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Posts Tagged ‘wife’

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?

2013-07-16_15-24-50_552

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2012-12-14_22-52-47_217

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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2013-02-21_16-50-06_324

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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2013-02-11_15-45-10_713

Guess who just had his 6 month checkup!  We love his pediatrician Dr. Ramanan because she is easy going, answers all our questions, and her West Hartford CT office is convenient for us.  She even puts up with my stupid jokes and need to babble on about unrelated topics!  I have not been to his pediatrician’s office since his first appointment because my wife has been taking the day off to bring him so that I could get some rare guaranteed sleep time.  I guess I feel a little guilt but as a stay at home dad I have learned to treasure the kind of sleep that you get when you know you aren’t going to be woken up 20 minutes after your head hits the pillow.  I also have not been in a while because his checkups generally include two of my least favorite things: needles, and his scared/hurt cry.  He got 4 shots today and he did well considering the nurse stuck him again, and again, and again, oh and one more time.  Each time his cryingpu got worse, and each time I knew it was because of those needles and the nurse wielding them.  If someone I just met was hurting my son under any other circumstances they would soon wish they had never touched him.  Under these circumstances all I could do was watch, listen, and do what little I could to soothe our son as he wailed away.  Obviously the picture above was not taken immediately after his appointment.  When it was all over my wife was able to quickly use the magical power of the boob to settle him down.  I am sometimes jealous of her booby powers but then I think about pumping and soreness and my jealousy subsides.  I am not looking forward to going back in 4 weeks for his flu shot booster, but I guess I will just have to do my best to help him deal with the pain dealt him by the nurse brandishing needles.  Anyone else have a pediatrician visit story?

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2013-01-31_12-47-50_215

There are a few things you need to understand about my dad and his house.  He loves clocks and has collected them for years.  He easily has a dozen of them and they are carefully placed throughout the first floor to create a most glorious clock experience for anyone fortunate enough to behold them.  They are rarely wound but on special occasions he will wind a few of them up so that we may all properly enjoy the constant ticking along with the dinging and gonging that comes from them 1-4 times every hour.  His oldest brother’s arrival from this past Thursday must have been a very special occasion indeed because he wound every clock in the house.  This is a rare treat for us because they are set for slightly different times so that the various chimes/gongs seem both highly precise and totally random at the same time.  The best part of all this is that despite the fact that the clocks were wound for just this occasion, my mother and I will get to enjoy the noise for weeks until the winding springs on the clocks are spent.

Another thing to understand about my dad and his house is that he likes to keep as much of it cold as he can.  I guess 65 isn’t that cold, but consider this: his wife has poor circulation and he has an infant grandson who is there most of the day at least once a week.  Do you still think 65 isn’t that cold?  There are only two zones on the first floor.  The large zone is cold and twice as big as the smaller zone.  It includes the dining room, hallway, bathroom, living room and the den and this zone has most of the clocks in the house.  It is also the least used part of the house.  The smaller zone is the family room/country kitchen which is the one part of the house that is kept at a balmy 68.  It is also where my son and I spend most of our time when we are there.

The last thing you need to understand about my dad and his house is that he hates answering machines.  “If they want to talk to me that badly they’ll call back later.”  Now you would think that he would have a cordless phone attached to his hip at home so he wouldn’t miss any calls but not my dad!  He has one corded phone on each floor.  Each phone has its ringer turned to 11 so he can hear them both ring regardless of where he is in the house or the yard or even the road.  We had an answering machine and a cordless phones with reasonable ringers and when I lived there but it seems reason departed when I did despite the fact that I left my phones and answering machine behind.

Now that you better ¿understand? my dad and his house I can tell you the story of last Thursday.  I usually visit on Thursdays and arrive sometime between 11 and 12.  My mom is usually attending an exercise class then so normally I quickly setup the pack n play, change O’s diaper, and feed him.  Then I put him down for a much-needed nap.  He fights sleep every time so this is not an easy task.  I usually spend at least 10 minutes kneeling next to the pack n play rubbing his back and repeatedly putting the pacifier back in before he gives in to sleep.  Thursday was no different, except that he slept like crap the night before so it took and extra 5 minutes or so for him to settle and he protested more than usual.  As I have mentioned in a previous post, O can sleep through quite a lot.  He cannot, however sleep through a loud clock chiming on the hour.  There are only two clocks in the family room/country kitchen and I knew one was wound because I could see the pendulum swing and hear the ticking.  I couldn’t remember my dad ever winding the other clock and I did not realize that it chimed almost as loud as the grandfather clock in the dining room.  It chimed, O promptly stirred, and I spent the next 10 minutes kneeling and soothing him back to sleep.

Once he was asleep again I took the clock off of the mantle in the family room and moved it to the mantle in the living room.  Crisis averted.  I put some laundry in and went back to the kitchen to make myself some lunch.  I decided to make an awesome sandwich from the amazing selections of meats, cheeses and condiments that my parents regularly stock their refrigerator with.  My masterpiece was complete and ready to eat when the next sleep disaster happened.  The phone rang.

I bolted to get it but it rang loudly twice and that was more than enough to wake O up.  I hung up on the telemarketer and unplugged the phone so that I could return to my spot next to the pack n play and get my son back to the sleep he so desperately needed.  He was asleep and I had my sandwich in my hand 15 minutes later when my mom walked in and said, “Hi son!” in her loud excited voice.  *facepalm*  I spent 10 more hungry minutes on my now aching knees soothing him back to sleep.  Once he was asleep I finally got to eat my now warm sandwich and visit with my mom.

By the time O woke up I had spent 50 minutes soothing him to sleep for him to only sleep for 1 hour.  He was immediately cranky and in need of diapering/food but thankfully he was in a good for the rest of the afternoon.  My dad called my cell to tell me that my uncle would arrive at 4 and to lecture me about unplugging the phone.  Apparently it didn’t occur to him that he should call my cell while I am there with O.  Oh wait, it should since I tell him that every week and he calls the house phone anyways!  He has gotten lucky and not woken O up yet, but I have always insisted he call my cell because I keep it on vibrate when my son is asleep.

So my uncle showed up and O was super cute as usual.  By 4:30 he was looking ready for a nap so I put him down and started to soothe him.  He was almost out when my dad burst in the door banging bags around and talking loudly even though I quickly pointed out that O was almost asleep.  Then he noticed that the clock had been moved and he went ballistic yelling about how its polished brass and I better not have handled it with my bare hands.  My 15 minutes of soothing went out the window and so I turned up the thermostat in the other zone and setup the pack n play in the dining room.  Twenty minutes later he was finally asleep.  I promptly hit the scotch and counted the minutes until my wife was to arrive.

All told, O napped for 2 hours and I spent 1.5 hours kneeling and soothing him.  To put that in perspective, he normally naps for a minimum of 4 hours and I spend an hour max soothing him to sleep.  The best part of all this is that my dad didn’t seem to get why I should be the one who was annoyed.  I mean, I had moved his clock and unplugged his phone right?  Except that the phone ringer didn’t have to be all the way up to be heard and the clock in that room did not need to be wound knowing an infant slept there on a regular basis.  I know there are random noises in that house that can wake a sleeping baby, but O is used to that and I use a white noise generator to soften most noises when he sleeps there.  My dad took the second loudest clock he owned and wound it in the only room warm enough for his grandson to sleep in.  What exactly did he expect?  And how exactly is yelling at me with an infant in the room going to make anything better?   It was great to see my uncle and he did inject some much-needed humor into the situation, but just thinking about that day makes me not want to go back because all those clocks will still be going for weeks and I am sure the phone ringer volume will be back at 11 when I am set to return next week.

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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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