It’s complete and absolute luck that I was fortunate to have the exclusive time I had off with my son.
Not many parents, forget fathers, get that opportunity. And it was an experience rife with emotion. A few things I learned as a father,
1. Teething is horrible. He got his first two teeth the week of March 10th, and he was crying, screaming, and in pain the entire week (and has had on and off episodes since). There are a lot of products that are out there, and most are safe. I used Hylands teething tablets, which is a homeopathic medication that seems to work well in calming him down. A few tablets does the trick for 3 or so hours. If things got worse, we gave him some motrin (1.25 mL) or tylenol (2.5 mL). Both are fine with your pediatrician’s sign off.
2. Sleep training is horrible and iterative. We spent a lot of time and money on sleep training him. And it was exhausting. Teething reset the clock, so we had to restart with it – and the effort continues. Is there a magic trick to it? It depends on your child. Most children succumb to the concept after a few weeks. Our son continues to fight the concept of sleeping alone in a crib; he has gone 8-10 hours on his own on some nights, but then there are nights he can only manage a few hours of sleep before he requires intervention. The key thing is picking something, being consistent, and sticking with a schedule.
3. Crawling and walking are fun. But safety first – he’s had a few spills, one off the bed, and another of a stool. Both were accidents, and both caught us as parents off guard because you forget or underestimate how mobile a baby can become overnight. So walkers, high chairs, and pack and plays are the safest options – despite your child’s protestation!
4. Play music and read! Kids require variety, and around this age, when hearing has matured and curiosity has peaked, music and reading are being absorbed at rates we can’t fathom. My son will focus on me playing the indian drums for about 10-15 minutes. That’s a lot for a kid his age, and I usually stop after so he doesn’t get overwhelmed – everything is new, unique, and sensitive to his little ears and brain. Same for reading too.
I’m not sure when he’ll go into day care, and I hope we can continue to give him one on one care with grand parents, but because of his limited social circle, we’ll eventually have to get him exposed to other adults and babies. I miss him dearly every hour I’m away, and am so deeply thankful I have him in my life. His mischievous little smiles, goofy squawks, awkward crawls, and excitable demeanor make it a joy to be his father.