Frankie Has Two Teeth

teeth eruption
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.
They are small and bitey, like razor blades sticking out of his gums and are located in the bottom middle of his mouth (see arrow -- “bottom central incisors” if you want to get technical about it). These are the first two teeth to come in for the majority of babies.


Frankie’s First Birthday Party (Not His Own)

Chloe Candles 1
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.
This weekend, Frankie went to his first birthday party at the infamous Chuck E. Cheese (or is it Chuckie Cheese?) pizza joint down the street. Grandma, Frankie and I left Grandpa behind as we rolled with a relatively good-humored Frankie, in his new blue and white Easter-themed overalls, to neighbor Chloe’s 3rd year celebration. Our offerings: a mix of “educational” (i.e. a Walter the Farting Dog sequel) with the ridiculous and unnecessary (a plastic duck bubble maker) and a princess something-or-other from Grandma for good measure. The building is dumpy-looking, and situated next to a run-down Ross discount store. Not that it matters to the hundred or so greasy-fingered kids running around in a space crammed with whirring token-operated games.

There were five other parties going on around us, with tables set up for each honoree in front of the “stage” where the Chuck E. Cheese band performs. Much like a birthday party staple from my childhood called Showbiz Pizza (“Where A Kid Can Be A Kid!”), there are large-scale animatronic creatures on stage which awkwardly move and “play” music. Due to some exposed wiring (drummer Mario’s face is half open!) as well as audible grinding ever time their limbs move, these animals aren’t particularly believable. In fact, they are downright frightening. It seems as if it’s only matter of time before there is some sort of freak lighting storm that causes their insides to go haywire and become…ALIVE! At which point they will jump from the stage and kill us all.

But none of that seemed to bother the kids, who were more interested in climbing on the stage and jumping off than watching the band. Frankie did surprisingly well, given the level of noise and commotion. He’s too little for all of the activities, but we did sit at a video game and hit the buttons for a while and he enjoyed watching “whack-a-mole”. He was also fascinated by the Mario robot’s large blinking drum and everyone’s drinks. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Frankie’s undying interest in bottles, cups and mugs. If you take a drink of something, he wants to mimic the action. He’s got the water bottle down, and is currently trying to get at Grandpa’s Budweiser.

We stuck around to see Chloe blow out the candles on her Scooby Doo cake and watch the very brief appearance of Mr. Chuck E. Cheese himself. The portion of the stage with the animatronic Chuck E. is curtained and someone in full Chuck E. regalia descends onto the floor and karaokes a few songs. Partygoers dance around, while several teenage employees awkwardly perform a limp choreographed dance. I was relieved when Frankie started to get restless because I was ready to go as well. All in all, the kids attending were genuinely happy and amused.

I expect that after a few parties, I will overcome my fear of electronic animals and Crisco-soaked pizza. But Frankie’s first birthday will be held in our backyard and will not involve any large mice.

Chuck E. Cheese #2

Grandma & Frankie Drinking
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.

Chuck E. Cheese #3

Frankie Drum
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.


Expectations Meet Reality

One of the harshest lessons of parenting is that the standards that you may have set pre-baby are often not met. Perhaps some of you might recall those halcyon days of pregnancy when you made vows like, “We’ll breastfeed for at least the first year,” “We’ll make all of the baby food ourselves”, “We’ll never let the baby watch TV” and, “We’ll still be cool!” only to discover that your child won’t breastfeed (or you can’t keep up with the grueling schedule), you barely have time to go to the bathroom, "Blues Clues" keeps your baby quiet while you make the next round of bottles and that sure beats screaming and that if you ever thought you were the slightest bit hip before, you never will be ever again. The one promise we’ve stuck by – organic food (in jars, but hey…)

We once had dreams. Of course, those related to an easy delivery were squashed last summer. But there were others we still held onto. Dreams of cloth diapers and soft wet rags, not Pampers and Huggies baby wipes. Dreams of organic cotton onesies and fashionable attire, not whatever people give us, hand-me-down and otherwise (although there was one outfit that I steadfastly refused to put Frankie is on-accounta it was just *too* ugly). Our dreams of providing Frankie with the ideal lifestyle met my full time job and Dave’s two-to-three part time gigs. We couldn’t afford it either. Our resolve to “Never….” started to slip.

Another of our dreams is soon to be compromised. We’ve had to research day care options because Dave may be taking a full-time day job this summer. We’re on a waiting list for a place we visited and liked (more or less…I mean, I’d like to NOT have him in a day care at all). These waiting lists are insane. These places discriminate against those of us with unplanned pregnancies! When I jokingly told one woman at a day care center that I guessed I was supposed to have known two years before I was pregnant that I needed to make arrangements, she paused and answered in all seriousness, yes, that’s what most of our clients do (la-ti-da!).

Still, one thing we’ve never slacked on (besides the organic food) is attention. We can’t provide him with a perfect experience, but we can – with the help of grandparents, aunties, friends and family -- spoil him with playing, walking, laughing and constant interaction. I worry about whether or not he’s playing with the “right” kind of toys (Do they encourage enough understanding of cause and effect? Do they work his imagination or do too much for him?), but I do know at least I can’t mess up a good tummy fart.


The Kid's Got Stamina

Though Frankie has been showing elements of his personality to us all along, it’s become clearer in recent months. Sure, he exhibits some “typical” baby characteristics any little guy his age might, but he’s also showing us what we will be dealing with in years to come. And that’s that he won’t back down. Ever.

You see, the world moves to Frankie’s beat. What time is it? Frankie time. What are you doing at 7pm next Tuesday? Frankie watching. Who do you think about? Frankie, Frankie, Frankie, Frankie. He craves constant, personal interaction, damn those dirty dishes in the sink and that unfinished kitchen remodel. Fixing dinner? I sure as hell don’t think so, utters Little Lord Franklin. He also likes to try and drink your beer. Seriously.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, how can two of the most patient, mousy, non-stubborn people in the world have such a child? I assure you, we’re as confused as you are! This personality trait makes itself most evident in his outright refusal to sleep. Going to bed is generally an hour plus process that involves crying, kicking and screaming…and then more crying. Sleep comes only when Frankie allows it to come. He cannot be willed otherwise. Sure, we’re frustrated and very, very tired, but dammit if we’re not just a little impressed at the single mindedness of his mission and his relative success at it. You gotta hand it to him, he more often than not slays the dragon of sleep. I know, I know. Other parents out there are thinking, let him cry it out. Rock him to sleep. Sing to him. Establish a routine. Done, done, done and done. The kid’s too freaking smart to fall for that crap. “Oh sure, lady, sing that little lullaby, and maybe I’ll even pretend to nod off” thinks Frankie, “But I’m just humoring you!” “Rock me all you want, Grandpa, but I’ll kick my legs until I’m fully awake” says he as he silently mutters an evil laugh.

Turns out, we’re no match for an eight month old boy.


These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - 3

Dave's Toy
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.
Dad’s 30-year-old Fisher Price Activity Center.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - 2

Frankie's Favorite Toy Ever
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.
Own Feet

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - 1

Frankie's Friends
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.
Stuffed Animals

A Day In The Life

Frankie Plays 1
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.
You may be wondering -- what is a day like in the life of Franklin Duke Breshears? I present to you, on his behalf, a typical schedule.

5am: Wake up
5-5:15am: Play with feet in bed
5:15-6:30: Play with Mom while Dad sleeps. First floor mat, then progress to “the office”. Bottle.
6:30am: Dad takes over
6:30-8am: The office, swing, floor mat, crib. Repeat if necessary.
8am: “Breakfast” – fruit and oatmeal, bottle.
8:15-3pm: Office, swing, floor mat, crib, outside time. Bang sippy cup against other toys. Scream with delight. Many bottles. Listen to country music (Hank’s Place on XM – no “new” country!). Try to pet cats.
Sometime between 5am – 2pm: Poo
3pm: (Tues-Thurs) Dave leaves for work. Walk with Mom to Wooten or Brentwood Park. Swing. Stare at other children. Fall asleep during walk.
5-6pm: Outside time, read books, bathtime. Dinner – vegetable or fruit and oatmeal.
6-7:30pm: Scream and cry hysterically until falling asleep.
7:30-5: Sleep, awake every two - three hours to eat/scream.