She’s Crafty

Tomato Thief

Tomato Thief

She’s crafty.  The title of a classic Beastie Boys ditty, but also an attribute Mrs. Dude has displayed with increasing consistency.  Mrs. Dude is crafty.

The hordes of avid readers may recall the Dude’s “This Little Piggy” post as a past example of her wily actions.

She struck again.  Preying on the unsuspecting Dude who has faith in the words the pour from her lips.

As the night wound down, and the Dude performed the end-of-the-night rituals of locking down the house, Mrs. Dude brought up an interesting topic…out of nowhere.

“I think we should call Little Dude by his middle name.”


I was stunned and assumed this was a joke, but the joke didn’t seem to have a punch line, and the Mrs. wasn’t backing down.

“The middle name is growing on me.  He looks like his middle name.”

The Dude recommended the middle name early on as his number one choice, but Mrs. Dude wouldn’t have it.  I never got a concrete reason, but it seemed like she felt the name would be too popular down the road.  Who am I to argue with motherly psychic abilities?

After much deliberation the Mrs. approved it for a middle name.

We had a name chosen about five months into the pregnancy, so we’ve been acclimated to The Boy’s name for months…along with everyone we know.  Yet, now, on a whim, a name change seems to be a serious discussion.

I tried to explain the awkward discussions we would have to have every time someone mentions his “old” name.  How I liked his name, the meaning behind the name, and our reasoning for choosing the name.

I refused to believe this was a real discussion.  The conversation carried to the bedroom.  As I brushed my fangs it continued.  I hopped into bed in disbelief, but the Mrs. stuck to her convictions in a stubborn, unapologetic way the Dude has yet to witness from her.

She explained that she calls him by his middle name when I’m not around!


Just as smoke began to stream from the Dude’s ears, Mrs. Dude said, “I have something I need to tell you.”  99.99% of the time, “I have something I need to tell you” is not followed by words you want to hear.

Dude:  “Great.  I can’t wait to hear it.”  Sarcasm dripping from each word.

Mrs.: “I bought a lens for the camera.”

Dude:  “Are you attempting to kill me?  You want to change Little Dude’s name, and you are spending money on a lens for the camera?”  “And you choose to bring these topics up at the same time…as I’m going to sleep?”

The only response appropriate for this exchange was laughter.  If it wasn’t laughter is would have been tears.

Mrs.:  “I’m just kidding; I don’t want to change his name.  I did buy a lens tough.”

What a relief!

Dude:  “Little Dude can keep his name?!  I’m fine with a new lens.”

Mrs.:  “Actually, it’s two lenses.”

Unbelievably crafty!  A twenty minute setup for two new camera lenses…and based on the approach, I’m psyched about the outcome.

The Dude has his guard up, but I predict I’ll be hoodwinked again.

PS – The picture above is taken with the new “portrait” lens.  I could be tricking myself, but it seems like the picture is more crisp and bright.  It’s a picture of Beans thieving a tomato from the garden.  He doesn’t even like tomatoes, but The Hyena turned him on to the free food, and he can’t contain his animal instincts.

Life Moves Pretty Fast

Time Moves Pretty Fast

Time Moves Pretty Fast

I can recall being a high school student with the weight of time weighing heavy on my mind.  Days took too long, weeks dragged on, school years felt like an eternity, and “old” was a ridiculously low number…which the Dude has surpassed by now.

But at some point, time shifts.  Out of nowhere, there’s never enough time in a day.  Weeks fly by.  A “school year?”  That’s not even a year!  “Old?”  I’m convinced that’s got to be a state of mind much more so than a number.

Time is a slippery foe.  Too much for the youth, and not enough for the aged.

From a parenting perspective, everyone seems to share the same view; “Kids grow up too fast.”  A cliché?…possibly, but it’s a cliché for a reason…there’s a strong element of truth.  As the wise sage Ferris Bueller once espoused, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

At five weeks, I’ve already uttered “they grow so quick.”  Right, crazy.  But…it’s true.  At five weeks, he’s already grown out of infant diapers and his first stage of clothes.  Not a huge deal, but it’s a sign of what’s to come.  Soon he’ll be sitting up, crawling, walking, running, driving, moving out.

A bit drastic.  But we know what’s ahead.  We’re witnessing the growth potential with the Princess.  She is five going on 16.

Proportionally, the first few years of life have exceptional growth.  From one through three, the rapid growth is apparent through the range of body movements developing; head stays up, sits up, crawls, walks, etc.  At four, life starts to click; concepts and ideas come into view.  By five, they seem like little adults…adults with the potential to spread glitter and perfume throughout the house like Tinkerbelle on a fairy rampage.

This past week, the Princess hit play date and sleepover age.  We’re jumping in with both feet.  First sleepover at a friend’s house, a play date at Casa de Dude, and the first sleepover here all in one week.  Adjusting to a five week old and taking in some rouge kids at the same time.  Great idea.

The Princess has relished this new found freedom.  The independence is palpable.  But with every autonomous act, comes a brilliantly orchestrated feat that could only be the product of the five year old mind.  Each time the five year old shows itself, I’m reminded to enjoy Now.  Moments lead to hours, days, weeks, and years.  Time moves fast.

Play dates and sleepovers are a big step.  Increased independence, new social interactions.  The Girl is on the fast track to adulthood.

However, the idea of a play date is much more grown up than the act of a play date.  The majority of a five year old play date consists of moving toys from one location to another.  It starts by pulling the entire inventory of toys from their storage location and erratically shifting from one creative game to another throughout the house, and most of these games require ALL of the toys to be moved to a new location every three minutes.  The end result is far worse than any house party the Dude ever threw at his parents’ house….not that I ever did that Mom and Dad.

In addition to partying like a rock star, the Princess is now using the phone like a teenager.  The Princess makes calls to her short list of numbers at freewill.  At this point the phone calls are mainly to Nina, but it’s a sign of what’s to come.

Nina made the mistake of mentioning a girls trip with the Princess two weeks before departure.  A bag has been packed next to her bed for 14 days, and she’s used her limited phone privileges to make travel plans and fill empty moments with a phone attached to her ear.  Like a teenage girl trying to keep her boyfriend on the phone, the Princess can hold a conversation.  I’m only privy to one side of the conversation, but this is what I hear…

  • “Oh, you know what I was thinking about?  Are we going to shop at the top of the mountain?  Should we do toys?…It’s pretty fun if you want.  What else should we buy?…we could buy clothes if you want.”
  • Talking about her bad dream:  “If you wake up and then wake down again, you won’t have the bad dream.”
  • Listing what she packed…14 days ago:  “I put in a Polly Pocket, a pony…I think…and Aerial.”
  • About their trip:  “Can we swing there?”
  • I can only image how Nina responded to this:  “Do you want me to hang up, or do you want me to keep talking?”
  • Filling time:  “Stars are pretty.”

To hold a 25 minute phone conversation shows amazing maturity.  And for every 25 five minute conversation, there’s a conversation full of non-sequiturs that pulls the Dude back into the moment.

Princess:  There’s a donut place before the cabin.
Princess:  There are trees just before the cabin.

Dude:  Yes, like donuts, trees are everywhere.

Princess:  There’s a hill at the cabin…just like winter.
Princess:  We went sledding at the cabin.

Dude:  I’m not really sure I see the connection.

My guess is “kids grow too fast” because we are so busy we forget to pay attention and enjoy the moment to moment growth.  Here’s to paying attention.

Week Five – Change

What a smile?!“The only constant is change.”

It’s difficult to find the precise source of this quote, but after extensive research (i.e. five minutes on Wikipedia), I’ve decided to give credit to Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher…mainly because he’s a really old dude (c.535 BC – 475 BC).

This is about as close to “fact” as you can get; as such it is a widely understood and accepted saying…almost common sense.  Hence the difficulty finding the precise source.

I think the idea of change as a constant may be referred to as entropy in physics, but I’m all researched out now, so I’ll let The Professor (aka Little Bill, Papa, Dude’s Padre) correct me in the comments section if need be.

We all work every day to maintain the great aspects of our life and change those aspects that need some improvements…or at least we should be working hard at this every day.  But, in the  end, change will win; we can only prolong the inevitable.  Nature will take its course and change will prevail.

This should not imply that we should commit any less effort to maintaining what we love; that’s arguably the most important thing we can do in life.  But we should be able to accept change as a fact of life…perhaps even use change to our advantage.

For a short life span of five weeks, change is intensified.  20% of the Dude’s life is 6.6 years.  Change across that period is relatively mild.  The Little Dude on the other hand is in hyper drive; 20% of his life was spent last week.  Change across this period is pretty intense…for child and parents.

We ended week four with what appeared to be a mysterious choking episode for Little Dude.  I could have noted this in last week’s Lessons, but I really didn’t know what to make of it so I left it out.

The plot thickened in week five, and with some added information, the “choking” is now seen in a clearer light.

Last Saturday, Little Dude was sleeping in his swing (five feet from us) while the Dude and Mrs. Dude half watched tv and half watched The Boy.  About 45 minutes into his slumber, he woke up with a loud screech and then went silent immediately.  Mrs. Dude noticed that the air flow seemed to stop and jumped up to scoop him out of the swing.  The Dude, being a Dude, was a bit more slow to react, but the level of distress was clear in Mrs. Dude’s face (her Mommy Senses kicked in quickly!), and she was a bit frozen with Little Dude in her hands, so I grabbed him, flipped him over and began to pat his back.  With a whimper, the breathing was back in probably 30 seconds, but it was an intense 30 seconds, and there was no breath and no noise during that time…an eerie silence.

There was no way he choked on anything.  Nothing in his swing with him, he was in there for 45 minutes, and we were watching the entire time.

It shook us a bit.  We contemplated a visit to the Emergency Room, but Little Dude was immediately back to normal and enjoying his swing; so the Dude, being a Dude, convinced the Mrs. to skip the trip.   But in return, I stayed up and watched Little Dude the entire night to make sure everything was status quo.

I enjoyed some late night yoga to stay awake, and Little Dude slept like, well, a baby.  We switched shifts at the 6:30 AM feeding and kept him on watch the rest of the day.  After the 24 hour surveillance, we felt pretty confident Little Dude was ok.  However, we were still pretty confused by the experience.

Mrs. Dude conducted some further research (luckily her research is a bit more extensive than the Dude’s) down a path mentioned by the Pediatrician, and we are now adding a new variable to our “Poop Rules My Life” theory.  It seems to us that poop and heartburn rule Little Dude’s life.

The Mrs. found this link about an infant “choking” due to acid reflux and this list of acid reflux symptoms.  Not only does the article describe the “choking” episode almost word for word, but the additional symptoms are pretty spot on with The Little One.

Unfortunately, the acid reflux seems to be gaining momentum in week five and the past few days have seen an increase in spit up and some crankiness reminiscent of earlier weeks.  We’ve been using some meds the Dr. gave us “just in case,” but they don’t seem strong enough or The Boy has already outgrown the dose prescribed.  So, back to the Dr. tomorrow.

I’m not sure if we’ve figured out how to use this intense period of change to our advantage just yet, but we are doing our best to accept it and move on to the next curve life throws our way.

Luckily, the Dude and the Little Dude have found a calming mechanism they can both agree on; the vacuum.  My guess is a burned out vacuum could be in our future, but if The Little One is happy, that’s a change I’m willing to accept.

Baby's Best Friend

Baby's Best Friend

PS – Here’s one of my favorite songs about change.  The video is on the strange side, but the song is pretty good…plus, the Dude is a sucker for some good harmonica.

The Dishes are Done, Man!

The Dishes are Done!

The Dishes are Done!

In week four’s “Lessons,” I mentioned there should be a Dad Olympics to showcase the extreme rigors of diaper changing.  I’d like to add event number two; dishwasher loading.

The Dude is a dishwasher loading wizard.  It’s a long family tradition handed down from my mother’s side.  My grandfather, mother, and sister are all at the top of their dishwasher loading game, but the Dude is pretty confident in his gold medal status

My Grandfather is 93, even if he can out-pack me, I can beat him on speed, and this is the Dad Olympics, so adios Madre and Sis.

I’m going to start making space in the trophy case.

When you see this on ESPN, you’ll know you heard it here first…Rock, paper, scissors is on ESPN, why not Dad Olympics?

The Princess Speaks

Princess Speaks

Princess Speaks

When a five year old speaks, the verbal onslaught is completely unpredictable…and hilarious.

It seems the Princess has some innate parenting skills…which she is happy to share with the Dude…

  • “Babies don’t like the dark.”
  • “Babies like to be with Mom.”
  • “I can’t feed Little Dude; I have little girl nipples.”
  • “It’s alright if he cries.  It hurts my ears, but I’m not frustrated.”
  • “Mom we’ve tried everything with Little Dude and he won’t cooperate.  I think he’s hungry.”

These parenting skills extend past Little Dude to the Dude.  Some of her go to lines these days…including hands on the hips and eyes rolling…

  • “What has gotten into you?”
  • “How many times do I have to tell you this?”

Another innate quality or already brainwashed by The Man?  Consumerism…Nature vs. Nurture

  • Princess excitedly proclaims,  “I just saw a bed on TV for $70!”
    Dude:  “Great.  Is that a good deal?  Do we need a bed?”

How are they making a bed look appealing to a five year old?  And why?  Just to torture parents?

  • While watching a kids channel, which should be providing quality stimulus but instead advertises products to kids that will torment parents, the Princess shouts to Mrs. Dude, “We need to go here.  I’m not sure where it is, but it’s only $53 a night.”

For real?!  Can we take a break from selling stuff 24 hours per day…to five year olds who have no money?  The Princess can’t distinguish a one dollar bill from a twenty dollar bill, but that commercial somehow has her convinced that $53  per night is a good deal and worth a trip to No Man’s Land.  Get out of our heads TV!

Pink one?In addition to hilarity, most Princess speak also includes a heavy dose of cuteness.

  • Accepting a serious life transition; “I like having a new brother in my life.”
  • Watching Mommy nurse; “Is he biting you?”
  • Talking to her friends at school; “When you have a new brother or sister, you can have a baby vacation too.”
  • While she enjoyed her first experience with the Wizard of Oz; “You can’t buy a brain.  All you need to do is ask God.”
  • Trying to avoid dreaded bedtime; Dude: “What time is it?”  Princess:  “Don’t ask Mommy, she doesn’t know.”
  • Mental preparation for the next big life transition, kindergarten; “I have to go to school in the fall.  But I can still trick or treat.  It’s at night, not during the day.”
  • Picking out the uniform for her new hobby, Tae Kwan Do (i.e. the all white “karate” uniform); “Mommy, is there a pink one?”

It’s pretty fun to witness life coming together one day at a time for a kid.

Week Four – Poop Rules My Life

Little Dude Snoozing

Little Dude Snoozing

As the Dude ventures down the path of blogging about family life, including a newborn, it’s inevitable that the subject matter will veer towards poop at some point…possibly often.  Given the first four weeks with Little Dude, my guess is poop could be a highly discussed topic.

Week four seems to be giving us some indication of the crankiness source.  We are not overly confident in this theory, infants are a fickle lot, but all signs point to some sort of development, or lack thereof, with digestion.

Poop is what it is.  A natural fact of life.  But for an infant, and especially Little Dude, it’s pretty much a matter of survival.  Really, everything at the age of four weeks is a matter of survival; it’s hard to be tiny, defenseless, and completely confused by everything around you.  But, for Little Dude, poop seems to be his kryptonite.  Serious discomfort.

The Boy shares hints of the serene quietness conjured in the mind’s eye with the thought of an “infant,” but the quiet periods have been short-lived.  Those tiny hints of calm have been separated by eating, sleeping, and fussiness.  However, the calmness is gaining strength, and Mrs. Dude reported today the Little One was smiling all day.  Smiles are a rare occurrence, never mind a full day event.

His body is beginning to operate more efficiently, and the stretches of calm, sometimes even happy, states are increasing.  The waves of fussiness are almost always ended by some form of gas; burp, fart, poop (he’s such a dude!).  Once he gets it out, the calm spreads through his body.  Uncomfortable digestion seems to be the source, and now that the digestion seems to be running a bit more smoothly, the periods of fussiness are decreasing…in length anyway.

This is a big improvement from week three where colic was able to maintain a strong position on the list of possibilities.  We may not be able to discount the Big C completely, but we are rapidly moving past this theory…or, at least the Dude is using the power of positive thinking.

In parts of the East Coast where I’ve lived, there is a cliché about the weather that seems to apply to infants (probably most aspects of life); if you don’t like the weather, wait an hour.  In other words, if you are faced with a challenge, a thunder storm or a fussy baby, give it some time, things will change.

Just when we get this digestion figured out, I’m sure another challenge will develop, but for now, it’s great to see the Little Dude moving past the largest challenge in his life….and we’ll be ready to tackle the next one.

PS – Since we’re on the subject of bodily functions; I love how changing a boy’s diaper is similar to participating in a cheesy game show.  Every time I’m wrestling with the Little Dude to change his diaper, I feel like I’m on an Asian game show with tacky English humor being dubbed in.

How quickly can you separate the cloth from the clammy skin, apply a goopy white substance, drag his butt in the air, slip a new diaper under, and grapple with the flailing limbs to secure the sticky straps, all before you’re sprayed in the face?  There are a range of theories to prevent this hilarious struggle, but reality tends to trump theory.  Babies are surprisingly strong and pee is difficult to shield.  Changing requires speed and efficiency.

There should be a Dad Olympics.

It Ties the Room Together

It Ties the Room TogetherThe parent/child relationship is becoming increasingly interesting now that I’m able to experience both sides.

The Dude’s parents were visiting over the weekend, and my eyes are open to new perspectives.  It could be maturity, but I think it has more to do with a paradigm shift.  A milestone traversed, that alters perspective.  And big questions arise:  Who am I as a parent?  How will I handle life’s difficult questions and situations?  How will I relate to my kids?

As the Dude’s parental units spent time getting to know their grandson and offering a helping hand, I watched with curiosity trying to determine how my parents would translate into my actions.  Am I like my father?…I hear I’m just like him, but different…whatever that means.  What traits will I capture from Grammie Voodoo?

Only time will tell.

It’s fun to experience another generation unfolding.

While they were here I wrangled Padre Dude, aka Papa or Little Bill, into assisting with the finishing touch to Little Dude’s room; the Endless Summer framed movie poster.

It’s difficult to determine the quantity and/or level of ingredients included in a blog, but the Big Lebowski and the off-shoot Dudeism share some portion of the Dude’s blog stew.  In the first of what I assume will be many nods in The Dude’s direction, below is the video of The Dude explaining that his rug really tied his room together, and in my humble opinion, I believe the Endless Summer poster shares a similar quality in the Little Dude’s nursery.

Thanks for the help Little Bill.

PS – As a warning, if you are not a fan of profanity above the PG-13 level, you should probably skip the video…but enjoy the Endless Summer poster.

I’m On a Boat!

I'm On a Boat

Do they make infant life preservers?  Would it matter if they did; could an infant actually preserve his life with one?  My guess is a parent and their life jacket suffice…right?

Well, the Little Dude had his first boat ride yesterday…sans life jacket…please don’t tell Social Services.

It was perfect.  We were watching that amazingly boring World Cup championship (Don’t get me wrong, I played soccer from kindergarten through college…I like it, but that game was lame even for soccer fans.), and Mrs. Dude’s Dad, aka Rex, saved us from boredom with a cruise on his power boat.

It was a gnarly summer day; bright sun, blue skies, calm water, hot, but with a good breeze.

Boats seem like a lot of work and money, but they sure are fun to be on.  It’s a whole new perspective from the water; literally and figuratively.  The trip refreshed all of us.

The Little Dude loved the motion and the breeze, and Mrs. Dude commented that it was the “most fun [she’s] had since being eight months pregnant”…when the real discomfort set in.

We made a point to stop a couple times to hop overboard to swim, so the Princess was delighted, and the Dude soaked in the entire experience…all the while silently singing I’m on a Boat in my head.

Week Three – The Baby Blur

Little Dude Week Tres

Little Dude Week Tres

With the week one exuberance and the week two naïve belief in routines behind us, we are working through week three, where  the true baby blur starts to set in.  Actually, I could be wrong…is this week three?  I’ve completely lost track of time.

Limited sleep is not easy, but at some point nature takes over and limited sleep is turned from groggy crankiness into a calm blur that is almost manageable…almost, i.e. the Baby Blur.  The Dude and the Mrs. have conversations about how Little Dude is sleeping and who got up when, but most of these conversations fizzle out when one of us asks, “wait, was that last night or the day before…or two nights ago?”

There is just no way to keep track of time when the clock has become an irrelevant decoration on the nightstand.  When The Boy is up, we are up, and there’s no way to combat that fact; so it becomes an exercise of acceptance, and with acceptance comes a somewhat peaceful blur.

Little Dude is settling in pretty well.  He’s eating and gaining weight, the small amount of jaundice is pretty much eliminated, his belly button is about 99% healed, and he’s starting to show signs of smiling.  However, he has been a bit uncomfortable over the past week or two.

There are a wide array of theories about the source of this discomfort, but the Dude is realizing that while everyone has great insights and valuable experience, when it comes to an infant (and probably all aspects of life) no one really knows; we’re all guessing and making estimates based on the experiences we’ve had in our individual pasts…life is one big mystery composed of a series of experiments from start to finish.

Luckily, the Dude and the Mrs. have a stable of valuable advisors with extensive baby experience.  When one piece of advice (or guess) doesn’t work, there is no shortage of suggestions waiting to be applied.

The gas medicine that I mentioned in last week’s Lessons does seem to help the Little Dude to some degree, but it’s definitely not a cure-all; he’s still been relatively fussy.  So, is it gas, allergies,  over-sensitivity, or the Big C – colic?…noooooo, don’t say the Big C!  Perhaps a bit dramatic, but a crying baby is about as dramatic as it gets; so to think of a baby with colic that is inconsolable is a bit nerve-wracking.

We can’t seem to figure it out, and the advisors are a bit perplexed as well, so we decided to get some doctoral advice.  After an appointment with the Pediatrician, we are making some changes, and seeing some good results, but we’re talking about a human life span of three weeks; we really don’t have much to measure success against.  When he’s able to relax, it could have more to do with the changes he’s going through than any changes we make.  However, to be on the safe side, changes are being made, and we’re seeing positive results.  The Mrs. has cut out all dairy, peanuts, eggs, caffeine, spicy foods, and is off an anti-biotic she was taking.  And fingers are crossed.

We’re seeing smiles and yesterday we were all able to lay on the bed and play without the hint of any fussiness.  Perhaps the advisory committee does know what they are talking about, and the Dude is crazy for second-guessing.

I’m not so sure.  At this point the Dude is subscribing to the belief in Voodoo, Grammie Voodoo.

Over the weekend, the Dude’s Madre, aka Grammie, came to visit, and prior to her arrival, the Dude’s sister (we really need a good nickname for her) told Mrs. Dude that Grammie would work her Grammie Voodoo magic on Little Dude while she was here.  Indeed she did.

In defense of every piece of advice we’ve been given, this visit did coincide with all of the changes that we implemented, but the Dude is leaning towards the Voodoo…I saw it with my own two eyes.  Unintelligible singing, strange patterns of walking and swaying that almost seemed ceremonial, and an immeasurable amount of hugs and kisses were used to mesmerize the Little Dude, and he loved it.  The Dude and Mrs. Dude loved the extra hands as well.

I have no hard proof that the Grammie Voodoo worked, but then again, I have no hard proof that any of the other changes are working either, so I’m going with Voodoo on this one.

I guess the lesson for this week is seek advice but use discretion; Mom and Dad are ultimately responsible for the bambino and the bambino’s happiness.  Use advice as you see fit.  But, the true lesson is get Grammies involved as much as possible.  They might just be guessing, but they seem to understand how to make the right guesses at the right time.

The Zoo

The Zoo

The Zoo

Everyone needs a little security in their lives.  Nothing beats Mom’s tightly held hand or warm hug, but security could be as simple as a favorite hat, a lucky t-shirt, a power tie, or a soft, cuddly blanket.

Mrs. Dude is a pretty great Mom, but she explained to the Dude that it’s not possible for her to hold Little Dude’s hand or hug him 24 hours per day.  So, we were faced with the daunting task of determining how to offer security to the Little One when the Mrs. is absent.  I suggested a piece of my wetsuit since that keeps me warm and cozy in the water, but Mrs. Dude pulled rank and said the Mom would make this decision.

Ok.  One less decision for the Dude process; works for me.

I watched silently as a tiny silky blanket with a dog’s head that was three times too large was paraded around the house as the worthy contender.  I knew it wouldn’t last, but the Dude had taken a vow of silence on the subject.  “Oh yeah, Mrs. Dude, great blanket.  The Boy will love his giant headed dog.”

The vow would have probably been broken considering how goofy this dog was, but the Dude had confidence in the Mrs….and the Dude’s sister had already paved the way for this decision.  The lady with four kids under the age of 6 probably has the whole security blanket thing figured out.  The Dude knew that it was only a matter of time before Mrs. Dude was exposed to the greatest security blanket known to man.

After a visit with the Dude’s extended fam, the Mrs. declared that she was going to get one of the same security blankets the cousins have.  This was a big step, but it opened the door to an even harder decision; what blanket to choose.  The blankets come in a variety of animal shapes, basically stuffed animal heads on the top of a blanket.

The cousins each have a different animal, but with a twist.  The twist being that one blanket really won’t last, so multiple blankets were purchased as back-ups.  This is great in theory, but really this just leads to the kids needing multiple blankets of the same type; one just won’t do if I can have two.  As a result, Mom and Dad are forced to corral multiple, identical blankets for each child.  This is pretty much a full-time job; they had to hire a nanny to watch after the blankets!…not really, but they should!

We were committed to the type of blanket, but Mrs. Dude couldn’t make an animal choice, so it was decided that we would get three to help us determine our favorite; the owl, dinosaur, and lion would be included in the selection process.

For two months leading up to Little Dude’s arrival, the Dude and the Mrs. slept with the blankets under the guise of adding our scent to the fabric, but really we were snuggling with each trying to choose our animal.    The lion pulled out to an early lead, but the Mrs. couldn’t keep herself off the website and three grew to five; the cow and raccoon joined the pack, adding to the indecisiveness.

No clear winner has yet to be established.  However, now I’m concerned that if/when a winner is chosen, we will then have to wade through multiple impostors to reach the true source of security during times of crisis.  It’s inevitable that when security is needed, the true champion will be unnoticeably wedged between the couch cushions while the rest of the animal tribe is frolicking in the open, and the Dude will undoubtedly try each and every impostor before embarking on the hunt for the chosen one, all the while Little Dude wailing away.  It’s a grim scene, but totally predictable.

Perhaps that’s better than hunting for multiples of the same blanket, as the Dude’s sister must do, but probably not.

Then again, the kid usually determines the winner, and most times the choice is completely unexpected.  The Dude latched onto  a pillowcase, and the Princess fell in love with a blanket that was purchased as a gift for another baby.

My guess is the Little Dude catches us off guard with his security blanket choice…I’m still holding out for the wetsuit. For now, we’re enjoying the zoo and trying to give each animal equal face time with the “Decider” (as George W. would say).

Choose wisely Little Dude, the fate of the zoo is in your hands.