Calculating Baby

There is a pretty classic brain teaser about a farmer, a fox, a chicken, a sack of corn, and a river. It goes kind of like…

  • A man has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river.
  • He has a rowboat, and it can only carry him and one other thing.
  • If the fox and the chicken are left together, the fox will eat the chicken.
  • If the chicken and the corn are left together, the chicken will eat the corn.
  • How does the man do it?

This picture is not related to today’s topic. I’m just including it because it’s such a wonderfully dorky image. I love this kid.

I’ll leave the answer to you to figure out if this is new to you. In short, there’s a bit of back and forth in what gets rowed where.

The point is… it’s a similar exercise when doing things with a baby.

I wish I could say that having Jack around has not affected my ability to do certain things. The reality is that he’s had a big impact. I’m not complaining, but I admit it’s a period of adjustment.

I have a certain way I like to do some things. They aren’t necessarily routine for the sake of routine. They’re routines that exist because they’re the most efficient in my experience. I usually have a pretty good reason for doing things the way I do them.

But the best laid plans and all that…

You can’t leave a baby alone in a car. Not never, not no how. Fair enough. So if I want to go to the convenience store to pick up some milk or a case of soda or somesuch, Jack has to come inside with me. This effectively renders me one-handed. Tricky. So instead of a convenience store, I may end up going someplace less convenient–but with shopping carriages I can strap Jack into.

So be it.

If I’m hitting the laundromat, I need to do something akin to the farmer’s quandary when bringing bags of laundry inside, and wrangling the boy so he is never out of my sight. Doable. Taking the boy with me on a laundry trip or a shopping trip or other errand can make a quick errand a long errand.

So be it.

Household chores get tricky. I used to do chores like dishes and picking up and so forth at certain times of day. Now I have to do them at different times of day depending on what the boy is up to. And there is no set routine. Things change almost weekly. With springtime here and a vague obligation to do yardwork… hello, new challenges!

Personal things get trickier. Margaret and I usually try to have a night of gaming every week or two. We can usually count on grandma to help watch Jack, but sometimes things come up and Jack has to come with us for a little while or we have to pick a different night. Flexibility.

We adapt. We don’t get too attached to our plans. We realize that with a baby on hand that additional measures must be taken, possibilities to be considered. And it’s nothing to get worked up over. You plan, baby laughs, but it’s still a joy to have him around.

If anything… this is probably making us sharper parents.

That’s my story–and I’m sticking to it.



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Dear Jackrabbit #33 — Some words on Mother’s Day

Dear Jackrabbit,

Be good to your mother. It’s Mother’s Day.

Actually, you should be good to your mother everyday. Good advice.

Best advice.

We won’t talk about the 36 hours of labor today. We won’t discuss the months of swollen feet during the pregnancy. We won’t discuss what I have come to call “The Grand Guignol” of your actual birth. We won’t even mention 10 pounds and 10 ounces.

10 freakin’ pounds and 10 freakin’ ounces.

No. Today we’ll talk about how much of a superhero your mother is. Not just to you, my boy, or even to me. She’s a superhero for folks all over the place. Her job is helping people in crisis–families mostly. She helps people make sure they have a roof. She helps make sure they have food. She makes sure they can find healthcare. She makes sure they can get help when they need it, and she shows them how to do a lot of this for themselves.

I am immensely proud and in awe of her every single day, and you should be as well. She deals with situations I know I am not equipped to handle. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get her to the position where she can do miracles for people like this, and for that we greatly appreciate her.

And as a mother?

Uf. You, my son, are the light of her life. And I can promise you that the same dedication she has toward being a superhero to other people, goes double, triple, quadruple for you.

You will always be able to count on her.

It’s what mothers do, and they do this with no expectation of appreciation, but I’m telling you they deserve it–not just today, but every single day.

This also goes for your grandmother–your mother’s mother. She, too, is an awesome mom. She has always been there when we need her, and we try to do the same.

Family, boy. It’s a good thing.

There will be some trying times ahead. That’s called life. There will be arguments, misunderstandings, hurt feelings and the like. The trick is to remember what is most important. That thing that makes everything all right in the end.


That’s really all I need to say.

Tell your mother and grandmother I said “Happy Mother’s Day.”

All my love,


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Welcome to mornings (or, hehehe…air-butt!)

A short entry today as I have a lot of work to do.

One day I will have to advise the boy to keep his butt down unless he wants to risk having it shot off or something. But for now… let that butt fly proud and free!

Confession… one of my most favorite times of day is when it’s time to wake the boy up. Half the time he’s wide awake and pushing himself up and smiling at me ready to start the day. The other half, he’s still out like a light… deep asleep with his tiny little butt in the air.

You gotta admit… it’s awful cute.

And he wakes slowly, so I also enjoy watching him slowly come to full wafefulness and smiles.

So, yeah… mornings are pretty awesome.



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Pie Thievery

And another thing… why is it so hard to find huckleberry pie? Seems like once upon a time it was the only pie you ever saw getting stolen off windowsills.

It makes me sad that my boy will never know the unbridled joy of stealing a pie that has been set on the windowsill to cool. It seems people don’t do this sort of thing anymore.

Now, granted…stealing is wrong… but is stealing a pie left on a windowsill so bad in the grand scheme of things?

So long as Jack respects other people’s property and other people and all of that in every other respect–I will give him a pass on stealing pies off of windowsills.

Not supermarkets, not bakeries, not pie trucks. It’s only okay if it’s off a windowsill. Those are fair game.

It’s the one “crime” I will never give my son grief over. I may, in fact, have t-shirts bragging about it.

Of course, I may be putting the cart before the horse. Right now, he’s yet to have a pie. I might have to help get the ball rolling.*

Watch out for your windowsills.

*I, myself, have never really stolen a pie off a windowsill. I don’t think cooling pies like that has been done since before I was born–yet the cartoons I grew up with suggested this was once an honored American past-time. The closest I’ve ever come to this was buying a pie once from the supermarket, bringing it home, opening a window and screen, putting it on the windowsill, going outside and taking it, then bringing it back inside to eat. I don’t think I even heated it up first.

So, perhaps, I am seeking to live life opportunities missed vicariously through my son. This is what being a parent is all about.


–John, frustrated pie thief

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Dear Jackrabbit #32 — Generational Differences Revisited

Dear Jackrabbit,

Here we are again looking at some of the differences between then and now. Yesterday I did a couple of mundane things like call a store and take a picture and thought about how much a difference fifty years make. Now, in 1967 I was not taking pictures nor making phones calls. In all likelihood, I was doing the exact thing you’re trying to do right now, i.e., fit the couch in your mouth.

“Pater, your prevarications will one day catch up to you and I fear will lead to an unfortunate end. Payphones? Camera film? Flashbulbs? I was not born yesterday.”

When I was your age, ‘twould have been 1967, if I wanted to find a number and call it while on the road I would have to, first, keep an eye open for a pay phone and pull over. From there, I’d have to see if there was a phone book available. (A  phone book was a directory of local phone numbers–usually divided into residential addresses and business addresses.) Chances are, there would be no phone book. One could dial 4-1-1 and request the number. In 1967 this was a free service, although I don’t recall if it was free from phone booths. And don’t forget–you’d have to have a nickel, later a dime, and even later a quarter to make that call.

Today we were out and I wondered when a certain store closed. I took out my phone, called up the web browser, looked up the business name, had the web browser initiate the call, and found out when they closed. Your mother could have done it even easier by pressing one button on the steering wheel, tell the car the business it was looking for, then have it dial her phone and work everything over the speakers.

Man, technology. I bet this will seem very quaint to you in fifty years.

Another example…

When I was your age in order to take a photograph I would have to use an actual camera–a device that was not connected to a phone of any kind–and take a picture. The picture was stored on film–mostly likely black and white film as we’re talking 1967. Ten years later color would be more common, and ten years after that color would be the standard and cheaper to have developed than black and white. And that’s right… I’d have to take the film–once all 24 or 36 available pictures on that roll had been taken–to a business which would develop that film for me and print them as individual pictures. For money. A decent amount of money. If I wanted copies, I had to make sure I kept the negatives.

If you wanted to share that picture with a friend you would have to go to their house and hand it to them. Or maybe mail it.

Oh, if you needed a flash, you had to buy flashbulbs separately.

In any case, nowadays, my “phone” can take high-resolution full color pictures and store thousands of them. I can share them with one person or millions with a few short actions on the phone. There is even video. Flash included and automatic. Cameras still exist. We have a rather nice one. It’s all digital. I don’t remember the last time I touched a piece of film.

Another example…

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Never eat anything bigger than your head.

The mouth still seems to be a favored tool for exploration… or it’s part of the teething thing. In any case, watch your fingers when you handle the boy.

Data roaming is delicious!

A list of more things the boy has tried putting in his mouth:

  • TV remote control
  • Amazon Fire TV remote
  • Remote starter for car
  • Toy fake remote control
  • Cell phone
  • Toy fake cell phone
  • Teddy bear larger than him
  • Inflatable rubber ball larger than him
  • Pak ‘n Play
  • His socks (while on feet)
  • His socks (while off feet)
  • My nose
  • His mother’s nose
  • His grandmother’s nose
  • The dog’s ear
  • Steering wheel (he was not driving at the time)

Needless to say, we try to keep him from putting anything filthy or suspicious into his mouth. As he gets more mobile, more grabby, more curious about everything, the more we are becoming vigilant.

Protip: Don’t wait until the kid can stand before baby-proofing. These babies are smarter than you think.



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Almost eight months… jeez…

In just over a week Jack will be eight months old.

What the heck?

Almost eight hours…

It’s been a quick almost-eight months, and the kid has really developed. He’s gone from a fleshy, squalling, hungry, sometimes wet lump to… well that much hasn’t changed, but there’s more now. And he’s not much of a lump. More of a wind-up toy with a really long spring.

He’s getting big. He’s getting mobile. He’s trying to stand. Getting closer and closer to maybe a word or two. He tries to see around things. He recognizes sounds from another room. He picks things up, does more than just shove them into his mouth now. He examines them. He will also throw them, but first he examines them.

I guess what I’m trying to highlight here is that the boy is growing up–and it’s an observable phenomenon even in a short eight months.

Almost eight months.

I gotta say… it’s one of those things that’s a privilege and honor to watch and be a part of.

That is all.



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Dear Jackrabbit #31 — Dad Jokes… we all knew this was coming

Dear Jackrabbit,

“My dad is both smart and funny. Boy, did I luck out! These jokes are… like… um… awesome. When is mom getting home from work again? It’s soon… right?”

I think we all knew this was inevitable… here come some dad jokes–lovingly curated from a long tradition of dad jokes. A few are original to your very own dad, i.e., me.

You’re welcome.

  • Where does Batman go to the bathroom?
    The batroom.
  • What cheese can never be yours?
    Nacho cheese.
  • What do you call a fish with no eyes?
    A fshhhh.
  • What did daddy spider say to baby spider?
    You spend too much time on the web.
  • Why don’t skeletons ever go trick or treating?
    Because they have no-body to go with.
  • I’m reading a book on the history of glue – can’t put it down.
  • What did the daddy tomato say to the baby tomato?
    Catch up!
  • What does the baby volcano call the mothe volcano?
  • What does the mother volcano say to the baby volcano?
    I lava you.
  • Why do crabs never give to charity?
    Because they’re shellfish.
  • Why did the octopus beat the shark in a fight?
    Because it was well armed.
  • What’s brown and sounds like a bell?
  • There’s a new type of broom out.
    It’s sweeping the nation.
  • Why can’t bicycles stand on their own?
    They’re two tired.
  • Do you know where you can get chicken broth in bulk?
    The stock market.
  • What did the ocean say to the shore?
    Nothing, it just waved.
  • Why don’t seagulls fly over the bay?
    Because then they’d be bay-gulls!
  • What did baby corn say to mama corn?
    Where’s popcorn?
  • A termite walks into a bar and asks “Is the bar tender here?”
  • Did you hear about the guy who invented Lifesavers?
    They say he made a mint.

Don’t worry, my boy. There is a lot more where this came from.

A lot more.

Oh, this will be fun.

All my love


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Latest Game Changer — Baby Jail

We have finally brought the Pak ‘n Play down from the bedroom and into the living room. I’m not sure why we didn’t do this sooner other than perhaps a.) we didn’t think he was ready, b) we weren’t ready, or c) we weren’t ready to give up that much floor space in a relatively small living room.

But we went ahead and did it recently and it’s looking like a bit of a game changer.

Goof asleep..

Regular readers will recall that on weekdays the boy and I are pretty much joined at the hip all day long. It puts a little crimp in my work schedule and my ability to do chores in the middle of the day, but the plus side is I hang out with my son all day–asleep or awake.

That said, I really do need some time to myself in the middle of the day for various little tasks. The exersaucer has been great in keeping him occupied for short bits of time–usually half an hour at most, though.

Enter the baby jail.

He has his toys (good lord, does he have his toys!) and a spot to lay down in if sleeping, and a place to sit up in if not sleepy, and he can’t go crawling off under the couch or wherever. I am free to set up a little table and the laptop in the living room nearby so I can do some work and keep an eye on him at the same time, but I’m also free to go into other parts of the house for short bits to start up on some chores with confidence that the kid ain’t goin’ nowheres.

Baby jail.

Goof awake…

It’s not a perfect system yet. Jack asleep and secure means getting some stuff done. While he was awake I set up a little table in the living room to work at, but he’s not a fan of me doing that yet. I think he’ll get over it.

The boy seems to enjoy the Pak ‘n Play. He’s able to move around at will (within the confines of the Pak ‘n Play) and practice crawling and so forth.

All is good.

Well, the dog isn’t as ecstatic. It does take up a bit of floor space, but we’ve got it arranged so there is still room for Max.

Every week it’s something new and different. This time it’s the Pak ‘n Play and how that’s going to impact the boy’s development. Looks promising.



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Dear Jackrabbit #30 — For the Earth and For Science!

Dear Jackrabbit,

As it is not yet midnight on this Saturday, April 22, 2017, it is still allowable to wish you a Happy Earth Day.

Founded in 1970, but really… everyday is Earth Day.

It’s an odd day these days. We try to set a day aside to be mindful of the effect we, as a species, has on the environment. It’s troubling because we’re taking crappy care of the environment, and the political makeup as it stands today is downright hostile to the environment. This in the face of overwhelming evidence that if this goes on, the world we’re leaving you, Jack, is going to have a lot of troubles. Food shortages, flooding, climate change, disease, animal extinction, and more.

Not to scare you, or anything, but it’s a shaky future as far as all that goes.

Which is why it’s also notable that today hundreds of thousands of people across the country, and many more thousands across the world, have marched in support of science, renewable energy, and plain common sense. It’s incredibly heartening to have witnessed that.

It’s also a little discouraging to suspect it’s going to fall on deaf ears. The politicians actually in charge of science budgets and environmental policies have expressed blatant disdain for the environment and for the concerns of the wide community of scientists.


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