Archive for category Parenting
Ever have this experience; you are watching an action show, all of a sudden a child jumps into the scene and bam, gets shot. Or watching your favorite Detective show only to have that show center around child abuse. Happens all of the time in some shows. I watched a lot of those shows where this thing routinely happened. With my legal background I would get immersed in detective and law shows.
22 months ago that all changed. That’s when my daughter was born and that’s when things began to change. In retrospect my change in media intake shouldn’t have been a suprise. I grew up probably being closer to my dog than any friend or family member and couldn’t handle it when something bad happened to animals. Remember the movie My Dog Skip, was in a room of guys and we were all crying by the end of it. Just couldn’t handle bad things with animals. Heck even the scene in the Green Mile where the little mouse was killed brought a tear to my eye.
A month or two after my daughter was born turned on one of my wife’s and I’s favorite tv series and within the first five minutes children were being attacked and put into coma’s and slowly dying, and that was as far into the show as we got into that episode. I was done. I couldn’t deal with seeing these kids that way. I know that it is just a show, but I feel like with being a dad and being around my daughter as much as I am and was that there was a lot of transference going on there.
Even now with my daughter almost being 2 years old my views haven’t changed. If there is a movie coming out that I think might show hamr to a child I won’t bother see it. I’ll skip episodes of my shows that I usually enjoy if there is the chance that a child might be hurt.
I think a large part of me feeling like this is the fact that I can’t even fathom what I would d if something ever happened to my daughter. The’s been the center of my life for 2 years. And from what my parents tell me, I became the most responcilbe person in my family by age 5, and started training to be a dad shortly after that. I’m not naive, I know she will get hurt and stuff happens. Heck right now she probably hurts herself atleast once a day. But, I still can’t think about something tragically happening to her. I feel like most parents are in this same boat. We always think that our kids are going to be healthy and stay ok. It’s these shows that show children getting hurt that force us to confront this preconcieved notion that we have that our children will always be ok. It’s uncomfortable and at times scary to really think about those situations.
I know avoiding those shows or movies might be taking things a bit to an extreme, but at the same time, those are powerful thoughts to try to confront, especially when, like I said, my daughter is the center of my life.
What I have realized since I became a stay at home dad is that I have no adult social life anymore. After I graduated from grad school in 2010, most of my friends that I graduated with left Toledo. When I left my job, with it went most of the adult friends that I had. I am quick to point out, my wife is one of my best friends and my other best friend, Nick, I talk to daily, but lives in Arizona. From there though, there are fewer and fewer adults that I get to socialize with on a daily basis.
At first, I didn’t even notice that lack of adult interaction. I was usually tired by the time my wife got home from entertaining my daughter, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, that often I just wanted to spend my evening with my wife. It wasn’t until she started meeting up with friends on a week to week basis that I finally said, wtf! Not wtf, why are yoi going out all the time, but wtf, how come I’m not going out and meeting with other adults.
I realized that I’m in an aweful position to meet adults though. I go from walks, to the museum, to the pool, to the zoo, to the library, to my house, all with my 22 month old daughter in tow. I generally focus 100% of my energy and focus on her. The situations are not the most conducive to meeting new people or adults. Cest la Vie.
As a stay at home dad or stay at home parent what do you do to get adult interaction? I have recently started a stay at home dad group, but am still in the process of getting that on the floor. I am friends with my neighbors, but not yet to the point where we go out golfing in the morning or something like that.
It’s definantly a work in process, but its something that I realized I should probably take a little more of a vested interest in this and find some adult friends, that or maybe I’ll be saying good bye to my sanity!
When it comes to chores around the house, I generally consider myself a jack of all trades. Need dry wall put up? No problem. Need to take down a light fixture and put in a ceiling fan? Sweet, I’m in. Tree need cut down? Name me a time and place. I’m rather handy. What I don’t know what to fix, I’m atleast experienced enough to be able to figure it out. I quickly realized while starting my journey being a stay at home dad that there are certain things that I was wholly unprepaired for! Crayons and Poop!
First off I love crayons. I will sit with my daughter and color with crayons for hours on end. We can’t go through paper quick enough. My daughter will color all day long. My wife and I both encourage her. I have a background in art and graphic design and got a lot of pleasure from creating art work. What I was not prepared for was when I looked at the wall next to our bookshelve in the playroom and noticed my daughter thought the wall was paper. Fine, most kids color on the wall. I’ve heard story after story after story. So, cleaning it became my priority. Not thinking, I grab a spunge and started scrubbing, and scrubbing, and scrubbing. You know what I got, a reb blob. Not what I expected.
I’m smarter than some stupid crayons, I thought! Apparently I wasn’t. Grabbed my sponge and some soap and scrubbed harder. Now I had a red and grey spot and successfully rubbed off more pain then crayon! In short, I found out my wife had several different techniques for cleaning crayons, while I apparently found out how to remove everything from a wall but crayon.
For those dads not in the know here are two techniques to spare your wall.
1. Take a hair dryer and use it to melt the crayon. This will help it to losen and come off more easily from the wall. Once its melting, take just take soap and water to the wall and it should come right off.
If this doesn’t get it off all of the way, or if you did what I did and made a red blob, go
2. Get yourself a magic eraser. They are called magic for a reason!
On to poop. I’ve delt with baby poop for a while. With it on clothes, on my baby, inadvertently on me. Well in the process of pottey training my daughter she has had a couple accidents. By accidents I mean sprayed poop on the carpet. I was completely not prepared for this. (My wife is a saint by the way, she has been pooped on or puked on more times than I can count, while I can count on one hand how many times either of those has happened to me).
Not wanting my daughter to be ambarrassed or me to have my wife come home to poop carpet, I tried to get it cleaned up. Boy did I try. Nothing was getting the stain up. I tried resolve, I tried other carpet cleaner. Nothing. I then thought, Hydrogen Peroxide, gets blood out of clothes, wonder what it will do to a carpet.
So I cleaned up all of the solid waste, got it out of there. I then dabbed up any other excess waste I could get. I then took a little peroxide and put it on the carpet in the corner to see if it would bleach the carpet. It didn’t. I then put a capfull on the poop stain and gently rubbed it in. With a little bit of rubbing, the Hydrogen Peroxide did wonders! (TEST YOUR CARPET FIRST! I DON”T NEED YOUR WIFE BLAMING ME FOR BLEACHING YOUR CARPET)
I know I can’t be the only person to realize this, but Mom’s have an awesome sense about them. They seem to inherently know what to do to fix the problem, stain, etc. It’s a skill I’m hoping is learnable!
Off to potty training!
My wife and I have a beautiful 19 mo old daughter. As of a week or two ago, I became a new stay at home dad. This is somewhat new territory for me. Because of my previous work schedule I was home with my daughter 1 and a half days during the week. So adding 3.5 days wasn’t as bad as say adding 5. Nonetheless it is an adjustment for my family.
We are definantly stuggling with the adjustment. First there is the matter of going on unemployment. This in itself might have been that hardest hurdle for me because of the amount of pride that I needed to overcome to go through with applying for unemployment. While I was not the primary bread winner in my family, I was bringing in a substantial amount of money for us. To lose that when I was laid off did take away part of my identity.
The bigger challenge facing us though is that my wife wants my position and I want hers. I want to be the bread winner and she wants to be the stay at home parent. We are both working to try to achieve that balance so she can be at home more often with our daughter, but it is tough. It is tough on our marriage when she see’s me having what she wants; and more importantly what I think she deserves. She has worked hard and worked long hours. She currently works a job 45 minutes away in another state. Her time with our daughter is limited. It is definately putting a strain on our relationship.
With our new life format though, I feel it is up to me to really step it up. I want to make sure that my wife has as much time with our daughter as possible and has to do the least amount of work around our house as possible. While previously our chore duties were divided up 65 percent me 35 percent her, it is now closer to 95 percent me 5 percent her. I’m home all day though, I think this is only fair in that it allows her to spend more time with our daughter and not have to worry about cleaning, cooking, etc.
I already did most of the cooking, I love to cook. I generally try atleast 3 new recipes a week. When you are working on a tight food budget like we do, it is often a pain in the butt to find inexpensive recipes that are also great and unique. On the plus side though, I found out I can grill just about anything, which while it doesn’t help with the food budget, it does help keep our electric bill down. Our stove, whether it’s the over or the burners can raise the temperture in our house quicker than anything else, which makes our AC crank on that much higher.
My main responcibilities now though focus on my daughter. While I was often playing with her on the days I was home from work, I have more and more resoponcibilities that fall on my shoulders that used to be on my wifes or our nannies. I tend to want to play with her, play house, with her dolls, with all of her bouncy balls, outside, at parks. I like to be up and moving and playing like that. I tended to leave the book reading and some of the other development tasks to other people. What I have been learning though is to better incorporate the development into the playing. At the playground we count everything now, the steps, the slides, the swings. While my daughter still thinks 2 is every number, we are atleast starting to develop our own ways of learning that still incorporate the games we like to play.
This is definately going to be a fun learning process for the two of us. While I still wish I were working (the only thing I learned from my dad was that work= self worth for better or worse) I am embracing the opportunity that I have with my daughter, the fun we have. I am definately taking advantage of this. I realize that when her grandparents are around or her mother is around, I take a backseat to everyone. That’s fine, because atleast during the day I’m the center of her world and she’s the center of mine.