Stay-At-Home Dad Hashtag Search: #ThanksDad

The boys are both napping, so in an attempt to post regular columns about stay-at-home dadding, I thought about checking out a new hashtag (# for those of you under a rock) every week and then compiling what I feel are some of the best tweets containing said hashtag. They’ll be tweets relating to being a dad.

(Part of the reason I’m attempting to take this on now is because there are no day baseball games on right now.)

Before delving into a Twitter wormhole, I’ll guess that most are legit thanking their dads while a smattering are being sarcastic trying to get a laugh.

This week’s hashtag: #ThanksDad.

1. A baseball themed tweet about the Atlanta Braves and bobbleheads:

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2. This guy will never forget that one night at SummerSlam:

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3. This dad can rock out thanks to his dad:

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4. Letting dad borrow her car turned out pretty well for Sally here:

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5. Somehow, I think Kayla’s life is full of drama:

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6. Who Dat Nation!

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7. I hope they lose to my A’s but that’s nice of dad:

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8. Sounds like a good meal to me, well worthy of the hashtag:

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9. You’re a direct representation of your parents, act accordingly. Dad must be a ho:

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10. Tin Can scores with an assist from dad:

G is beginning to awake from his nap so I’ve gotta get going, but have a great weekend everyone, and be safe. I, for one, am looking forward to spending a three-day weekend with my family. Remember, safety has no holiday!

20 questions from the backseat

Kids will be kids and three-year-olds — ours, anyway — incessantly barks out orders or ask questions from the back seat. Today’s trip home from Target featured a barrage of questions from the always-inquisitive Unit. Here’s a sampling of questions (by him) and answers (by me).

  • Unit: “Daddy, do motorcyles have homes, too?”
  • Me: “Yes th…”
  • Unit: “Daddy, is they, daddy, is they going to their home now?”
  • Me: “Yeah I think he’s headed home.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, is he nice?”
  • Me: “He looks like a nice enough guy, yeah.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, are all motorcycle guys nice?”
  • Me: “Most of them are but just like all people, some aren’t so nice.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, are we going to hit every red light?”
  • Me: “It sure seems like we are, huh? Maybe the next…”
  • Unit: “It’s green, daddy, it turned green!”
  • Me: “It’s about time.”
  • Unit: “Is this the longest light ever, daddy?”
  • Me: “No, that’s not the longest light ever, we avoided that one today.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, why, daddy why did we aboid it?”
  • Me: “Because we went a different way home.”
  • Unit: “Why did we go a different way?”
  • Me: “To change it  up a bit, variety is the spice of life.”
  • Unit: “Is life spicy, daddy? Is it too spicy?”
  • Me: “No, it’s not too spicy, life doesn’t really taste spicy.”
  • Unit: “How many turns do we have to get home?”
  • Me: “We make a left, a right, a right, then a left into our driveway.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, is our driveway long?”
  • Me: “Not really.”
  • Me: “Look, we’re home.”
  • Unit: “Look daddy, we’re home.”

And cut. All the while, G slept in his carseat until we came to a stop in the driveway, which for the record, is about 45′ long. They’re both asleep as I type and I have just downed my second 24 oz. iced coffee of the day. Any minute they’ll wake up and the house will once again turn into a Wipeout course, with me being the main obstacle.

Bedtime routine anything but, especially when I’m home alone

 

Bed time routines differ from house to house, parent to parent, and most importantly, child to child but make no mistake — parents will do whatever it takes to get their little monsters angels to sleep.

Last night, Wifester had to work late due to some meetings and I was riding solo. Here’s a breakdown of how it goes — or doesn’t go — when I am in charge of putting them both to bed. Times used are typical bedtime routing times. Last night, G went to sleep on-time while Unit’s routine was pushed back about an hour.

G’s bedtime routine:

  • 6:30pm — bath time in an attempt to quell his screaming fit that began at 6:15pm
  • 6:45pm — transition to bedtime (diaper, dress, wrap him in sleep sack, turn on Sleep Sheep)
  • 7:00pm — commence 5 oz. of bottle feeding
  • 7:03pm — crying due to me having to readjust nipple of bottle due to rapid, vigorous consumption
  • 7:07pm — crying due to me having to readjust nipple of bottle due to rapid, vigorous consumption
  • 7:11pm — crying due to me having to readjust nipple of bottle due to rapid, vigorous consumption
  • 7:16pm — remove empty bottle
  • 7:16:15pm — crying once he realized bottle was gone, even though he was asleep
  • 7:17pm — giant burp
  • 7:18pm — rock, rock, rock into a deep sleep
  • 7:26pm — lay G$$ in crib, reset Sleep Sheep
  • 7:27pm — tip-toe out the door

Unit’s bedtime routine:

  • 7:15pm — Disney Junior, reading, and/or train tracks while I am put G to bed
  • 7:45pm — Unit brushes his teeth, then I properly brush them
  • 7:47pm — put diaper and pajama bottoms on (he sleeps topless)
  • 7:48pm — gets in bed, picks out books (Tap Tap Bang Bang, Hooray for Fish!)
  • 7:49pm — read TTBB
  • 7:50pm — read HFF!
  • 7:52pm — commence singing songs (Wheels on the Bus, Pop Goes the Weasel, Train Gate song, Sucker Punch song, etc.)
  • 7:59pm — “Why is the light outside on?,” “What are you gonna do out there?,” “Is Graham sleeping?,” “What is Nate doing?,” as well as a myriad of other questions in an attempt to delay going to sleep
  • 8:04pm — I ask him what time he’s going to wake up, to which his response is always “6:22:51.” (for the record, he usually wakes up at 6:02am)
  • 8:05pm — quietly walk out the door, tell him “I love you,” and pray the floor doesn’t creak or risk waking up…

…G.

An outburst ensues as I tiptoe down the hall to the “safety” of the living room to watch some baseball or Discovery Channel (on mute) as I allow the monsters angels settle into sleep. G has a few more outbursts but nothing that requires me to go in and soothe him. I crack open a Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale and settle in.

Until last night at about 9:45pm, when he decides he wants to eat again as an exhausted Wifester reluctantly goes in and feeds him for 15 minutes. Around 10:05pm, he once again decides he wants to cry, so we resort to hiding out in the kitchen until the storm passes, last night it took around 15 minutes of him crying though it sounded like he couldn’t even muster up the energy to actually cry, he was just doing it out of spite.

He sleeps through the night but ultimately, as is typically the case when he eats after 7:00pm, he pees through his outfit.

Besides being a prisoner in my own home for a bit, it went pretty smooth. How’d your night go?

Boundless Playgrounds are NO JOKE!

Connor's Place on Somers, CT

Connor’s Place on Somers, CT

I found myself explaining to a lady at the park the other day what a ‘boundless playground’ is and realized something: I really have a playground problem. I find myself on the website for said type of playgrounds multiple times a day, as if more are going to pop up in my area.

“Hey, weirdo, what the hell are you talking about, idiot, aren’t all playgrounds the same?”

No, they’re not.

Basically, they’re considered boundless because they are accessible for everyone – disabled or not, 3-year-olds thinking they’re a daredevil or not, adults who need to get said 3-year-old off a horizontal ladder because their kid is freaking out or not. It’s an unstructured playscape that, in a nutshell, offers inclusive play for all kids. Some have one playscape for all kids while others have multiple for different age groups (ages 2-4 or ages 5-12) but no kid really abides by those restrictions.

He made it all the way up this one.

He made it all the way up this one.

Honestly, they’re pretty boss! There is rubberized flooring, which sure beats the hell out of the wood chips that most standard playgrounds have.

We’ve been to three playgrounds in three days — two boundless, one not — and Unit has a great time at all of them, but the boundless ones he seems to enjoy more. They are immense, offer so many dare-devilish options, rock walls, swings, slides, turny-things that Unit can’t get enough of, maze boards. You get the idea.

Unit traced this maze for a good 3 minutes

Unit traced this maze for a good 3 minutes

We’re lucky here in Connecticut since there are so damn many it’s hard to decide which one to go to, but with a 3 month-old and a sometimes impatient 3 year-old, it’s usually ones within a 15-20 minute drive. And I tend to get it done in the morning, before the weather gets too hot and the slides really start baking in the sun, because Unit refuses to go down a hot slide!

There are some drawbacks to some. One of the playgrounds relatively local to us (which we haven’t frequented this week) is awesome, but there just isn’t any shade, which is a damn shame. The one we were at today didn’t have any changing tables in the bathrooms, like where the hell are you supposed to change a diaper?

By and large, boundless playgrounds will kick the ass of your run-of-the-mill town playground. Click the link above or this one to find a boundless playground close to you. They really are all over the place and until we had Unit’s first birthday at one, I had no idea what the hell they were either, so there’s still hope you’ll be an expert in no time.

If you’re too damn lazy to check, I’ll give you some locations of boundless playgrounds near you (there may be this type of playground near you called something else, but I’m not really sure what they’re called, maybe ‘limitless’?). Long Island people, there are two – one in East Northport at the Harley Avenue Primary School and another in Cedarhurst at 200 Cedarhurst Avenue. If you live in Maryland (TJ and Jessica), you can head to one at Fairland Regional Park in West Laurel.

And seriously, this is as honest an endorsement as you’re gonna get. I wish I could – and maybe I’ll try – to build one for Unit and G$ in our backyard one day.

Progression: CT At-Home Dads Group; Digression: Sleep

On a positive note, the Facebook CT At-Home Dads group I’ve been trying to assemble has shown some signs of life and we’re actually planning — well, three of us plus kids — a trip to a duckpin bowling alley sometime this week. Kind of neat.

I have been lucky enough to get some positive feedback and have begun posting with Twitter (@CTDads) and am literally in the process of getting on Instagram with it as well (@CTDads).

On the flip side, sleep has been optional of late. New Guy has decided he wants to turn over and does so in the middle of the night (though last night was relatively quiet). He flips himself over and sometimes erupts into a fit of rage, but I guess you take the good with the bad, right?

Unit sleeps through it all, somehow, but he’s almost always been a great sleeper.

Just got a little kettlebell workout in downstairs while the kids were napping and got back upstairs just in time for G$$$ to wake up from his nap. I fed him a little bottle and off he went, back to sleep. For now.

I’ve been putting off getting my fat ass in shape for a while now but the time is finally here to do something about it. I’m not obese or super-fat but for me, 6-foot 1-inch tall and 208-ish pounds is about as heavy as I want to get. Operation: Fit Dad is underway!

Connecticut At-Home Dads Group (I hope)

I know my audience is few and far between and those of you who read or browse through my posts are not stay-at-home or work-at-home dads, but this is a post for those of you that are, might know someone who is, or will be in the near-future.

It seems lots of other towns, cities, and states have dads groups, as is evident by the “Find a Dad Group” link featured on athomedad.org. There are groups in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Omaha, to name a few. I know these are metro areas and I’m here in rural Connecticut hoping to catch lightning in a bottle, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a group for all the Connecticut at-home dads.

I’ve found a few stale sites and groups on the old Facebook but most haven’t been updated in some time and never seemed to be a regular thing, maybe because of lack of interest or dedication or because they just gave up on it after a few days/weeks/months.

So there I went, starting a Facebook group for Connecticut At-Home Dads, aptly titled “Connecticut At-Home Dads.” I know meetup.com is probably the best and most legit site for putting together group meetings, but being that we’re surviving here on one income, it’s not really feasible for me.

I’m hoping it catches on since I’ve now got two sons now, I’m likely to go bat-shit crazy if they’re the only ones I’m speaking to. I am not saying that dads who work and support their families aren’t good dudes, they’re great dudes, but this is a group designed to bring together dads who spend their “work week” at home with their kid(s).

It’s in it’s infant stages (see what I did there?) but I’m hopeful we can grow this into something successful as an outlet for at-home dads to get together/bond/commiserate about/with their kids and/or bullshit about whatever we feel like bullshitting about, because as hard as I try, Unit can’t quite keep a conversation about baseball in the American League West.

Any kind of advice or help or a point in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

- Ryan

Go (away), Dog, Go!

For those of you who  know me, my dog, Nathan, often times gets on my nerves but when it boils down to it, he’s more like a cat than a dog and is pretty low maintenance, besides the hair tumbleweeds I routinely find around the house. Of course, if you’ve got kids, chances are you’ve read Go, Dog, Go!

It’s one of the most ridiculous books ever written but kids love it, especially Unit. Every week, we go to the library and take out a few books that we read before nap and bed time. Tonight we read said books and I told him to grab another if he wanted, and of course he did (not complaining). As he walked over to his corner “book nook,” he scoured the books on the shelves as I cringed, hoping he didn’t hand me Go, Dog, Go!, but alas, he did.

I offered to read it first since it’s one of the weirdest books ever written and I wanted to get it over with. There are big dogs, little dogs, dogs in cars, yellow dogs, dogs at work, and all sorts of other dogs but his favorite part is the banter between two dogs regarding one dogs hat, which the other never likes until the big dog party, at which point he decides it’s a great party hat! If you’re scratching your head trying to figure this all out because you’ve never read the book, fear not. I scratch my head every time I read it and wonder what kind of drugs P.D. Eastman must have been on when he wrote this book.

Kids love it, though, and Unit is no exception.

He’s tucked in bed falling asleep and New Guy is asleep as well (for now) so Wifester and I are getting a little boozy.

Goodbye. Goodbye!

Pizza and iced coffee; coffee mugs and wine glasses

 

coffee-and-wine3

They’re once again napping at the same time and as a treat, I’m having both leftover pizza and a giant iced coffee for lunch while I listen to the Tigers-Yankees game on MLB TV. Yes, that’s right, listen. Because of the area I’m in, New England, I can not watch Yankees or Mets games even though I paid my discounted rate of $24.99 for the premium package. I caught some of the Rays-A’s game yesterday and a bit of the Reds game as well, and seeing how unexciting the Yankees have been of late, I’m not really all that bummed.

Today’s morning consisted of a trip to Target to get liquid gold freezer bags, a loaf of bread, three gigantic boxes of cereal, and a pound bag of Haribo Gummi Bears.

After that, we took a little trip to Home Goods to look for a few things but came away empty.

Then it was a short stroll to Price Chopper to get a steak for dinner but their cuts were pretty crappy so I picked up some pork chops that I plan on slathering with BBQ sauce and grilling.

While at the supermarket, the old woman in front of us in the “20 Items of Less Express Lane” was carded while trying to buy cough syrup and reminded by the dimwitted cashier that, “There’s alcohol in it so I’m going to need to punch in your birthday.” The older woman responded with, “4/18/1931, before your parents were even born!” BAM! Only issue was she had about 30 things, which really chapped my ass, but she was sharp-tongued with a solid response. She then asked how long she had to redeem her 70 cents off gas points, which led to a three minute conversation all the while the other lanes were just churning out customers. It took me ten minutes to check out — I was third in line — but it was worth it.

The pizza is almost done and it just dawned on me — whenever I unload our dishwasher, coffee mugs and wine glasses take up roughly 85% of the top shelf space. I guess having two kids will do that.

 

Shorthanded SAHD, let the whirlwind commence

life

life

I’m officially outnumbered by the little humans.

Wifester went back to work after a glorious 12-week maternity leave and the dynamic seems a bit off since she left at 8:00 this morning. Despite Becky being away, she’s reuniting with Butlerish and I’m sure as much as she was dreading going back and leaving me in charge of the two boys, she’s actually a tiny bit glad to be back.

The boys and I went to the library for some play group which really consisted of Unit popping bubbles from the bubble machine and he holding New Guy. They’re both asleep at the moment, but that can change in the blink of an…

((Oops, there it is, New Guy just woke up…I think. Unit is passed out and has been since around 1:00 pm, so I’m guessing I’ll see him again around three o’clock or so as long as the crying doesn’t wake him up.))

…eye.

G was hesitant (read: screamed bloody murder) to take a bottle before we trekked out this morning — I guess dad giving him a bottle is a tiny bit different from what he’s been used to for 12 weeks. Unit just looked at me and smiled as I struggled to feed New Guy.

I pray that, like today, I’ll get at least 45 minutes a day just to relax and have a Dunkin’ iced coffee (my second of the day) while they both sleep at the same time. I know it’s a long shot but I’m the puppet-master here and I’m going to try like hell to get them (New Guy) on a schedule.

Wifester said to me, “If you can get to noon, the rest of the day will be a breeze.” And she’s right, because that’s when Unit has lunch and heads to nap, once again leveling the playing field. I’m going to try to do as much as possible in the morning to make the days fun for Unit, myself, and New Guy (even though he just smiles and farts).

This morning I was unsure of how in the hell I was going to swing two kids, one who just last night decided he was going to learn to roll over, prompting a 1:30 am wakeup for everyone but the Unit. He’s a fan of the sleep sack so instead of wrapping him like a burrito, we’ve got to leave his arms free in case he rolls over. I’m glad he is rolling over and becoming more like a real human instead of a ball of mush, but I wish he’d stick to daytime hours to do so.

Now I know two kids is probably a breeze compared to three or four or five kids, but I’ve never taken care of more than one, so it;’s daunting. Unit has been pretty good for the most part despite his occasional “break out” — his term for a freak out. His “NOs!” have been a little less frequent today but it’s just one day, so I’m not counting my chickens yet.

He’s a great kid and I’m sure he’ll be a big help once he realizes that he can physically make contact with New Guy. He has no problem talking to him, or talking towards him, but he refuses to get too close. In time, in time.

OK, let me go enjoy my second mammoth coffee of the day while I catch the middle of MLB.tv‘s free game of the day, the Padres at the Twins.  Kind of a fitting afternoon game for a stay-at-home dad, Padres and Twins (I am a dad although I don’t have twins).

Traveling from MA to NY while the kids test our patience; So long social media

If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s a recap: kids are nuts and unpredictable and may or may not cause you to drink sometimes…and I’m signing off on social media for a week.

If you’d like to read the long form, here it is.

With Wifester’s maternity leave dwindling down to single digits, we decided it was about time to hit the road to see all the family. We spent a Monday and Tuesday on Buzzard’s Bay (located in Bourne, MA just before you cross over the Bourne Bridge) before making a trip to Martha’s Vineyard for a week (where we biked to and thoroughly enjoyed Bad Martha beer flights several times) and ultimately wound up on Long Island for a few days (where the Unit had a blast at the Long Island Children’s Museum).

beer flights at Bad Martha

beer flights at Bad Martha

the fam on the Flying Horses

family-ie on the Flying Horses Carousel, MV

Alas, we finally returned to our humble abode here in Connecticut. It was a long time coming and was quite a whirlwind but we made it with only a few hiccups.

For the most part, the kids maintained their sleep schedules and despite eating inordinate amounts of treats and snacks and ice cream while being spoiled by grandparents, they refused to gain any weight and continued their torrid pace of physical exertion.

Today marked the first full day back and I plan on wiping out the fridge of all the beer left in it. It’s been one of those days.

The New Guy, who is 11 weeks today, cried for the vast majority of the day despite sleeping in until 7:30 this morning. Upon waking up, he proceeded to greet me by peeing, pooping, and puking on me — all before the clock struck eight.

The Unit, who is in the midst of the peak of the terrible threes, refuses to listen and continues to hit and kick everything in sight all while proclaiming, “NO!,” to everything he’s asked.

The Unit building block towers

The Unit building block towers

A wicked thunderstorm just ripped through here, knocking out the internet and such a few times.

Also, in an effort to be more present with everything, I am turning off all cellular service besides text messaging and phone calls on my cell phone. I rarely use the computer other than to blog, so that’s still on the table, but every other form of social media is out for a week — at least. Texting and phone calls are still in play because I am not going totally Amish (who actually built the Bad Martha building), just making a concerted effort to spend more quality time with the family.

So if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, there will be no action from my accounts.

fresh picked farm apple for The Unit

fresh picked farm apple for The Unit

biking to beer, not to keep fit

Wifester and me biking to beer, not to keep fit

 

But it’s just about time to start in with the beers in the fridge and hope tomorrow is better than today. It’s Monday but I’ve got hope.