Monday, July 30, 2007




Saturday, July 28, 2007

pink eye


more pink eye, this time on Daddy. its been tough taking care of akello and trying my best not to infect him with pink eye again. LOTS of hand sanitizer. i have been sleeping in another room as well. Best sleep yet! i think akello likes the extra room too. I touch him as little as possible and try my best not to rub my eyes, but sometimes i forget and have to go and wash my hands again. im on the same treatment of breast milk and goldenseal. i got it tuesday and i think ill shake it by sunday. my eyes didnt look too bad on friday so i decided to take him to swim. We only have 2 more weeks here and i wanted to be sure to film akello in the pool, so here we are.

dinner time!

clean up time!

akello has finally started to scrub the table instead of eating the sponge. i caught a little bit here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

pink eye

Bob the fish.

had to take a break there for a bit. just hadnt felt like writing lately. that and akello came down with a case of the pink eye. poor little bro! he woke up last monday with goey eyes like a newborn kitten. So Sad! he would rub his little hands all over his eyes cuss he couldnt open them for a few seconds after waking up. We had been treating it with breast milk and warm compresses. We just poured a little breastmilk in his eye every 30 mins or so. then we increased the care with some Goldenseal. thats an herb. we put a few drops in the milk and then put the concoction in his eye. he hated it, of course, but now he’s all better, yay for natural remedies, Theresa’s been getting some good tips from some natural mamas who know.

Akello and I havent been doing much for the past 2 weeks. been hanging out at the house pretty much Working on our George Costanza pose routine.



he has changed his sleeping recently- in a lot of ways. for one, theresa has been learning a lot about stuff and bringing it home, like with music. We would play the same music as part of his bedtime or naptime routine. well, now we have scratched the music. Not that music is a bad thing its mainly just to help him to appreciate music on its own and not something to associate with sleeping.i used to do sleep all wrong. I would time things to where he would sleep in the car. he used to take an hour nap at 9 or 10 and then one at 12 or 1. so i would let him sleep on the way to little gym and just sit in the parking lot till he woke up. stuff like that. I was always too afraid to take him out of the car and into the house thinking that i would ruin his sleep by not being able to put him back down, so i would always take my laptop or a book to read so we could hang out in the car until he woke up.

but then he started to only sleep for 30 minutes in the afternoon. then 15 minutes!!!
i was getting worried for him. it then dawned on me that the car is a horrible place to sleep. i never really thought about it. but really. we have all been there, on that road trip, we fall asleep for about 10 minutes, then we wake up realizing that our neck is sore and we are pretty much to uncomfortable to sleep anyway.

well akello must have been getting sick of it. i would look back there and there he would be, all slumped over in the weirdest position, and i would just go, "awww".

well at this same time theresa introduces the idea of getting him to fall asleep independently. NO DANCING. NO MUSIC. NO BOOB! THATS RIGHT, NO FALLING ASLEEP ON THE BREAST! (sidenote: this is very individualized, all children are different and what works for one might not work for another. That’s the beauty of the unique personality. Also, what works for one family might not work for another so as the saying goes go with YOUR flow).

So i remembered when reading the NO cry sleep solution that what you do is as soon as they gey drowsey, you lay them down and pat them and they will fall asleep. and if they dont, then pick them up, rock with them again or dance, and then try it again. do this until they get drowsy but dont let them fall asleep in your arms. well i didnt have the patience for this when i read the book but i still remembered it. so i decided to start doing it. well it was tough for a week but it was starting to work. and then it got really easy. i could pick him up when i saw that he was tired. dance with him for 30 seconds and then put him down and he would fall asleep in a minute. his eyes open as he lay down, his body still twitching a little. this was magic to me. GOLD! it was so great. NO more dancing for 30 minutes and then laying down with him in the biggest effort not to move him the slightest bit. now i was pretty much just plopping him down on the bed and patting him on the back. even moving him after he was asleep. i would never have done this a month ago. i was always so, "cant move arm....i know he'll wake up!"

well this was great but i was still dancing. so then it got worse because the next step was to not do anything. thats right. you prepare the environment by closing the shades, turning off the lights, and then you lay on the bed with him. well, he would get straight back up and off the bed to go play, and i would just lay there. i would get frustrated because i knew that he should be tired but he never was. he would play well past his usual nap time. i would get off the bed , go and get him and bring him back to the bed, singing a song and patting him on the back. but it NEVER worked. then i realized that i was putting myself first. i was putting appointments for activities ahead of him. I then let go of that and would just lay on the bed, no longer frustrated and anxious. Now he doesnt sleep until 11 or 12 and he sleeps for 3 hours! and he usually doesnt take an afternoon nap at all, but sometimes he will for an hour.

once i began to just sit there and wait for him on the bed, he would play and play and then we would eventually come to the bed crying cuss he was so tired. i would lay him down and pat him. and he would fall asleepin about a minute. that happened for about a week. Now he just comes on the bed when he is ready and plays in the pillows for a bit and next thing you know, you say, "hey, it sure is quiet in here!" you look over and akello is asleep in the pillows. GOLD! this has been so great. Now theresa has been having a tougher time at bedtime. he is coming around but for a long time he would get so angry that things changed. Theresa would nurse him (theresa’s comment: an especially wonderful way to end my day with him after being gone for sooo many hours) but not to sleep. she would delatch and put him down. he hated this. he would cry off and on for 30 mins. its was really hard on theresa but she got thru it and now he pretty much will go to sleep peacefully. Usually, when he’s finished nursing he will delatch himself, rollover and go to sleep. (ahhh the beauty of the floor bed).

we have also started to ween away from the bottle for milk. he uses a cup now. he's no expert at it but he does alright. he still cant tip his head back, doesnt get the gravity concept. He is using a cup for water, juice and now milk. He loves water.

we taught him to do this by modeling. we all had little cups at the dining table. the kind that they give you in mexico if your order a beer at one of those "fancy hotels" the kind that Hotel San Jose uses. But akello uses a heavy resturant grade shotglass. he was using a plastic cup from an ikea kids dinnerpack but it was too light and he would knock the glass down everytime he grabbed for it.

so theresa and I would drink everything with two hands very slowly out of these cups.

now is a good time for what i call DEEP thoughts by Maria Montessori, you know like SNL style.

MM copy
when modeling for the child you must do it slowly. the infants brain doesnt run at the speed of an adult brain. when you talk, do it slowly (but not unnaturally like some people do when talking to foreigners) and pronounce words carefully. always use the same word for an object. talk with all members in the family about what you call things. is it a laptop or a computer? decide which word you will use and use it all the time. when you take a child for a walk around the block, walk slow so the child can take in those things that pass him by.

so there we were slowly lifting up our little drinks. i drink so slow that i now only drink one beer with dinner instead of two.


the potty time is coming along. its very hard work. its very tiring. he has peed in the potty twice. very rewarding. i mean, i offer the potty, meaning that i guess that he might have to pee and i go sit him down on the potty and wala! i guessed right! its not like he crawls to the potty and sits down. with the training pants theres is a much higher chance of us having a poo-tasrophe especially if akello has chile for dinner the night before.

hmm, must of learned this by watching mama, ill have to talk to her about that.

One of our readers, Susan, let me on to a great tip last week. JC penny carries a brand called WEE ESSENTIALS. they make a training pant that while rated for a 24 to 28lb toddler are quite small. She told us that if akellos legs were lean, they would work. we went to Pennys to find some and got lucky. man was she right. the leg holes are small but they fit akello great. the cotton is far thicker than the Gerber brand ones and these Wee ones look better on him. less poo-tastrophes since they fit him better without the crotch gap. We didnt even have to shrink them.
Thanks Susan!

we did go on one outing recently to NORTHPARK mall. whew! what a nice mall. they even have sculptures in the common areas, im talking world renowned sculpture artists. you might recognize this piece here.


Mark Di Suvero did a similar one that was outside the DMA from a few posts back.
i took akello around in the baby jogger on a tuesday afternoon. not very many people. this mall even used the TOM VAc chair and the series 7 chair in the food court. pricey.

they had a great installation of "the hammering man" this is the 3rd installation ive seen. my first was in LA outside the fashion mart. but i was there on assignment and didnt have time to even take a picture. then theres one at the NASHer sculpture garden wich we still have to go to while we are here. and now the ones at THE MALL!!! Just seems so weird to say that.


this was when akello had the pink eye. he liked the mall.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

im working on it


been working on an update. still needs to get spellchecked . ha! just kidding. this will hold ya!

akello is starting to do this "knees off the floor " type crawl. but only in this hallway. strange/

the training continues

Friday, July 13, 2007

cant sleep

today i passed out at 7:30 after giving akello his bath. i really dont know why i even pretend that "im going to go lay down for a minute" so i woke up at 12 to shower and get into bed and alas. its 3. i have not been able to go back to bed since. what a perfect to time to talk to you about my push toy of pain spoof.


so akello has that push toy right, that one from ikea. he looooves to work with it and its helping him to learn to walk. well every time i would see him work with it it would remind me of "Conan the Barbarian" where little conan is captured as a slave and forced to push this gigantic grain mill called the "wheel of pain". well i gots to thinking that this is a ripe opportunity for a conan spoof so i have been calculating and getting a lot of footage of akello pushing the toy. i threw together this little tid bit to give you an idea of what im going for. but first, if you are not familiar with the movie watch that clip first. if you can recite every line of the movie like my family can, then just move on to akello!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

you gots to be kidding me!


hmm, maybe i should forget all this body awareness bullshit and just show akello this video

in response to corinas comment from the last post.
she writes:

Hey Gil, Are you starting potty training now? I'm sure you have heard this before, but this is not a good time for that. I have a friend who is trained by the state, she says they do better when they are 2yrs old. So if you could explain to us what you are doing with the training pants, that would help.

Ah the state. WADR to your friend, infant training is possible. most infants go through a sensitive period for this between 4-6 months, and yes, we have missed that window, but some infants are still open to it. we hope that akello is one of them but he may not be. Remember the settlers. I can just see em now riding on their wagon. the dads all pissed at the kid for crapping the place up again. "when we going to train junior not to crap the wagon up!" "not till he's two pa!"

or the native americans . even better. the great spirit has decreed that 24 moons must pass before "pees like horse" can be trained.

what im saying is two things. i dont think theres a "right way" theres only the way that you would like to go as parents. and two, i think its our western culture (the state) that has brought us up this way. the USA is all about convenience remember. that and huggys conspiracy.

with his training pants what we are doing exactly is everytime we see him pee-pee or poo-poo we say it, as he's doing it. we then take him to change him into new underwear. so far we have learned that he likes to pee right after he wakes up from naps and in the morning. he also likes to poo at the cube or at the window sill. we know the sounds he makes now so we walk over and while hes doing it we say, "poo-poo"
we say it all the way to the bathroom wheree we take off his shorts and fling the poo into the toielette and flush it. soon he will make the association. but right now its just tracking when he poos and trying to get him to associate the words.

i will let the lady take it from here.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

body awareness


So we have begun the jedi training with phase one, “body awareness”

Since akello has been wearing disposable diapers up to now, he has had no clue
as to why we lay him on his back every so often and trade out his diaper.
Even though we talk to him about it, he’s probably thinking, "what the hell, I know we are about to go on an outing and you want me to look presentable but these shorts look just like the others!”

Disposable diapers are so absorbant and good at what they do that akello has
no idea that he goes peepee or poopoo. And on top of this, we as parents don’t know how often he goes to the bathroom either. We have bought him some training pants (a recommendation from the Director of the Montessori training program she's attending) which are few and far between in the metroplex I must add. They don’t make them for his age because of the conspiracy that the disposable diapers manufacturers have with Gerber. the smallest pair is for 18 to 24 month olds, but I took them to our favorite coin laundry place and shrank them.


They barely fit him.


But they are going to work. Whats kinda nice is that they hang a little low on him
and leave a little gap so that you can see between his inner thigh and his
“business” so if he decides to make any deposits you can kind of see it. But
the whole idea of the body awareness works for us parents too. We monitor
him closely to see what kind of facial expressions, sounds or actions he makes when he goes to the restroom so that we can tell that he’s going to the bathroom at that
instant. So for the past few days we have come to learn that he makes a
certain little grunt when he poos and another one that’s slightly higher
pitched for pees. Sometimes he will stare off into space when he pees and
Theresa says that she has learned from school that he might go off in a
corner to poo. (even babies need privacy) so we are watching for these signs
and making a log of when he expels. That is all for now. we are “tracking”


we have found that he likes to poo at the coaster cube. he can stand up, play with the coaster, and poo in the corner. its kinda like reading a magazine for him.

This is hard work, its much harder to change his training pants than diapers
and you also do it more often (12 times a day). On top of that you have to do it immediately upon him doing it. We have bought a waterproof crib pad for him to sleep
under for nap times and night sleeping. Right now we are still using a
diaper for outings.

so with the training pants we needed t-shirts and not onesies. luckily Michelles latest shipment of hand me downs arrived just in time. Now AKELLo has some great new t-shirts to rock! like this one, (our fave) with a turtle on the sleeve.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

happy america day

since theresa was off from school on the 4th of july,she gave me a free pass on tuesday night to go out and do whatever since i could sleep in late on wednesday, since shed be home. we wanted to do some firwork thingy but akello goes to sleep at 7. so i called the tias to see what was going on, they are always taking advantage of the holidays. sure enough, they were planning on going somewhere so i drove to ft worth to join.

wish that car wassnt there
took this pic on the drive over. I was able to listen to fresh air with terri gross all the way over. the NPR affilliate over here plays it at 7 instead of at 3 in austin. who can listen in at 3? retired folk?

anyway.that night was great. i took full advantage of my one day pass, i felt like i was on shore leave or something. paul and mona bought us drinks at some pub. i think it was called baker street pub? i dont remember, i was too busy relaxing. i didnt even bother to look up for this picture!


sorry folks, theres drinks on the table, plenty of time for pictures afterwards at taco cabana.

i say this, because afterward we went to the tc for some late night grub courtesy of tia anita. now the TC is notorious for its ridiculous wait times at night, and i was pretty much used to it, but paul mona and anita were outraged and kept on hanging out by the service window giving the "wtf" look to the 2 workers behind the griill.

wake me when its ready
this guy passed out waiting for his food. his girlfriend finally brought it to him.

We all stayed at anitas house that night and the next morning i was going to sleep in late. FORGET IT. my body is too used to waking up and the butt crack. (of dawn) i have learned that if you want to sleep in, just go to bed early so you can wake up at 5 and then yawn and stretch for an hour till he wakes.

Theresa told me to stop by babysurus and check to see if they had any of the elusive training pants for 18 month olds. well i stopped. and they had them. and i bought them all!!!! now we have enough to last 3 days.!! more on training pants in the next post.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Art and play at the DMA!

Tuesday was little gym. They do this exercise every time when we start. We walk around the mat in a circle and then we run in a circle. If the child is not walking yet (akello) then the instructor tells us to put our hands under our child's armpits to support him on his feet and to help them walk. Hmmm…i thought, “im pretty sure that’s a Montessori no-no.” so I have just been holding akello or letting him crawl by himself on the mat.

So the instructor comes up to me and is like, you need to put him down and spot check him, he will love the movement. That when I leaned in close to her and said, “im sorry but we’re montessorians, need I say more?” she gave me a puppy dog stare so I went on explaining to her the concept of letting them do it when they’re ready, not rushing the child, allowing the child to make the discovery for themselves. She was like, “oh ok I can buy that.” Exersises like that one and products like the ones below are contraband and only give children a false sense or reality and slow their development. Same goes for walkers.


I was soon breaking it down for the rest of the class too (in whispers, hey, they asked!). Well since that was so active, I thought we could go to The Dallas Museum of Art for the rest of the afternoon seeing as how the first Tuesday of the month is free admission. I wasn’t sure if akello would enjoy himself or not, and hated the thought of paying the 15 dollar admission only to have to leave a few minutes into it. Akello by design would most likely enjoy it since museums in general are calm and quiet and nobody would be all up in his grill. Plus he enjoyed the last museum , but I didn’t want to take chances.


Now we were going to go to the DMA a few weeks ago but then I noticed that first Tuesday is free day so we went to the Tramell Crow collection instead which was nearby.

Oh, you will hear Theresa and I both saying. “akello enjoyed himself” or “akello did not enjoy himself.” This is because we are trying to get away from saying things like, “he behaved great” because akello does not no how to behave. He’s a 10 month old. He cant behave or misbehave. He can only be.

I was telling Theresa the other day that we were eating lunch at marianos that I got up to go to the restroom and left akello with mona and anita. He did not like that. And while I realized he didn’t want me to leave and went back to get him to take him with me, Theresa broke it down for me…

“babies are constantly orienting themselves to their environment. They have their primary caregiver as their anchor. So no matter how choppy the waters get (new environs)You are there holding it all together. You were in a brand new environment for an hour and then you tried to leave. So nobody but you or me could have anchored him.

Hmm…that makes sense. Montessorily speaking, this is one of the reasons that kids rooms are designed so “boringly” with a high importance put on order and “sameness”
The child becomes oriented much easier if things are orderly and always the same. If there are a bunch of toys all over t room it is not only messy and disorderly, but the child has to re-orient themselves everytime.

well anyway, DMA.


Akello enjoyed himself immensley and even let me shop around the gift shop which he couldnt stand to even step foot in weeks earlier. too many junior leaguers in one room perhaps? We spent two hours exploring the contemporary collections and the sculpture garden and didn't bother peaking into the galleries of 17th century oils of people i dont know. They were currently exhibiting The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America June 8–September 16, 2007. what a treat!

The Dma also has an EXCELLENT childrens area. in fact its big enough to be its own museum. i could go on and on about. luckily it was pretty vacant and i could let akello out of the sling for some roaming.

akello checking out a promotional video about the DMA educational programs. he loved the big video wall. i even caught this video of him clapping after it was done. and then he was off!

he loved this little depression in the floor and spent some good time going up and down paying no attention to the video.


we played around here but it was a little too old for him. he kept wanting to eat the paper

he had an awesome time. it was all together one of our best days here. i discovered a new artist too named kay sage whom i had never heard of.


i was also able to spend some good time with two of my favorites. Rothko and Motherwell.

red red and brown

elegy to the spanish republic 108

this kline was a favorite as well
slate cross

and mondrian as well whom is probably my 7th favorite artist.

Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray


the great thing about the DMA is that the gaurds are clueless as to the rules of photography. one gaurd will tell you "no photos! private collection!" and then the gaurds will rotate and ill whip out my camera and pull the "its easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission" and they will say, "no flash!" and im like "no problem!" it was that way throughout the whole museum.


Monday, July 02, 2007

weekend recap


Wednesday anita treated tia mona, me and akello to lunch at Mariano’s Mexican in Arlington. It was mighty tasty. Very good fajita nachos. The key to good fajita nachos is the fajita meat. But enough about nachos. And enough about rain. We almost cancelled our lunch because of the rain.

Akello enjoys the rain. He doesn’t mind getting wet and loves to watch the rain out the window.


Saturday’s outing was to see our friend Courtney who we hadn’t seen a a couple years. We had a great time visiting her in oak cliff on the day before she was set to leave for costa rica for a week. Akello enjoyed her new house too and was having a good time crawling around.

we loved her ottoman!

Afterwards it was off to Arlington to raid all the babysrus’s for training pants (more on that later) and to take Lona up on her invitation to hang out at her house and do laundry again. It was rainy so we didn’t get to swim. So there we were,
Anita, Mona, Lona, Carol, Carols twelve year old daughter, Akello, Bruiser,
Theresa and Me. watching nascar, eating chips and drinking beer. Theresa
caught up on her homework. Oh wait, it wasn’t nascar it was the “busch
” I don’t know.


So we did laundry and feasted on chili dogs. Akello had a sweet potato. Lately Theresa has been letting akello explore the food that he will eat that day. She will put a pear on a plate in the living room and let him kinda mess around with it all day, kinda like a killer whale does with a baby seal. Then we cut it up in front of him. And feed it to him. So this time it was a sweet potato.

the zen bruiser

Akello was playing a little too rough with bruiser and almost got served a couple of times. Bruiser was a real trooper about it all and was playing good host. For dessert akello sucked on Lona’s Toes. It was pretty funny.


Lona let him do it too until she saw us notice what was going on. Then he moved on to her calves. She must use some tasty sunscreen or something. Palmers coconut
butter perhaps?

sunday we just kicked it at the house. T had a lot of homework that she needed to catch up on and i was all about taking it easy and getting ready for monday.