Second Round Of Babies Are Popping Out!

Screenshot 2017-03-23 22.51.47No no, not us, but everyone around us are throwing themselves into their second pregnancy left and right. Ana put it quite nicely when she said “When I’ve slept 8 hours per night for 1 week, I’m ready to have another child”.

Personally I’m way too focused on Ean to even consider the idea of another kid. I don’t want anything to distract me from this mission of guiding him closely over the first years of his life. From birth to the age of 3, there is an insane amount of transformation and I don’t want to miss a second of it.

I’ve asked some of my friends who made this decision to have a child so close after the first one and they say the same, either that they just want to pop out the amount of kids they wished and be done with it, or they simply want the kids to be similar age.

Personally I strongly disagree with that. If we look past my obsession for details and wanting to dissect every moment and experience with Ean before anything else, it’s still an issue that is larger than just having age compatible kids. Continue reading

How To Settle Your Child At Daycare

how to settle your child at daycareYesterday we finished the 2 weeks settling period for Ean at the new daycare. It was one hell of a ride, full of discussion, arguments and adaptation. Halfway into the first week I stopped their method because nobody knows my son like I know him (I mean, obviously 12 hours a day together since birth will do that to you). I asked them to trust me and they reluctantly did, with very good results. Within 2 days of applying my anchor method, he was well on his way to a cry-free experience.

Wait, what?! How?

Continue reading

I’m Already Seeing Dramatic Changes

im already seeing dramatic changesIt was only about a week ago that we were walking in the park and Ean saw two slightly older toddlers playing with a ball. He stopped me and pointed towards them. I told him to go play, to go catch the ball but he was just stomping in one spot, as if frustrated. Well, I couldn’t exactly hold his hand and walk up to them, I’ve been wanting him to take those small steps towards interacting with other children and being independent but as much as I nagged him, he didn’t budge.

Finally, one of the kids kicked the ball a bit further away and neither one wanted to go get it, so I told Ean again, go… go… go! Usually that triggers his inner frat boy and it’s the standard way with which we get him to finish his food, drink or to do something he’s hesitating to do.

He started to pace slowly towards the ball, all the while keeping an eye on the other children who were now being busy doing something else. Like a boy shyly shuffling his way towards to ask a girl to dance for the first time, he slowly made his way towards the ball which was lodged in the fence of a fountain.

The boy was very well behaved, didn’t push or do anything harmful, he just stood there with the ball, as if inviting Ean to play.

He stopped about 1 meter away from it, grabbed the fence and was kind of leaning and stretching to try to reach the ball with his foot (which he just needed to take 2 more steps to reach if he really wanted) but it was as if an invisible barrier was keeping him from it, a barrier by means of lacking confidence. I kept encouraging him to take the ball, to bring it to me but to no avail. He gave up and started walking back towards me and as he was doing that, the other kid ran after the ball and took it.

A moment after Ean had reached me, the boy came up to us and stood next to Ean. The boy was very well behaved, didn’t push or do anything harmful, he just stood there with the ball, as if inviting Ean to play.

Ean started to look nervous and looked at me, then at the boy and again at me and slowly started grinning and then crying. I felt so bad for him, not because he was crying but because he simply lacked the instinct or knowledge of how to interact with another child. The boy stood between me and Ean and as soon as Ean realised he couldn’t reach me without passing the boy, he started crying.

It wasn’t a “oh my god I’m going to die”, just a “what am I supposed to do? This is making me sooo uncomfortable”. Either way, I couldn’t just push him towards the other kid, then I might scare him too and then there would be no winner.

Ean is by no means anti-social or introverted but he was simply lacking the skills to approach or interact with another child… until yesterday.

You probably know I’ve been ranting and raving about daycares the past week and because all of last week we had been at the daycare, we didn’t time to visit the playground or the park. Yesterday though, we decided to go out for some fresh air in the afternoon and this happened.

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It’s like a completely different person! He spent a solid hour playing with a bunch of different kids around the playground, kicking and throwing that ball around.

I can be the best dad in the world, but without daily exposure to people his own age his social development would be much slower or even ultimately alter his personality due to isolation and inability to connecting with others, not to mention all the things he would learn by copying older kids. Having him starting at daycare is by far one of the most important things I have done for him in his short life

The Daycare Was Wrong

the daycare was wrongDon’t you just love to be right? Of course you do! Who doesn’t? Ean just finished his first full week of settling period at the daycare where the second half was done according to my wishes and as I explained in my previous post, it was an uphill battle for me to try to convince them of my method and philosophy.

There is something to be said about the importance of trying, failing, fighting and succeeding and even for a young child it’s important to understand resilience. On this, both me and the management agreed but the difference between us is that I know my son, and the staff making assumptions about Ean and his behaviour patterns was not helpful at all.

My idea was simple at its core. Ean is a very independent and social person but he has to feel safe, like most of us. If we go to a new place, or let’s say a party, we don’t want to go alone and we don’t feel comfortable or confident in a room full of strangers. Right? If this is normal for us as adults, why not for a toddler? At least we have the capacity to speak, they don’t. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Believe In Daycares And Crying

daycare and cryingCall me silly, but I don’t think crying is something one should just say okay too, especially not when it’s a person who doesn’t have neither the verbal or intellectual capacity to understand or explain, there is just one method of communication for them and that’s crying and screaming.

It’s not unusual for parents to just after a few months start taking their kids to daycare and in Malta most of those daycares will not have any practice of transition or adaptation. Meaning, you basically just drop your offspring off on the first day and come back when it’s time for pickup. At best they’ll have a gradual time frame increasing from 1 hour until pickup time, but this is done over a very short time. Most likely that child will cry until she gives up and/or realises that there’s no danger. I wouldn’t do that to my pet, and certainly not to my own child.

Most caregivers here will argue that it’s perfectly natural that they cry, OF COURSE it’s natural, but crying how long? 1 hour? 4 hors? Is it right or even humane? No, of course not! It’s not boot camp and it’s not “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” or any other macho bullshit. It’s just cruel. Continue reading

Getting The Most Out Of Your Photos

Processed with MOLDIVI’ve said this before but I can’t stress enough how important post production is to photos. We all take thousands of photos of our kids over the years and in this digital day and age (gosh I sound like a proper geezer) we don’t pay as much love and attention to the photos as we used to do when we were limited to 30 pics per roll.

Obviously there is nothing but benefits from this development and on top of that we now have editing tools right inside our phones to make our pictures go from the above left picture, to the right one. The difference is dramatic and for me makes the difference between just another picture in my huge library and a photo I would actually like to print and frame.

Don’t worry, you’re not here to study or learn anything… I just wanted to give you the name of the apps and give a shout out to Snapseed which allows me to make a mundane image pop and TADAA SLR (probably worst app name ever) for that delicious shallow depth of field (the blurry background also known as bokeh).

Regardless which image editing tool you use, this shows how incredibly important post production is and how it makes the difference between a Tuesday and a lifetime memory. Below you’ll find a link to my Instagram, if you do have any specific questions about how to do what with your photos just shoot me a message on Facebook.

 

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A Beautiful Moment

Being a parent means a lot of bodily fluids, repetition, sleeplessness and many moments of complete clarity, overwhelming love and serenity.

Ean had finished his breakfast with his mother when I sat down to eat mine. He was drinking his tea and decided to start moving the glass around and spilling it, knowing perfectly well that’s not okay. I told him no, and to stop it and moved the glass away from him to show him clearly that he should not do that. I gave it back to him a moment later and told him to be careful, he understands that much in any of the 4 languages we speak at home but decided to try my patience.

As soon as he got the glass back, he took the lid of the honey jar and started hovering it over the glass while looking at me and I told him no, don’t, nooo…. no! And with the most toddler-esque mischievous smile, dropped the lid right into the glass. I’m somewhat of a monster when I’m hungry, so I slammed my hand on the table, raised my voice really loud and shouted, NO!

He knows better than that and I think it’s Beleaf (in Fatherhood) who uses the expression “protect your life” with his kids, as if to say; you know what you did and if you like how things are, don’t mess it up by acting stupid.

Anyway, I moved the high chair away from the table and turned off his cartoons and just let him sit there while I finished my last pieces of pancake. Once I was done (I was still sleepy, food energy hadn’t kicked in yet and I looked generally miserable), he wanted me to take him down from the chair. I picked up his shoes from the floor to put them on before I let him out of his seated prison and as I bent down to put the first shoe on he reached out, grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me in with the tightest hug he has ever given me and kissed me on the forehead repeatedly.

The rest was a blur of hugs, kisses and tickles.

Development Leaps Are Like a Surprise Gift!

development

This week has been all kinds of awesome. First of all, Ana’s parents are here for 2 weeks which means I actually get some work done (and Xbox – Quantum Break is pretty badass!). Ean has officially dropped his second nap and adjusted the first one to be a bit later so rather than sleeping 9-11 and 14-16, he now drops at noon and sleeps for 2 hours and that’s it. Then depending on the level of activity during the day he goes to bed between 19-20.

This is great because in a few weeks he’s going to start the new daycare. This time with an actual transition period where he can learn gradually to let go and trust the people there. We were there a couple of times already in December and his attitude towards daycare has improved a lot. I know there will be tears during the transition but there’s a difference between “give me my toy back” and “OMG, I’m going to die!”-tears.

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Here he is rocking out his dapper bowtie at the daycare christmas party! With one nap out of the way it’s even more demanding for me to take care of him because it’s less time for sleep, which means less time for me to work, which makes me looking forward to getting him to daycare that much more. Not to mention, as fun as it is to hang out with his dad… he needs to be around other kids and learn to socialise and make friends. Continue reading

Relationship Negotiations & Finding Balance

relationship-negotiations

Initially, this was going to be a post about the details of how we changed our schedule, but it turned out to be a bigger topic than that, so bare with me as I take you through it.

When Ean was 4 months old, Ana went back to work. Since then and up to recently, this had been our schedule.

06-07: Ean wakes up and I take him out for a walk.
**09:He sleeps.
10-12: He wakes up.
13: Ana picks him up at the gym and I go to have my workout.
**15: He sleeps.
16-17: He wakes up.
18: Ana comes home.

Due to his long naps, I still managed to get work done from home but it put me in house arrest for the most part of the day and because I had to wake up so early, my days became very long, stressful. By the time Ana got home I had little or no energy left to be a decent human being for her or myself.

This arrangement had been gnawing on me for a long time over the past year and lately I was feeling overwhelmed and “on the edge”. I was moody and grumpy, couldn’t get any house improvements done because either Ean was sleeping or I was doing stuff with him. All I could do was wash and clean and quite frankly I was sick of it. As I’m writing this, my TV still hasn’t been mounted to the wall! (by the end of this day, it will!)

These issues can be what drags relationships down into the gutter. You don’t see a way out, there is no change or improvement and even though I told Ana several times that I was getting worse and something had to change, neither one of us had a good solution to how to fix it. Last week I had enough and I snapped. Continue reading