What The End of a Day Should Bring.

    Anyone with a 1 year old (or any young kid) knows, days can be hard.  Every move, every decision, and 90% of the time you have each day belongs to maintaining whatever routine you have developed to keep your kid healthy and as happy as possible.

    Joanna Goddard posted a blog a last week that I really loved.  Something I’ve thought about every day since Amelia was born is her future.  Not really long term (although that’s obviously important as well,) but more short term things; rights of passage stuff.  In the article she writes about kids going off to school, finally being on their own around other kids who may or may not play nicely.  Thinking about how your kid may have moments where they feel sad or alone.  Watching Amelia smile with genuine excitement when its time to brush her teeth, or seeing how excited she gets when I chase her into her tee pee-the thought of her being sad about anything that isn’t related to a temper tantrum is indeed heartbreaking.  Basically the point of her post was that in the end, you want to make home the one place that is guaranteed to be safe and warm, or in her own words – “a haven.”

   Having read this, it made me think.  Not only was this true, but it should be that way for the whole family.  I work at home, so I’m here all day.  My wife however is not.  Like most folks, she endures the morning commute, the traffic, the weather, and every other outside element in her life that is stacked upon her shoulders.  All while toting a baby to and from my parent’s house.

   I try to make sure that dinner is ready when they get home everyday because the baby usually only has a short amount of time left awake before its time to go to bed.  It’s usually the same routine.  I get a text when they are leaving my parent’s house which in turn, allows me to properly time dinner.  Usually a dinner that is quick and easy, lacks any effort, and that can be whipped up mindlessly.  That’s fine most of the time.  We don’t have much time to go out for nice dinners, usually once every 1 or 2 months if we can get my parents to watch Amelia.  In an attempt to create a nice surprise for them, tonight I will be making a delicious dinner from a recipe I found online.  I will also create an intimate, candle-lit table setting for my ladies. A glass of wine for my wife, and a sippy cup full of the finest water provided by our fridge for the beautiful Amelia Rose.

    As a man, it’s easy to fall into a trap of taking thing for granted or to fall into a routine.  Some routines are unavoidable, especially during the week.  A simple tweak and a little thought can easily bring a smile to the faces you love, especially after a long day.

    Tonight I will be making 3 Vegetable Penne Pasta, which uses wheat pasta but I am being assured by the great Rachael Ray that there is a reason having to do with the combination of flavors and not just calorie cutting.

    Another thing, clean up a bit.  Not just in the house.  Yourself.  Take a look in the mirror.  Yeah, its sometimes more comfortable wearing old jeans, a t-shirt, and ball cap, but change it up.  Put on something nice.  Not over the top.  Just nice.

    In the end you have 2 people coming home who have been gone all day, tired, strung out, and itching to get into something comfortable to relax.  Part of the fun in having a little kid, is surprising them.  Sure, she doesn’t know what a candle light dinner is…but she knows it wasn’t like normal dinner, and we certainly don’t light fancy candles!  She seemed to love it and had two whole plates of pasta with nothing but grins.  I love my family.

One Month!?

Time flies when you have an infant!  It may seem like your nights last an eternity, but a month has gone by and it doesn’t even feel like it.  What have I learned after a month?  Nothing stays the same.  You may think you figured out your baby, but you are probably wrong (unless you’re one of the lucky folks and have one of those babies that the literature says “sleeps a majority of the day”).
Some things we have picked up after a month:

1)  The Swaddle:  You read so much stuff online: “Swaddling is good,” “Swaddling is bad,” “Only swaddle for 3 months.”  All I know is, the swaddle is a life saver.  Our baby hates it, but there is no way she will sleep without it!  She doesn’t even come close.  Once those arms are free, she goes insane and her arms start flapping like shes trying to take flight, accept failing at it…..and then screaming because she can’t fly (that must be why shes screaming right?).  Then we go in and swaddle her, and shes out in 10-15 minutes.

Doesn’t get much easier then that right? Wrong.  The swaddle is amazing because she oddly is able to sleep, however her split personality kicks in every few minutes and you get bursts of rage as she tries to burst out of it.  It then becomes a battle of the sleepy baby vs the angry raging baby.  Even more annoying, if the sleepy baby wins, she may pass out, but then as soon as shes in anything less then a “deep” sleep, she will try and burst out even in a half sleep, which can sometimes result in a wide awake fit!  This can usually be tapered with a pacifier..that is….only if she allows you to try that…sometimes she just spits it.

“Come on sweet little angel, lets go to bed…”

All kidding aside, she is getting easier to figure out and anything she may do to frustrate us is usually forgotten instantly when she smiles (except for when she is making you really mad, and then smiles at you while you are pulling your hair out).

2)  So many baby products, so many promises:  Its so easy to get wrapped up in the world of baby products that promise specific results.  For instance, our baby likes to be rocked, so we bought this:


We figured, “Well, she calms down usually when shes rocked, maybe she will like this!?” This item ended up being great, if you need to kill ten minutes and get yourself a cup of coffee.  Its not a very soothing item.  The swing rocks sort of unnaturally which I think just makes the baby panic and get confused.  We seem to have the same results every time (although its getting better).  You sit her down, she looks confused, then starts to wave her arms in hopes of flying out of the seat and escaping us, which is then followed by hiccups and a full fledged panic.

3)  Bottles for fussy babies:   So after doing some reading, we thought that maybe the baby was so angry all the time because of the way she was being fed.  We were just using some regular bottles, some given to us by the hospital (they sent us home with tons of stuff).  My wife discovered these bottles online:

These things claim to reduce colic by 80%.  That sounded pretty swell in our eyes.  They have this odd venting system that sometimes makes a squeaky sound when shes eating.  When we first used this, our dog (who is getting used to being second in our house now) looked really confused as if we awarded the baby with a squeaky toy.

The results from the bottle were pretty awesome.  We went from a baby that screamed and cried 90% of the time she was awake (the other 10% she was eating), to only crying when its time to sleep.  We now get to feed our baby and then enjoy her smile with a little play time!  This product has delivered.

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