 11pm and 2am feedings while Tracy gets the 5am and any crying or heart alarms that occur after 3am.  So far so good I think.

When we had Frank it was a little easier.  We followed the advice of some wise veterans, and we let him cry for ten minutes to see if he would go back to sleep.  At first we thought this was a little barbaric, until I started clocking the average time it took him to stop crying and actually go back to sleep.  He never got past 3 minutes.  So we were able to shoehorn him to a sleeping schedule.

Amongst the metric ton of unsolicited advice we received after Frank’s birth, this little needle in a haystack of expertise was the best, partly because we asked and mostly because it worked like a champ.

So there are a few things going on now that make this shoehorning a little less doable with Anne Marie.  First and foremost, she’s a micro-premmie, meaning her birth weight was less than 3 pounds.  We feel like we shouldn’t let her cry very long.  I mean she’s ten pounds now so I’m not sure why her birth weight makes us hesitate or abandon the experiences we gained with Frank, but it does.

The other issue is Frank of course.  He feels the need to be on her every moment, except when he is sleeping of course.  And the kid can sleep the hell out of his bed.  Those of you out there who have babysat Frank know his legendary relationship he has with mattress and pillow.  Four hour naps and 12 hour sleepathons through the night are the standard.  The only deviation is when he naps for five hours or goes 13-14 hours dusk to dawn.  Plus he can sleep through anything from tornadoes to vicious thunderstorms to smoke alarms and now his sisters crying and heart monitor alarms.

But when he is awake he feels everyone should be awake, including his sister.

Man he was a psycho the day we brought her home.  He was never more than 1 inch from her face the entire day.  I wasn’t sure wether to tranquilize him or blast him with a water cannon normally used for riot suppression.  He has calmed down a bit, but he still wants to “soft her”.  That’s his way of saying he wants to touch her head.  Anytime he does someone will always say, Frank do it softly.  So now that’s what he calls touching his sister, softing her.

Frank has also proclaimed that Anne Marie is a very cute baby, a very small baby, and he alerts us, at the top of his lungs, whenever she is sleeping.  Whenever she makes eye contact with him he says “Anne Marie likes me.”

Enjoy it while it lasts Frank, enjoy it while it lasts.


Here of some shots of the only Anne Marie in captivity settling in to her new surounds.

Frank violating AM’s personal space, again.

Hanging with Gobby (my mom)

Trying out the accessories



















This last one I should have done with time lapse.  It took her about ten minutes to migrate from the middle of the cushion to the crevice between the two cushions until she was comfortable and finally fell asleep for good.  She never made a sound, just kept adjusting until she got to where she is in this picture.

Favorite new sleeping space




Here’s hoping we have another sleeper on our hands.