By: Chris Coyne
Firetrucks, elephants and baseball games are Cj’s favorite things. I have jumped head first into this whole parenting thing and I love it. I had four younger brothers and sisters and a million nieces and nephews (not really, I lost count) so I totally thought I knew all there was to know about raising children. It is not with its hard moments. A happy moment sitting at home can be turned into a moment of terror with a trip to the ER. A quick walk to the park can result in my losing patience with my toddler that has found interest in a dangerous sharp stick. A nature hike can be more of a nature downpour of blood wrenching shrieks coming from our very active almost two-year-old toddler.
Last week Jon and I went out for a nice dinner with some of his coworkers who came to DC just for our night out. In the cab on the way to the very posh restaurant I spotted something flashing in the corner of my eye. Once I knew what it was I shouted “fire truck!” This is my favorite game with Cj. He loves the huge noisy trucks and let’s face it; I love firemen! Jon looked at me and said he loved me. He knows that I look at the world differently now that we have Cj. He sees the love I have for this little loving person we are lucky to call our son. It is amazing seeing the world through Cj’s big brown eyes but I have to admit, I needed a night out. A very long four-course dinner and a few great bottles of wine later we were back in the car and headed home again. Cj is the only subject I could discuss.
I feel really bad for Cj sometimes. Every aspect of toddler life is filled with some battle with his inability to communicate with his sometimes confused fathers. I was under the impression every kicking and screaming fit could be easily appeased by a loving hug and a better choice of words. The truth is the only way to end a fit is to ignore it. The problem is when I am laying out the choices I do not recognize the signs in time and Cj gets frustrated and I end up having to haul him back home kicking and screaming to end his tantrum while dragging his bike home by the handles and it ends up being quite the work out. So it is a win-win.
In four months we will be welcoming a new member into our family. She will be tiny. She will be amazing. She will change us all. I worry about CJ adjusting to sharing his time with a new helpless newborn baby girl. I wonder if he will accept her right away or if he will help out with his new sister. I had so many siblings but I recall when the younger came I was no longer my mom’s baby and that just sucked. Cj will always be our first born and he will always have the endless love we have for him. He is amazing. He will shine as a big brother. His light is bright.
Jon is the best dad. He gets home from work and wrestles with Cj, reads to him, colors with him and helps feed him his dinner. We get lots of hugs and kisses in payment now that he knows we need it as much as he does. Cj sings his songs of snowmen, firetrucks, and ice crean every night and it always impresses me. A few months ago we had to re-sleep train him. We found ourselves regressing to rocking him until he fell into a deep sleep only to wake as we put him into his crib. After a few very hard long nights when Jon was away on a work trip he was again sleep trained. Jon and I do not disagree on many things until now. He did not see the reasoning behind sleep training until one night he came to bed at eleven pm because Cj kept on waking up. I told him I was going to sleep train Cj while he was gone.
It was easier than I thought. I did not cut out all the rocking. I just shortened it. He gets his bath, dressed for bed, drinks his milk, reads two books, rocks for ten minutes. After the rocking I give him a kiss, lay him in his bed, and zip up his crib tent. He cried like hell the first night. The next night it was a bit less. The third night he was easy to lay down. By the time Jon returned from a four-day trip Cj was sleep trained….or was he? The test would be to see if he wanted Jon to rock him to sleep. The night he returned home Jon went through his same ritual. When he went to rock Cj to sleep Cj kissed Jon on the forhead and told him “crib”. Normally I would go through this whole I told you so thing. When Jon came to bed he thanked me for being a great daddy. I just smiled at him and told him thanks for noticing.