Archive for the ‘fatherhood’ Category

I'll Settle for Top Ten

August 29, 2006

Ruby went for her first hike on Monday.  It was actually more of a walk in the woods than a hike (rambling with her Papa, Nana and Grandpapa around Tiger Mountain) but we’re going to count it anyway.  She enjoyed her time in the backpack carrier, didn’t enjoy wearing her several-sizes-too-big sunhat, and we all had fun.

I’ve come to appreciate what a long, slow process parenting is.  You can’t just put on your super-parent hat one day, take your kid for a hike, and then claim that you’ve instilled a love for the outdoors.  If you want her to love to hike, you need to be a hiker.  She needs to experience the woods as she grows up, and not just as a special occasion.

The same idea applies to just about everything else.  You don’t teach manners, or piano, or quantum mechanics, or how to bend a soccer ball, in just one day.  You teach them over a lifetime.  Every tiny little moment is miniscule, discardable, delayable, half-assable, but all those tiny little moments add up to something colossal, huge, bigger than anything else in your life.  So to be the best parent in the world, you need to bring your “A” game every single day.

Your child doesn’t take days off being a child, and so you don’t get to take days off being a parent.  You may be fatigued, or bored, or really just wanting to read a few more emails, but you need instead to brew up some of that wonderful creativity you’ve always prided yourself on, and you need to do that every single day.  You need to be like a dial-tone of creative energy, always there humming when your kid picks up the receiver.    That is, if you want to be the best parent in the world.

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Ruby's huggy future

July 26, 2006

Metrodad posted this today:

The Peanut is NOT a hugger.

For the most part, she never really wants to hug us.  She’s either too busy or she’s just too independent. 

The ONLY times that she ever gives us one of those huge neck-grabbing bear hugs is when she’s absolutey scared out of her Huggies. 

Even though Ruby’s only 4.5 months old, this reminded me of her.  She’s not much of a cuddler, and really prefers to have physical contact on her own terms.  She likes to be held, but only if you’re also carting her around and keeping her entertained.  And although she certainly doesn’t want to be left alone, physical closeness for its own sake doesn’t seem important to her.

Obviously I’d like to enjoy a lifetime of cuddles and hugs from my daughter, so I’m instituting a few strategies that might help in this regard:

  • First of all, I’m going to work on developing longer stretches of quiet holding time.  When Ruby’s in her quiet/thoughtful moods, I tend to leave her alone while taking care of things around the house.  Instead, I’ll try to be quiet and thoughtful with her. 
  • Secondly, I’m going to try to pay more attention to her cues when we’re playing together.  We play aggressively together, and I’m not going to change the overall style of play.  But I am going to try to avoid getting all up in her face when she’s tired of raspberries.

My Kindgom for A…

June 27, 2006

There is one thing that is most difficult about being a stay-at-home dad.  It’s not giving up the $100k/year salary; not the isolation; not suppressing my career goals; not dealing with stereotypes; not spending endless hours crouched over a play blanket.

No, the single hardest thing is not having boobs.

When Ruby cries, chances are it is because she’s hungry.  But I can’t just lift my shirt and satisfy her; no, I need to prepare a bottle.  That takes two hands, at a minimum, because we don’t want to spill the precious fluid.  So, I need to put her down — which generally turns the crying into screams.

If the milk is cold, we’re looking at a 10-minute wait to warm it up.  And what if we’re out of the day’s allotment?  Defrosting freezer milk can take 30 minutes or more.

And even worse, what if Mom’s coming home in an hour?  Do we wait it out?  Pull some valuable freezer milk from the bank?  Every afternoon, I need to do some tricky baby’s mood/my mood/expected time of mom’s arrival calculus.

And because our freezer milk supply is somewhat limited, I’m loathe to use it.  This means I try to stretch out the feedings, and give smaller feedings at a time, in an attempt to make the milk last longer.  I’m sure you can guess, from the tone of this post, how well this is working.

Because I’m not personally equipped to satisfy the most basic of my baby’s needs, my time with Ruby is that much more difficult.  It’s really the only aspect of being a stay-at-home dad that makes me question the arrangement Kate and I have.