Tag Archives: dad

She Says… Like Father, Like Son

Yard work has just gotten a lot easier at our house. We used to try to squeeze it in during Owen’s naptime because it was too hard to entertain/corral him while he was awake. But what we realized recently is that involving him works even better!

He will follow Benjamin around with his tiny lawnmower all day, if that’s how long it took. In fact, the child (bless his little heart) is obsessed with lawnmowers. He loves to put his ear to his ear when he hears one (anywhere, even miles away) and exclaims, “Yissen! A lawnmower! See it?”.

Last Christmas I happened to see a little bubble-blowing lawnmower on sale and decided to snatch it up as a backyard toy. I had NO IDEA it would become Owen’s favorite thing to do, bar none.



Sometimes Owen will wake up from a nap with a huge smile on his face and start babbling, “Daddy BIG lawnmower, Owen TINY lawnmower! Daddy Owen mow lawn ‘GETHER.”



It’s brilliant, actually. The lawn gets mowed, Owen is happy, the dog gets exercise staying out of the way (he’s terrified of the lawnmower) and I get to make dinner on the grill. That’s a summer tradition I can get behind.

I wonder how long this will last?

Look at the little Daddy wanna-be in action (excuse the standard definition video — it was a spur-of-the-moment iPhone catch and I don’t have Wifi right now to upload in HD):

She Says… The Anti-Daddy Campaign

Have I told you yet that we’re going through a rough week? Yeah, we’re going through a rough week.

There are just SO. MANY. TEARS.

Over everything.

I’m beginning to hear a pretty convincing fake wail/cry in there too. The kid has quite a thespian streak in him. Gee, I don’t know WHERE he gets that! (Aka… from both parents). I know he’s not feeling good, but oh, the wailing. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. It cuts right through me. He has even been at daycare yesterday and today and still, my ears are ringing with the sound. Daycare is a blessing for us both, in so many ways.

It’s not all the time, though.

This morning when he woke up, I went in and rubbed his back for a few minutes while he woke up slowly. He sleepily rolled over and smiled and me and we chatted and I ran my fingers through his hair and he reached for me and buried his face in my shoulder while we opened the windows and talked about the cars going by and the statue in the neighbors garden. We read books. He’s already smart enough to pick the long ones when I say, “Ok, let’s read 2 books”.

The thing that set him off into whiny, sniffly, crocodile tear mode today was Daddy. The mere suggestion of him. I said, “Do you want to wake up Daddy?”. “Noooooooooo. ::Sniff, sniff, WAIL:: NO DADDY. Nooooooooo! NO DADDY!”. Ok, ok, I said, we’ll go downstairs and get some milk and feed the dog first.

When Daddy came downstairs to help us get Owen’s food packed for daycare, Owen screamed and cried and pushed him away. Last night, too, he didn’t even want Daddy in the room while we were getting ready for bed.

I’d be lying if I said this was the first time this has happened. Remember this post? Yeah. Generally the Anti-Daddy Campaign is on a very small scale. Owen chooses me to read him books instead of Daddy. He chooses my lap instead of Daddy’s. Not a big deal.

But today it reached a crescendo. A new high. Or low, depending on who you’re talking about.

Poor Daddy.

The funny thing is that Benjamin is home with Owen on Fridays while I go to the office. That’s a full day of uninterrupted Daddy time, and it’s never been a problem. When I am out of the house entirely, I think it goes away. But man, when I am there, it has become a battle of epic proportions.

As with everything else, I know this is a phase. This too shall pass. Hey, he could switch on us tomorrow and be anti-Mommy. Or maybe next week when I have to go away for 5 days (5 DAYS! TO PARIS!). Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I would like to give Daddy a bandaid for his heart. Because as of this morning, I think the Anti-Daddy Campaign is beginning to get to him.

She Says… Mommy Phase

First of all, I have to say I am loving the discussion in the comments of my post on what kids should call adults in various situations. So interesting! A little update from our end: yesterday Owen’s daycare teacher showed me that he has learned all of his teachers’ names. He came up with a solution I hadn’t even considered — he calls them only by their last names. I assume this is because they are saying “Ms. Last Name” to him, and he is just skipping the “Ms.” part, but I think it’s a wonderful way to combine familiarity with the beginnings of formality. Cute boy.

Now that Owen has so many words, it’s pretty easy for him to express what he wants (and, perhaps more passionately, what he doesn’t want). We’re constantly working on “using our words” instead of grunts and whining, and to be honest, I think it’s going really well. He’s a natural communicator. But one thing he’s been communicating recently isn’t so nice.

When we came home from daycare last night and had a little time to play before dinner, Owen grabbed my hand and led me over to his play kitchen and said, “Gub!”. (Come). “See-DOW”. (Sit down). “Peh”. (Play). I sat on the floor and we pretended to cook together. Benjamin sat down with us too and almost immediately Owen was pushing him away and shouting, “Nooooo! No! No!”. No Dada.

Unfortunately for Benjamin, this is kind of the norm. When Benjamin kisses me; Owen whines. When Owen brings over a book that he wants to read, he demands, “Moooooommy”, even when I say, “Can Dada read you that book?”. At meals he only wants me to sit next to him and cut his food and give him his cup of milk. I get cuddles and hugs and kisses and pats; Dada gets none. Even when he asks nicely. Thankfully I think this dissipates when I am not around, but when there is a choice, the answer is always Mommy.

Someone is going through a bit of a Mommy phase.

Which shouldn’t be a big deal. Right? I mean, it’s totally normal for kids to choose one parent over the other at different times in their lives. I’m sure there will be days (months? years?) that he chooses Benjamin over me, especially given that he is a boy and there will be guy things that he just won’t want Mom to be a part of.

And, to be honest, Benjamin takes this behavior WAY better than I would. Oh sure, I would play it cool and say, “Ok, go play with Dada” and try to enjoy having the opportunity to do something else, but I’m pretty sure it would sting. Like, a lot. But the truth is, that hasn’t happened yet. It feel like Owen has been going through a Mommy phase since he was born.

On one hand, I love being the chosen parent. It’s undeniable that Owen and I have a special bond. Hopefully we always will. But on the other hand, it’s kind of exhausting. Even when the whole family is together; I’m the one who takes the lion’s share of Owen duties because he wants me to. Usually I want to too, which is good all around, but once in awhile I’d like to be the one checking my email while Owen and Benjamin play blocks together. And, frankly, it makes me feel bad for Benjamin when I see Owen quite literally pushing him away.

We’ve been trying to push back on this behavior a little bit. I’ll say, “Dada can sit with us. Pushing is not ok” and we’ll go from there. Or “Dada can read with us too”. Usually there’s not a big temper tantrum about it, so I’m using it as an opportunity to practice compromise. I don’t want to ignore Owen’s wishes entirely, though, because it’s important to me that he feels heard and understood. I think that is essential to why he is such a great communicator. We listen. Err, we do our best to.

I know some people will probably say that we’re letting Owen “boss us around” or run the show. But I think that letting him make some decisions for himself is a very powerful thing. It shows him that when he expresses himself (with words, appropriately, without temper tantrums), things happen. It’s the same philosophy behind giving him a few choices of what he wants to eat (when it’s practical). Practice making decisions and communicating them. I love the opportunity to let him decide how things will go, whenever possible, because so much of his life is out of his control. It must be tough being bossed around and moved around and talked over all the time by everyone else, so I try to empower him when he expresses his feelings.

Unfortunately in this case they are at the expense of someone else’s. Poor Dada.

I’m sure almost all parents experience this at some point. Right? RIGHT?! Please tell me I’m not alone. How do you react when your kid chooses one parent over another? Does it hurt when you are not “the chosen one” or do you appreciate the time off?

She Says… This, But Not That

I was so proud of myself. Last weekend I upholstered some barstools in a cute fabric to go around our kitchen island. I was proud because, not only does the upholstery job look great, but I remembered to take pictures of the whole process for the blog!

We have been living here for 2 months without barstools because I was obsessed with finding this chair that was in my head but apparently not in any stores or online. FINALLY I found something that I liked, but the upholstery on the seat was a boring dark brown pleather. After a little investigating to make sure I could handle the project, I decided to upholster them myself in a cute fabric to bring some color into our kitchen. The project was even easier than I expected, which is good, because I can guarantee that as Owen’s dirty little fingers touch them and drop food on them over and over again, we may need to re-upholster them pretty regularly.

But now for the “this, but not that” part.

I can tell you about the project, but I can’t show you. Do you know why? A certain someone who shall remain nameless deleted the pictures from our memory card before they could be uploaded.


Here is the “after” picture. Just imagine the chairs with a shiny, brown seat the color of horse manure. They look better now, I promise.

As payback for deleting my blog post pictures, I will let you, my lovely readers, in on an embarrassing little secret about Benjamin. He has become a total “Dad”. Does anyone watch Modern Family? We just started watching the episodes from the beginning on Netflix (because we finished watching the entire collection of Mad Men, which we ADORED, but needed something a bit lighter!). Phil makes me just about die laughing with his “Dad jokes” because they are SO things that would come out of Benjamin’s mouth. While we watch the show and I die laughing, Benjamin is sitting on the couch straight-faced saying, “That is NOT me!”. Sure honey, sure.

Today we were eating smoothies and I said, “We need to get those long, sundae spoons to get to the bottom of the glass.” “But honey”, he said. “It’s Thursday.”

Bah dum ching!

He’s become the kind of guy that when you say, “You got a haircut!”, he replies, “I got all of them cut!”.

Bah dum ching!

He’s here all week, ladies and gents.

And I bet he’ll never delete my photos again.

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.

He Says… Daddy Day Care

So I’m on day 3 of daddy day care.  I’m still in one piece.  So is Owen.  So that’s a good thing.  Prior to Monday the longest stretch I’ve had alone with Owen was last Friday for about 7 hours when Kate went shopping for work clothes.  Prior to that I’d only done a couple 4 hour stretches (which I sort of feel ashamed of).  So this week was bound to be a good test of my parenting skills.

The schedule this week (and pretty much ongoing) requires all of us to get up earlier, so Kate could get out the door around 7.  Now, you would not really call me a morning person, but I am used to get up early, often needing to be out the door around 6:30 for shoots, and I find for times I am good and awake.  This week the problem is that I have to get up early and then put on my social, smiley face to entertain Owen.  This morning stretch between waking up and his first nap (around 8:30/9) has been the hardest part of the day for me, because we’re not going to go anywhere and I still feel like I’m not awake, and Owen seems ready for his nap by 8am, but I don’t want to put him down that early.  I found that today, day 3, it got better, though, and I feel more awake and had more to do with Owen.

On Monday his first nap was only 1 hour.  Yesterday it was 2 and I am keeping my fingers crossed he’ll do the same right now.  The difference between the 1 hour and 2 hour nap is night and day.  I was able to get so much more done, and he seemed much happier after yesterday’s nap.  When we’re at home, I find I have to break things into 5-10 minute activities before he wants to move on.  There is a lot of moving from one room to the next.  I think Kate is better at this part (well at most parts) than I am, and I can’t seem to keep him as engaged in one thing for very long.  The afternoons have been better, just because they are filled with more feedings (bottles and solid food) plus we’ve left the house both afternoons.  On Monday to visit Kate at her office (and bring her home) and yesterday to go to my office to pick up some stuff.  I think leaving the house is key, because I am finding it very easy for both of us to go stir crazy when we’re home all day.  Plus it’s very hard for me to just talk to Owen all day.  Baby talk can sort of make you go insane I think.  Today’s outing will be very exciting as we get to go to the dentist (who happens to be my father/Owen’s grandfather) so that I can get a filling.  Oh boy!!!

My general feeling is that I am happy to get some time to spend one on one with Owen, but I would find it pretty hard (and not completely fulfilling) if that was my full-time responsibility.  I think once we start day care in 2 weeks, the balance for Owen of three days there and then 4 days at home with mommy and daddy (and the balance for Kate and I of working 4 days during the week and 1 day at home) will be great for all of us.  But the highlights of this experience is that I have several tricks up my sleeve for making Owen laugh, which is really one of the most fun things to make him do.  We’ve been singing and dancing around our house, listening to Lady Gaga and other pop music as a break from his kid’s albums, and he seems to like those just as much.  And next week I’m thinking of taking him out to lunch so I can pick up waitresses.

Just kidding.

He Says… Dad Life

I hope you all had a great July 4th weekend.  I just have to share this video that my friend just sent me.  Let’s just say I can’t wait to get a lawn mower in a few years!