Hey Mr. Sandman is My Kiddo Asleep?

This is the holy grail of any exasperated father, mother, or babysitter.  There is also nothing cuter than a baby conked out on your chest, bed, or anywhere for that matter.  When Amber and I had Simeon we we having a difficult time gauging his sleep and there were numerous times where we laid him down thinking he was off in la-la land only to have him wake up five minutes later.  So we came up with a system when we are trying to get our little guy down and out for a few hours or the evening.  It is pretty simple and will work wonders for your own psyche as well as help your little tyke greet the sandman. Continue reading

The Movie “Courageous”

When my in-laws offered to babysit our son so we could go and watch this movie, my interest piqued.  A night off sounded like a good idea, so we invited friends and headed off to the theater on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  I had seen “Fireproof” so I kind of knew more or less what I was going to see.  Didactic scripting and amateur acting. I liked the message of it but struggled to get through it.   What else can you expect from a church ministry and an almost all volunteer cast…

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

Life Lessons From Radio…The Movie

I once heard an old proverb that everyone was my teacher in some small way.  I have never forgotten it and have been ruminating on it for nearly a decade.  I believe that this can be amended and expounded by replacing the word everyone with everything.  This includes movies, music, gardening, chores, art; even the proverbial mind numbing television can impart vital knowledge and wisdom for our everyday lives.

Radio: The Movie

Movies are the myths of today’s society.  Past generations gathered around fires to listen to intricate stories of Titans or Hercules, they gathered and read fantastical stories of the hero, they gathered around box stand radios and listened to the accounts of war or the landing of aliens.  Now we gather inside a darkened room or in our homes and watch mysteries unfold right before our very eyes. Continue reading

Four Great Fatherhood Examples

Sometimes being a father is hard and there is no other way to describe it.  Climbing a mountain during a snowstorm naked sounds better some days.  And I have only been a father for 3 months. My mind starts to ponder questions like,  “What happens when he can possibly walk off  a cliff, drive the family vehicle recklessly, breaks a bone, does something stupid.  What about giving him advice, talking about sex, addressing his doubts about God? Most importantly, what about living my own life as an example for him to follow?  What does that look like?

So I found 4 examples of men who have taken their role as fatherhood seriously in the midst of sometimes difficult circumstances.

Continue reading

A Father’s Toolbox: Skype-ing the Grandparents

What is Skype-ing?

Skype, a telecommunications company out of Luxemborg, allows  you to make long distance phone and video calls.  Skype started in 2003 and has recently been snowballing as the consistent access to the internet across the globe grows.  Basically Skype turns your voice into data and sends it across the net like email. Continue reading

Becoming a Stay-At-Home Dad: 10 Tips and a thought.

In my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have thought that I would be a stay-at-home-dad for any length of time.  But at 25, post-graduate and post-job, here I am.  It has been about three weeks or so and I have had great highs and some incredible lows.  I have also learned some valuable lessons.  First and foremost I have a new found respect for mothers who make this their life’s work.  It is most definitely a career and a demanding one at that if you choose to excel at it.  Second, if you want to keep your sanity as well as succeed at being a stay-at-home-dad, develop a routine and be ready to modify it a million times.

I haven’t been without employment since I was 17.  Sometimes I worked 2 or 3 part-time jobs at the same time during college.  Now, I am what many would call unemployed. With a newborn son, I am anything but unemployed.  My days consist of countless diaper changes, motor and visual stimulation activities, calming down inconsolable crying, burping, feeding, and more diapers.  I’ll be honest and say that it has taken some getting used to and I have been lethargic in stepping up and getting things done.  We are living with our in-laws until we find a place in our new town and they have cable.  To combat my initial boredom I resorted to sitting and watching TV for most of the day while my son slept or wasn’t crying.  Laundry, cleaning, writing, or doing anything productive seemed an insurmountable task because all of my motivation is to remain sane when my son is screaming bloody murder and I can’t do anything about it but hold him.  It is a daunting reality to think that my son is completely dependent upon what I do or don’t do for him.  I had barely held a baby before holding my son, and am now the primary caregiver for most of the week.

The man brings home the bacon is the ingrained adage from my childhood.  Though my mother made more than my father, he was the one that worked the blue collar job without a college education and stayed there because it helped provide for our family.  Sending my wife off to work every morning while I stayed home with my son took a mental toll and helped perpetuate this idea that I was being less than a man.  Applying for jobs and receiving numerous outright rejections or no response at all compounded the situation even more.  Finally, I know nobody here.  I know my wife and her family but I lack any friends.  So while my wife has numerous interactions with people throughout the day, I have maybe one or two interactions, my son and my wife.  At the beginning of being alone with my son, he was crying all the time because of things my wife was eating (she has since given up milk, spicy foods, and I think watermelon) so most of the day was spent consoling him, and when my wife got home she was stressed from her internship where she dealt with special needs children all day.  I would say that for about a week or so, I did the bare minimum required of keeping my son alive and healthy, but as for stimulating his mind or talking to him, it was non-existent.

Now that I have the worst out of the way, things are getting better.  I have realized some tips that will help other fathers take up the challenge of staying at home with newborns.

  1. Watch Less TV.  (A certain show or during feedings is okay, but having it on mindlessly takes away from your ability to tend to your kid.)
  2. Sleep-time for him means work time for you. (Laundry, cleaning, writing, whatever you need to do.)
  3. A crying baby and a frustrated father can lead to a bad situation.  (Think shaken baby syndrome. Put your child down in his crib, shut the door, and take five minutes or so to calm down.  I suggest eating something with sugar or completing a task to help your mind check things off. )
  4. Be okay with a crying baby.  (They just do.)
  5. Take care of yourself to take care of him.  (If you’re not exercising, not sleeping, or eating properly, you can’t take care of your child properly.)
  6. Burp rags are your buddies.  (Otherwise you will be changing your shirt 3+ times a day. Even with a burp rag you still might.)
  7. Poop is poop and someone’s got to clean it up. (Get over it.)
  8. Be okay with not getting everything done. (Be vigilant but don’t be a perfectionist.)
  9. Write down your son’s routine (Find your child’s pattern and develop it. I try to reserve most of my big tasks for my son’s afternoon nap which is usually longer than his morning cat nap.
  10. Play with your child, talk to him, and be goofy around him. (Let’s be honest, you’ll feel childish but he needs that stimulation to develop brain connections.)

There probably are many more that I haven’t figured out yet or that y’all know that I don’t, but these are the ones that are helping me learn to be a better stay at home dad and father.

Review: Be Prepared: A Practical Guide to Fatherhood

I liked the cover.  I know they say don’t judge a book by a cover, but if you have a gift card and you have to spend it in one place.  Why not?  I wasn’t expecting too much but was surprised and believe that this book is helping me far beyond what I would’ve been without it.  The Boston Herald raved that the book “delivers invaluable information from keeping baby entertained on a plane to constructing an emergency diaper from a towel, a sock, and duct tape.”  I heartily agree that in a pinch, this information and knowledge will be invaluable. Continue reading