Everything we do (or nearly everything) we do for our children. We take them to music class, dance class, playdates and various other activities geared towards them. Every now and again, however, we have the opportunity to take them to an activity that is not geared just for them but we can really enjoy as a family.
This coming weekend we are taking our son to his first baseball game (a surprise from my wife). My wife and I are huge baseball fans and my favorite team is in town. Though it is spring training, it is baseball nonetheless and we are super excited. Baseball is a game that can be enjoyed by fans of all ages and if the teams are smart, they add the entertainment aspect to engage toddlers through seniors.
There is absolutely no telling how our son will react when we get there. He may love it. He may hate it. I am guessing that he will have a good time especially as he is really into sights and sounds. Hopefully we will actually even be able to watch a bit of the game. We are not going in with high hopes simply because we do not know what to expect from him. As all parents know, one day can vary widely from the next.
I hope he wakes up on the right side of the bed and enjoys our nation's past time. There is only one way to find out...
Watch out. That is the best advice I can offer. Everything is going along well and then all of a sudden the screaming starts. Toys or other items nearby are getting thrown. And it is too late. Your child has hit the wall. All you can do is try to get them to the nearest car seat, stroller or crib for a nap. And then hope it works. If our son goes too far past his point, he will not rest and his level of difficulty will reach maximum proportions.
This can all be prevented if you know your child and keep him or her on a schedule. I have said it before and I will say it again (and again and again) - our children need sleep. End of story. No shopping, dinner, game, etc. is more important than your child's sleep. If they get enough sleep they will be happy and healthy. If they do not, then they turn into the devil child and wreak havoc on everything in their path.
When you plan your day, account for nap time. Do not take your child out for lunch at 1 if they sleep from 1-3. It is common sense (which is not so common). Let them sleep and do not wake them. Please oh please do not wake them. If you allow your child's nap and sleep schedule to dictate your activities, everyone will be the better for it. Trust me.
As parents, both new and experienced, we have a preference for the way things our done when it comes to our children. This includes anything from the way they are fed to the way they are put to bed at night and countless other practices. In controlling these things we can prepare our children for the future ahead and make sure they are healthy, happy and well developed.
This sense of control is extremely difficult to let go of. Even when our sons spends one night at his grandparent's house we get tense with the loss of control. Not to say that his welfare is in jeopardy, but things are not done exactly the way we want or do in our home. We try to make sure every detail of how things go at our home are shared but inevitably something will be changed. Not that it cannot be changed or it will have any drastic impact if it is changed.
We raise our child the way we believe is best for him and will be best for his future. Other caregivers are only concerned with the here and now, the present. We want to make sure he has all of the necessary skills and abilities to go through life and be a well rounded happy boy. Others are just happy he did not stain his shirt at lunch. In being concerned about cleaning a stain, they do not let him practice eating the way we do. A bit of mess is to be expected and is okay with us if he learns how to feed himself and can be independent.
We have to accept that no one will do things the way we do. We can teach and show but the results will not be the same. In the end, it is not us doing it. This is a difficult lesson to learn, but an important one for us. He needs to experience different things as it will ultimately be to his benefit.
We see it all the time. We are out to dinner and it is late. (At least past my usual bedtime). And a family comes in with sleeping children in tow (or on their parents shoulder).
Can someone please explain to me the need to bring a child already asleep (or 99% of the way there) to a restaurant? Save for the occasional emergency situation, a child's sleep should be high on the priority list. There will be plenty of time for dinners when they are older. If it is necessary to get together with that group that day, have a lunch. Or an early dinner. Or get a babysitter! There are plenty of options that do not require a parent to be selfish and disregard the needs of their children.
If the child is that tired, they are not going to enjoy themselves. And more likely they will be cranky or grouchy if they are woken up. And forget about the next day. Any parent who is familiar with a child who does not sleep enough knows what I mean. I have posted about this before (check out the Archives for "Wake Up Happy" and other similar posts) and believe this is common sense. Except that I have learned that common sense is not so common.
We take our son's sleep seriously so he can get the best out of each day and we can enjoy our time with him. When he does not sleep enough he is not happy. And neither are we. We see no need to drag him out to dinner when he should be sleeping...
It is that time of year when we all get Spring fever. The days are getting longer. The temperature is rising. You look outside your window and wish you were doing just about anything outside rather than sitting at your desk. Some days it is nearly impossible to concentrate, especially if you have a view of a park or other area where you can watch people sitting outside and enjoying themselves.
And as a parent, it is that much more difficult. Not only do we want to take advantage of the nice weather, but we want to enjoy it with our children. Take them to the park. Go for a walk. Play on the swings. Run around playing different games. Whatever it is, your children will enjoy the time with you. Just spend some time doing something and enjoying the fresh Spring air.
Spending time with our children is exactly why we became parents. As far as our children are concerned, it can be doing pretty much anything (especially depending on the age). I am constantly preaching about how fathers needs to make time for their children and families. Spring provides us with that perfect opportunity - warm weather, longer days, and even some holidays thrown in when we do not have to work. Whatever activity you choose, just do something.
It is every child's dream to have a pet. I had fish. Boring. I always wanted a dog but never got one. Too much work. You won't take care of it. That is what I was always told. I pleaded my case time and time again but to no avail.
That all changed a few years ago when my wife and I adopted a puppy, a cute, adorable, energetic runt with a great personality. She loves to play. She loves to eat. She loves to get her belly rubbed. She loves sticking her head out the window when we drive (slowly of course). She acts like she has not seen you in days even if you are gone for 5 minutes. She loves unconditionally. She makes us happy and we do all we can to repay the favor.
She gets the best food, the best toys, the best care, etc. She is the princess of the house. She is spoiled beyond belief but she is worth every penny. Today is a good day to celebrate your puppy, but your puppy should be loved and cared for every day. She is more than a puppy though, she is a member of our family.
A woman is pregnant. A father is carrying his child in his arms. There is a child being pushed in a stroller. Then it happens. A stranger or passerby decides that they are a part of your family and will engage you in conversation. The conversation is just a ruse to try and touch the pregnant woman's stomach or the child you are holding. I do not understand the logic. I do not understand what makes people think they can invade your space and touch your stomach or child.
I did not put a sign on my wife's pregnant belly inviting people to touch it. I do not ask people to touch our son in any way. Quite the opposite - I try and make sure it does not happen. It is not your fetus. It is not your child. Do not touch.
If anything, a person should take extra precautions not to touch a pregnant woman or a baby in a stroller. Keep their disgusting germs away. We do not know where your hands have been, no do you know if our son is carrying something contagious. Most important of all - it is not your family, it is not your child. Keep your hands away. Period.
I have an issue when it comes to personal space and I do not like someone (other than my wife, son, or dog) getting too close and familiar. I dislike it even more when someone feels that they can just reach out and touch a member of my family without an invitation or permission for that matter.
My suggestion is as follows - respect other people's boundaries. Do not feel that you can touch any baby walking on the street just because you want to. I would much rather see you keep your hands away so I do not have to tell you to do.
Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. Adults understand that. Children, however, do not. Children wake up early 7 days of the week.
It is like children know that their parents went out late. They know they had a good time. They make sure to wake up early on Sunday as punishment. That is the only explanation. Our son was wide awake and ready to go at 6:00 am this morning. For what purpose? He does not work. He did not have any plans scheduled. But he was ready to go screamin at the top of his lungs.
By 10:00 am we accomplished more than most people do on a Sunday. And we had to wait because stores open later on Sundays. Not a concern for our son. And not a day of rest at all for us.
Adam LaRoche made the biggest play of his career off the field. LaRoche abruptly retired after 12 years in Major League Baseball. LaRoche was told his son is no longer welcome at practice. LaRoche's son was very well liked by other players who "is a great young man" by Owner Jerry Reinsdorf's admission.
If someone is willing to walk away from the half of a $25 million dollar contract in support of his son, that sends a message. It sends a message to father's around the world that they should stand up for their children even if it means quitting your job. (Yes, LaRoche is in a different financial situation from the typical father). It sends a message to Major League Baseball and employers around the globe that family comes first.
As a father, I am quite proud of LaRoche. I would like to think that if I were in his position I would make the same decision. I would hope all fathers around the world would make the same choice. Though there are many factors to consider, family comes first. I cannot imagine receiving the same fan fare and support if I quit under the same conditions.
This is a situation that is still settling out and there will likely be many developments. The most important point to note, at least for now, is that LaRoche stood up for himself and for his family. He did what he believes is right and told his employer so. Family comes first. Period.
No, not that kind of Happy Meal. Well, not yet for our son anyway. We are trying to teach him how to eat while we serve him healthy, nutritious food. And to eat in general.
Fortunately, we have never had a problem with him actually eating. On occasion he will not like something he was served and spit it out, but that rarely occurs. And even when it does we bring it back after he has tried another part of his meal and he eats it.
We are asked what we do to get him to eat. The answer is quite simple - put it in front of him. He sees us eat and wants to do what mommy and daddy are doing. (a common theme in our house - he likes to copy our actions and behavior). In all likelihood, our son's eating habits started shortly after conception. My wife was very careful about what she ate, but within reason. She did not eat processed foods like hot dogs. She did not drink caffeine. But there is a wide breadth of foods that can be eaten in moderation. And we did. In doing so we introduced our son to many different foods even though he did not realize it. We did not take the approach that many parents do and restrict nearly all foods. We exposed him to certain foods both because we enjoy eating them and a little exposure is good for him in the long term.
And our method has paid off thus far. Our son is a happy boy who likes to eat - it is both the actual taste of food and the activity around it. This method may not work for all parents and all families, but it did for us.