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Posts Tagged ‘infant’

2013-06-18_18-21-23_243

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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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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2013-02-09_11-33-10_985

I’ve been having a hard time putting together posts these days so in the interest of being productive I have added two new pages to the blog and updated the articles page with more baby led weaning information.  The first added page is a list of links to books and DVD’s that have helped my wife and I navigate becoming parents and caring for an infant.  The second page is a list of products I have found useful as a stay at home dad.  Feel free to comment if you have any experiences with the products or educational materials listed on the pages.  Please let me know if you have something you would like added to any of these lists.  Hopefully my writers block will clear soon!

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Recently my son and I had our first overnight without my wife while she visited friends to get a night out on her own.  A week ahead of time I found myself wondering when I would start to get nervous.  I mean, I would be on my own for a whole twenty-four hours with our son!  I thought I would find myself picturing all the horrible things that could happen while I provided care for my son all by myself.  The Thursday before her seemingly scary departure, I realized that the reason I wasn’t stressing out or getting nervous was because I had been on my own with O during the day for over a month.  My wife was more nervous than I was!  O and I hung out and watched hockey for part of the day and we spent the first period on the floor together while he oooed at the TV.  It was a little distracting at first but quickly became super cute and a welcome addition to the play-by-play announcer’s voice.  He went down for all his naps, ate like a champ, and even slept through the night!  He was happy in the morning and we had just as much fun playing on the floor as we did any other day.  I think my wife was a little annoyed that everything went so well while she was gone.

So what should a stay at home dad take from all this?  Real confidence comes from competence.  The more you flex your parenting muscles the stronger they will become and the better you will feel about using them.  I find that I don’t stress over changing a diaper or getting him to go down for a nap because I have figured out what works for me.  So it’s ok if he wakes up when I first put him down in the crib, or if he squirms around when I give him his bath, or if he cries because he woke up scared.  I know that at this point in time I can do these things with relative ease.  That doesn’t mean that he won’t throw me a curve ball in the days and weeks to come.  So I feel confident, but hopefully not too confident.  Infants have a way of humbling those who think they have it all figured out.

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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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O loves to sit on my knee and stare at the fish tank.  He kicks his legs and makes all different kinds of cute noises.  The dragon seems to be a favorite since it intermittently releases bubbles from its nose and because the fish tend to congregate around it when I feed them.  We usually sit and watch the fish twice a day.  It’s a great way to keep him upright after he eats, but it also allows him to practice his balancing skills.  His folding play mirror and the full length mirror in the hall are favorites as well.  However, the best free entertainment is going on a walk.  I have not been doing enough of that with O, but that is quickly changing as my cabin fever becomes more pronounced.  I went on a great walk yesterday that included the bank, D+D iced tea, and an egg roll.  The local library is on my short list of places to get to in the coming week.

What do all these forms of infant entertainment have in common?  They are cheap, simple, effective and do not require a screen.  We try to limit O’s screen time as much as possible so I listen to the radio during the day and we have a large bag that we use to block O’s view when we need to.  It’s not perfect but avoiding screen time at this age is a priority for us.  Any stay at home dads out there have anything you enjoy having on in the background during the day?  I recommend your local NPR station, ours is WNPR out of Meriden, CT.  I find that intelligent talk radio helps me feel like my IQ isn’t slipping throughout the day.  NPR, good times

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I have noticed lately that being a  stay at home dad has altered my sense of time.  I often find myself surprised when it starts to get dark outside, or when O shows signs of being ready for his morning or afternoon nap.  It’s really easy to space out and have a whole day go by just taking care of O in the apartment while meeting his moment to moment needs.  This becomes a problem early in the week when I don’t have any set plans to go anywhere.  It seems lately that my son and I aren’t getting out of the apartment enough during the first few days of the week.  There are several tools that can help to combat this problem.

The itzbeen timer was a great gift and it has definitely helped me keep track of when O needs to changed, fed, etc.  However, it does not help the aforementioned SAHD time warp.  That’s why I downloaded the ibaby app for my android OS phone.  It does what the itzbeen does but you can create custom buttons to track whatever you want plus create quick reminders and make time stamped notes with pics and videos to log what has happened during the day.  The main advantage the app has over the itzbeen is that you can look back over the day and see things like how many oz of milk your baby drank or how long they slept or how long its been since they pooped.  It also comes with quick log widgets for android OS phones that you can put on your home screen to make it easier to quickly log things on the go.  I enjoy being able to look at the log before I go to bed and see all that I did to care for my infant son and it definitely helps to fight the time distortion that comes with being a stay at home dad!

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