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Posts Tagged ‘parents’

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So you want to be a schmuck at an indoor play place?  Who wouldn’t!  Just follow these simple guide and no one will doubt that you are a schmuck.

  1. Play with your phone A LOT:  Endlessly stare and tap at your phone like you are in the middle of using it to end world hunger.  Of course you are probably just “liking” newly discovered memes on Facebook but that is obviously more important than watching your kid play and keeping them (or everything in their path) safe.  This will clearly mark you as a schmuck.
  2. Let your school aged kid play tag:  You’ve never considered that this would be unsafe with infants crawling on the floor and toddlers toddling about?  Congratulations on your amazing lack of consideration.  Act surprised after your precious little 11-year-old runs over my kid and you can safely be called a schmuck.  Bonus points if you have a cup of coffee in your hand and look like you could care less.
  3. Leave your kid unattended:  Dropping a 5-year-old off at the play place while you shop in Forever 21 is clearly a fantastic idea and leaves no doubts about your status as a schmuck.  Your 11-year-old is very well equipped to properly supervise your little hellion and will happily sit and watch them for an hour while you try on everything in the store and gossip with your friend the clerk.  Of course if letting your children supervise themselves doesn’t work there are plenty of involved parents here to deal with your obnoxious stampeding children.  Passing off your responsibilities on strangers firmly places you in the schmuck column.
  4. Bring your sick kid:  Your kid woke up, threw up, sneezed, and coughed all at the same time?  Bring them to the play place and show off your epic schmuckness!  You are doing everyone child here a favor by teaching them about sharing.  Germs are great to share so you should definitely bring your little petri dish to a place where they can smear their bodily fluids onto as many communal surfaces as possible.  More schmuck points are yours if you look worse off than your kid and want to talk to other parents.
  5. Hover over your kid:  Why let your kid play and explore when you can follow them around doing everything for them?  That’s right helicopter parent, we all welcome you to this play place.  There’s another kid in your child’s way?  Move them!  Your kid is starting to climb something?  Pick them up and do it for them!  There’s a minor dispute over who’s next down the slide?  Insist it’s your kid and push them through!  All of these things will teach them excellent social and problem solving skills while developing their ability to be independent.  They will also make you very popular with the rest of us and make it clear that you are a schmuck.
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When my son was 6.5 months and still couldn’t sit up, wasn’t mobile, and didn’t have any teeth I was a  worried. ” Why can all these other children his age do these things and he can’t?”  “Are we doing something wrong?”  “Have I done something to screw up his development?”  “Am I a horrible dad?”  The rational part of me knew none of this was true but the emotional part of me couldn’t help being anxious about my son’s development.  We are loving parents and I work hard to provide my son with a fun and stimulating environment every day but it is easy to doubt one’s ability as a parent.  After all, I’ve never done this before right?  How should I know what is best?  I’ve just read a few books and talked to friends and family about how to raise a child right?  When a milestone is finally reached it is truly amazing but the implications of that achievement can be quite scary.  For example once a child can move around the room on their own it opens up a whole new world of potential injuries and necessitates significant room layout rethinking and hours of baby proofing work.  I call this phenomenon “Joy in a fear sandwich.”  The sandwich’s meat is so tasty but that bread can suck sometimes!

There is a lot of fear surrounding developmental milestones, but it’s amazing how quickly all of that disappeared the first time I saw my son stay sitting up on his own.  In my years with the YMCA I taught 1000+ children how to do everything from swim, to kick a soccer ball but this moment topped them all in terms of how proud I was.  When it comes down to it I probably had little to do with him figuring it out, but I felt proud as though I had directly created the nerve connections and muscle capacity that enabled him to do it.  Perhaps some of that pride was because my anxiety about him not sitting up yet was gone.  I have to admit that it was getting the best of me when I started practicing sitting up with him much more than I had when he first reached 6 months old.  I was so worried that I hadn’t been working with him on it enough!  At that time I was thinking, “He’s just turned 6 months old he’ll figure it out in the next couple of weeks.”  Those weeks passed with no real improvement so I began practicing more with him but I still did not see him getting any better at it which only fueled my anxiety about his development.  O ended my anxiety and fear about his development in one joyful 24 hour period during which my now 7 month old son got his first tooth, mastered the continuous roll, and managed to stay upright without assistance.  It’s like his little brain and body reached the point where they were ready and he started doing all sorts of new stuff all at once.

I know my role as a parent is important to his development, but I think sometimes I worry too much.  I am a stay at home dad and my entire day revolves around the well being of my son so I think this amplifies my natural parenting fears.  I don’t mind because the added anxiety is far outweighed by my joy in witnessing these incredible moments that will only come once in his life.  I have a sneaking suspicion that these amazing moments will almost always be book-ended by some degree of anxiety and fear but I know that the pride and joy I will feel will be worth it.

The fear about his development is gone now but it has been replaced by the terror of a mobile baby in an apartment that is not baby proofed.  I’m sure I’ll have a post coming soon about that journey, but in the meantime please share your baby proofing suggestions or stories below in the comments section!

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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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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.

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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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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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I  went to my parents’ house late afternoon today to hang out with my mom.  That house is far from baby friendly but today I came armed with a secret weapon.  I had a mini pack and play in my trunk!  A family friend gave it to my wife and I while we were in New Hampshire for the holidays and I am excited to finally have a decent place for O to sleep when he naps at my parent’s house.  I usually go over once a week to spend time with my mom and do some laundry and up until now the only option for O was to sleep on a blanket/jacket combo on the rug.  Of course since I had the pack and play all setup and ready to go he decided that he wanted to stay awake and play.  He’s since gotten in a couple of short naps to make up for it but it seems like this is how things go these days.  At least step one in getting their house ready for our weekly baby time is complete!

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