Category Archives: He says…

He Says… Daddy Weekend with Owen

I feel like I am now a guest blogger on a blog that originally started as something that I would share equal responsibilities. Clearly that never became a reality, but I’m back to tell MY side of the story of this past weekend.

Let me start by saying that I was thrilled to give Kate a weekend home alone. I have had a lot of traveling for work the last couple months, and while it is generally “work”, I get the benefit of dinners out, social gatherings, and a lot of other things that are more relaxing than being home alone with a rambunctious almost 3-year-old. So when we were planning this weekend to go to New Hampshire, I was happy that Kate accepted the offer to have a weekend home by herself.

In truth I was also really looking forward to some time with Owen without Kate around. I think Owen and I have a fantastic relationship but when Mommy is around, he almost always gravitates towards her. So I was excited to get some undivided Owen attention (even though I was sharing him with the rest of my family we were going away with).

My sister and her family were visiting from California and we all went to my parent’s house in New Hampshire for a long weekend. My sister came with me for the car ride to help entertain Owen on the 3.5 hour drive, but he was a champ. He had a great nap and spent most of the rest of the drive just listening to his music player through his headphones (best purchase ever!). I do think that had Kate been in the car, he probably would have asked her a million more questions than he asked us.

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When we got to the house we discovered the first problem. It was HOT. We knew it was going to be a very hot weekend in the 90s, and my parents don’t have air conditioning (for now) up at their weekend home (as it’s generally pretty cool in the mountains). But when we got there it was 90 degrees in the bedroom Owen was going to sleep in.  We opened all the windows which cooled things off, but I knew Owen was used to cool, dark, quiet rooms. We had to leave the windows open once he went to bed and for the first time since he switched to his big boy bed, he left the room. Several times in fact. On each night.  One time waking me up while screaming down the hallway at 1am because he said something scared him (which turned out to be a bug outside that he saw on the screen window).  He also made a habit of getting up around 4am when the birds started chirping and sun started to rise.

While I know these aren’t really BIG issues, I was stressed. I was trying to stake my claim as the Dad who could help him maintain his generally excellent sleeping, eating, playing schedule, and I felt like I was failing.

Despite the very erratic sleep schedule at nights, the days were great and it WAS so much fun to have time with him and my family where he would come to ME and not MOMMY when he needed something, or wanted a hug, or had a question. We beat the heat at a fun children’s museum in town, playing in the kiddie pool, and playing with all the toys that Grammy and Grampy had for him.  He loved to entertain the rest of my family with his singing, and asking about a million questions, and telling stories about things that he did “yesterday” (also known as months and months ago).

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On Sunday we had the first of 2 dramatic incidents. I was in the basement with Owen when I heard a sound like the loudest vacuum or blower was on upstairs. I ran upstairs and to see wind and leaves whipping through the house and thought immediately that we were in the path of a tornado.  Things were crashing on the floor and screens ripped out of the windows and into the house.  Pretty soon the most torrential rain I have ever seen came pouring down as we raced to close the windows. It turned out it was a microburst with winds around 60-80 mph.  It did not last too long, but Owen, who I was worried would be terrified, was just chilling in the basement playing the entire time we were racing around upstairs. The power went out, and when it subsided we went outside to see a ton of downed trees in the yard. The loss of power (and water, as my parent’s house is on a well) altered our schedule a bit (no tv before bed, no bath, no sound machine) but I have to say that Owen was great about the change and had a better night’s sleep that night.

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On our way home Monday we had our 2nd dramatic incident as we came upon (on a VERY twisty, steep road) a motorcycle lying across the road completely engulfed in flames. We were the first car to approach this accident and the motorcycle driver, fortunately was standing on the side of the road. Long story short, the driver was injured, likely had a concussion but was otherwise ok, after a very serious accident. Unfortunately we were in an area with no cell service so we ended up (in my brother-in-law’s car) driving him down to the town where we could call 9-1-1 and have an ambulance meet us.  And once again, amidst all the chaos, Owen slept in the car during all this entire thing.

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We got home with no other drama and Owen was thrilled to see Mommy but couldn’t stop telling her about all the events of the weekend. As we are closer to adding another member to the family, it made me appreciate even more having some time “alone” with Owen.


He Says… Owen’s first trip to the beach

We are spending this week in a house we rented on Cape Cod with Kate’s family.  We planned this vacation back in the fall, so the timing turned out to not be perfect with moving into our house a week before, but with everything going on, it’s still nice to get away and, try at least, not to work for a week.

It’s still technically off-season on the Cape, and the weather is still not great for going in the ocean, but it’s been nice and warm enough to at least go to the beach and play in the sand.

This was really the first time Owen had been to a beach.  We lathered him up in SPF 1 million sunblock, got his sun hat and swim diaper, and walked to the beach. Owen loved the wind blowing in his face (my new favorite thing is to blow in his face and watch him laugh).  He tolerated his sun hat enough and looked so freaking adorable in it.

We even brought along a small kiddie pool because we thought the water would be cold, and it would give him something to do.  He seemed to like splashing in the water.

Then Kate ventured into the somewhat cold water to give Owen a little dip.  He was utterly amused by his first experience in the salty water.

And we discovered something else that Owen enjoyed at the beach.  We weren’t expecting this one.  We plopped him on the sand, and well… you can see the video that Kate’s sister shot:

He Says… Missing Out

This last month has flown by and I can’t believe that Owen will be 9 months old on Sunday.  I know Kate will write one of her beautiful monthly letters next week, but I just can’t believe how much our little boy has changed over the last month.

I’m also a little sad that I’ve been travelling so much this past month that I feel like I’m missing a ton of this rapid developmental stage.  This past month has been a whirlwind of work trips, and long work days where I’m lucky if I can see Owen for 10 minutes before leaving for the day.  I just got back yesterday from a 4 day trip, and my little boy, who was slowly crawling last week was now racing all around the place on hands and knees at a pretty rapid pace.  I also think that every time I don’t see him for a day or 2, he looks so much bigger when I get home.  I feel like any day now he’s going to go from crawling to walking and from gibberish sounds to talking and I just don’t want to miss out on any of it.  Obviously I need to continue working, but it’s just a little sad to miss some of these things.

The other night while I was away I was at dinner and looking through pictures on my phone and was shocked at how tiny Owen used to be and how different he looked, not all that long ago.  It’s amazing that this child is the same one now who crawls and cruises around the house now, making all sorts of funny noises, smiling and laughing all day.  Not that we’re anywhere close to adding to our family, but I can understand why people miss this stage and want to do it again.  And I know we will some day.

He Says… First words?

Okay, so it’s not really a word that he’s saying, but I am just going to assume that he is saying Dad, Dad, Dad.

Happy Monday!

He Says… This is just bizarro

So, thanks to reader Liss, who commented that she saw our video on the Australian Today Show, I found the video on line and am posting it here (at least until they pull it from Youtube).

Craziness, right?  Certainly we think this is cool/weird/annoying.  I guess at this point I think we want a chance to speak on the other side, our side, since, so far all of this reporting has been rather one-sided.  They’ve clearly made no attempts to contact people to find out why they are doing this.  Also, I love how they talk about these videos as if they are live to Youtube.  The “reporters” comment on the woman who says she hasn’t told her husband yet.  My guess is that he found out before her video went online.  Duh.

In other news, Kate is in NYC for a few days for work so it’s me, Owen and Schnitzel holding down the fort.  He was so great last night and in a wonderful mood.  Look at how I found him when I picked him up at daycare yesterday:

He Says…. Danger, Danger!

(First…. when was the last time I blogged?  No idea.  I am letting Kate do all the heavy lifting.  Oh well, she is better at it than me.)

(Second… This post does not mean to disrespect my own parents.  I turned out fine, and unharmed, and I think they trusted me to do the right thing.)

So I was driving back from NY on Saturday and thinking about cute little Owen, and thinking about him growing up.  Kate and I had just spoken on the phone and she said he was trying to climb onto everything (well not exactly climb, but just pull up), and joked that he needed a climbing wall.  Now I used to do a fair amount of rock climbing in my youth and have done a little bit in the past few years, and DO think it’s a great activity for young children.  I’ve watched young children at the climbing gym do routes much more difficult than I can do, largely because of their size/weight, small hands, and the fact that most children are like monkeys.

Anyway, I was then thinking about how many seemingly dangerous things I did growing up, and how right now I can’t imagine letting Owen do these things.  Let’s tick through a few things:

-Rock Climbing: I started in 7th grade with and under the supervision of my step-father.  I was pretty attentive to the safety procedures and climbing, when done properly is very safe.  But by high school, I guess I had developed enough proficiency that I would often go climbing with just my friends, and my parents trusted that we wouldn’t kill ourselves.  We didn’t, but I imagine that some safety measures were (unintentionally) skipped, because we were young and careless at times.

-Climbing trees: Along the same line as rock climbing, because several of my friends started rock climbing with me in junior high we used to have get togethers at each others homes, where we’d bring our ropes and harnesses and climbing gear, and tackle a tree like it was Mount Everest.  While in theory, using all this gear made us climb more safely, I think that that was a false sense of safety as we’d go higher and higher.  Again, there were no MAJOR injuries, but I do recall a few incidents with rappelling from trees that ended in a twisted ankle and some major rope burn.  We also used to sleep overnight in trees on platforms that we built with our gear.  This was highly uncomfortable and we were harnessed in, but still…..

-Mountain Biking: Really this is no more dangerous than any other sport, and arguably safer than road biking, but I had my share of spills and cuts and bruises.  I started mountain biking with my father and he watched me go off some drops that now would make me sick to my stomach.  I DO look forward to biking with Owen though, as it is safe enough if you use caution, and it’s a great activity to do together.  But the thought of watching him try something dangerous makes me cringe right now.

-Zip Lines: This probably takes the cake and is tied in with the climbing rocks and trees.  My friend and I on a couple occasions built zip lines in his backyard.  The first one was built before we had really started rock climbing so we didn’t have the proper gear, or know a lot of the safety measures to take.  We bought some rope at a hardware store (which in hindsight was really not strong enough) and I made a harness out of a backpack.  We did all this under some parental supervision as we tethered a rope between two trees and jumped out of them “gliding” to the ground.  Again, we clearly survived this, but still….

Anyway, I guess thinking about the activities of my past make me think about what I’ll feel comfortable allowing or watching Owen to do.  He already seems like a bit of a daredevil as he loves to be upside down or tossed in the air.  I DO think that most of these “adventure” sports are safe when done correctly but like anything there is some risk involved.

I guess the alternative is that we can just teach him how to play chess.

He Says… Happy Birthday!

Today is Kate’s birthday.

I’m a little sad that I’m out of town working most of this week so I am missing her birthday.  I know she doesn’t really mind, but still I feel bad.  Kate has always been so great at making my birthday feel like such a special day and I try to do the same for her, but alas there is not much I can do this year.  I imagine that she will do a great job of making Owen’s birthdays very special occasions for him as he gets older.

So, since I am away, if all of you could wish Kate a happy birthday that’d be great.  I left her home with more snowfall and Owen being sort of sick again, and I’m sure your greetings will make her feel special.

Kate, I love you.  You are the most wonderful wife and mother, and we will celebrate when I get home.

Happy Birthday.

He Says… Mommy and Daddy Day

Today is the first day since before July 24, 2010 that Kate and I are both at home… without Owen here.  Since the weather folks were calling for Snowmaggedon #526 of 2011 for yesterday/today, I brought my work home yesterday.  Kate was already going to work from home today and we are VERY lucky that Owen’s daycare has stayed open.  (In fact it seems that they are one of the few daycares that has stayed open during all these storms, which is definitely worth the extra money.)

This morning we both took care of getting Owen ready for “school” (as we call it) and walked him and Schnitzel to daycare (Schnitzel doesn’t go to daycare though, he came home with us).  Then we came home and had breakfast and now we’re sitting at the dining room table on our laptops (setup across from each other, it looks like we’re going to play Battleship) doing our work and drinking our coffee.  There is no sound of the baby monitor, no listening for whimpering that we need to change a diaper, just the sounds of the snow plows outside.  I have to say this is quite lovely and since Kate works from home several days a week, I think I may try to work from home more often when Owen is at daycare, just so we can have a quiet house together for a bit.

So we’ve got a fair amount of work to do, but will hopefully squeeze in a workout, (and maybe a little, ahem, mommy and daddy time).  Oh, and shoveling.  Lots and lots of shoveling.

He Says… Week-end Wrap Up

So it’s been a long week for all of us; I think on Wednesday Kate and I both thought it was Friday.  But Owen finished his first week of daycare and we both couldn’t be happier with how that went.  The people at the center are very nice and welcoming, and I know Kate and I both felt that he was getting a great amount of (new) interactions.  All the little children are so cute together, and I imagine as Owen becomes more mobile, it will be even more fun for him to play with the other babies.  I have to admit that on his second day, which was my first time dropping him off (with Kate) I got a little teary when we left him, but it quickly went away.  I also found this week it felt somewhat liberating to be at work knowing Kate was also at work, and I didn’t have any feeling of needing to come home to help her out with Owen.  I guess it’s just nice for us to be on the same footing now.

Yesterday Kate had to work a little later so I picked Owen up around 4:30 and I had this minor panic when I went in that I wouldn’t recognize him among the other children.  I did have to scan the room until I found him, rocking in a chair with one of the teachers.  Then when I went up and kissed him on the head I had another minor panic that maybe I hadn’t recognized him correctly and I was kissing someone else’s baby.  But I didn’t; it was Owen.  (And yes, I know what baby looks like, but I was just being a little crazy.)

I know that Kate will write one of her beautifully written monthly posts next week, but I am just amazed that Owen will be 6 months old next week and how much he’s changed.  Even in the last couple weeks there have been some major changes.  He seems WAY more hands-on and interactive with his toys.  He can sit for very long periods of time now, and will reach out farther to grab toys.   Whatever I’m holding, whether it’s my iPhone or a coffee cup, he wants to hold it.  He also seems way more content to entertain himself for longer stretches.  I found that in the first week that I was home with him he would only do a few minutes on his activity mat or jumparoo by himself, but now he’ll happily bounce for 20 minutes or so.  Not that I’m just leaving him there for hours, but it’s great that he doesn’t need to be held quite as much.  I think after even 3 days at daycare he seems to be able to go longer in between naps too.  Today I just put him down at 9:30 whereas the last couple weeks I found by 8am (after getting up around 6:30) he was VERY sleepy and I’d have to struggle to keep him up until 8:30 or 8:45.

So, all in all, it was a long week, but it was productive and I think we’re all happy with this new transition.  Today is YET another snow storm (and it’s Friday, so it’s my day at home with Owen), so we may be stuck inside for a while.  I am SO ready for winter to be over.


He Says… Daddy Day Care (Part 2)

So my two weeks of Daddy Day Care are coming to a close at the end of this week (except for Fridays ongoing, as that is my day at home with him).  This week has been a bit easier as Kate is working from home today and tomorrow so we can both get some work done and watch Owen.

I definitely think while that first day last week was difficult, each day has gotten easier and more fun.  Owen has been back on his 2 hour morning nap schedule which, as I’d written before, makes a huge difference in his happiness for the rest of the day and my ability to get anything done.  Pretty much every afternoon we’ve left the house which has been great for all of us, so he’s done his afternoon naps in the car.  Owen has also gotten much better about sleeping in the car, which used to be a problem, so driving for 30-45 minutes now results in a good nap.  Yesterday we went to have a meeting with a friend about a project we are working on, and Owen was great, just sitting in my lap for about 2 hours while we were at this guy’s office.

Owen has been VERY vocal in the last couple weeks so we have long stretches of “talking”.  He still hasn’t developed any consonant sounds yet, but he clearly has something to say.  I need to post some video of his new sounds.  He is speaking a lot in a much higher octave than before which is pretty funny as he fluctuates between that and his lower register voice (which is a bit more soothing).

I’d say the biggest issue the past couple weeks has really just been the weather.  It was VERY cold last week, and going outside to walk Schnitzel is just unpleasant and involves getting Owen so bundled up.  The exiting and entering of the house is a long, multi-step process that will be so much easier again, come Spring-time.  Today we are in the midst of a 16″ dump of snow, and the 4 of us are about to go venture out for a walk so Schnitzel can bound through the snow banks and Owen can stare at all the fresh white snow.  Then I get to spend a couple hours shoveling.  Oh what fun!  At least Kate can watch Owen during that.

I know this transition has helped Kate get back to work and feel ready for daycare to begin next week.  Tomorrow we’re going to drop off all Owen’s “stuff” at daycare (food, diapers, etc.) and I think we’re all looking forward to the next step next week.