Friday, May 29, 2009

Advice from another Microsoft parent

At Microsoft, we've got a bunch of differnt e-mail discussion groups. One is for "Working Parents at Microsoft." It's a place to ask other parents for advice or recommendations.

One woman recently e-mailed asking for help with her child her is pitching major fits during diaper changes. Here was one of the responses. Great advice for all parents:

_____________

The “Legal Restraining Techniques” at the bottom are to be used only after all other recommendations have failed and you are in a situation where you just need to use brute strength. These are NOT techniques to be used on infants or the elderly :-)!

Survival Guidelines:
1. Remember there is nothing wrong with your child. You want your child to potty train as soon as possible, so it’s better for your child to dislike the diaper changing process. Remember, when the child grows up, you want him/her to be strong enough to resist this kind of treatment from the world, therefore you should focus more on your own survival than on making the child enjoy or willingly submit to such a process.

2. Be “The Diaper Changer”, not the Parent while changing the diaper. Comfort the child after the diaper has been changed and all evidence of the diaper changing is gone. With luck, your child will not associate you with The Diaper Changer, but remember the child will grow up to resent you eventually anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

3. Speed. The faster you change the child, the less permanent emotional damage will occur and pretty soon the child will realize it’s not worth getting all worked up about it if the process is over before he can finish his first “soul-stealing” comment. It’s more important to go fast than to earn your child’s approval of your parenting skills.

4. Stealth. Sneak up on your child. Have all the equipment needed to change the child in your hands ready to go. This helps with the Speed recommendation, and reduces the time available for the child to get worked up about the process.

5. Location. Many clean-freaks are particular about where they change their child. Get over it and change the child wherever you can corner him/her. Sometimes it’s just easier to use a carpet shampooer after the fact.

6. Cry. Make as much noise as your child (mirror the child’s sound and facial expressions.) This has an amazing cathartic effect for you, and it confuses the child long enough to finish the job. I use this technique anytime my children are crying about anything other than acute pain and it works wonders. You can also use it on your spouse, but that’s a whole other topic.

7. Teenagers. If you are going to have more than one child, have the second child after your first child is old enough to change diapers, then you can simply delegate the problem (I encourage a healthy allowance for the teenager if you do this.) Most importantly, don’t watch or listen while your teenager changes a diaper: send them off to a room where you can’t hear what’s going on and don’t ask too many questions as long as they both come out clean. Again, the teenager is going to hate you anyway, you might as well get some use out of him/her while you can.

8. There is nothing wrong with you if you *consider* using cloth diapers. There is something wrong with you if you use cloth diapers while you can afford disposables. If you are worried about the environmental impact of disposable diapers, don’t worry you’ll get over it.

Legal Restraining Techniques:

1. To keep a toddler in one place:
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Place child between your legs. Take your left leg and cross it over the child’s chest (in a kind and gentle way.) Obviously be careful how much weight you apply, use just enough to hold the child. Encourage your child to *hug* your leg. This frees your hands to do the changing.

2. To control the legs with one hand:
With your child on his/her back, hold the child’s legs straight up in the air.
Bend the child’s legs outward at the knees, crossing the ankles.
Hold the ankles crossed in the left hand, applying enough pressure to keep the knees bent outward.
Work quickly!

3. If all else fails and you have a detachable shower head:
Stand child in the bathtub.
Strip the child.
Apply water until clean.
If the child is old enough to understand cause and effect, you can use the temperature of the water as an incentive :-).

Check the diaper!

So, after my screaming post, Desi is starting to get the hang of sleeping without his swaddle. Mom and dad are starting to get used to it, as well. Although, I still get up about twice a night to make sure he's breathing. Aside from the 2 times per night he still wakes up.

He's waking around 2:00, but just briefly. Usually, some snuggling with the weird duck headed washcloth is enough to put him back out. Yesterday, he woke at 2. The duck-cloth was just out of his reach. So, I got out of bed and handed it to him. He took it, but kept crying. Not the screaming cry. Just the regular one. I was watching him on our video monitor and I could see him lifting his head up and looking around in a "Daddy, where did you go?" fashion. It made me a bit sad. But, I was tired and I knew he would fall asleep again soon...which he did.

When he woke at his regular 4:00 feeding time, I went in to get him. I've been changing his diaper before feeding so he can eat and go right back to sleep. When I put him on the changing table to change him, I saw poop. Poor kid had crapped his pants earlier in the morning. That's why it took him a bit longer to fall asleep and probably why he continued to look around the room for me. "Hey, stupid!" he was saying, "I got poops!"

Anyway...I'm sure there will be many more times when I feel like a horrible father. But, I think he still likes me cuz we had a fun morning before the daycare drop off.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are the lambs still screaming, Clarice?

Yes! Yes, they're still screaming. They're screaming every two hours. They're waking me up all night long. They won't stop SCREAMING!

Oh, wait...that's not the lambs. It's my son!

I've mentioned before that Desi has been swaddled at night. The doctor told us that when he's ready to be out of the swaddle, he will let us know. Well...we interpreted Desi's rolling over and pitching a fit while swaddled as his way of telling us that he was done with the swaddle.

So, we did away with the swaddle.

And, I am hating life, right now.

One of the reasons we continued with the swaddle for so long is that Desi only sleeps for a couple hours at a time when not swaddled. Now that he is not swaddled at night, he wakes up every couple of hours. Usually, all he needs is to have the sucky plopped back in his mouth and he's asleep shortly after. But, then...there are the times when that isn't enough. There are the times when he absolutely wants us to pick him up. And...if we don't pick him up, or if we dare put him down again, he lets us know that he's unhappy. He lets us know this by unleashing one of the most blood curdling screams I have heard. Seriously...it sounds like he's having an arm ripped off.

At first, we figured he really was in pain. He is teething, after all. But, now...we're not so sure. We think that he's learned that when he makes that noise, we come running. So...at first, we came running.

Then, we became zombies...due to lack of sleep.

Now, we are trying "cry it out." It sucks. Seriously...he sounds like he's dying. But, he only sounds like this for about 5 minutes until he realizes he's exhausted and falls asleep, again. As of now, I haven't noticed any permanent damage. And...we only feel like horrible parents while he's screaming. As soon as he stops, we also fall back to sleep and feel much better...until he wakes up and we do it all over 2 hours later.

We've only been doing this for about a week. By next week, he'll either stop screaming, we'll change our methods, or someone will call CPS on us.

UPDATE - 8:00 AM, 5/27

Last night was almost back to normal. Maybe Desi reads the blog. We had one minor fuss at about 2:00 am, but he put himself back to sleep by snuggling up with his weird washcloth with a duck head (Shaundar calls it a lovie...but, I call it a creepy.) Then, he woke up for his regular 3:30/4:00 feeding. Then, right back to sleep.

Maybe this is the start of better nights?

Recipe of the week - Texas Cheese Potatoes

This recipe is courtesy of Jodi, fellow Peps parent. I think her sister gave it to her, or something. Anyway, Jodi and her husband Tom had us all over to their place for a BBQ one weekend. I provided some absolutely delicious Red, White and Blue potato salad that I made by driving to Safeway and buying two containers of it from the deli.

There were quite a few dishes at the BBQ, but this one stood out. I cooked it tonight to go with the free burgers I got from Amazon Fresh.

Here's the recipe. It's pretty simple and pretty straightforward. I didn't change anything.

Texas cheese potatoes

Ingredients:
Frozen hashbrowns (cubed)
8 oz sour cream
1 stick of butter
2 cups corn flakes (crushed)
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Take greased 9 x 12 pan and fill with hashbrowns. Mix together ½ stick melted butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and cheese. Pour mixture over hashbrowns. Mix together ½ stick melted butter and crushed corn flakes. Place over top. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Great side dish. Had it with burgers, tonight. Tom cooked chicken at the BBQ and it went well with that, too. Potatoes smothered in cheese go with just about anything. I think I'll put some of the leftovers on my toast, tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More photos by Meghan Herring

Met my HR mentor, Meghan for lunch, today. I brought Desmond. She brought her camera. It's a good pair, in my humble opinion.

Meghan's really good. Her site is http://ourfishfamily.com in the links on the bottom right.
















Haven't had much to say, so here's some pictures.

We had a crazy sleet storm the other day.



Desi chillin' with Meghan over sushi.


After hanging out at Alki Beach.


Desi's new Microsoft "Future Employee" badge.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Teething or sick or seething?

This pretty much sucks. We have one cranky baby. He came home sick from daycare on Friday. He had a temp...daycare said 102, but it was only about 100 when I got him home. The rest of Friday, he seemed alright.

Saturday is another story. This poor kid is miserable. M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E. He's still running a fever and he is clearly not comfortable. We're pretty sure it's teething because he's drooling like a band geek outside a sorority house and he's sticking everything in his mouth. His sucky (pacifier) has even become his chewy, today.

He won't nap for longer than ten minutes. He's having a hard time nursing. He did eat his "solid" food, though. So, at least we know something's going in. He's had 2 huge poops, so we know it's coming out, too.

Poor kid. Crying is definitely getting more time than the happy play time, today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We all fall down!

It was bound to happen. Every time we walk down the stairs, especially if we're holding the baby, we worry about falling. Well...today, I did it. I slipped on the way down and landed on my back.

I had Desi held pretty tight, so he didn't hit the ground. However, we bonked heads pretty hard. He cried, but only for about 45 seconds. Then, he realized it was about time to eat. Still...I checked over his head for goose-eggs and told the daycare to watch out for any weird symptoms.

Shaundar, of course, was very understanding about how I was feeling about almost dropping my kid on the stairs. She consoled me by saying, "My baby better not die."

Oh...and, now, my back hurts.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recipe of the week: Mark and Meghans Yummy Creamy Sausage Pasta Stuff

That's the new official name.

So...this recipe comes from my HR mentor and friend, Meghan. Mark and Meghan can be found by following the Our Fish Family link on the right side of the page.

First of all...a shout out to these two. They took and edited the photos used in Desi's birth announcement, and the photos found here. They have a ridiculously adorable family. Meghan is my mentor at work and the person who helps me stay sane when I am ready to pitch a fit. And...they made us this really really good dinner after Desi was born.


Ingredients:


- 2 lbs of sausage
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- Sage
- Basil (the leaf, not the butler)
- 2 cans stewed tomatoes
- 1/2 pint whipping cream
- Penne pasta

Here's the recipe, as Meghan sent it:

- Brown together 2 pounds of sausage ( you can use the Jimmy Dean brand 1 lb roll, usually 1 of Italian sausage and 1 of sage sausage but I use the Jimmy Dean 1 lb regular and 1 lb hot gives it more of a bite!) together with 4 - 5 cloves of garlic (I like to add more garlic as I like LOTs!). As it browns, break into small pieces.

- Add 1/2 package of fresh sage (those small plastic containers at grocery store) and an equal amount of fresh basil.

- Then add two canned of stewed tomatoes.

- Simmer for 20 minutes

- When ready to serve, add 1/2 pint of whipping cream.

- Serve over penne pasta (I use the fresh pasta b/c it taste better and is faster to cook!) with good, crusty bread. You'll need to serve this in a bowl. We usually like this dish the 2nd day after you cook it as the juices set in more so it’s great for leftovers!!!


Here's what I did, slightly differently for purposes of laziness.

I didn't use fresh sage or basil. I had not fresh stuff handy in the cupboard. I used about 1/4 cup of each.

I also took her advice and went with the 1/2 regular sausage and 1/2 spicy.

Oh...and, I used Italian Style stewed tomatoes, because that's what I had in the cupboard.



My verdict - delish! But, Meg's was better. So...stick with the fresh stuff. Also...I cooked this on Thursday and then had leftovers on Friday. Mark and Meghan don't lie. It tastes even better the second day. I didn't even need the pasta. Just shoved the leftovers into my mouth. Mmmmm. Think I'll make this again next week.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Especially to my wife, Shaundar, on her very first Mother's Day.

We're saving money and don't really have any to throw around at the moment, so I didn't get her anything. I threw some food together and we had a picnic down at Alki Beach. Oh...and I've managed to keep the house resonably clean. Seriously...this is saying something.

Desmond really showed me up this year. He got her some flowers and tickets to see Flight of the Conchords on Tuesday. Show off.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Daycare is disgusting

Desi just wrapped up his 2nd week of Daycare. He started the last week of April, only going a few hours a day, since my mother was in town. He spent 2 hours on Wednesday, 4 hours on Thursday...and then, we kept him out Friday so we could take him to the doctor because he had a cough and a disgustingly runny nose.

Fast-forward to the end of this week. Desi still has a runny nose, although not as bad. However, he has passed the bug on to Shaundar, who came home early from work on Friday.

When I took him to the doctor...the doctor asks, "Is he in daycare?"

I say, "Yeah...for about 6 hours."

Doctor says, "That's what this is. The more time he spends in daycare, the faster he'll become immune."

So...here is goes. Less than 2 weeks spent in daycare and he's already passed on the daycare crud. I haven't caught it, yet. Hopefully, I don't. But, I suspect this isn't the last time Desmond will bring a gift home from his friends.

Stupid daycare.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I ordered the steak

Little man is on solid foods, now. And, by solid foods, I mean really really squishy foods.

Last weekend, we gave him some sweet potato. Now, the guy is a maniac. He wants his bloody sweet potato and he wants it NOW. As I was feeding him, I got up to let the dog outside. WAAAAAAAHHH. We ran out of sweet potato in the dish. WAAAAAAAHHH. I got up to get some more. WAAAAAAAHHHH.

Here's a little clip. Goofy boy also likes to sing while he eats.




Sweet potato is just the first round. We'll keep introducing him to new things. Things like carrots...peas...applesauce...jalepenos...etc.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New office digs

A while ago, I told you we were moving into a new office. Well, we're there now, and it's AWESOME.



Here's the outside, from the view of the courtyard area.

Here's my office...messy, as usual. And, pretty small, but I'll happily trade my old bigger office for this one, with a window!

The view...of...ummm...something. I'm sure this will be better once construction is complete.



My Monster, Joey. I think he killed Dilbert, on the top shelf.

The employee art gallery. Artwork made by Microsoft employees.

It's a completely different feel from our old office. The old office was about 3 miles away from the main campus. It was in a boring corporate plaza by the rock quarry. And...it was lame.

This one has a great atmosphere. We've got a "mall" within the campus. Although, it's mostly just places to eat. But, I like to eat, so that works. It's got a soccer field, a basketball court and a volleyball court. There's a theatre, somewhere...although, I am sure this is more for corporate presentations than for watching the new Star Trek movie.

If you're in the neighborhood, I'll show you around.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Microsoft layoffs

Another round of layoffs happened, today. Exact numbers haven't been announced, but it sounds like it's about 1200-1400 people. I'm still employed, thank God. But, a good buddy of mine isn't, and that's very sad.

Counting my blessings, tonight.

Recipe of the Week: Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Okay...since we have a new baby and have to pay over $1000/month (no, I didn't accidentally add a zero) for daycare, we have no extra money to throw around on frivolous things like paying to have other people cook our food.

So...I am cooking more. Yay, me!

Now, I am not claiming to be any kind of culinary expert. I don't know how to mix flavors and I will often take the easy way out (ie: buying broth instead of making it like other hardcore people with more of a life than me). But, I figure, I am bound to come across some new recipes that maybe my 2 loyal readers haven't seen before.

I will post the good ones, here.

First up...Turkey and Wild Rice Soup. Full recipe found here, if you want to go crazy and try it the long and hard way.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked turkey (I used ground turkey...easier to deal with)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tsp Sage
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups spinach leaves

My way is pretty straight forward. Brown the turkey, dump the fat, and throw it in the crock pot.

Chop up the celery, carrots, and onion and throw them in the crock pot.

Dump the chicken broth into the crock pot.

Dump the rice into the crock pot.

Add the sage and balsamic vinegar.

Throw the spinach into the crock pot.

Turn the crock pot on Low for 10 hours and dig in when you get home from work.

This recipe makes a TON of soup, so be prepared for leftovers.

My verdict: Pretty darn good. Probably would have been better if I got an actual turkey, or turkey strips or chunks or something. Also...you should add salt to the ingredients. But, overall, pretty good and certainly healthy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bye, Grandma. Thank you!

Just dropped my mother off at the airport.

Other than gratitude for birthing me and stuff...I don't know if I have ever been more grateful to my mother.

She has been here for 7 (SEVEN) weeks. Basically, we needed someone to take care of Desmond between the time when I went back to work (Feb. 18) until he started daycare (last Wednesday). My mother was more than willing.

And, what a wonderful job she did taking care of the little rugrat. But, she went above and beyond that. The house was always clean, dinner was always on the table, and she was always another person to take the baby when Shaundar and I were going nuts. Grandma never had a problem taking Desi and keeping him occupied. We even got a "date night" out of it.

Now...Grandma is on a plane back to Arizona. I give the house about 12 hours before it's messy again.

I just prepared dinner for tomorrow (crock pot) and made a conscious effort to clean up after myself. That will probably last another day until I throw all the crap into the sink and hope the dishes do themselves. Maybe if I think this hard enough, one day they actually will.

Anyway...a big fat THANK YOU to my mother for being a ridiculously huge help to us. I don't know if we could have survived the last 2 months without her.

Now...we have to figure out how to survive the next 17 and a half years.