Dear Holly: Why I Think You Will Be 5 Feet 6.5 Inches Tall When You are an Adult

2 years.

Dear Holly,

Now that you turned two years old this week, I was finally able to officially discover your predicted adult height, by doubling the number of inches of your current height as a 2 year-old: 33.3 inches tall.

I predict you will be about 5 feet, 6 and a half inches tall when you are fully grown.

Not only did I measure you, with your brother’s help, but I also took you to the doctor for your 2 year-old check-up and her measurements showed the same results.

While to many people it sounds impossible that an adult’s height is double what it was when on their 2nd birthday, it has proved true for both me and your Aunt Dana; as Nonna knew about this back in the early 1980s when we turned two years old.

Proportionally, a 2 year-old human is half of their future adult height. A 2 year-old boy who is 3 feet tall will become a man who will be 6 foot tall.

How many inches long a baby is at their birth is irrelevant. What matters longtime is the child’s height on their 2nd birthday.

I was meant to be 5′ 9″. It was no surprise to Nonna when I stopped growing, at 69 inches tall, in 9th grade.

When your brother turned two years old, I measured his height. Doubled, it means he will be 5′ 8″ when he stops growing.

And that makes sense, that he would be about the same height as me; in a family where even the tallest men max out around 5′ 11″; on both my side and Mommy’s side of the family.

With Mommy being 5′ 6″, though, and with you having girl cousins on her side that are actually taller than I am or their own father, I sense that females can end up being relatively tall.

Perhaps this isn’t the kind of thing that most parents give much thought to, but I do; just like I’m really into DNA test results, knowing where our ancestors came from and therefore where we came from.

Okay, so it’s official: You’re going to be about 5 feet, 6.5 inches tall. Or at least we’ll find out in about 16 years!

Love,

Daddy

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Helping Your Partner Get Better Sleep: 3 Tips for New Dads

By Guest Blogger, Sarah Cummings of The Sleep Advisor

New dads, like it or not, for the first few weeks, months, even years of your new child’s life you’re often going to feel a little bit useless.

No matter how committed you are to the idea of being a modern father there are just some things mom is going to do be able to do better. Sorry!

Feelings of inadequacy might start from the beginning. Afterall your partner has just spent the last nine months amazingly growing an entirely new life inside her – before dramatically squeezing it out in frankly a horrendously painful process!

Yes, I know you were there holding her hand but still, it’s not quit the same is it?

Secondly, unequal pay and antiquated attitudes toward parental leave in most countries mean it is still generally financially sensible for mom to take time of work than dad. So even if you want to be the one who stays at home it might not make sense.

Despite these two handicaps, for the sake of your new child, your partner’s health and the health of your relationship, it’s up to you to step up to the plate and hit being a father out of the park.

In my experience as a mother of two, the best way you can help your partner be the very best new mom she can be, is to ensure she gets as much rest as possible. Obviously that’s easier said than done with a newborn demanding their almost constant attention. With that in mind however here are 3 tips to help your partner get better sleep…

  1. Dad, don’t fear the feed!

Just because your partner has the natural advantage over you with her chest mounted milk machines doesn’t mean she should automatically bear the brunt of the late night feeds. That excuse died out a long long ago. Around the time breast pumps, bottles and fridges were invented.

Being able to store breast milk for use later means you menfolk have no excuse for avoiding the 3am summons for sustenance from the crib next door.

But what if you have to be work early in the morning? Well, I’m sorry to say that so does your partner. Looking after a newborn is far more tasking than any spreadsheet you may have to face in the office.

Don’t look at nightfeeds as a chore, taking on this responsibility will allow you to develop a far stronger bond with your little one. For years dad’s have been lamenting a feeling of inadequacy that often comes with being the father of a newborn, in my experience this is because too many men fail to be proactive.

Taking control, or at the very least taking on an equal share, of the the nightfeed, will provide your partner with much needed extra time in bed and give you one-on-one time to bond with your new child. A win-win!

  1. Learn to give a great massage

This one is self-explanatory. The best present my partner ever gave me, apart from buying me a new bed, was taking a massage course in secret. A fifteen minute shoulder massage by someone who truly knows what they are doing can really take the edge of even the most stressful day as a new mom and can put you in the perfect mood for sleep.

  1. Take care of the 3 Cs

Being able to take care of the 3 Cs is going to reduce your partner’s workload by a massive amount and will go along way to ensuring she isn’t frazzled by the time they her head hits the pillow. But what exactly are the 3 Cs…

Cooking: Taking care of cooking for the family is a massive responsibility and unfortunately in all too many households this burden still falls on the mother. I know times have moved on and menfolk no longer expect to come home to find a meal in the oven waiting for them, which is great. Yet too many men I know seem to think that cooking once or twice a week is something to brag about. It’s not! Get cooking boys.

Rule of thumb: Dad’s if you’re able to remember all the meals you have cooked in the last month, then you aren’t cooking enough.

Cleaning: Dads, making sure you haven’t peed on the seat and that your dirty clothes are in the washing hamper is not the same as keeping the house clean. With a newborn on the scene the demands of keeping a household clean and tidy are going to rise dramatically and you are going to have to pull your weight. Taking on the cleaning is an easy win for fathers, put you your headphones, listen to a podcast and kill that dirt.

Cuddling: There is a pressure in modern society for new moms to be superhuman, that is to take care of the household, children and doing it all while looking amazing and showing no emotion. This so-called ‘supermom’ image is a harmful and unrealistic fallacy in my opinion.

Being a new mom is likely the toughest thing your partner will have likely ever done, it is up to you to let her know being emotional is ok. The first thing you do every time you see her is ask…“do you need a hug?”

Well, there you have it – three top tips to help your partner get more sleep. Believe me she is going to need it! Good luck.

 Photo by Liane Metzler on Unsplash

Dear Jack: You Graduated Kindergarten This Week!

6 and a half years.

Dear Jack,

This Tuesday, just a few days after you won your Math Award in front of the entire school, Mommy and I made our way back- this time, to watch our 6 and a half year-old son graduate Kindergarten.

The festivities began with a presentation in which your entire Kindergarten grade sang a song, which reviewed to us parents all that you learned this year.

Afterwards, we made our way to your classroom, where your (pregnant) teacher presented each individual student with a specific award.

What’s funny about this is that before we all left the house that morning, I took your picture while you held a small chalkboard reading, “When I grow up, I want to be an artist.”

There’s no way that when Mommy came up with the idea for me to take that picture of you, she could have known your teacher would be presenting you with the Amazing Artist Award!

You teacher then presented a 15 minute slideshow on Power Point, which reviewed all the fun your class had this year. And sure enough, she had a picture further reconfirming your focus on becoming an artist when you grow up.

During the presentation, you stood next to your best friend, Duncan. Amazingly, Duncan’s parents were the only other parents in the Lamaze class we were in, 7 years ago.

Imagine the chances that our sons would not only end up in the same Kindergarten class, and naturally end up becoming best friends.

And we didn’t even discover that we knew Duncan’s parents until about a month or so ago, when Duncan’s Mommy figured it out.

What a cool story!

Alright then, you are no longer a Kindergartner. You are our awesome soon-to-be 1st grader! Mommy and I are so proud of you. You are some kid.

Love,

Daddy

Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars (Over the Past Year)

Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars

From the time I was my heaviest back in 2008 when I got married, I reached 178 pounds. That may not sound too heavy for a guy, but at 5’9”, I was actually “overweight” according the height/weight chart.

And I know… many people don’t like to take those charts seriously. But I do, on a personal level. Because at my heaviest, I also had health problems like eczema; as well as constant sinus pressure, and reoccurring sinusitis, and pet allergies.

My theory is that with the extra weight on my body, along with it came health problems.

Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars

On Thanksgiving Day of 2008 (a few months after getting married), I became like a faithful Jew and gave up pork and shellfish. That was the beginning of the slippery slope, as I found myself becoming a vegetarian by December of 2011.

By April 2013, I became a full vegan, and in the process, I accidentally went from a size 34 to size 31 pants. That summer I got down to 153 pounds, without even trying.

That means I lost 25 pounds in the process of getting healthy. Yet losing weight was never my goal; I just wanted to be healthy.

As you know, all my previously mentioned health problems have disappeared and remained in remission since becoming a vegan.

For the majority of these past 3 years of being a vegan, I leveled out and remained right at around 155 pounds. Until this past year…

With my vegetarian wife being pregnant from July 2015 to April 2016, she began craving “fun food”. So I began picking up vegan chocolate bars at Whole Foods Market on the way home for work.

Vegan Confession: I Gained 7 Pounds by Eating Tater Tots and Vegan Chocolate Bars

It began a normal thing for us to go through a whole bag or two of tater tots over the course of each week.

Keep in mind, we were still eating our normal healthy meals too. But ultimately, both the chocolate bars and the tater tots contained oil; which we typical avoid. Not to mention, the chocolate bars also contained extra sugar as well.

Remember what I always point out about veganism:

Being a vegan forces a person to consume 0% of their daily cholesterol; as the amount of cholesterol even in the fattiest vegan foods (cashews, avocados, and even oil) still never reaches 1%.

Even so, I was at 162 pounds when my daughter was born 3 months ago; which is about 7 pounds is heavier than I’m used to.

My size 31 pants were so tight in the waist that I asked my wife more than once if she recently had begun drying our clothes on a higher heat setting.

Nope. It was the all the vegan chocolate bars and tater tots over the course of the past year.

Chocolate Tater

Four weeks ago, I nixed those items from my diet, along with all fried foods, and gluten.

While I haven’t publicly announced I am now gluten-free in addition to being a caffeine-free vegan, it’s working for me so far.

I’ve lost 2 of the 7 pounds so far and I physically feel better.

So yes, it’s possible for a vegan to gain weight just by eating foods with more oil and sugar.

Granted, it took me an entire year to accidentally gain those 7 pounds. Now the question is, how long will it take to lose it all?

I refuse to buy a bigger pair of pants!

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

We survived! Yay for us! With Baby Holly turning 6 weeks old as of yesterday, my wife and I have apparently made it through what I hear is the toughest part of the postpartum days: the first 6 weeks.

That first month or so is when you as the parent must figure out the details on what works best for your baby regarding sleeping schedules, formulas, and diapers. It’s a culture shock as a parent, even after already having one child. I knew it would be challenging going into it.

However, I must have kept my expectations lower than I needed to because, honestly, it hasn’t been that bad!

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Despite us managing our newborn’s infant acid reflux, for the post part, things have been fairly predictable. There have really been just 10 simple steps to caring for our newborn during the first 6 weeks:

1)      Feed her an ounce, burp her. Repeat until each ounce is gone.

2)      Change her diaper.

3)      Play with her by talking to her and helping her do exercises.

4)      Take a cute picture of her.

5)      Instagram it to show it off to friends and family.

6)      Change her diaper.

7)      Wrap her up in a blanket and rock her to sleep with the pacifier in her mouth,

then place her in the crib.

8)      Change her diaper, now that she finally fell asleep but wet herself again.

9)      Rock her back to sleep and place her in the crib again.

10)  Repeat two and a half hours later when she wakes up again.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Those are my 10 simple steps. This has been my life for the past 6 weeks.

Granted, these 10 steps have been my wife’s reality more than mine, since she’s on maternity leave, but I still work during the day. A lot of the time my main responsibility is to take care of our 5 and a half year-old son Jack while my wife Jill takes care of the baby.

This past weekend I celebrated the end of those first 6 weeks by shaving off my postpartum beard, as well as getting a hair trim. As you can see though, I was unable to overcome the temptation of shaving (and Instagramming) in stages.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

And if my eyes look bloodshot and cross-eyed, and I look like I need some ginseng because of lack of sleep, it’s probably true.

As for Baby Holly, she doesn’t have that problem so much…

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Fare thee well.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

1 week.

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

Dear Holly,

For years, I was convinced I was perfectly happy having only a little boy. But now that you’ve been in my life for a week, I realize I was wrong. I needed a baby girl in my life.

I love everything about your brother; he’s the perfect little boy. With you here now though, I see that you provide the proper balance to our family.

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

With your brother, I get to be rough and crude and adventurous, as I should be with an all American boy. I get to drive through the mud with him and take him to PG-13 rated super hero movies that some say are inappropriate for him. I love that I get to feel sort of rebellious in parenting your brother.

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

With you, I get to make sweet cooing sounds directly into your face as I stare at you for no less than an hour at a time as I hold you. I am so in love with you.

I have never got to experience this before. Despite being a parent for 5 and a half years, having you here is completely different. You are such a sweet, adorable, and mesmerizing little girl.

You’re so easy to stare at. I love your amazing little smile. I love your uniquely folded ears. I love your tiny little cry.

Had you born a boy, I would have been just as happy; because I couldn’t have known what I was missing. I already knew how much I loved having a son, so I knew things would have been great.

But instead, you were meant to be Holly Joy. I was meant to have a daughter.

I’m not saying there’s no possibility of you never having a younger brother or sister… but I do know that our family has never felt so complete- like the way it does now that you are here.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Newborn.

Dear Holly,

Mommy made a deal with me that if she could give birth to you without getting an epidural, she could go on a “new wardrobe shopping spree” with the money we’d save; her epidural with your brother Jack apparently cost us $1000.

Well, Mommy gets her shopping spree because she chose nitrous oxide (laughing gas) instead of an epidural! Not that she’ll actually spend a thousand dollars- probably just a couple hundred. Either way, she earned it!

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Last weekend began with our family having a pretty good idea that you would be born, since your due date had already passed.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Friday night for dinner we went out with Grandma at a place near our house called Homestead Manor, which is a very old mansion that has somewhat recently been converted to a fancy restaurant.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Then on Saturday morning, I took your brother Jack to the Franklin Main Street Festival. It was so packed that we actually had to take a trolley in and out of the place, which I think was Jack’s favorite part of the whole thing.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

That evening we went with Mommy and Grandma to Arrington Vineyards, taking a picnic dinner from Whole Foods there.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

That was Jack’s last Saturday as an only child, because the next morning, Mommy went into labor and gave birth to you Sunday night:

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

After laboring since 6:00 AM on Sunday, we finally left for the hospital at 4:20 PM and were at Vanderbilt by 5:00 PM.

When we arrived there, the doctor warned Mommy that the window of time was small for her decide whether or not she’d get the epidural. Mommy decided to delay, choosing to spend some time in “the Lexus of laboring tubs”.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

That seemed to progress things rapidly. The doctor told us that Mommy was already so far along by that point, that the epidural might take effect too late.

So Mommy took the laughing gas, which according to the doctor, “It doesn’t numb the pain at all, it just makes you not care as much about what’s going on.”

At 8:08 PM, right at 3 hours after we arrived at the hospital, you were born.

Everyone in that room was so impressed with what Mommy did; myself obviously included.

Nonna and Papa had brought Jack down to the hospital Sunday night once I texted them the word “born” from my phone, using my left hand; since my right hand has busy holding Mommy’s.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

We were required to stay at the hospital for 24 hours after you were born. Since all the doctors kept quickly confirming that you were perfectly healthy, we made it clear we wished to leave the hospital the moment they would allow us to.

Therefore, you and Mommy and I all got to leave for home after just 25 hours after you were born; and just 28 hours from the time we first arrived there.

Mommy had a very efficient birth!

Back at the house, Grandma had made dinner for all of us the following night. At one point, your brother Jack asked for more water. Immediately, Mommy jumped up and got it for him.

Papa commented, “Look at her! She just had a baby with no epidural and she’s already up and moving?!”

That’s because your Mommy is amazing.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural