The Steak/ Banana Stand-Off…

Ok.

So here’s the deal. I’m all about trying something and determining that you don’t like it. I’m not saying that you need to sit there and eat everything on your plate… You don’t like that steak, ok, chew up what’s in your mouth, swallow it, and you don’t have to eat anymore.

Then it started.

It was subtle at first. Much like myself in trying to be sly, she tried to get it under the radar.

After five minutes of chewing without taking anymore bites, I became suspicious.

Chew up what’s in your mouth and swallow it.

“I am.”

— —

Another 30 seconds go by. Still chewing.

Amelia. Swallow what’s in your mouth.

“I don’t like it.”

Swallow what’s in your mouth and you don’t have to eat anymore.

“But I don’t like it.”

— —

So it had begun.

I wanted the lesson of fully trying something to sink in. Gut through it and swallow, you’ll be fine… At least you tried it. Spitting food out at the table is gross and not ok…. But she is stubborn.

But, so am I.

Before dinner, she had asked for a banana, 15 minutes into what was a losing battle on my behalf, I remembered this piece of bargaining gold.

Never in my life would I have thought eating a banana in front of someone would be a negotiation tactic.

Enter parenting.

I had threatened bedtime, tv, and various other standard techniques…. The food was still being treated like a cows cud…

Casually chewed…. Never swallowed.

I grabbed the banana.

Amelia, do you want a banana after dinner?

“Yeah.”

Swallow what’s in your mouth, or you aren’t getting it.

**casually chewing continues**

(Thought process: shit.)

Amelia, if you don’t swallow what’s in your mouth right now I’m going to eat your banana.

“Nooooo.”

**continues chewing**

(Thought process: Am I seriously about to have to do this? I can’t back out now… Ok…. You brought this on yourself kid.)

**I unpeeled the banana… Slowly with apparent intent in my eyes***

“Daaaaaaad! NNNNOOOOOO!”

Swallow what is in your mouth. Now.

*continues chewing*

— —

Now, before you go judging, saying, maybe she just couldn’t swallow it, maybe it wasn’t in her control… I tried getting her to drink water, she would push it to the side in her mouth and swallow. Then continue chewing. She knew what she was doing.

I began threatening the bananas well-being like a thug breaks a loved ones fingers in front of the guy he is interrogating.

Do you want this banana?

“Yeees.”

Then swallow what’s in your mouth.

**30 seconds of silence,  I took my first bite**

“Noooooo!!”

Then swallow the food. The longer you go without listening, the less banana you’ll have to eat.

**more chewing without swallowing…. Process repeated**

— —

We got down to 1/4 of a banana, and I had a idea.

You can have a bite if you swallow your food…

“Oh kaay.”

**the tiniest morsel of banana went into her mouth, food was swallowed***

— —

YEEEEES!

There were tears, bites of banana, and slight life scarring…. But a life lessoned was learned.

Daddy’s not screwing around…. So you better listen.

Seriously though, I have never fought so hard not to smile as when I was negotiating with a three-year-old over swallowing a bite of food.

The steak-banana stand-off will live on forever.

Thought you all might enjoy this story of how I scarred my child emotionally. You’re welcome.

As always, more to come, stay close///

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A bubbling sense of independence; and baby chicks!

Oh, hey. Hello.

It’s been awhile. Finding time to sit and write seems next to impossible these days. Life is constantly pushing forward, it’s like that moment right after you trip where you do the awkward running forward thing trying to keep your feet under your body so you don’t actually fall and eat it into the concrete; just trying to keep my feet under me.

Amelia continues to grow and learn new stuff every second too.

The good news is that while the whining remains, the fits subsided pretty quick. Teaching my child manners remains a constant battle; not that she is rude, she just seems to forget key phrases like “Can I please have…” over “I want…”

Overall, simple kid things.

However.

Her independence level is growing rapidly. Teeth brushing, drink getting (at least water from the fridge [which absolutely MUST have ice in it, every time]), dressing herself in the mornings… it all comes with a simple phrase and the same basic interaction:


*standing there watching her struggle a little*
Are you sure you don’t want just a little bit of help?

“No thanks, I can do it.”

Alright.


She is pretty great.

As a fun side note, I’m having to really start watching what I say, as the following random interaction happened a couple weeks ago:


“(out of nowhere one evening) Dad?”

Yes, Ameel’s?(a nickname for her I picked up from a friend of mine)

“Did you know we can’t say f**k?”

(as I pick my jaw up off the floor and pop my eyeballs back into my skull) WHAT?!

“F**k. We can’t say it. It’s a bad word.”

Uh. Stop saying that word. No, you can’t say it.

“I know. It’s a bad word, so we can’t say it.”

Ok. Well, don’t say it again, ok?

“Ok.”


 

Well. Hey man, after five years in the Navy and growing up around parents who weren’t exactly filtered in their choice of words…. it’s a bad habit, ok?! Anyways. I chuckled, as always, at the interaction.

Our biggest new development was a decision to jump on the backyard chicken train. We are the proud new owners of five adorable little baby chicks. I love them. And… they love me.

(It’s the audio that matters in the video, as the video itself is kinda dark, but you get the idea)

We’ve got (left to right/ top to bottom) Zoey, Gingie, Frightful, Princess FeatherBottom and Edna.

  

 

My current favorite is Princess FeatherBottom, who loves to perch, or as I like to call it: “Ready herself for the hunt…”

img_20160523_191608.jpg
The hashtags on Instagram look something like this: #trainingmyfalcon to #hunt . . . It’ll take some time.

Amelia loves them though.

Like. A lot.

We got a bag of dehydrated meal worms, or as the chicks know it: crack. They love it. We bought it about a week ago, and they already know to run up to the edge of the kiddie pool (their current indoor living situation) and wait for a handful. I have been making sure they only get it by hand, so they see us as a positive.

She feeds them a handful or five in the evenings, says good night to them before bed and “bye” in the mornings when she leaves for daycare.

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Not too long after we got them, Amelia feeding a little baby some food…

It’s totes adorbs to the max.

Anywho, chickens are pretty awesome and you’ll get to enjoy the process of me building a coop soon enough I’m sure. I’ve changed my mind how I want to do it at least 5 times already. Luckily I have another three months before they need a real outdoor living structure.

Slowly but surely, I hope to get back into the act of posting more regularly; finding time to write has been cumbersome, I need to make a more honest effort at it though. Welp, until next time:

Stay close, more coming soon///

Keeping it Fresh . . . The Diaper, That is. . . . .

Every diaper is like trying to outrun the apocalypse.

You know it’s going to happen, no matter how long you wait to change it, hoping they squeezed it all out… they are never fully done.

   Grab the wipe, move like Flash Gordon trying to get their butt clean, and then you have to do the one-handed change out while holding their feet up like a cow wrangler, which is baby code for time to poop.

Unfortunately for Marie, she just wasn’t fast enough, and she paid the price. Poop. Everywhere.

I thought it was hilarious, she wasn’t as entertained.

   You learn quickly that farts can be the scariest thing you’ll encounter in your entire life. When you are holding a baby by the legs trying to slide a diaper under their butt and they fart, you will have the worst one-second panic attack ever.

“OH NO!!! . . . . ok, whew….”

 

   It’s been great though. Aside from leaking diapers and the occasional science defying poop-up-the-back trick that newborns seem to be pretty good at, it’s been an amazing experience. And we are only three weeks in. Three weeks down, 60+ years to go.

   I have found it to be quite interesting how quickly a baby can develop habits and dislikes. For example, Amelia doesn’t care for her swing, loves the papasan, hates her crib and will sleep like, well, a baby when you put her on your chest. The oddest thing by far THUS far though, is that she LOVES walking up and down the stairs.

   It doesn’t seem to matter how upset she is, what’s causing it or for how long she has been crying. As soon as I walk her up the stairs she’ll quiet right down. It’s a simple fix, though again with the panic attacks, of course she loves to be walked up and down the most dangerous part of our house. Every step is like I’m making sure there aren’t hot coals under my feet.  

   I have been loving every bit of it though. I’ve come to realize that I am getting spoiled though as she has, from the first night she was alive, been sleeping 3 or more hours at a time. Experienced parents hear this and they get a look of shear hatred in their eyes for half a second masked by fake words of excitement. I always feel bad when I have to answer it.

 “So, are you getting a lot of sleep?”

Which really means:

“So how’s being kept up every night and never getting to sleep for more than like 20 minutes at a time, have you gone insane yet? HAHAHAHA WELCOME TO PARENTING!!!!!!”

Then you answer with:

“Actually, she sleeps for like 3 hours at a time.”

They respond with:

“Oh that’s good.”

Their eyes say:

“I hate you. I haven’t slept in 3 years. I hope a jet engine test shop is built next to your house tomorrow.”

 

   Amelia is doing great though, she went in for her two-week appointment not long ago, came in at just over ten pounds and in the 92% of size for her weight and 73% for her length. Healthy and seemingly pretty happy.

   She doesn’t fuss too much either. She only gets noisy when she actually has a problem, i.e. needs a clean diaper, is hungry, she’s too hot or cold or needs help with getting a fart out. That’s pretty much the extent of her worries at three weeks old. What a life, eh?

   Drives Marie nuts because I can pick her up and quiet her down within a couple minutes, and now with this stair thing figured out, I am Mr. Problem Solver. I like it though, she loves her dad. And there is nothing wrong with dad being able to solve all of her problems. Won’t last forever; but the longer Amelia doesn’t know that the better for me. ;)

   Well, that’s about all for now, we are going to be doing some actual portraits here in the next couple of days, so stay tuned for those to be put up. Stay close, plenty more to come!

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The Best Feeling Ever? Being a Dad.

This is going to be a hard post to write. How do you explain the experience of becoming a dad? Amazing. Intense. Emotional. Awesome. All of the above for 500 please, Alex.

So, if you are keeping track of every post, you know Amelia Renee Williams is finally here. If you aren’t keeping track of every post…. Amelia Renee Williams is finally here. Now you know. And she is amazingly perfect. Healthy, cute and coming in at 9.3 pounds when born and 22″ long, she is a “my sized” baby. Keep in mind, I’m 6’5”… big is normal. Poor Marie had to deliver her though….

   Marie went into labor about 11:30 at night on Wednesday. At 3:07 PM on Thursday, November 8th of 2012, Amelia finally decided to make her grand appearance into the world. I would like to proudly say that I ended up getting a pretty front row seat to everything, the midwives at the hospital had me kinda holding a leg and being RIGHT there, so I watched her…. pop out, for a gently put description. I handled it like a champ, it really wasn’t as gross or dramatic (ok, well, it was dramatic, it’s BIRTH, but grossly dramatic is what I mean) as everyone makes it out to be. They wrangled her out, the cord got caught around her neck (just like her daddy when I was born) flipped her around like baby wrangling pros, and set her on Marie. I lost. My. Mind, people.

(sorry about the shirt, this is what happens when she goes into labor at 11
at night, pajama top and jeans over pajama bottom… it’s a cartoon reference
of the movie Braveheart, for everyone’s understanding…)

   I have never experienced such emotion in my entire life. There was an overwhelming flood of love and excitement. I did everything I could to keep it together and remain “manly” but within a few seconds I was crying. They asked me if I wanted to cut the cord and even though I know it’s not going to squirt blood everywhere and flail around like a fire hose, I decided against cutting through veins and organy stuff. My response to the midwife was “I’ve done pretty good with everything else, but that’s not really my thing.” or something very close. She chuckled, but I was dead serious. That’s the only thing that totally weirded me out through it all… cut the cord….. eeesh.

   As they picked Amelia up to take her over to the table to clean her up and check her out, one of the midwives told me I could go over to her if I wanted. Of course I did, but I was still holding Marie’s leg. So after sorting out what to do with a leg post-birth and no stirrup… I headed over to her.

It’s interesting that mother nature, or God, or science or whatever, creates such an emotional response in a man. The woman has to go through labor and all that, so you would expect some sort of a chemical trigger or emotion that would cause them to bond on sight. But I wouldn’t have thought that kind of a process happens in a man. Going into it all I knew when I saw her for the first time that I would be excited and filled with love, but I had no idea what I was in for. It was the most intense experience of my life. I stood there staring down at a life that I had created. I am responsible for. This tiny little person (for lack of a better word) belongs to me. The nurse guy wrapped her up and handed her off to me. And I was a step away from bawling. Completely overcome with excitement, love, joy, contentment, amazement…. I suddenly understood exactly what a father’s love for his daughter meant. Unexplainable, overpowering and insanely intense emotion. Holding her for the first time, I was overcome with a sense of peace and happiness. I was absolutely instantly in love with her.

   We are now five days in. I have changed all but three of her diapers, I figure I shouldn’t short Marie of all the fun. I did, however, hog her the first day home though. Marie’s mother Kathy is staying with us visiting from Hawaii, she’s all but drop kicking me to free up her granddaughter for a few minutes to be able to hold her.

   Holding my little girl is already when the universe becomes still for me. Every time I look down at her in my arms, my soul is quiet, happy and content. She may be in the middle of a crying fit and it’s 2:30 in the morning, but I’m happy just holding her and getting to go through being a dad. Being her dad. It’s an unexplainable feeling and the more I try to find words, the cheesier it seems to get. But the seemingly intense cheesiness is as close as I can get. Like everyone who has kids had told me about the feeling I’d get the first time I saw her and every time I look at her, you just have to experience it.

   Well, I suppose it’s time to go get some sleep while I have the chance. We’ll be up in a couple of hours trying to get a five-day-old infant through yet another life shattering dirty diaper crisis. Honestly though, lucky for us, she is pretty mild-mannered. She only gets bent out of shape long enough for us to figure out what’s wrong and fix it, then she’s back to being happy.

   Time for bed. Can’t believe she’s finally here. It’s awesome and I am already trying to savor every second of it. More coming soon, stay close…

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Bump Photos, Baby Movements and Moments to Remember . . .

Baby bump photos.

Let me explain to you how much nagging it takes to get a photographer to take his own baby bump photos. My mother, who does have a very valid point, has been pestering for me to take baby bump photos since the moment she found out that we were, in fact, having a baby.

“Is she showing yet? Get the baby bump photos. Oh I am so excited, have you done the photos yet? You NEED to do the photos, Matthew, time is going to fly by and you are going to miss it and you’ll never be able to get it back… It’s going to be too late really soon…”

Every. Single. Phone call.

She had a very valid point indeed though. My little girl isn’t even born and I am already almost missing moments. How is this happening? Two days ago we found out we were pregnant, now she’s 23 weeks along…

So, I took time out to get my baby bump photos.

   As a one-man photo band, I have learned that when prepping to do stationery formal portraits, I am my own best lighting model. Thanks, timer function.

   It’s also important to have a qualified lighting technician to help. In this case, Fletch, one of our two labradoodles, would have to suffice…

So, after getting the light set up (yes, for you photo nerds out there… ONE light. Keep it simple… It looks just fine!) and figuring out how the reflector would need to be placed to fill the camera right side of her face in (ah, alright photo nerds, one light AND a reflector. . . you got me…) and waking Marie up from her evening before bed nap, we took us some baby bump photos. Good thing we did it when we did, in the last few days she has blown up! Her belly is getting bigger literally every day. It’s amazing to watch happen.

   In the final dog photo, we thought it only fair to Dexter to let him be in the photo. He has pretty much become Marie’s dog. Side note, labradoodles… really great dogs.

    Aside from posting my glamour shots and photos of my lovely ladies, however, I wanted to talk within my blog which is supposed to be all about documenting stuff and whatnot, about these moments.

   Moments are what make up our lives. They are the only things that can and do create a memory. You don’t have memories about every meal, trip to the grocery store or casual outing to the local Wal-mart.You have memories about events and happenings throughout your life. Good or bad, a moment is what writes your path through life. Already, before my daughter is even born into this world, we are experiencing these moments. Watching Marie’s belly grow and knowing that my little girl is in there getting bigger by the day gets me all choky and teary. It’s also made me download every song I could find relating to fathers and daughters. It’s my drive to work playlist now…

These photos are the first set of photos saying “Here is my daughter; better get ready world, ‘cause it’s about to be on.”

For the first time since this pregnancy began I got the chance last night while laying next to Marie to really feel her movement. Before now, there has been the occasional ‘I think that was a kick’ or ‘Yeah, I kinda felt something I think…’ Marie was already passed out asleep, and as I laid down and assumed the hand on the belly and ‘goodnight talk’ I give to my little girl, I felt her kick. Then again, and again and again again again. I laid there in the dark feeling her do somersaults and perfecting her cartwheels already. Elbow dropping mommy’s spine. . . . nice, kiddo.

That little section of time, however, will live in my mind for the rest of my life. I laid there talking to my little girl, feeling her practicing for the 2028 gymnastic uneven bar Olympics’ team, getting to really FEEL my daughter’s life for the first time.

It’s the start of a rapid path that has no brakes. The further you get, I would imagine the steeper the path seems and the faster it flies by. But for now I’ll do what I can to enjoy every kick and movement, every random pregnancy craving that takes me to Wal-Mart at ten at night, and every moment that will help to create the memories that will soon be my daughter’s first years of life. Much, much more coming. . . stay close.

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The Gender Video. And Some Words On My Views . . .

Time for you to know, my fair readers. Boy??? Or Girl????? Only clicking play will tell. I suppose you could skip the video and just read further down, but what fun is that. It’s only a minute and a half. Hit play, you’ll be glad you did. DON’T let your eyes wander or you’ll miss the fun . . . .

 

 

So, yup. A girl! A Boy. A Girl? A Boy!! Did you watch the video?? If you did, you’ll know this whole line is just a ploy to keep wandering eyes confused. . . go hit play and watch the video . . . .

A girl! Really this time, now that you have watched the video, you know that Amelia is the name and it’s actually, factually a girl! Now we just have to decide who among our friends and family we want  thinking is our favorite relative, because that’s all we are getting for middle name recommendations.

“You know, my middle name comes from my Grandmother’s side on her father’s side and was passed down for 6 generations…”

Yeah, but YOUR middle name would make my daughter sound KIIINDA hooker’ish. No offense.

   A little girl.

   She’s not dating until she’s 28ish. And I need to buy a fancy gun to show off to all her little boyfriends. Hopefully we’ll live on land by the time she is dating age, so whenever her new boyfriends come over, I can take them out back, give them a meaningful speech and show them how I can pick off a squirrel running away from me at 100 yards.

See that son, that there is how you… uh, I mean the squirrel, would run if that squirrel broke my daughter’s heart. . . . The bigger the target, the easier the shot. I’d say you’re about a hundred times bigger than that squirrel…..I learned that shootin’ technique while I was bein’ a CIA NAVY SEAL for the FBI; fashioning weaponry out of stones and turtle shells in Cambodia near Buffalo. . . .  Have her home by nine. . .

“Your dad’s kinda crazy..”

Job Done. 

   Seriously though, I have come to the following decision regarding why I was given a girl. I have been looking forward to having a kid since I was like 15. A tiny little sidekick. I have already been preparing and anxiously awaiting to love it more than I can even understand. Only a little girl can handle and deal with being so loved though. Little boys writhe away and refuse it because they get too cool and just don’t like being liked… but a little girl will just twist you around her finger that much more and lap it up. And I am already ok with that. I am going to be the biggest pushover parent ever.

   Not, however, in the sense that my little girl will get anything she wants. Or that she can get stuff by throwing fits. Let’s not get confused here. I won’t hesitate to drop an elbow here and there.

   But, like I’ve said before, little girls were made to be spoiled. So, that’s just what I’ll do. 

   Well, that’s all for now. Short post with a big announcement! We’ve been pretty swamped with Marie’s orders and trying to figure out what’s happening, when we are moving, where are we even moving to and just general life getting in the way of daily perfection.  Refresh your browser often…. More coming soon (including our few baby bump photos)!

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T-Minus 30 Hours to Gender . . .

  

 

   Just about 30 hours to go until the gender determining ultrasound. I have been looking at more “gender-determining ultrasound photos” than I care to admit. I feel like a weird-o, but I just don’t trust Portsmouth Naval Hospital to get ANYTHING right. Also, you would think those parts are easier to tell apart, but at this stage, no, they are not. They had better be printing the little photos out for us; I’ll be comparing them to 75,452 internet ultrasound photos.

   Everyone keeps thinking that I’ll be disappointed if it’s a girl. I really won’t. Truth be told, if it’s a girl it means I get to do tiny toenails, braid hair, play dress-up, learn to sew princess dresses, and live a frillier fancier home life taking tea with a plethora of stuffed animals… I’m already looking forward to all those things if it turns out to be a girl.

   My only worry is that they will get it wrong. Every guy wants a boy, and if you have read any of my posts to date you know I’m not any different. I won’t be a shred less excited to find out that it’s a girl, but I know that if they say “girl, totally a girl” I am going to assume they are wrong. Not because I don’t want a girl, or because I really want it to be a boy; but because to date I haven’t heard anyone say anything positive about this hospital’s competency, nor could they even manage to get us scheduled correctly (it took three weeks of hassle just to get the appointment made), nor have any of our interactions thus far been positive. Therefore, I don’t expect anything good to come out of this visit, which sucks. We should be looking forward to this, not in any sense dreading it.

   I worry too that my immediate frustration of hearing it’s a girl and worrying that they are wrong will get in the way of my excitement for what it is. “It’s a girl” I’m willing to bet you are wrong. “Excuse me?” Damn, my inside voice got out again . . .

   I am excited to find out though. I’m sure on the brighter side of looking at it, since normally people find out at 18-20 weeks and we are almost at 22 weeks, we’ll get a more defined view and for sure answer.

   I am also looking forward to shooting our gender announcement video. I have drafted a pretty clever little screenplay in my head; I think it’s gonna be pretty great! I’ll of course post it up; we’ll shoot it this week (probably tomorrow evening) and have the announcement uploaded by Friday I am hoping. What a cool world we live in, technologically. Though I did just read about someone who did a movie trailer-like announcement. If only Don LaFontaine were still alive, I would TOTALLY email him asking for the voice over announcing my child’s gender. That would hand’s down be the best way to start your life I think; as narrated by Don LaFontaine.

   So, that’s what is on my mind today. Just got to get through today and noon tomorrow, then it’s off to Satan’s Lair, formally known as Portsmouth Naval. It’s like all the world’s most useless people put into one (not really) working hospital. Stay subscribed, announcement to come!

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