Parenting: Parenting Roles

I’ve been reading the DC comic of the Flintsontes from 2016. Its a devestatingly good comic that I’m reading awful slowly just to savor it. Last night I came across this panel.

I have admitted how scared I was about the birth of our daughter. I didn’t know if I was ready to be a father.  

Best moment of my life

Our baby was born, and I was still scared.  How do we sleep when she can’t?  How do I be there for my wife and go back to work? 

Then we had to rush my wife to the hospital, not once, but three times. (Please go here if you want to read the complete story).  When my wife was finally admitted, she was told she needed rest. I offered for me and the baby to stay.  My wife said no, she needed rest and the baby needed rest.  I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for her to say, but I do know that was the hardest thing I ever did. 

However, I couldn’t let my wife know that.  She needed to know I was confident enough to do it. And for the first time, I was.  She needed me to be strong because she couldn’t, and the baby needed me to protect her and make sure she survives.  There is no better motivation than that. 

The Nola Nerd Baby sleeping on me while mommy was in the hospital. 

You see, Fred is right.  We only have two roles, but the second one is everything. Let’s face, there are only two things we can’t do: we can’t have the kid and we can’t breastfeed.  However, as dads, we can do everything else.  And with modern technology we can still feed our children. We can change diapers, we can sing songs, we can dress and feed them. We can do everything. And the thing I’ve learned with the Nola Nerd Baby is she wants me to do everything. She wants to be near me. She wants to make me smile, because that’s the real reasons babies smiles. They want to see you smile.  

The Nola Nerd Trio

So I’ve learned that my role is to be a parent. We can put gender roles on things, but at the end of the day and at this point in our child’s life, I can do everything she needs me to do to protect her. So can my wife. 

And you know we will. 

Parenting: Living in a Tropical Storm Area

We never really have been afraid of low level tropical storms.  Hurricanes, yes, but where we live, tropical storms aren’t cause for alarm besides taking care of your lawn.

That was before having a kid.

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Before having a kid, we can go without electricity for awhile.  With a baby, it becomes a different ball game. We don’t have a generator yet and that is something we have to consider purchasing in the future.  Luckily, our house stays cool if the sun doesn’t come out, so in a tropical storm this shouldn’t happen.  We lowered the air all day and took care of the outside.

And Gordon never came.

Now, the Nola Nerd Couple work at the same school. Our district was extremely cautious and decided to shut down the day before landfall (it was to hit around midnight) and the day after.  As a parent, I will always think this is the right decision. This isn’t a poltical blog, so we won’t say any more than that.

We took the two days as a gift.  We got to spend more time with our favorite human. We played on the floor trying to see if she would crawl.  She’s close but not yet there.  She is getting better at sitting up.  We sang songs. We babbled with her.

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But what if the storm would have turned to us instead of toward Alabama? Our school board made the right decision.  Nothing means more to us than our child.

Parenting: Baby Has to Eat

The Nola Nerd Baby loves food.  Well, as of this writing, she has only tried four vegetables but she loved them all.

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We received from her aunt, Geekella, a Baby Bullet for the baby shower. It’s a simple and easy to use device, but honestly any blender can do. The best part about the baby bullet is the storage it comes with.  The six containers, with date markers on them, make storing the food easy.  It also comes with a plastic freezer container that allows you to, with a little bit of effort, pop out one serving at a time.

As far as the food, it’s not that hard to make baby food.  We have used frozen and fresh vegetables. So far we have made peas, carrots (both frozen), zucchini, and sweet potatoes bought at the local farmers market. We steam or boil the vegetables, let them cool, and put them in the blender.  We add water to puree them. It’s really a quick process and easy process.

We only give her one food at a time right now to ensure she’s not allergic to anything. She hasn’t shown any signs of colic, but, in an effort to embarrass her when she is old enough to read this, she has had some killer gas as of late.  Like the kind where the Mrs. accuses me of doing it!

We can’t wait to introduce her to more vegetables in the upcoming months!

Parenting: We Didn’t Put Baby on a Schedule, But Here We Are

From the very beginning, we choose to be on demand parents.  We fed her when she was hungry and put her to bed when she was tired. We never tried to do a schedule, but she found one anyway.

She developed her own schedule.  She wakes up, plays for about a half hour and then wants a bottle.  Then she’s pretty much every four hours after that.

We tried to put her to bed early, around 7:30.  She didn’t want that She wanted to go to bed around 6 and then she would sleep for 12 hours.

People ask us how we did it. We didn’t do anything.  We just listened to her and what she wanted. We aren’t smart enough to have an actual secret.  I bet when you ask most parents most of them will say they learned how to be a parent from listening to what their child needed.

And if she wants to change again, we will listen to her. At least while she is a baby.

Parenting: Hey Bear!

Ok, we will probably get some flack for this, but we don’t care. We including the baby, love Hey Bear! videos.

I know people will say you shouldn’t have her have screen time for development reasons. She won’t be able to tell 2D images from 3D images apart was one thing I read. They followed it up by saying show her picture books…in which the images are 2D. And of course, we read to her daily. In fact, baby girl has no more room for books in her room…and she has three bookshelves!

My mom plopped me in front of Sesame Street back in the early 70s three times a day.  I turned out fine…I think.

The thing is that  Nola Nerd Baby doesn’t really watch it when its on.  She still plays with her toys and looks and talks to us.  It’s a comfort to her and it is now something familiar to her. When she does watch it, she ususally falls alseep. If she is throwing a tantrum, it helps settle her.  Now for the last one we use that has a last resort, but it has worked.

It, however,  let us learn some things about her.  She loves round yellow shapes.  When she sees them during the video she smiles and squeals with delight. We sing or hum along with the songs now (in the one above which is our go to video, its mostly classic lullaby fare.)  The last couple of days shes been trying to imitate us.

The one negative thing about Hey Bear is the ads that run during  the course of the vdeo This is not Hey Bear! Productions’ fault.  YouTube needs to do a better job with pairing up ads to its programs.  We are watching for free so we don’t mind ads, and the creators deserve money for their work, but show us ads for diapers or baby food not skin disease medications for seven minutes.

We don’t play these videos all day.  In fact, usually in the morning when we are getting ready for work is the only time she really watches it. And then she smiles when it comes on and plays in her bouncy, while I make her milk and talk to her.

Not everything has to be a learning experience for a child. Somethings can just be a routine.  Somethings can just be fun. The smile on her face when she sees the logo proves that she is having fun.

Parenting: How I Stopped Being Terrified of the Baby

No one was more nervous about having a baby than I was.  I was terrified of everything. I wasn’t even sure how I would carry her up and down the stairs.

Then the baby came.

I wasn’t scared anymore.

Now, I didn’t really have a chance.  The Mrs. went into the hospital 5 days after she was born and needed rest, so it was only the baby and me at home for two nights.

Of course, we love to cry every week, so we watch This Is Us.  The above gif made me feel slightly better.  Since the birth of the baby, that statement has truly resonated with me.

It’s true. I realized who I had become when I looked in her eyes the first time. I understood the new best life my path was taking.  It’s incredible that before you have the child, you don’t know what to do.  You can read the books, listen to stories of others, and watch every video on parenting, but nothing gets you as ready for parenthood as looking in the baby’s eyes does.

In the words of Garuda Singh, the baby tells you who you are.

Parenting: Thankful for a Happy Baby

We had told our parents about the pregnancy by July 4 of last year.  Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s mom lives in Florida.  The day we got home was the last day she felt well until the baby was delivered.

In Florida telling Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple's family.

In Florida telling Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s family.

Apparently there is an old wives’ tale, with some scientific backing, that the sicker the mom during pregnancy the healthier the baby.

Well, so far, it’s been true for us.

Besides a few colds and a few tummy issues, the Nola Nerd Baby has been perfect. Not only that, she is a happy baby.

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Happy to go on an adventure.

I’m not saying this to gloat (even though I”m not offended if you think so since this is pretty awesome for us), but because the awfulness of the pregnancy and the postpartum it gave my wife a break.  It allowed her to do something that she didn’t really have a chance to do during the pregnancy – bond with the baby.

It, more importantly, allowed her to heal.

It allowed us to be able to see family when we wanted and when we needed to.  In fact, we had a sick relative in the hospital. She let him hold her and she smiled at him and talked to him.  She knew what was needed of her.

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Greeting me when I came home from practice. 

It allowed us to travel and work around the house.

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On our way to Disney for the first time. 

Now, she’s not perfect.  She has a bad dose of the witching hour going on right now.  She just moved up from the premie nipple for her bottle.  Any time we tried in the previous four months she would choke. However, because she was growing she required more ounces during each feeding.  This would lead to her taking 45 minutes to take a bottle. She is doing better with it, but again the last bottle of the night is a struggle.  It takes both of us to be able to calm her down long enough to eat.  She’s also had some constipation issues, though not long enough to have to call the doctor.

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Her first time putting her toes in the sand with her BFF

But besides that, she is mostly a happy baby.  She smiles when we put her in the car seat.  We calling it “going on an adventure” because we are nerd parents after all. She smiles at random people she meets. She can self-soothe most of the time and is content with her own company for long periods of time.

Her happiness allowed my wife to heal and be the wonderful mom she was always meant to be.