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.
As you know from reading my posts, we made it a point to bring our son out to stores, restaurants, etc. when he was young so that we would get accustomed to it and would learn how to behave properly. And he has. So we continue to do it and recommend that everyone does it. (Note here: we work around his schedule for outings and meals, we do not drag him along to suit our needs). It has worked out very well for us because we do not have to go to kid-centric restaurants, but can go most anywhere and he is well mannered. So much so that many of the waiters and patrons actually comment to us about this.
Once it was time for the transition from bottles and ready to eat packet meals to real food, we had to find a way for our son to be able to sit in his highchair and be able to eat off a clean surface (we do not trust him with silverware or breakable plates). This is where @MightyCleanBaby Disposable Mats come into play. The first key is that they are disposable. Use them once and they are gone. And they have a sticky border that you can use to attach them to the table surface so it does not slide around while our son eats. And another nice feature is that they have designs, shapes, colors, etc. that can help keep our son entertained while we wait for the food to arrive at the table.
These mats have been extremely helpful for us and we cannot imagine having a meal out without them.
From the moment our children are born, we want them to develop and grow and learn. Though we find out very quickly that we are not in that much of a rush, we love watching them grow. There are plenty of days when we would not mind if our son was more self contained on his play mat rather than running from one corner of the house to the other while we chase him all the while saying "Don't touch, don't touch."
But with their growth and progression comes many more joys. Seeing them crawl, walk, run and play. Watching their faces as they make a discovery no matter how trivial, it always seems to amaze them. Every day brings a new adventure and learning experience and each day carries its own reward for our children. The best part of that is the laughter, smiles and words.
There is no question any time that someone meets our son as to whether he is a happy boy. He is always smiling and laughing and running around. (though he does have his moments). And though his vocabulary is limited, each time he learns a new word it goes on repeat for hours and hours. Admittedly there are some words that I do enjoy hearing "Dada" obviously being at the top of the list. Though not necessarily before the sun has come up or when he does not want to sleep. While it may sound like a broken record, we do enjoy hearing our son talk and learn new words.
We liked My Big Tree story quite a bit. Our 20 month old son is a huge fan of animals (has many books, games, etc. with animals), so this book was perfect for him. He was more into the animals since he is still learning to count. We have a family dog that our son loves. So the dog on the pages was a distraction (though many things are for our son) but he was a welcomed distraction. I thought the illustrations were terrific. They were clear, simple and helped tell the story. This book is appropriate for a child who is learning to count and in the early stages of learning about animals and family interactions. Many of the children’s stories are focused more on teaching academics than providing a good wholesome message about friends and family. I found My Big Tree to be able to do both quite seamlessly. Though we tend to read mostly Dr. Seuss books I’d still like to read more books like My Big Tree. I’d definitely buy and recommend more books from this children’s author.