Sunday, March 02, 2008

We've Moved!
We've moved the blog to its new home!  Weekdays with Alan is live!  Please visit the link below and check us out.  You can also subscribe to the RSS feed to keep informed as we post new entries and photos.  

Friday, February 29, 2008

Alan's 2 Month Statistics
Alan is 2 months old!  
We can't imagine time going by this quickly, but he's growing.  We went to the pediatrician for his 2 month check-up and aside from the 5 immunizations he received he came away with these stats:

Weight - 9.2oz (10-25th percentile)
Length - 22.75 (50th%)
Head - 15.25 (25th%)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On Knowing Your Child
A friend once said to me that there is no automatic love when your child is born.  They are, after all, strangers.  

My relationship with Alan has taken time to develop, and as his father I understand that when it comes to bonding I come second in line to Mom.  But about a week ago we had a breakthrough.  As some of you know, I like Phish....the band.  A more true statement would be I loved Phish and spent a great deal of my 20's seeing them live and listening to them in the comfort of my car an/or home.  But last week, Alan and I were wining down the day and I had him tightly swaddled and we were bouncing away on our exercise ball when a Phish tune came over the iPod, "Stash" to be specific.  (A side note: this particular version of "Stash" has what Rolling Stone Magazine considers to be one of the Top 100 guitar solos of all time and is found on the album "A Live One"). 
As the song wore on, Alan began to drift away to sleep.  Its hard to describe my feelings about the situation but I'm sure parents have these moments, just not with Phish.  I got the usual chills when the guitar would reach those great heights and with my son's warm, tired body against me I just melted.  I had that 'wow' moment that I'll always remember.  I met my son that day, all thanks to my old friends Phish.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Parenting Revelation #5:
If you want to see withdrawal take hold of a person you could either watch Celebrity Rehab, or have you child wait an extra half-hour for Mom to get home.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Parenting Just Got A Whole Lot More Expensive
Alan is off soy, Mom is off dairy products, he's been put on medication for reflux...but his crying spells are still pretty intense.  But lucky for me, a client of Good Neighbor Pet Sitting happens to be a pediatrician.  While talking doggy care, we breached the Alan subject.  One of the things that we still don't know much about is how much food Alan actually gets while breast feeding, so hunger could be a reason for his sleeplessness and/or fussiness.  But supplements to mothers milk have always been of interest to me for when Angie goes back to work anyway, for emergency situations if anything else, so my client suggested Nutramigen.  Nutramigen is hypoallergenic and very expensive.  From what I can see, it costs almost $10 more per can on average.  And for people that weren't intending on formula before Alan was born, its a rude awakening.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekdays with Alan: Sneak Peek
I've started building Weekdays with Alan, the new website that will eventually replace Inside Offside (  Click on the link below and have a look for yourself, and tell us what you think.  Soon the web address will be

You Know You're a Parent When:

A poop is a huge deal.  

Alan had us worried, we’ve changed so much about his diet (Mom’s diet) that he got a little backed up.   So, one day without a poop became 4 days and we were looking into ways of ‘encouraging’ a movement. (The mere fact that this is a blog subject makes me feel a bit too ‘fatherly’)

But today, Angie hit the high notes and declared a Eureka! moment from the changing table, thus ending the what must have been uncomfortable time that Alan has been having.  A poop made my day...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Good Neighbor Pet Sitting & Son
As some of you may  know, I started a pet care business here in The Woodlands area when we returned home from Wales called Good Neighbor Pet Sitting.  I started the business when we found out Angie was pregnant with Alan, and it was formed with the knowledge that I could continue the business and be a stay-at-home Dad.  Now that Alan has arrived, and it being mere days before Angie returns to work, I thought it would be as good a time as any to get Alan out and start walking some dogs.  So when one of my first clients, Sam (pictured above), came calling I knew it would be the ideal situation for us.  Sam is a sweet little dog with a quiet disposition that just loves to walk, he's one of the best clients I have.

Here's how it went down as I worked a 7 week old into my work schedule:

12.35pm: Alan is pulled from his sound asleep position on the couch and placed (swaddle and all) in the car seat.

12.36-12.55pm: Alan remains sound asleep in the car seat until we get to Sam's house, where I remove him from the car seat and place him in the Baby Bjorn child carrier.  He's still asleep.

12.55-1.20pm: We Walk Sam through his normal routes, all the while staying comfortably asleep.

1.20pm: Alan is removed from the Baby Bjorn and placed back in the car seat, where he promptly starts crying.

1.20-1.40pm: A very loud car ride ends with a reunion with Mom, from whom he gets some much-deserved nourishment.

Not a bad start to things, but it can pretty much only go downhill from here.  Oh, and we have a preliminary agreement that Alan makes 5%.  He's not such a good negotiator, yet.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What About Fenugreek?
Alan has had his fair share of issues, and high on the list is laziness.  It was diagnosed in the NICU and continues today, he's just not a good eater.  That being said, he spends a lot of time eating, but just doesn't make the most of it.  A suggestion from a lactation consultant led us to a spice called fenugreek, or as I like to call it: 'fen·u·stink' or 'fen·u·reak'.  It is said to increase the supply of mothers milk, but such benefits come at a cost.  Commonly used in curries, fenugreek smells just like it says, a curry spice, a pungent curry spice.  And it emanates.  It increases the milk supply by increasing sweat production and although Alan is benefitting, Angie, and those in close enough proximity, are suffering.  Needless to say, curry is not on this weeks menu. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Changing Face Of Inside Offside
Since this is no longer a "football chronicle" as it was intended to be when I started this blog (see The Hypocrisy of UEFA), I've decided to change the web address, and perhaps even the name of "" and "Inside Offside".  So stay tuned for the upcoming changes.  There will be a re-direct feature for the new web address so you won't get lost along the way.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Parenting Revelation #4:
A 2 minute discussion with your pediatrician can lead to wonderful things and reassure you that parenting, although difficult, is not a new undocumented experience for human beings.
What A Difference!
Alan (knock on wood) has had his best days yet, and a 180ยบ turnaround from these first early weeks.  The elimination of milk from Mom's diet, medication to help ease any reflux issues, along with the supplementing of Mother's Milk with soy-based formula has worked wonders.  And just in time, too.  We just had a weekend full of activity and old friends (our friend Sydney is pictured above with Alan), during which Alan was a mere shell of his normal, fussy self.  We couldn't be happier to see him more comfortable and less irritated.  We hope these changes in his routines will be the beginnings of a much happier Alan and the beginnings of a much more enjoyable experience for Mom and Dad. 
Awesomeness Looms Large In Austin
I am so very proud to announce that my very good friend Matthew has finalized the deal with his long-term girlfriend Tami (echemm, not pictured above) and the two will be married later this year.  To try and describe my friendship with Matthew within the confines of this bloggosphere would be a complete injustice, but friendships that have comprised as much as 75% of ones entire life can do that.  So congrats for now, Matthew, lets get to celebrating. 

Friday, February 08, 2008

Now That's Worth Blogging About
We love our Pediatrician.  She's a great influence on our parenting and a great advocate for the ways her patients and their parents wished they could raise their children.  We took Alan in for a check on a small lump on the back of his head, not an uncommon thing on Robert's side of the family, and came out having had a in-depth conversation about Alan's fussiness.  He was in rare form at the office that day and our doctor was quick to alert us to some possible problems.  Firstly, she doesn't believe in colic.  Second, she narrowed his fussiness to one or both of these: an allergic reaction to cow's milk found in Angie's day-to-day diet and/or infant acid-reflux.  

We did a run of tests and they came back positive for the milk allergy.  The reflux is still to be determined.  I guess you could say we're relieved, but as a friend of ours put it, "the hits keep coming".  We're happy there could be a simple solution to make him happier and more comfortable, but he can't catch a break.  So we've gone milk-less in Angie's intake and put him on some medication to help with acid-reflux.  One way or another we're closer to putting more smiles on Alan's face and helping him get more sleep.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mom, Alan, and One Of His Favorite Noises: Chimes

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Alan and the Soft Green Frog
Alan Finds Hair, Pulls Hair, Realizes It Hurts

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Parenting Revelation #3
Whoever coined the phrase "Babies just eat, sleep and poop." is wrong.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Is Swaddling Selfish?  Or Even Humane?
*The following are the opinions of Robert, not Angie.

My least favorite part of parenting has to be swaddling.  Is it necessary? Absolutely.  Is it fun to do? Absolutely not.  Lets face facts: Alan has busy hands, period.  If left to sleep on his own it wouldn't happen, he must be swaddled if sleeping on his back.  But it doesn't seem right to me.  When swaddled, he does quiet down, so I guess you could say it works.  But is he silent out of shock?  Is he saying to himself, "I have on very good authority that people committed for treatment of mental disorders are treated better than this.  Even Brittany Spears has a free hand to down her hourly Caramel Macchiato."  
But what to do? Nothing I guess, no sleep for him means no sleep for us, and in the end we can justify it by human beings not being able to remember this period of our lives.  But as long as we're justifying cruelty, on however a minor level, can someone figure out a device or mild adhesive that helps keep pacifiers in mouths?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Product Updates
We've been home about one calendar month since Alan was born.  We've been using myriad baby-specific devices and methods learned from word-of-mouth, books and intuition during that time, and wanted to give you a look inside at what we consider useful or not so useful tools of the trade.  We were very lucky to start with a great deal of help from friends and family and have had little need to purchase anything other than what we already had to satisfy Alan's needs.

  • Diapers (gDiapers, etc.) - Alan was born too small (and remains too small) for the smallest of the gDiaper line.  Its a disappointing fact that they don't make models small enough to fit babies that don't weigh at least 8lbs.  Instead of the gDiapers during this period, we've used Pampers Swaddlers (newborn size), and have found very little problems with them.  Other than not being able to recycle them , they have no downside thus far.  

  • Wipes - From the start, we've used our own wipes that we've made ourselves and have found the product rewarding to make and very easy to use.  The only downside is portability, the container size is just too big to carry around.  Alternatively, we've used the hospital-issue wipes when traveling with Alan until we can find another way to tote the homemade version. 

  • Baby Bjorn - We use both the Baby Bjorn front-facing infant carrier and Baby Bjorn 1-2-3 Baby Sitter.  We find them to be very useful and Alan seems to like them both.  They're good for soothing and for sitting around when he is wakeful.  We also use the Baby Bjorn diaper bag, but since we haven't used it on anything other than trips to the pediatrician and other very short trips, we'll reserve our opinion until we take an extended journey.

  • Baby Swing - Not the most popular item so far, the baby swing.  The only speed we've used is the minimum and it has worked but a few times to extend a nap or to calm Alan.  If anything, the baby swing is an agitator at this point, but we'll wait until he's a little older to make a final assessment of its usefulness.

  • The Pilates Ball - One baby item disguised as workout equipment that will forever change our view on workout equipment.  The pilates ball is the single most useful tool in the house.  It is Alan's favorite place to calm down.  We simply don't know what we would do without it.

  • The Noise Machine - A friend of ours gave us a sound machine, one with sounds such as 'babbling brook', 'white noise', and 'waves crashing' (among others) has been a big help as well.  A little noise in the room can go a long way to help get to sleep and stay asleep. The only problem is when it stops after about an hour; the silence can give Alan a shock in his sleep and could wake him up, foiling the time it took to get him down in the first place.

  • The Kick and Play Floor Gym (as shown in a previous video post) - The floor gym is a nice way to get the day started for Alan.  He spends the first 10-20 wakeful minutes of the day in it and seems to enjoy it.  The mirror especially gets a lot of attention.  Its even been known to produce a smile or two.
There are other things we look forward to using, like the running stroller, but until he gets a little bigger we'll have to wait.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Paddington: Gone But Not Forgotten
Our beloved cat Paddington (above, background) has been gone for over a month now.  We refuse to eulogize him but offer this bit of remembrance: Paddy is a bit of a legend in this family, his disappearance  is almost befitting of such a character.  We miss him.  He is and will always be an explorer and adventurer.  We hold out hope for his return and will never forget his life with us. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grandma Facilitates Nap Time
Parenting Revelation #2
Soothing is 50% endurance, 50% smoke & mirrors.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Long and Short
It seems like we were not blogging for a while, but it wasn't that long.  We do, however, have some milestones to share.
  • Alan's umbilical cord has healed
  • He's now making more and more varied sounds
  • He sleeps in the bed with us more often than not
  • He had his first 'blowout'!
  • We connected to his maternal grandparents via webcam
  • Angie eliminated caffeine and Alan sleeps a little better
  • We think he has colic

Monday, January 28, 2008

Photo Highlights Of Our Time Offline

iMac To The Rescue
Our life under the thumb of Microsoft has come to an end with the arrival of our iMac. With it, we hope our problems will be minimized and our enjoyment optimized.  It's ready right out of the box for anything you may need if you are minimalist pc users like us.  Back to blogging!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Technical Difficulties
Our computer crashed once and for all, so we've been unable to post until we purchase a replacement. So please stay tuned for more news and photos of Alan and some parenting revelations we've way or the other.

Like Revelation #1:
Fatherhood is at least 78% easier in these early months than is motherhood.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Alan's Nemesis

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The 8th Wonder of the World
I've had the pleasure of seeing the Grand Canyon with my own eyes (and the Welsh coast for that matter), and I thought nothing could compare. That is, until I saw Angie and Alan embraced last night. It hit me so hard, right in the heart. Wow. This experience, so far, has been a very balanced mix of fast-paced interventions (crying, diapers) and slow and steady absorption of Alan's every breath, sound, movement and emotion. Its everything you and everyone we know has told us and more. We're in love.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Alan Update
We've pretty busy here babysitting. And we've had our fair share of issues with Alan. As noted in an earlier post, he's had some bouts with crying and we've not had an easy time figuring out the source. So we went back to the pediatrician Monday and had another checkup. We'd also been concerned that the reasons for his crying could be his eating habits. Is he getting enough? Is he gaining the weight he should be? So we went to the doctor not short on questions, and thankfully we're not the only parents who wonder if what they're doing is right for their child.
But as we were leaving for our appointment and getting him changed, we noticed that his umbilical cord was still not healing as well as it should and also needed attention. Needless to say, the pediatrician was not surprised to see us.
We learned a lot in that visit. Firstly, we were good to have come in. You can never be too careful with newborns. Second, his weight was perfectly on target. Angie is providing enough for him to eat and we could rule that out from the reasons he may be getting upset. So we're pretty much going to try to limit the number of dairy products in Angie's diet to see if Alan is having an adverse reaction. All good news so far.
His umbilical cord, however, is a different story. Silver Nitrate (
AgNO2) is something we'll long remember. Silver Nitrate is a substance that coderizes, drys it and forces healing. (I'm no doctor, so forgive my explanation.) But Alan has had this done to him now 3 times, and it hurts. We had it done on Monday and it didn't take, so we went to a pediatric surgeon today to have it done again and it was awful to see him in such pain, he even made some tears.
So the long story slightly longer: Alan is crying a little less, sleeping a little more and is developing a fear of doctors.

Alan Surrenders To The Sandman

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Alan Gets Mail
We call him "Stinker," but Alan Wyn is his government name. It's a pretty weird feeling to go to the mailbox and find a letter for your not yet 3 week old son. But today, as we savored a few moments of silence while he got some sleep, we checked the mail only to find Alan's Social Security Card! So now he's officially real.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Alan Sounds Off
Alan has been home for a little less than two weeks, and its been great having him here. He's had more visitors than we'd imagined, and friends and neighbors have helped out by cooking meals for us and always offering help if we were ever in need. But is it too soon to call in a favor? Alan has his witching hours, we figured newborns can have rough times, but his low points are very loud and painful to him. We haven't gone so far as to say he has colic, but inconsolable, fitful crying that leaves him breathless and gasping for air (perhaps compounding the problem), bringing on tears that lasts for up to an hour or more has us officially worried. No one can help us with this one, but we're hoping not to find ourselves continuing this trend over the next two months.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Nap Time

Monday, January 07, 2008

On Calling The Pediatrician (On A Monday Morning)
I remember the day(s) vividly. We were in Swansea, Angie was at work, and I was on the telephone with Liverpool Football Club trying to secure tickets for the New Year's Day match against Bolton at Anfield. To make a long story short, I was on the phone for hours, spanning two days, reaching busy signals. "The number you are trying to reach is engaged."

I had a similar experience this morning when we needed to reach the pediatrician to take care of what was left of Alan's umbilical cord. The area had become sensitive and milky and looked on the verge of infection. So there I was on the phone, imagining every other freaked out parent of a child that needs attention jamming the lines first thing Monday morning and shutting us all out. The situation was not unlike that of trying to get tickets for a match at Anfield, but we got through and got his cord area taken care of. Patience paid off. Oh, and we also got into Anfield that day and saw two fantastic goals from Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard: Link

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hanging Up Our Sailors Cap
We tried, as Angie grew during pregnancy, to minimize our foul language. Lets face it, its a bad habit. But now that Alan is here, it seems our best efforts haven't had the desired effect. So perhaps if I post it on the blog, we could put a stop to our indiscretions once and for all. What the hell heck, here goes nothing.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Baby Monitor: Complete With Furiousness Indicator

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Worth A Thousand Words

"The Thinker"

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Alan's First Checkup
Today was Alan's first visit to his pediatrician, an event that surprisingly was less nerve-wracking than expected. With all of his troubles since birth, we've been anxious about this 1 week check-up. Have we done ok? Is he eating enough? Does he even look as healthy to a doctor as he does to us? He passed with flying colors and we'll go back in a week to reconfirm.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Grandparents Get Some Alan Time
Alan's paternal grandparents stopped by today for their first visit since he left the hospital. He managed to stay awake and entertained the whole time, hopefully he'll be good and tired in between feedings tonight. We're not holding our breath.