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Overnight Success
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This past week was encompassed with anticipation—excitement of spending a child-free evening with my wife, and a pinch of anxiety stirred in due to the growing restlessness of our teething daughter.  You see, my wife and I finally decided to schedule our daughter’s first overnight with my mother, her Mémère.  And although our daughter had been sleeping through the evenings, two new front-teeth had cropped up now causing her unrest.  This manifested itself as inconsolable evenings during bedtime, followed by several waking fits through the night.

The first step was keeping my parents in the loop on her behavioral patterns.  The second was ensuring their home was baby-proofed and that they had the necessary essentials (ex:  pack-and-play, baby-monitor, clothes, diapers, and food).  Once we reviewed with them our baby’s feeding schedule and nightly routines, the hardest part came next:  leaving our baby.  Luckily we were mentally prepared and simply kissed our distracted daughter as we said a happy good-bye and left.  The alternative, of course, would be breaking-down with sappy dramatics that would have caused our daughter to feel insecure.

The planned events for our date-night began with a finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  I’d be lying if I didn’t attribute some of our excitement for the evening towards us seeing the culmination of this franchise to its critically acclaimed ending.  We managed to catch some of the prequels replaying on ABC Family during the week leading up to its theatrical release.  And then we re-watched the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1 the evenings before our date.  With our daughter in safe hands, we were ready to enjoy the movie with each other’s company.

My favorite part of the film (and trust me, this isn’t a spoiler):  10-minutes of obnoxious and hostile dialogue from two self-absorbed women in attendance.  One was a juvenile who spouted colorful metaphors and then moved to another seat.  However unjustified, it was after being on the receiving end of hostile remarks for putting her feet upon a seat occupied by the parent of the other woman.  This other woman, being outwardly mature in appearance, then relentlessly pursued the juvenile physically and verbally; refusing to back down until she could convince the intimidated youth to resolve the conflict outside with a fight in the parking lot.  Luckily security intervened and escorted one group out (the juvenile and friend; voluntarily).  In my mind, it should have been the other woman and her parent.  I mean, seriously, who creates such a scene in a movie theatre over a ridiculous altercation like that.  I think we know who the real juvenile was that night.  And although I missed 10-minutes of dialogue, I was still unfazed in my enthusiasm; especially considering that I knew then it was going to be a free movie, as I would accept no less from the theatre’s management.

With the movie behind us, and twenty bucks back in our pocket, we continued our date to the next event—sushi.  The twenty went towards supplementing our dinner with drinks and desert.  We made it home late, enjoyed our quality alone time without children, and then crashed without the worry of awaking to a crying baby.  Instead, we woke to relaxing silence at 7 am, which is a marked improvement to the 5 or 6 am feeding times our daughter sometimes commands.  And although it was refreshing, it was also a little empty—missing our beautiful daughter’s wide grin and emphatic morning babbles.  We had a much-needed night alone, our batteries were recharged, and now we were ready to be back together as a family.  Our daughter’s overnight was a success!

Now this success isn’t measured purely on the ability for my wife and I to enjoy our time alone without children.   Or due to our realization that we miss our child and look forward to her coming home.  True success is measured in how well our daughter fared at my parents.  And it isn’t achieved without careful planning.  We checked-in a couple times between events, and were comfortable with our preparation and that of my parents.  We were relaxed because we knew she was safe, and we knew her success would be on how safe and comfortable she felt.  We were eager the next morning to hear how it went.  And to our relief, she was a perfect angel and went to bed with ease.  There was no late-night restlessness.  She slept through the night and woke happy with cheerful lallations.

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My So Called Over-Complicated Life
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I ran a mile and half today and it felt great. I haven’t run in over a year. In reality, with the exception of a few weeks of poorly training for a Muddy Buddy bike/run event that I did with my best friend a little over a year ago, it’s actually been many years since I’ve hit the pavement. And the funny thing is, that as enjoyable as the run was, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it again. Or maybe that’s more of a sad thing. And it’s essentially because I have no time. One of my good friends told me on several occasions that I needlessly complicate my life. He’s right.

I have a few traits that contribute to this phenomenon of self-complicating one’s life. First, I feel like my weekends are longer if I do something on Friday nights, so I generally like to plan something for those evenings. Second, my free time (like most people) primarily exists during the weekends, so my wife and I manage to schedule all the tedious tasks during that timeframe. Thirdly, I know my free time is limited, so I feel like I need to cram in visits from close friends and family in-between my many tasks. Factor in that I’m a father of two who works an average of 50-hours each week, that we just bought a house which needs lots of attention, and that I then try to relieve my wife by tending to our children when I can… and, well, you can see where this is going.

And I simply continue to pile it on. I try to plan date-nights, man-dates, visits to friends and family who have new arrivals. We have several weddings coming up, a baby shower, I want to visit my and my parent’s home towns up north, and my wife and I want to go to her mom’s house in Texas for Christmas. We had wanted to go to Greece in the next year or so, and can’t wait to get back to Paris so we can continue to explore Europe … but realistically, I’m not sure when we’ll ever finally work in those kinds of vacations. I mean, how much of what we have to do (not counting the dream vacations) will actually even happen … probably less than half. We’d be lucky if we get a third accomplished in the next two years, if they could all be spanned out that far. And I’m guessing it’ll be closer to five years before we start considering those dream vacations.

One of my closest cousins lives only an hour and a half away and I’ve not been able to visit him since before his wife was pregnant. They celebrated their daughter’s one year birthday a few months ago. And yet, none of that seems to stop me from wanting to do things like volunteer to help my old condo’s Budget Committee. I invested so much time in the Budget Committee the year before, and we made excellent progress. But it was the first of a series of steps that would need to occur over the course of a few years. And so I feel like I have an obligation to see it through. And yet, realistically, there is no time for it.

It’s almost like this is some form of masochism, except my vehicle for pain is stress; And I really don’t get off on being stressed, but I can’t seem to turn away from it and continue to want to do more; But now this stress is starting to wear me down; Not only me, but my family too. And I’ve got to stop, but I don’t know how … so I write instead … which, of course, is something else I enjoy doing, but have not time for.

But why do these things? I guess that’s the big question. Well, because they make me feel good. Because I feel needed. Because I feel like I’m contributing to some greater good. And maybe even just because I want to, and sometimes it’s just nice to do something I want to do instead of the many things I feel I have to do. This brings a song to mind. The chorus goes “You can’t always get what you want.” That’s right, “You can’t always get what you want…” which is how I feel. But is that really fair? I mean, sometimes some of the things you want end up being something that you need. I know I can’t give any justice to explaining it. But sometimes one just needs to do something to feel whole or feel like they contribute to more than just themselves or their family. I recall a little more to that song, “But if you try some time, you just might find… You get what you need.” And so I’m trying. Trying to run, trying to write, but probably not trying to participate in the Budget Committee. As much as I feel like I need to help them, I gave them a good enough start last year to keep the ball rolling. And in the end I do need to have some checks and balances. Hmmm… could this be a breakthrough. I may actually make it my cousins in the next year. Who knows, maybe I will even make it to Greece in the next year or so. Nah, who am I kidding.

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Extended Days: Daddy time
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Just a quick update on: recent changes coming with the shared-custody arrangements/scheduling between my son’s mother and I. For some time, I’ve been a proponent of increasing the number of days my son stays with me during the week. It’s a logical progression towards the full 50/50 shared-custody that will take place once he starts school (pre-k or kindergarten).

Soon after the divorce was finalized (almost a year in the making) I ran into some resistance whenever the topic of increasing my son’s time with me was broached. I was certain that the outcomes were due to residual enmity resulting from the circumstances which lead to our divorce (as I imagine is normal with most divorces). Only time could prove whether that was an appropriate assumption. So, here I am—a little over two years from the day she left with my son—and finding that perhaps time does heal some wounds, proving that my hopes at the time were well based.

With the communication improvements between me and my son’s mother, we’ve been able to discuss and agree upon the extending of an additional day during the time each week my son spends with me. This is being termed, “Daddy time”. At first we’ll introduce a new day every other week. Then that will bleed into an every week arrangement. I’ll have to work out some scheduling changes with work of course. And luckily I’ll be able to depend on my Fiancé and mother to help out during times that I’m at work to facilitate the additional Daddy time I’ll get to spend with my son. I am extremely excited and know I couldn’t have done this alone . . . So thank you to everyone who has been supporting me in these endeavors, and in giving me the opportunity to bond more with my son.

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Colby’s First X-Mas!!! Part 2….
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Colby’s first Christmas was a huge success!  It started basically with the annual Christmas Eve party at my mom’s house, December 24th.  Colby was able to meet the extended family, of brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.  Colby was the hit of the party!  Everyone commented on how well behaved and cute he was.  This makes me a very proud papa!  Colby usually has to nap, but on this evening, he was able to stay awake and alert for a long time, while continuing to be in a good mood and continue to learn his smiles!  He was smiling at all of the family, which was just adorable. 

Then we had a long day, on Christmas day as well.  We started by opening gifts at my house, that Santa left for Colby.  Well, he must have been a really good boy this year, or, in his four months of life, because Santa left him plenty of good toys.  After that, we went to my parents home to open more gifts, and had brunch.  After that, we went to my wife’s parent’s home, and again opened more gifts, and had dinner.  Colby was a real trooper throughout this long day.  He did take a long nap at my in-laws, in his pack and play, while we put some Christmas gifts together. 

All in all, it was a fantastic first Christmas for my son, Colby and his proud papa.  It was extremely joyous, and I look forward to many more!

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I have read and am concerned with SIDS, especially since I have just had a newborn.  Any recommendations of preventative measures against this issue, called SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)???