Tag Archives: newborn

1 Week Old

10 Mar

Dodge is just over a week old and I still love him.  He sleeps most of the time…or eats…sometimes he poops.  If you change his diaper he pees on you.  He smiled for the first time this weekend and so far his sleeping is amazing!  He naps the same time as his 2 year old brother Max, only wakes up occasionally at night, and is pretty much a calm little dude.


Max Is Big Boy Now?

8 Mar

Ryan and DodgeBrining home a new baby can be a lot of change for a toddler, and there was no exception for our 2-year-old Max when he met his little brother Dodge last week.  Things started of fine with hugs and kisses but have daily descended into the expected pit of regression as Max acts out in an attempt to still be “the baby.”  Temper tantrums, fake crying when Dodge cries, insisting that Dodge’s toys are his, and everything else you’d expect from a toddler robbed of being an only child.  I feel bad for him…but at the same time I’m suddenly aware of how stinky and massive he is. Max is not a baby…he’s a big hulking kid.

The hardest part in all this is that Dodge got all tangled up during birth so we had to have a C-Section…meaning Kate can’t lift Max.  So not only is he coping with not being the baby, he has to do it without Mama picking him up.  It’s a lot for a little guy to digest.

wpid-IMG_0640.jpgI’m working from home this week but fully aware of the fact that next week we need some solutions for how Kate will be able to handle both Max and Dodge…so we started celebrating “Big Boy Moments!”  Max can already go up and down the stairs all on his own so even if it is me (who can lift him) he’s been asked to walk on his own like a “big boy.”  Diapers can be changed on the floor, he can get in and out of his car seat in Mama’s car, he can sit at the table and feed himself.  He’s pretty much fully prepared to be a big boy with the exception of one thing…the crib.

Max In Crib

Max In Crib

Knowing it was a lot to throw at Max all at once, I took the front of the crib off and threw a “Big Boy Bed Party” for Max which pretty much consisted of showing him the bed and reading books with him in bed.  Max was very excited to have a bed that was just the right size for him and loved crawling in and out of it at his leisure.  We discussed the rules of the bed and how once it was night-night time he had to stay in the bed.  He agreed.  Then it was nap time…and the true test.  Would he stay in bed?  I tucked him in, kissed him goodnight, then left to observe from the camera.  This is what I saw:

Max touches the floor to see how far it is and prove he can reach it.

Max touches the floor to see how far it is and prove he can reach it.

Now two hands on the floor...still technically in bed.

Now two hands on the floor…still technically in bed.

Next Max sends his favorite stuffed animal "Muffin" out to test the waters.

Next Max sends his favorite stuffed animal “Muffin” out to test the waters.

As Muffin has survived the floor test it is clearly safe to add more stuffed animals.

As Muffin has survived the floor test it is clearly safe to add more stuffed animals.

Next up, the orange monster tests out the floor..."Yup, all safe down here."

Next up, the orange monster tests out the floor…”Yup, all safe down here.”


The orange monster and Max check under the bed to see if there are other monsters.

Max looks up at the camera to see if I'm watching

Max sends Muffin down to help then looks up at the camera to see if he’s busted.

BUSTED! Max pretends to be asleep.

BUSTED! Max pretends to be asleep.

Max goes to sleep.

After a quick re-tucking…Max goes to sleep.

Between the Muffin and Orange Monster tests there was a brief out-of-bed experience to help Muffin back to bed.  Other than that…he has stayed in bed.  On his third night he fell out and bonked his head, since then he has slept in the back corner instead draped over the edge.  In the morning he gets out of bed on his own and plays with his toys, reads books, and dresses Muffin.  Then he knocks on the door and says “I’m up!” and we come get him.  Not too shabby.

The Gates Boys

The Gates Boys

Since implementing the “Big Boy” test he has also attempted to pee in the potty twice, started doing his own dishes, and tries to help with Dodge.  When he can’t help with Dodge he plays pretend with Muffin and acts out the role of parent.  Muffin recently found his way into the bath and is currently tumbling in the dryer out of sight.  Adding a brother to the mix will be beneficial to both children as they will fight, compete, love each other, and eventually learn to work as a unified force in defeating Mommy and Daddy and getting into trouble beyond my wildest nightmares.  For now…we are all in transition.  Kate and I are learning how to be parents of two while maintaining our identities as individuals, a couple, and professionals.  Max is learning how to be a big boy, a big brother, and not the center of attention.  Dodge is learning that the dark blurry shape in front of him is Dada.  So long freedom!!!

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Dodge’s First Few Hours

1 Mar

Dodge’s first few hours have been very calm and he is a happy guy. He went skin-to-skin immediately after delivery and rooted right away. He fed immediately and is in great health. So far the first 12 hours of his life have been full of eating, sleeping, and being held by grandparents. Very precious time and we are looking forward to taking him home Sunday morning.









Is My Toddler Ready To Be A Big Brother?

8 Oct

Bundled Up

This weekend Kate, Max and I went to a friend’s house for a party where almost everyone had a baby.  This might sound terrible to you if you don’t have kids…but as a parent it is so relaxing to be around other parents because you don’t feel like you are completely chasing your child and corralling him away from the adults.  Kids cried, played, screamed, bonked, and did what kids do while Mommys and Daddys drank beer and ate bratwurst.  Ah Oktoberfest!

Max was delightful and spent most of the party climbing up and down the carpeted stairs which is a treat since the stairs at our house are hardwood.  Most of the other kids were only a few months old so I was curious to see how Max would interact with kids almost a year younger than him…and I was pleasantly surprised.  We’ve all said since his birth that he has “a great demeanor” but this weekend showed me how great his demeanor could be as a big brother.  He was mindful of the babies and aware that they were smaller and fragile, he shared toys, and was very well-behaved.  We had a few time-outs but that is to be expected when there are kids everywhere and new surroundings.  What I saw was a big brother;  A toddler ready to share and set a good example.  Of course the big question will be how will he share when it is every day and he has to share our attention?

Big Boy Meal

For me, I found myself being jealous of the other parents who still had babies…not toddlers.  The babies sat in their laps, played with simple toys, coo’d, and did all the simple baby things I loved to do with Max.  Kate and I kinda got robbed of that time as Max skipped over so much of it in his rapid development…he skipped crawling essentially.  It seemed like we had a baby one day and a toddler the next.  One of the babies was about 8 months and I couldn’t help remembering that Max was walking by that point and hurdling his body onto the furniture.  I miss baby Max…and that was right about the time I got beaned on the face with a fridge magnet by my left-handed throwing beast of a toddler.  “Maxilla The Hun” we call him.  He lowers his head, grunts as he runs, and tackles me to the floor.  Not so little now.

At the end of the party Max was pushing a foot stool around the basement and tackling a pillow.  I said, “Okay buddy, time to go home.  Please put the stool back.”  So Max pushed the foot stool back to where he got it from.  One of the other dads looked at this with a tinge of envy for the future while holding his baby and said, “Wow, they actually do what you tell them to?”  I replied, “Only when they’re not at home and there is an audience.”

So there I am envying the dads with their babies who coo and crawl.  There are the dads envying me playing “tackle” and “catch” with Max who walks everywhere without being carried.  The grass is always greener on the other side?  I had great comfort knowing that in the Spring I get to be Daddy to a baby all over again and I know the things I’m not going to rush or pass up an opportunity to get.  I can’t wait to have a baby nap on my chest.  I can’t wait to have a baby to tickle with my nose.  I can’t wait to feed my baby a bottle and burp him.  I can’t wait to take my new son to his first basketball game.  I can’t wait to be a dad to a baby again…and I can’t wait for Max to be a big brother.

Night Night

We got home and that was when I realized how good Kate and I have got it.  Not only does Max sleep through the night (10-12 hours) he is fun to put to bed.  Kate and I took him upstairs, I sang him 2 songs while we changed into pajamas, and then Kate read him 2 books.  I then turn on his night-light, tucked him into bed, and had every stuffed animal give him a kiss good night.  Then he asks, “Eskimo?”  I leaned in and gave him an Eskimo Kiss.  Next he asked, “Butterfly?”  I gave him a Butterfly Kiss.  Then he asked, “A Dada kiss?”  I asked him, “Where?”  Max told me, “Kiss Max’s nose.”  Which I did.  Then the eyebrows, the cheeks, and lastly the forehead.  Then I combed my fingers through his hair massaging his scalp and said “Night, Night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite, I’ll see you in my dreams tonight.”  Max yawned and I made my way to the door.  “Dada?”  I stopped and looked back, “Yes Max?”  He quietly said, “I love you.”  My heart melted…”I love you too…I love you more.”  He parrots me a bit and tells me he loves me more and then I said “I love you thiiiiiiiis biiiiig” and showed him with my arms how big I love him.  He shouts this back to me with his arms spread as wide as he can.  “I love you buddy, see you tomorrow, night night.”  A small yawning voice replied, “Night night…”  And then Max was on the highway to REM.

I think the best advise someone gave me about parenting was that in the beginning…right when you think you are at your wit’s end about something, it ends and the next thing begins.  Right now I wish I could make time stand still for a moment and soak in moments like that, because it seems like yesterday he was taking naps on my chest and drinking from a bottle.  My big boy.  Please don’t grow up yet.

They Grow Up Too Fast! Max Sleeps On dad (1 Month Old)

All American Homecoming

25 Apr

Max's Snackatorium

Over 2 years ago I began blogging about the prospect of fatherhood as my son Max (then nicknamed “Zig”) was nothing more than a tadpole in my Wife’s belly.  We had just moved to Wichita, KS from our digitally nomadic life in the Adirondacks and I was adjusting to corporate life, the Midwest, and the end of diaper-free days…”So Long Freedom!”  One of the main inspirations for me to start writing was the lack of information for fathers-to-be.  Everything I read talked to me as if I was an emotionally stunted being who needed simple words and step-by-step processes to fathom the idea of becoming a parent.  Statistically I found that most women begin their journey of motherhood the moment they learn they are pregnant while a father’s journey tends to emotionally begin at the moment of birth.  This is because most women conceptualize the idea of giving birth, have an intimate experience as the child grows inside them, and thus spend their time wondering what the baby will look like in the days after their birth.  Fathers however, tend to picture their child at a later age when they can have interactions like throwing a baseball in the yard or teaching the child how to ride a bike.  I refused to let my journey begin so late into my child’s life so I began blogging about my experience to all of you.  Today, as my son is turning 15 months old, I understand why Dad’s envision their babies-to-be at older ages.

If you’ve been reading the blog throughout this journey you’ve probably figured out I’ve had trouble with the adjustment to the sound of crying in my house…especially at night.  Teeth, constipation, colds, bruises, shots, and more have all lead to the constant inevitable…crying.  “So Long Sleep” should be the name of my blog.  Like all things there are ups and downs in parenting, and after surviving the ebb of my patience while his last molar tooth came in – we are now in the flow of good father-son time as his teeth have almost all pushed through.  The other day I experienced the most All American Homecoming to my family I can imagine…and it was awesome.

I had been on the road for a week in Richmond, VA for business when I got back to Wichita.  The following Monday I was thrown back into the fire of marketing as I sifted through thousands of pages of demographics and maps as I planned my media distribution for the balance of the year.  At the same time I was on the phone planning the next store grand opening I am leaving for next week…and of course doing my regular daily duties of my job.  My head was spinning.  The one thing that clears my head is often driving and I was excited to saddle up in my car (though it is almost completely broken down) and make my drive home while rocking out to the radio.  Of course the phone rang…business call.  I talked the whole way home and then found myself parked in the driveway as I wrapped up my call.  Then it happened.

The front door opened and out came my son Max.  He cautiously made his way down the front steps and called out “Dada, Dada, Dada!”  My wife Kate followed behind with snacks and it was clear…I needed to get off the phone which my phone caller graciously allowed me to do.  I got out of my car as Max ran into my arms and threw a great big hug around my neck…one of his new skills I adore and truly live for.  I picked him up so I could hug him back and kiss my wife in the driveway of our house we own that is surrounded by the well manicured lawn I mowed on Sunday with a PBR in hand.  “Bask-ball!”  Max cried out with excitement, “Bask-ball!”  We know this word well…it is his favorite…”Basketball.”  I retrieved the basketball from the garage and we proceeded to play.  I dribble around Max a few times (who is a terrible defender) and shoot at the lowered 7′ hoop from point-blank range and make an easy basket.  Max and I then run in circles and shout “Goooooaaaaal!!!!”  Then I hold the ball out to him, he grabs it with two hands, I lift him up above the rim, he shoots, he scores, we run in circles, we shout, “Gooooooaaaal!!!!”  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat…and pray it never stops and he never grows up to be a teenager that hates me.

It’s easy to see why Dads think of days like this…its the best I’ve ever felt as a dad.  Playing basketball in the driveway with my boy.  My boy!  Then he pooped.  “Kate?!!!”

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