Posted in CT Stay At Home Dads Meetups, In the Apartment, tagged apartment, CTFD, loud, loud noises, nap, naps, noises, play, stay at home dad, stress on August 15, 2013|
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There is a great article that came out a while back the CTFD Parenting Method. CTFD stands for Calm The F**k Down and it is simple advice that I need to take to heart. In my quest to be the best stay at home dad I can be I have become too uptight in these areas and need to CTFD.
1. Noise: Loud or sudden noises sometimes freak O out including sneezes and loud coughing or throat clearing. I often hold in my sneezes or cough into a pillow as a result. I need to CTFD and remember that I am capable of calming him down when he is upset and that he has to get used to loud noises sooner rather than later.
2. Naps: My son’s nap time is my downtime/time to get stuff done and as such I want him to get a good nap in every day. That being said, I stress way too much about when and under what circumstances he goes down. I need to CTFD and realize that when he doesn’t go down right away for his nap it just means that we can go play more or do something else. Experience tells me that he’ll just pass out in the middle of whatever we’re doing so why stress about it?
3. Preparation: I have a pretty elaborate routine for when I exit the apartment with O. It includes many things like adjusting windows/shades and getting together an elaborate collection of baby related equipment that would probably allow little man and I to survive for a month in a fallout shelter . I need to CTFD and learn that all I really need when I go out into the world every day is a smile and the cutest baby ever. And diaper, lots of diapers…
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Posted in In the Apartment, Trips, tagged AC, apartment, CT, ct stay at home dads, diaper, Dora, family restrooms, fans, heat, infant, mall, mall walking, Manchester, Meriden, pool, stay at home dads, wife on August 4, 2013|
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So its been three months since I have posted anything here and we have been quite busy! O has gotten pretty good at all sorts of new tricks like standing up and speed crawling. We have done tons of baby proofing and plenty of worrying that it won’t be enough and he will somehow get hurt. Perhaps the biggest challenge was dealing with the heat. CT had several weeks of ridiculously high temperatures that saw most people we know huddling near their air conditioners. This was not an option for us because we have no working air conditioners in our apartment. We have a broken air conditioner sticking out of our wall and lots of fans but certainly nothing that blasts cold air/relief. Narrow windows and lack of funds mean we just have to deal with the heat however we can.
Each morning I would go through a ritual of opening and closing various windows and shades while changing fans from off to on or intake to exhaust, reversing the process before O’s morning nap. When he woke up I would give him a lunch consisting of some sort of vegetable and protein accompanied by lots of cold watermelon. A wipe down, diaper change, and a quick dressing later and we were into my car and its glorious sub-zero air conditioning. We spent most afternoons in either the Meriden or Manchester malls to bask in their AC and use their often crowded play areas. The stress of a play area full of children whose parents are glued to their smartphones is bearable when you have an infant who needs to get out of the heat. As a stay at home dad I found this to be irritating and I had to bite my tongue often as I tried to prevent rowdy older kids from running little man over.
We would spend the hottest hours of the day hanging out in the play place and walking around the mall. The mall walking always included the food court and the salespeople pushing free samples as if that wasn’t why I was there. I got to try sesame chicken made by three different places all calling it something else but always saying theirs was “Number One in America!” So there are other places calling themselves Cajun who make sesame chicken? Apparently if you are the only one that makes you number one. Both malls have good family restrooms which makes this all possible though it seemed like the same episode of Dora the Explora was on loop every time I changed the little dude in Meriden. Can you say repetitive? (blink blink) Good Job! After yet another exciting mall experience we would head home for a bottle and a nap. By this time the worst of the day’s heat had gone and the apartment is cooler than outside due to some strategic closing of windows and shades.
Some days O was able to handle the heat of the apartment and take a good afternoon nap. When he wasn’t we went swimming in our apartment complex’s pool to cool off and wait for my wife to return home from work. While at home he spent all of his time in a diaper and dealt with a little bit of heat rash but overall he was good. Has anyone else dealt with this sort of situation? Does anyone else’s baby sleep in the pool like this?
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Posted in In the Apartment, tagged apartment, Babies R Us, baby, baby safety, baby station, baby tub, balance, bath, bath seat, bath sponge, changing table, clutter, Connecticut, CT, diaper, diaper changing suppiles, Facebook, happy, play, re-purpose, splash, sponge, stay at home dad, storage, toys on April 2, 2013|
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I try to re-purpose our stuff for O whenever I can because we live in an apartment with limited space. Having too many items that serve only one purpose would turn our happy apartment into a miserably cluttered mess. The picture above is a great example of a re-purposing idea that I learned from a Facebook friend. The common solution to baby safety is a bath seat but I find that a laundry basket is much cheaper and it works better for a baby who can sit up. It keeps him from tipping over, gives him something to hold onto and contains his toys as he splashes and plays. He doesn’t need to lean out and try to grab them plus he learns how to balance himself in water in a way that he could not in a traditional bath seat. When he was younger we used a bath sponge that you can lay him on in the tub. It worked great and we still use it occasionally. When we visit family for any length of time we will re-purpose a couple of adult sized towels to reproduce the same basic function. If we hadn’t gotten the sponge we probably would have used the towel method instead. We also had a hand me down baby tub and found it to be a hassling space thief more-so than a helpful bath tool. When it comes to bath time there are clearly many opportunities to re-purpose stuff you already have instead of spending more money on single purpose items that will just hog precious storage space.
Another example of re-purposing is our baby station. The idea is to take any piece of furniture with a top roughly waist-high and turn it into a changing table by stuffing it full of diaper changing supplies and throwing an inexpensive changing pad on top. We went a step further and had my father in law build some custom shelves for the sides to create the ultimate baby station. I talk about our changing station in an older post “Diaper Central Command” which has an excellent picture of how it turned out. When we went out looking for baby stuff we were dismayed by the cost of specialize baby furniture. It was nice looking but we had a hard time with the idea of spending $100+ dollars on a changing table that we would use for only one purpose for a few years and then promptly try to shove into the limited storage space we have in our central CT apartment. Re-purposing has been the right solution for us and ended up producing a piece of furniture that is way better than anything we could have bought from a Babies R Us.
So that is how we have done a bit of re-purposing for our baby in an apartment. What kind of creative re-purposing have you done? Have any re-purposing tips that this stay at home dad could use? Share in the comments section below so we can all benefit from your experience!
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Posted in In the Apartment, Uncategorized, tagged bed, blog, blogging, blow off steam, cleaning, computer, computer games, connecting, dinner, dishes, family, games, late night blogging, making dinner, nap, naps, night owl, posts, SimCity, sleep, spring cleaning, stay at home dad, volunteer, wife, Wing Commander, writing on March 21, 2013|
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I have been doing much of my writing these last few weeks late at night after my wife and son have gone to bed. You would think that being a stay at home dad and getting up with the little guy would mean going to bed early but that has not been the case. Instead my natural night owl tendencies have been strengthened because late at night is the only time I can write in peace. There is nothing that can derail my train of thought and I can focus on what I want to say. He is much more consistent with his sleep at night than during the day so I don’t feel the “Holy crap he could wake up any moment so I have to get stuff done” pressure and I am much more relaxed and focused on my writing. I have also rediscovered the joy of playing my favorite classic computer games like “Wing Commander” and “SimCity.” I don’t get as much sleep but I can sometimes recover the lost sleep during the day. On days like this I sleep during his morning nap which is varies these days so there are no guarantees that it will help much. I then have less time to get my daily tasks done so I have to hustle to get all of the housework and dinner prep done during his afternoon nap which can be as short as 1.5 hours. It’s not a perfect way to address my need for time to blog and unwind but it’s better than the alternatives.
One of the alternatives to staying up late is to blog during his naps. I put a lot of time and thought into my posts so it is not uncommon for a single post to reflect 3 or more hours worth of writing, editing, link creation, picture selection and research. Sometimes I have tons of time on my hands because O decides to take longer naps but lately he hasn’t been doing that. Between dishes, cleaning and making dinner that usable nap time disappears pretty quick most days. So I might be left with an hour or two to blog on any given day. Doable, but it takes me much longer than that to produce a post of any length or depth. I also have a hard time finishing a post from a partially written draft so I end up taking longer per post and producing lower quality content. I could write quicker but I do not want to churn out a bunch of short crappy posts written quickly while I stress over how much else I have to do that day and worry when my son is going to wake up from his nap. I did this the first couple of months after I started this blog and did not like it.
Another alternative would be to write after we eat family dinner each night. This would address my need for uninterrupted writing time but it creates other problems. The evening is when my wife and I can talk and spend waking time together. It’s also the only time during the work week when we can all hang out together as a family. It would be easy to use my computer in the other room for hours on end and write but I would miss out on connecting with my wife and son everyday and that would not be worth it.
The final alternative would be to do all my blogging on the weekends. There’s plenty of time on the weekends right? I could write multiple posts and schedule them to drop throughout the week! My wife could take O when I need to blog and we would still have time left as a family. Wrong again! Both of our families and many of our closest friends are roughly 3 hours away so we are often out and about visiting them. Don’t forget big projects and events like road races, spring cleaning, volunteer commitments, etc. These types of things generally take away 2 weekends a month once you consider the time commitment involved. Still think the weekends are a good option?
And so we come back to late night blogging. I sacrifice some sleep so that I can get posts written and play computer games to blow off steam and unwind. Is it a perfect solution? Certainly not but I will take the occasional day making due with spaceyness and a short nap during the day over the alternatives. Which would you choose?
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Posted in In the Apartment, tagged Connecticut, CT, CT stay at home dad, ct stay at home dads, dad, Debbie, diaper, diaper changing, diaper changing secret technique, diaper changing station, diaper genie, diaper rash, diapering, gauze, onesie, pacifier, vaseline, wipes on March 7, 2013|
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This is our diaper changing station, also known as CT central command in a stay at home dads endless fight against the forces of urine and feces. From here (in the name of truth, justice and a dry butt) I wage war on things that would seek to cause diaper rash and lots of fussiness. I have everything I need within easy reach so that I am prepared to respond quickly when my son craps up his back or tries to pee in my face. Starting from the right, light, garbage can, diaper genie, towels, vaseline, wipes, non sterile 4×4 gauze pads, uncovered changing pad, pacifier(not visible) regular diapers, overnight diapers, extra wipes, extra gauze and extra diapers. There are other helpful items we store on the shelves such as burp clothes and blankets but the focus of this post is on diapering.
I get lots of questions about the gauze (which by the way can only be purchased online) so I will explain it by walking you through a typical “O pissed his pants again” scenario. I set him on the pad, take off his pants, open his onesie and pull it up around his armpits in case he pees. I find that his Pamper’s Swaddlers are clearly wet due to the yellow line turning blue. So I grab a short stack of two gauze pads, open his diaper and put the gauze on his junk to prevent him from peeing on me. This has the added benefit of absorbing much of the urine if he pees, plus if needed I can quickly grab more to soak it up before his back and butt are covered. I grab a wipe, move the gauze and quickly wipe him off. I then blot him dry with one side of the gauze. This step is important for preventing diaper rash so do not skip. I flip the gauze pads over and put them back on his junk so that the damp side is up.
The next step is applying Vaseline to his leg creases and all over his butt/everywhere in between. Vaseline is important because it creates a barrier so that the next time he sharts or wets himself it will not stick to his skin and irritate it. The other benefit is that during the next diaper change you will wipe off soiled vaseline instead of trying to scrub the excrement or smelly liquid off of his skin. It’s also cheap so there is no reason to be stingy with it. Then I use the gauze to wipe the vaseline off my finger and get another diaper ready under him. I start to close up the diaper and quickly remove the gauze followed by the buttoning up of his onesie. I roll everything up in the diaper and toss it in the garbage can. If it’s a turd filled diaper it goes in the diaper genie to add to what will surely become an epic poop snake.
That’s a typical diaper change for my little man! Having everything easily accessible makes this process a lot easier and the more often you do it the faster you become. As a stay at home dad I get lots of practice! A special thanks to my father in law for building the side shelves and to our CT friend Debbie for giving us the (insert furniture name here) that our diaper changing station is built around. Whats your diaper changing secret technique? Do you have any must have items that you keep where you change your baby? Any questions about what we have on our changing station? Leave a comment!
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Posted in In the Apartment, tagged baby, baby carrier, babywearing, central ct, Clover, Clover Heske, Connecticut, CT, CT dads, CT stay at home dad, ct stay at home dads, infant, mall walk, mom, moms, stay at home dad, stay at home dads, structured carrier, wife on February 27, 2013|
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My wife and I attended another Central CT Babywearers meeting and it was much less intimidating this time. No other stay at home dads were there but it was more low key and there were definitely fewer moms/kids. I had a couple of great conversations and felt relaxed and at home as I practiced putting O into a front and back carry in the Boba 3G. The biggest advantage of going to the meetings is being able to try out different carriers and practice using them before you put down what is sometimes a sizable amount of money to buy one. I had already tried the Boba 3G but I was not sure if I wanted the black “Montenegro” the gray “Dusk” or the blue and black “Glacier.” Clover Heske from Bean Tree Baby brought along the three different colors of the Boba I was interested in so I could compare them. I initially wanted the all black version but I was concerned about it getting too hot in the sun since I want to use the carrier primarily for hiking and walks around town.
I clearly settled on the all gray one as you can see from the picture. The day I took it he was a little sick and fussy so I just put him in the carrier and he settled right down. He loves to gum the top of the carrier and soak it with his drool. The Boba 3G is very comfortable to wear and quite cool since it is made from 100% cotton. It can also be used as an infant carrier and comes with a sleep hood and stirrups to keep his little legs in the proper position once he gets bigger. Its rated up to 45 pounds (roughly until he’s 6) and built quite sturdily. O and I are joining some moms from the Central CT Babywearer’s group for a mall walk next Tuesday 3/5/13 so maybe he will make some new friends! Anyone interested in joining us?
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Posted in In the Apartment, tagged balance, breastfed, chewing, exclusively breastfed, Exersaucer, fart, parent, parents, peeing, poop, pooped, practice, sitting, solid food, stand, stay at home dad, stay at home dads, tummy on February 20, 2013|
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One of the joys of being a stay at home dad is watching our son explore his world and whatever we add to it. I recently decided to clean off the Exersaucer that our friends loaned us and have O try it out because he loves to try and stand but doesn’t seem to like sitting up very much. Every time we practice O’s sitting he planks and wants to stand up so we usually go with it and help him up while he tries to steady himself until his legs give out. The few times we have gotten him to sit up it has been with the assistance of a Boppy and sometimes the drawstring from the shorts of a parent seated nearby.
Seemed like it might make more sense to let him try and improve his balance and strengthen his legs in the Exersaucer. He took to it pretty quickly, spinning, chewing, and grabbing his way through the various toys attached to the upper saucer. He was loving it and making all sorts of fun noises when we heard a loud fart, and then another and another. The last one we heard was pretty juicy and we quickly realized that he pooped! This might not be anything worth celebrating for any other 6 month old, but little man has liked to space his poops out quite a bit over the last few months. His record was 15 days! He is exclusively breastfed so this is not outside the realm of possibility. He was also peeing quite often and did not have a hard tummy or any discomfort so we were not overly concerned. So his pooping while in the Exersaucer was amazing because he had just pooped 4 days earlier, and then he pooped while he was in it again the next day! He spends 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a day in it so I am willing to bet that all the extra upright time is helping to move things through. That and the fact that we started him on solid food. More on that next time!
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