Monday, March 18, 2013

The Ultimate Parent Driving Machine

Not our car.

We made it a whole year and a half but it didn't seem that long. Had circumstances been different, we proabably would have been able to continue like that for much longer.

1 1/2 years.  That's how long the LIAYF household was a one car household.   Let me tell you, with 2 full time working parents and two small children there were certainly times when a second set of wheels would have come in handy.  Many times.

However we managed without too many instances of pleading to friends or neighbors to help us out in a pinch.  But with Annabelle set to go into full time care soon, and Mrs. LIAYF going back to work after her Maternity Leave, it was the right time for us to once again have two cars at our disposal.

With all that in mind, I found myself on Saturday afternoon at a Seattle area BMW dealership, in the midst some very beautiful cars, most with lofty price tags.  Any one of them would have fit the bill nicely, providing Mrs. LIAYF and I a safe and reliable option to shuttle the kids around Seattle for the next several years.  But we actually came to this dealership with a specific vehicle in mind, and thankfully no one had snatched it up before we arrived.

When the salesman came to greet us upon our arrival, I asked if, in fact, the protagonist in the great novel 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' was a car salesman at a Seattle BMW dealership.  I thought I remembered it that way.  "I'm not sure" he responded as he handed me the keys "But you are about to find out".  Just then I felt the first rain drops landing on top of my head.  So, we hopped in and took the car for a spin.  It drove very nice, and met our satisfaction. It was exactly what we were looking for, so we decided to make him an offer.

Later, at some point during the very long and drawn out process of negotiating the purchase price of the car, I was in the waiting area of this beautiful facility, watching some college basketball when I spied a boy who looked about Lukas' age.   He was also missing front teeth.  His mother was nearby, and when she approached I asked how old her son was, which is always a nice conversation starter among parents.

After confirming that he was about the same age, the mom asked if I was there to buy a car.   I let her know that, yes we were buying a car since we had a new infant in the house who was about to go into daycare.

Her eyes brightened at that.  "Which one?!" she asked, smiling at me.  I'm a little slow so it took me a second to realize she didn't mean daycare, but rather - which of the shiny new vehicles surrounding us I would be taking home with me.  "Well...." I responded "I am actually buying a used car today."

"Get out!" she smiled  "My husband is the used car manager here.  He brings home different models for me to drive all the time!  But that's not why I married him!" she laughed out loud.

I nodded, now feeling a bit uncomfortable.  Perhaps she could sense that, because she immediately tried to put me at ease.  "Used cars are nice too." she let me know with a slight touch of sympathy in her voice.  "Yes, that's true" was my rather concise response.

"Because" she continued "The BMW models don't really change from year to year.  So it's almost like you are buying a new model".  That made sense I reasoned.   However, I simply smiled and nodded some more, looking for a way to extricate myself from the conversation, which mercifully came in the form of the salesman returning to negotiate some more with me.

Why was I so relived to be out of that conversation?  Because I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was actually there to buy a Honda.  A 10 year old Honda at that.

And, based on our conversation, I'm not too sure she would have appreciated the fact that it had low miles, was being offered well below blue book, and that our mechanic mentioned that it was one of the most reliable models of all the cars he saw coming into his shop.

Maybe wrongly, but I thought that would have been lost on her.  Sure, it would have been nice to drive away in a shiny new BMW. But with two young kids in private care, this driving machine was about as Ultimate as we could afford right now.

It's nothing fancy, but our new Honda is the perfect car for our family right now.

 Plus, It would be a shame to dirty up the back seats of a brand new Beamer with a bunch of food crumbs anyway.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Baby Girl Farts: Tis The Wind and Nothing More?

I fart a lot....but I'm cute.

I have to say I 'm astonished, ASTONISHED, at how much my infant farts.

She fart when she cries.  She farts when she laughs.  She farts when she eats.  She farts when we change her.  In fact the other day while she was naked on changing table, Mrs. LIAYF turned her on her belly for a bit of tummy time and said "Look at that cute little bummy!" while giving her a gentle pat on the behind.

Then, as I leaned in close to take my look, she ripped one off right at me.  I swear I felt it graze the side of my head as it passed by.  It was one of those loud, butt cheeks flapping together ones too.  It was impressive and of course made both Mrs. LIAYF and I loose our sh$t laughing (pun intended).

I suppose 5 years later I have probably just forgotten how much gas babies have building up in their systems, but I honestly don't remember Lukas ripping off air biscuits quite like Annabelle does.

Or, perhaps I just took it as a given for a baby boy.  I'm sure I probably proudly told everyone within earshot "Oh yeah, that's my boy!" with a chuckle after my little guy would Blow his Bun Bugle as an infant.  Really though, I just don't remember it.

But come on, this is my little girl.  My adorably cute little girl!  Something is not right here.  No one told me that baby girls fart a lot, and LOUDLY too.   Honestly though, I'm not sure exactly what I expected from a girl.  I know they fart.  Everyone does.

I guess I just assumed with a girl there would be a barely audible flapping sound with no wind whatsoever.  And that the room would smell....well....better than it did before said cheese was sliced.

Maybe even like Potpourri.

Imagine my surprise then to be hit in the face, if you will, with the reality that my baby girl rips them off like a regular at a local chowder house.  Like a long haul trucker whose diet consists of coffee and microwave burritos.  Sometimes it even sees like she is making a fist and pumping her arms when it happens.  But I suppose I could be imagining that.

Right now, I'm even afraid her first complete sentence might be "Pull my finger Daddy".

I'm blaming it on the formula..  After all, Lukas was breast fed so maybe that's actually why I don't remember him having that much gas.  At least that is what I'm hoping.

All kidding aside, we do everything we can to ease our little Jelly B's comfort.  Including adding Simethicone, a bubble reducing additive, to each of her bottles.  We are seeing the results too, with less times that she seems to be in pain from her gas bubbles.  But for now it hasn't reduced the farts.

So, help me here folks.  Reassure me.  Tell me that when girls get older, it gets better.  That it's a rather quick transition between this and being very discreet about breaking their wind, as most adult of the female persuasion I know are.

Tell me this readers, because including myself and Lukas we already have plenty of championship lever farters residing in our house.

We don't need the additional competition.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Year of Sleeping Dangerously

Holy Crap I'm tired.

A co-worker actually said to me the other day "Man, you look tired."  To which I replied "I'm 45 with an infant.  It's not a look!"

Sleep? With a Bear after me?  Yeah, right.

And when I say tired, I mean falling off my bar stool tired.  Literally.

The other night I actually tried to sit right here on my hard bar stool in front of my computer and think of something to post about, after Mrs. LIAYF and I had successfully put the kids down to sleep for the night.  I knew I was wiped out, but I had no idea just how much.  As Mrs. LIAYF started to talk to me about our upcoming decision on where to put Lukas for school in the Fall, I could feel my eyes getting heavy.  I tried to fight it, but was not having a lot of success. Mrs. LIAYF noticed too.  "Honey!" she implored   "Are you that tired?"

I didn't get a chance to answer, as the next thing I knew I could feel myself falling sideways off the stool.  It's been several years since I've fallen off a bar stool.  And never before  because of exhaustion.  Luckily, I caught myself on the way down and didn't actually hurt myself.  But yes, I WAS that tired.

How many of you remember having an infant in the house?  For those of you who don't, does that whole period remain a bit fuzzy in your memory?

I know there are those very vocal people who brag that their infants sleep 10-12 hours through the night by the time they are 2 weeks old.  I have a theory about these people.  They are liars.  Lying, liars all of them.  And if they aren't lying, I'm sure that they've made deals with the Devil.  Seriously, what else can explain their good fortune?

But for the rest of us, that first year with an infant is fraught with sleep peril.  Most of you with kids may remember this, but for those of you who do not, or who may have forgot, let me give you a typical night in the LIAYF household these days.

7:00 Put Annabelle to bed
8:00 Put Lukas to bed
8:30 Lukas calls from the stairs that he is hungry
9:00 Annabelle wakes up screaming.  Soothe her, and try to get her back to sleep.
9:30 Lukas calls from the stairs that he is scared of something.
11:00 Annabelle wakes hungry.  I feed and change her.
12:00 Mrs. LIAYF and I go to sleep
2:00 Annabelle wakes hungry.  I give her the pacifier.
3:00 Annabelle wakes hungry.  Mrs. LIAYF feeds her.  I lay awake and listen.
4:00 Lukas enters our room, having had a bad dream
4:30 I carry Lukas back to his room and put him back to bed.
5:00 I get back to sleep.
6:10 My Alarm goes off.  I get up and stumble down the stairs to get ready for work.
6:30 Annabelle wakes.  I walk upstairs and give her a binky.
7:00 I leave for work.
7:30 Annabelle and Lukas wake for the day.

This schedule is not horrible.  For a couple of nights that is.  But once you start stacking them on top of each other, night after night, it seriously starts to wear you down.  Then, before you know if you're apt to have a cold that you can't seem to shake.  And, if you add to that a stressful job, by the time your workday is done you can be seriously tired.

Yes, falling off a bar stool tired.  That's where I have found myself recently.  This goes for Mrs. LIAYF too, who is off work right now but then has to deal with a whole new set of sleep issues with Annabelle during the day all while shuttling Lukas to and from school and swimming.   We can only imagine what it will be like when she goes back to work full time next month.

But hey, Annabelle is already 4 months old.  It seems like just yester.... Okay, who am I trying to kid?  The last 4 months have seemed like a year.  At least.

But if history tells me anything, it's that 5 years from now I won't quite remember how tired I really was.!

I need a time machine.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Makin' Banana Pancakes

I got up early this morning and made breakfast for the family.  Today I made Banana Walnut Pancakes with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.

Not that this is anything unusual for a weekend at Casa LIAYF.  I make this same breakfast at least once every single weekend.  Sometimes more than once.  There have even been three and four day weekends where we loaded up on tasty hotcakes - slathered with peanut butter and either honey, jam, or syrup - each of those mornings.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that one of the enduring memories Lukas will have of childhood will be eating banana pancakes for breakfast - and sharing laughs.  To this day I still remember the plate sized pancakes my own father used to make for us when I was growing up on the farm.

One of the laughs Lukas and I share takes place about the time the first pancakes are about to come off the griddle.  Ever since he could understand me, I would call out loudly "Who wants the biggest Pancaaaaaake!?"  to which Lukas will always respond "I DO!!!"  I'll sometimes fake like I am trying call for the biggest pancake.  But he always beats me to the punch.

Every. Time.

Then, resigned, I will always find a mirco-cake that is the product of a drip from the larger cakes batter gone awry.  I will scoop it up and take it over to him - his nose usually buried in a Lego creation - and present it to him.  "Here's your biggest pancake" I'll deadpan, then feign utter amazement when it disappears in one quick bite.

Then we'll both share a laugh.

Of course I'm not really sure how long my 5 year old love of a boy will continue to humor me in this particular game, or for that matter how long he will continue to want home-made pancakes every single weekend morning.

But until he doesn't, I'll continue to freeze my ripe bananas, stock up on walnuts, and keep plenty of peanut butter and syrup on hand for weekend mornings - and serve up heaping helpings of them.  Always with a smile.

You know, I really hope this never ends.

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