Friday, July 29, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nolan's First Swim

We were lucky enough to get to go down to Arizona to visit Jen's family this past weekend. Of course in the Arizona summer we wanted to go swimming, so we took Nolan for his first swim! It was lots of fun and Grandma was able to film it (below). He was so excited and loved it!

S-A-H D Lesson #3

Stay-At-Home Dad Lesson #3: Some days, you just don't feel like taking a shower.

We just got back from visiting family in Arizona, which is exhaustingly hot this time of year. This morning, I woke up...well, I kind of woke up as Jen was getting ready for work. I realized that I was supposed to be looking after our son who was peering over the edge of our bed. Lunging for him, I had forgotten how much traveling has an impact on my energy level. I took Nolan downstairs as Jen finished her morning routine, not thinking about my funny hair standing on end. Jen kissed us goodbye, and with a frown on both of our faces, I closed and locked the door.

All I had on were shorts. Nolan had more fabric covering his body than I did. Hours went by, we played, watched TV, then decided to take a walk to the mailbox a block away. I put on a t-shirt and flip-flops, grabbed my keys, and plopped my 7 month old in the stroller.

While walking down the street, I realized that before I had a child, I would never have done this. When it was just Jen and I, and even when I was a bachelor, I always took a shower in the morning. It was just part of waking up. I would absolutely hate to be out in public without showering. But now, sometimes I just don't feel like it. And I think that's okay.

Oftentimes husbands complain that their wives may "let themselves go" after being married for awhile or after having kids. Staying at home, I see the other side of the coin. Why must you always get ready for the day and pretty yourself up when the day doesn't involve adults and usually includes green bean spit up on your shirt? I understand that Jen wouldn't want to come home to me every day with funny hair and stinky, which is why I usually try to clean myself up in order to give her something nice to look at. However, sometimes I think the occasional lazy day is certainly understandable. And I'm sure she would agree.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nolan Videos

Here are a few recent videos of Nolan, since I have been staying home with him this summer. Enjoy!

Just in case I forget to post a video, here are the sites I keep updated consistently:
Videos - YouTube
Pictures - Picasa Web Albums

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Pick-up/Put-down Method

Our six month old son does not like sleeping.

Nolan does like eating, however. He falls asleep eating all the time. Many parents just put their child into bed after feeding them to sleep. The problem with that is often Nolan stirs in his sleep, barely waking himself up, and then he doesn't know how to put himself back to sleep since he depends on eating to do it.

Many other parents try the "cry it out" method. This supposedly tires the baby out from crying by themselves, so they just fall asleep on their own. I tried this with Nolan when he was younger, and I got to the point where him crying for 45 minutes straight didn't seem worth it.

We decided to try a more balanced approach to putting our son to sleep: the "pick-up/put-down" method. It is relatively simple. Pick up Nolan when he cries, and then put him back down into the crib when he calms down. Repeat. That's it. Eventually he rolls to his side and falls into a nice deep sleep. Sometimes it may be repeated many times, over and over again, but it is worth it. He learns to depend on sleeping in his crib rather than during feeding, and he doesn't cry for long periods of uninterrupted contact.

This method is also a great way to get to know my son better. During this time, I develop a better understanding of his mood, feelings, and attitude. My patience is also being transformed during this time, giving me a desire to love him through an exhausting up/down routine. If I am putting him down to nap, it takes approximately an average of 10 minutes before he falls asleep, and then he naps for about 1.5 hours, depending on the day.

Overall, I love this method, and it works very well for Nolan. It may not work for every baby in the world, but it is a nicely balanced method that gives my son the rest he needs and time for me to relax by myself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

S-A-H D Lesson #2

Stay-At-Home Dad Lesson #2: I need to get out of the house!
I am back into the swing of things with Nolan. Now that school is out, we don't need a babysitter anymore, since I can stay home and watch him over the summer. It is quite a bit different now, at six months, than when I was watching him three months ago. Now he is crawling, eating solid foods, and beginning to finally act more like a human.
It is not necessarily more difficult to take care of him at six months rather than three months, it is just a lot different. He still requires a great deal of attention, but thankfully I don't need to hold him as much and that's nice since he is getting heavier by the day.
After being around many people day after day when teaching, it is a big change to come home and not even be able to hold a conversation with him. It is draining being the only adult in the room for so long...I find myself wanting to get out of the house and interact with other adults. Thankfully, now that it is sunny outside, I can take Nolan on walks for some fresh air and vitamin d.
On evenings when we have something scheduled with friends, I feel much more excited to go than I did when I was teaching. Working at a middle school is certainly draining, which is why I was always tired when I got home. When staying at home, I am actually more energized when Jen comes home from work.
It is very interesting to view it from this perspective. I hope to use this understanding in the future, and I will make sure that when Jen stays home, I will think of her need to get out and be social.