Adventures in the pursuit of fatherhood

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Posted by James Christian - January 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm

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The Car Wash = The House of Horrors

About one year ago I took Lex with me to the car wash. It was one of those car washes that you ride through with your car as the brushes, sprays, soaps, and air blasts remove all of the grime from your vehicle. The adventurous boy in me loves riding through these and I thought Lex, at about 8 months of age might enjoy it too. I could not have been more wrong.

Lex was in his car seat in the middle of the backseat, as he should always be, when entered the house of horrors. I was half distracted by the spinning brushes and sprays coming at us that I did not immediately notice Lex’s obvious face of sheer terror. As the brushes and foam hit the car I looked to Lex to see if he was enjoying the experience. At that moment he started shreaking in terror. I tried to calm him down with my voice, trying to sell the whole thing is good fun, as I struggled out of my seat belt, got him out of his car seat, and pulled him into the front seat with me.

I felt terrible and foolish to have assumed he would enjoy such a potentially frightening experience. He called down pretty quickly after we got out. I was able to pull over at the neighboring Jack-in-the-Box and took him in for a change of scenery. We enjoyed some cheap fries together and then headed home to tell Momma the story of our unexpected adventure.

Now fast-forward 1 year, to last month. The car was VERY dirty and in need of a serious wash. In fact, it was so dirty that I felt I was violating my responsible fatherhood by allowing it to remain like that. You see, we have a two car garage that is somewhat toddler-proof and fairly clean, an so we often let Lex play int here and he frequently runs his hand along the side of the car as he strolls past it. Given the unknown, yet suspected, contaminants in the grime that was on the car, I felt it was time to take the responsible fatherhood initiative and get the car washed again (yes, after nearly 1 year). In fact, my wife was already urging me to do this too!

I hadn’t forgotten our previous car wash adventure; not at all. However, I didn’t think it was a concern seeing as how this daddy’s boy was a “big boy” now. What a mistake!

We went to a different car wash, but the inside pandemonium was quite similar. Again I was into the excitement of the moment and making certain that I was not pressing the breaks. Just as the brushes hit I looked to Lex int he rear-view mirror and then I spun around in the front seat immediately. Lex was literally shaking with fear. His little arms were half stretched-out, with his hands open, and he has shaking them. His face had the look of pure terror. It broke my heart in an instance and I tried to get him out as quickly as possible.

Once freed from his car seat I again pulled him up front with me and he clung to me like never before. He pushed his head in under my chin and into my neck with a full and constant force; as if he were trying to bury his head. He stayed like this all through the ordeal. As we rolled out of the newly discovered house of horrors and into the sunlight, I shifted the car and maneuvered to an open parking spot near the vacuum stations. All during this time Lex never loosened his grip or stopped pressing his head in to my neck and chest. You’d think it would be hard to drive like this, but his grip was so tight that I didn’t have to hold him and our car is an automatic.

All of my calming words, playing calming music, and tactile reassurement took about 5 minutes to have any effect on Lex. Slowly his feeling of terror faded away and again I took him to the nearest local establishment (grocery store) to help reset him for the journey home. He of course, for got about everything by the time the shopping and playing were through. I don’t think I will be taking him to the car wash for a long time. Or perhaps, I could take him and just dismount the car before it enters the house of horrors and pick it up at the end. If not, I think I need to find a different sort of car wash.

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Posted by James Christian - August 31, 2008 at 10:14 am

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Online Education = The Only College for True Fathers?

Almost 3 years ago I completed a college degree at the local university. I and many of my cohorts were lucky enough to find a program that was full-fledged and offered in the evening. Within the cohort (the group of students that started and finished the degree at about the same time and shared most of the same classes) there were quite a few parents and a few became parents during our degree pursuit. None of the new or pre-existing parents failed to complete the degree and I think this was a direct result of the structure of the program.

Again my program was a night program and so I could actually see myself doing this now with Lex in my life, but there are many parents who don’t have such a program available to them in the area they wish/need to study. This is where an Online Degree can enter the equation. I can’t vouch for the apparent yet completely relative simplicity and obvious time savings by the lack of commute, but I can tell you that I have taken a few online courses and they went pretty well. I actually still remember much of the teachings (which cannot be said of all of my attended courses) and I overall enjoyed the experience. If this interests you I highly recommend that you pursue only Accredited Online Degrees, because although other programs might fit your lifestyle if they are not accredited then they may be a waste of your time and money.

Even something as technical as Online engineering degree is a possibility. I have also recently come across Westwood College which has a curriculum with such majors as construction management and includes the ability for students to attend a traditional campus in locations across the United States or attend online courses which can accommodate even the busiest of schedules.

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Posted by James Christian - August 26, 2008 at 8:23 pm

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Third Time Is the Charm at the Wading Pool

Yesterday Lex (20 months old) and I took an afternoon trip to the local kiddie wading pool / fountain. We hadn’t been there in about 1.5 months and before that only twice before. During previous trips Lex barely wanted to enter the water at any depth beyond his ankles. Of course, this was fine with me, but I was a bit concerned that he was missing out on all the fun that the other 50 kids were having. Perhaps the number of kids and attentive responsible fathers and mothers made him nervous before.

I also worry that Lex will fear bodies of water and never want to learn to swim. I enjoyed water and swimming so much as a kid I cannot imagine any childhood without it. I thought Lex was going to love the water, because during our outings in the winter and early spring he always seemed to want to climb into ever body of water he could find.

This elaborate wading pool fountain fills up at its deepest point to about 18 inches and then seemingly magically the water recedes and a couple minutes later the water returns through a gentle waterfall coming through a wall of large stone blocks. The kids love it, but for some reason Lex was not really that interested during previous visits. When I carried him out in to the water and attempted to lower him into it he expressed fear and pulled his little feet up.

However, yesterday things were different. Immediately he ran to the water. Within 10 minutes he was wading knee deep in the advancing and receding tides of the fountain. He even fell down in the water and was submersed to half of his torso, and yet he didn’t cry or panic. I was quite proud of his new courage and confidence and happy for him as well. Earlier this week he had waded into the near by river at about a depth of six inches, but there was no one around and this is a spot we had frequented quite a bit this summer.

It was great spending time with him exploring something new. It also made me feel good when he would wander off and then later seek me out after not seeing me for a while. I felt as though I had good day in my pursuit of responsible fatherhood.

Lex did protest and complain a lot as we left the pool / fountain, but it was his dinner time (4:00 PM) and I knew from experience that his energy would not last past 5:00. I know this is an earlier than usual bedtime, but it seems to be what he most prefers and it works very well with our schedules.

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Posted by James Christian - August 24, 2008 at 9:12 am

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House is Built, Time to Furnish Now

The site is finally all setup now, well excepting the the forum. Now it is time for us to start putting all those great article and tip ideas down in writing. I’m pretty sure those last two sentences were intended more for my benefit than yours. However, according to a book I enjoyed very much called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” Jennie Craig is on to something. By telling others what I want and need to do I influence myself through creating my own social pressure to live up to my words.

Anyway, some of the articles, tips, and reviews on the way are related to diapers, colic, reflux, infant beds, and much more. Now how about I stop writing about them and start writing them.

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Posted by James Christian - August 17, 2008 at 10:14 am

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Success! Again!

This is not actually the first blog post, but rather a republishing of the first one written on August 3rd in my first installation of this blog. I would be lying if I said now that my sentiments of success (with the re-install) and exhaustion (from dayjob and daily fatherhood tasks) are not much different. Anyway, here is what I wrote then…

Its now 10:39 PM and my eyes are telling me I’m tired. And who can blame them, I’ve been using them since 5:30 AM. My lovable little walking alarm clock decided 5 AM was today’s waking time, but I snoozed a good 30 minutes. Anyway, I could not go to bed with debuting my new blog. Today was the day it came to life and I could not go to sleep without making this inaugural entry.

While my eyes will be resting soon, they probably won’t get a long rest at first. Yes, my little Lex wasn’t feeling well again today and he went to bed at one of his earliest bedtimes: 3:45 PM. Its seven hours later now and I have a new blog to show for it, but now I am wondering if I shouldn’t have slipped in a nap earlier. This will be an interesting night, but I shouldn’t complain, because I bet I will still get more sleep than most parents of a 20 month-old.

(update: my little Lex did wake, but not until 3:30AM, ’twas and unsual night)

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Posted by James Christian - August 5, 2008 at 10:37 pm

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