Son of the Ferg
Oliver is 2 years old now. He’s not quite 2 and a half, but he’s getting there. A few months back, he developed what is perhaps the most annoying habit in the entire world. This sweet, adorable, loving little boy will occasionally and without warning, scream at the top of his tiny lungs while smiling his cute little face off. Just to clarify what I mean by this, it’s more of a shriek than a scream. It’s a high pitched, ear splitting noise that pierces your very soul. No place or time is off limits to this either. He could be in acceptable places like a large outdoor playground or a field or in a crowded supermarket or, my personal…whatever the opposite of favorite is…the car.
We had a long car ride home yesterday from Monica’s family reunion upstate. Parker was sleeping soundly and we figured that Oliver would conk out so we’d have a peaceful ride. No such luck. Oliver was up the entire way back, screaming like a madman. Despite us trying everything we could possibly think of to stop him from doing this short of stuffing a sock in his mouth, he kept gleefully doing it. It got to the point that Parker woke up and was crying. To paint this mental picture for you, we’ve got Oliver shrieking, Parker crying, Monica trying to soothe them both, and me driving with gritted teeth, hoping to get home as fast as possible so I can get the hell out of that car and perhaps jump out of a window.
We got home and I dragged Oliver upstairs, changed him into his pajamas, threw him in bed, and then went to unload the car. Meanwhile, he was clearly not tired, so he proceeded to get up and yell for me at the top of the stairs. After taking a minute to calm down, I went up there, put him back in bed, tucked him in, and then closed the door. This set him off on a fit, despite the fact that he told me to leave and to close the door. Kids can’t make up their minds. I let him cry it out for a few minutes before going in there and calmly tucking him in again. I sat with him for a little while and it was like everything was totally normal. He was my sweet little boy again and all was right in the world. All of the aggravation I had built up during the car ride washed away. Here was my son, curled up in bed, clutching his teddy bear under his Spider-Man blanket and he just wanted me to sit with him for a few minutes before he fell asleep.
That’s the thing about being a parent. It can be the most rewarding, literally awesome thing in the entire world one minute and the next, it can be a terrifying, soul-crushing beast. Despite this, I wouldn’t change a thing. The good far outweighs the bad. Just know that some day I will not only wake my son up in the middle of the night just to hang out, but I’ll also be sure to shriek at an inopportune time in his life. Maybe at his high school graduation or his wedding day. Dad doesn’t forget, buddy.
A little more than two weeks ago, I became a dad again. Parker Maxwell Ferguson was born on Saturday, June 13th at 10:47 PM. This is the story of his arrival.
After going through this twice, I can report that women tend to get to a point in their pregnancy where they just want it to be over. They’re really uncomfortable and agitated about it and they have every right to be. They are creating life after all. Monica reached that point in this pregnancy around the beginning of May. She wasn’t due until June 22nd. She went to the doctor for a routine visit on Thursday, June 11th. The doctor said that she would definitely go to full term. Two days later, as if both her and my soon-to-be-newborn son told the doctor “F You” her water broke.
This happened around 7 AM. I was downstairs with Oliver when Monica came down and told me that she thought her water broke. She eventually called the doctor who told her to come into the hospital around 1 PM. In the meantime, she relaxed, went for a walk, took a shower, and ate lunch. It was like every other day…except for the fact that liquid was literally leaking out of her. Yes, that sounds gross, but how did you think the baby was going to come out?
She also called her parents who agreed to come down to watch Oliver. This was a big concern for us because, depending on when the new baby came, we didn’t really know what to do with Oliver. As a very temporary solution, he could come with us, but someone would have to pick him up. If it was during the week, he’d be at daycare for most of the day. As it turned out, this was probably the best possible situation. It was the weekend. Monica’s dad had just started vacation so he was available to come down. It all lined up nicely.
We got to the hospital around 1:30 after I took at least 2 wrong turns. I can’t explain why this happened. I’ve been to this hospital several times when we were taking various lamaze classes and whatnot but for some reason, I just totally spaced out on the ride over. After getting into a room, the doctor confirmed that Monica’s water did indeed break. As a result, we were stuck there. She was officially admitted to the hospital as they won’t let you leave after the water is broken.
Monica was still mobile and not in much pain at this point. Contractions were coming but not regularly and they weren’t too severe. She was told to walk laps around the maternity ward for about an hour. This helps shake things loose. Again, if this sound gross, sorry. That’s how these things work. We set out for the walk while I was texting family and work folks. While we were walking, I pointed out a white board with “Welcome to the Maternity Ward” written on it along with a number of names. I assumed that these were the names of the new children that have been born. Monica, being far smarter than me, noticed that 99% of the names were female and that was unlikely. I think the one male name was a mysterious “Ray.” On a later lap, the names were confirmed to be those of the maternity ward staff. Then I instantly wondered if anyone heard me make fun of some of the names while we were walking by.
After about an hour walking, we returned to the room for another check. I think this was around 4 PM by this point. Things were progressing steadily. We both rested a bit, Monica in the bed and me in this odd pleather chair / bed contraption. This thing means well, but it’s an uncomfortable pain in the ass. Now, I get that the chair in the labor and delivery rooms aren’t really a cause for concern in the minds of hospital staff. After all, the men / guests aren’t the patients. The important people are the pregnant women who are about to go through an insane experience and literally produce a human being. Me being uncomfortable in a weird pull out bed is the least of their worries. The way this thing was supposed to work was by pulling the bottom of the chair out and then folding the back down so it would turn into a sort of bed. I didn’t figure this out right away so the bottom kept rolling out or the seat would slide forward while I was sitting on it. I didn’t figure out the right way to use it for a few hours. I should also note that this is the same type of chair that was there the last time we had a baby.
This next part gets a little hazy for me. I’m not sure of the specific time frame, but I think we rested and hung out for about an hour or so. At around 6, we were going to go for another walk, but the contractions were getting more intense, so Monica asked for the epidural. This is a magic drug that comes down from the gods to numb pregnant women from the stomach down. It doesn’t paralyze them, but they’re not too steady on their feet. There is absolutely no shame in getting an epidural. I can only imagine the pain of childbirth. I’ve seen two of them and both times the epidural provides a very noticeable relief. There are many women that don’t want to get one when it comes time to give birth. Of those, a large chunk of them get it anyway. Science!
I was kicked out of the room while the anesthesiologist put in the epidural. It goes in as a catheter into the spine so there’s a steady stream of the stuff to keep the pregnant woman comfortable. I think what happened next was I checked in on Monica again and everything was OK. She was going to rest for a little while as the drugs kicked in so I took the opportunity to go downstairs and get a bite to eat. Not eating was a big mistake I made with Oliver’s birth, especially since that turned into a marathon. I subsisted almost entirely on Famous Amos cookies. I came prepared this time with a couple bananas, peanuts, cookies, and some granola bars, but I still needed some real food. I got a mediocre chicken parm in the hospital cafeteria and promptly got sauce on my white t-shirt. After I finished eating, I went back upstairs to find that the doctor was performing another check. She now said that Monica would be having this baby tonight.
A quick note on this. The doctor that said this was also the one that told Monica she would go to full term. So what do we believe, lady? Her estimate would actually get closer, claiming that the current nurse would see the baby born and her shift ended at 11 PM. (To put this in perspective, we went through four different nurses during Oliver’s birth. Their shifts are 12 hours long. Woof.)
We basically hung out for a bit here. Monica rested. I read many comics on my tablet. I read most of the pre-New 52 run of Batgirl starring Stephanie Brown and Red Robin featuring Tim Drake. Both of them were pretty good, but I found Batgirl to be solid for the entire duration. Now I see why people love that character so much.
Anyway, back to the baby. The epidural didn’t work entirely. There was this one spot on Monica’s hip that was throbbing in pain. She got a booster with the epidural that helped a little bit but didn’t fix the issue. This, coupled with a partially completed root canal that was not painful before, but began to throb like crazy, made for an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, she didn’t have to deal with it nearly as long as the first time.
I think it was around 10 where things started heating up. Monica was crazy dilated. The baby had dropped into the -1 position (Look it up!). It was go time. The bed transformed into baby mode as Monica began pushing. She actually had to stop for a sec so the doctor and the nurse could catch up. It was happening pretty quickly. Stirrups were popped out and her feet were propped up. All of a sudden, the baby was right there. Throughout this whole thing, I was at the head of the bed, holding Monica’s hand. I was not going down to ground zero. Let the professionals handle that. I’d just be in the way and there’s a lot going on down there. I got a peek down and saw the baby’s head. After a few more pushes, the baby was out. Just like that. It happened. Again, to put this in perspective, for Oliver’s birth, Monica pushed for a total of six hours. Pushing is the part of labor that you always see in movies. The woman is red faced and screaming and it’s a big hub-bub. In reality, that phase of the labor should take up to a half hour, as was the case here. Oliver was stubborn and didn’t turn the way he was supposed to so he just kind of got stuck until the doctor had to literally suck him out with a little vacuum.
Oh, I almost forgot. With a flip of a switch, a large mirror descended from the ceiling. This allowed Monica to see what was happening as she was pushing. She found this very encouraging and helpful in the act.
Right after the baby came out, I had this moment of panic. They don’t really come out kicking and screaming like in the movies. Parker was rather still and a little purple. All these horrible thoughts went through my head in that instant. Was there something wrong? What happened? Oh no. Then the doctor turned the kid around and everything was fine. He let out a little cry but nothing huge. The doctor let me cut the cord and then plopped the baby down on Monica’s stomach. In the meantime, the doctor pulled out the placenta and showed it to us which I will admit was a little gross. It’s basically a small sack of flesh, about the size of a deflated soccer ball. It was like a show-and-tell. Monica loved it. In the final push to get that out, a gush of blood followed. The doctor said something along the lines of “I don’t usually have my births look like a crime scene.” That was when I looked down and saw the blood splatter just about everywhere. It was all over the floor. Dexter would have a field day in that room.
So, that’s how Parker Maxwell Ferguson came into the world. He did so in less than half the time that Oliver did. Parker was one inch shorter and one ounce bigger than Oliver was.
The next chapter is him meeting his big brother and how the two of them get along.
Today I reenacted a scene from Home Alone because my son needed another pair of shoes. Here’s what went down. Last weekend, Monica and I bought a few pairs of flip flops for Oliver because there was some crazy sale where they were $1 each. We got a variety of sizes and colors so he’ll be set for awhile. Today was the second day that he wore one of these new flip flops. At about 9:30 AM, I get a call from one of Oliver’s teachers at day care.
She informed me that Oliver broke his flip flops and now he doesn’t have any shoes to wear. We send in extra shirts and pants in case he messes up the clothes he’s wearing but we never thought to send in an extra pair of shoes. After I get over my initial stunned silence at the first sentence and my relief that the call wasn’t because he was hurt or had hurt another kid, I had to figure out what to do about my kid’s feet while I was at work. Fortunately, my schedule was pretty open and I was able to run home and pick up a pair of shoes for Oliver. Now that I think more about this, I’m curious as to how he broke them in the first place.
About halfway home, I realized that I had forgotten my house keys. After cursing loudly and repeatedly in the car, I decided to just keep going. I’d figure it out when I got there. How hard could this be? My neighbor has a key and I think that I hid one somewhere on the property (PLEASE DON’T ROB ME) so I can probably get in the house, right? I tried all the doors and they were all locked as always so that ruled out the easy approach. My neighbor wasn’t home and I couldn’t remember where I had hid the key. So now what? Well, we’ve got this one window that I knew wasn’t locked so I figured I’d try to jimmy it open and get in. (SERIOUSLY, PLEASE DON’T ROB ME). I’ve actually done this once before so it wasn’t a crazy thought.
If any passerby were to look over, they would have seen a grown man wiggling through a window, falling over, and then having said window slam closed on his shins. This is where the Home Alone reference comes in. I felt like Joe Pesci trying to break into a house and getting foiled by a child with a variety of fun, yet deadly traps. The only difference here is that I was playing all the parts. I was my own enemy for forgetting my keys in the first place, forcing me to squeeze through a window. I should mention that the shoes were in view the entire time I was doing this. If I was Mr. Fantastic, I wouldn’t have had to get into the house at all.
After tumbling through the house and retrieving the shoes (and a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle socks), I swung over to the day care center to drop them off. Oliver’s teacher met me in the hallway because she didn’t want me to see him for fear that he’d get upset when I had to leave again. I was in and out of that building in less than a minute.
So, the moral of the story: You get what you pay for? Or always be prepared? Or maybe just remember your damn keys.
This morning, the day before Easter, I took Oliver to the Rockland Boulders stadium nearby. It’s a minor league baseball stadium that is pretty nice. There was a Halloween event last year that Oliver seemed to dig, plus it was free so it was cool to get out of the house for a bit and check things out. Monica stayed home as she wasn’t feeling well.
This thing started at 8:45. Oliver and I got there at 8:38 and there was already a line wrapped around the front of the building. We hopped on line with the cold wind blowing to the point where it nearly knocked us over. Oliver sat on my shoulders, wearing his Ninja Turtles sunglasses and clutching his Easter basket. He was ready. We’ve been talking about going to this for at least a week.
At long last, the doors open and we get on another line. Everyone was broken up into two groups: Kids 5 and under and kids 6-10. From this vantage point, we could see that the outfield was covered in colored plastic eggs. There was a small divider breaking it up into two sections. This was going to be a madhouse.
After waiting on this line for a few minutes with the wind still barreling down, we were ushered onto the field itself. Me and at least a hundred other parents crowded around the field, holding back kids that were anxiously awaiting to grab some eggs. Oliver kept pushing forward, ready to go. He didn’t understand why he had to wait. The eggs were right there! He had no idea what was inside them. He just wanted to grab them.
At this point, there was a guy with a microphone walking around, reminding everyone of where to line up and plugging the corporate sponsors. Boulder Bird, the team mascot popped up and even he was having trouble with the wind. Oh, and there was an Easter bunny. They were all trying to keep everyone entertained until the crowd could file down the stairs and get to the field. This was going to be fast and if you weren’t on the field when the whistle blew, you weren’t getting anything. Microphone guy gave the one minute warning. Things were about to get under way.
Then it happened. A lone kid ran out onto the field in the 5 and under section. His mom ran after him but it was too late. The damage was done. The flood gates were opened. A horde of screaming kids and parents came bolting onto the field. Oliver and I ran out there. We got a few feet out with me urging Oliver to pick up the eggs before he got the hint. He grabbed one or two as people passed us by, going for the eggs deeper in the field. Then Oliver became an egg-grabbing machine. He had a mission and that was to get as many eggs as possible. We had a nice little area where we weren’t really being bothered. The older kids had run by us already and the real little ones were still putzing around at the line. He nabbed five eggs and then one more that he basically took right before another kid could claim it. Just like that, it was over. I looked around and there was not a single egg left on the ground.
I picked up Oliver and had a look around. He was shivering from the cold so I held him close. He showed moderate interest in Boulder Bird for a minute but didn’t want to get close enough to actually get a picture with him. After circling the mascot for a few minutes, we head out. In the car, Oliver was eager to check out his winnings. After opening an egg, he bit into a fun size Snickers without taking the package off. It was 9:30 AM.
Hello to everyone that arrived on this blog post expecting some sort of erotic Spider-Man fan fiction. I’m sorry to disappoint you, as that’s not what this particular post is about.
As mentioned previously, Oliver has developed a great working nerd knowledge. He enjoys watching the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show (which is pretty great) as well as Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, along with a handful of Disney Junior shows that are less entertaining to me. He can correctly identify a number of comic book characters and I could not be prouder. Then we get to Spider-Man. Just in case you didn’t know, Spider-Man is my all-time favorite comic book character. I’ve stayed by the wall crawler through thick and thin, including the lows like the Clone Saga and One More Day. While Oliver can point out Spider-Man in a picture, he can’t quite say his name. Instead, he says “Penis.”
That’s right. My 2 year old son calls Spider-Man “Penis.” I’ve tried countless times to get him to say it properly, even sounding it out. He’ll repeat each syllable separately — “Spi – Der – Man” — but when I roll it together and say it all at once, he just spouts “Penis.” I’m starting to think he’s just messing with me.
I have no idea how he developed this. He knows the word for penis and happily yells it at me nearly every time that I change his diaper. He does have some trouble with certain words. For example, Superman comes out as something like “Sup-re-sam” but you get the idea. This is just far out there. I can’t bring him to a Spider-Man movie for fear of him yelling “Penis!” at the screen. At least it makes for a great story.
Well, I turned around for a minute and suddenly five months have gone by on this little blog of mine and there’s nothing but cobwebs and a stack of WordPress updates waiting for me. In that span of time, Oliver has almost reached the two year old mark. I’m well past the time where I rattle off his age in months. I gave that up after 18 months. For a bit, he was “1.75 years old.” Now when people ask how old he is, I just say “He’ll be 2 in March.”
The kid’s vocabulary has been growing leaps and bounds. He seems to come out with new words every day, some of which I actually understand. It’s funny because Monica and I work as translators for him sometimes. My brother was over the other day and Oliver would say something that may sound like gibberish to someone else, but we understand what he’s trying to say from being with him all the time.
I’ve been trying to expose him to some good nerd stuff as of late. He loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and can correctly identify half of them (Raphael and Donatello. He still has trouble with Leonardo and Michelangelo.) He can say “turtles” but when he asks for it, it comes out as “hyung-ya.” I don’t know why. I will be impressed if that turns out to be “turtles” in Chinese or something. When corrected, he’ll repeat the word correctly. We’ve watched both the original cartoon and the new one on Nickelodean which is surprisingly good. He has also developed a new found appreciation for pizza as a result of the shows which I’m totally OK with.
In addition to this, Oliver has developed a fascination with the Incredible Hulk. I don’t know why, but he absolutely loves the big green guy. He’s had an Avengers sippie cup for ages but only recently seemed to notice the characters on it. He can identify most of the characters, but Hulk is the only one he can really name. (For the record, he can also correctly identify most of Batman’s rogues gallery.) This love for the Hulk spawned one of my favorite pictures of Oliver ever. Unbeknownst of this Hulk fascination, Monica’s aunt got him a few little Mr. Potato Head super heroes, one of which being Big Green. Check out the look on his face below. It’s pure and absolute joy.
Needless to say, I’m so friggin’ happy that he’s digging this kind of stuff. I’ve been able to share some of the things that I loved as a kid (and as an adult. Who am I kidding?) with him. I’m looking forward to digging through some of my old comics and other shows and movies on DVD to see how he takes them in. He already loves reading the “My First Batman Book” and “My First Superman Book” so I can’t wait to get him into actual comics. I just wish there was more of a selection when it came to kids funny books.
I realized recently that every single day I ask my son “What are you doing?” This is because he is constantly doing strange things. At least, they appear strange to me. They may be perfectly normal for him based on his current understanding of how the world works. For example, he went through a phase in which he would take a big sip of his milk and then just open his mouth, letting it all flow out freely. This was something that was entirely unpredictable. It could come at any time during the feeding process. Other odd things include, but are not limited to:
- Hitting the television
- Putting a USB plug in his mouth
- Playing with the toilet paper
- Knocking over his car playset
- Eating crayons
- Spitting out a piece of half-chewed food in favor of trying something different
- Throwing all of his books on the floor
Kids are weird. Although these strange things can be frustrating (to me anyway), they are very fun to watch. Yes, I have to clean up after him, but Oliver is a fun kid. He keeps my life interesting by constantly surprising me. I never know what he’s going to do or say next.
Speaking of saying, Oliver’s vocabulary has exploded over the past few days. He is repeating everything but his own name. For some reason he won’t even try that. While Monica is spending her time teaching him colors, I’m getting him to say “poop” and laughing like a lunatic every time he says it. He makes it sound fancy, with a little flourish to it. I clearly have my priorities as a father. I want him to know how to say the basics.
My son Oliver is now 17 months old. For those counting at home, that’s almost a year and a half. I recently told Oliver’s age to a colleague at work and she responded with a confused look, asking why I was still counting months. I didn’t really have a good answer and I still don’t. It’s weird. I don’t tell people that I’m 366 months old. That would be weird. So why do count months in babies?
I thought this counting months thing would stop after Oliver turned 1, but we kept going. On a recent play date (Yup, those are happening), a fellow first time dad said that he’d stop after his kid turned 2. I’m thinking it’s a compromise and I’ll stop after 18 months. Then he’ll be a year and a half and then two and that’s it.
Truth be told, I think the month counting is due to the changes that occur at such a rapid pace during this time frame. Oliver at 12 months was way different than Oliver at 17 months. He’s like a completely different person. He’s now walking, talking, climbing, and getting into all kinds of mischief. He started walking at 11 months and now he runs.
Watching Oliver grow, learn, and change has been one of the parts of being a parent that I love. There are so many things that we take for granted. Things like eating with a fork or putting on a shirt are second nature to us, but a child has to learn how to do every little thing. It’s a whole new piece of knowledge that he has to develop.
Since Oliver was born, his hair has been slow growing. He barely had any when he came out and since then, he’s been very slowly getting more. He’s now almost thirteen months old and he’s got a bunch of hair. It’s just not all over his head. It’s patchy and a little thin and reminds me of Bill Murray. He’s got this curly thing going on too.
There are worse people that he could remind me of, I guess. Hopefully it grows in soon. I think he’s going to look like a completely different person when his hair comes in.
It seems that any time a woman walks by baby shoes in a department store, she’ll have to look at them and say “Awww!” Yes, baby shoes are adorable because they’re miniaturized versions of adult shoes. They also usually have cool characters on them like Batman. Unfortunately, they’re pretty much useless. Here’s a tip for all new or expecting parents: Don’t buy your baby shoes. You know why you wear shoes? To protect your feet while you walk. What’s something that babies don’t do? WALK! So why would you waste money on adorable little sneakers that will go on the kid’s feet for no reason outside of an aww-factor? It’s stupid.
Oliver has gotten to the age where he almost needs shoes. He’s not quite walking yet, but he is cruising. This means he can pull himself up by holding onto the side of a couch or an end table and then use that as support to walk along side it. In an effort to get him used to shoes, we got him a pair. He hates them. It’s a struggle to get them on his feet and once they’re there, he tries to push them off by rubbing his feet together and tugging at them.
He does this thing when you try to put his foot into the shoe. He curls his toes in. This turns his foot into this block that makes it near impossible to succeed in your task. It’s like I’m at the end of Cinderella and I’m trying to put the glass slipper on the evil step-sisters. (Not that my kid has ugly feet or something. He’s cute as hell.) Usually I get close enough so the majority of his foot is in there but if you push down on the heel, it caves in because his foot is like an inch from the bottom. I just figure it’ll fall into place if and when he stands up or finally uncurls his toes. The one time I got his shoe on without issue it turned out that it was on the wrong foot.
Monica and I seem to be the only ones that even attempt to get his shoes on. The folks at day care have given up. Most of the time I send him in there only to pick him up later shoeless. Yesterday he only had one on. It came off and they just couldn’t get it back on. I don’t really blame them. If only there was some sort of baby shoe horn.