Monday, May 26, 2008

Pretty Baby

This is just a post to show a few of his many faces.

He can easily give you a mean look, and pierce your soul.

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and he hasn't quite mastered the smile yet

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but he's good at the smirk.
( i wonder where he gets that from)

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He is still easily confused

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and sometimes a little drooly

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Good news, Bad news

This has nothing to do with the baby, but just a coupl eof items of local interest.

First the good news.
After eliminating the much higher budgeted LSU in the regionals, and taking Houston down on their home turf in the super-regionals, the Lady Cajuns Softball team is headed to the college World Series in Oklahoma City this week.

They have a tough task ahead of them as they have to play the #1 seed, Florida, in the first round. Wish them luck.

and now for the bad news.
Last week a story came out that a 40 year old man had been arrested for slashing a 19 year old in the face with a razor after an argument.
Not a big deal usually, except that the suspect is a local celebrity.

mardi gras 2007 007

Yup, they say it was the Cotton Candy Man,( aka Chris Farley, aka Yum Yum Guy, aka Candy Apple Man) that did it.
We all hope that he is truly innocent, but will leave it to the justice system to find out.
It is scary though that the pic that I took of him at Mardi Gras has him holding a sword. Were we in danger? I doubt it.

End of an Era

8 weeks ago we were sitting in a small hospital room, happy to have a healthy, pretty child.
Unfortunately, 8 weeks is a significant number because it means that tomorrow Joan goes back to work.
It's incredibly sad to both of us that he'll only see his parents 3-4 hours a day, plus weekends, but such is the evil of modern life. It'll be hard, but we know he'll be in good hands.
The arrangement we've worked out is that my mom, his Nonnie, is going to watch him here, at our house. We have high hopes for the arrangement. We know she's qualified, based on personal knowledge of her past work product (though you have the right to disagree if you know me)
She'll be one on one with him this week, and next week she'll add Anna to the mix.


Anna is a very well behaved child, so we're hoping she'll be a good influence on him. She's just shy of a year older than him and is pretty mobile, with an affinity for Jimmy. Good thing he doesn't have a tail.

March '04 017

This week continued to be better than the peak of the misery a few weeks back. He's still fussy and strains to work stuff out, but the severe fits have dwindled away. He's also getting longer stretches of sleep during the night, but has a couple of hours of light, noisy sleep in the mornings.

We've started him on Colic Calm, one of the many hocus pocus remedies out there, but, as far as we can tell, it's not not working.
The fluid is basically a concoction of a bunch of different herbs, and contains some type of charcoal, which makes it black. The charcoal powder is supposed to absorb the bad stuff in his intestines. Whether it actually does that, I have no idea, but we do know that it does stain everything it touches, and makes him look like some poor son of a chimney sweep by the time he's done dosing. (or like he's got more facial hair than dear old Dad)

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Unsurprisingly, it comes out of the other end looking the same way. Kinda freaky when his diaper is completely black, but you get used to it.

If you have a cranky baby, you may want to give it a try. We ordered it off of the 'net but now Professional Arts Pharmacy in Lafayette (where Joan's Mom works)is the second retail store in the state to carry it. A guy drove in from New Orleans the other day to buy some from them. Some people swear by it.

Joan's diet is still pretty limited but she's adding ingredients every couple of days. She's worked in spicy tuna rolls, french fries and sweet potatoes this week.
She's been killing the McDonald's classic grilled chicken sandwich.
Three times I've been to McD's and three time I've said this exact phrase,
" I'll take one Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich , please."
Lo and behold, three times the response from the talking box has been:
"Would you like that grilled or crispy?"
To which I've mentally responded:
"What $%^*$#@ part of GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH did you not understand, moran."

but, back on topic.
Riley went to his fourth live music event this week, when he checked out the Lafayette Concert Band Memorial Day show out at Parc International.

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Like Barrack Obama (of whom I am no fan), Riley wasn't wearing a flag pin and didn't salute during the anthem.
Sean Hannity would hate my son. (and that would make my day) [Ooops, did I go political there for a second? oh well.]

he did well through most of the show, being passed amongst his grandparents, but toward the end he needed Mommy's love to stay quiet.

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he also went to church for the third time, and was quiet through church for the third time (though his smells were more obnoxious than even his worst cries could have been) He is quite the hit with the old people at the 8:30 service.

He's also developed a dislike for being in his car seat. Fortunately, once we get where we are going, he has no problem traveling in the Baby Bjorn and did very well yesterday on his first trip to the mall and on our weekly grocery run. I really like that thing. (the the carrier, I mean. and the baby too, I guess)

So far, I'm pleased with our ability to work him into our lives and not become complete shut ins. Next step, riding in the Jeep. I can't wait.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Product Plug

If you know us you know that one of the things we really care about is good music.

I could go on for days about some of our favorite bands, but this isn't the place.

Since it is a blog about parenting and kids though, I figured the following recommendation would be appropriate.

The world of kids music can be pretty grating on most sane adults, but some of the stuff out there is good. We happened to recently find a great kids CD by a local musician/teacher.

I highly recommend anyone picking up the disc "Dill Pickles, Bugz and other Feel Good Tunes" by Melissa Stevenson.

Melissa is one of the wonderful Figs (check 'em out) and her husband Cal, who played on and produced the disc, is formerly a Bluerunner.

While Riley isn't old enough to get into it yet, I think he'll like it. It has a great mix of musical styles and is built for kids without being too sickeningly silly for adults. There's even a cool song called "Cajun Livin'" that mentions alot of local favorites. In my mind, if you can work boudin and crawfish boils into a kid's song, you are musical royalty. I expect our copy to get worn out in the coming years.

I picked up my copy at and you should do the same.


just for some visuals of how the kid is growing, he's finally fitting into all of the cool stuff that was falling off of him at the hospital.

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And he's got enough neck control to be able to sit, for a little while, in the Bumbo.

Here he is with his future friend, Jimmy, just lounging around on the patio.


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and he still lets the eyes go crossed every once in a while, but we're working on it.(along with neck toning exercises)

Cross eyes

Now he's going to enjoy one more week of having Mommy at home before she goes back to work (almost 8 weeks already) Not like he's going to have a bad time being watched by my mom and hanging out with his friend Anna though.

Sleeping like a..... how you say?

based on the doctors visit last week, Joan has begun to expand her diet. She has reintroduced Evangeline Maid bread, but has to be careful about other breads, which often contain dairy products. She's also introduced beef, graham crackers, and non shellfish sushi.

Riley only had a couple of fits over the weekend. One could have been attributable to Joan having eaten a breaded chicken sandwich from McD's which may have contained dairy. It could also have been because the Prevacid does not seem to work as well as the Zantac. While he's having less bathroom related fits, his fits now fit the reflux symptoms very well before it's time for another dose.

Fortunately, Lesley came over for the weekend and was able to help out alot. She was rewarded by him going comatose on her while we went shopping.

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he is resting more peacefully though, especially when we treat him to a little (supervised) Tempurpedic time.

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Hey Richard

In keeping with the effort of trying to make Riley cooler than his parents (go ahead, make a wise crack about that not being hard to do) he got to check out another great local band on Saturday at Crouchstock.
One of our favorite bands, Richard Revue, was playing outside after a long absence from the gigging scene. The weather was great and Riley got to see another live performance of the music he hears around the house all of the time.
So far he's seen the Figs, The Red Stick Ramblers, Richard Revue and the Lost Bayou Ramblers.

Now he's just got to see the Bluerunners, Mario Matteoli and the remnants of the Weary Boys and he'll have seen most of the bands that he hears regularly at home.

Despite the great music, he was kinda indifferent.

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at first we thought the music was too loud, so we tried to cover his ears

Too Loud

but eventually he was able to fall asleep, again proving his ability to sleep through any possible volume level.

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he was the coolest dude there, in his Baby Bjorn

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and i don't know whether it was the bright shirt or what, but for most of the day he was seriously fixated on Funcle James (dogs and kids just love the guy)

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The Corsican Syndrome

ok, not quite, but it is funny how Riley and Caroline are able to coordinate crying outbursts.
I don't know if it is like dogs in the neighborhood talking to each other or what, but we observed the phenomenon twice this week.

On Sunday she was being "fighting off the sleep fussy" as he was sitting right next to her, with no reason to complain, but did anyway.

On Wednesday, we gave Joan and Paul's mom her Mother's Day present (a double wide jogging stroller), and had her grandkids all set up for a first walk, until they had simultaneous fits.

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Pretty soon they'll be knocking over liquor stores and robbing banks together (fine by me, so long as I get a cut.)

Finally just for fun, here a couple of shots of the cousins just chillin' at Riley's crib (literally, not in the "dats my crib dawg" way)

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Week 7 crib 001

Not Meeting Expectations

Sunday, Riley was baptized at Asbury.
Fortunately, he did not live up to our expectations, which were that he would throw a fit in church.
Just like his first trip to church (for Caroline's baptism) he slept through almost the whole thing, and contently sucked on the pacifier for the rest.
He didn't even fuss when a stranger poured water on his head then held him up in front of a room full of even more strangers.

Baptism 3

Baptism 1

he was even able to hold off long enough for a rather lengthy photoshoot outside.

with his parents


With our parents


with some of his greatgrandparents (Joan's mom's parents)

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with his godparents Eli (who is obviously scared of Joan) & Lesley (who was wearing really tall heels)

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and with the Wallace family

Wallace Fam

not discriminating against the Darby's, but Paul's branch wasn't able to make it over from Tigertown so there's no "family pic"

and we don't always clothe him in dresses, but apparently what he was wearing is a gown not a dress (you know, like a night gown or a bridal gown, real men things).
I did not object to him wearing it because Joan, Paul and Caroline all were baptized in it, but I did make fun of him the whole time he had it on, and I think he knows it. Gotta toughen him up.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Dear loyal fan,

Having some pc troubles on Sunday night (my usual update opportunity)

I'll probably end up posting on Tuesday night. (House season finale on Monday, so thats a no-go)

But how 'bout them Lady Cajuns beating the Tigers two games in a row in BR to advance to the Super-regional.

Where's your big budget now, suckas?

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bottom of the Class

I'll still have stuff to post this weekend, but there's something that arose today that didn't fit with the feel of the last post.

Riley, at 6.5 weeks old, weighed in at 9lbs 4ozs and is 21 inches in length.
That means that, since birth, he has gained about 3 lbs and grown 1.5 inches.

His current measurements put him in the 25th percentile weightwise and the 12th percentile height wise.
I think that means he's twice as fat as he should be for his height (do the math), but Joan disagrees.

It's not like the kid ever had any shot at being tall.
It may be a good sign though that we won't have a tall, dumb, athletic kid in the way that I expected the universe to spite us.

and since I didn't get any digs in at BR in the last post, I'll try here.

Since we knew we were heading into enemy territory, the boy and I both suited up in our spiffy Cajuns gear. I'm surprised LSU A&M at Baton Rouge didn't have representatives on the bridge waiting to turn us away.

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Which Highway? I-10 or Al Gore Pkwy

Wednesday we headed over to BR to see a pediatric gastroenterologist to figure out what is wrong with Riley's guts.
Basically we are now more confused and no closer to him being better.
The lady was very nice, with a good manner with the baby, so I'm not trying to knock her. But she failed to live up to my high, but fair expectations.

Her diagnosis is that he has reflux and colic. She's upping his meds from Zantac to Prevacid for the reflux.
Based on reports of blood in the stool, which is no longer present, she thinks that he did have some sort of collitis due to dairy in Joan's diet but that has gone away since she cut dairy out.
Her only recommendation was that Joan continue to not eat dairy, nuts or gassy foods.
That's good because that would actually be an expansion of her plan right now.

The only fix for colic is waiting for him to grow out of it in a few months (not good since she's going back to work in a few weeks)

The rub comes from a few places:

Firstly, we're not idiots. We're not doctors (check our bank accounts), but we do spend considerable time reading and trying to understand symptoms and potential issues before we approach a doctor.I think it's better for both sides that way. Some of the things she said though, are exactly contrary to what we've read, especially as to whether gassy food pass gas problems along to the baby, and what colic type fits are (duration, predictability, intensity.) Now, I know not everything on the interweb is true, but we're smart enough to judge sources. We are informed and expect to be listened to and treated like we have better than a Forrest Gump IQ. Some may see that as arrogant, but it is reality, no matter how else you label it.

Second, she failed my biggest test, willingness to explain a conclusion. She said that a certain drug wouldn't be recommended because it was bad. I asked, "Why?" and explained that I wasn't questioning her conclusion, we're just nerds who like to understand reasons. She responded, "It's just bad." (paraphrased) Massive FAIL. Call me a needy, picky patient, but I expect a doctor to take my intellectual comprehension of my child's health seriously.

Thirdest, after we explained multiple times that Joan was literally eating nothing but chicken , pasta, rice, potatoes and oatmeal, Doc said that she was going to narrow Joan's diet even more. We were floored with the thought that was even possible. She went on to detail this restriction by saying Joan can eat anything but dairy, nuts and gassy food. On what planet is that a narrowing?

Bottom line: If we were in BR, we may follow up with her, but our experience today was definitely not worth the drive over. He's doing ok for now, we'll just try to keep him that way.

Sorry this entry took such a harsh tone. Some times a little man has just got to vent.
It's hard being someone with half a brain, in a world where everyone assumes they are dealing with someone with a quarter of a brain.

It was even enough to anger Riley, and he's a much nicer person than me

(actually I just needed and excuse to learn how to post vids)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Giraffe Poachers

I try not to post blogs without pics, but given the family nature of this blog, I don't think pics would be appropriate here.

Here's a little piece of info I got from a certain Corvette owning, Disney World loving, 30-something father of two, who is expecting a third child (of unknown gender) on May 29 and who wishes to remain anonymous.

If you are looking for telephone based customer service on items purchased from a large children's retail chain you are referred to:

be sure to read carefully, because if you "accidentally" dial 1-800-BABIES-R-US, you will reach the recorded voice of a woman who appears to be out of breath and in extreme discomfort (or comfort), and who wishes to offer you conversation designed to appeal to your prurient interests (for a fee).

Just a heads up folks. Be careful out there.

The Big Day

Today was Mother's Day.
Riley was so excited that, like the kid in the Disney commercial, he couldn't sleep all night. (not a good way to celebrate)

Once the sun came up and the mosquitoes went down, we threw him in the jogging stroller and headed out to Acadiana Park for a family adventure through the woods.

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Week 6 007

don't let the scowl fool you, he was having fun.

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It was a big day for me, because it was my boy's first offroad adventure. That stoller can handle some pretty rough stuff. He was climbing, descending, and even doing some off camber crawling.

Pretty soon, he'll be joining us on the mountain bikes.

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and before you know it, he'll be wheeling the Jeep up in Hot Springs.

Hot Springs Jan 2005 025

Given that he slept through some pretty rough strolling, he can't even act like the dogs barking next door actually wake him up.

After his outdoor adventure, I took him for a trip around town to give Mommy some time to make up some sleep. At the stores he traveled around contently in the Baby Bjorn which I'm loving so far.

He then took visitors and got to hang out a little with his godparents.


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and Uncle Eli (with Amanda)

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Lesley doesn't have a cool godparent name yet, so we're taking suggestions.
Eli wants to be called "BA" which is short for "Uncle Bad A**."
I like the idea (especially since it was partially mine)

Riley is being baptised/christened at Asbury next Sunday at 8:30, for anyone interested either in attending, or needing comfort as to the state of his immortal soul.

And for the most important part of Mother's Day, the presents, the little rat really showed me up.
I got Joan some accessories for the Roomba, to help her keep the place clean while she sits around watching What Not to Wear all day. I thought that was considerate of me.
The little showoff though got her a really pretty diamond and pearl necklace.
Looks like I've got some competition. You can see him here, plotting against me,

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Then acting all innocent when he realizes the camera is around.

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I think that's about it.
But just to show how he's growing, he finally fits in the swing.

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Just a few weeks ago his head wouldn't even reach the pillow and he would just flop right over.

As the Stomach Churns

When Paul started his blog, his intent was to write about his baby (Caroline) and food.
I never intended to write about food, but it is becoming a big concern around here.
While Paul writes about good food, I have to write about the absence of good food.

As the regular readers know, Riley has been having some gastric issues which led Joan to first cut out all dairy, and then move on to eating nothing but chicken (lightly seasoned), rice, pasta and potatoes.
During the week, I eat the same thing she does, but over the weekend I had to venture out and get some variety (in my food)

Maybe it's working because things have improved dramatically around here. They are still far from perfect, but far from as bad as they were.

If it's not the diet change that is healing him its the other change that we made.
If you work for the government or have a weak heart, please cover your ears so you don't hear what I am about to type.
In blazing defiance of the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, we have allowed our son to sleep on his stomach (gasp, horror, shock)

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Now any of you with children born before Johnny Carson retired from TV and Nirvana hit the mainstream will say, "What's the big deal, all of my kids slept on their stomachs. The doctors told us to."

And you'd be right, but you'd also be OLD.

In 1992, the scientific establishment decided that the risk of SIDS would be reduced if babies slept on their backs. They say SIDS deaths have dropped dramatically since then, so they may be right. (yes I did just make reference to the intangible "they" and I did mean it in the worst possible way)

Now, unlike most people, I prefer a little causation in my science, not just correlation, but nothing I've read seems to have it.

Regardless, I don't dispute that putting babies to sleep on their backs is a good idea.

But, when the options are:
A) Have a screaming baby laying on his back all night keeping everyone awake and preventing his body from healing, or
B)Have a baby sleeping peacefully on his stomach, while increasing his risk of SIDS from .05% to .11%.

I'm going stomach all day... er..., night.

Bottom line is he's resting peacefully and only having a couple of screaming fits everyday. Those fits are nowhere near as long as they were a couple of weeks ago. The crying increases towards the end of the effective period of a Zantac dose, so that is having some positive effect.

Wednesday we'll be heading over to Baton Rouge to see a Gastroenterologist that our pediatrician recommended. I hope she's got the answers.

Good thing we already met his deductible this year. That 'll allow him to have a couple of little cosmetic procedures before the year is up, at no extra cost.
Something has to be done about that turkey neck/double chin he's sporting.

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(Wow, I really might get arrested if any strangers read this)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Digestive Dilemma

Instead of a bunch of small posts, I'm just going with one big one this week.

The overall theme though, is: "The kid screams when he makes solid contributions to his diaper."

He's not fussy or whiney.
He's either 100% peaceful or he is screaming like a banshee (original simile, huh) and straining and turning red.
The screaming peaks just before he lets forth a 6.3 Richter Scale quake in his diaper. After that, he's fine again for a while.

To try to fix the problem, Joan is on a chicken, rice and pasta diet for now.
Once things calm down and he's not having symptoms, she'll start to reintroduce items.Fortunately for both of us, the Egg cooks some killer chicken, so we'll be alright.

BGE 004

In the meantime, the doc has prescribed some sort of reflux medicine. Here is where having a compounding pharmacist for a grandmother really paid off for him. He's not taking regular old Zantac, he's taking Snickers flavored Zantac. It actually smells pretty good. Hell, he's getting more flavor than his mom.

Friday he made his first trip to BR, to help the Caroline family move some furniture.
Just like most people want to do when they have to go to BR, he cried and screamed most of the time. It was sad to hear, but I really can't blame him.

There are 5 or six different positions that may work at any time to calm the beast. You just have to be luck enough to find the right one in one of your first few tries.
I've had luck with bringing him into light, whether that be a window or under a bulb on the patio or into the sunlight.
In the light, he gets all trance-like and calms down (even without staring directly at the bulb/sun for you Child Protective Service narcs)

Saturday was ok (aside from a major freakout in Target) and Sunday has been pretty good. He's slept most of the day and was quiet enough to go to my grandmother's house to meet some out of town family. As he has done with a few other estrogen addled creatures, he kicked Cousin Tesha's baby fever up a couple of degrees.

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He then went for his first walk in his jogging stroller, over at the UL campus. He wasn't quite interested in the alligators yet, but I'll fix that in time. (yeah we've got alligators in the swamp on our campus. Sure beats a multi million dollar kennel for some generic old tiger)

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I'm trying to ease him in to some of my mean spirited attempts at humor. He usually doesn't react. Here he is though with Joan holding him back from choking me after I said something particularly cruel about this disproportionately large head.

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He quickly decided he wasn't down with the whole swaddling thing and got all Houdini on a swaddling sack last weekend. (he started out fully contained)

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He's more interesting to be around now that he's keeping his eyes open sometimes. He doesn't quite have all of his eye control down yet, so sometimes he starts to look like Mitch Hedberg's sister (or me, in pics)

He's growing like crazy. I can barely palm his back anymore.
Here's some comparisons:



That's it. Now he's got to find a ride some time this week to go Mother's Day shopping, 'cause I'm not taking him after work, and it'd be tacky to ask her to take him.

We'll have a full report on his first experience as a cause of that manufactured holiday next week.