Monday, March 19, 2012

Good Reason to Throw a Party

When thinking of names for your child, always keep the holidays in mind.   We chose Jameson for our boy's middle name.  "Son of James" is the true meaning, but with a middle name of a famous Irish whiskey, you have to celebrate one of my favorite holidays...St. Patrick's Day!!!  This little guy knows how to party out comes Tyler. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

First Day Hazing

Working moms are always looking for groups or events to get there husbands/children into.  On more than one occasion, new dads say, "yeah, my wife signed me up...she said we should get out and meet people."  Skeptical at first, as was I, these dads are impressed at how much fun we have.  We dads talk about interesting things (cars, movies, beer, sports, news, funny kid stories).  Some words of advise...don't let you wife put her profile pic on the group site when she signs you will be hazed for that one!

Follow Up : Night Terrors

This happened again when he was about nine months old.  No obvious factors (sick or lack of sleep), but I recognized the crying.  I was alone this time while my wife was away on business travel (so every night is "my turn").  I watched him via the monitor and saw that he was "playing" with his crib mounted Fisher Price Aquarium (a new favorite nighttime toy).   He was like a zombie, hitting the toy (lights and music) then crawling around the crib, lay down for a minute, then pop back up and hit the aquarium again.  This went on for 15-20 min and I decided to intervene.  This toy was overstimulating him during this "stuck REM cycle" and perpetuating the night terrors. 

Once in the room, I had to pull the toy off (not easy as it was strapped and tied on), so this was really going to mess him up.  I picked him up and held him close while I rocked in the chair, humming some tunes from The Doors.  (see, dads are cool)  After about 20 min he was sleeping and I gently put him back down.  Of course it wasn't quite that easy, it took one more round of rocking to make sure he was down for the night.  This toy was not responsible for the terrors, but he was on zombie-autopilot when they kicked the toy had to be put away. 

No issues since....kow

Night Terrors...Worse Than A Nightmare

One of the hardest moments as a new parent was the night I couldn't console my son.  It happened one random night but my wife took care of him while I slept....the following night it happened again...and it was "my turn".

He was only six months old at the time and traditionally a great sleeper.  It was around midnight (only 20 min after I laid my own head down, of course) and he woke up with a weird cry.  The crying was different than pain, hunger or was a cyclical cry/whine/whimper.   It only took a few minutes for me to realize something was up...and this was not normal. 

He was not alert or aware, but awake.  Was he sleep-crying?  I became really concerned when he wouldn't respond to my voice, clapping my hands, or any soothing actions.  He didn't really "see" me when we looked at each other.  I walked around with him, sat in a different room, even went outside...but nothing calmed him down.   I grabbed bunny (a favorite toy that was in the laundry for the last few days), which helped a bit, but after an hour, he just "came out of it" and fell asleep...exhausted.  I put him back in his crib and rubbed his belly for a few minutes while he fell asleep like nothing happened.

I immediately did an internet search, which will generally scare you even more, but found that many kids get these night-terrors.  A combination of illness and lack of sleep can trigger this interruption in REM sleep.  Additionally, over stimulation after it occurs, only makes it worse.  He seriously was never "awake", just stuck between a few sleep stages.   I never felt so helpless in my life.

Afterwords, as I shut my eyes, all I could hear is his cyclical/hysterical screaming and crying in my head.  Wow...that was not in the "new parent brochure".

There are differing philosophies on this, some pick up, some let lie.  The first and second nights we had no idea what it was, therefore we picked him up.  We decided if it happens again, we'll just monitor him (since our presence didn't seem to help)...luckily it didn't come to that.   Looking back, he did have a fever for a few days, was changing from 3 to 2 naps a day and picking him up and turning on lights were all contributions to these episodes.

He's fine now.

Pay Attention To Moms...and Follow Along

I always observe moms with kids for new ideas.  They have been doing this a lot longer and are a great resource for us.

If you see a bunch of moms heading into a place with kids...good chance there is a "story time" or kiddie event behind the door.  I just had such an experience myself this week over at Bruegger's Bagels in Apex.   Were were grocery shopping, then walking around the shops and fountain outside.  I just had the sense something was happening based on the number of moms/kids going in the side door.  Turns out there is a weekly story time and sing along at 10am on Thursdays.  The lady running the event was great!  She had stuffed animals to share during the songs, toys to play with and stickers for the kids. She was very animated and my little guy had a great time.  I was the only dad there (you'll have to get used to that), but it was fun...and no purchase necessary.

Even when I visit friends, I look around the house for evidence of activities with I can put the "dad spin" on it with my own kid.  One occasion I had the "night off" to hang with a buddy while his wife was on vacation with his kids.  I spend the first 15 min walking around his house checking out all the kid stuff.  It was full of arts and craft ideas, pictures from magazines taped to the wall, empty produce boxes on a bookshelf.  Easy stuff...and it was cheap, cool and effective.  Then we started drinking and playing Gears Of I got my man card back.

Girly Mags...No, Not That Kind

It is no secret that moms are reading worries, I read their stuff...and so should you.  If you can get over the feminine pronouns in the traditional parenting articles, start reading.  You won't grow breasts, talk in high pitch or start matching your clothes if you read a woman's mag once in a while.  Besides, there are plenty of beautiful ladies to look at...and you have the perfect excuse, "I'm looking for parenting advise."   There is a column in almost every woman's magazine that focuses on "taking care of children".  See if you can locate similar advise in men's magazines...I think not. 

There is an aritcle in the Sept 2011 Redbook magazine about four stay-at-home-dad groups across the US.  Titled "Happy to be SAHD", it provides a very positive spin on what we're doing.  FYI...these four groups are smaller than the Raleigh area SAHD.