Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weighty Issues

Recently, Rachel learned that her mother is concerned with Micah's weight. As the rule goes, if one person publicly exhibits concern, there are roughly 7.4 million other people who are also concerned, they are just afraid to speak up. So, we wanted to take this opportunity to dispel some vicious Internet rumors and calm the fears over Micah's weight gain.
  • Micah is only heavier than 80% of babies his age, and his growth has slowed over the past month.
  • He is not considered morbidly obese, and contrary to published reports we are not consulting with a doctor regarding gastric bypass surgery for him.
  • Dr. Oz did call us about being on his upcoming show titled "Chubby Babies and The Parents That Love Them." We turned him down due to editorial conflicts.
  • Micah's Hollywood agent has not been contacted asking Micah to star in the new Eddie Murphy Klump's film, but Eddie knows where to find us.
  • No, we have not sent our son to "Fat Camp." It doesn't even start until summer.
  • Rachel did get me a pamphlet about childhood diabetes for Valentine's Day.

In all honesty, Micah's weight did not concern our doctor during the last check-up, and it does not concern us now. He is a perfectly normal, totally lovable chunky baby. However, he did hear about his Grandma's concerns, and has decided to put himself on a self-directed workout program to slim down prior to her upcoming visit. We caught him during his first workout the other day. Soon enough he will be the fine physical specimen he is meant to be, but for now Rach and I are fine with our little chunk.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Off The Deep End

About a decade ago, Naval Air Station Cecil Field was home to fighter jets that would rip through the downtown skyline of Jacksonville. But in a cost cutting move, the Navy decided to close NAS Cecil Field and relocate the jets to Norfolk, Virginia in 1999. Since then, the vast space that the base used to occupy has become home to an eclectic mix of entrepreneurs and public ventures. While probably not as exciting as fighter jets, Cecil is home to some pretty cool stuff these days. I have skydived at Cecil Field and achieved two pistol qualifications on a gun range there. Cecil Commerce Center, as it is now known, is also home to aircraft maintenance depots, an equestrian center, a public fitness center, and most notably for us, a free indoor pool.
Last weekend we decided to break the monotony of home life with the twins by taking them swimming. It is still a bit too cold to hop in the neighborhood pool here, so we packed up and headed to Cecil. The trip there was ominous, as Micah exploded poop up his back and all over his clothes. We almost turned around and headed home defeated, but we instead snuck our stinky kid past the lifeguard at the front desk and into the locker room for a quick hose off before entering the pool.

Once we got in the pool, we learned that Micah very well might be part fish. He felt the warm pool water hit his legs and he instantly began laughing and thrashing, trying to break free of his parent's grip and swim on his own. According to her mother, Rachel was just like this as a child. Mal, on the other hand, seized up and turned stiff as a board upon entering the pool. She floated along in her parents arms as still as a statue for most of her time in the pool, just gazing at the other people there and wondering why they did not seem to be as tortured by the eminent dangers that swimming posed. I found it funny that I, the parent who did not know how to swim upon entering college, entered the pool with the panic stricken Mal, while my half-dolphin wife was yucking it up with Micah the sea mammal.

After about 20 minutes of swimming we dried the kids off and headed back home. That afternoon the twins slept for almost three hours, which is unprecedented as far as naps go. Micah had a blast in the pool, and Mal was in a good mood once she was safe on dry land again, so it was a win-win situation for us. So, Rachel and I are planning on making the pool trip a weekend ritual and head back again on Saturday. This coming weekend, in addition to all the other activities, Cecil Field will be hosting an RV expo. Pools, horses, and retirees in RV's: still not as exciting as fighter jets for most people, but Micah and Mal think Cecil is cool the way it is.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Six Months Time

Time confuses me. Events that happened several years ago still feel like they just occurred. For instance, I have not worked at KOMU-TV for nearly a decade. But I can still recall the scent of the makeup I had to wear when I appeared on air. I haven't attended a rock concert for ages yet I can still feel the ringing of amplified guitars in my ears if I try. On the other hand, things that occurred a short time ago feel so distant they might as well have been a dream. I can barely remember the feel of my tiny newborn babies, so small and delicate. Heck, some nights I can't remember what I ate for breakfast that morning. It's as if time is pulling a practical joke on me.

Six months have passed since Rachel and I were blessed with Micah and Malorie. The time has been either a blur or a grind. I'm not sure. I vaguely remember keeping a feeding log and waking up every three hours. But I vividly recall my son being hooked up to a ventilator, so much so that I still get a pit in my stomach when Micah coughs, wheezes or makes a funny noise. It seems like years since I measured a bottle in milliliters, but wasn't it yesterday that I was sporting an itchy beard? Time punishes me for taking it for granted. It moves painstakingly slow when the babies are fussy and blasts by during fun times.

Time may hate me, but it has been kind to our tiny Princess Malorie, who in six months time has grown to 16 lbs and 12 oz. She is in the 70th percentile for weight and the 100th percentile for height, at 27 and a half inches. Apparently it's time to teach her to dribble a basketball. She grunts when she eats and talks to herself when alone in a car seat, but otherwise she's quiet most of the time. Mal can sit on her own for up to five minutes at a time and has watched the Baby Einstein sign language video 84 thousand times.

This time around, Mighty Micah tapered his torrid ascent though the growth chart. He now weighs 19 lbs, 2 oz, which ranks him in the 80th percentile for weight. He is also tall for his age, leading me to believe that he will be taller than me by the time he is four years old. Every once in a while we catch Micah scooting across a play mat, dragging his face and lifting his butt like an inchworm, but he stops every time we try to get it on tape. You could set a watch based on Micah's laugh, which erupts from his tiny frame about every ten seconds.

Apparently it's high time for both babies to have a social life. They had a play date today with Natalie's daughters Tessa and Jillian and our friend Sarah's son Ryan. Ryan and Tessa are both nearly two years old, but I'm sure Natalie thinks she's only been a parent for a few weeks and Sarah thinks it's been roughly twenty-five years. That's because time messed with them too.

I'm pretty sure I will wake up tomorrow and still be twenty-eight, but I wouldn't be surprised if time had passed and I was forty. Time will continue to confound me. For instance, it feels like I have been writing this post for quite some time. But if I don't make time to write this stuff down, I will lose the time I want to keep. And now that we are all suitably confused by time, the time has come to end our discussion of time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sleep Training (by Rachel)

***Disclaimer - I am not writing this post to be incredibly witty like my husband...
I am writing to document a success story six months in the making***

I used to be THE BEST sleeper. I could be watching my absolute favorite show at 7:30 on a Friday night... and fall asleep on the couch. Billy used to hate watching movies with me because it was inevitable that within minutes, I would fall asleep and then wake up grumpy without knowing what was going on. Usually I would just go back to bed and watch it without him in the morning.

I never knew what a wonderful skill I had. Being able to sleep well is truly an ability, almost a talent. (One of which I am lacking in right now, but that is a whole other Blog.) Before these babies came Billy and I were DETERMINED to make them good sleepers. Once we made that decision, I became obsessed. As I have referenced before, we decided to follow the "rules" of a book called BabyWise which basically indicates that parents are in control of the baby's eating and sleeping patterns. It taught us to feed them FULL meals throughout the day (no snacks!!!) , and to keep them awake for appropriate amounts of time during the day, so that they learn how to distinguish day and night, and in turn, sleep at night. We followed an eat, wake, sleep cycle so that our little ones would know how to go to sleep on their own.

It sounds great, right? So many of our friends had tried it with such success, we wanted to do it too. My friend Jenna's daughter, Layna, was my inspiration. That little girl was "the perfect baby". Never spit up, always happy, and slept through the night at like 5 days, and napped wonderfully!!! Who wouldn't want that?

Well, Micah was my BabyWise baby at about 2 and a half months. He was sleeping "through the night" first with about 8 to 9 hours and now, I am proud to announce that Micah sleeps through the night for about 12 to 13 hours! CRAZY! However, we all know there are bumps in the road. His bumps have always been... the dreaded... NAPS! Since his birth, I loathed laying him down for a nap because he ALWAYS cried himself to sleep. Now, Thank God, he has found his thumb and is able to quickly sooth himself to sleep. However, the bumps come when his nap ends after only about 30 minutes!!! Not even enough time to shower and check my e-mail. For three months I have fought, and fought, and fought my little man with these short naps. Forcing him to "cry it out" in hopes that he would fall back to sleep. Sometimes it worked, and often times, it didn't. It's been hard on me, and hard on him, but I swear I only wanted what is best for him and I thought he needed more nap time. It wasn't until just recently that the light bulb came on... HELLO!!! The child sleeps a butt load during the night, of course he isn't going to sleep much during the day!

After millions of dollars were spent on books like "sleeping babies are happy babies" or "how to stop the 30 minute nap intruder" things started to make sense. I felt I was doing things right... Both babies followed a "healthy" sleep cycle napping at 9ish, 1ish, and 5ish. Then, another light bulb, the 5ish nap needed to go. It was always short, and coincidentally, probably interfered with the stamina of their other naps. Billy and I liked it because, if timed perfectly, we could eat dinner together... but that is okay. Now we are giving "family dinner time" a try.

I realize that up until this point I have not really talked about Mal. Mal and Micah have always been completely different babies. I love when people ask me if they are identical... first of all it's kind of obvious when one is a boy and one is a girl, but really, they are poles apart. Mal was a much slower learner when it came to sleeping at night. However, I'd say these last few weeks will be marked in the books... Mal has officially been "BabyWised". She finally sleeps through the night without needing food, or comfort. Napping hadn't been an issue for her really, except for when Micah would wake her as he "cried it out".

To make this long story even longer, I just wanted to announce as a proud mom... that finally at 6 months (on Saturday) BOTH babies sleep from about 6:45 at night to 7:15 in the morning... (HEAVEN) and nap from 9:30 to 10:30ish and 1:00 to 3:00ish. It is amazing and only took half a year! Hopefully both babies will continue with these wonderful sleeping patterns and grow up to be as good of sleepers as me (before kids). As for me now... it is time for me to take an Ambien and go to sleep. :)

Addendum: This might be the first time this phrase has ever been written, but it looks like Paula Abdul has got it right - Two steps forward, one step back. Rachel wrote this post yesterday. Then, last night Mal woke up at 2, 5 and 5:15 before I spent the rest of the night on the couch with her. At least it was just one night.... right Mal?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You Don't Know How to Read

My daughter enjoys the finer things in life. While her brother lays on a mat and makes fart noises with his mouth, Mal likes to curl up with a good book. After reading some Shakespeare and a few works by Joyce, Malorie took a break from the heavy nature of those texts to enjoy this board book. She told me she plans to read War and Peace next, followed by something by Orwell. OK, so my baby girl isn't a genius. But our little book worm sure seems to be searching for deeper meaning in this book. You may notice that the book has no words. Or that the corners of the book are soggy from a her chewing on them. She might even be holding the book upside down. But, darn it, that's my baby girl. And she looks awful smart to her proud papa.

Last Will and Testament

Solemn. Sober. Stern. Any of these serious sounding alliterative adjectives would describe your typical will swearing ceremony. A lawyer ordering an oath and a notary confirming affidavits for a crowd contemplating their own untimely demise are usually not fodder for comedy unless you live in a Seth Rogen movie. Apparently, my infant twins have yet to learn this fact.

The Last Will and Testaments of Rachel and William Klug actually came into being well before the twins were born. Back in July we drafted wills and made an appointment to sign them. A few cancelled appointments and two premature babies later, the wills laid unsigned on some Navy lawyer's desk for months. A few weeks ago, a work colleague passed on unexpectedly and the topic of wills was thrust back to the collective Klug consciousness, so we finally got around to rescheduling our will signing appointment. Someone somewhere once said, "Kids complicate everything," Whoever it was, that person deserves a Nobel Prize for insight.

Rachel and I showed up to sign our wills and swear them into affect with two kids in tow. A legal secretary seated the four us in a conference room along with a few other people. They all seemed as determined as I was to leave their college debt, big screen TV and baseball cards to someone else. Remember the solemn ceremony I spoke of earlier? It did not take place. Actually, my flirty daughter and my stand-up comedian son prevented it from taking place. The following is the actual discourse sworn into court records:

Lawyer: "Please raise your right hands and repeat after me."
Six people raise their hands. Male child begins to squirm.

Lawyer: "I, state your name, do solemnly swear..."

Six people repeat, while male child grabs mother's nostril and pinches while squealing.

Lawyer: "...that the Last Will and Testament before me...."

Male child creates fart noise with mouth. Three people repeat lawyer, three others laugh.

Lawyer: " a true and accurate representation of my desires,"

Female child audibly belches and vomits onto father's military uniform. Male child laughs. Mother stands and begins pacing the room and shushing male child. Only two people repeat after lawyer.

Lawyer: "and I have signed said will of my own regard,"

Male child makes another fart noise then throws head back and laughs. Father wipes infant vomit onto daughter's shirt. The woman seated across from father and daughter scowls. One man repeats after lawyer, but doesn't even say the correct words.

Lawyer: "without coercion or..."

Lawyer trails off inaudibly while male child laughs at top of lungs.

Ten second pause. Lawyer looks at mother, who bounces and shushes male child. Father of children fights to take blue ink pen away from daughter, who grabbed it off of table while he was cleaning vomit. Finally, silence envelops room.

Lawyer: without coercion or..." Male child erupts into Pee-Wee Herman type laughter. Mother moves to furthest corner of room to try to quiet child. Daughter begins flailing and slapping her drool covered hands on legal documents, leaving wet hand prints. Four people, including lawyer and infant girl, begin laughing.

The ceremony proceeded on like that for a while. The lawyer would attempt to speak, and Micah would squeal with laughter. Malorie pounded on the table until the innocent woman across the table would look at her, and then Mal would grin and look away. Finally, after realizing he was not going to win, the lawyer blitzed through the oath at the speed of sound. No one understood what he said, much less was able to repeat after him - they were all too focused on the kids. At the end of his speech, after we all mumbled our best attempt at what the lawyer had just said, he instructed us to lower our right hands, even though none of us still had it raised.
Mercifully finished administering an oath to no one, the defeated attorney broke from legal decorum, proclaiming, "That kid is hilarious!" The wills were signed and notarized, and all the other participants left while Rachel and I tried to strap two squealing, squirming kids into car seats while holding official documents. Final score - Klug Crew 1, Legal Establishment 0. Take that Seth Rogen.