Give Me Five

Well, here we are. Hannah is half a decade old. When you say it like that it seems like a pretty long time, right? Well, I think most parents would agree that it flies. I’m sure I’m not the first one to say that when it comes to parenthood the days are long but the years 544466_10150888169785940_187973573_nfly by.  I can’t say that it feels like yesterday we were pacing the basement of Sam’s mom’s house trying to soothe Hannah to sleep, encouraging her first steps, or dismally potty training, because when you throw a second kid in the mix it all becomes a bit of a blur. But I do remember quite vividly the exact moment she was born, completely blue and silent, and that hour-long 5 seconds before they cleared her lungs and she let out the first of a million future wails.

We have a remarkable little girl. I know, I know, you think your kids are remarkable too. And they probably are. But it’s so incredible how much of a pedestal we put our own kids on, I’m not ashamed to admit it.  For all the parental training we went to, I think something that would have been the most valuable is if someone we respected told us: “Look, you’re going to think your kid is the greatest thing ever. Everyone does. But that doesn’t mean you have to go around telling everyone, including your kid, such a thing.” Humility isn’t easy and we all know plenty of people who are self-declared super-humble beings.

19424285_10109407802220799_8242603081089313193_n (1)My point is, I’m not going to go into all the amazing things Hannah does that your kid probably doesn’t. I’m not going to talk about how she’s pretty much the smartest preschooler in North America or that she’s funnier than Tina Fey and Chris Rock combined. Or even that she’s stunningly cute and beautiful (fact: if you google “cutiful” she’ll be at the top of page 1), but that’s not what I’m writing about tonight. That would be way too obnoxious and I’m way too humble to do that.

For posterity’s sake I do want to write a little bit about what she’s into. If you don’t care because you already threw up from my previous obnoxiousness then feel free to go back to your Facebook stream.

Hannah’s favorite activities: eating sweets, doing gymnastics, doing anything with her IMG_0179older cousins Monica and Mariah, who she completely adores and admires; spending time with her Aunt Heather and her many loving grandparents; going to the park; drawing/coloring, doing projects with her momma, playing with her world of little animals and people (Littlest Pet Shop, Palace Pets, Disney princesses, etc.), playing with Barbies, playing with stuffed animals, reading books, watching movies/shows/videos, swimming, riding her bike/scooter, playing with her friends in the neighborhood and at school, and, of course, making poop jokes.

Hannah’s least favorite activities: eating vegetables, getting her hair washed, taking naps, and sharing with her little brother. And, sadly, t-ball. Maybe she’ll come around in a couple of years, but since she was about two and a IMG_0096half it’s been pretty clear team sports may not be her thing. And I’m totally fine with that as long as she finds things to do that she loves and involve movement.

Dad’s least favorite things Hannah does: she watches those ridiculously useless and pointless surprise eggs videos on YouTube. I cannot fathom what so enchanting about them but she gets complete zoned in on them. I don’t go around kicking people in the shins a lot, I’ve grown out of that, but if I saw one of the people who creates those videos I’d put a boot on and take a Messi free kick right to their tibia. Also, she whines and throws fits a lot when she doesn’t get her way and that’s pretty annoying. But show me a 5 year old who doesn’t do that and I’ll call bullshit.

Sorry, that took a dark turn there. Back to Hannah. If you’re still reading you’re probably aware of most of these things. But here’s something that really only Hannah IMG_6018and I know – every time I drop her off at school I make her pinky swear that she’s going to have an awesome day, or some variation of that, and I usually get a kiss or five. But, I’ve noticed something the last couple months that shows that she’s getting older and makes me want to cry a little – she’s slightly embarrassed to do our little routine in front of her friends.

 

She’s developing some self-awareness, a huge part of maturing, which is awesome, because I want her to be mindful and confident. But while she’s always been a little shy about being in the spotlight, this feels more like “daaad, the other kids are watching, be cool and just leeeave.” I know she won’t say that for at least a few more years, and maybe she never will because I think she probably already knows that’s just going to encourage me to be even more embarrassing. I’m pretty excited about that part of her getting older. She’s as goofy as I am and the older she gets and the more she understands the real world, the more important I believe it is to have a sense of humor and not take one’s self too seriously.

One last story that is more for us to look back on. I mentioned Hannah can shy away from the spotlight and can be a little self-conscious when it comes to other kids.

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But she surprised me a couple of weeks ago when she showed some grit and “who cares what others think” spunk. She ran into another kid at the Y and knocked some teeth out of place – it was pretty nasty, a lot of blood, pain, and tears and we thought they were going to have to pull the teeth. And that would have been the start of an interesting couple of years. However, instead of the teeth coming out they went back into place, but are turning gray, which you can kind of tell from the photos. Hannah told me one of those days that she doesn’t care if the teeth fall out or turn gray and she knows that it might look odd and other kids might make fun of her – “I don’t care dad, it’s OK.” she said. I absolutely love that attitude and hope she carries it with her long after her old goofy dad is gone.

Happy 5th birthday to my lovely little girl. I can’t imagine life without her.

 

 

 

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June 27, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 2 comments.

Adventures in potty training; and the tale of the disappearing Bubby

It’s been awhile and so this is a 2-parter.

Part 1: Adventures in potty training

It may come as a surprise to exactly no one that potty training doesn’t happen overnight. And bribery only gets you so far. Mini M&M’s gave way to candy corn, which gave way to cookies, which were eventually replaced by $100 IMG_2134bills. OK, so we never got to that point, but the novelty of receiving a bite-size sweet in exchange for losing the luxury of just peeing or pooping your pants whenever you want, with no consequence or repercussions, apparently wore off. Most people have house-trained a puppy before, and while I realize it’s rather crude to compare Hannah to a pooch, I’m afraid our carpet has suffered a similar fate.

It feels like we’re through the worst of it though. From mid-September all the way through October we had a multitude of “accidents.” I use that term loosely because when the little stinker is smiling while soiling, well, it hardly seems like a mistake. There was the time she was hanging out in her undies watching Nemo or something when she stood up on the couch and before I could give the “sit” command she told her bladder to “release.” I saw what was happening and immediately scooped her up like a ladle in chili and futilely tried to stop the leak with my hand. You know when you want to make a hose spray and you don’t have a nozzle, so you use your thumb? Yeah, you get the picture. I think even Cleo got caught in the crossfire.

Want another one? Hannah’s in the kitchen playing with her “clay dough” (yes, in her underwear again…at this point we had pretty much decided her wearing pants at home was just increasing our laundry) when we heard and saw the tinkle start to sprinkle. This time I picked her up under her arms and held her out in fIMG_2500ront of me like a smelly infant and beelined to the bathroom. Sam was less than pleased as she watched Hannah leave a nice wet trail behind. Lesson learned was a big puddle on a hard floor is much better than a line of pee stretching across the room.

So let’s just say if we had one of those metal detectors that you see old guys in sitcoms using to sweep the beach, and that apparatus detected pee instead of metal, then the batteries would wear out in a heartbeat in our family room. Not to worry, though, future visitors of our home, we’ll be getting our carpets cleaned very soon and it will be like it never happened! At least until the carpet gets pulled up and we see yellow spots everywhere on the padding underneath. Hopefully that will be someone else’s discovery, as this carpet is new and will likely remain in this house longer than we will. Until then air fresheners and candles will do.

It’s now been more than 2 months since the potty training started and Hannah is no longer peeing every 20 minutes. She’s getting better at telling us when she needs to go. She’s still occasionally motivated by a candy corn or M&M, and a popsicle is a nice incentive as well, but accidents are truly just that for the most part and are fewer and farther between. Just in time for us to have another one come along and start the process over! Yay us.

 Part 2 The tale of the disappearing Buppy.

Hannah’s best friends are Ducky, Blanky, and Bubby. The first two are obvious – a stuffed duck and blanket that she’s had since her first Christmas when she was just 2 months old. However, her Bubby has been around since birth. We don’t know at what point she named her pacifier Bubby, but she did. We never called it that before and so you can imagine how she lost her mind one day asking for it by name and we didn’t know what the heck she was talking about.

They’ve been through a lot together, Hannah and Bubby. Through doctor’s appointments with what seemed like enough immunizations to protect a colt. As a comfort when we started having to leave her with strangers who became family when Sam went back to work. And as her daily and nightly sleep companion. Sometime a few months back we weened her down to just having it for naptime and bedtime, then it got to the point where she didn’t need it at daycare at all and we simply just enabled her at home to get her to go to bed without too much of a fight. All along though, Sam and I have both dreaded and looked forward to the day when Bubby would have to go bye bye for good. Little did we knoIMG_2393w it would be done for us without a hitch!

We read and talked to people about various methods of disposal. None really sounded like they would work, or we tried them and they didn’t work (0r maybe they would have but we just didn’t give them enough time…don’t judge us). Then someone at Sam’s work had an idea we liked – replace Bubby with a guppy. Well a Glo-Fish to be exact. We thought, that sounds fun, let’s give it a try. Then Hannah got sick, then she watched a movie with us that scarred her (Monsters, Inc…yeah yeah, in hindsight we should have known better), so we just kept putting it off week after week not wanting to rock an already nearly capsized boat.

Then the right moment came along, completely by accident. Grandma Deb came over to watch Hannah last Saturday night so we could go catch a late movie. We failed to leave a pacifier out on the counter or anywhere visible, so when IMG_2391it was time for bed and Hannah asked for Bubby, Deb told her it was gone. I can just imagine the confused and sad look on Hannah’s face, and it would have completely melted us I’m sure. Luckily, Hannah is much more rational when she’s with relatives that aren’t her parents, so she just asked a couple of more times, then meekly went to bed without Bubby for the first time in her short life. Of course, when she got up a 4am I gave it right back to her, but it was the breakthrough we needed.

The next day Sam and I held our ground during naptime and no Bubby was provided. It was then that we suggested to her it be replaced by a fishy. Hannah seemed to think that was a fair trade. Bedtime rolled around that night and again, “no Bubby, but you’ll get a fishy.” Lo and behold, it worked. It’s now been 5 nights of no pacifier and she’s pretty much stopped asking for it. Which is pretty much what we were told would happen and deep down what we expected would happen. However, we were skeptical – she was supposed to stay the night at my mom’s a few months ago during the summer when we neglected to pack a Bubby and she was inconsolable – so we didn’t have the highest of expectations.

Little Jake Jr. (not his real name) is due in March and he’ll most likely get his own pack of passies, so we’ll see how Hannah handles that. If we know her like we think we do, not only will she be pretty pissed about not having her Bubby, but I wouldn’t put it past her to start peeing on the floors again. She’s stubborn and feisty like that…should be interesting!

November 20, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. Leave a comment.

Sometimes exhaustion brings the answer

IMAG1260Over the past few months Hannah’s had some changes in her sleep pattern. No surprise, right? Yeah, well, that’s understating it a bit. She basically relapsed back to how she was in the infant stage – for a while she absolutely dreaded and despised sleeping by herself.

It started innocently enough one Sunday night about 5 weeks ago. She woke up crying around 2 or 3 am, which was normal. I organized my one-man search party, found her pacifier, popped it in her mouth and headed back to bed, like I had done the previous 200 or so nights. Typically, she would just lie back down and go back to sleep without a fuss. Not this particular night, though. She spat out the pacifier like Sam feeding me a brussel sprout and started screaming. I gave her a couple of minutes then went back in, took her downstairs and got her back to sleep. No big deal I thought, this happens occasionally. Little did I know this was going to be the first of 3 straight weeks of frustrating, agonizing, exhausting and utterly defeating nights. It’s all a blur now, as most phases tend to be after the fact, but at the time those were some of the most challenging weeks we’ve faced in our short parenthood experience.

Every single night for those 3 weeks she was up 1, 2, even 3 times, shrieking, screeching and wailing like she was beyond scared, almost terrified and Sam and I took turns coming to the rescue. The only way to calm her down was to pick her up and hold her on the recliner, often with a bottle, which led to many nights of us half-sleeping with her on us. Oh, we’d try to return her to bed, but sometimes just the slightest movement would jolt her awake and into a rage, so back to the recliner we went. I even started setting the couch up as a bed and we slept there a couple of times instead of the chair. One thing we did avoid, and I’m really glad we did, was bringing her into our bed. That’s still sacred ground to us after 10pm!

We asked around and talked to people and some different theories were proposed – at one point we even thought maybe she was seeing ghosts! The most sensible answer seems to be a combination of separation anxiety – she hated waking up or falling asleep without us – combined with some bad dreams that were spooking her. I’m not sure what kind of nightmares her young little imagination can concoct, she’s just about as sheltered as humanly possible, so I’m guessing maybe she’s dreaming that she’s sucking a bottle and can’t get anything out or perhaps she’s being attacked by a kiwi – those things are kinda creepy if you ask me, weird hairy fruit.

Finally, after 3 weeks of this, I went into her room one night and instead of picking her up and heading downstairs I pleaded with her to go back to sleep. At first, I was leaning down eye level with her, then I sank to my knees, and finally just laid down next to her crib. What happened next? The little bugger lied down in her crib as close to the edge as possible, let out a little baby sigh (one of the greatest noises of all time by the way), and closed her eyes. I fell asleep for a few minutes and woke up with a crick in my neck, but with a smile on my face – I just had a feeling that the mighty night terror had been defeated! And of all the different things we tried, wouldn’t you know it that the simple of act of lying down out of desperate exhaustion was just what she needed. I’m sure she sensed our frustration and was probably just as tired of the routine as we were, and just wanted us close by.

The next couple of nights we repeated that process and she slept better than she had in a month. Lately, over the course of the past week or two she’s slept all the way through the night as many times as not, so progress has definitely been made. However, we’ve been humbled and tricked enough over these past 15 months to know that it’s going to change again sooner than later, but for now we’re just so grateful to get uninterrupted sleep a few nights a week!

Next, on Adventures of Hannah – bad mood, bad appetite, and giving mom a bad back! Stay tuned.

October 6, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. Leave a comment.

Well…I’m a Dad.

Three words I’ve always imagined saying. Someday. When I met Sam and then was finally able to conviImagence her that this goofball living in Indy was worth the time and effort, I started to feel like that day was getting just a little bit closer. We fell in love, took a couple of vacations, she moved to Indy, life started settling down a bit. Then we got married, jetted off to Aruba and made “history.” After a long 9 months (certainly felt even longer for Sam), the day has come. On June 27, 2012, Hannah Marie Pickett was born and we became parents to someone other than a cute little weiner-beagle puppy. We were blessed with a beautiful, precious, amazing little angel.

Everyone says it’s life-changing, and it certainly is, but not in that TAAA-DAAA-bright-spotlight-shining-down-from-the-heavens-immediate-sudden-revelation way that you expect. To me it’s been a subtle process. Watching the doctor tug Hannah out of Sam like when Harry Dunne’s tongue was stuck to the ski lift. Squeezing Sam and holding my breath waiting to hear our baby’s first sound. Fighting back tears as they squeegeed Hannah off and suctioned her dry. Releasing those tears upon seeing Sam hold our baby for the first time. Awkwardly helping the nurse give Hannah her first bath. All the poop and piss and crying. And all of Hannah’s poop and piss and crying. Staring at Hannah, watching her sleep. Seeing her big new eyes gaze around at seemingly nothing and everything at the same time. Each of these moments are new memories, and it’s tough to shake them, like little bouncy balls in my brain (on second thought, maybe I should see a doctor). I look forward to creating new memories with my family every single day.

As I think back over the past week, the only real sudden feeling I remember is being innately protective. The slowest, bumpiest drive home in history, introducing her to Cleo’s kisses, carefully carrying her down the stairs, attempting to not break any of her limbs putting her clothes on her, balancing her on top of the fridge while I grab a beer (gotta have two hands to open it duh, don’t judge) (OK, I didn’t do that)…but the point is, every little movement, sound and breath has me on the edge of my seat. It’s an overwhelming combination of stress and LOVE. It’s new and will take some getting used to, but man, what an amazing journey we’ve begun.

By the way, Sam was absolutely amazing through the birthing process, she’s friggin’ strong. Couple of pushes into it and they were telling the doctor to get her ass in the room, baby’s ready to go! Sam is going to be the most amazing, caring, loving, fun, protective, smart and HOT mom around. No doubt about that. And no offense to the other billion moms out there, including our own, who are awesome, you are all awesome.

Stay tuned, I feel like this is going to be quite the adventure, so I’ll try to jot some thoughts and musings down as we go if anyone cares to read them.

July 7, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 2 comments.

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