9 August 2012 – Free Range Poop, a.k.a. the Poop Fountain

There are many jokes about babies peeing freely when they are naked on the changing table.  Sitcoms use this joke, most parents experience it and all share a laugh.  Few people talk about the other risk when babies are lying without their diaper.

Because of medicine and nature and all sorts of other birth-related happenings, Sweetie was slow to poop.  She was fine at the hospital but waited 6 days at home before she had a bowel movement.  Much to our relief, everything eventually came out just fine.  (So much so that we embraced the term “poop-splosion”.)  We appreciated and welcomed those early movements as a sign of our daughter’s health.

Wife had told me about Sweetie having her movements on the changing table, sans diaper.  I had not witnessed the event, so I jokingly referred to it as “Free Range Poop” and left it to myth.  One quiet night, much to Wife’s delight, Sweetie showed me what FRP was all about.  My horror at this feat of nature could not be properly captured with such a benign title, so I coined the more specific “Poop Fountain”.

So let me set a few things straight.  I did not go running and screaming from the Poop Fountain, but I did express my severe disturbance by it.  And yes, the name gives as much detail about this occurrence as I care to describe.  Wife thinks it is hilarious, as does Sweetie.  All I know is that I still have to clean it up.  The real kicker is that no matter how ill I find the PF, it is part of our new life.

8 August 2012 – Being vs. Doing

Every new parent expects their world to change when their child arrives – I was no different.  The prospect of staying at home only broadened my expectation.  It only took until Day 2 for me to realize the paradigm shift when my daily focus went from “doing” to “being”.

I used my first day home to get as much done around the house as I could.  I was up and freshly shaved and showered, I cleaned the floors, did some laundry, cooked dinner, all while caring for Sweetie.  I was used to making task lists and trying to accomplish as much as possible between 6AM and 7PM.  Meet the dealines and fulfill the metrics and push for results.  At the end of Day 1 I felt accomplished… until Day 2.

On my second day home I did not get anything done – nothing crossed off of my “to-do” list.  Sweetie took a bottle slowly, she played too long, took naps out of schedule.  I felt like I was hands-on all day taking care of her “to-do” list.  I sat with her while she played on her back on her mat, read to her, rocked with her.  I spent the day being with her as opposed to doing house work.

Wife had warned me about trying to get too much done during the day.  The idea was to take out the tasks and instead take in the experience.  Day 2 showed me what she meant and what change was needed.  I would need to just be with my daughter and learn how her needs would change my “to-do” list.

If I rate the productivity of our days in the traditional sense, they are all across the spectrum.  Some days I get more done than others.  But every day is productive in the parenting sense.  Each day brings with it some new aspect of this adventure that my family and I are on.  And I learn something new about caring for Sweetie every day.  I find that when these revelations occur I hear a little voice in my head say, “welcome to parenthood.”  And I quietly answer, “what a great place to be”.

7 August 2012 – Official First Day

Today is my first official day as a stay-at-home Dad.  Wife went back to work, looking very nice in her new dress, but none too happy.  So far the day is going well.  During nap time the house is quiet.  I don’t remember when my days had such moments.  Even with day-to-day din and city life noise, it is so peaceful.  It is funny how quickly the day is passing.  I feel like we are jumping from bottle to nap with a couple of diaper changes and some play thrown in for good measure.

Just a few days ago I was running through the body shop.  This meant starting my day and my first cup of coffee at 6AM and usually going until 6 PM, at least.  Countless cups of coffee, 20 workers fixing the various damage on crashed cars, compressors and paint booths rocking, other co-workers helping get cars out, phone calls and customers…all in my days’ work.  Walking away was like shutting down a light switch and enjoying the dark.

Filling the Toolbox

My wife and I have found ourselves in all kinds of conversations about our baby gear. It seems natural for parents to compare the stuff in their diaper bags.  Given my background, this makes the most sense to talk of as our “toolboxes”.

I want to talk about the products and services that I have found helpful during my stay at home.  The floor is open for any suggestions and recommendations you may have out there.  There are great products all around us so let’s get the word out.

Pink Sock Journal

Sweetie’s arrival brought with it a deepening of my appreciation for the good in my life.  I am enjoying this heightened sense and am also sorting through it.  I want to use the Pink Sock Journal so share the more emotional stuff that is going on with raising Sweetie.   So this will be the “touchy-feely” section…and that’s okay.

Owner’s Manual

My older brother, an accomplished 35 year mechanic and single father, is fond of saying that unlike cars little girls do not come with owner’s manuals.  Dads who are raising sons can chime in the same thought.  Thankfully, my niece is 20 years older than Sweetie, so when my brother speaks it is like reading an owner’s manual.  He inspired this section.

This is the “how-to” part of the conversation.  I want to share some details on things that help me in raising Sweetie.  If you have something constructive to share, please add it.  We are raising the future, men, let’s work on getting it right.

A Funny Thing Happened…

This section is going to be about things that strike me as funny while I am taking care of Sweetie.  This is not going to be a profound segment and in fact may get a bit irreverent.  There are just some times where something happens and I find myself laughing out loud.  Or I share an experience with a friend and we bust up laughing.

I almost named this segment “Funny Sh-t”, but chose not to so I can keep the blog family friendly.  “FS” was a great title because the majority of the stories are going to deal with poop.  In the first months of Sweetie’s life, poop became my hang-up, my kryptonite as it were…but in a funny way.  Poop’s presence in my life, vis-a vis Sweetie, is actually a good analogy for a all of the messy things we encounter in life.  No matter what we do, it keeps coming.  So I think it becomes our work to learn how to best deal with it and learn how to best clean up afterwards.  As you can see, you can’t try to be profound when you are dealing with poop.  But you can be funny!

Why Hot Rod Lullaby

This was the original title for this blog – a head nod to my interest in custom cars and hot rods and my current role as a stay-at-home dad.  While I like the title as a concept I did not want to make a contrived connection between my daughter and my professional interests.  And I am not too certain that I want to stage pictures of her in the garage as “Daddy’s Little Helper”… at last not yet.  I don’t bring my infant daughter in to the garage while I am working.  And I did not want to write as if everything I do with my daughter involves automobiles (not even cool ones).

There is also the issue of an actual “hot rod lullaby”, like a music file for download.  Some feedback from micomadre brought up this concern.  While I will comment on the songs that soothe Sweetie, we don’t have any files for download here.

So Hot Rod Lullaby is going to be where I write freely of day-to-day happenings.  It is just the spot for me to share the different things that I get to see and experience as I live with my quickly growing infant daughter.  I will tease out the more emotional entries to different section, the more technical to yet another, and so on.  I think they all fit better under the Dad’s Diaper Detour scope, with this being my daily go-to spot.

The transition from the body shop is a challenging one on many levels but I am steadily finding that it was a necessary change.  I am finding that at the end of the day, each day, I feel like I am right where I need to be.