One of the things I have always liked about being a newspaper editor is each day is different. Sure, there’s a certain routine and a little of the mundane associated with every job, but there’s always something that pops up that makes a particular day unique in this business. A new challenge often arises that’s different from the day before. I find that compelling because I learn something new every day. It’s interesting to me that the same can be said for parenthood and perhaps that’s why I adore being a father so much.
My wife and I have a lot of parenting books and magazines in our house. We read many and leaved through some before we welcomed our baby into the world. It’s interesting to look back now and see what they have to say. Some are on point, others not so much. One thing most of them have in common is they recommend adopting a routine with your baby from the beginning. We have done this the best we can, but we admit we stray often.
One of the books drove home the routine factor to the point the author maintained you are a selfish parent if you make your child adopt to your routine rather than vice versa. After seven months of this parenting thing, I have learned I do not agree with that, but it goes without saying stability and a schedule are needed with a child, but there’s something to be said about being able to go to dinner with your little one and not be forced to rush home to make sure he gets his 7:15 bath followed by his 7:30 nightime feeding and diaper change and capped off by an 8:05 bedtime. We do things a little differently, preferring he be adaptable so he can adjust here and there as situations arise. So far as so good.
As we progress through the remarkable stages of our little boy’s life, it’s interesting to observe the process. He’s growing and changing at a pace that’s fast enough to keep us on our toes and never bored but slow enough to allow us time to digest how amazing each stage is, learn how everything works before we leave that behind and move on to something new.
For example, when the formula bottle became easy, spoon-feeding was added to the equation. Once we got this down with the cereal, we moved on, adding the vegetables and then fruits to his diet and later the meats in a jar.
We quickly learned how easy cereal is because it’s got some substance to it. Once we added the meats, veggies and fruits, that’s when we discovered how messy things can become. They are a little watered down, causing lots of ruined shirts on him and his parents. Next up was juices and learning how to use a “sippee” cup. He’s still working on the whole holding of the cup, but he likes his fruit juices for sure.
Another example is the rolling over part. Now that he mastered this feat last month, he is all over the place and is near the point he can’t be left alone even for a split second. His best move is what I like to call the barrel roll. He used to just roll over once and be content. Now, it’s two or three or four consecutive rolls, ending only and usually when he hits something.
This barrel rolling with reckless abandon and total disregard for his own well-being led to the purchase of an enclosure for the living room. It’s called a “Li’l Playzone” and features a number of panels that can be connected together to form a circle and one of the panels serves as a gate that opens and closes for adult ingress and egress, or you could just climb over the two-foot gate, and another panel is an entertainment hub, which includes all sorts of different pedals to kick and buttons to push, all of which make all sorts of fun sounds.
This playzone tackles a few different problems we were having around the house. First, it keeps him entertained because he loves it in there. He can sit up in it if he wants, lay on his back or stomach, watch Baby Einsteins or just play with one of his many toys. It takes care of the wild barrel rolling because he now has 16 square feet to roll before knocking into the sides of the enclosure. Finally, it gives us somewhere to put the little guy for a few minutes without constantly wondering if he’s wedged underneath some furniture, about to hit his head against a chair or wall or putting his mouth around something dirty or expensive.
Before we know it, he will be crawling and all indications are it could be any day, and that’s going to bring with it some challenges that we think we are prepared for, but time will confirm the inevitable: we were not prepared.
Another example: after weeks of sleeping for 10 hours or so uninterrupted (I was so proud), he got sick last week. He had a cold and had some pretty good congestion that made him a little miserable. Besides the reduction in sleep, the reluctance to eat and the horrific diarrhea that caused permanent damage to my wife’s and my sense of smell, the big change we noticed with him was he was needy. He craved constant comfort and that’s not been his way. Of course, we didn’t mind giving him lots of love to help make him feel better. What parent wouldn’t want to fill that void?
Perhaps the future progression my wife and I most look forward to is the first word. We each have our own way of trying to skew the results to the question, “What will be his first word?” Dada or mama?
I have no problem admitting I spend quite a bit of time with him on the floor, pointing at myself and at him, saying, “I’m dada, dada and you are Beckett. Dada, dada, Beckett, dada, dada”. This little trip into insanity can go on for a few minutes or so before I finally realize how much I have lost my mind.
I take comfort in knowing I am not the only crazy one in the house because my wife does her own version of the “mama” song to try and tilt it her way.
I will keep you updated on that front.