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Guest Post: Dada’s Sentimentality

Sentimentality time… you’ve been warned…

Brittany visiting her dad at work, circa 2004.

You know, 12 years ago, we had our first child. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have many memories of that time, as, quite literally I was working around the clock to protect the world from the bad guys. I never gave her a bottle, never had much time holding her, never changed a diaper, or fed her food. It sucked.

You know, I don’t even know how SHE feels about being robbed of the experience. Never having a father for all of her “firsts”, or who was home on holidays, or was awake at 3 in the afternoon, or who regularly made an appearance at meals. And I have never wanted to ask her. I am not sure I want to know, because at THIS moment in our lives, she things I am pretty cool, and I’ll take that any day. I am sure this time next year, as a teenager I will be “past it” but right now, I like things the way they are.

Tonight, I watched my 1 year old, at her first big outing, at a rock concert. Watched her sing, and dance, and laugh and smile, and watch the concert with an awe that only a baby could have.

I made a promise when our 2nd child was born, that I would be there for her, for every minute of the important parts of her time of discovery.

Mr. Mom

I did everything I could, I changed diapers, I got up in the middle of the night to give her a bottle, or to rock her to sleep. Hell, when the wife went back to work *I* was the primary caregiver for about 4 or 5 months. To this day, I take on the chore of making sure everything is in order for her, for the next day. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job, but as a man, it’s hard to tell these things. She HAS acquired my tastes in food, music and TV, so that’s something, right? 😉

This is when it hit me… Getting her things ready for tomorrow, and… I no longer have to prepare baby bottles, because she has mastered the art of the sippy cup. Every night for the past year I have made up 8 baby bottles, by cleaning them inside out with a brush, cleaning the nipples out with a brush then steaming the whole batch in our steamer to sterilize it.

All of that.. gone now… she doesn’t need them anymore… then it sunk in.. she doesn’t need ME anymore.

Amelia and her dad in Star Wars mode.

She eats mainly regular food, and that organic junk (so no more mashing or grinding food). She can drink out of a cup (so no more preparing bottles), she can walk, and play, and sit, and stand… all on her own.  Suddenly I have gone from “caregiver” to being relegated to “spectator” in my child’s life.

Why am I saying all of this? All of those moments are special, if you are lucky enough to be part of them, treasure it…. if you are a husband, and the wife asks you to make up a bottle, or change a diaper, or hold the baby while she cries, do it, and be proud that you were part of it, because those moments come to an end all too soon.

After what I USED to do for a living, I quite enjoyed the Mr Mom duties, and I am quite sad because in a little over a year, it has practically all come to an end.

I guess, what I am saying is, I wish she would have stayed “helpless” just a little while longer. Part to make up for lost time with my first child, part because it’s been a long time since I felt “needed” it was nice to be the most important person in someone’s life again, and part because I just didn’t want to let go. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this, but she has evolved soooo quickly, I don’t know how to feel about it, and suddenly… here I am, the permanently disabled, ex-lawman, who 3 times this week had a migraine brought on by his bad neck that totally immobilizes him… and nobody needs me…

Don’t feel bad though, it’s all good, I am proud of my accomplishments, both out in the world, and here at home… it’s just an observation of how fast the world moves.

Quality time with the girls at Barnes & Noble

We have to start somewhere….

Earlier this year, I mentioned somewhere in some post that I’m not going to link to because it’s chock full of things I had planned to do this year that I haven’t found the time to do because…..well, because I like sleep…….um, I mentioned that I wanted to minimize a bit.

A lot actually.

So it’s somewhat slow going….for a few reasons. The main one being……I like sleep. Really, I can’t blame it on the fact that I have a 1 year old because lots of moms with 1 year olds do lots of things that I don’t do. But I work full time, every day and when my 1 year old goes to sleep, so do I. I regret it if I don’t. Last night for example….I decided to do something stupid on my computer after Amelia went to sleep and two hours later finally climbed in to bed. 20 minutes later, Amelia was awake. An hour later, she was awake again, An hour and a half after that, awake again…..for an hour.

So yeah, today I feel like a total moron.

Anyway…..it’s slow going. When I do wash, I put things that I really don’t love in a bag and this past weekend actually dropped two bags off at the Salvation Army. I have many more bags to fill. I also have a storage unit to empty but that’s a whooooooole other adventure.

The more pressing need right now is Brittany’s room.

It took me a while to figure out how a 12 year old could amass such a ridiculous amount of crap….because I don’t buy her all this stuff!! I had no idea where it all was coming from…..until I was actually home one day when my mom dropped her off….

See, Brittany goes to spend some time with my mom and dad usually on Tuesdays….that was her choir day during the school year so it just became their day. Brittany would spend Tuesday night there and they would take her to school the next day. Nice, right?

So, now it’s summer….no school the next day……so they’ve just been dropping her home on Wednesdays, usually after I’m home….usually after dinner. And almost every time, Brittany comes in with two or three bags of……CRAP!! From trips to the dollar store, craft fairs, A.C.Moore, the library, the movies…..and every single bag – because I know that she would just drop it all in the middle of the living room and leave it there if left to her own devices! – goes straight into her room…..apparently never to re-emerge.

But this room needs to get organized NOW because this school year is going to be waaaaaaay different for Brittany. No more getting up at the butt-crack of dawn (like her crazy mother) to go wait for the school bus on those lovely 2 degree February-in-Philly mornings.

Oh no!

This year, she’s registered with an online charter school 🙂

Yes, this is our first venture in to the world of homeschooling because I never thought it would be possible with me working full time. Brittany is very excited and now that we’re making some progress on her room I think it’s really settling in that her room is going to be her new classroom!

So we’re quickly minimizing in her room. I’m actually very proud of her because she’s really making a dent in there when I’m not around and I come home to find quite a few bags that she’s put together of things that we can donate and things that can just get trashed. We might just have this whole space under control before her first day of school!!

It really is looking good, but she doesn’t want me to post any more pics until it’s done so everyone can see the total transformation.

It won’t be long!!

So how did you and your child prepare to make the switch from traditional schools to homeschooling?

Birthday Girl!!!

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Unbelievable as it is, Amelia’s first birthday was Thursday!!  Her FIRST birthday – that means a whole year has gone by since this little beauty made her appearance…..that first year is a funny thing and I remember thinking the same thing around Brittany’s first birthday……..

……it is both the longest and shortest year of my life :^)

And I’ve gone through it twice!!

More than a decade apart – lol!

I wonder if it’s different for people who have multiple children close together…..

In any case, I wanted to have a simpler party for her birthday than we did for her Baptism in May – no renting a room, no days getting food together…..just a nice picnic at the playground with some meats on the grill….is there anything better for a summer birthday?

So we grabbed a kick-bottom cupcake cake from ShopRite and hauled up to our family’s favorite playground in Tullytown, PA with some family and good friends to celebrate my baby girl’s big Numero Uno ;^)

Everyone had a great time, especially Amelia….now that she’s motoring, she made her way around all the tables stopping to visit everyone on the way…..that is, of course, until her Godmother arrived and pretty much handed her the keys to the car – lol :^)

She’s spent more time with this than pretty much any other gift she got…..and she got some pretty cool gifts!!

I’m also ALWAYS looking for new board books for Amelia….I have a ton of Brittany’s still, but there are some that I never had for her that I’m looking for now.   One of my good friends picked up Where’s Spot – only the cutest pop-up book I’ve seen in a long time, even after reading it 7 times in 25 minutes…..and one page an extra 3 times – as well as On The Night You Were Born which is simply beautiful and really just about sums up what I would say happened on the nights BOTH my girls were born ;^)

It was a great afternoon for everyone and I’m so happy that our family and friends could share it with us.

What did you do for your little one’s special day?

Zulily!!!

AMAZING deals for moms and kids!!!

Oh, and Zulily, too……Zulily kicks total bottom!! I’ve spent a ton of money over there but I’ve saved at least 3 times what I’ve spent – lol!!! Really, they have amazingly great deals – go sign up!!! (And yeah, I think I’m done test-posting, now ;^)

Wittlebee!!!

Save time and money with Wittlebee - put your little ones clothes on auto-pilot!!

Have I told you about the awesomeness that is Wittlebee??? Well, it is way too much fun and I am anxiously awaiting my second box – go check them out!! (Yes, I am using this as a test post – much like the coconut water post – but I figured I’d post something useful in the meantime ;^)