Four Months and Counting

 Eloise is 16 pounds and 3 ounces. She is also 25 ½ inches long! She is in the 90th percentile for both. Eloise continues to grow quickly; it is unbelievable. Over the past month or so, she began grabbing for things and now she loves to hold toys in her hands. She just learned to grab her feet after being able to grab her knees for a little while now.

Eloise has been making use of her voice for some time now. Recently, she decided to scream a lot instead of making usual noises. She loves to scream happily while smiling. Eloise is still practicing rolling over and working hard with her legs.

It is difficult to spend the day at work and come home only to find out Eloise has done something new. But, I love coming home from work and seeing her smile at me, knowing who I am and being excited to see me. Playing with her is always fun as she grabs her toys well or my hand as she tries to figure out what it can do. It is amazing to see how she grows every day and spend the weekend seeing what she is able to do. While she is still learning, so am I. I know I can still learn about how to take care of a baby better. Although, I feel much better as a dad than I did at the beginning. I am more confident in holding Eloise and knowing that I can figure out what she wants.

Eloise will be able to crawl and walk before I know it. She is growing quickly and these four months have flown by. I am glad she is learning all of these things because that means she is growing into an amazing, beautiful little girl. Soon, she will be able to put her arms out for Sarah or me to pick her up and I know that will melt my heart. I keep thinking about the future, like Eloise walking, learning to read, and playing sports. I love thinking about all that she will do but I don’t want to think about it because I know it will come too fast. Before I know it, she will be using makeup and going out with friends on her own. I already don’t want to see these things happen for a long time and as Sarah says, she never wants Eloise to totally grow up.  

Although I spend each day at work, coming home to see Sarah and Eloise is a privilege. It is the absolute best spending time with them. I am so glad that I have these two in my life and despite time moving so quickly, I cannot wait for the days when Eloise is walking and talking!

Teaching Responsibility: How I Plan to Start at an Early Age

It is extremely difficult to teach responsibility to children, especially at an early age. Children want to do what they want when they want and not have to worry about cleaning up after. That is why toys are left all over the house, clothes all over the floor, and dishes on the table.

I know I didn’t want to take any responsibility for any of those things as a kid and even as a teenager. I left everything all over my bedroom floor and never picked up despite being asked. My chore was to do the dishes and I would avoid doing those as long as possible. But once I was in high school, I finally figured out I needed to take responsibility for my actions. It definitely started out small but I grew to take larger responsibilities.

Kids do need to take responsibility for themselves so that when they are on their own, they know to handle basic things like cleaning and doing dishes. Here is my plan to teach my daughter responsibility at a young age.

Begin with something small

My plan is to begin with picking up toys that she used and place it in a bin where her toys are stored. I know that this is where a lot of parents start and it can be effective. I will start by explaining that these toys are hers but only if she cares for them. Caring for them will include putting them away and making sure nothing bad happens to them.

Move to a bigger responsibility and keep the old one

As she continues to grow, I want to move to a responsibility like putting her plate on the counter after eating. It will teach her to clean up after meals and show how a small action like that can help the bigger task of doing the dishes.

Give total responsibility over a task

Once multiple smaller responsibilities are taken care of, it will be time for full responsibility over a task. I will move up to doing dishes from placing dishes on the counter. Another could be doing her own laundry. The prior task might be placing clothes in a hamper and bringing that to the laundry room when it is full. She can then learn to do her own laundry.

Provide avenues to independence

As tasks won’t be completed if she does not do them, she will realize having this responsibility is important. From there, I want to provide different ways to independence. Laundry is one way to independence, another is to teach her how to cook. I also want to teach things like how to mow the lawn and change tires so that she is able to handle all aspects of living on her own.

 

Many kids don’t know how to handle basic responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, or taking care of the yard. This makes it difficult to grow in their own independence. I want to teach my daughter responsibility from an early age so when she does go on her own to college or her first job, she feels comfortable and not scared of being on her own. These steps are what I hope to achieve so that she is ready and wants independence as she grows, but knows how to handle responsibilities that come with growing up.

Cheap and Free Activities for Kids

It is easy in this day and age for kids to spend all of their time playing on their phones or playing video games. As  parents work and have extra duties like cleaning the house, or mowing the yard, it is even easier to let them use technology often. Here are some cheap or free easy activities for kids that include exercise and learning while having fun.

Camping

Camp out at a campground in a tent or under stars. Build a fire and show your kids the right way to do it while being safe. Play night games and roast marshmallows. This is fun and informative about camping/survival skills.

High School Sports

They are normally only a few bucks per person to get into and can show kids what it could be like if they want to play high school sports. It gives them motivation to try and reach that level.

Disc Golf

Play disc golf at a nearby course. Only one disc is needed for beginners and there are plenty of courses that are free to play. Kids release energy trying to throw the disc as hard as possible and walking the course provides good exercise.

Visit the Library

Take a trip to the library. Books can engage the imagination. Most libraries also have activities for kids as weekly or monthly events.

Water Balloon Fights

Have a water balloon fight. Water balloons are only a few dollars for a pack and kids can run around throwing these. Be careful though and make sure the pieces are picked up. Add that as a responsibility for the kids to learn to clean up after themselves.

 

Kids become easily distracted, especially as technology advances. Use these ideas to get kids up and moving, to spend time outside, and exercise. They can also be family activities and can bring the family together for a day of fun. This can create deeper bonds with the family and the kids will be excited to have fun.

Men Don’t Cry

Men don’t cry.

This has been a statement declared for boys and men for generations. Boys don’t cry or show emotions. They are supposed to be stable and keep feelings hidden. Boys and men always have bottled up emotions and never shared how they felt.

I have never been this way. If you ask my mom or my wife, they can both tell you that I have always showed my emotions more than most men. I cried when I got mad, I cried when I got frustrated, and I cried when someone special to me passed away. Yet, I was always afraid of showing my emotions in public because of this stereotypical view. If I did show emotions in public, I usually got made fun of because it is not what boys and men do.

Despite this, I continue to show my emotions. I cry when I get frustrated and feel overwhelmed and I cry when my daughter cries. She just looks so sad and I want her to be happy. I know there are many reasons she could be sad but I will do anything to make her happy again.

This is what I want my daughter to know and to find in a man. Thankfully, it is a long way away, but I want her to understand this at a young age. Boys and men shouldn’t be afraid to be emotional. It is harmful to themselves to keep feelings and emotions in. I want her to find a man who will do anything to make her happy. I want her to find a man who is willing to share his feelings and is willing to cry with her. This will open up their relationship and develop it.

This stereotype continues to hover over society and it needs to stop. Men should be able to share their emotions, especially in public without being regarded as lame or not manly. When men are willing to share their emotions and feelings, it is much easier to connect to them. Men are more understanding and able to build solid, stable relationships with family, friends, and significant others. This is what I want my daughter to find and it is much easier when society realizes it is okay for men to cry.