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All Day With Dad

A month long journal chronicalling parental leave in the United States

Day 20 – The End

I can’t believe that 4 weeks, 20 work days, have already come and gone. In the beginning, time felt like it was nearly standing still. The past week went by in what felt like the blink of an eye.

When I started the last 4 weeks of paternity leave, I really had no idea what to expect. While I knew it wasn’t going to be a vacation, I didn’t know just how hard and tiring it would be. I was certain Fitz and I would be out on some form of adventure everyday. In fact I had joked with Cassie that while she was at work we would be hanging out at the coffee shop. Well guess what, we never made it to the coffee shop.

The daily routine of diapers, feeding, playing, napping and then starting the cycle over again wears you out quicker than you can imagine. There is no time in the day, and you also must plan your day somewhat according to his schedule, not yours. But at the same time, this time off has been the most rewarding experience I’ve had. I’ve seen Fitz go through some of the tiniest but most monumental milestones. He’s learned to roll every which way and use it as his mode of transportation, he discovered his feet and toes, nearly holds a bottle on his own, tries to hold a conversation in gibberish, and he is so close to sitting up on his own! We’ve enjoyed plenty of time outside together running our neighborhood and local trail, we visited the dentist, doctor, chiropractor, and we even ventured out in to the large crowd at the Sportsman Show in Puyallup.

If I’ve learned anything over these past 4 weeks, it’s patience. Fitz is young and moldable now. He can’t communicate with me aside from crying but knows how to respond to my actions. Even at this young age it’s up to me to be a positive influence on him. I am tasked with the job of dissecting each tone and figuring out what he needs and staying cool under the pressure of a 4 month old. I’m the one responsible for teaching him how to handle himself. As of now, we are only on the tip of the iceberg with years to go, that will go even quicker as I watch my little boy grow up to be a young man.

These past 4 weeks would have never happened without my employer. Thank you Ted, Dave, Kaj, and Josh for wanting to provide this wonderful benefit. The four of you have created an amazing culture at EXPED USA, and hopefully are helping set the bar for other businesses, no matter the size around the country. The importance that this time meant not only to Fitz, but also to Cassie and I is invaluable.

Tomorrow, Cassie is tasked with dropping Fitz off for his first day at daycare. I can’t imagine what that is going to feel like for her. I do know it was hard for her to go back to her first day of work and leave him with me, but leaving him with someone whom we trust, yet is a stranger is going to be even harder I’m sure. Fitz will be in good hands though, he will make new friends and continue to learn valuable skills as he interacts with other kids daily.

The past 4 weeks are gone. I’ve provided Fitz with endless love and care. I’ve learned his ways, and started to teach him ours. These were precious weeks that I wouldn’t give up for anything and am extremely grateful that the opportunity was provided.

Over and out,

Nick

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Day 17 and 18

Yesterday was LONG so I skipped out on giving you an update. So lucky you, today you get a double dose!

Cassie had a long day at work yesterday, she didn’t get home until nearly 10pm! She was providing her staff with some team building activities which meant I had dad duty for over 12 hours, which equated to about 7 bottles and 6 naps. Needless to say it was a long day.

Although  yesterday was long, Fitz and I had a mostly good day. We ventured to Les Schwab and Home Depot, you know guy stuff. He seemed to like Les Schwab, but as we left he fell asleep and continued to stay asleep as we went in and out of Home Depot. Guess he isn’t much for home improvement and power tools yet.

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Fitz informed me that having our elephant Kiki is vital to a good run yesterday.

Aside from our outings, we hung out around the house and neighborhood for the rest of the day. I have to say, it was a big day in the sense of just really taking over parenting duties. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, parenting is a lot of work! Between all the feedings, bath time, reading, and putting him to sleep last night, I was ready to put my feet up and relax once he was settled in.

Today, Fitz and I enjoyed more father and son time, I took him to the Sportsman Show! He got to see lots of cool taxidermy, picked out his first rifle (a Savage Rascal), and told me which boat and new truck to buy. Fitz was a little fussy after we got there, but once I took him out of the confines of his car seat/stroller combo he was very observant. I do believe he also really enjoyed everyone smiling, waving, and welcoming the new little outdoorsman that he will be.

This special month with Fitz is ending soon, only 2 days left. I can’t believe just how fast time truly has gone and everything I’ve experienced and witnessed with him.

Have a great night!

Day 16

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Wow, time sure is flying! I can’t believe that we are officially in to what is the final week/days of this leave!

Fitz and I had a pretty chill day, I mean it was rather chilly for our walk this morning (there was frost and iced over ponds) plus we just hung around the house rolling on the floor chit chatting. First thing this morning, our friend Channy came over with her daughter Harper and we took a walk on the Soos Creek Trail, chatting about life with kids. Channy and I met in like 2004, so our lives have come full circle since the days of college.

After our long walk, Fitz and I hit the road towards home where we played the remainder of the day. This evening before Cassie got home was the best though as he got rather chatty expressive. He was talking, smiling, rolling, laughing, and making noises with his lower lip by flicking it out. I’m pretty sure it was a new found talent as it’s something I had not heard before. I’m always amazed at these small, little noises and movements that he discovers which are so fascinating to him, yet we take them for granted as old news.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Day 15

Today is actually going to start at about 10:30pm Sunday evening.

Last night Fitz woke up SCREAMING! The older he gets the louder his lungs get and the more intense of a screech that comes out. Cassie was able to get him settled, although she did have to resort to laying with him on the couch. Alright, time for sleep…WRONG! 12:30am and Fitz is trying to tear his lungs out, feeding him doesn’t work, bouncing him, rubbing his back the football hold, nothing works! Finally, after feeling like I could collapse at any moment, I sat down in the rocking chair, laid him on his back, slouched in my lap and he fell asleep for the next two hours! Unfortunately for me, I had no blanket or pillow so I sat there awake and rather uncomfortable, but at least he wasn’t screaming.

Fitz did end up waking again around 2:45 or so in which Cassie stepped up to the plate to calm and get him back to sleep.

So finally on to the actual day time, where it’s Fitz and I all day. I got back from the gym about 7am, Cassie informed me right away that Fitz shit his pants, blew it out both sides, this put a big smile on his face and he was happy as a clam now. It’s amazing how not being able to poop can just devastate a person. Could you imagine if adults just walked around screaming bloody murder because they hadn’t had a bowel movement for a day?!

Anyway, Fitz and I had a lovely day together. We took a trip to my parent’s house to late the furnace repair man in and then headed off to Costco. That was a rather disappointing trip though as there was an extreme lack of samples out for my lunch. After arriving back home, Kent walked over to hang out for a bit. Throughout this whole day, I kept thinking when will Fitz want a nap? He napped early this morning until around 8:45 and then just a quick cat nap on our way to Costco.

The answer to my naps would come around 3:30pm when he finally got fussy. I put him down, he slept for 45 minutes, woke up screaming bloody murder like he was last night, ate a bottle, and then put him back to sleep as I tried to burp him. This was a rather interesting and crazy event that I had not anticipated.

Whew, what a day it was. It started out rough late last night and I dreaded the thought of Cassie going to work today. Fortunately in the end we both got some sleep last night, Fitz pooped, and we were able to enjoy a really good day together.

Oh and if you haven’t seen, Fitz also captured his first summit yesterday, Little Mt Si!

Adios!

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Day 14

The week comes to an end and I am tired. Today was a day of mixed emotion obviously with President Trump taking the oath and his place in office. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, but it’s amazing how a 4 month old child can pay such deep attention to world affairs.

Fitz woke up from his early morning nap just in time to see the festivities of the inauguration begin. Of course I had also just finished making my breakfast which meant playing with him while eating at the same time. Anyway, he played peacefully in front of me, but when Trump started to give his speech he sat there listening and paying attention. He may not understand the words that were coming out of his mouth, but he knew they were important words for everyone to hear.

With all the morning festivities over, Fitz had his 4-month check up this afternoon. All is good with his health, he is in the 75th percentile for height and 35th for weight. The doctor said his weight isn’t of concern though as all Fitz does is move, so he just burns those calories! Aside from critical measurements and evaluating motor skills he also received a shot. The kid’s a trooper! He got poked with a needle, acted all cool, cried for a minute afterward, and was cheery the remainder of the day.

Off to some good old family time this weekend, hoping for some sort of hike potentially. After all he does have 96 miles to go still for his 100 mile by 1 goal.

Have a good weekend!

Day 13

Sometimes you have days where you barely change your clothes, today was one of them

I had grand ambitions of waking up to go for a stroller free run this morning. My pillow was to damn comfortable though. So the only time Fitz and I left the house was during the hour window of clear skies that we had around 12:30. I changed from sweats, to running shorts, and finally to the gym shorts that I have on while I type this out.

Since Fitz and I had a lazy day, and there isn’t much to report I thought I’d fill you in on some of the brutal reality of staying at home all day with a 4 month old.

  1. Parenting is a full time job – you may not feel like you are accomplishing much as you hit around the house playing on the floor with your child, but in reality you are accomplishing more than you know
  2. I’m tired at the end of every day – this has been the biggest surprise to me. Although I stick to my usual gym routine in the morning with a run on most days, aside from that I’m not doing much more than what was described previously. Maybe I’m just getting old, but by the time 9pm comes around I’m ready for bed.
  3. Get out of the house – even if you aren’t running errands or meeting up with friends daily, just get out and go for a walk. The fresh air does wonders to recharge your batteries for the second half of the day

I have more I could say, but I figure I’ll leave those for later on. Have a great night!

Day 12

Phew, today is over! Fitz and I had a long one day, over 12 hours! Cassie had an event to present at this evening which had her arriving home just after 9pm.

Fitz has had a small little cold/cough the past few days, and today may have been the sort of peak. He wasn’t to fussy, but he was rather quiet and also pretty sleepy most the day. He even put himself to sleep playing on the floor late this afternoon.

Today’s lesson in fatherhood or parenting in general is to not leave your kid unattended! Don’t worry he is fine. With his new found skill of rolling both ways from his back to stomach, and then back on his back, it means he is getting rather mobile. I had him in his room earlier today and left him for a minute. Upon my return, I discovered that he had rolled under his dresser! This sort of trend continued all day in the living room as he just wanted to roll under the coffee table. His Grandpa Maury stopped by and I told him that I think Fitz has already decided his career choice, mechanic, since he appears to enjoy laying on his back and looking up at the complex world of coffee tables and dressers.

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In other news, Fitz has also discovered that he is a talented foot pianist. Yep, he plays the piano with his feet.

Finally, bath time has always been him and Cassie for the most part. Well tonight since she was gone, I attempted and succeeded drawing the bath, bathing him, drying him off and even applying his fancy body cream so his skin is nice and smooth. I’m pretty positive I get “dad of the year” points for that. 😉

Have a great evening and see ya tomorrow!

 

Day 11

I’m a little bit late posting this as it’s technically Day 12 right now. That’s just what happens sometimes when you are parenting though, right?

Yesterday was a whirl wind of a day. Fitz and I headed over to my parents house first thing in the morning to let the furnace repair guy in. We had an uneventful drive over and jut relaxed for most the morning. The way home though turned in to a fuss fest, Fitz just could not get comfortable in the car. We finally arrived home, he calmed down, and I decided it was time for our morning run which should put him back to sleep for his next nap…

Fast asleep on Grandma and Grandpa's floor
Fast asleep on Grandma and Grandpa’s floor

Well my plan of running and putting him to sleep didn’t work. The first 5 minutes he was happy, but then after that it was a run full of noisy crying. I should have turned around sooner than I did, and as I kept going towards the normal turn around spot I felt more and more guilty as he just continued to fuss and cry. In the end, we finally returned home, he ate and promptly fell asleep. It was the first time (and I’m sure not the last) that I put my self first rather than him.

After the morning escapades, we just hung out. Fitz had another lifetime milestone as he decided it was time for him to roll from his stomach to his back. I must have missed the first couple rolls, because he was in an entirely different spot to where I had left him at one point on the living room floor. After placing him back in spot he continued to show me his new trick.

Cassie had a staff meeting, so she was getting home late and I had to be at the Kent City Council meeting for my appointment to the Kent Bicycle Advisory Board. My mom was unable to watch Fitz as she also had a class, so Grandpa Bill was called in. He did great, but was happy when Grandma showed up about 30 minutes after I left to provide him with some support and backup.

It was a bit of a long day full of ups and downs, not every day is perfect or easy. The return of a strong rain storm outside did make it a bit easier though to just sit inside and give Fitz all the attention he needed.

Day 10

Today is officially the half way point of my leave. It’s bitter sweet, I do miss the grown up conversations at work throughout the day, but I know I will miss Fitz more than ever that first day back on the job.

Being that it was the MLK holiday, Cassie had the day off. So this really meant that we both watched him and/or did our own thing with the day. The morning we all spent together, Fitz laying on the floor still as can be to only put himself to sleep all on his own. Cassie and I cleaned up the house (her more than I) and finally, I snuck out for a mountain bike ride. She had plans this afternoon with a mom’s group so it meant I had the afternoon free to put in 17 glorious miles on the local singletrack.

Even though it was a day with the support of Cassie, we both had the opportunity to share a milestone with Fitz today. Being that he is now a big 4 month old he was able to try out real food. His first food of choice, pureed avocado. He had no problem with accepting a spoon with gooey avocado in to his mouth. We were however unsure what he actually thought as his facial expressions were a constant change of eye brow raising and eyes twitching. In any event, it’s one more food option to give the growing little man.

Back at it in full swing tomorrow!

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