Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An infants stare

So, I wonder. What is he thinking of when you looks at me. I know all parents have thought about this. There is a calming and eerily naked moment when your newborn gazes at you as if they can see through your facade and deep into who you are. For some it might be a powerful experience and others might just gloss over it, but regardless, there is something special about that "look."

I've had that experience with all three of my kids and lately I have been experiencing this with Andres. He has such a deep stare that I wonder, what are you thinking? What is going on in that little mind of yours? Are you glad that I'm holding you and you feel secure? Or are you wondering, what the hell is that thing? I guess I'll never know, but what I do know, is that I'll miss it when it stops because it does.

There will be a point where the world around him will seem much more interesting and his gaze will go from me to everything else. And at the end of the day that is what we want for our kids, right? To develop and experience the world around; to become independent little beings that need less and less of our help. At least that is what all the experts advise us as parents, but I'll tell you, I love it when my girls come running to me because they want my help or when they get scared of the "ghosts" in their room and want me to tell it to go home. I cherish those moments because I know they are fleeing from me. Sure they will always "need me," but not in this way... this is saved for the infant and toddler years.

Yeah I know, my kids are 3, 2 and one month old, but I already miss them. Might sound crazy, but for those of you that have kids, remember when your kids were newborns and toddlers? Remember when you were the center of their universe? Yeah, that is what I already mourn because time goes go by fast. So what is the point of this post? Besides having the chance to ramble, it's to remind you to stop and enjoy the time you had with your kids and don't be in such a hurry to have then grow up. There is nothing wrong with some interdependence, just as long as you are not stifling their growth. So do yourself and your kids a big favor and give them a big bear hug and a wet kiss. If you have adult children, you might get a funny look and "is everything ok?" Those of you with teens might get the infamous, "Yuk, get off me" and if you are lucky a half-hearted hug back, just as long as their friends are not looking. Those with young kids and toddlers might get a hug back and some giggles. And us that have newborns will get the deep stare that is truthful, naked, yet fleeting.

Ok, enough of that, how about them Dodgers?

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's incredible what 5 years can bring

It's funny. People talk about five year plans all the time. They detail out their lives in these well thought out life plans and THEN, reality takes over and creates the life plan that is now your life. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it God's plan, but regardless of the name, it reminds you that your life is not neccesarily in your own hands. We do have the power to shape our future, but the ultimate plan is not ours to determine, or better yet write.

Five years ago when Vanessa and I tied the knot, we knew we would be happily married, possibly have a child or two, but what we did not anticipate is who we are today as a couple, as partners and parents. Some might say that we are the same people we were back then and to some extent they would be right, but the reality is that we all change as part of the nature of life. But were I think we have dramatically changed is in our roles as caregivers to our kids.

When Tessa was born, I was finishing up school and had a consulting business. Vanessa was working at Idealab and we saw a fork in the road. The first way would mean Vanessa staying home with the kids and for me to work fulltime to support the familia. The other way would be for Vanessa to continue at her current company and for me to stay with the kids. The work I was doing allowed me more flexibility than Vanessa's work, so I ended up staying home with Tessa. I remember is was heart wrenching seeing Vanessa leave the house to go to work, but I give her so much credit for doing so. To me she wasn't just fulfilling her own career goals, but showing Tessa and later Sienna that they too can have a career and a family. To this day, I am amazed by Vanessa's strength and determination. She might not know it, but she is leading by example. Our girls will too become strong women that will have great opportunities in front of them.

So while Vanessa is at work and I'm a home learning the basics of changing diapers, feeding an infant, etc., etc. The amazing part of all this is that I never thought I would be home during the day caring for our kids and to top it off, actually enjoying it. But I made a commitment to our family that I would see our kids through their early child development. I feel strongly that having a parent at home with the kids is the greatest gift you can give your kids. Vanessa and I have moved mountains to continue this type of care for our kids and we will continue it, until it is no longer financially feasible or until the kids are all become school age.

This crazy ride that we were on took a great deal of ego swallowing for the both of us. I would get the Mr. Mom comments and Vanessa would get smirks from people when she would let them know she was a working mom. To a great extent, what needed to happen is for Vanessa and I had to mature as a adults and as parents and to just feel comfortable in the new roles her and I were taking on. I think even close friends looked at us funny. :) But never the less, we continues to chart our own course.

Fast forward five years and three kids later... we are crazy happy and punch drunk in love. I love my life with all its challenges; with all the chaos that two 1/2 kids cause and with all the challenges that a couple of five years has. The beauty is that I feel that we are constantly looking at our marriage and looking for our weaknesses and trying to make them stronger and we celebrate each amazing milestone, no matter how small. I never realized how powerful my love for Vanessa and for my kids could be. So much so that it doesn't phase me that I am a stay at home dad and I root on Vanessa as she bucks the system as a working mother. I would lie if I didn't admit that some self doubt creeps in every so often because of the tradition of the man being the bread winner and the woman staying at home with the kids, but we exercised those demons long ago.

As I reread what I have been writing, it leads me to believe that the past five years have been all about our kids, but the reality is that it's been all about the love that we have for each other. The love that got us together some 8 years ago. It is this love that we pass on to our kids and we know it will be this love coupled with understanding and alot of forgiving, that is going to be with us when we celebrate our 20, 30, 50, 60 year anniversaries.

Babe, if you are reading this. Please know that I love you today, tomorrow and forever. Thank you for five wonderful years filled with countless "firsts" and for all those amazing moments that have changed me forever.

I love you always!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Table for Five is live!

Welcome everyone to my new blog aptly called Table for Five. The name of the blog is obvious, but why I'm now blogging about this experience is to some extent beyond me. My goal this year was to connect more with family and I think Facebook has helped me do that, but I don't want to FB everything that is going on in our lives. Sometimes, a blog is a better avenue to vent or to share ideas that don't need to be shared with everyone.

This blog is going to be based on my first hand account of being a stay at home father of three kids, the husband to a marketing professional and my life as a professional photographer that is trying to blaze a new trail in photography.

I'll be sharing the joys of this sometimes thankless job and the complexities involved when five personalities coexist together. It is going to be an interesting opportunity for me to share more of my thoughts and experiences about parenthood with you and for you to learn more about me and my crazy life.

Ok, so being a family of five is a big deal in my book, but then again being a family of four, or three or even two was a big deal. So why now all the hoopla? Well it's simple really. Vanessa and I are finally outnumbered. That fact alone makes me want to have a drink of my Bacardi Reserve. We are learning rather quickly the art of being late, thanks to tantums, I can't hear you attitude and the millionth dirty diaper by Andres. The kids are giving us a run for our money, but we'll win... I think! Stay tuned.