My Favorite Posts from I’m Not Grandpa’s Second Year*

Happy Anniversary!   Two years ago I launched I’m Not Grandpa—kinda sorta.  I posted the Introduction, on September 26th 2014 and a second post shortly afterward.  Esther and I were well into a high-risk pregnancy and my mind was elsewhere, so I took a break from blogging until after the baby was born.

Parenthood was overwhelming for this cranky old dad so it took me months to hit my stride as a parent and find my voice as a writer.  Looking back I may have been overthinking it.  The first few weeks of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and friends stopping by to see the baby provided material, I just needed to sort through it.

Two years ago today, my second first post went live.  A lot’s changed in two years.  Entertaining a toddler requires more attention than a newborn—the sleepless nights and writers block are about the same.

Fatherhood and blogging are two of my favorite things—I’m learning as I go.

Here are some of my favorite posts from the past year.

Seven Things to Know Before Having Kids – This is my most read post.  My public service describing the sacrifices parents make captured the attention of both parents and non-parents.  If you are thinking of starting a family check it out here.

Parenting Against Memories of the Past – Being a parent means you get second guessed—a lot. This post is the result of a lot of subtle, who am I kidding about subtle, second guessing from our family elders.  Parents learn as they go, grandparents and older relatives critique your new skillset.  Oh selective memory is a wonderful thing.  This post is the result of spending too much time with family, check it out here.

Five Signs You Need a Night Out – I wrote this while experiencing Cabin Fever.  Spending the winter in a sensory-deprivation chamber changing diapers, watching Sesame Street, Pepa Pig and CNN’s coverage of the 2016 Presidential Primaries had me screaming for a night out.  If you are parent who isn’t sure whether or not you need a night out, I posted this helpful guide.

Remembering Dad A Year Later – This change of pace post was written a year after my Dad passed away.  I miss my Dad—he was old-school man of honor who spent years paying forward the kindness of an old friend named Viña.  He was a man of simple pleasures, family, a backyard barbeque and a nice glass of wine.  He made parenting look easy and taught me as much by his actions as he did with his words.  Read about him here.

Am I the Only One with Sore Nipples – I write about my experiences in Mommy and Me Class.  I channeled my parents as we explored finger painting, confusing orange goldfish and orange play doh, and debating whether or not a bringing a cooler full of light beer with me was a bad idea.  Read about it here.

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The Night Owl

IMG_3432 (2)A few posts back I wrote about the winter of 2016 wreaking havoc on my family.  It’s been a rough one for the baby.  Last year he was pretty healthy, but this year he’s endured a severe diaper rash, lingering cold, a virus, and an ear infection.

A few doctor’s appointments and rounds of antibiotics later we’re all mostly recovered—mostly recovered.  One thing remains unsettled, Cristian’s sleep pattern.  Sleepless nights are something Dad Bloggers write about—along with drippy diapers and do Dads parent their children or babysit them.

I went back and checked, fifteen of my posts mentioned sleep deprivation or Cristian’s sleep patterns in one way or another—maybe I should chime in on the parenting vs babysitting debate.

Establishing a toddler’s sleep pattern isn’t an exact science, it requires lots of trial and error.  We started putting him to bed at 10 pm with a bottle and Sesame Street or Pepa Pig running on a tablet.  We were making progress until he got sick.

I miss nights like this one
I miss nights like this one

Lately he’s been knocking out between eight and nine, which sounds like a good thing—but really isn’t—it only upset the balance.  Cristian used to wake up once a night, upon receiving his bottle, he rolled over and went back to sleep—not anymore.

I’m now staggering down the hall two or three times a night, like a sleepwalker carrying a dog named Lulu (let’s see who gets that reference).  After taking the first bottle, he’s up an hour or two later.  When a second bottle or walking him around doesn’t work, it’s time for my fellow tag-team parent.

Mommy working her magic was once the gold-standard in soothing our cranky baby.   It irritated me a little, but if it got him back to sleep so be it.  Lately Mommy’s magic stopped working, so we’ve resorted to desperate measures.

For the past week we’ve tried exhausting our wired son binge-watching every baby program imaginable, with mixed results.  Some nights we only needed 45 minutes. However other nights we’ve taken turns napping while Cristian turned laps around the living room.

It’s amazing how children change things—once upon a time a sleepless night meant Esther and I went to work slightly exhausted but smiling.  Now it’s just exhausted.

 

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A Look Back at 2015

I’m reluctant to call this post a best of, or highlights, because not everything is a happy memory—but they are memorable.   2015 will be remembered as bittersweet.  Esther and I experiencing the joys of parenthood was the highlight.  Four family funerals and burying our dog made me wonder if we somehow pissed off the Grim Reaper.

Life is never as good as it seems when things are going well or as bad as it seems when they are going bad.  This is what I remember from 2015:

©The Picture People
©The Picture People

Our First Full Year as Parents – Cristian was born in October 2014 so 2015 was our first full year as parents.  We watched our little bundle of joy grow from a (not so) tiny newborn to rambunctious toddler.  He was one of the few constants over the past year.  You have no idea how many people you touched with your big smile and bigger personality.  Esther and I are still amazed this adorable little boy is ours.

Dad with his first grandchild - Katie
Dad with his first grandchild – Katie

Dad’s Memorial My father passed away this year.  Five months later his loss still leaves me numb. Although he was 89 and spent much of the past few years in doctor’s offices and hospital rooms I thought, or maybe hoped, he had a few years left.

Dad loved a good story and his funeral gave me several.  At his wake I met a charming older gentleman named Serafin who’s touching stories I’ll never forget.  His funeral mass included a eulogy which left mourners alternating between laughter and tears and a driving rainstorm at the cemetery soaked those paying their final respects.

What I remember most is spending time with the family at Mom’s house afterwards.  Dad loved entertaining—his summer cookouts were legendary. What better way to honor his memory than swapping stories with good food, good people, and good wine, the way he used to.  I’m sure El Viejo was looking down with a smile on his face.

SnowI’m Mr. Mom – If you told me five years ago I would be Mr. Mom, I would have laughed at you, but here we are.  A freelance consulting gig allows me to work from home on a laptop while Cristian plays or watches Sesame Street and Peppa Pig. I’m usually the only dad at his My Gym classes and story time at the local library.  I’m lucky—I get to experience Cristian’s firsts instead of hearing about them from others.

Esther and I Celebrated Our Fifth Wedding Anniversary – On Thanksgiving Day Esther and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary.  Although she is sometimes the subject of a joke or two from this cranky blogger, she is what I was thankful for (not just on Thanksgiving). She introduced me to bike tours, long-distance running, and salsa (the music not the condiment).  She is the Ying to my Yang and I’m lucky to have her in my life.

I’m now a Published Writer – I’ve been writing for ten years and blogging the last five.  This year my work was published in a website I enjoy reading, The Good Men Project.  So if I take anything away from 2015, I’m a writer, marathon runner and a badass dad.

Farewell Chico – Some will say “Why are you getting so emotional, it’s only a dog?” I understand not everyone is an animal lover and others consider dogs or cats just pets. Not us.  Chico had a tremendous vibe and the ability to coax a smile from most people even non-dog people. Who doesn’t like a nice dog? Yes we spoiled him—he was our practice child before Cristian was born.  My day is not the same without Chico’s morning walk.

Chico - Christmas Stocking

 

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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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