thoughts from New England

Little Pumpkin 5 Month Update November 10, 2006

Filed under: baby,fatherhood — tim @ 6:28 pm

Yesterday Little Pumpkin turned five months old. I realize that I don’t often enough blog about being a dad and what these changes all mean. Little Pumpkin has been sitting up now for the past week and really taking it to heart! She is able to sit on her own if we put her in that position; she can hold it for quite some time before tipping over because she’s interested in something to her side. It’s quite a challenge now to leave her alone — even if she’s on her back — because within a matter of seconds, she’s rolled over and into something else. Crawling is the next big step, and I’m certain she’ll be there soon. She’s really been high-energy lately, jumping up and down and getting very excited by lots of things. Even something as simple as looking out the window is a lot of fun for her. Jasper the Cat and her have even become quick friends! She likes to pet his soft fur, grabbing at him and touching his whiskers. Surprisingly, he is not bothered by this and instead realizes that she’s just a baby. She grabs his fur in big clumps sometimes and while I’m nervous that perhaps he’ll bite her (he’s declawed), he hasn’t even come close to doing so yet. He generally just moves his head away if he’s being bothered and moves elsewhere. But she loves to touch his soft fur!

The big challenge has always been being mindful of her being distracted by watching the television. I’m a fan of the idiot box, but in a…cultural perspective. Okay, I enjoy mindless entertainment as well (The Soup). That doesn’t mean I have to instill these bad habits in her though! I do not look forward to having her peers being mindless boob tube zombies, but I’m feeling better that she’ll have others in this area who have like-minded parents.

Her exer-saucer is a constant source of fun, however she does want routine and constant attention from us when she’s in it. Typically we can put her in it and then sit and have dinner while we talk to her and she entertains herself. Solid foods are coming soon — before the holidays she’ll probably have her first mushed foods. I hear babies like sweet potatoes!


Portsmouth, NH and baby portability July 27, 2006

Filed under: baby,beer,eat & drink,fatherhood,food,vacation — tim @ 1:51 am

portsmouth brewery

So on Sunday night we headed up to Augusta, Maine as I had some work to do up there. Since H was still on maternity leave, we made it into a mini-vacation. On the way home we decided to stop off in Portsmouth, NH for a rest stop which turned into a scenic tour of historic downtown Portsmouth. Portsmouth is colonial in the truest New England sense — the houses are close together on cobblestone streets with the feeling that you’ll run into an olde timey sea captain around any given corner — which is my kind of city. It reminded me a lot of Salem, MA but without the kitchy witchcraft stuff.

We parked in one of the many huge downtown parking garages and headed down the main street towards the square. The streets are narrow with high buildings and Lil Pumpkin rode w/H in the Bjorn, which I need to plug as the greatest baby carrier a man could ask for, but that’s another entry. We had the Portsmouth Brewery in our sights as I’ve heard much about their crafty brews and wanted to taste for myself. They are also responsible for the oft-hailed (but personally under-sampled) Smuttynose Brewing Company, so needless to say I was excited. There was not much of a wait for the patio so we decided to take in the salty evening air on their enclosed patio.

What a great idea! The ambiance was perfect, and Pumpkin was able to sit comfortably in the Bjorn during our stay. I tried the Altbier first — a great choice for a hot summer’s day. H had the Cream Ale and enjoyed it as well. We both chose some decent pub fare (burger for me, salad & chowder for H) and relaxed in the evening. Since I wasn’t driving back, I enjoyed a Saison with my meal. Not as good as Harpoon‘s 100 Barrel Series Saison, but delicious nonetheless. It was a great ending to a great day. I picked up a pair of pint glasses to add to my collection — a Portsmouth and a Smutty!
One thing that I realized on this trip is just how much time babies add to your travel time. They need to be fed, burped, coddled, and changed. They will not always sleep when you want them to, and often times they will just freak out for no reason. We had fed her pretty well before leaving Portsmouth but she still had a meltdown between there and Hooksett (about a 45 minute drive). We pulled off at Target in Hooksett and performed some quick diaper changing (in my favorite spot — on the hood of the car!) and even though she bopped her head on the car door while I was holding her, she ended up okay. She’s become quite the squrimer in recent days — we bought her a handy-wrap swaddling blanket so she’d stay in it — not bloody likely. The EZ Swaddler works better than a blanket, but she still manages to pull a Houdini and get her feet and arms out of the blanket.

The other thing I realized on this trip is how much crap babies need — diapers, pumps, bottle equipment, clothes, swings, you name it. We decided to take the “travel swing” — what an oxymoron. That thing is so awkward, so cumbersome, it’s only worth travelling from your living room to the other side of the living room. It can’t easily fold up into a good shape to fit into a car unless you have a Gigandor SUV…oh wait, there’s our problem. Our car isn’t big enough to hold more crap.

It was a good thing we had this little getaway because we are now able to assess this and see how we can further streamline our travel before our upcoming trip to California!