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Mathias Update


We had an interesting weekend with Mathias.  His Madison grandparents got him a trailer bike–or whatever those one-wheeled bikes that hook onto the back of another bike are called–and despite freezing weather he coerced his mom into taking him around the block four times.  At the Twin Cities Auto Show this afternoon he spotted the Jeeps from about 100 feet away, yelled “Jeeps!” and once at the exhibit refused to leave.  Back at home this afternoon he started counting in Spanish, and this evening demonstrated a firm grasp of interpretive dance.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring. At the rate he’s going, I wouldn’t be surprised if he discovered, before bedtime, a repeatable method for creating cold fusion in the bathtub.

Posted in BabyLog at 8:12 pm

Punked by Mathias


So, I thought I’d interrupt this three-class semester to let you know that Mathias played a joke on me at bedtime tonight.  I handed him his sippy cup full of milk, and he turned it over and started sucking on the bottom of the cup.  He waited until he knew I was looking at him, pulled the cup away, said “ha ha,” turned it over and started drinking properly.

Maybe Lisa has had something like this happen before, but it was a first for me.

Posted in BabyLog at 12:17 am

Journal for 14 July 2009: A Weekend With Mathias


So, it was an interesting weekend. Lisa was down in Madison catching up with her folks, leaving me with our rambunctious little toddler. This was a fact that was both fun and challenging, but on the whole the weekend went well. We spent a lot of time outside biking around the lakes, cooking, shopping at Target, and, uh, painting the kitchen (without Lisa knowing we were doing so).

Generally speaking, I’ve found Mathias is happy whenever he can be doing whatever his mom or dad is doing. In most cases it’s enough just to let him mimic what we’re doing—he had a dry paint brush for much of the painting, for example—but every now and then it’s not enough for him to mimic: he needs to have his hands in whatever Lisa or I happen to be doing. This is most problematic when cooking, but I’ve managed to stop that issue—for now—by giving him a perch or location where he can safely see what’s going on.

In the meantime, we’ve installed a child door on the entrance to the kitchen so we don’t get a repeat of what I found him doing when I got out of the shower on Sunday: He’d pulled one of his little toy chairs up to the stove, climbed up, and disassembled one of the burners to see the “clock” inside. (The metal base of the burners kind of looks like a dial, and Mathias is obsessed with anything that looks the least-bit clock-like.) Later in the day I found him on top of one of the kitchen counters, placing plastic bowls in our toaster oven. I have to give him a little credit. If he’s going for disaster, at least he’s aiming high.

~ ~ ~

If there was an actual train wreck over the weekend, it was dinner on Saturday. I decided for us to try the Tin Fish—an occasionally decent restaurant in a fantastic location that keeps us suckers coming back—and came prepared for the long wait I expected with Cheerios, milk, and other items to keep Mathias distracted. It took about an hour and a half to get dinner, but, regrettably, the distractions stopped working on Mathias at the 1:15 mark. The last 15 minutes before we were served were among the longest the entire weekend. Mathias became chipper again once offered french fries, but he wouldn’t touch his fish chips.

The trip to the Mermaid Car Wash on Monday deserves an honorable mention, I suppose: It turned out the car wash was a bit, uh, advanced for Mathias, and while he definitely enjoyed watching the inner workings of the car wash, he was basically horrified to see our car get pulled through it without us in it. So, not quite the father/son bonding exercise I thought it would be. Maybe a year from now he’ll find it more interesting, and acceptable.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:17 pm

Journal for 7 Jul 2009: Long Weekend


The original plan for the Fourth of July weekend had been to take Mathias on his first camping expedition, but those plans had to be scuttled due to a combination of everyone in the house getting sick—first Mathias, and then his mom and I in rapid succession—as well as the threat of severe weather. (Trying to camp with a toddler is one thing. Trying to camp with him in a thunderstorm is quite another.) We still had a reasonably fun and productive weekend, though, starting with setting up our tent in the sunroom and camping there.

Mathias loved the tent, so we have that going for us. We hope to get him out in the great outdoors before the end of the month.

On Thursday evening, despite coughs coming from each and every family member, we took Mathias out for his first bike ride. We decided not to do the yuppie-bike-trailer thing, instead opting for the more traditional (and harder to find) rear-mounted child seat. Mathias enjoyed it—he gave us a number of “wows” over the course of the ride—although he proved to be extremely fussy about who was riding which bike. The seat was mounted on Lisa’s bike, but Mathias would flip out whenever he saw me riding on my bike. We solved this by me switching to Lisa’s bike—which does not fit me well at all—and that more or less satisfied him, although he flipped out on a couple of occasions when Lisa rode in front or behind of me. (I’ve noticed this is somewhat typical of him these days. When I’m around he likes to be by me, but he always wants his mom in close proximity.) This may turn into one of those things where it’s easier for Lisa or me to do something with Mathias, rather than both of us trying to do something with him. We’ll see.

Our destination that beautiful Thursday evening was the Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun. Once getting there we stood in line for 25 minutes to place our order, only to be told there would then be an additional 30 minute wait for our food. Mathias was way past his regular dinnertime, so we opted for hot dogs, which were ready. They were horrible.

On Saturday we decided to ignore the clouds and sprinkles and head down to the Minnesota Zoo. The poor weather was actually beneficial for us, as it probably would’ve been more difficult to wrangle Mathias if the zoo had been busy. As it was, we spent plenty of time trying to keep him from crawling into the exhibits. Next time we go, he’s going to be on a bungee cord tied to my belt. And we’ll probably avoid the butterfly exhibit.

Mathias Attacking Butterflies at the Minnesota Zoo

Saturday evening brought fireworks at Powderhorn Park, and Mathias up way past his bedtime.

Beyond that, most of the weekend was spent cleaning, and by cleaning, I mean by renting commercial-grade cleaning equipment to try to rid the house of pet dander. It’s not clear how much of an impact all this effort will have, but if all goes well, we hope to have Mathias off of the daily nebulizer treatments by the end of the summer. The nebulizer treatments over the past week have been especially difficult, as Mathias has to go on an additional treatment whenever he’s sick. The additional treatment pushes each neb session to a full half hour—we have to go through two of them every day—and the drug has the side effect of making him extremely hyper. As an added bonus, we’re supposed to give him the second treatment just before bedtime, so getting him down has been a lot of work.

In short, we’re sick of the nebs. I miss my cat, and Lisa misses her pigs, but if we can get Mathias better by not having them in the house, it’ll be worth it.

Wow, this turned into a long entry. I guess I should quit and go do something productive. More later.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:37 pm

Journal for 21 June 2009


Despite the scheduling complexity in my life these days–one day this past week had meetings at both 7:30 AM and 10:30 PM–I’m trying to set aside 10-15 minutes every day to write.  So much going on, so little time to write or even think about it.

~ ~ ~

Today is my second Father’s Day as a father, and my first Father’s Day without one.  Not much else to say about that.

Yesterday was Mathias’ second birthday.  We had a small party, and my mom was up in the Cities to celebrate it, along with Ben and his kids.  It was a lot of fun, but to be honest Mathias and Ben’s kids seemed to have just as much fun, if not more, running around the mega mall later in the evening.  (They closed the Lego store.)   Hopefully there’ll be some time to meet up with Ben and his family tomorrow morning before they head back to Two Rivers…

…And before I head back to Bangalore later in the afternoon.  I’ll be gone for a week.  This will be my first trip during monsoon season, so it should be interesting.  I’ll have a really packed schedule while there, but hopefully I’ll be able to get out a little bit, something I really wasn’t able to do last time I was in town.

Last weekend we were in Two Rivers and Green Bay, in what was essentially an in-and-out stop to hit the Day Out With Thomas being held at the National Railroad Museum.  Mathias had fun, but we’ll have to go again when he’s old enough to remember it.

~ ~ ~

I can’t believe it’s almost July already.  It feels like the summer has just begun.  If I have time one of the evenings I’m in India, I may try figuring out when and where Lisa, Mathias and I can go camping.  I better do that soon, as before we know it I’ll be back in school and our brief Minnesotan summer will have faded to Fall.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal,Travelog at 11:31 pm

Mathias and CLOCKS


I’m starting to wonder if I should be worried with my son’s ongoing obsession with clocks. “Clock” was one of his first words, and while there was a bit of a dry period where he only gave passing interest to them, his sudden realization last week that the speedometer in my car looks like “A CLOCK!!!!” has resulted in three to four hours of Lisa or me sitting out in my car his week so Mathias could jump up and down on the driver’s seat, play with dials and switches, and comment on the “clock” on the dashboard. (The fact my car has plenty of lights, another Mathias obsession, albeit not quite as severe, has exacerbated this issue.)

A recent purchase of a toy car big enough for him to ride in has not distracted him from his idea that my car is a plaything, but in all likeliness has actually made things worse.  We’ve had a number of cases this week where he’s run to the back of the house (towards the garage), sometimes pulling Lisa or me along, pointing and proclaiming “clock!” and “car!”  Refusal to take him out has a seemingly inevitable result: Mathias flips. The fuck. Out.

Last night while walking back from Sebastian Joe’s, we made the mistake of taking a route that allowed Mathias to make a beeline for our garage.  In hopes of directing Mathias elsewhere, I pretended that the garage door wouldn’t open, but Mathias responded with a trick of his own, his first four-word sentence, delivered with a high level of concern: “The car is stuck!”  Lisa and I looked at each other, dumbfounded.  After a few attempts to divert his attention, we let him in the garage, briefly.  The expected happened when we removed him, though.

As with many things relating to the junior member of the household, we’re assuming this is a stage.  I’m sure we’ll be nostalgic about it when he’s older, but for now, we kind of hope it passes quickly.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:18 am

Journal for 6 June 2009


Only two more mornings of Putter waking up the family in an effort to get his breakfast.  His new owner picks him up on Sunday.  That afternoon, we’re going to start the tedious process of eliminating any cat residue from the apartment, just another step in our battle against Mathias’ respiratory problems.

Am I going to miss our cat? Heck yes. Putter has a long track record of driving Lisa up the wall, but it’s pretty clear she’s going to miss him, too.  There’s comfort in the fact Putter is going to a rabid cat person, someone who has cat-sit for him in the past, and who actually currently does cat sitting for a living.  There’s some concern Putter may have trouble adjusting to a house with other cats in it, not to mention the fact he’s on a special diet, but it sounds like his new owner has some creative ideas for dealing with those issues.  If worse comes to worse, we can help find him another home somewhere else.

Next weekend, it’ll be the guinea pigs’ turn, as they relocate to Northeastern Wisconsin.

~ ~ ~

Other than that, life is the typical: Busy.  Depending on the weather this weekend, we may or may not be hitting the Minneapolis farmer’s market.  The same goes for Grand Old Days.  Priority will be given to cleaning and decluttering, though.  We’ll have family in town in a few weeks for Mathias’ second birthday, and this will be the only weekend to clean up post-Putter.

Between yoga class for Lisa, swimming and music classes for Mathias, and my sudden urge to bike all over the Twin Cities, it’s safe to say we’re a pretty busy family.  Next weekend, we’ll be in Green Bay. The weekend after that, it’s Mathias’ birthday, and my mom will be in town.  And on Father’s Day, I’m off to India for the third time this year.

Life is interesting.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal,Putter at 11:52 pm

BabyLog: Mathias’ Amazing Expanding Vocabulary


I haven’t given a Mathias update in a while, but the past few days definitely call for one. Sometimes his growth and development comes in the form of gradual changes, and other times it comes like it has over the past few days. I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but both verbally and conceptually he seems to have gone up a few steps. Just over a week ago he grasped the concept of a circle–the first shape he’s been able to identify verbally–and since then has started identifying things like airplanes, trucks, screwdrivers and a wide range of food products.

Over the weekend he and I were out in the sunroom–his defacto playroom–and he was banging away at his toy piano. After a couple of minutes he paused without warning, looked at me, said “practice,” and went back to banging on the keys. I was floored. His Thomas And Friends video has suddenly stopped being “choo choo,” and has started being “Thomas.” And today, he saw a picture of himself, pointed at it, and said “me.”

Mathias has had a relatively long track record of putting two words together–usually some noun preceded by “a,”–but today he walked up to his mom and matter-of-factly said three words: “I love you.”

So, a lot of changes from the little one around here, and he’s not even two.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 9:37 pm

Journal for 23 Feb 2009: Back to Normal


Last week was quite a week, but thankfully things now look back to normal. Mathias’ stay at the hospital was shorter than expected—he was able to head home Monday evening—but he remained under close supervision at home for the rest of the week. (We knew he was back to normal when he started throwing toys at us.) Tomorrow, he’s back to daycare, which may be where this entire little virus saga began in the first place.

We’re still not sure what exactly it was that Mathias had last week. The doctors ruled out pneumonia and RSV, which left a few other viral infections that are somewhat difficult to identify. Whatever it was, I hope it helps his little immune system. I’d rather not see him in the hospital like that again.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 11:03 pm

Journal for 15 Feb 2009: Sick Mathias


Our Valentine’s Day was sponsored by Health Partners Urgent Care and Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.

Mathias has been battling a cold since Tuesday evening.  He seemed to be getting over it by Friday afternoon, but Saturday we awoke to find our son to be extremely lethargic and breathing rapidly.  We headed to an urgent care center near our apartment, and after about an hour and a half there they referred us to Children’s Hospital, where we are now.  After a battery of tests, we now have a better idea about what Mathias doesn’t have than what he does have.  The best guess is that it’s something upper respiratory in nature, kind of like pneumonia, but without some of pneumonia’s effects.

Apparently there is a lot of this going around, whatever it is.  Mathias is on oxygen for now, and may have to stay on it for a day or so as his body fends off whatever its afflicted with.  If we’re lukcy he’ll be able to head home tomorrow, but Tuesday is sounding more likely.

Well, here’s the nurse for more tests.  More later.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 8:48 pm
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