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Happy Mother’s Day
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The bedroom is dark. A faint blue hue blankets the room—its origin, the clock-radio that serves as an alarm during the work week. In the darkness, the soft blue extends and paints the silhouette of a once crib, now toddler bed. The glow rests as arches on each rail from the column of stacked spheres that make them up. Curved outlines of the rails glide down to a soft pillow that cradles the stirring head of my small boy. Previously a crescent of stillness curled on the edge of the mattress, he now sits up and calls out to me.

“Daaaaddy . . . Daaaaaaddy. Daddy, I wanna get up.”

Typically I would do what any sane father would do in the wee hours of the morning—play possum. On those occasions I would breathe silently and attempt to not move for fear that the slightest rustle might give way my true state; that I’m now awake. This is particularly important since we currently share the same room. If my silence was unconvincing and my son became persistent, then a glance at my nearby cell phone would confirm the early hour, and I’d call out to my son to go back to sleep. I too want to go back to sleep, and retrieve what little rest I can before the start of the morning. After all, I do have to keep after a boy who’s about to turn three.

But today is different. Today is Mother’s Day. And although this is my weekend and my time to spend with my son, he will be spending it with his mother. And she had requested to pick him up close to the time he generally wakes: six-thirty in the morning… I’ve given pause to allow that to sink in. Especially since I know that any parent whose child wakes early is going to fight for a little more sleep on their weekend; be it minutes or an hour. And let’s all be honest here, how many people are really and truly awake when their kids drag them out of bed. I’ll admit that I’m usually a shell of myself and walk as a zombie, seeking the TV for help, and hoping it distracts long enough for me to make coffee.

Granted, I get Father’s Day. But I would consider planning times that are more conducive for most people. Now in her defense, it did sound as though there was a need to amass with her family members early and depart to a hospital where her grandmother has been admitted during illness. And she was willing to pick him up instead of meeting somewhere half-way like we normally do. But still, six-thirty in the morning? I mean, they can’t be travelling more than ninety minutes, and I’m not even certain that visitation hours start that early. But who am I to question. It’s a holiday, and I don’t pry or care to know too much of his mother’s comings and goings. Only as far as my son’s well-being is concerned.

So it’s Mother’s Day and is five-thirty in the morning. I know, because I glanced at my phone before telling my son he can get up. And we’re up so I can spend time with him and play before he leaves in an hour. In three more days he’ll be gone for a little over a week. I’ll miss two of my days with him while he’s at a family reunion of his mother’s. And last night was an upsetting night for my little one because he went into time-out before we got him ready for bed. He threw an especially large fit for not wanting to clean up as it came time for his bath. We were all tired from the long day, and wore it on our face, and he then in his actions. Thus this morning was an opportunity to re-connect and bond again.

We played blocks, listened to counting songs, traced our numbers from one-to-ten. Afterwards we wrestled and found that his nails were long, so I carefully clipped them all back as he patiently watched and helped. Several times he hugged me, and told me he loved me. Then I received a text that his mom was fifteen minutes away. We changed his diaper (he wears pull-ups now and helps). And then I helped him dress. There was a short span where he was upset at having to take off his sleep shirt, but we quickly talked through it and he was happy again and excited at the prospect of wearing his green dinosaur shirt. His mom texted she was here. He gave kisses his own way—a bonk from his forehead, the rubbing of noses, pressing his right cheek against mine, the same on the other side with his other cheek, and then a firm hug. No more pecks on the lips from him, although he still wiped his mouth like we did. Then we walked down to meet his mom, so he can spend the day with her on Mother’s Day.

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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 4 months growth
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Colby’s 4 months growth!

My son, Colby, is just growing and growing!  Not so much, in the physical sense, I’m talking about the progression of his mental and emotional growth.  He is now, eating rice cereal from a bowl!!!

Yes, we are mixing a batch of this rice cereal for him, with formula, which he is eating twice and day.  And he is even eating this with a spoon!  Starting next week, he will have it three times a day.  It will be a breakfast, lunch, and dinner type of schedule with bottled formula in between rice cereal feedings.  So, his progress from just bottled formula to now eating rice cereal from a bowl with a spoon is definite advancement. 

Next, he is now able to reach the floor while he is in his walker, and is able to move a bit in it.  He has not quite figured out the whole moving forward, but he is able to move backwards and side to side.

And lastly, he is holding his head up with no problems, turning to hear voices, and learning to roll over.  It is all very exciting.  His four months growth is right on track or above, which makes this daddy very happy!

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SIDS….
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SIDS….

 

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)???

A glimpse into the other half
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An interesting thing occurred today. I had a bit of an epiphany—a glimpse into how the other half may live. And by other half, I mean my previous wife. I can’t take full credit for it. I was lead there by my future wife. That’s right; I’m engaged now, and planning to marry early next year. I tend to stay guarded about these aspects of my personal life, so this may come as a surprise for some. I’m about to head off on a tangent though, so I’ll have to write about my engagement another time… for now, back to my epiphany.

Being divorced with a child means shared custody. Two households, two different parents, being raised two different ways. Those who may have read previous posts might realize that communication is the key in a circumstance such as this. But it doesn’t always mean there is a united front. Let’s be real, there are two households for a reason.

Of course, there is history, and in many cases harbored animosity (I’m sure I’m alone here *wink*). So that distance allows for misinterpretation. I know I love to speculate how things may be with his mother and her household, especially when I can allow for it to explain the new behavior in my 2 ½ year old. I’d mention this new behavior to his mother and hear her describe how she tries to counteract it, dismayed as it mirrors my own actions. She can’t be doing it right, I tell myself, Certainly she’s done something that caused or warrants this new behavior.

And that’s when my future wife brought something to my attention—the epiphany. I was drained, having just dropped off my son. The last several hours of our time together had been very trying. As we drove home, I pointed out to her how he was acting once he knew we were taking him to his other home. And she simply said, “I’m sure his mom has difficulty disciplining him when he comes home from our house.”

Then it hit me… He is difficult for me during the transitions. But as they get closer, I always receive calls from his mom where he’s been acting up. It was like the curtains were momentarily pulled back so I could actually see into this other household. She does experience the same thing we do. As I marinated in this thought, another one hit me just as hard. These different new behaviors he exhibits as he gets older are just that, new things he’s learning and tries; new to me and new to his mom.

Perhaps this seems simple and obvious, but for many parents in separate households, it becomes easy to blame the other parent for your child’s behavior. It’s important to remember your child is a person too. Look at how to guide your child appropriately and seek the help of the other parent. Remember, they’re seeing this too, and while you may think it came from their house, they may be thinking it came from yours.

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