Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer of Stay-at-Home Parenting - Issue #1

I know I have several readers or potential readers who have zero interest in running, so for their sakes there will be nothing about running until the second half of this post. You're welcome.

Calvin in his activity mat

As a teacher, I have summers "off," though this has never been completely true for me. I've worked a bit, including summer school, Barnes and Noble, and also took a graduate school class.

Calvin and his mommy
After my summer of grad school and Barnes and Noble book selling, I taught at a year-round school. I still got around 6 weeks off for those three summers. I did work a little at The Running Room, but I basically had the summer off.

This summer, I have the pleasure of staying home with baby Calvin. Currently almost five months old, Calvin's hobbies including babbling baby talk, putting toys and other things in his mouth, laughing, smiling, drinking milk, sleeping, spitting up (though not very often), and dirtying his diaper. My beautiful wife, Laura, will be working this summer and of course will be jealous that I get to be with Calvin.

Since Calvin naps 2-4 times a day, I've been keeping a to-do list of household chores, projects, writing, and some fun stuff. Calvin also sometimes plays by himself on his Activity Learning Center (it's actually called an "activity mat," but the name Laura and I came up with is way better) or in his Rock 'n Play, so I can get things done then.

I know some other stay at home parents as well, and have teacher friends who are off for the summer, so maybe I'll do some hanging out with friends as well.

I decided that besides a couple of other writing projects I've got going, I'd write some highlights of my summer of stay-at-home parenting. I haven't set any sort of schedule and won't--I'll publish posts approximately whenever I feel like it. Here of some highlights thus far:

Friday, June 10
This day barely counted as being a stay at home parent. I did all the regular stuff like feeding and diapering, and putting Calvin down for a nap in the morning. He played most of the time he wasn't sleeping, and really worked on his reaching and grabbing things while playing on his activity learning center.

At 1:30 p.m. I left to visit my old school, Paideia Academy, on its last day of school (ever). After Calvin gave a bunch of smiles to some teachers, I was mobbed by middle schoolers eager for me to autograph their yearbooks.

I was a little surprised since I didn't teach at Paideia this school year. Susan, a teacher I shared a classroom with in 2014, got to hold Calvin for the longest, then he headed into the office to visit my old administrators. Eventually being passed around and having too many people around made Calvin sad. Erin, a teacher who allowed me into her classroom to teach special education in 2013, brought Calvin back to me. He was wailing. Tears, snot, the whole nine yards.

It was the first time he'd done this, but then again he hadn't been around so many people who wanted to hold him since his baptism in March, and he was a little less aware that people other than his parents were holding him back then. After I rocked him and wiped off his face, he calmed down enough to take a walk around the school.

As I carried him around the school saying "hi" to old teacher friends and students, Calvin brought out a big bottom lip and got a look that said, "I'm about to cry," whenever someone got too close for too long. When his lower lip quivered and his eyes squinted, starting to water, I'd have to turn him away from whoever was holding his hand or touching his hair. I think he needed to be reassured that no one else was going to take him from his daddy.

Following my time at Paideia, I drove across Apple Valley to attend a graduation for one of my students at my new school, Brightmont Academy. Calvin was relaxed by then, and he was quiet for the whole ceremony. Afterwards, he had his diaper changed, drank half a bottle, and watched me eat a cupcake.

Our school tours completed, I dropped Calvin off at Children's Country Day with my beautiful wife Laura. Then, it was back to Apple Valley to attend an Adios Paideia event at the bar across the parking lot from the school. Laughs and sorrows were shared by all until the wee hours of the morning, but I was only there for a couple of hours so I could get home in time to help Laura put Calvin to bed.

Weekend of June 10
Calvin's Aunt Sarah came by for a visit in the afternoon, then later in the day his grandpa and nana came. He was all smiles! Laura and I got to hang out a good amount, spend some time relaxing, and played with Calvin. It was hot, so we mostly did things indoors.

Calvin's Aunt Sarah came to visit

Monday, June 13
Calvin had a nice morning eating and playing with his mommy. After mommy left for work, we spent some time playing, then took a walk to Sky Hill Park. When we got home, Calvin sat in his stroller and watched me clean the garage for a while.

Looking at a tree in Central Park
I began writing this post while Calvin was sleeping in the afternoon. I sat on the recliner while he dozed in his Rock 'n Play. When he woke up, he was not happy. Sometimes he wakes up peacefully, and plays in his crib or Rock 'n Play for awhile, but sometimes he wakes up crying and ready to be held, have his diaper changes, and/or be fed.

It was about 3:30 p.m. when he woke up, and he was not letting me put him down. Also, he wouldn't take a bottle, but I knew he was hungry because he was sucking on my arm and hand while I held him. I finally caved and called his mom around 4:30, and she came home and fed him.

Tuesday, June 14
This morning mommy dropped us off at Central Park. Calvin watched me do some core exercises until he got fussy, then fell asleep on the stroller ride home. He awoke in the garage while I was organizing fishing stuff.

The rest of the day he played on and off, let me do a little writing, and took a couple naps. He also rode in the Baby Bjorn while I did some vacuuming.

Wednesday, June 15

Calvin's good at helping with groceries
Calvin and I dropped Laura off at work today while her car was getting its oil changed. Then, Calvin helped me do some grocery shopping and vacuum my car--though as far as the car goes, he mostly just watched.

Later, while I was carrying Calvin around the yard watering our plants, I noticed the smell of sour milk emanating from my shirt. It got me wondering, what is the parent etiquette for changing out of a shirt that smells like baby puke? I mean, it's just going to get puked on again, right?

I decided it would be best to change out of it before I picked up Laura from work. She got to leave early today and we got to meet up with some friends from Louisiana. They just had a new little one, so we got to get together and talk about baby stuff.

Thursday, June 16
For most of the day, Calvin made it way too easy on me. In the morning he started to get fussy, so we went on a walk. He fell asleep when when we got to Sky Hill Park, so I decided to keep going toward Blackhawk Lake Park.

I figured I could feed him at the park, but after getting within about half a mile, I decided to head back. He woke up a couple minutes later, about a mile from home. He was content in his stroller, looking around at the trees and cloudy sky until we were about ten minutes from home.

He wasn't very good at folding clothes
He cried a little after that, but once I got some milk in him, he was a happy guy and played in his room, listened to me play the guitar, and did lots of giggling.

Then, at what has become his normal nap time, 11 a.m., he slept for over two and a half hours--the longest since I've been at home. That gave me time to eat lunch, water plants, and do more writing then I've done since my stay-at-home adventure started. Afterward, he helped do laundry.

Watching TV seems liked  his forte
Once laundry was finished, I taught him how to watch TV downstairs. He really seemed to like the original "X-Files" series. His mother came home at 5 p.m., and we all enjoyed some pizza and "Parks and Rec" on Netflix.

Some Milestones
Calvin rolled halfway across the living room. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it, and he was quiet the whole time he rolled. I was cleaning or cooking or some such thing in the kitchen, and when I looked around the corner to check on him, there he was, stuck against the recliner (apparently he only rolls one direction).

The Super Baby rolled from his ALC to the recliner

Calvin's also doing a lot of laughing. The sides of hi neck are very ticklish, and sometimes his feet--especially when I tickle them with my beard.

If you have no interest in running related content, this concludes issue one of the "Summer of Stay-at-Home Parenting." Stay tuned for another issue approximately whenever I feel like it.

Running and Working Out
My running's been go better than it has since March of last year, and possibly since 2012. Social scientists may explain my increase in running mileage and intensity as well as additional strength training as compensation for the natural loss of testosterone that occurs during a spouse's pregnancy and immediately after the birth of a child. "The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" says that this hormonal change helps a father be more nurturing. Intense athletic activity can help bring those testosterone levels back up.

I get my runs in before Laura leaves for work or after she comes home. While I was still working, occasionally I'd run before or after I picked up Calvin from daycare, but now it's all on Laura and my schedule. This being the first week of my summer of stay at home parenting, we'll see if I can continue putting in 60+ miles a week.

Core and strength workouts have also been going well. I don't want to get injured this year, so I'm trying to make sure to do exercises for my glutes, core, and stabilizing muscles 2-4 times per week. Sometimes I can grab a quick ab routine while Calvin plays on the floor next to me. Otherwise I try to make time to do at least one full body routine on the weekend when Laura's around.

I've paced a few half marathons this spring and early summer--Valley Fair, Fargo, Lake Minnetonka, and Lake Waconia, and I'll be pacing several more including a new one this weekend, the Zumbrota Covered Bridge Half Marathon.

I've changed my racing plans a bit. In order to see some friend in Milwaukee, I'll be doing the PNC Bank Running Festival Marathon in November. It's a moderately hilly course, but if I can stay healthy I hope to set a new personal best. My official training plan starts the second week of July. I'll also be racing a 5k in July and a half marathon in September. I might add one other race, possibly a 10k, in October.

I've been working (very) part time at The Running Room in Eagan. The manager there is pretty cool, and it's always fun talking running and helping people out with running shoes and gear. It also gives me a bit of extra income and a discount on running shoes and apparel.

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