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Archive for the ‘Trips’ Category

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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.

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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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I have spent a lot of time on the road with my wife and O over the last week and I found myself getting more and more annoyed with the lack of changing stations in men’s rooms.  This got me thinking about how dads are asked to improvise if they are on their own while moms almost universally have easy access to changing stations anywhere they go.  Sometimes I just assume that a place does not have a changing station in their men’s room and awkwardly change him in my car.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know before going into a place?  I did some searching and there is a guy in New York who has put together a map of all the places in NYC that have changing stations in their men’s room.  I thought, “Why couldn’t I do the same thing?”  So I have begun putting a dad’s changing station Google map together for Connecticut with a focus on the central region.  I will put the link for the map up once I have 25 bathrooms with men’s room changing stations.  If you are interested in collaborating let me know.  You can send me the names and locations of places you have found and I can add them or I can give you access to the map so that you can put them up as you find them.  I think this could be a huge help for stay at home dads, but we are certainly not the only fathers who take their kids out without mom.  So dads out there, if you find a changing station in a men’s room you can leave a comment below, post on the Facebook page or drop me a tweet @ctstayathomedad.  Whatever is easiest!

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Babywearing

It seems like ages since I last posted despite it only being six days.  It has been an eventful period of time including our visit to the babywearer’s group, my first solo overnight with O, and a death in the family.  Currently I’m staying with family near Philadelphia so that I can attend a funeral tomorrow.  My wife is home taking care of him while I here.  I find that blogging helps take my mind off of things so I will attempt to cover all of this ground in my next few posts.  This post will focus will be on the babywearer’s group that my wife and I attended this past Saturday.

I will begin by briefly recounting our first visit to this group together several months back.  It was a small gathering of parents with at least one dad and interesting mix of crunchy and average moms.  By crunchy I mean one ha dreads and a toddler who walked over and pushed her shirt out of the way to breastfeed.  By average I mean parents who were interested in the carriers and had varying levels of interest in cloth diapers and breastfeeding.  I had some very nice conversations with the parents there and overall enjoyed the experience.  My wife bought two different carriers, uses them regularly and has attended multiple meetings since.  Neither of us has seen more than 12 people there and generally there’s a dad or two.

This past Saturday was a bit different for a couple of reasons.  The first was that I was there and was quite excited about it.  I wanted to try out a structured carrier and potentially buy one, plus I was hoping some other dads would be there that I could tell about my blog and facebook page to hopefully get a ct stay at home dads group up and running.  I also pictured the small low key and not intimidating group I attended several months back.  I walked into a group of roughly twenty moms and lots of babies and toddlers crammed into a relatively small space with limited seating.  I got to try out a Boba Carrier and I loved it but O isn’t quite big enough.  Diana was nice enough to help me with the carrier, and suggested that we might be able to prop him up higher in the carrier to make it work for the next month or so.  I can’t see spending $100+ for a carrier that he won’t fit into yet.  A friend is also giving me her carriers to try so that might hold me over until he is big enough for the Boba.  My wife learned how to do a back carry with her woven wrap and he seemed to like it, but I found myself a bit sidelined because I was not interesting in the various wraps all the moms were trying out.  There were no other dads there, although one mom did say her husband was staying at home to take care of their child and might be interested in what I was trying to do.

I will go back to the group again because I have seen that it isn’t an necessarily an overwhelming experience but I can’t see myself going back if I am going to be the only dad in a sea of moms and kids.  Its a bit overwhelming to be the only guy in such a noisy and prolactin fueled environment.  Everyone was very nice but I felt more like some sort of rare bird.  Most moms I talked to thought it was great I was there, but seemed surprised at the same time.  “We want you to be an involved dad, but we are surprised when you are” seemed to be the general sentiment.  I need to get used to this kind of reaction because it seems to be a common one when I do amazing things like “show up” and “change a diaper.”  So dads out there, any thoughts or stories about showing up to a group or event and being the only dad there?  Maybe some of you have had some interesting reactions to doing basic parenting things?  Leave a your story below in the comments section or on the facebook page!

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This Saturday I will be attending a New Britain Central CT Babywearer’s meeting.  My wife and I have gone before and she ended up buying a ring sling and woven wrap.  She loves both and uses them just about every time we take O out in public.  I want to get a structured carrier to make taking him out in public easier and am leaning towards a soft structured carrier like this one but I am not sure.  Thankfully I can try a few out at the baby wearer’s group!  In addition to providing babywearing info and offering tryouts of the different types, they also host a playgroup as well.  There are usually a few dads who go so it’s not necessarily a mommy dominated gathering.

My main concern with buying a structured infant carrier is that walking around as a somewhat chubby bearded man will further strengthen my Zach Galifianakis image.  I have gotten somewhat used to being told I look like him, although I don’t really see it, but using a baby carrier might bring this to annoying levels.  I think I’m willing to deal with that because the carrier will allow me to take O hiking and it should make shopping trips much easier.  An awesome friend also offered to give me hers so one way or another it looks like I will be living a hangover cliche soon!  Well, stay at home dads can’t really party like that so maybe it’ll be like “hangover” with less partying, more diapers and no booze.

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Today we are venturing out into CT to hang out with a fellow stay at home dad.  We have met up a couple of times for lunch and to let the babies stare/make noises at each other.  I am very thankful to be able to talk to someone during the day who can talk back and carry on an intelligent conversation.  I also tend to refer to myself as daddy as I talk to O during the day so the adult conversation helps remind me that referring to myself in the third person should not be the norm.  I think it would be good to have a couple of other stay at home dads to create a larger playgroup but that would require either of us knowing any in CT and we don’t.  Leave a comment if you are a stay at home dad or know any who might be interested in a regular playgroup!

 

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Merry Christmas!  We are visiting my in laws for this holiday week on their farm in New Hampshire.  Our son’s first Christmas is a white one for sure.  We have had him up here for a week before and he generally handles it well.  Its relatively easy to visit here because they have some of the essentials like pack and play(s) and a bouncy seat.  The parade of family and friends has no end and they are all thrilled to see him.  He had a good Christmas overall.  Lots of cute fun presents and time spent being passed around the room.  I think we enjoyed it more then he did, but I have a feeling that might change when he gets a bit older.  I also had a good Christmas!  I got some great stuff, but I have to admit that my favorite this was the mini Lego set in my stocking.  For 30 years my parents have always put a small Lego set in my stocking.  I would immediately open and assemble it in record time with a smile on my face.  This year when we did the Christmas thing at my parent’s house in CT there was no Lego set in my stocking.  My dad put lots of thought into the rest of my gifts, but I was very sad that this tradition had been broken.  I expressed this to my wife during the car ride home.  So fast forward to Christmas morning in NH and what is in my stocking… A LEGO SET!!!  The best part is that its a 3 in 1 set so I got to build 3 things!  I hope My son’s Christmas memories are as happy as mine have been and that I have the insight to understand and maintain the best of them through the years.

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Christmas Shopping

Recently I did some Christmas shopping in Milford with two good female friends.  It was my first major trip out with my son and boy was I glad for the company.  I tend to either way over prepare, or way under prepare and this day I thought I had gone overboard.  It turns out that all the toys, milk, blankets, bags and the stroller all got used. We made it through the whole day with minimal fussing and even got a sit down meal in!  I felt so accomplished at the end of the day.

It helped a lot having an experienced mother along, although I did get annoyed every time random people walked over and immediately started asking my friend questions about my son instead of me.  So three things I learned from this trip. First, always pack more than you think you might need when going out in public. Second, shopping with friends makes caring for an infant much easier. Third, people will always assume you are not the primary caregiver if there is a woman with you.

The diaper count begins today, 6 diapers so far!

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