Bubble Guppies

I don’t understand the witchcraft that the Bubble Guppies uses to infatuate children, but it’s far and away Alexandra’s favorite show. It’s literally the only thing that we know, for a fact, will get her to go from a screaming fit to completely content. Every time the Bubble Guppies burst into song, she starts smiling.

The show stars six Bubble Guppies (which is a fancy way of saying “mermaids”) who sing and dance, while teaching kids basic concepts and vocabulary.

Every episode follows the same formula:

1) One of the Bubble Guppies runs into something on the way to class
2) They all go to “class” (if you can call it that…I’ll get into that later)
3) They sing a song
4) They have lunch
5) They play outside and have a magic adventure
6) They end with a song

Before I get into this, I’ll say that I love Bubble Guppies. It’s Alexandra’s favorite show, and therefore my favorite show by proxy. Here’s a breakdown of all the main characters.

Molly

Molly
Molly is the main character, and Alexandra’s favorite. You’ll notice all of the Bubble Guppies have a different race, but I’m not quite sure what Molly is supposed to be. Jersey shore, maybe? She’s pretty tan. Generally, Molly-led episodes are the best, and have the best songs.

Gil

Gil
Gil is the Zack Morris of Bubble Guppies. He doesn’t understand most of the basic concepts portrayed in the show, but he’s pretty sweet at Fishketball. He’s also kind of a derelict, because he always interrupts Molly when she’s trying to do the show’s intro. He and Molly seem to have sort of a relationship going on (she calls him “Gilly”), which I’m cool with. Bubble Puppy is Gil’s puppy.

Deema

Deema
Let’s not mince words here, Deema is freaking insane. Ever have a girlfriend that you break up with, and she throws all of your clothes in the street and lights your carpet on fire? That’s Deema. She’s Molly’s best friend, and my favorite Bubble Guppy because I love the crazies.

Oona

Oona
If Bubble Guppies were fished for sport, Oona would be the first one caught. She’s not what you’d call bright. While the other Bubble Guppies seem to have an idea what’s going on, she wanders the ocean pretty clueless, contributing nuggets to the conversation such as, “I like stories!” Not the brightest fish in the sea.

Nonny

Nonny
I hate Nonny. He’s a know-it-all, he never smiles and he’s anti-social. Every time the show enters the schoolhouse, all of the Bubble Guppies say hi…except Nonny. I should be nice though, he’s really smart, and one day he could be my boss.

Goby

Goby
I like Goby, and there seems to be something going on between him and Deema. The two of them noticeably flirted during the Cowgirl Parade episode, and they hold hands in the theme song. His episodes are pretty good, and I have no beef with this guy.

Mr. Grouper

Mr. Grouper
Mr. Grouper has absolutely no control over his class. In every episode, one of the kids sees something on the way to school, and Mr. Grouper diverts his entire lesson plan to talk about whatever they want. He sometimes takes the class on questionable impromptu field trips, and frankly, he creeps me out a bit.

Shocker. Deema's upside down. #Nutcase

In all seriousness, there are a lot of worse things she could be watching, so I’ll gladly take this. The songs are tolerable and catchy, and the plot lines are decent. With that said, watch any episode of this show on Nick Jr.’s website (http://www.nickjr.com/kids-videos/bubble-guppies-videos.html), and you’ll see 100% of what I wrote here is the truth.

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Four, Five and Six Months!

This blog has been somewhat of a ghost town lately. No excuses, but here’s a brief update on our life, which has been somewhat responsible for the lack of content:

  • Dawn and I both started new jobs within the past five months, and we’re still getting fully adjusted.
  • In case you didn’t know, both of those jobs are in Cleveland, so we’ve moved from Columbus to the city by the lake.
  • We just bought a new house and we’re doing a ton of work on it. We’re not currently living in that house, so our home is the 300 square-foot basement in my parent’s house. That’s right – Dawn, myself, our two cats and a six-month-old baby have been living in my parent’s basement for the past five months.
  • We’re working to sell our house in Columbus, which is proving to be no small task.

So with that said, this post won’t contain any funky photoshops, nonsensical photos or animated gifs of primates stealing hubcaps. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m trying to squeeze three months into one blog post, so I want to be concise.

Now back to the reason I started this blog, little Miss Alexandra. For the first three months, things changed pretty slowly. We’d see a new development in the baby girl every week or two. Now, we’re seeing daily changes in Alexandra, as she becomes more aware and learns new things.

LOL: If you haven’t watched the video at the top of this post, check it out. She bursts into laughing fits regularly now.

#NomNomNom: Alexandra eats “real food” now. We started with oatmeal and rice cereal, which she had no problem taking. Sweet Potatoes followed, and those were a hit! Fruits are another story. She still prefers Mommy’s milk, and frankly, sweet things usually lead to the face in the pictures below.

‘Round ‘Round Get Around: She’s not crawling yet, but she still knows how to get around. Usually when she rolls over, Alexandra tries like hell to crawl. When that fails, she flips and wiggles around until she gets to where she wants.

Poppin’ Bottles: Forget about that bottle refusal. Alexandra drinks bottles like a pro now. Thanks to Aunt Brittany for teaching her how to do that.

I Know You!: Alexandra is recognizing faces. She lights up when Dawn and I get home from work, remembers her grandparents and smiles for Aunt Brittany. She also acknowledges animals, particularly our cats Cody and CJ. She usually greets them with a laugh, then grabs and tugs a fistful of fur from them before Daddy can stop her.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall: She loves the mirror. Seeing herself, Mommy or Daddy in the mirror makes her smile.

Little Girl: She’s still a dainty baby, only about 15 lbs.

She’s also become enamored with Bubble Guppies, but I’m planning on doing an entire post on that. Below are a few pictures I’ve snapped during the past three months.

Watching Bubble Guppies with Daddy

Outside with Mommy

Exploring the outdoors with Daddy

Exploring the outdoors with Daddy

Alexandra's first time eating! This time it's oatmeal.

Sweet potatos are delicious. This eating real food thing is awesome!

What the hell was that, Dad? Pears? Are you trying to poison me?!

Okay, I had to sneak ONE shenanigan into this post

Ready to root on the Buckeyes

Ready to root on the Buckeyes again

I'm watching TV, dad. What do you want?

Getting cheeky on the changing table

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Three Months

Alexandra puts everything in her mouth

Alexandra’s first three months have flown by in the blink of an eye. She’s more than doubled in size and she’s so much more aware than she was even a month ago.

Here’s the latest:

  • Alexandra has discovered her hands. When she first found them, they were used for two things: eating, and bringing other objects to her mouth to eat (see picture above). Now she will grab (and tug) other things such as toys, clothes, hair, cats, jewelry and my face.
  • She’s also discovered her feet. At first, she was baffled by the unearthing of these  new appendages. After a few minutes, the shock wore off, and she folded herself in half to put her foot in her mouth.
  • Alexandra rolled over. This is a big step for children because they sleep better on their stomachs, and they’re one step closer to crawling. None of that is happening yet, however. When Alexandra rolls over, she’s just pissed off that she’s on her stomach.
  • Her two current favorite things to do are the Baby Copter and the Baby Rocket. Both involve being flown around the room and sound effects.
  • I can’t stand still anymore. I know what some of you are thinking – “Stephen, you’ve never been able to stand still, you’re so hyperactive.” Har har har. ROFLMAOYG! The reason I can’t stand still is I’ve spent three months rocking my baby back and forth to soothe her. Now when I’m standing still, I’ll randomly start rocking.

It’s still pretty much smooth sailing with Alexandra. It won’t be in the next month or so when she starts teething. When that happens, not even the Baby Rocket will calm her down.

Baby Rocket

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Babies grow up. Fast.

I’m working on a three-month post (a couple of weeks late), but I felt the need to share this first. Below are two pictures of Alexandra. The first was taken when she was a couple of weeks old, the second was taken when she was almost three months. It makes me sad and happy at the same time.

Two weeks

11 Weeks

This is not a picture of Alexandra. This is rapper Ice Cube fishing.

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Baby in the Woods

I stole this picture from Jess. Without asking. Boom.

With a two-month-old baby, Dawn and I weren’t sure how we were going to spend New Year’s Eve this year. After a little bit of deliberation, we decided to join a few of our friends at a cabin in Hocking Hills. Want a pro tip? If you’ve never been to Hocking Hills, DON’T drive there at night. In the rain. And the fog. Following three hours of freeway driving, we hit the side roads of Hocking Hills. Navigating these roads was about as easy as reading the map provided by the company who rented us the cabin (map below). Thankfully, during this scary journey along winding country roads, Alexandra slept.

This map makes perfect sense

I’ll keep the details out of this post (what happens in Hocking Hills stays in Hocking Hills), but I will say that I’m really glad we went. All of my friends are fantastic with Alexandra, and I loved having a couple of days without phone or internet. It was awesome disconnecting and spending quality time with some of my favorite people.

Below are a few pictures from the weekend.

Baby in the woods! Feeding the ducks.

Getting ready for a fancy dinner #DoubleBowtie

Baby in the woods

Hiking

A very tall man under a much taller waterfall

Owling

Long story. Actually a short one. But I'm not getting into it.

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Two Months

This is two-month-old Alexandra

It’s been eight weeks since the little one was born, and like most parents, we’ve had our ups and downs. Here’s a rundown of some of the highs and lows of Alexandra’s first two months, along with some of Alexandra’s habits.

#NewDadProblems
I’ll start with some of the tougher parts of being a new dad. Obviously I’m thrilled to be a parent, but I think it’s important to be honest. When I look back on this blog in 15 years (and maybe share it with Alexandra), I want to honestly remember how things were.

  • The Daddy Blues: Alexandra loves her mommy. This is important, because she spends almost 24 hours each day with Dawn, but sometimes dad can feel left out. When Alexandra wasn’t taking her bottle, it was so difficult. I felt like she didn’t like me at all, and that’s hurtful. Was I spending too little time with her? Does she really hate her dad? If she does, it’s about 13 years earlier than expected (all teenage girls hate their parents, right?). The truth is she doesn’t hate me, and 99% of the time I realize that. But in the moment, it can be hard. I love her so much, and I just want her to love me too.
  • I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO: Saturday night, Alexandra cried. And cried. And cried. AND CRIED. For two hours her routine went as follows – Cry, calm down for two minutes, start to shriek again. Her diaper was clean, she wasn’t hungry and she didn’t have a fever. Sometimes babies just need to let out energy, and that was the case on Saturday night. It can be extremely difficult to deal with. Nobody wants to listen to their beautiful child cry.
  • Bottle Refusal: I’ve already covered this in an entire post. She still can be fussy about taking a bottle. See that here: http://stevekaczynski.com/?p=838

Yay Baby!
Now on to some of the joys of being a new dad.

  • Happy Baby: I cannot explain the joy I feel when Alexandra laughs or smiles. Every morning after she eats and gets a changed, she’s Little Ms. Smiley (see picture at the top of the post) for an hour or so. It’s fantastic.
  • Alexandra the Pigeon: She coos. A lot. It’s freaking awesome. I smile every time I hear it, no matter how many times she does it. Recently, my mother bought her a swing. We already had a vibrating chair for her, so I didn’t think we needed the swing. I was wrong, because Alexandra loves it. She sits in that swing, looks up and coos.

    Alexandra the Pigeon

  • Sharing the Love: As much as we love this little baby girl, it warms our hearts to see how our family and friends interact with her.
  • Exploring the World: It’s so fun to watch Alexandra discover everything around her. Whether she’s playing with a toy, sitting in her play gym or just looking around, she’s so curious. I love watching her bright face as she looks around.

    Alexandra enjoying her play gym

  • HOLY CRAP: Sometimes, when she’s sleeping, Alexandra will wake up startled. It’s REALLY cute. She opens her eyes for a second, shakes her arms in the air, straightens her legs, and then goes right back to sleep. It’s adorable.

Other Baby News and Notes

  • Alexandra LOVES making faces.
  • She has discovered her hands. Her favorite thing to do is suck on them.
  • Alexandra enjoys TV and is particularly fond of cartoons.
  • She likes it when people sing to her. Disney songs and Dad’s freestyles are her music of choice.
  • Her favorite toy is a pink seahorse that we named Lulu. Lulu lights up and plays songs, similar to a Glowworm.
  • Alexandra still won’t sleep in her crib overnight; she’ll only sleep on our chests. She will take naps in her swing or lamb chair.
  • Watching Alexandra grow up during the past eight weeks has been really exciting. Its hard to believe that in six months she’ll be walking around!

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    The Standoff

    After seven weeks of breastfeeding, we finally tried to give Alexandra her first bottle. For those of you who don’t have kids, doctors advise that Daddy take on this task. Babies will rarely take a bottle from mom, because they know “the tap” is only a few layers of clothes away. In fact, they recommend that mom shouldn’t be anywhere close when you attempt the first bottle-feeding. That meant that I was all by myself. But that shouldn’t be a problem, because all I had to do was put the bottle in her mouth and she’d drink it, right? WRONG.

    On three separate days, I tried to give her a bottle, and each time she lost her freaking mind. Was I doing something wrong?

    Was I doing something wrong?

    Nope. As it turns out, most babies who have been breastfeeding don’t take their bottle on the first attempt. The only way to solve this problem is to have a standoff, which is exactly what it sounds like. You sit with a starving, screaming baby until she realizes she has no other choice but to take the bottle.

    On Saturday, December 3, I decided to give the standoff a try. Below is my live journal.

    3:10 – I tried to give Alexandra a bottle for the first time today. She refused and started to flip out. The standoff has begun.

    Bottle Attempts: 1

    3:30 – She’s still going strong. The shrieking hasn’t subsided, and she’s kicking her legs furiously. She’s clearly hungry, so I wish she’d just take the bottle.

    3:40 – Alexandra calmed down for a minute so I tried again. She refused to take it, but I realized that the milk wasn’t warm. Maybe that’s the problem.

    Bottle Attempts: 2

    3:50 – Nope, the milk temperature wasn’t the problem. Back to screaming. It’s so difficult to do this, knowing that I can just call Dawn and end my poor girl’s angst.

    Bottle Attempts: 3

    3:56 – Alexandra finally got exhausted from crying and fell asleep. She looked like a perfect little angel. It’s difficult to think that she was screaming her head off just five minutes earlier.

    4:02 – Alexandra woke up and started smacking her lips together like she was hungry. I tried to give her the bottle, but once again failed. After a couple of fussy minutes, she went back to sleep.

    Bottle Attempts: 4

    4:23 – There must be a glitch in the matrix, because I just had déjà vu. Alexandra woke up, tried the bottle, and started to yell.

    Bottle Attempts: 5

    4:34 – She woke up again, and this time, thought about taking the bottle. Once again, she refused it. It’s a fail. This is becoming increasingly difficult and frustrating. I’m considering giving up.

    Bottle Attempts: 6

    4:57 – FAIL! F-A-I-L!!!!! If you can’t tell, this is extremely frustrating.

    Bottle Attempts: 7

    5:04 – Alexandra started screaming. She wouldn’t calm down, and started to try and eat my arm. In a bold move, I attempted to slip the bottle in between my arm and her mouth…

    SUCCESS!!!!!

    Alexandra just smiled at me and drank the whole bottle.

    Alexandra's first bottle

    As frustrating as the first couple of hours were, watching her drink the bottle made it all worth it. It felt great to finally feed my daughter. Hopefully it gets easier from here on out!

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    The First Month

    My beautiful wife and daughter

    Alexandra’s almost a month old now, and time has flown. She’s getting bigger every day, and I already get sad thinking about her going off to college and getting married. As a first-time father, I’m learning on the fly. All of the books and internet research in the world don’t prepare you for the individual challenges of a child, as each baby is slightly different. Below are some frequently asked questions that Dawn and I have received during the past month:

    Are you getting any sleep? Yes, actually. Alexandra sleeps pretty good for a newborn, so we’ve been lucky enough to get stints of sleep. Even better, I married the most wonderful woman on the planet, so when I returned to work, Dawn let me get a full night’s sleep. If she absolutely needs a break, she wakes me up, but generally Dawn has phenomenal patience dealing with a newborn. She’s been dealing with me for almost 12 years, so she obviously has infinite patience.

    Does Alexandra have colic? Nope. Generally when she cries she just needs to be changed, fed or burped. Sometimes she wants to walk around the house and stare at something colorful. She’s easily distracted by shiny objects, much like her father.

    What’s something unexpected about a new baby? She pretty much needs to be held at all times. Alexandra loves sleeping in our arms or on our chests. She can be fast asleep, but as soon as we put her down in the crib, she wakes up. Dawn’s best sleep comes when she lies on the couch with Alexandra.

    How are the cats reacting to the new baby? They’ve hardly noticed. It’s pretty much business as usual with them.

    Is she on a consistent feeding schedule? Not quite yet. She still eats infrequently.

    Because this post lacks shenanigans, I feel like I owe you all something. So here’s a monkey stealing a hubcap.

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    The story of Alexandra’s birth

    By now, most people reading this post already know that Dawn and I had our first child earlier this week. Alexandra Juliana Kaczynski was born on 10/10/11 at 7:18 p.m. She is an absolute blessing, and the well wishes from friends and relatives have really warmed our hearts. While some of you know how the labor happened, I figured this post would be a good opportunity to go through the day. Going into Monday, we had no idea how this was going to go down.

    The story starts on Alexandra’s due date, Thursday, October 6. Dawn went to the doctor to have a few tests done, and see how close she was to labor. The doctor didn’t think the baby was coming anytime soon (she was still 2 cm dilated, you push the baby out around 10 cm), and on top of that, Dawn’s blood pressure was up a bit and she’d gained 3 pounds. This was significant, because it meant Dawn could be at risk for preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy condition. With that, the doctor said she didn’t want to wait too much longer to get the baby out. Thus, we scheduled an induction for Monday.

    On Monday, we arrived at Riverside Methodist Hospital around 8:00 a.m. After some tests, we were ready to start things up. Nurses began an IV drip of Pitocin at 9:30 a.m. with Dawn still just 2 cm dilated. During the coming hours they increased the drip, because Dawn wasn’t feeling anything and wasn’t getting any more dilated. We pretty much hung out for a few hours, watching TV and going on the Internet, until they broke her water at noon. They also checked how dilated she was, and by this point, she was 3 cm.

    From left to right: The pitocin bag, the drip and the IV control

    After the water was broken (using something that looks like a plastic knitting needle), the nurses started to note that her contractions were really strong. They were shocked Dawn wasn’t feeling anything for the first couple of hours. Around 2:30 p.m., Dawn finally started feeling some contractions. Then, around 3:00 p.m., it hit us like a hurricane. Dawn’s pain (on a scale from one to 10) went from a “two” to an “eight.” After an hour and a half of pain, they checked and found out she was now 5 cm dilated, and put in the epidural. The epidural is a gift from the heavens. Within minutes, she was almost 100% pain free. It was crazy! She went from starting “active” labor at 2:30 p.m., to extreme pain at 3:00 p.m., to no pain at 4:40 p.m.

    Now is when things got a little bit crazy. Generally, a pregnant person is lucky to dilate around 1 cm per hour. Often times it’s much slower, and that’s when you’ll hear stories of people going through 24-30 hours of labor. We thought we were in for a marathon, because Dawn had gone from 2 cm to 5 cm in the first seven hours. We were about to find out that this would be a quick sprint to the finish line.

    At 5:30 p.m., a nurse came in to check on us. The conversation went something like this.

    The nurse calmly stated, “She’s about nine now.”

    Surely I misheard her. I stopped for a second and asked, “Wait, did you just say nine?”

    “Yes, nine,” the nurse replied.

    Taken back, I asked, “So that means….”

    She smiled and said, “We’ll start to push in about an hour. I’ll call your gynecologist.”

    I couldn’t believe it. Dawn had gone from 5 cm to 9 cm in 90 minutes. In the next couple hours, we were going to have this baby.

    Sure enough, we started to push around 6:45 p.m., and at 7:18 p.m., Alexandra took her first breath. It was surreal.

    A picture of Alexandra and Dawn, moments after the birth

    Shortly after, I was able to give Dawn the first part of her “push gift,” a necklace with our baby’s initials. An hour or so later, I showed her the second part of her push gift, a video I’d been working on for a while that documented much of our lives together (on the bottom of the post). Dawn and I started to date at age 16, so there was quite a bit to capture.

    We are now home with Alexandra and starting the next phase of our lives with this beautiful little girl. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for our family.

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    The week has arrived

    I'm as happy as a pile of puppies

    Well, here we are, in the week of the due date, and I’m as happy a pile of puppies! It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, Dawn and I were hitting the gym hard and wondering why she suddenly started gaining weight (she was carrying a baby!).  I still smile thinking about the day Dawn went to the doctor to get her thyroid checked out and found she had a person in her tummy. What a wild turn of events.

    And so now, we wait. The baby could come at any moment, but by the looks of it, she’s going to come a bit late. This is an early sign that the baby takes after Dawn. I’m habitually early for everything. Dawn…how do I put this…isn’t always exactly punctual.

    I was telling my coworker Tim that I hope the baby comes sometime this week or early next week, because I planned my paternity leave and work responsibilities around a 10/6 due date. His response was pretty funny:

    “Well, you’ll be planning your whole life around your kids, so you might as well start now.”

    So funny, yet so true.  This little girl and her future siblings will dictate how we do everything for the rest of our lives.

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