The power of being present

Last week while I was traveling I talked to my very upset daughter using FaceTime. I don't know what caused her to be upset only that she was. Within a few minutes she was smiling and talking to me before going to bed and it was great. Tonight I was reminded, however, just how hollow those 'victories' can be. Coming home from daycare she wanted some 'daddy' time. She came into my office and crawled up on my lap. There we sat. She lying on my chest resting her head on my shoulder and me slightly reclined in my office chair. Nothing needed to be said. There was nothing to be done. Just being present. Life is filled with simple things that make us who we are.

In all things K.I.S.S.

st_lukes_access_ramp.jpgKids are great at reminding us that it is the simple things in life that bring joy.

Sure our kids have the requisite collection of probably more goodies than they need and a week filled with fun things to do. When we have some quiet time a quick trip to the park, riding the horses or playing in the backyard is in order. However this all seems to pale in comparison to one of their favorite play places.

Pictured at the right is an access ramp/stair complex on the side of a local hospital. When we visit there, whether it's sunny, raining or freezing they always want to take the time to play. While it may look like the average ramp and stairs that it is there is also a house, family, hide-and-seek, circus and many other things hidden in there. What may at once look like a simple brick and concrete structure hides hours of fun.

Daddy can I get married?

Daughter looking out...Just how much kids pick up from the world around them is amazing. Each day some new words are added to their vocabularies, used correctly and leave parents asking just when did this happen. By way of explanation a few recent examples from our 2-year-old.

As she was exploring the office she picked up something breakable. “We need to be careful with that,” I reminded her.

“Because it’s fragile?” she asked. Now the pronunciation was a little more like frag-gile but the meaning was clear. As she went on exploring I wondered where along the way she had added fragile to her vocabulary.

Getting ready for Drupalchix

In the days and weeks before the arrival of our newest addition to the family we're getting ready to have folks come stay at the house. One of the things we've traditionally resisted is having a "Guest Room". Frankly paying rent on a room and keeping it up just for the few nights a year it would be used has never made much sense to me. When somebody drops by we have a very nice airbed that does a reasonable job.

This time, however, things are a little different. The folks will be in town and staying a little longer than normal so something a little better would be handy. We considered going out to find a futon mattress to make for a more regular bed.

The problem always came back to the same old discussion of what to do when we weren't having guests. So we placed a call to the local furniture rental shop and viola. Days later a brand new bed and bed frame arrived and was setup. It couldn't have been simpler. For less than the cost of one night in a hotel room we now have a very nice queen sized bed in the "guest room". The best part is in a month or 6-weeks we simply call and have it taken away.

Having happy babies

Continuing in the theme of resources for new parents there is a book that every new parent should have. In The Happiest Baby on the Block Dr. Harvey Karp lays out a reasonable explanation about how human babies are born premature in a sense. Dr. Karp suggests this is a biological necessity because of the size of the human head.

After explaining why it's so he gives great advice on swaddling and ways of caring for babies in their first months of life to ease the womb-to-world transition. Of course we only have a sample size of one but the advice from this book was invaluable in helping understand what an infant needs.

Whether you're a new parent or looking for a great gift for expecting parents be sure this book is on the list.

Indispensable parenting tools

In celebration of the new arrival soon to join the Boise Drupal User's group I've been thinking about the tools I use lately. One that I've overlooked until recently is just how handy the iPhone can be. The iPod touch is great and all, but the iPhone, with its built-in speaker is a killer tool.

First there are the wonderful Sesame Street Podcasts. Each of these short episodes is a handy little way to spend some time on learning a new word or concept. Combined with the ability to download episodes directly to the iPhone it is also a go-anywhere tool. If we're in a holding pattern here or there, waiting for a table at a restaurant or to meet someone out it's possible to have a little lesson while we wait.

Recently, however, I found an even handier use lately. It started with taking the phone in at bedtime so our little one could talk to her. One night, however, it occurred to me to use the speaker and be able to play songs from the music library. Now we have a nice wind-down playlist. We can start off singing along with the rocking of Jingle Bells and drift off with the chorus of Silent Night.


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