When the silence is deafening

One thing I’ve noticed since becoming a parent is that when things turn eerily quiet, there is probably trouble. Maybe the child is writing on the wall with a crayon or trying to feed baby sister a cheese cracker. Something is usually up. Its funny how we notice the silence as if we have a “parent radar” for that sort of thing.

Another aspect of this, that really hits me, is when I am home alone. It can be completely quiet and it honestly hurts my ears. It is such an empty almost sad feeling that I notice instantly. You can just sense that your kids aren’t there and it doesn’t really feel right. I wouldn’t say it takes me to a panic mode but it does put me on high alert that a major part of what I care about in life, isn’t there. I almost wonder if part of the problem is feeling like if they aren’t there, I can’t possibly protect them if something goes down. I feel like that would be one of the biggest regrets if something bad happened and I wasn’t there to be that “daddy shield.”

This silence has been surrounding me the last couple days as the kids and momma are away for the weekend. I had to work a ton so it was much more practical for them to go stay with her parents and actually have some fun. It isn’t easy though. I don’t like the feeling of coming home to an empty house even though it gives me a little break, its not really what my mind has been on. The positive is that it really makes me appreciate my family even more and I get to see them soon so I’m getting excited.

Well that was deep huh? Not much humor in this one. I tend to get serious every once in awhile but I don’t let it last too long. I’m still a kid at heart and I try to bring that out in my writing. Thanks for reading!

-My5am

Toddler Eating: from dream to disaster

Alright, one of the biggest challenges with being a parent is feeding your little one. Apparently they need to eat every day…ha, but seriously I tell you, its a lot of work and never quite goes the same each time. It started out great with Noah. Once we started introducing solids, he would eat pretty much anything we tried, yes even vegetables. This kid would eat stuff that even I wouldn’t. Like I’m sorry but a combo mush of pumpkin, peas, and pears does not make any sense and will never touch my lips. Plus, I never trust a meal where every ingredient starts with the same letter. It went so good that I don’t think we ever stressed about “what should we feed him today?”…then…it changed.

I can’t quite pinpoint when everything went to crap. First vegetables got the boot. Then things like chicken and some pasta were evicted. One staple that remained was fruit. Bananas and strawberries were king. Or as Noah calls them “nannas” and “straw”…yeah he’s a little bit lazy with finishing words. Guess he will be a pro when he starts texting…ugh…I really gotta get him to never text like that…anyway, it even got worse than that. At one point, the little man refused a banana. Umm, what? Are you serious? I didn’t even know who he was anymore. It’s like he was a different kid.

He also likes to play this little game where he won’t eat but wants whatever we are eating. He will say “bite, bite.” Of course when we give him some, he just spits it out, contemplates what happened, and then proceeds to ask for more. I can’t decide if he has an early bout of Alzheimer’s or if he just likes messing with me. It has certainly been a task and a half trying to figure out this puzzle. At one point I tried to smuggle in some peas and carrots through mac n cheese. I was promptly busted and given a suspended sentence. I’ve been negotiating a full pardon since but so far no such luck.

So for now, we are just waiting it out. Things have improved at times and then gone back. It’s a process I suppose and we try to come up with new ways to get him interested in more foods. Lucky for us he still loves most fruit so that’s one good thing. No matter what though, we will continue to battle through and do our best to fight the good “food” fight!

-My5am

Family Gatherings Part 1: The Christening

Well it took almost the whole summer to get a bunch of family and friends together but we finally pulled it off while celebrating Annalia’s Christening. I’ll admit first hand that I’m not a hugely religious person but my girlfriend and much of our families are, so I try to respect that as much as possible. The compromise was having the ceremony outside and at her parent’s house, instead of at a church. Not a bad deal. It was a beautiful day and the minister was only an hour late…oops. Apparently he thought it was the next day and had to scramble to get there. It wasn’t a big deal as like usual, we all went with the flow and still made it happen. We had to change the order of things around just a bit but it still worked. We picked two great folks as the godparents. My younger brother and one of my girlfriend’s best friends had that honor. It was a smaller more intimate gathering and it was nice to spend some quality time with some people I hadn’t seen for a bit.

For Noah’s, we picked my sister and girlfriend’s brother as the godparents. We are both now out of siblings to choose from so if any more kids are on the way, we may have to turn to craigslist to find some godparents. I wonder what category that would be under? Is there a coupon maybe?

When comparing both Christenings, the biggest factor was the weather. The most recent one was beautiful as can be. Noah’s…not so much. It was quite possibly the windiest day of the year. Among the day’s casualties:

1. The tent that was set up, flew up into the air and over the fence, breaking in the neighbor’s yard.

2. A plastic dinner plate decided to attempt flight. Its poor planning led to it flying into my brother’s face and breaking apart. He was unscathed but a little hesitant about coming this year, haha.

3. A bird nest flew out of a tree and smacked my friend right in the noggin. It was quite possibly the funniest and most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen. To watch the nest take a majestic flight through the air and deliver a “smack” with such accuracy and purpose was the highlight of my night. My friend has since recovered, although he didn’t make it out to this one…hmmm?

Overall, very happy that we were able to celebrate together as my family and friends unfortunately don’t get together nearly enough. I think we all aim for that to change but it’s hard with everyone off doing their lives and taking care of their responsibilities. I guess though, that it makes the times we do see each other that much more special. I’ll take what I can get.

-My5am

Three months old, three months new

So here we are, 3 months in, and I couldn’t be more in love with this little girl of mine. It doesn’t even seem possible that 3 months has gone by yet. Its funny because she was born with so much hair that I used to joke that “she was born 3 months old”, and now here we are at that time. Like any infant, there has been ups and downs, challenges and milestones. I’m sure any parent can vouch and say that it is damn hard to get through these first few months of parenting a new arrival. It is a non-stop action movie of crying, feeding, messy diapers, no rest, tip toeing when they sleep, bottle making, laundry, bragging, smiling, worrying, sleep checking, and loving.

Overall though, this girl has been pretty amazing and somewhat easier than the boy before her. She has pretty much done most of her sleeping at night which has been a miracle for us. She is gassy though and I’m thoroughly convinced she gets this from mom (hope she doesn’t read this post, hehe). She is also an infatuation to her brother. That kid loves this little girl. In the beginning he would just stare at her like she was the most amazing thing in the world. It has since changed a bit…there is still some staring but often times it is followed by snatching her pacifier or blanket and running away laughing. I’ve tried to explain to her that this is what having an older brother is like. When I tell her this, she usually just stares at me. At that point I clutch my own pacifier and blanket a little tighter, just in case she gets any ideas 😉

She is growing fast as is her brother. I try hard to appreciate every single day and I know that time will continue to move fast, despite my wishes for the opposite. I am a lucky man to be able to say that I’m a dad. I am proud of that title and I hope that someday my little ones will be able to say they are proud of that as well!

-My5am

Doing time with your partner in crime!

It took awhile but we were finally able to get in a date night. They seem to be so far between and few these days. I mean yes, we are a little busier now than before and 2 kids under 2 definitely eats up about 27 hours a day. I will tell you what though. It is important to try and find a way to spend some time with that co-parent. When you become parents you develop an additional type of bond between the two of you. Its a bond that is strong as hell but its not immune to breaking apart if you don’t pay attention to it. You need that alone time not only as a break from the kids but as a way to strengthen all the bonds you have with each other. It might be hard to find a moment to yourselves but make it a priority. Do whatever you have to do to make it happen. On a side note, what if you are a single parent? You still need to make time for yourself. You can still strengthen other bonds in your life, whether it be with a friend, your own parent, or another family member. Heck you can even just go out and talk to a complete stranger for an hour. Give yourself at least that. We can dedicate our lives to our kids but the key word there is “our” lives. At some point you have to pay attention to that fact.

So back to our date night. It was well deserved and well appreciated. We didn’t even have to go out to make it happen. It was as simple as putting the kids to bed a little bit early and having the logistics planned out. Ours consisted of ordering takeout, some good beer, and a couple episodes of Game of Thrones. None of those were even key pieces, the important thing is that we got to spend some time together. We got to kick back, put our feet up, get a little buzzed (oops), and get lost watching “our stories”, haha. It was great and I wish we could do it more. I think we are really trying hard to get a date night at least once a month. Definitely don’t want to let much more time than that get by. In fact our next one is about 2 weeks away. This one will be an out of house activity and it should be fun.

Anyway, like I said, no matter what, find some time for your co-parent and/or yourself. If you are a parent, you’ve especially earned it. Reward yourself once in awhile and you and your children will be better off for it.

-My5am

We’ve got baby fever… no, not that kind!

Well it finally happened. Took 20 months or so but little man just got sick for the first time. Got the full package too: coughing, runny nose, and fever. Guess he decided to go with the “gift pack.”
I’d like to think his sick free run is partly my doing. I actually don’t really get sick. I think I’ve only been sick maybe twice in the last 20 years or so. Usually if I feel something coming on, all I have to do is flex my one arm muscle and it scares off any sick germs hanging around.

It is definitely a little bit scary though when your mini-me gets sick. The fever scared me the most. He hit 103.8 at one point. The doctor seemed pretty nonchalant about it which both helped and made it worse (if that makes sense). It’s amazing how the entire person of your child changes when they are sick. You can just see it in their face and body language.

Luckily it only lasted a couple days and with minor sleep disruption. I’ll be honest though, if it leaked into day 3, I was totally gonna flex that arm muscle and save the day. We never got that far…that fever got lucky! He’s better now and we’ve been able to finally get back outside on our daily walks. Just us three out on the open road…living off the land…and maybe cheese crackers 😜

-My5am

The kid in me is strong, so strong

One of the greatest things about being a parent is that you get to have a reunion with the kid still inside you. We grow up, we get jobs, we get responsibilities, we get stress, and often times we start to distance ourselves from our childhood. I think its very important that we not let that happen. We live in a society where its normal and even encouraged to grow up as fast as we can and that can’t be healthy. We sometimes need to tap into that little goof ball kid that is still in us. It can be hard to find a way to reconnect with that and in my experience, having kids makes it much easier to go down that path. Just to sit there and be silly with your baby or run around with your toddler is one of the best feelings personally that I have. It gives you a moment or two to forget about your adult tasks and lets you be free. Its a freedom that we all need from time to time.

I think that it also helps your kids transistion better from childhood to adulthood. Showing them the different stages helps them relate to you better. If they see dad making funny faces or mom blowing bubbles, it puts them at ease. They can’t possibly relate to maturity and adulthood yet but they can relate to being goofy and playful. As they get older, you may have to adjust the type of “goofy” but its important that its there.

I can’t stress enough that relating to you child will strengthen your relationship a million times more. It really is a win/win situation. You get to spend quality time with them and you get to see them smile and laugh which is completely contagious. When you act like a kid again, it literally brightens your soul and makes you feel better. So no matter how busy you are or how “grown up” you think you’ve become, get down on that floor. Roll around, play with legos, dance around in the rain with them, just do something silly. It will honestly make you feel better and maybe, just maybe, your little one might think you’re a pretty cool parent…at least until they reach the teenage years!

-My5am

Baby…Check! Blog…Check! Baseball…um well…..

While I think its safe to say the last 2 months have been extremely busy, I still feel like I’m slacking. I was able to get the blog up and going but have paid basically zero attention to the baseball side of things. Not only that but I haven’t even really been able to get in any good workouts besides maybe one. This is not acceptable (in my own head) and I really feel like I need to recommit to ALL the goals that I set for myself when I began My 5am Story.

I think that I’ve come up with a pretty good plan to move into the training phase of things. One of the things that m’lady believes in is ‘visual motivation’ such as creating a vision board. While I’m not quite at that level, I do like the overall idea of this type of motivation. Therefore I have begun carrying around a baseball with me wherever I go. It is actually sitting here right beside me as I write this. I believe this will help keep me in “baseball on the brain” mode. Also the wonderful sound of two screaming children at random times during the day will help me visualize playing in front of a hostile crowd, so win/win right?

I also need to improve my eating a bit. I think I do okay overall but there is always room for improvement. I know that I do need to cut out the soda pop completely and I’m trying to do that. I feel like the workouts are a matter of better time management. I just really need to set the time and go for it. I’m sure there will be times when unexpected baby stuff come up but luckily I have a great and very supportive co-parent who has my back in these situations.

I am excited to move into this last stage of my goals and I know that I have the motivation to make the most of it. Maybe I make it, maybe I don’t. But at least I gave it go and there aren’t a lot of folks out there who are able to say that 🙂

-My5am

Left is right, right is left

Well it started out like any other day. Going through the morning routine and getting the boy dressed to leave the house. Threw on his shoes and began to get myself ready. Then a very strange thing. He kept tripping over seemingly nothing. I chalked it up to “toddler clumsiness” but it turns out, I was the cause. I had apparently put his shoes on the wrong feet. Wow. Such a simple task that I got wrong basically because I either wasn’t paying attention or just assumed I had it all under control. While this was a simple mistake and relatively harmless, it got me thinking. It is so important for myself and others as parents to just pay attention. It doesn’t matter if we are tired, or rushed, or grumpy, or busy…we need to focus on our little ones. When our attention lapses it can be humorous like a funny-walking-reverse-shoed toddler or it can turn into unimaginable tragedy. We don’t even have to make all these major changes to be more focused. It can be as simple as putting down our cell phones while they play at the park. Or taking an extra minute to make sure everything is in order, even if we are rushed. So lets all try to pay more attention to our children, our co-parents, and even ourselves. It is sure to make things better in every aspect of our parenting. Okay, well that was my little PSA for the week.

Now onto some fun stuff. We were able to get out to Salem MA this week for a couple days. Got to catch up with some friends and it was our first trip of the summer to the beach. Baby girl didn’t get down to the water, she just sort of chilled with mommy. Noah and I got some water time in. He wasn’t too keen at first but eventually warmed up to it. He was more interested in the rocks and sand. He actually has this obsession with rocks. If he sees one, he will say “rock, rock, rock” over and over again. Like 27 times, ugh. He really likes to throw them into water. I let him do that for a bit. Unfortunately there was a minor mishap as one of his “rocks” turned out to be a snail which became air-born before I could order the flight grounded. Luckily the snail only went about a foot before landing in the water. I am confident that it was unharmed and still had a better experience than flying with United 🙂

That’s about all the excitement for the past week. We are all home safe and ready to tackle the week ahead. Definitely have some workouts planned and as always, some quality time with the family. Will write again soon. As always, thanks for reading!

-My5am

Angel baby, Rainbow baby, Tons of hair baby!

One of the things I promised myself when I set up this blog is to be truthful and transparent. Two qualities that seem to be greatly lacking these days out there in the real world. So we start with our “Angel Baby” who was named Annabelle. She wasn’t here very long and we never even got to see her in person but she existed. I know she did. I’ve heard her heartbeat and I’ve seen her little wiggle move as she danced on the ultrasound screen. I’ll tell you what, she was a much better dancer than me. This was all a couple years ago. It’s an experience that definitely tested myself and her mom. It was one of the single hardest times of our lives but we got through it and we appreciate every aspect of our life and our other children’s lives because of her. That was her gift to us. She showed us what’s important and it’s been one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned. I know that she is still here and looking over her younger siblings. Every once in awhile when a pacifier goes missing, I wonder if she’s hiding it and trying to play a joke on good old dad. She must be. She must be funny because I’m fricken hilarious!

Moving forward, its been just under 2 months since my little girl arrived and another 16 months before that, my son got here. If my math is correct, that makes two kids under two. Wow! What were we thinking? Better yet, what were we drinking? Haha. Hey now, don’t worry. It was probably water. Its been hard, its been stressful, but its been great. My son “the rainbow baby” is the sweetest little kid. He is truly our miracle child. He’s pretty funny and definitely mischievous. You can tell him not to do something and he will literally stare at you for a couple seconds before doing it again…all without breaking his stare. He’s kind of a bad ass actually. The girl “tons of hair baby”, is great and has more hair than probably three normal babies together. It scares me because I know that someday I might have to learn how to comb that thing that lives on her head. I’m currently trying to think of excuses to get out of it but I’m sure I’ll come around soon enough. She doesn’t do much yet but she’s been fun and for the most part sleeps through the night, besides waking once or twice. Not too bad.

I am very lucky to have those two in my life. I am very lucky to have had Annabelle in my life, if only for a short while. I’m lucky that they all have a great mom who makes things 100 times easier and 1000 times better. She is a great woman and even her jokes are starting to get better. I’m trying to teach her anyway. She thinks I’m a good guy so that must make her a genius right? Overall the family life is good. They support me and that is exactly why I’m able to put up this blog and chase my dream of playing baseball. They are the backbone of my life and what I strive to do. They saved me even if I didn’t know I needed saving. But I suppose we all need saving at one point or another in our lives. Maybe someday sharing my story will save someone else. Anyway, this first post was a bit tough to write but I feel good about it and I’m motivated to keep them coming. Thanks for reading!

-My5am