I have said it before and I will say it again. And again. And again. Our day revolves around our son's nap schedule and bed time. On the occasional day when he does not take his nap or his nap is not long enough, we all feel it for the rest of that day and sometimes into the next day as well.
We took a trip to New York and purposely scheduled the flights around our son's nap time. Turns out that it did not matter because he was the mayor on the plane. He smiled, waved, and high-fived anyone in the vicinity. He did not sit still the entire plane ride. He did not nap. He did not even come close. And as any parent knows, when their child's nap schedule is off for the day the best they can do is duck and cover and hope that the storm blows over.
And as can be predicted, our son was not in the mood to go to sleep at his normal time that night and was not in the mood to sleep to his usual time either. 5:45 am came and he was awake and ready to go. We could not even go down for the hotel breakfast because it was too early. His early rise gave way to a morning nap and an afternoon nap which got us back on schedule. At least somewhat.
He is still well behaved even when he is past his point, but there is no reason for us to push our lucky. Which is why I never quite understand why parents drag their sleeping children out to dinner or other events. Let them sleep at home! Yes, we as parents have to sacrifice, but we knew that when we chose to have children. We should not punish them because we want to be out with our friends. All parents need to understand their children come first. Always.
We went out for a family lunch to a fairly well known chain (Hillstones/Houstons) this past weekend. We had been there countless times before because the food is good and the service is dependable as well.
However, this past visit will be our last. The restaurant had a fair number of children in addition to our son. However they have become anti-family friendly. They did not deny us entrance or a meal, but they made it far more difficult for our son to enjoy his meal. They removed all high chairs. They removed all booster seats. They removed crayons and paper that they used to offer as well. When asked about it the hostess could not have been more rude if she tried.
This kind of behavior is simply unacceptable. If you do not want children in your restaurant, then be upfront about it. Do not put yourself out as a family friendly place. If you allow families and children, then provide the proper accommodations. There are many other places where I can spend my hard earned money and enjoy time with my family.
Our son is quite well behaved. If he was not well behaved he would not come with us. We understand how other patrons feel about noisy and cranky children. But if you are in a family friendly restaurant you have to accept it or go somewhere else. There are many options.
We now have one less choice to make - we will not be patrons at Hillstones/Houstons again. It is not worth it. We recommend you carefully consider the places you bring your children and see how they cater to them.
My wife and I love to travel. We have been to a few places and have many more on our list. One of our favorites is New York. We love all that the city has to offer - food, culture, people watching, and more food. We try and get up there a few times a year for a couple of days which we find to be plenty.
This upcoming trip we are taking our son and cannot be more excited. He loves airplanes. At least from a distance, we will see how he does being on one when he is actually awake (slept through the flight last time he was on at 6 months old). He loves lights and action. He loves animals and parks. He is pretty much made for New York. Whether my wife and I will be as ready remains to be seen. To the extent that we can, we have planned meticulously around his food and nap schedule. And we are planning (weather cooperating) on time in Central Park and some other outdoor experiences the city has to offer.
We are very hopeful that he does well on the airplane and enjoys the city so we can make this a more regular trip. No it is not going to be the New York my wife and I typically enjoy, but some of it will be. And we want him to see the things we enjoy so hopefully he will enjoy them as well. As any parent knows there are too many "x factors" with a child that will impact his or her ability to enjoy an experience. We are crossing our fingers that our son sleeps well and wakes up on the right side of the crib this trip. Hopefully he will take a bite out of the Big Apple and want to go back for more...
Lately it seems like every Saturday starts earlier and earlier. Our son is an early riser and even though we do not take him out of his crib when he wakes up and talks to himself, we are awoken bright and early by his meaningful ramblings.
We find that we are up and dressed long before most places are open. (We are quite thankful for our friends @Starbucks). We have the potential to accomplish more before 10:00 am on a Saturday than most people do in a weekend. Occasionally our timing works and we can. But usually it is a lot of in between times so we play on the swings or walk around the neighborhood.
We we cannot complain because our son wakes up happy. And he is quite happy to see us, but we would love to know what sleeping in until 7:00 am actually feels like. Those days are way in our distant future...
Our son has always been a fan of being outdoors. Lately, however, that is all he wants to do - go outside. As soon as he wakes up he runs to the front door or to the back of the house where his swing set is. He is not quite old enough to do it all himself - climb the ladder or go down the slide. He does it with our help but that does not stop him from trying to do it on his own.
He he has no fear. He has always loved when we pick him up and raise him up high or run around carrying him. The higher the better. The faster the better. He loves adventure and trying new things. Which is why he loves the swing set. Well, everything minus the swings. They are not a fan favorite at the moment. They will inevitably be back in the rotation like many other toys and activities that he loves one minute and drops like a bad habit the next.
We we chose our home and the neighborhood very careful with the hope that he would enjoy being outside and playing. We are very glad we did. He is not one of those children who wants a tablet or other electronic device. He actually enjoys fresh air and all the outdoors has to offer for him.
The smile on his face is worth every minute of being in the hot sun and picking him up and guiding him down the slide over and over and over. He smiles. He laughs. He plays.
We try to get our son to do as many different activities as possible (within reason). He goes to art class, he goes to music class, he goes to dance class, he goes to the museum, he goes to the park, he goes on playdates, etc. The point is we get him out of the house and doing things so he interacts with other children and learns new things every day.
His current favorite activity seems to be art class. Although he does not particularly care for the part where he gets paint on his hands. He has learned to solve that issue by wiping his hands on his clothes or on his mommy. Then he goes back to painting and then realizes he his dirty again and wipes it on himself. It is a cycle. And the reason he does not wear his Sunday's best to art class. Fortunately the paint comes off of him and his clothes fairly well in the bath or in the washing machine. (No, he has not been put in the washing machine).
When it is all said and done he comes out of class with his "art work" in hand and whatever paint colors that were used in class splattered on his arms, his face, his hair and his clothes. I have to admit I do not always understand how it gets in his hair. Be that as it may, he is grinning from ear to ear. And his masterpiece ends up being displayed proudly on the fridge until the next one arrives to take its place.
We have come to realize, time and time again, that the people in our lives who do not have a child simply do not get it. This includes parents and grandparents who no longer have children living in their home. It as if once a child moves out of a home, the parent forgets all they went through in raising that child.
Finding time to have friends and family come over, within our son's fairly structured schedule, is not as easy as you would think. There are certain times of the day when your child naps. There are certain times of the day when you know they are going to be tired and difficult to deal with. They have activities, meals, and all sorts of things. But most importantly, at least for us, the day revolves around our son's nap and sleep schedule.
We find the best time to have people over is around meal time. Our son is quite happy to sit and eat with us (though it's not always such a pleasant dining experience for us) and we can also use that time to talk with friends and family. But even the dining experience gets interrupted for various reasons. So if we want to have a meal with adults that is uninterrupted, it has to be a dinner after our son is in bed. Then we can relax a bit. (Whether it is relaxation or pure exhaustion can be debated).
Even when we have friends or family come over during these "best times," they still miss the point. They want to be center of attention which is simply not possible when you have a child. You are either feeding them, bathing them, chasing them around or somehow trying to entertain your child. They do not understand the need for quiet when our son is in bed. They do not understand why we are tired. They do not understand why we do not just sit him down in front of the television and walk away. If you are not a parent, you simply do not understand...
From the moment our children are born, they are learning, absorbing and trying to figure everything out. This will become more obvious as they grow and develop. They will also try to push their boundaries to see how far they can go, how much they can get away with, and how you will react.
We have learned a few lessons so far about how we react. If our son falls and we jump to react and make a big scene out of it, he reacts in kind. He cries, gets upset and is a little freaked out. If we react in a calm manner and do not make a scene, he generally gets right back up and keeps playing. He forgets fairly quickly about the fall as if it never happened.
All children will push the boundaries, some further than others. At an early age they may not clearly understand "yes" or "no," but they are aware they are doing something they should not be doing. It is these moments when they learn some discipline and begin to learn right from wrong. While this may not have an immediate impact or be obvious to them, it will carry with them as they develop and grow. It is important to set boundaries but not completely restrict our children from learning and having fun. If we do not start early, we cannot be upset when they are full grown and act out in inappropriate ways as an adult. We are their parents, we are not their friends...
I do not have to travel often for work, but from time to time I do. Typically when I travel I try to bring my wife and/or son with me depending on the situation. If I am going to travel, I much prefer doing so with my wife and son. They get to take a trip (when it is somewhere worthwhile) and I get to have them with me at the end of the day when my meetings or work is over for the day.
While there is certainly something to be said for not waking up to a screaming child or dog that needs to go out, it is also something I miss (I know, I know). We work hard to build a life and we want to be a part of it. There are mornings when I wake up and hope it was a bad dream. But once I get through that initial fog and annoyance at being awake so early, seeing our son's smile makes that all go away. It is really just not fair - how he can smile at us and we
I make a tremendous effort to be there with my son. I do not want to miss a thing - not a new word, not a new thing he can do, nothing. Being away on business trips make that difficult. But coming home makes up for it all. I get hugs, kisses, and smiles. And my son greets me as well...