Get Up, Stand Up... Scare Your Mom To Death
I was saying in an e-mail to Valerie tonight that I only seem to have time these days to write about Austen's milestones OR mine, not both. (Hopefully our new twice-a-week babysitter will help me remedy that, though part of the reason I searched for a sitter in the first place—so I could attend open hockey sessions at UPenn during the day—will also generate more hockey blog material with which to keep up.) In any case, since Al is refusing to switch from Monday Night Football to The Apprentice: Martha Stewart on TiVo, and I've lost interest in the game because I've already won my two fantasy league games, I have time to blog about Austen stuff right now.
I mentioned that Austen's been getting on all fours and wiggling around a lot but rarely going anywhere (except backwards), but the other day I actually witnessed him crawl across the bed to get to my nightstand. Al didn't believe me that he'd crawled —or at least, he wanted to see it with his own eyes before he'd confirm than an actual forward crawl had occurred. On Saturday he got his chance: While we were waiting for a table at the Rock Bottom Brewery, Al set Austen down on the floor...where he crawled around in a circle and then over to me. It's weird that his crawling skills seem to be developing in tandem with his walking skills (which are really getting good—he's now taking independent steps between the furniture instead of securing a handhold first).
A quick aside to mention our experience at the Rock Bottom Brewery before I continue, mainly because I know if I don't write about it here, I'll never write a separate post about it. We thought it was a fluke when the service completely sucked the last time we ate at the King of Prussia Rock Bottom, but it now appears that it's company policy (a) to understaff the dining room, making for long seating waits despite the many empty tables, and (b) for servers to take drink and appetizer orders and then return 10 minutes later, sans drinks or appetizers, to take entree orders. Both last year's visit and this one had us imploring the server to PLEASE bring us our drinks before putting the entree order in. Sadly, at this visit they'd also run out of the house-brewed root beer (at 4pm!), which is the main reason Al wanted to eat there. The good news is that the appetizer I ordered, a cheese and beer sampler that included apples, grapes, grainy horshradish mustard, summer sausage (which I gave to Al) and lavosh crackers in addition to three kinds of cheese and three kinds of beer, was excellent. One of the cheese types was a little pitcher of fondue, which inspired us to try making fondue for the first time ever on Sunday... but that's another story.
Austen, who'd finished his Cheerios and baby food before the drinks arrived, was cruising around under the table when another couple with a 10 month-old was seated next to us. They had a very similar experience to ours in that their baby finished his meal before any sign of adult food or drinks arrived; unlike us, they showed some sense and left when the baby started to squirm (without eating or drinking themselves). They missed out on the excellent cheese and beer sampler (and the $8.30 gallon of the Rocktoberfest brew—bargain!—that I got to go), but I still think their course was the wiser one. We'll be making our own cheese platters at home from now on (and getting the beer to go) rather than sitting down at Rock Bottom.
Anyway, back at home, for the second time in a week we had trouble getting Austen to bed. It's been the norm for a couple months now to nurse him for a little while and then put him to bed asleep or nearly so with no fuss. One night last week, however, he was refusing to settle down, so we put him in the crib at 8:30 and let him cry for a while. I figured I could take the opportunity to vacuum the house, since I wouldn't be keeping him awake, and the vacuum noice might even soothe him. After 30 minutes, however, he was still screaming inconsolably, so I went into his room to pick him up... and the smell hit me as soon as I opened the door. He'd apparently worked himself into such a frenzy that he pooped. I changed his diaper, nursed him a little more, and then put him to bed without incident.
Saturday night was a repeat of the previous incident, only without the vacuuming. Even though Austen seemed to be shouting more than screaming inconsolably after 30 minutes, I went up to check on him just in case all that red-faced hollering had resulted in another poopy diaper. I was already saying, "OK now, what's all the fuss about?" as I opened the door, but "it's bedtime" turned into "it's bedARIEEEEEEEEEEEEEAUGGGGHH!!!!" Austen's crib is just to the right of the door, and there he was—the VERY SCARY BABY—standing up at the end of his crib, shouting. Of course, my screaming and leaping about five feet forward into the room scared the crap out of him as well, and he switched from shouting to crying again. It turned out he *had* pooped, though whether his diaper was dirty because he was shouting, or he was shouting because his diaper was dirty, I couldn't tell you. It's also possible that I really did scare the crap out of him; the timing is a little unclear.
In any case, I changed his diaper and let him sit on my lap and play for a while, and then Al put him to bed at about 9:30 (after a long speech about the power of meditation and self-soothing). Al says Austen wasn't asleep when he put him in the crib, but that he was calm. We didn't hear another squeak out of him until 6:30 on Sunday. Needless to say, between football games and fondue on Sunday, Al went up to lower the mattress on the crib from level 3 to level 4.
Eerie aside: On Friday night I dreamed that I asked Al to lower the crib mattress because I was afraid Austen would stand up and fall over the side. Thank god there was no falling involved when Austen did stand in his crib for the first time—only a near heart attack, and that on my part.