Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Dad Files Months 17-18: Painting with Spaghetti, The Scientist, and Tantrums

With entry into the full on toddler phase comes the continued strong opinions and tantrums. These can include the bucking bronco, arms flailing, flinging himself while hands filled with poop diaper changes and may require multiple adults to get him properly changed. There can be a roller coaster of emotions as sometimes he wants you to hold him and 5 seconds later he pushes you away and then implores you to pick him back up immediately after putting him down. If you and your wife try to hug each other, he may express jealousy or push you away if she's holding him and you try for a group hug. On the especially grumpy days, a visit outside with a change of scenery or taking him for a walk can reset his mood and makes for a much better experience all around.

With lots of doctor and urgent care visits he may begin to develop an aversion to medical providers and will express great displeasure with them even being in the same room as him. Distraction tactics like playing with a toy, singing songs, etc. may need to be employed to allow nurses and doctors to check his pulse or use their stethoscope to examine him.

It's probably true throughout all of life but especially at this stage the toddler is essentially a scientist who is exploring, experimenting, and figuring out the world. What is edible, how do drawers open and close, if I yell what response does that get me, learning words to communicate and name different items, learning how to balance and walk while standing up, how to pet the kitty with gentle hands, and how to turn the sippy cup so he can get the last bit out using a straw.

With language development, you will see a progression from single words and unintelligible sounds to unrelated words grouped together such as "all done moo kitty," to two word sentences with meaning such as "no mama" "no dada." When putting him to bed if he wants you to leave and says "bye bye" and you haven't quite finished your special time with him, it can be a little sad.

Daylight savings time does not exist in the toddler's world. What previously was a 5:45 am wake up time for him will become a 4:45 am wake up due to an unrelenting circadian rhythm. You can get him back on track but it will take some grumpiness late in the day to push his bed time late enough so he'll sleep according to the new time.

In helping him learn to walk while giving him your fingers or hands to hold on to, you can direct his path similar to leading someone in dancing. Otherwise, he'll roam free range around whatever area you're in. This new mobility will also allow him to take energetic and noisy laps around the house while holding on to a horse, shopping cart, or other object with wheels. Those first few independent steps are exciting for everyone but will require lots more practice. He can get a little over eager when walking between parents and it will seem more like controlled falling at times.

His new found strength and fine motor skills can result in pulling off a bib if that doesn't suit his preference. This also can turn dinner time into a finger painting with spaghetti art project that covers toddler, his plate or tray, the floor, walls, you and anything else he flings sauce at. Taking off articles of clothing to save on additional laundry work is not a bad idea. It's also highly recommended to change out of work clothes before feeding him any sauce oriented meal.

Swimming lessons can be fun, water torture, or somewhere in between. You will learn many songs as you splash and play, splash and play and dunk the toddler under the water. Swim lessons at this age are supposed to help develop core strength, coordination, comfort level with the water, and how not to drown.

It's lots of fun to see all the new developments he's making but they also bring new challenges. Keep savoring each moment, each day, and record videos and take pictures since it passes quickly. Love him, sing to him, read to him, play with and pray for him. The Lord is on the journey with you and will guide you in it.

In pursuit of His best,


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Eulogy for My Granddaddy Clatie Lewis

A heart for Jesus, industrious, generous, resourceful, intelligent, forgiving, and an unwavering faith in God describes my granddaddy.

Clatie Floyd Lewis was the first son and second baby born to John Terry and Martha Ann Shaffer on March 5, 1925 out in the country in Webster County, Mississippi. His parents and grandparents for generations back were mostly farmers living off the land. From research we’ve done they seemed to have been mostly of the Baptist and Presbyterian faiths.

Regarding how his parents decided on his name Granddaddy said, “I was named after a fellow in the community who went to fight in WWI, his name was Clatie. He was a fine young man but was killed in the war. To honor him they named me Clatie.”

When Granddaddy was just 4 years old the Great Depression hit and significantly affected his life. The house and farm his dad had bought were foreclosed on when they couldn’t make the payments as a result of declining crop prices and losing his school bus route. By the time Granddaddy was 7 years old he was pulling a plow with a mule named Lou in rented fields helping to grow crops—cotton, corn and hay. Because his dad needed him to help with the farm, he attended school sporadically.

Finally, during the winter of 1940 The Farm and Home Administration had a resettlement program. They loaned my great-granddaddy, John Terry $550 to buy a 60-acre farm in the Edgeworth Community near Eupora, Mississippi. Granddaddy and his brothers were able to cut timber off the land and build a modest 3-bedroom house for the family of 10. It had wood-burning fireplaces for heat and a wood burning stove to cook on. When Granddaddy was in the U.S. Army, he sent money back home so that his dad was able to pay his 40-year loan off in just five years.

Soon afterward in December of 1943 at the age of 18, Granddaddy was drafted into the army during World War II. Because of his past experience cutting hair, when they were in Italy he got to cut people’s hair at 10 cents a head instead of having to do drills with everyone else.

One night while spending time close to the German lines in southern France, Granddaddy said he was lying there in his tent listening as the German shells went off not far away. “I had my Bible. It was dark and I said, “Lord, if you will get me out of here then I’ll serve You all the rest of my life”.

Days later Granddaddy recalls they were waiting around in the camp with the Germans getting closer. “It was cold outside. I had a cup of coffee I’d just made. Even though I’d just made it, something told me to go over and warm up my coffee. As I picked up my right foot— ‘bling’—right where my foot would have been, a piece of shrapnel landed. If my foot had been there, it would have torn my foot off. I knew then, God told me to warm my coffee.”

Eventually, Granddaddy’s unit was hiding out in the basement of an abandoned house. During the night the Germans shelled the building and blew the huge five-inch-thick doors wide open. The force from the shell blew them all down. Granddaddy was diagnosed with a concussion and shell-shock. After 9 months in the hospital, he was honorably discharged on June 2, 1945 with a bronze star medal.

Grandaddy didn’t originally graduate from high school but when he got out of the army, he showed the school administrator his army general classification test and based on his excellent scores they gave him a certificate.

Grandmamma and Granddaddy met while attending Clarke College. Originally, grandmamma was dating his friend Ray. Ray told him that Maxine might like Clatie and that he should take her on a date so he did and that night granddaddy thought God told him that she would be his wife. His sister Florence said I know you and I know Ray and one of you is going to get hurt. Granddaddy said “well it’s not going to be me.” And that worked out well for all of us.

Granddaddy and Grandmamma were married in December 1946 and raised four children together. Grandmamma said: “Clatie caught my attention because he applied himself to his lessons, he worked in a barber shop to make extra money and attended church regularly.” She wanted a husband who was a good Christian, who wasn’t lazy and would make a good living for his family. She said, “God helped me find Clatie and I haven’t been disappointed.”

After school, Granddaddy became a CPA and an auditor for several government agencies and moved his family whenever he could get a good job with a raise. He finished his professional career with the Federal Highway Administration in Atlanta overseeing seven southeastern states. He often traveled for work and because of his frugality rather than spending his travel per diem and 7 cents per mile, he used to save the money up and buy a new car for the family with it.

Granddaddy delighted in doing things for others and was always very generous with his time. He did many tax returns for friends and acquaintances but never charged them. After retirement, he took classes and learned to refurbish old computers at the charity, FODAC where they were sold at affordable prices to those in need. He would cut the grass in his yard on a riding lawn mower and sometimes even drove across busy Chamblee-Dunwoody Road to cut the neighbor’s grass.

He loved visiting people for the church. If Granddaddy was in town, he took a partner and went visiting most Tuesday nights. On many Sundays he went to nursing homes to sing with the residents, give a devotional and visit with them. When Miss Millie, his little dog came into his life, he took her with him.

Besides being generous with his time, Granddaddy was also generous with his money. His family had very little growing up. He pinched pennies all of his life but was willing to share with others. After they got married, he and Grandmamma bought his parents a refrigerator so Granddaddy’s family could keep their food cold. They were faithful tithers to their church and paid for each of their children to get college or technical training after high school so they didn’t accumulate debt. He said ‘I can’t take it with me’ and whatever someone needed whether family or others, he was willing to help them. I also remember him being generous with his Bubblicious bubble gum when I was a kid.

Granddaddy was very resourceful and skilled at fixing things and if you needed some work done just let him know and he would work it into his schedule. He came to all of his children’s houses many times to change out commode parts, install a ceiling fan, hang wall paper, paint, or put in a hardwood floor. He was also his own mechanic. One time as our family was preparing for a trip to Nashville the water pump went out on our Oldsmobile Cutlass. We left it at Granddaddy’s house and when we returned, he had replaced the water pump. I also remember him helping me change the oil in my car when I was in high school.

Finding his way around came easily for Granddaddy before the days of GPS. He had a keen sense of direction and was good at reading a map. He also did many ‘dry runs’ with Grandmamma helping her find a place she needed to drive to.

When Grandmamma and Granddaddy lived in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Granddaddy drew up the plans for the house he wanted to build. Uncle Buford came from southern Mississippi and helped him build it. He and Grandmamma did a lot of the work themselves. Aunt Patricia and Mamma visited Clarksdale a few years ago and saw that the house was there and still in a good neighborhood. The carport had been enclosed and a room was added to the back of the house.

After living in Decatur, Alabama for several years, Granddaddy drew up plans for another house. Sunday afternoons were spent driving around town looking at new houses and getting ideas. This house was close to a nature reserve so the family’s little beagle could roam at night.

Atlanta, Georgia was the last city the Lewis family moved to and called home. A friend at church was selling lots in the Gainsborough subdivision so Granddaddy bought a lot on the corner of Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. and Chancery Lane. He was the architect and general contractor for this home too and lived in it for 59 years.

Granddaddy had a big garden in the backyard growing mostly tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and butter peas. When my mom was young sometimes he would cut a sucker off a tomato plant and give it to her to put in the ground and grow her own tomato plant. He always grew many more tomatoes than he needed so he could share with family, friends and neighbors. Grandmamma would cook these vegetables for Sunday lunch each week and freeze extra for the winter. Granddaddy was an appreciative eater and would often say that’s the best tea, meal, or dessert I’ve ever had.

The summer between my mom's Freshman and Sophomore years in college Granddaddy got her a job with the North American Acceptance Corporation as an operator taking down credit information. It was located in the same office building that he worked at so he let her ride with him to work every day.

Granddaddy liked to play with words and we called these ‘Clatieisms’. If you said you don’t want him to catch your cold, he’d say I won’t take it. When telling him goodbye, you say bye and he’d say sell. If you asked him if he wanted a roll at dinner, he’d say I’d rather walk. If you tried to call Granddaddy on the phone and couldn’t reach him, you’d call back later and say, “I tried to call you”, he’d say “you didn’t holler loud enough.” If you said I finally got you on the phone. He’d say, “what are you going to do with me now?”

It’s not easy to excuse people who have wronged you and Granddaddy had a sensitive spirit but with God’s help, he had an incredible capacity to let go of things that hurt him. He was very forgiving. If someone had treated him poorly in the past, he was able to forgive and let bygones be bygones. He didn’t hold grudges.

Granddaddy had an unwavering faith in God. My mom remembers him many times working to fix something and when things weren’t going well, he would thank God for helping him and continue to work. He eventually got it fixed and would praise God for the results. This encouraged all of us to trust God and expect Him to help us.

Granddaddy had a faithful prayer life and a heart for others and wanted everybody to go to heaven. He learned some techniques through Campus Crusade and shared Jesus with everyone he met; whether at the gas station, the drug store, at the mall, or on the bus. He enjoyed sharing about how Jesus had worked in his life and did some preaching and singing at the Atlanta Union Mission downtown as well as at his church.

In his later years, Granddaddy continued to trust God for what he needed. He had some health issues where he couldn’t remember things like he used to but he actually knew Joshua’s name and would ask about him. It was so fun to see the two of them interact. He kept a good attitude, stayed positive, and walked a mile or more everyday in the neighborhood up until about a year ago. He said the doctor told him if he kept walking that he wouldn’t ever stop. When I would walk with him he’d say “keep on walking and walk right into paradise.” 

He also had an incredibly strong grip even at the age of 98 and liked to let people know it when shaking their hand or with a vigorous back rub. On Sundays, I’d give him a back rub and he’d say I’ll give you 30 minutes to stop that and often he’d get up and return the favor. When I’d encourage him to have a good day while saying goodbye; he’d say, “I’ve decided to.” I loved this attitude and how he continued to live life to the fullest even in his later years.

My mom once entered and won a contest where she shared the best advice your dad ever gave you. This is what she summarized from his life. “When running life’s obstacle course, stop along the way to help those who can’t get over the hurdles. The winner is the one who brings the most people to the finish line.”

Granddaddy was faithful to his promise to God when he was in the tent in southern France. He was a devoted servant and follower of Jesus Christ all the days of his life. In 2 Timothy 4:8, it says there is a crown of righteousness in heaven in store and I’m sure he heard well done good and faithful servant when he arrived.

We praise God for my Granddaddy’s life!

Monday, September 04, 2023

Dad Files Months 14-16: Tiny But Sharp Teeth, Uh Oh, and Strong Opinions

Baby will make some definite transitions to the early toddler stage. This can involve strong opinions as to how the world should be including food that will pass agreeably into his belly, willingness towards bedtime or naptime, snuggling or not, and what he wants to play with. Communication capability is growing as he develops more words as well as arm control with direction of desired or undesired objects by pushing and pulling. Words include No, woah, wow, all done, kitty (he loves the kitties, chasing them, petting them, and watching them run around), uh oh, more, yai, boo, nay, moo, up, thank you, didi, dada, daddy, mama, baba, hi, hey, bye, ball, go (the oh sounds are especially cute).

In regards to eating, there will be things he really likes and others that he really doesn’t. These can switch categories on a daily basis. When he’s done eating or doesn’t want something, he may pick it up and deliberately drop it or throw it on the ground. When coupled with him saying “uh oh” it will call into question if he comprehends the difference between “uh oh” and “on the floor on purpose.” Try not to laugh.

When holding baby, you may suddenly feel a sharp piranha bite sensation on your shoulder, arm, or other body part near baby’s mouth. This isn’t malicious but everything including you are fair game as his chompers explore the world.

As he cruises, pulls up to tables and see objects whether books, food, or breakable things he will attempt to throw or push everything on the floor with clean plate syndrome vigor. Be forewarned and secure items that would have a better resting place than the floor. On the positive side, this increased hand and arm control introduces new possibilities for activities with balls which is fun to play with him.

A book we read said that this is best understood as the caveman stage and communication in short words or phrases is most effective with the goal to match and capture the emotion. He may hit objects, tables, bang toys, plates, cups, or silverware, drop or throw things and generally make a lot of noise. Teaching him to use his gentle hands will go far in keeping yourself, cats, and breakable objects in a healthier state. Loud yells when he’s excited about life, mad, or doesn’t want to go to bed also support this theory.

Toys will occupy every room of the house and if you're not diligent with pick up and restoration to their original location, bright colored plastic will infest every surface of your home with an obstacle course winding throughout. There are more toys than you would imagine that make loud and annoying sounds or sing cloyingly cringy songs. No judgement if the batteries conveniently find their way outside of the toy or it's turned off permanently.

As he’s learning to walk, it’s fun to watch him push a table or chair across the room. With significant mobility now, stairs must be monitored closely. On this topic, baby can surprise and scare you and your spouse by climbing independently up the stairs when each of you thought the other was watching him only to look over and see him cresting the top of the stairs unassisted and unmonitored. Install baby gate pronto.

Holding his hands as he learns to walk can put a strain on the back so be sure to stretch and bend your knees. A trip to the beach can yield benefits in learning to walk as well as general fun playing in the sand

though when he eats some sand, it will put an end to the day as curious baby turns into grumpy baby.

He will now largely be feeding himself with his hands and it’s especially fun to watch him double fist peanut butter pancakes. If done when he’s tired, there’s the added benefit of rubbing peanut butter all over his face. Have fun getting that cleaned up with your tired caveman.

He continues to enjoy reading books and especially likes the ones with flaps or slides that he can pull in and out. Sandra Boynton books have been favorites as well as the Peekaboo book series. If reading paper page books vs. board books, hold the book strategically since eager reader, page turning hands can render the paper worse for the wear. 

Ear tubes make a big difference in the number of ear infections though you and he are still subject to the sickness of the week at daycare.

While much of his communication the past 16 months has been related to expressing his many needs, it will warm your heart when he crawls over to you, says your name, and wants you to pick him up just because he’s excited to see you. With so many developmental milestones occurring during this time, celebrate each one and be careful about comparing your child to another. God has designed him uniquely and will help him grow and develop exactly as He has planned. He's a great blessing and your job is to love, protect, pray for, sing to, teach, play with and provide for him, give him your time, energy and attention, and facilitate an environment where he can learn, grow, have fun, and enjoy being a boy and your son.

In pursuit of His best,


Sunday, June 11, 2023

Dad Files: Months 11 through 13: Dive Bombing, Windmill Arms, Words, and Introductory Walking

Baby will begin to stand with assistance, pull up on his own, cruise along a table, or walk with you holding his hands. Monitor stairs in the house closely because baby now possesses skills to climb. When holding him, baby will dive bomb by shifting his weight and dropping towards the desired target as he sees people, animals, or things that he wants. At other times, he will maintain a tight koala bear grip on you. 

The use of hands and arms has advanced so that they seem like windmill arms in turning pages on books, pushing you or unwanted food away and grabbing anything of interest in sight. As soon as objects he's playing with lose their appeal, he will promptly throw them on the floor.

With significant army crawling ability, baby will commando his way rapidly across the room, down the hall, or towards the stairs. Of particular focus for the attentive dad is preventing him from eating cat food since his fascination with it results in relentlessly making a bee line for the cat food bowl. It may be related to the relative similar size of Cheerios which is a favorite authorized food. All cats in the house must stay vigilant with his increased mobility in order to stay a step ahead and keep tails safe from curious little hands. If you've not begun baby proofing the house by now, that should become a high priority.

Baby will roll, flip, kick, thrust himself backward, and wiggle while you're trying to change diapers or clothing. You may develop new methods for accomplishing these tasks such as changing a diaper while holding onto baby's leg with him upside down, doing a handstand and pulling on the changing table while playing with a stuffed animal. You may also need to employ jui jitsu and/or judo moves to keep baby positioned so you can complete the necessary diapering and clothing duties.

As baby graduates to table food, lots of fun but messy experiments commence, spaghetti sauce and noodles everywhere, Cheerios or cracker crumbs covering baby and the surrounding floor, crushing watermelon with his bare hands and juice running down his face and all over clothing and table. For those items that he needs assistance eating, it may feel at times like a dinner theater with all the songs, funny noises, and facial expressions used to entertain and get him to open his mouth and eat. In order for you to get adequate nourishment yourself, you may need to employ the baby takes a bite, you take a bite method. At the first birthday, there will be the obligatory smash cake with baby crushing the cake and smearing icing all over himself, clothing, you, and generally anything within reach. As fun as the pictures can be, limiting baby's sugar intake is wise.

With his new teeth, seven at the moment, also comes the need for brushing them. This is another fun adventure as baby tries to lick or eat the toothpaste but with practice and a steady hand you can eventually get a version of clean teeth accompanied by a few sips of water.

From a new words perspective, baby will call most things "da" or "ah da di" despite efforts to the contrary by his mother. On rare occasions, he may say "ma ma." Other words include "ki ki" for kitty, occasionally "hi" or "hey," and "ba" which can refer to other objects or people. 

Baby's greater awareness of the world, who you are, and the existence of strangers will bring with it separation anxiety when you drop him off at day care. It can crush your heart to hear him cry as you hand him off or set him down and then leave the room. Most of the time, he'll be fine in a couple minutes and it's nothing that a handful of Cheerios can't solve from a caring day care provider. On the other side, reunification can be heart warming and really fun as baby recognizes and is excited to see you.

At the one year pediatrician checkup, the doctor said we'd filled out our full merit badge for illnesses over the past year including RSV, Covid, a new cold or cough on average every two weeks, 10 ear infections, and hand, foot and mouth. As a candidate for tubes, we decided to move forward with that recently and it seems to have made a big improvement especially from a crawling and walking skills perspective. 

You go through a lot with baby in a year both positive and challenging and it can be easy in the moment to forget that you're both making a lot of progress. When you're out and and about, you'll see other parents with babies that are younger than yours and you'll feel a certain kinship with them and also a growing bit of confidence of a seasoned veteran.

Story, singing, and prayer time each night becomes a special tradition and closes out a day nicely as you hand him off to God to watch over during the night.

In pursuit of His best,


Saturday, March 04, 2023

Dad Files: Months 8 to 10 Clapping, Roly Poly, Babbling, Catch and Release Games

Baby will learn to exert his will in accepting or refusing food into the mouth when feeding with a spoon. This may be due to texture, taste, boredom, distraction, or he's just full. If baby sneezes while a spoonful is near his mouth, you may find yourself sprayed with lots of green stuff especially if the spoon includes vegetables. Baby food choices can be interesting with combinations of kale/chickpeas/bananas, pear/peas/spinach among others. I don't know that I'd eat these combinations especially as the first meal of the day but baby does pretty well and the fiber helps keep things moving regularly to the diaper.

Bibs are highly recommended and will result in greater laundry duties if not utilized. Personally, I enjoy the superhero bibs. A basket of baby's laundry can be deceptive in the size to time ratio required for laundry prep. Though small in size, almost all garments require attention with spraying dirty spots in advance of washing.

Baby's first two teeth came in on Christmas so he got the same wish as the two front teeth from the song. While teething can be uncomfortable for a few days, ear infections are pretty rough too with goop oozing out and baby not feeling good. It can appear that a candle factory has set up shop with the quantity of ear wax produced. Several trips to urgent care may be required if these occur on weekends or after the doctor's office closes.  

Lots of baby clapping "Yay baby" will occur at a variety of times. Babbling sounds include ah di di, ma ma ma, da da, ba ba ba, ah wa wa. This is in addition to laughing and loud velociraptor screams.

Fine motor skills will improve dramatically with baby grabbing everything within reach, playing with them 10 to 15 seconds then throwing them on the ground. This catch and release game should be monitored closely if in public so an errant ball doesn't roll under another restaurant guest's table or church attendee's pew across the aisle. Learning discreet ways of retrieving said objects will serve you well. A pro tip is to attach the toys using a clip to baby's clothing so they don't travel far and your retrieval work is reduced.

Baby will occasionally dance by popping his chest and moving up and down. 

Ambulatory activities include turning into a roly poly as he rolls back and forth across the room as well as belly crawling and trying to figure out reciprocal crawling. Baby will gain strength and the ability to stand up with assistance. As he learns to sit on his own, watch out if he flings himself backward. Positioning a pillow or soft surface behind him is helpful if you're not immediately beside him. 

In pursuit of His best,


Monday, December 05, 2022

Dad Files: Months 6 and 7 Solid Food, Sickness, Hand Control, and Holiday Travel

Tis the season...for RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus). As mentioned in a previous dad files edition, daycare is a great delivery mechanism for spreading sickness among children and their parents. RSV can be a serious illness in children and thankfully we got through it though it was rough for baby and me for about 10 days and we took a couple trips to urgent care between the two of us. Caring for a sick baby with a 102 degree fever yourself is not fun but you can get some good snuggles from baby if you're aware enough to enjoy them. Incidentally, sometimes healthcare providers are very helpful and recommend tools like the NozeBot which is fantastic at removing snot from the nasal passage. Other times, they may diagnose your child with a crack in his hiney.

Baby has developed much greater dexterity and control of his hands which can result in activities such as grabbing you by the throat while burping him implying "GIVE ME MORE MILK!," apprehending the hand sanitizer container while you're changing his diaper, and undoing his own diaper after you've put a new one on and are in the midst of re-clothing him. You will also want to be conscious of drawstrings on a hoodie or jacket because baby may not let go even when you put him down or hand him off and give you a good yank. The consumption of reading material during story time takes on new meaning as baby grabs pages, puts them in his mouth and chews on them. So far he's not "digested" any books yet.

As he moves beyond only consuming milk, the introduction of solid foods also introduces a change in the output to diaper. Solid food = solid poo. This can sometimes work in your favor with a less runny diaper but can also be very messy and smelly. During the past month's diaper changes I've been working on a song with the lyrics "got a dirty diaper if you know what I mean, got a dirty diaper and it needs to be clean." As baby masters sounds like blowing raspberries, he may do this with increasing frequency. Pray that it's not during church. During diaper changes, blowing raspberries are his way of mocking you...PPPPHTHHHTTT....heh heh heh you have to change another diaper ....PPPHHTTTHTHTT...heh heh heh I've got something else coming out right now.

Learning to feed baby with a spoon can be an adventure as he figures out how to maneuver his tongue. Sometimes he'll be very interested and get excited, kicking his legs and pounding his hands for more as he tries tasty foods. Other times he'll be totally uninterested and you'll resort to any manner of method to get food into him like pretending the spoon is an airplane, acting like you're eating the food yourself, making silly noises, or opening and closing your mouth repeatedly an inch from his face. Getting through a 2 ounce container of food can seem as daunting as trying to fill up a bathtub a spoonful at a time.

This high chair has fed 3 generations of children

I've heard it said that feeding a baby can be like trying to put toothpaste back into a toothpaste tube and it's an apt analogy. Bibs are highly recommended and will save you laundering time later on. Super hero bibs add an element of fun to meal time though baby may decide he wants to play with, pull off, or try to eat the bib. You will develop strategies like simply putting food on the bib or his hands since he's sticking them in his mouth anyway rather than letting you get a spoon in.

With holiday travel to visit family and friends, it behooves you to keep baby on schedule as close as possible. He can get over stimulated being passed from person to person coupled with long car rides and interrupted or no naps. After one event, baby was so tired that he fell deep asleep on the back seat of the car while I was changing him. All of these factors together can result in a very grumpy baby by the time the day is over. Remember, you're the parent and you get to choose what's best for baby.

In pursuit of His best,


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Dad Files 5 Month Insights: Daycare, Carseats, Overnight Solo Parenting

Handing over your most precious person in the whole world for the first time to essentially a stranger at daycare and hoping they take care of him is challenging emotionally. Over time, you and baby will get to know the daycare workers and develop a relationship with them as they partner with you in his development. 

While you'd love for baby to never get sick, entering the halls of this institute of care is also germ central and will almost definitely result in a cough and cold within a few days of starting. There's nothing quite like seeing a booger encrusted classmate crawl towards your baby and reach out a slobber and snot filled hand to welcome him to the cold crew. Baby will subsequently have essentially a continuous cold and cough for the next few months. 

Listening to your baby coughing and sneezing while you can't do anything about it is hard. Boogie Wipes will become your new friend in the next weeks and months. You too may share in the new colds passed along from baby as he coughs or sneezes in your face. On the bright side, baby should have a rock solid immune system by the time he starts kindergarten.

As you take on the responsibility of drop off and pick up from daycare, time should be allotted to get baby dressed, bottles prepped and labeled, extra clothing changes, and a well stocked diaper bag plus some extra margin as baby requires. Don't be late for pick up; they're strict about that cutoff time and charge by the minute if you're late. 

If you're heading to the office following drop off, you'll want to be especially careful to dodge any spit up that may occur between home and hand off and it wouldn't hurt to keep a change of clothes in the car just in case. This can easily occur on the pick up side as well especially if they've fed baby immediately prior to pick up. Also possible is a blow out that you realize when you first smell then feel the sticky wetness on your own clothing as the transmission from baby to you occurs while walking to the car.

Sometimes you may split drop off and pickup responsibilities with your spouse. If you only have one car seat, you'll want to coordinate in advance to not get caught without the seat. It's a surprise if your wife leaves before you with the car seat but you are dropping baby off at daycare. Hope that you can get some work done at home because you're not going anywhere till she returns to trade off the car seat. Alternatively, if you leave with car seat but not baby and she is in charge of baby, you may get a call shortly into the work day resulting in a return home to trade off car seat. 

The first multi night solo parenting experience will make you appreciate single parents and the challenges they go through even more with the weight of all responsibilities and care taking falling fully on you. You will be very thankful when your wife returns home.

Baby will increasingly smile, laugh, babble, and explore introductory motions towards crawling as he gets stronger with lots of tummy time sessions. You can have fun baby sound conversations with him even if neither of you use a distinguishable language. Laughing with him is also a joyful experience for all involved. 

He will begin watching you from across the room and pay close attention to things of interest like the milk bottle or favorite toys. You may attempt feeding baby rice cereal or other foods like sweet potatoes. It's an experience as baby learns about spoons and how to get food down the hatch rather than spiting it out on clothing and generally all over his face.

In pursuit of His best,


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