16 Month Check-In

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What’s New With You:
It’s been kind of a slow month by your standards buddy. But there has still been plenty to celebrate. While you’ve never been the prototypical baby when it comes to teething (i.e. crying out of control), you still don’t do discomfort real well. Over this last weekend you were SUPER-cranky for Mom and Dad. We were pretty dumb-founded by this because you’ve been in a pretty awesome mood lately. Mommy later spied another molar pushing its way through your little gums. I’d be pissed too.

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Mom and Dad have been pushing hard to get out of all the boxes still sitting around the house, and you love to dig through them and toss their contents all over the place….so, thanks for that

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You love to explore your new house.

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You’ve become quite the big helper when Dad is building something or fixing something around the house.
Learning, learning, learning:

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You’re really getting this whole walking thing buddy. Once you started moving; you haven’t stopped. You still love to climb the stairs, and in fact you still keep Mom and Dad on their toes when you sprint for the stairs and get half way up before we can reach you. You’re starting to show signs of wanting to pull yourself up on furniture, but thank goodness our couches are still a bit too high for you because I don’t think I’m quite ready for all that yet. Your speech patterns are starting to develop too. You’ve learned a couple of words to date. You’ve saying “Uh Oh” for a few months now, but your new favorite word is “NO,” and boy do you love to say it to Mom and Dad a lot….wonder where you learned that from. You’ve also started experimenting with a few other words like “Door, Sock….and Mine.” The last one we’re not super hip on because you are well aware of what “Mine” means.
These are the moments to remember:

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The last two Mother’s Days you’ve shown a habit of debuting some new/sweet skill that just makes Mommy’s day. Trust me kiddo, keep that going in the coming years; it will only help you in the long run. Last year it was the genuine laugh that pushed Mommy to tears of joy; this year’s trick; giving Mommy a kiss upon request. Mommy was simply over the moon when she asked you for a kiss and you ran up and gave her a big kiss on the cheek.

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Oh, and you know exactly the kind of gifts Mommy loves. Way to One-Up your Dad bro, lol

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Unfortunately buddy this month had some bummer moments too. You got really sick with a double ear infection and strep throat. Daddy especially loved it when the doctor told him kids can’t get strep throat, right as your results came back as not only positive for strep, but over the top positive. You slept a lot; so much that Mommy and Daddy were really scared. But, once you got your meds, you felt so much better.
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What’s on the menu:

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We’ve found out that you love chicken noodle soup…and that’s pretty much all you want to eat. This has proven to be both awesome and trying for Mom and Dad.
Likes:

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You’re likes are pretty much the same. Walking is your #1 favorite thing to do. But most of all you want to go outside all the time. Mom loves this about you. She loves to be outside.

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You love to connect with your peeps via social networking. Or maybe you’re the E-Trade baby and we didn’t know it. Can you give Mom and Dad some stock tips?
Dislikes:
You clearly do not like to be told what to do. Certainly you don’t like being to you can’t do something, and you are pretty good at expressing your displeasure about it.
Adventures:
While it might have been a “slow” month, we got in some awesome quality time together. Your buddy FG came to see your new digs and Mom and Dad got to have some “adult conversation” with her Mommies; we needed that. On Mother’s Day you, me and Mommy went over to the garden park by our house for a little afternoon fun. You had a great time playing with all the rocks and branches laying around. You also got your second haircut (ALREADY!!). You have the same hair as Daddy; it grows quickly. You look like such a big boy now. Last weekend we all went to a fun BBQ. It was a friend’s house from church. Mommy and Daddy got to relax and talk with friends, and you had a great time playing with your buddies that were born around the same time you were. All in all, great month Big Guy!

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12 Months: What a Year it’s been

Even as I type this, I have to admit that I am really struggling on the direction of this post.  All signs point to how much I want to pile on myself for slacking on my writing….no, slacking is too kind of a term at this point; downright laziness is more like it.  But honestly, what is that going to accomplish?  This forum is supposed to be about Ferris, not me.  I have a whole other blog site where I can freely beat up on my short-comings.  So, enough about me, and more about the boy.
I simply cannot believe our baby boy is a year old.  My wife’s favorite way to get out of talking about a topic is to say, “I can’t. I can’t process this right now.”  I always get on her for it and say that it’s total cop-out, but now I can finally say I feel that same way.  I simply can’t process that Ferris is 1 year old.
When I last checked in he was barely 6 months old, and while that was not that long ago, it feels as if it were ages ago.  I often describe this last year to people that I can’t believe he’s turning 1, but it feels like he’s been around for years.  It’s the weirdest feeling.  How can you feel like time is flying by, yet feel like it’s dragging on at the same time?  Become a parent, that’s how, lol.
Lately many people have asked me what this year has been like.  It’s been a pretty even mix of people with kids vs. people without kids who inquire, but I think most of them have very similar reaction to my honesty about how I feel about these last 12 months; because it’s not always that nice.
Prior to Ferris being born I had these grand ideas of parenthood, and what kind of parents I thought the Wife and I would be. We are both smart and funny (well, the Wife is smart, and I’m funny), kind, loving and caring people, so naturally I knew we would be the greatest parents to ever walk this Earth.  While I would have never claimed that raising a kid was going to be a walk in the park, I knew for sure that we would rock it out with no problem, because we’re good like that, and our baby would be just like us.  And for the most part we were right; our baby is like us.  It just so happens he has some of our other traits we didn’t really recognize we had.
Ferris was a super fussy baby.  The first 3-4 months were some of the hardest days of my life, and for the Wife it was even worse as she was home with him all day long, with no relief until I came home from work.  Unfortunately Ferris was born with reflux issues, and to top it off he hated napping.  All of this led to a cranky and tired baby almost every day.  Tack all that on top of two exhausted parents, who live in a shoe-box apartment, and are frustrated, and until recently were really comfortable in their own selfishness…give it a quick shake, and what do you get?  Instant negative environment, that what!
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But, through all the struggles; through all the fussiness; through all the trips and falls (us, not him), there were plenty of awesome moments to pull us all back together.
One particular moment stands out whenever I think about all our good moments.  It was right before Ferris turned 4 months old. The Wife and I took Ferris on a day trip to visit one of the Wife’s coworkers who had not met him yet due to being home-bound after surgery.  On the car ride home Ferris was doing pretty good, which was a feat in itself as he hates the car seat, and the Wife was riding in the back seat with him.  She was kind of being down on herself, saying how she feels like she was not doing a very good job as a partner, or as a Mom.  I tried my hardest to dissuade that line of thinking, but I knew there was only so much I could say since the Wife was struggling with some post-partum issues, like many women do.  At one point she was talking to Ferris and saying how she was going to try harder, and that point she started crying.  When I asked what was wrong, she said, “Nothing, he just laughed for the first time”….a real laugh! This was one of those moments that you say, “This makes it all worth it.”
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As I have said in earlier blogs….way earlier blogs, lol….it wasn’t always fussiness and stress.  At about the 5 month mark we started to see signs of Ferris becoming a little person.  He started expressing joy for things he liked, and was very adamant about the things he didn’t enjoy; like tummy-time.  Man, did he hate tummy-time.
We also learned around this time that Ferris is very adaptable.  This is probably the main thing that helped the Wife and I ease some of our anxiety about taking Ferris places in public (because of the prior period of super-fussiness).  And what a place to show us how cool he could be, but the airport during a busy travel day.
We took Ferris to San Diego to see family and for a little vacation.  To say the Wife and I were super nervous about taking our baby into a crowded airport, then on a 6 hour flight with nowhere to go if he had a meltdown is an understatement.  But just when you think you get this kid pegged, he completely surprises you.  This kid was a total rock star; cooler than the other side of the pillow even.  And it’s been the same every time we’ve traveled this year; which has been a lot….much to the chagrin of our bank account.  Looks like the boy is going to be just like his Mom and love to travel.
Much of our travel was due to holidays.  This was especially fun for me because for the last 5 years the Wife and I have not been able to join our family for the holidays due to me working retail, and having to work the day after Xmas and Thanksgiving.  But more importantly because we got to celebrate the holidays with Ferris as part of our family now.
This past year has dragged on, yet gone by in a blink of an eye.  While I have been writing this post I keep finding myself breaking from the writing and start flipping through the photos of Ferris from this past year.  I see this little, fragile person who arrived on this Earth late one night last January, then I see him get a little bigger; a little less fragile, but even now as I stare at a picture I took of him on my iPhone of him being silly yesterday, I still that little baby who fit in the nook of arm because he was so small.  I see that little boy who I welcomed to the world and promised I would take care of him forever, and never let anything hurt him.  And somehow I think I will always see him this way.
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I totally get it now, what people told me about the way you love will change when you have a child.  I used to be pretty defiant (shocker, lol) about the whole statement, “You never know how to love until you have a child,” and I still am because that is unfair to people without children, and frankly I have always known how to love.  Also, to those who said that I would “really” learn how to love someone other than myself when I had a kid, I still disagree with you too, because I loved my wife long before Ferris showed up, and every day I love her more than I did the day before.  My wife is my world.  However; what I will say is true, is that since Ferris arrived I now know what it looks like to see my heart outside of my body.  I love this boy so very much, and cannot even imagine life without him.  Like I said, it feels like he’s always been here.
Well kiddo, it’s been a pretty crazy year since you showed up.  We’ve had some awesome highs, and some trying lows.  I watch you grow and learn every day and am amazed at how you’ve changed in such a short time.  I am so proud of you, and I am so proud to be your Dad.
I’m sorry I didn’t live up to all the high standards I set for myself.  I know I stumbled as a partner, and as a Dad…a lot.  I didn’t live up to all the promises I made, and that makes me sad.  I wish I had done a better job at so many things, but when I see you smile at me, or when you laugh while you crawl over to me and climb all over me, or any of the other silly stuff you do when we play, it makes me feel all better because I know you don’t care about any of that.  You love me anyway, and in that I see your Mom in you, because she looks at me like that too.  For all my short-comings and failures, you still think I’m pretty cool.
There is one promise I have kept, and I’m pretty happy about it. And that is that I love you more and more every day.  And that I will always love you and your Mom.
I love you buddy, and I always will,
Dad
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Step in My Office Bro


Over the past year, which consisted of an almost 9 month pregnancy; and now almost 3 months of dealing with/taking care of what resulted from that pregnancy, the Wife and I have received a lot of “parenting advice.”  And I mean A LOT!!
To be completely honest, most of the advice sucked.  The reason? Most of the advice was vague ramblings from people who clearly just wanted retell their experiences.  The advice I loved the most (sarcasm) came from those wonderful sources of experience also known as people without kids.  But, all joking aside we did get some pretty good advice too.
But even in the barren desert of bullshit parenting advice there have been an oasis or two of good advice providing that refreshing perspective we parents crave. One such nugget we received came from a friend the Wife and I met while attending a wedding this past summer. We’ll call this friend Heather. Being a mother of two crazy young one herself, coupled with her wicked-funny sense of humor we all bonded instantly.
Seeing that we had something cooking in the oven, Heather warned us about all the crap-advice we would hear from the moment Ferris was born, and how it will never stop. Over the weekend we heard many of Heather’s hilarious stories about her two boys and their view on things as both boys seem to be very bright for their young age, and very well traveled as the family has traveled to and lived in places most people will never experience in their lifetime, but those are stories for another time.
The one story that I found the funniest, as well as the most useful as a new parent was one about an event Heather’s family does each year.  And that is, Annual Performance Evaluations.  That’s right, each year the family, like any responsible leader organization, conducts annual performance reviews on each other, and yes, being let go is a possibility.
In the spirit of viewing the Preach family as an organization, our newest member is coming up on his 90 day review.  As I am no dummy, I know I am not the head of this organization of ours; that would be the Wife.  But, if I am not the CEO, I am definitely the VP of Operations.  And like any good manager, I feel it only right that I address our newest employee about his strengths, and areas of opportunities if you will……enjoy:

Dear Son,
With your 90 day evaluation approaching, and as your direct supervisor, I feel it only right that I sit down with you and discuss a few key points of interest before you meet with the CEO (aka your Mother) next week.
All areas are graded on a rating of 1-4, with the ratings such as follows:
4 – Exceeding Expectations
3 – Achieving Expectations
2 – Partially Achieving Expectations
1 – Not Acceptable
Customer Service:                                                                            Rating: 3
Employee understands the importance of customer service and strives to achieve this standard.
Supervisor Comments:  Your job is all customer service based.  And those customers are the people you are around when your mother and I take you out in public.  You are, most times, very well-behaved.  It is very much appreciated.
Initiative:                                                                                            Rating: 2
Anticipates demands and performs tasks without request.
Supervisor Comments: Because we are aware that you are extremely new to not only this organization, but to life in general, we are aware that you may feel intimidated about doing “things” on your own.  And while your mother and I are happy to help you learn, “not knowing something” is no excuse to lie around and do nothing.  Please make sure you are being as productive as possible, at all times.
Teamwork and Working Relationships:                                            Rating: 2
Employee regularly contributes to the efficient operation of the department/unit.  Employee maintains a positive working relationship with co-workers and management.  Accepts directions made by a group.  Builds trust by respecting ideas from others.  Works well with the team.  As appropriate, seeks to understand norms and reasons for change.
Supervisor Comments: Again, we know that this is all new to you, and that, at times, your frustration gets the better of you.  We believe that has resulted in a “fussy attitude.” Working well with your fellow employees (your mother and I) is the cornerstone of what makes this organization succeed.  If we do not succeed together, then we are failing together. The motto around her, while corny, is “Teamwork makes the dream work”.
Attendance and Punctuality:                                                                Rating: 3
Employee reports to work on time and is ready to work as scheduled.  Follows established procedures if delayed or unable to report.
Supervisor Comments: Your ability to be present and accounted for has been excellent to-date.  The only item I would ask you focus some attention on is being more present for your scheduled “nap times.”  It has been reported that you have been blowing off this part of your daily job function, resulting in an uneven sleep schedule, and an overall disruption of the night time process (i.e. mom and dad getting sleep).
Communication Ability:                                                                            Rating: 2
Employee communicates problems and work-related needs to supervisor and co-workers as appropriate.  Communicates honestly and accurately in an open, candid and respectful manner.
Supervisor Comments: There has been some concern with the communication between yourself and your fellow employees (again, your mom and dad).  Employees have expressed concern that they cannot properly give you the tools you need to succeed because, well, all your cries sound the same.  If you could please help communication by being as clear and concise as possible it would be a much better situation for all.
Appearance:                                                                                                Rating: 4
Employee dresses appropriately for work and follows the corporate dress code or as appropriate is in full uniform while at work.
Supervisor Comments: If I have said it once, then I have said it a hundred times; if you were any cuter it would be a crime.
Future Goals:
Employees and supervisor will revisit goals on a semi-annual basis to assess achievement standards:
#1 – Continue to grow big and strong.  Some suggested activities to achieve this goal would be increased tummy-time, learning to roll over from tummy to your back, and taking full advantage of feedings.
#2 – Develop strong sensory skills.  Take advantage of story time with mom and dad, start reaching out for toys during play time, and continue taking notice of everything around you (except at nap/bed time of course).
#3 – Continue to stay as cute as you are.  Management feels this should prove no problem for you, as you are already the cutest baby in the entire world.
Final Manager Comments:
Ferris, you have been with us for almost 3 months now, and while there are some obvious areas of improvement needed for future success (that goes for us too), your mom and I think you are doing a wonderful job.  You have been a wonderful addition to the organization and a blessing to us, and although we may not always convey that emotion, we would never trade you for the world.  We feel you have a bright future here at Preach Inc. and look forward to your rapid growth within the organization.  But, don’t grow up too fast ok buddy; your mom and dad do not want to miss a thing.
Love,
Dad