When someone who does not have children tells me that they are tired, I laugh. I used to be one of those people - but it was my own doing - working, going out until all hours and being involved in various other activities. I had the opportunity to slow down and sleep more or nap.
As parents of two boys under the age of 3, we have lost all ability to control our sleep. Our older son sleeps through the night and has since early on - but he is up at 6 and ready to go. Our infant son has no interest in sleeping through the night and is awake every few hours. Generally his last wake up and bottle request is around 4 am. That gives us enough time to feed him and barely get back to sleep before the older one is up.
We long for the days of being tired. We are simply exhausted and numb to what has become groundhog's day 7 days per week. There is no such thing as sleeping in or lazy Sunday. Exhaustion is the new normal. Being tired is so far in the rearview that it is a distant memory, albeit a fond one. As happy as we are with our boys, it would be that much more enjoyable if there was a bit of sleep involved.
Our son must have been born with the gene that teaches him how to negotiate. And yes, before you ask - he always wins. Always.
There is no item too small or too big for him. Snack, bedtime, clothes, bath. You name it and somehow some way there always seems to be some sort of negotiation to get him to do what we want. We hear a lot of "one more minute" or "one more please." (Yes, our son has manors - that is actually one place where we are non-negotiable and he has excelled). It is not every waking minute of every single day, but it sure feels that way. The majority of the time it is because he wants to play longer or do something with mommy and daddy. He does not want to feel like he is missing the action.
There are certain places that we will not budge and the negotiations quickly breakdown into discord. But we are prepared for these moments and have a very good idea of what issues will trigger them. A simple distraction like pointing to a new toy or suggesting a new activity and all is right in the world.
I never thought that I would negotiate more with my 2.5 year old than I would in my professional life. And to be honest, he is far better at it than many colleagues that I come across. Then again, he is just beginning to understand the concept of consequences so he still does not realize there are any. So he can negotiate with reckless abandon and believes he has nothing to lose.
He has many years to hone his technique which can only make him more dangerous. I am both proud and scared at the same time.
As many parents can attest, when it comes to feeding a hungry baby speed is of paramount importance. This is especially true at night when you are trying to feed a crying baby and not wake their older sibling.
To this end, we purchased the Orb Bottle Warmer. It is a steam warmer so it is supposed to heat up quickly which is what we need. What we got, however, was inconsistency at best and melted bottles at worst. Some bottles felt like they were not even heated. Some were the right temperature. Some were scorching hot. It was a complete guessing game as to what you would get. There is no reservoir so you must fill it each time you use it which makes it quite inconvenient.
Ultimately we returned this product.
We are the proud parents of a two year old boy with boundless energy. We love that he wants to run around and play and explore. When he is trying something new his face lights up and he gets even more excited. That expression and his happiness are what make our exhaustion tolerable.
We are both employed and we are both full time parents - we never wanted to be parents who had a child and left him to be raised by someone else. Not to say that we do not get some help and accept invitations for him to sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house, but those are few and far between (though much welcomed). We want him to know who we are, what our values are, and to have many of his new experiences with us. That definitely takes a toll on us - but again it is not something we would ever trade in. Not to say we may not be having discussions with our split personality while chasing him through the museum or park or playground.
I have discussed in many posts before that our son is on a rigid schedule (which he loves) and we know when our "down time" will be. But it is never enough. His 2 hour nap on a Saturday afternoon is enough to start a few things (while remaining quiet) but not complete them all. His bed time is generally around 7:30 and he is down for the night - but that means we do not get to sit down and have our dinner until 8 which means we do not finish our work or household tasks until 10 or 11 on a good night. Unfortunately he does not sleep in on weekends and he does not care what time mommy and daddy go to bed - when is ready to go at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, we better be as well. He does not warm up, there is no slow start - he comes out of the gate at 100 mph and does not stop until he passes out for nap.
When we see our friends and family they always remark how happy and energetic he is and the next breath usually follows with some comment on our appearance and how tired we look. That is always the pick me up we look for. Only parents with children in or near our age bracket can truly understand what a day looks like and how there is no such thing as a respite. The only option is more caffeine.
At the end of the day we are just plain tired. But we are happy because our son is happy.
Winter "break" is finally over! There is nothing my wife and I enjoy more than spending time with our son. He is a toddler with boundless energy and a passion for exploring everything around him. He is very happy and that makes us happy.
Keeping him entertained for a full day, however, can be quite the chore. During his time away from school, we went to every museum, park and playground in the area. He enjoyed it all. And it wore us out completely. It might be noteworthy to mention that with his boundless energy comes his early morning wake ups. He might as well be a rooster as he wakes at 5:30 am every morning. And when he is awake, he wants to play and run and do. There is no stopping. He has even figured out how to have snack while walking and playing.
Though fortunately for us, his school break was only for a finite period of time. We are getting back into the school routine and slowly getting some of our sanity back. We learned very quickly when he started school that we only have a few hours a day to ourselves to accomplish whatever tasks are necessary that day - work, errands, exercise, etc. His school routine is good for him and good for us. As much as we enjoyed spending all day every day with him, we were quite happy to bring him back to class to see his friends.
Let's be honest. Children, while cute, sweet, and adorable, are certainly not gentle when it comes to their belongings. Not gentle at all. So any time we go to make a purchase for our son we take a few things into account - ease of use, durability, easy to clean, safe, etc. The standard things. There are some products that meet expectations, some that fail expectations, and others that exceed expectations.
In this particular situation, Nuk has made a product that well exceeded our expectations - cups. Our favorites are the Gerber Graduates. We chose Curious George because our son loves him. But the cup itself is outstanding. It is easy for our son to hold, carry and drink from even while on the go. It is durable - it gets tossed and dropped fairly often and keeps on going. And it does not spill even after all of the abuse it endures. There is a special attachment inside the cup that prevents spilling. Even when the cup is turned upside down, it does not spill out and make a mess. It is fantastic. We can let our son walk around the house or sit in his car seat without fear of him taking a bath while drinking his water.
We highly recommend this cup from Nuk. It is a great value and great quality. If your child is anything like our, this will save you some clean up and headaches.
Every time I turn around there is a new store offering delivery or a new service offering delivery on behalf of multiple stores. Some are good. Many are not. When we look at a service we consider several things: is there a surcharge for the products? is the delivery fee reasonable? is the service reliable? is it convenient? do they offer the full line of products we would normally go into the store for? When the day is over, we look at the cost of the service in comparison to the value of our time when we could be working or doing things with our family.
Instacart meets our criteria. They deliver from Publix, Whole Foods, and Costco. They are reliable and allow us to schedule our delivery within a 1 hour window. They offer free delivery when you order more than $35 which is quite easy to do when you are buying groceries for a family.
Instacart is perfect for pretty much anyone who does not like going to the supermarket like us. It is even better for busy parents and new parents who simply cannot get out of the house for the few days/weeks right after you bring your newborn home.
We only recommend products and services to Our Community that we use. We strongly believe Our Community members will enjoy Instacart.
I have said it before and I will say it again. And again. And again as it bears repeating. Your child or children's sleep (and daily schedule) is far more important than your social life. Period. End of story.
One of my biggest pet peeves is a parent who intentionally takes their child or children out to a restaurant for dinner when it is well past their bed time. My wife and I put our son down to sleep and went out for dinner (yes, there was adult supervision while we were out) after he was asleep. We did not drag him out to dinner when he should have been sleeping. Yet, we were sitting at the table and a mother walks in carrying her child while her child slept on her shoulder. She apologized to her friends for being late but her daughter did not wake up when she wanted her to so she just brought her along anyway.
There were so many things wrong with that scenario that my head began to spin. Our children need sleep. Studies have shown that they should be sleeping 12-18 hours a day depending on their age. This does not mean that they should be sleeping on your shoulder while you are out to dinner to then wake up in an unfamiliar place simply because your parent wanted to have dinner with friends.
Let your child sleep. I implore you. It is not good for them and the next day it will certainly not be good for you as they will be tired, cranky and altogether irritable. Just so you could have dinner with your friends? Not worth it. Your life will be completely upended when you have a child, but what else did you expect? Your activities should no longer revolve around you but rather your child and their sleep and meal schedule. If that is not something you want to accommodate, then do not become a parent. Accept that you are responsible for the care and wellbeing of your child and that includes their sleep.
There are plenty of activities and gatherings and events that my wife and I have to decline because they do not fit into our son's schedule. It happens. It is not the end of the world. When appropriate, we get a sitter or have someone watch him. But we do not forego his sleep schedule and bed time routine simply for a dinner with friends. Yes, our friends give us grief and say bring him along because they do it or used to do it to their children. But we decline politely and say that is not our style. Our son comes first every single time no matter how large or small the matter is and that most certainly includes his sleep.
I was recently interviewed for a book (details will follow) about being a dad. It is a topic that I am always happy to speak about with soon-to-be parents, new parents, parents in different stages. The question that I was asked was a very intriguing one and really got me thinking - "Tell me one thing that your child has taught you." Not an easy question to answer - especially given the limitation to "one."
I am still thinking about my response to the question as it was truly a good one. There is no right or wrong answer. Some of the things that came to mind immediately were patience, understanding, flexibility, etc. These are generic terms that can apply globally, but I want to be more specific than that. Children can teach us a variety of things - whether it's about ourselves, how we should handle a situation, how to treat others or just to enjoy life and be happy.
The hardest part about answering the question will be limiting my response. I learn something new every day (and hope our son does as well). I never imagined I would learn as much as I have but I am glad I do. I will never say that raising a child is boring, but this is just another facet to keep it interesting.
I would like to hear what Our Community has learned from their children. Please send me what you have learned via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you wish me to share them with the rest of the Community.