Happy Birthday Cristian

1st Father SonI can’t believe it’s been a year already.  A year ago I spent the night in a hospital room keeping friends and family updated via Facebook posts as nurses induced Esther—it didn’t work.  It turn out, Cristian like his parents is stubborn.  How stubborn we didn’t know at the time.

At 1:26 pm Esther gave birth to a 9 pound 3 ounce   21.5 inch boy, whatshisname.  We hadn’t agreed on his name yet.  Asking me to calm our crying and unnamed son, by speaking to him, I put on my best Darth Vader voice and said, “Son I am your father.”

The first few weeks were a blur or feedings, diaper changes and friends stopping by to see the baby.  Sequestered in our apartment like jurors on a trial while we took turns watching Jeopardy, napping and playing with our new son, the memory still makes me smile.

father-son-chill

I dove headfirst into my stay-at-home dad crash course.  I was introduced to the Sprout Channel, Peppa Pig and Sid the Science Kid and scrambled like a contestant on a gameshow folding laundry, sterilizing baby bottles and grabbing a quick shower while Cristian napped.

In March we enrolled Cristian in My Gym, a children’s fitness center giving him a chance to meet other babies socializing him through structured activities and giving me a chance to compare parenting notes with other parents.

The many faces of Cristian
The many faces of Cristian

Esther and I were amazed as out son grew from a fragile newborn to a chubby cheeked toddler.  His smiling face every morning made us forget the, sacrifice, sleep deprivation and occasional blowout.

As Spring arrived my time was split between caring for my son and managing my father’s healthcare first in a hospital and then in a nursing home.   My blogging suffered as my world was turned upside down, but Esther and I insisted on keeping as much normalcy in Cristian’s routine as possible.  My Gym classes and trips to the park were sandwiched between hospital visits.

Family Selfie
Family Selfie

Cristian will never know the joy be brought his grandfather during his last days or how much his cheery demeanor helps grandma cope with Dad’s loss.  His days consist of playing, crawling and general mischief. His electric smile and big personality changed Mommy and Daddy’s lives in ways we couldn’t comprehend a year ago as we anxiously monitored his vitals as nurses induced his Mommy.

Happy Birthday Cristian!

Cristian and Me

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Time Waits For No Baby

Oct Baby NapI haven’t posted much, only five times in the past four months since I recapped Cristian’s first six months.  Since then his sleep patterns are all over the place, he still draws attractive women like a magnet, and trips to Carter’s or Buy Buy Baby have me wishing for my next prostate exam.

Cristian bears little resemblance to the baby we brought home from the hospital.  Back then he spent most of the day napping in his Moses Basket while we took turns feeding and changing him and watching lots of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

Time stands still for no baby, our bedroom is full of bins of clothes he’s grown out of and although I haven’t posted Cristian’s been hitting his developmental milestones.    We’ve gone from tummy time and mini pushups to babbling and rolling.   Now he’s crawling and figuring out that walking thing.  Crawling was a game changer.

At this moment, I knew things were going to change quickly
At this moment, I knew things were going to change quickly

Crawling led to baby proofing and reconfiguring our living room.  This time it served a purpose, instead of Esther saying—let’s try the couch over there.   The couch covered electric sockets and cords and moving the recliner and placing a storage ottoman on the other side created the Cristian Zone.

FullSizeRender (57)Chico enters the Cristian Zone at his own risk.   While the baby crawls, plays and grabs furniture he also keeps an eye out for an active baby looking to grab his tail or an ear.  Chico and I both agree it was easier to watch the baby when he was younger.  Those were the days—he sat in his chair or played in his swing watching Sid the Science Kid or Sesame Street.  Elmo rocks!

Crawling Cristian requires more attention.  His natural curiosity gets him into all sorts of mischief, crawling under tables, pulling up on the furniture and grabbing anything within reach.  He’s found things I haven’t seen in months.  I’m convinced if you let a team of babies loose in the Meadowlands parking lot, they will find Jimmy Hoffa.

My son is growing fast, and although it’s brought new challenges, I’ve enjoyed watching his personality develop, even if it means new levels of childproofing.  I knew it would be challenging when I signed up for this and will have it no other way.

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Tag Team Parents

1Our first days as parents are a blur.  In the hospital we had a non-stop parade of nurses, family and friends. Everyone was greeted the same way—with bloodshot eyes and a goofy grin.   The first night we had the option of keeping him our room or putting him in the nursery overnight so we could sleep.  It was a no brainer—he stayed with us.   It was our baby boot camp.

We got a lot of advice those first days, one piece stayed with me, a phone call with my cousin Leslie.  After congratulating me she said, “You just experienced the best day of your life, enjoy it.  Your first night at home with the baby will be your worst. “

The training wheels came off when Cristian came home.   Tired and with no system in place that first night was rough.  Camping out in the living room, because our bedroom was too cold, rushing out for formula after Baby’s R Us and Buy Buy Baby closed (Cristian had not gotten the hang of breast feeding yet), not sleeping as we changed and fed our crying baby.  Walking him around at 3am Chico gave me a look that said “Can you keep him quiet—I’m trying to sleep here.”

Esther prepping Cristian to come home
Esther prepping Cristian to come home

Walking Chico the next morning, I checked with the neighbors as they headed off to work, making sure we were the only ones Cristian kept awake.  They assured me of it, but staggering along like a punch-drunk boxer with a coffee cup in one hand and a dog leash in the other made me wonder if they were just being polite.

Cristian napping upon coming home from the hospital
Cristian napping upon coming home from the hospital

early Cristian (2)That next morning Esther and I became tag-team parents taking turns napping while the other watched the baby.  “You sleep, I got this one.”  One changed him while the other kept family members updated.  “Mom remember how Dad said, he wanted to take the baby home with him? You can pick him up anytime.”

For me it was on the job training. We spent time watching the baby in his Moses basket and Jeopardy on TV, “Diaper Change for 200 Alex”.  Patterns developed.  “He’s due for a feeding, or time for a diaper change.”

I quickly learned diaper changes required undivided attention—you could get peed on or worse could be cleaning the carpet afterwards because you took the diaper off too soon.  The first week seemed like a juror being sequestered during a high-profile trial but the perks were pretty good too.  My crankiness and sleep deprivation was rough, but they were forgotten every time Cristian flashed me a smile.

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