Jace At 15 Months

My little Jace turned 15 months old yesterday. Since I’m a first time father I have no idea when you stop counting in months and adhere strictly to years, but 15 months sounds better than 1 year, 3 months or 1 & 1/3 years old.

At 15 months he’s walking great, and even starting to carry stuff around when he walks. He talks frequently, but the words are indistinguishable. We’ve been working on da-da (dad) and gaja (the Korean word for “let’s go”). But it all pretty much runs together. He also does high-fives, claps and does the Vegas version of goodbye, which looks a suspiciously like a guy waving “Stay” at a blackjack table more than a wave goodbye.

His 15-month checkup validated my fear that he is not growing as fast as he should be. He’s is 20 pounds, 1 ounce and 29 inches long. Those two measurements are good in relation to one another, but the bottom of the scale as far as his age. I am hoping for a growth spurt. His stature has proved to be a boon in the clothes department. His 9 month clothes lasted well into his 13 month and he still has room to grow into his 12 month clothes. I’m getting great value on the Iron Man, Batman and Superman shirts I bought for him at Target.

On the positive side, his cranium is huge just like his father’s large noggin.

Jace is starting to assert his dominion over his canine pal, Ace. He’s not afraid of wrestling for toys with him. He’s not afraid of tug-of-war. He’s not afraid of much of anything. He’s become a daredevil who seeks out things to crawl onto to get to higher things. He also has a penchant for turning around feet first to get down from things and dropping to his feet. He is still a monkey.

He goes to school (daycare) four half-days per week. He loves his school and his friends there. He never cries when I leave him and he often isn’t ready to leave when he’s picked up. He is a gentle soul who loves to be around other people.

Tomorrow, we go for the car seat upgrade. He’s getting a little too big for his original car seat, though I am thrilled it lasted him 15 months.

Jace is one-of-a-kind, and I am lucky he’s my son.

 

The Changes Keep Coming

The year 2014 will definitely be one of the biggest roller coasters of my life.

I started the year out intentionally unemployed, as I had taken a buyout from my dead end job at a previous company so I could get back to working as an entrepreneur. My ex-girlfriend was pregnant with my child. My new dog, Ace, was shredding everything he could get his teeth and claws on.

I was definitely embracing the lessons I learned in Jon Acuff book “Quitter” and the nine weeks of classes I took for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

I even found this amazing inspiration video that I loved watching over and over.

I was setting myself up for a great year.


Pregnancy is hard on women, hard on couples. It is especially hard when the couple is not actually together. They are just two people having a child together.

To say those last seven months of pregnancy were challenging was a gross understatement. There were times when I was threatened that I would never see my child. That he wouldn’t have my last name. There were times when I thought we were going to have to go Family Court to settle things.

We were both at fault. She was going through the normal pregnancy feelings and emotions. I had taken a job working graveyard shift as a poker supervisor. I hadn’t worked graveyard since I was a night stocker at a Hy-Vee in Marshalltown Iowa in the late 1980s. The 1-9AM shift, the pregnancy stress and the baby preparations all contributed to me barely keeping it together emotionally.

I was so ready for this little guy to come out.

Jace and Ace hanging out together on the couch.
Jace and Ace hanging out together on the couch.

Then things went from bad to worse. Little Jace Allen Harberts spent 49 days in the NICU overcoming a few health problems. It was tortuous. Driving up to see him twice a day to spend maybe 30 minutes each time then trying to plow through an 8-hour graveyard shift with him on my mind every moment.


In the last quarter of the 2014 things have gotten better. Jace is healthy and happy. He is growing up to be a beautiful, strong boy.

My relationship with my son is great. He is going to be a great man. We struggle at times because a 45 year old man doesn’t have a clue what to do with a four-month old baby when he’s all alone and the kid is screaming. But I walk him around, I beg, I plead, I cry along sometimes and we make it through.

Jace learning to watch football like a pro. Laying on the couch in Daddy's spot.
Jace learning to watch football like a pro. Laying on the couch in Daddy’s spot.

I set a goal to get off the graveyard shift by the end of 2015. Then a job opened with two day shifts and three swing shifts the week before Thanksgiving. I jumped at the opportunity and got off graveyard more than a year ahead of schedule.

My social life is still absent. It would be nice to have that special someone to share my joy with my son and my dog, but it apparently isn’t in the cards right now.

It has been a roller coaster of a 2014. It turns out, however, I am having a great year.

 

 

 

 

Boys’ Three-Day Weekend

The first ever boys’ three-day weekend for Chad, Jace and Ace is starting to wind down. Beginning Sunday night at 7PM and continuing until Wednesday at 5:30PM it has been eventful.

The highlights:

Jace went through a crapload whole bunch of diapers. I guess when you eat eight times per day you are going to do a few #1 and #2s. How the heck did people do this when all the diapers were cotton and had to be washed and dried over and over?

I did a few loads of laundry, and a few more and one more after that. My son went through three different shirts in one day because he is either a diva or a slob. I prefer diva. It makes more sense with the whole crying thing.

ace_jace_091514
Ace sneaks in for a little sniff and a kiss during Jace’s play time.

Ace the dog has gone from jealous to curious to downright loving. He has learned to stay back during feedings — no easy feat for a Jack Russell — and plant a few kisses during burping time. He even managed to hone in on play time with his brother.

Sometimes Jace covets sleep, sometimes he fights it. He decides those times, and there is no telling which time is up next.

There are lots of books and online reading materials for learning how to raise a baby. I know my ex-girlfriend has read lots of them and passed along texts and texts of information to me while I am taking care of Jace.

But a lot of this seems like common sense. Protect him at all times, change him when he needs it, be patient, don’t yell, keep the house relatively quiet, keep the bottles and nipples really clean.

Jace thinks Dad's house is his own personal spa. He's right.
Jace thinks Dad’s house is his own personal spa. He’s right.

My friend Jerry and his wife Mei came over to drop off a present and lend a little moral support. It’s always good to talk to people who have been down a road before. In this case, Jerry is probably the most no-nonsense friend I have. It’s calls ’em as he see ’em, and I felt better after listening to some of his advice.

I know there are going to be some times when I want to pull my hair out, but I also know I can do this.

Single dads, rock on!

 

Crazy Ace Starting To Figure Things Out

Taking me to the brink of complete craziness, Ace has made a remarkable comeback and is starting to figure things out.

Ace — or “Crazy” Ace, as he has been referred to since joining the clan — is a 15-month old Jack Russell terrier mix I adopted from Petsmart in Henderson, Nev., a few months ago. He is equal parts rambunctious and energetic, while sadly also showing signs of previous abuse and neglect. Jack Russell’s can be incredibly tough to train/control due to their high intelligence and abundance of energy. But to release one to the streets, like this little 16-pounder was, is just plain dumb.

Ace with his duck and frisbee. Unfortunately neither toy lasted more than 10 days.
Ace with his duck and frisbee. Unfortunately neither toy lasted more than 10 days.

After I adopted Ace we had some trying moments. Since he was turned out by a previous owner and then caged as a rescue, he was used to going potty wherever and whenever. No part of my house was safe for awhile. He also was incredibly good at tearing stuff up. In his first few weeks he destroyed a pair of Beats headphones (which cost more than his adoption), a backpack, two rugs, three door stops, so many toys I’ve lost count and a workbook for a class I was taking.

He has the agility of a cat. I have found him standing on my high kitchen table stealing a Kings Hawaiian roll and also on my desk. He bounces through the house like the combination of a roadrunner and a kangaroo. He loves to chase toys, the squeakier the better.

Ace doesn’t like to be kenneled up. Even though the ‘kennel’ in my house means two 10-foot hallways with all his toys and bowl of water while I go to work.

There are times when he has frustrated me beyond belief. I couldn’t get him to go in the kennel so I could go to work. By his thinking if he never went in the kennel I would never leave. When I would pick him up to carry him there, he would piddle on the couch/floor.

But just when I thought he might have to be re-homed to someone with more patience and more time, Ace started to show signs of figuring it all out.

It’s quite obvious that his original home was fraught with punishment and yelling. A dog as strong and brave as a Jack Russell should not roll over on his back, play dead and pee himself when he’s yelled at for a misdeed. It was a sad sight to see. I completely switched my training to no punishment at all. Even when he does something wrong like destroy two rugs and a roll of toilet paper in my hall bathroom I just tell him its okay. It was my fault for leaving the door open and tempting him.

Ace likes it when I am home with him.
Ace likes it when I am home with him.

This has led to a much more behaved dog. When it’s time to go to bed, he goes to the bedroom, walks into his bed, curls up and goes to sleep. When we go for a ride, he runs to the car and waits to get in. Then he stays in the back seat the entire time. When we complete a walk be getting back to our house he just walks up the driveway, turns onto the sidewalk and walks up to the front door.

Today we ran three errands. Not once when I got out of the truck to go into a store did he whine or cry. He simply kept and eye on the door and waited for my return.

I couldn’t be more proud of the dog Ace is becoming.

Ace In The Hole

After some time of thinking about it and consulting a few friends over the past several days, I decided it was finally the right time to adopt another dog.

I lost my beloved Pirate back in October, just a few days shy of his 12th birthday. His health was deteriorating and I didn’t want him to be in pain. It has been hard coming home and waking up each day to an empty house.

I don’t believe you can ever replace that first pet. Everything about them is just so special. There will definitely never be a replacement for Pirate and all the things he brought to my life.

However, there are lot of pets living in cages who ask for nothing more than a loving home. They have been neglected or simply set loose to fend for themselves. They sit in shelters just begging for adoption.

on_the_couch_toyMy new dog is Ace, an approximately one-year old Jack Russell Terrier. I’ve always appreciated how smart and how energetic Jack Russells are as a breed. Maybe it goes back to my interview with Eddie (real name: Moose) from Frasier.

With Eddie the Dog
Mathilde DeCagny, LA movie and TV animal trainer, and the dog the played Eddie on Frasier made an appearance at a Senior PGA event when I still work in television in Kansas City.

Ace, like Pirate before him, is a pound pet. He came into the Petsmart Adoption Center last week though The Animal Foundation of Las Vegas as a stray.

I first visited with Ace yesterday and liked him immediately. He was friendly in his cage, wagging his tail and licking my hand. When the handler brought him into the room for to see if we were compatible he immediately jumped in my lap and starting licking my face.

I was sure he was the one a few minutes later. I was reading a text I had just received and Ace took the opportunity to pee all over my leg. We belonged together!

This afternoon I went back to Petsmart to adopt Ace. It was a quick, easy process. We picked up a few supplies and a new dog tag. Now the training begins.

sleeping
Ace finally has worn himself out and decided to take a nap.

But not right now. Right now it’s finally nap time for one happy, energetic boy.