I’ve told the story before of how my father used to put a cassette player against my mothers belly when she was pregnant with both me and my brother and interestingly enough, out came two musicians. Not that I was planning for Ean to become a musician but music has played a huge role in my life since I was very young, both in listening to it and producing it and I wanted to share that gift with him. So, while still developing in the womb he got to enjoy some of my favorite songs.
This morning Ana texted me “Can I just aka him” followed by “take him” and finally “Zzzz”. In her sleepiest of states she was trying to tell me to come and take Ean from bed because he was awake (and she wasn’t).
I took him downstairs to the living room and we had fun jumping around, listening to music and singing to some of those songs that reached his ears long before he had opened his eyes for the first time. I remembered those moments of being in bed with Ana in nervousness, excitement and anticipation of his pending arrival. Talking, singing and playing music for him. Continue reading →
Ean is still mainly breastfed but he enjoys trying new foods. We’ve adopted a method of baby-led weaning which essentially lets him decide and be in charge of if, how and what he eats. We put it in front of him or in his hand and let him explore the texture and flavors on his own. By our limited experience this has been a lot more successful than purees and other traditional methods of getting baby to eat solids. This way he learns the color, shape and texture of what he eats and does so at his own pace. Try it, it works for us.
One of the biggest challenges in a relationship (especially with young children) is who does what, when and how – the distribution of chores and duties. Even when distributed and planned they are a whole different ballgame when it’s time to actually execute them. Laundry is a good example of this. I have t-shirts, shorts, pants and underwear, that’s it. So my laundry is pretty much just 30-40 or 60 degrees and throw everything in, done. With Ana there are more types of fabrics than I can count and they all have their specific washing routine and Hail Mary’s.
I exaggerate but it’s a good example how something seemingly simple can turn into something different than you had imagined and ultimately leading to discussion and arguments. We all have different methods to our madness and it is our right but when we delegate these things it’s important that both sides understand the subtext and what it actually means. If you’ve ever ruined your partners favorite garment in the wash… you know what I’m talking about.
In previous relationship I feel like there was always a kind of point system, a quid pro quo if you will. Everything was more or less counted and had to be retributed fairly but it doesn’t take a genius to understand that doesn’t work because we place different values into different actions and gestures. What is important and big for me, may not be that important for her so my big gesture becomes a small favor in her eyes. As you can see, it’s set up for failure.
Being a stay at home dad means I have to take the bigger load of responsibility when it comes to the daily things around the home and more specifically with Ean. Finding a way to fit in my own work between that isn’t easy but it’s doable (more so when you don’t fall down the stairs and sprain your ankle).
So Monday to Friday I take care of Ean and do most of the shopping, cooking and maintenance of the house (thank goodness for Roomba). Ana leaves for work at 8 in the morning and returns home at around 6-7 in the evening.
When she comes home she breastfeeds before anything else and depending on what the house looks like (yeah we’re still not done with the final touchups after the renovation) I have a choice of either staying with Ean while she cooks or cleans, or she takes him off of my hands so I can do just that. Depending on his needs and how much he missed her it can go either way. Once the evening kicks in she stays with Ean and does the night feeding (if she wouldn’t, she would have to wake up to pump anyway, so win win) and this is our routine from Monday to Friday.
During weekends I mainly catch up on work and get some alone time while she keeps her bond strong and close with Ean. But again, this depends on what’s on the agenda. Sometimes I’m not at all in the mood to clean or do laundry so I stay with Ean and keep them company while Ana is productive.
As you can see there’s a clear structure here but there’s also a big amount of flexibility. There is no quid pro quo, no counting of points and no “I did this for you so you have to do this for me”. For this to work though, you have to be selfless and comfortable in your relationships push and pull. Don’t confuse it with giving without any expectations because that’s just nonsense that comes and bites you in the ass later with resentment and way overdue reclaiming of Self.
My point is, I can give her and him all my time, all my energy and health because I know I can handle it, until I can’t. And when I can’t, she does the exact same for me. I can’t remember last time both of us hit rock bottom and neither one of us could lift a finger because almost always… one of us has a bit more to give, it’s just important to recognize when it’s time to ask and when it’s time to do.