Posts Tagged With: Claire

3 Seconds

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A few days ago I was playing with Claire in the living room. As  usual our dog, Rocky wants in on the action so he forces his huge head in between Claire and I in order to “play”. I usually shoo Rocky away but he is persistent and my patience fades quickly. Finally after several times of shooing Rocky away I whacked him upside the head with a book Claire and I were reading. It was a quick reaction. Whack the dog, and we are back to reading.

The whole thing took 3 seconds.

Claire saw me whack Rocky. Then, she turned and looked at me and began to whack the dog with her book. Rocky ran away and Claire chased him, laughing the entire time as she whacked him upside the head. For the next half hour I am trying to keep Claire from whacking the dog with her book, shoe and anything else she gets her hands on. I distract her, avert her attention and even try to bribe her with food and juice. Finally, Claire is able to focus on other things and leaves the dog alone. Rocky stayed downstairs the rest of that day.

You always hear people say that children are like sponges and suck up all they see and hear. I believe it and am aware of it, so I try do whatever I can to be a good example. Clearly I failed in this instance. After this incident I began to reflect on all the other things that I do that are just “reactions”. Some of my reactions are great, and others not so much. It is difficult to try and change these reactions, because they are just that—reactions. Most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing them.

One thing that I discovered in all of this is that my daughter is watching and hearing all that I do. What she sees and hears isn’t filtered as a reaction that I can’t help, or as a calculated response I meant to do. Claire simply sees and hears it all. Claire sees my great moments and the moments I chose to settle; when I pray or chose not to pray; she watches when I treat her mother with respect or snap at her; when I talk well about others or criticize; when I eat well or stuff my face with junk. Claire sees, hears and she responds by doing as I do. All it takes is one example, one action or reaction and it is processed and imitated. 3 seconds and I either have a great new habit established or I’m spending half an hour telling her that she shouldn’t do that.

3 seconds…

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Categories: being a good example, best self, children, fatherhood, frustration, reacting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cor Meum

heart in handIt is hard to believe, but my daughter turned a year old two weeks ago. I blinked and she had teeth, hair, and now she moves. Everyone says that the first year flies by and everyone is right.

My wife and I had a little birthday party for Claire at our home with family. Someone asked me, “How does it feel to have a kid?” I gave a simple reply, “its amazing.” It is amazing, but there is so much more to it than that.

This is what I was really thinking.

I feel like the moment my daughter was born my heart was ripped out of my chest. No anesthesia, no scalpel, no warning—ripped out. It was given arms, legs, and the ability to move. My heart was no longer secure and protected by my rib cage. It was out, exposed, and vulnerable. My heart was no longer mine. In this exposed and vulnerable state, I loved it and yet feared for it. My heart—I guess I should call it by her new name, “Claire”—is the most painful and most beautiful thing to ever happen to me.

Claire moves, falls, cries, laughs, and smiles. Each movement, action, and emotion tugs at me. It is an incredible metaphysical-like-experience. She smiles and I feel it, she cries and I experience it, she laughs and I enjoy it. The feeling of this walking, breathing, and exposed heart is much more sensitive. My heart has never felt like this before. I have never had it hurt or be filled with joy so easily.

It is something words cannot fully describe.

It doesn’t just end with Claire and me. My wife and I are united in this indescribable metaphysical-like-experience. We simultaneously feel when our heart falls and hurts herself. We can be overwhelmed by our heart’s piercing laugh and tear up at her beauty as we gaze at her. My wife and I are more vulnerable and exposed than ever before.

It is beautiful and excruciatingly frightening, but love always is.

The crazy thing is that when my wife and I have more kids this will happen all over again. As we all know we cannot give part of our heart to someone…it is all or nothing. So, if we have 3 kids, each one of them will have my heart completely. I can’t comprehend how I can possibly experience that amount of joy, pain, and beauty all at the same time, but that is what Grace is for.

If it feels like this while she is 1 year old I might just die when she is going out to the movies, is hanging out with friends, or—oh dear, God—when she goes out on her first date!

It is beautiful and excruciatingly frightening, but love always is.

Categories: children, daughters, fatherhood, growing up, home and family, husband and wife, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help, I stood up & can’t get down!

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Here at DiscoveringFatherhood.com I love seen new developments in my daughter’s life: crawling, waving, and pooping only twice a day—it’s exciting. As a new dad everything is pretty much new. However, every now and then I experience or hear about something baby related that leaves me scratching my head.

This is one of those blogs.

Claire recently started standing up by grabbing on to things. It first happened in our living room as she grabbed on to the ottoman. My wife warned me of what was going on with a scream and some jumbled words, “bab-stand-stop!” I was amazed to see that even though Claire wasn’t crawling at the time, somehow she managed to stand. Claire has now mastered crawling and standing has become a new thing to do. I found her standing up in her crib (above photo) a few days ago. However, prior to being welcomed with that gorgeous smile the baby monitor greeted me with blood curdling screams. I thought Claire had fallen out of the crib.

This habit of standing and holding on to the crib rail has continued and unfortunately has occurred several times during the early hours of the morning. Screams come through the baby monitor, we open her door and she is standing, holding on to her crib. At least she has a cute smile to welcome us. My wife finally noticed that Claire would fall asleep as soon as we either laid her back down, or picked her up from her crib. Naturally we Googled, “baby cant sit down after standing up in crib” to see if this was something other babies did. It turns out our daughter isn’t that weird.

Apparently there is this phenomena, habit, lack of motor-skill-function—whatever you want to call it—that causes kids to stand up in their cribs, but not be able to get back down. What happens is that kids pull themselves up, but they have not developed the gross motor skills to bend their knees and sit back down. Claire has developed plenty of other gross skills, but we’ll leave that for another blog entry. Anyways, kids lock their knees and so instead of naturally bending them to sit down they tend to just fall either on their butts, or if they get rigid, end up falling like a surfboard, which never ends well. Some kids apparently fall asleep standing up and eventually fall down which naturally scares them to death hence blood-curdling screams from the baby monitor. I’m not going to lie, I laughed out loud when I thought of a poor kid holding on to dear life and falling asleep on the crib rail. Anyways, here is a video that explained this pretty well.

So now my wife and I are teaching Claire how to bend her knees. It isn’t working so well. Claire is really good at locking her knees. It’s like prying an alligator’s jaws open whenever I try to get her to bend them. Apparently, karate chopping the back of her knees is not an acceptable method of teaching her.  So discovering fatherhood is also about doing trust falls with my 10 month old kid. Ha! Who would’ve thought it?

Categories: cribs, fatherhood, home and family, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Death Trap

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We have these really cool cut outs in our walls between the kitchen and living room. The stairs to the basement are what lie between these two rooms. When we first looked at the house we really loved these cut outs because they opened up the whole living room area. Plus they are really neat. My mother in law was the first one to notice that we would have to do “something” about those cut outs once we had kids. I stood in silence as she said this because it had never crossed my mind when we were looking to buy the house. Clearly we didn’t have children at the time.

Before Claire was born we bought and installed a baby gate on the stairs and just a few days ago I installed plexi glass on the two bottom wall cut outs (see in above picture). I figured the house was baby-proofed…man was I wrong.

My house is a baby death trap.

We had our 9-month doctor visit a few days ago and the doctor asked us about baby proofing the house. I thought my wife and I were doing pretty well. “We’ve had a baby gate blocking the stairs since Claire was in utero doctor. We are doing well.” The doctor smiled and recommended getting down to Claire’s level and checking things out from her perspective to see what could be a hazard. I did.

Conclusion: EVERYTHING is a hazard!

After army crawling on the living room floor I realized our TV entertainment unit is filled with all kinds of heavy blunt objects ready to crack my daughters skull open: X-box, Blue Ray player, Roku, ipod stereo thingie. All of these objects from a 3 foot height could do damage. The lint roller doesn’t seem dangerous, but I had a vision of her somehow impaling herself on it.

Next we have the wall corners.

Maybe its because I haven’t army crawled in a while, or I haven’t stubbed my foot lately, but have you ever realized how sharp wall corners are? Why haven’t we rounded these out yet? I hear talk of rounded cell phone screens, which clearly is necessary. Why haven’t we invented rounded wall corners? Someone please get on this!

Tablecloths are deadly.

Claire in her little walker-thingy runs around in it and is constantly walking over to the dinner table and yanking at the tablecloth. We catch it most of the time, but it’s just a matter of time before she takes a Willow Tree figurine to the forehead.  I can see it now as Claire goes to her therapy sessions, “Can you explain your phobia of faceless figurines to me again?”

The dog bowls.

Apparently, our dog’s water bowl is Claire’s personal water playing station. In her walker-thingy she casually goes over and begins to bathe herself. As much as I appreciate her desire for cleanliness the fact that she could potentially fall head first into said water bowl is a little scary. Not to mention she will attempt to go for the remaining bits of dog food on the other bowl to see what that taste like. It’s a drowning and choking hazard all in one.

I haven’t had a chance to army crawl the entire house yet, but I’m sure I will find more hazards. It is amazing to see how much of what we have in our homes could be problematic for the little ones.

I welcome any thoughts on the manner. Please join the conversation. You could be saving a child from a Willow Tree phobia.

 

Categories: baby proofing, fatherhood, fathers, home and family, husband and wife, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The 45 Minute Cushion

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So I think I am figuring out this whole timing thing with a baby.

I am told that getting anywhere on time with kids is pretty much impossible. “You just have to plan better” was my answer. That was always responded to with laughter as parents stared at each other and shook their heads at poor ignorant me. “You just wait till you have kids!” they would respond. Well…I recognize it isn’t as simple as I thought—it never is.

I can see why people say that being on time is almost impossible, but I hate being late and not honoring people’s time. When we first had Claire we were late to everything. I blamed lack of sleep, the dog, running our of coffee and the cat…its always the cats fault in our home.

Anyway, so after a few months of being late to pretty much everything I started preparing things the night before to make sure we would be set for the next day. However, Claire always has a schedule of her own: diaper change as we walk out, barfing everywhere, or the cat sneaking outside as I hold the door open with my pinky toe while at the same time holding the baby carrier, diaper bag, work bag and lunch bag.

Does anyone want a cat?

So it seemed like the night-before-idea just wasn’t cutting it. I tried prepping an hour before we needed to go anywhere but that also didn’t work—an hour was too much time. It’s amazing how many diapers and outfits (Claire’s and mine) a kid can go through in one hour. I tried 30 minutes but that was nuts! I would forget half of the things I needed to bring with me. I swear no one noticed it, but one day I wore a brown and black shoe to work…sigh.

Last week I tried 45 minutes. It works! 45 minutes before needing to be anywhere is perfect. Just enough time to change, feed, prepare everything and kick the cats sorry behind back through the door. I’m telling you a 45 minute cushion is perfect. I realize that will change when kid number two comes around (some day, but not yet). However, right now 45 is this guys new favorite number.

Seriously, does anyone want a cat?

Categories: fatherhood, fathers, living, patience, time management | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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