Monthly Archives: December 2009

Farewell to 2009

As we close the door on 2009, I wanted to take a moment and wish all the readers of this blog the very best in the New Year.

Thank you for reading my blog over the past year. It was featured yesterday in WordPress’ Rising Blogs with over 380 hits coming in (the largest single-day haul in the history of the blog) and is fastly approaching now over 5,500 total hits. I never expected to see so much as 500 hits, let alone 11 times over.

I hope this blog has brought some happiness to your life. If nothing else, to at least see the growth of a human being from conception to (so far) four months. The physical and mental development of a baby is the spiritual and scientific miracle on this Earth. Parker has been, without a doubt, the greatest accomplishment of my life and not a day goes by when I don’t thank God for putting him in my life.

And of course, without my wife, none of this would be possible. She has been a wonderful spouse and a fantastic mother, and this journey is only as good as it is because of her.

From our family to yours, I wish you the very best 2010.

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Parker’s First Christmas/A Bit on Santa Claus

Parker’s first Christmas was very enjoyable as he had a lot of fun opening presents and spending time with his family. He received a TON of clothes and a lot of toys, all of which he looks very cute in. But I think he enjoyed the bows and wrapping paper the most.

We decided to stick to a fairly rigid nap/sleep schedule this time on vacation, and I think it helped a lot. Making sure he took naps during the day ensured that he would have enough energy to open presents throughout the day, and putting him to bed at his normal bedtime (we were also smart and brought our spare monitors this time) left him refreshed the following day. All in all, it was a much happier travel experience for everyone.

During our Christmas travels, we found a lot of opportunities to talk about Christmas tradition in our family. And eventually we got to the topic of Santa Claus. Before I go into more detail, know that we have not made a decision either way on the subject of Santa yet, but these were some of the thoughts we were having. This may even be very weird to some of you, but my wife and I are mulling over the possibility of not doing the whole Santa Claus-routine for Parker.

It’s not a matter of religiosity or Santa taking away the true reasons for Christmas, but rather we just really aren’t that big on the whole Santa thing in general.  We still plan to share with Parker the story of Saint Nicholas and the history of gift-giving and how it is in that spirit that we still give gifts to one another. And we are certainly not encouraging him to spoil it for other children.

We’ve floated this idea past a few of our close family and friends and have heard opinions from both sides of the argument. We still have some time before we have to make a decision on Santa, but it’s something that we’re mulling in our post-Christmas ponderment.

All in all, though, Christmas was a great time for all. Hope your holiday season was festive.

Four Month Checkup

We took Parker today to his four month checkup at the pediatrician’s. As he was destined to do, with two very average parents, Parker has leveled out at the 50th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference. He weighed 14 lbs 15 oz. and was 24 1/2 inches long!

The pediatrician was very impressed with his development: rolling over, sleeping through the night, not eating in the night, laughing, squealing, and sitting up (she even said he is sitting up to the point she would expect a six-month old to sit-up). He also got his four month round of shots and actually didn’t even cry (though he did ‘yell’ at the nurse). All in all, progressing just as well as we could possibly hope.

Tomorrow, I start my Christmas vacation and I’m looking very forward to the approaching holiday festivities, but also staying home with my son for his first Christmas. I hope to still get some blogging done here and there, but we’ll see. If not, I hope everyone has a very safe and fun holiday season!

Also, this post should boost the views to over 5,000! So thank you so much for reading this site over the past year.

Raspberries!

Many experts say imitation is the first phase of child development, a stage that will last from about four months through age six or seven.

In recent months, Parker has started responding to smiles, began ‘talking’ to us when happy, and giggling. Yesterday, however, he began what may be considered his first ‘imitation’…he blew raspberries back. If you’re not aware of what a raspberry is, it’s where one makes a noise by sticking the tongue between the lips and blowing (not unlike a mocking ‘fart’ sound).

It’s actually one of the more adorable things I’ve ever seen Parker do. For so long, he’s just been concentrating so hard on what we’re doing and to see him do it back yesterday was just precious. A baby’s brain is absolutely fascinating. Imagine, in the first three years of life, a baby learns to sit up, walk, and talk. A baby comes into the world not knowing language, or having full control of motor skills, but in a few short months, he/she begins using his/her voice, sitting up, rolling over. It’s an incredible feat of human development.

And while silly and simple, blowing raspberries may just very well be the first step in a lifetime of learning, one that leads him through walking and talking, years of formal schooling, college, and beyond. All starting with a silly little noise.

Surprising Things About Parenting

The other day I received an e-mail about “The Biggest Surprises of Being a Parent” from Babycenter and it got me to thinking, parenting is surprising. There were some things I was expecting that never happened, and things that I thought were impossible that came to fruition. So I started coming up with my own list, enjoy.

– Being a parent is easier than I thought. Now this mostly comes down to my irrational expectations of having to take care of a child, but being a parent is the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done. There are, of course, trying times and sometimes you just want to pull your hair out, but I can think back to some of the few restless nights when Parker was first born and being tired and frustrated at night, but waking up the next morning not even remembering it.

– Routines are key. All the baby books talk about ‘getting your child in a routine’, and for a while, you think you do, but when your baby is really in a routine, you know it. We know when he’s going to wake up, his moods during different times of the day, when he wants to nap, when he wants to eat, when he’ll break down, and when he’ll want to go to bed. We know what activity is going to make him the happiest at what time of day. Routine has made his and our lives so much more enjoyable.

– I sleep a lot more than I thought I would. In fact, I sleep more now than when I wasn’t a parent. We put Parker to bed at 8 p.m., so instead of staying up until 10 or 11, we just go lay down, too. Sure, we may read or talk for an hour, but if Parker decides to wake up a 4 a.m. (which he very rarely will), it’s a lot easier to get up too when you’ve slept for 8 hours. Plus, on the even more rare occassion that Parker takes a while to get to sleep, if it takes an hour for him to finally settle down, it’s still only 9 o’clock.

– A baby can lift your mood in a second. No matter how I feel during any given day, seeing my son makes me forget about it. Being his parent, his happiness and needs trump everything else.

– Parenting challenges one to be better and work harder. As he grows, I grow. He was simple as a newborn, he slept, ate, and slept. He moved into infancy and started wanting more interaction and stimulation. He’s now starting to figure out what he likes and doesn’t like, what works, and doesn’t work. And it’s only going to increase as he gets older. But in a way, you grow with your child. I think about when Parker is a toddler and how he’ll say “No” and start making his own decisions. It’s scary because you think about how you’ll have to handle a child that makes messes, and gets bratty. But it’s a growth process. Every day he grows, I need to grow. It’s not unlike school. Sure, as you go higher in grades, the material becomes tougher, you have to balance more independently, but you’ve prepared yourself because you’ve grown with each year. As a second grader, algebra sounded impossible. As an 8th grader, it was just the next math course.

– And finally, parenting is surprising. You seriously learn something new every day. For everything you teach your child, he or she teaches you something. If parenting is more stressful than fun, in my opinion, there’s something wrong. If your child can’t bring a smile to your face, even after a terrible day, then I’m sorry.

Be ready to adapt, be ready to have fun, be ready to be frustrated. Be ready to be surprised.