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 Holly: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter on Her 2nd Birthday

2 years old!

Dear Holly,

Today our family celebrates your 2nd birthday. We are so proud to have you in our lives; not just Mommy and me feel that way, but of course, your brother too!

I suppose nothing quite makes it official like being able to upgrade to your “big girl bed”. As the parent with the super power of being able to get you to sleep each night, I admit that selfishly, I just wanted you to keep sleeping in your crib.

The thought of your routine being interrupted by taking off the side panel of your crib sort of terrified me! Because I knew it meant you could get out of bed on your own…

But all it took has about 45 minutes of practice for the both of us.

I learned that you needed a couple minutes of me holding you, with your head on my shoulder as I patted and rubbed your back; then doing the same thing after I tucked you in.

The thought of sleeping in a new bed seemed less scary to you after you fell asleep in it for the first time- and the same goes for me, too!

I’m no longer intimidated by the thought of having to teach you again how to fall asleep on your own.

It really helped that Mommy picked out some special new “big girl” bedding for your new bed. You are so proud to sleep in your “new” bed!

So now, when we go to California this summer, it will hopefully be an easier transition for you to fall asleep wherever you are; as opposed to depending on a certain crib.

While I’m uncertain how long I’ll be able to remain a stay-at-home dad, I want to say that I am so grateful for these past 6 months that I’ve had with you.

I know that years from now, you won’t remember it specifically; but I will.

It is a gift to me from you that I have been able to be around my precious little girl so much.

I love you Holly!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: The $2.99 Chocolate Puppy Cake from Kroger

1 year, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week, our family managed to make it through all of the 1st season of Nailed It! on Netflix. I had suggested your brother check out the show, after I had spent the week before watching both seasons of Master of None, where the main character who is an aspiring actor, has to settle for being the host of a show called Clash of the Cupcakes.

And yes, Nailed It! was every bit as silly as I imagined it to be, based on the fictional concept of Clash of the Cupcakes and the Internet meme. And yes, your brother genuinely loved the cake competition show as much as I knew he would.

Last weekend, your brother announced to me in the car, as I was taking him hiking while you were home with Mommy:

“Hey Daddy… Mommy said we could look at cakes at Kroger and maybe get one.”

So after our hike, I let Jack look at cakes. To my amazement, there was a chocolate puppy cake for only $2.99. I had no issues paying so little money for a cake so cool; a cake I knew that both you and your brother would enjoy.

As we walked in the door, Jack and I both announced to you,

“Holly, we brought home a puppy cake!”

Your response: “Puppy? Puppy. Puppy!

So after we ate our veggie soup that Mommy had cooking on the crock pot, Mommy cut the puppy cake for dessert for you and your brother.

Jack immediately dived in, as if it were his birthday. (In reality, it’s your birthday and mine that are coming up.)

To my surprise though, you didn’t really care about eating the cake. You just wanted to play with the plastic cover the cake came in.

You had a great time walking around the kitchen and living room with it on your face like a mask. Then you enjoyed stomping on it in the likeness of Justin Timberlake smashing the disco ball on one of his album covers.

Your brother loved the cake. You loved the container it came in. Classic.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Chose “Poop” as Your Theme for Dress Up Day at School… and Totally Got Away with It!

7 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday your class unlocked a special day at school due to your collective good behavior. Your whole class got to participate in “Dress Up Day”, meaning you could have worn pajamas or a hat, or something a little out of the ordinary like that.

As I got you ready for the bus last Friday morning, I saw that on your own, you decided to adopt the theme of “poop” for your special day with your friends.

You pulled out your poop emoji hat from your closet, the one you bought from a street vendor; as a souvenir at the Monster Jam truck show in Nashville last year.

Then you found the “pooping moose” key chain I got you as a souvenir several years ago when GM flew me up to Detroit.

It was clear: You saw “Dress Up Day” as the perfect subtle opportunity to promote poop awareness at school.

Just like the week before when you took it upon yourself to craft a real cobra head necklace to wear to school, you had used your own creativity once again; and never needed to ask Mommy or me what you should wear for this special event.

As I hugged you goodbye right before you hopped on the bus, I thought to myself, “Is there a chance he’s going to be sent home for wearing this to school? Or best case scenario, will he have to take off the hat and necklace as soon as his teacher sees what he’s wearing?”

Fortunately, that was not the case at all.

When you got home that day from school, one of my first questions for you was, “So what did your teacher think of what you wore for Dress Up Day?”

You smiled and announced to me, “She told me she liked it.”

Okay, then. Well, that’s that.

You went to school wearing a poop emoji hat and a pooping moose necklace and it was no big deal.

Good for you. You’re a creative kid!

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Jack: You Made a Real Cobra Head Necklace and Wore It to School… So Yeah, That’s Pretty Awesome.

7 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Unlike Indiana Jones, you are clearly not afraid of snakes.

Last week, you found an old key chain I brought back as a souvenir from Thailand, when I was in college. I had bought it from this man who professionally hunted and skinned snakes. He used the leftover heads for key chains.

Realizing you could disconnect the crystal arrowhead necklace that you got at Ruby Falls during Spring Break, you then replaced the arrowhead with the snake head.

In your own initiative, you had created a cobra head necklace and decided to wear it to school.

As you were leaving that morning for school, I assured you that you’d be the only boy in America to wear a real cobra head necklace to school.

No, this story doesn’t end with me saying that your teacher told you not to wear it to school anymore. You totally got away with wearing the head of a poisonous snake to school.

You came home and bragged to me, “Daddy, on two people thought my cobra snake wasn’t real!”

Coincidentally, just a few days later on Sunday, I had put your sister down for her afternoon nap and decided to take you to play in the creek at Brenthaven in Franklin.

As we were walking across the bridge over the creek, you and I both noticed something we assumed was a rope that had surfaced on a rock, in the middle of the stream.

But as we made our way closer, I announced to you with both caution and joy, “Jack, that’s a real snake!”

I tossed a few pieces of mulch at it- but it never budged. Then I tossed some rocks at it- it still never budged.

Finally, I found a stick long enough to pick it up with. It was obvious the snake was not only dead, but it had been dead there overnight.

You pointed out to me that its tail looked like it had been chewed up. My theory is that a neighborhood dog found the snake and broke its neck by slinging it like a whip, then the snake crawled onto the rock to die.

Turns out, it was either a venomous Cottonmouth or a harmless Brown Watersnake.

But since it was definitely dead, I let you throw rocks at it. I’m pretty sure you’ll remember that day as a highlight of your boyhood.

So yeah, you’re not afraid of snakes.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: I Think You’re Going to Be My Little Wild Child

1 year, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

I am convincing myself that you will not go through The Terrible Two’s. Your brother didn’t. So I want to believe the same can be true for you.

With that being said, your personality is noticeably different than your brother’s was at this age.

For example, it nearly takes Mommy and me both to physically get you dressed in the mornings now, as you’ve made it abundantly clear you believe wearing clothes is a waste of time. You recently crafted a new trick where you ask to go potty, simply so you can get undressed and then run around the house:

“Potty? Potty? Potty?

And like I mentioned last week, during Spring Break at Nonna and Papa’s house, you found a way to climb out of the crib, twice; as a protest to taking your daily afternoon nap. And then when Nonna asked you how you got out of the crib by yourself, you just simply replied, “I climb.”

Your brother has never been shy, but you show a certain fearlessness at such a young age that he didn’t show. There was at least a reluctance he’s shown. As for you, not so much.

And I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that Mommy and I are raising you differently than your brother, by default; since we were first time parents with him.

Raising you, we as the parents are a bit more fearless, as we have an idea of how things generally work now in the world of parenting.

I suppose it doesn’t help that since becoming a stay-at-home dad 6 months ago, you’ve had extra exposure to my exclusive masculine parenting style; alongside having an older brother who I often have to remind to not play so rough with you.

So while I’m confident you’ll never be a tom girl, I am quickly getting the feeling you’re going to be a feisty little girl who knows what she wants; while still charming me with your adorable little smile.

But hey, I’m up for the challenge.

Love,

Daddy