Ideas to Spark a Christmas Tradition

Christmas is coming!

As excited new parents we of course are all up in “Christmas Tradition” making mode. It is fun but also can be difficult to determine how to build a new tradition while each parent also wants to pass down the traditions from their childhood. You want to create something new out of the old without stepping on anyone’s special time-honored traditions toes.

Traditions are special

It’s not the gifts that children look forward to during the holiday season but the traditions. Knowing what to expect each year, with a bit of surprise is a sure-fire way to build up the anticipation! Traditions are something that stick with you always and take you to happy memories filled with nostalgia.

Do you want to build traditions?

When Grayson (My husband) and I began discussing the matter of Christmas traditions, we each immediately grasped for our childhood traditions. After we exhausted all the memories and intricacies associated with our respective traditions we knew we needed to find a way to intermingle them. Below are snippets of each of our traditions.

Grayson: Christmas Eve gift of pajamas to wear to bed and open gifts on Christmas morning. Extended family all go to one house Christmas Eve to wake up together Christmas Morning. Christmas breakfast of blini (also know as crepes), and Christmas lunch but not a set menu. Then the finale of the day is going to a movie.

Erica: Christmas Eve gift exchange between mom, dad, and children. Make cookies and set them out for Santa. Open presents from Santa on Christmas morning and yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast (along with other foods of choice). Christmas lunch at Grandma’s with extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) and bagel sandwiches with every meat and cheese you could want, homemade macaroni and cheese, and more. We also open gifts from grandma and grandpa.

Our Tradition

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We decided to make our tradition from pieces of each of our experiences but to also add something new. We will spend Christmas Eve at our own home, make cookies for Santa, and open a gift of Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas Morning. Our new addition will also be on Christmas Eve. A box will be opened for each child. Inside will be their Christmas pajamas, a Christmas book or movie, hot chocolate, and snacks. The movie will be watched, book will be read, and snacks will be devoured on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas day we will open gifts from Santa at our house first and then go to Grayson’s parents for Christmas gifts there, breakfast, lunch, and, when our children are old enough, the movie. We will go to his parents simply because we live in the same city as them. My family lives 17 hours away so if we ever go there for Christmas we will do my family’s traditions.IMG_0163.JPG

Final Thoughts

Every tradition is special, so remember to be respectful of one another’s wants. Finding a tradition that will work for your family is very similar to the idea of a unity candle (or other symbol) in a marriage ceremony. Each person’s individual gifts are joined together. From pajamas to movies, anything can be a tradition. It’s making it work and creating those special memories for your family that’s the important part.

We would love to hear about your traditions! Maybe we can mingle them with ours. Please share your thoughts with us!

4 Questions Dads are Tired of Hearing

As every parent can attest to, having a baby is like giving everyone in the world an excuse to offer unsolicited advice and ask highly insensitive questions. It is a rule that no one agrees on, no one likes, and yet everyone participates in. While I can usually brush off unsolicited advice with smile and courteous thanks, ignoring questions is quite a bit harder to pull off.

The only effective method

Here is a list of the most puzzling, annoying, and back-handed questions I have heard so far and how I will be responding to these questions from here on out.

  1. Have you changed a diaper yet?

This question has to be the most frequent and baffling question I have been asked so far. The implications of this question stem into a deeper topic of the world’s perception on fathers (a topic that will merit its own post later), but it definitely irks me more than any other question. The underlying assumption is that dad’s are not participants in the parenting process. Perhaps I am over-sensitive but the imbedded message in this question is that there are extremely low expectations placed on a father’s involvement with his child. If after one month of living with a baby you have not changed a diaper then you fall into one of two options. #1: You are dead, severely injured, or missing or #2: Your wife is planning to make you #1.

My new response: “Of course! I only have to change mine once during the work day. It has saved me loads of time on bathroom breaks.”

  1. Does she look like you?

While this admittedly is a fairly tame question, it is almost an impossible one to answer in the first few weeks of life. Every newborn baby, to me, looks like an odd mixture of Winston Churchill and the Gerber baby.

The semblance is uncanny

I am sure that as time progresses our daughter will show a genetic lean towards one of us but in the beginning she is just a ridiculously cute ball of chubby.

My new response: “The jury is out until her goatee comes in.”

  1. I bet you wanted a boy, right?

This may be a question that is exclusive to guys with daughters but who knows what questions people dare to ask these days. Again this is a question with implications on top of implications. First off, there is no right way to ask this question and it not seem offensive. There is nothing like asking if someone would like a refund on their child. However unintentional the person might be, this simply implies that you are already disappointed by your child, who may not even have been born yet. I remember hearing this question almost the same week that I found out the sex of our daughter. Remember kids, you can never be too young to disappoint your parents. The second implication is that the only children that father’s can enjoy are the ones that share similar sex organs. This one throws me off because of the prevalence of the terms “daddy’s girl” and “momma’s boy.” I thought they were the norm until I was asked this question repeatedly. I will note that the typical demographic of people asking this question were women over 60 so it may just be a cultural thing.

My new response: “We would return her but we lost the receipt.”

  1. Are you going to have another baby?

I would have to say that this is my favorite question that people ask on a regular basis. My initial reaction is an involuntary Costanza face.

No explanation required, the face says it all.

My second reaction is to actually try to figure out how to give the most noncommittal answer I can come up with. At this stage of parenthood I am still trying to figure out if feeding the baby after midnight will in fact cause her to turn into a gremlin.

A father’s worst nightmare

The last thing I am thinking about is how to take care of two of these things at the same time. Yet the question is still a valid one and it is one that you will eventually ask yourself. Yes, being a father is pretty awesome and yes I will probably want more kids but right now the farthest I can think into the future is how many hours of sleep I am going to be missing by tomorrow. Parents should be able to have some break time to enjoy the child they have before trying to pop out another one.

My new response: “I might have to wait; the last one was pretty filling.”

What questions are you tired of hearing? We would love to empathize…

At Delivery: A Father’s Role

What an amazingly helpful post. Daddies to be please read!

In Search of Fatherhood

Earlier this week, my wife gave birth to our twin girls at 34 weeks. Follow along with updates on their status at family.kraft.im.

During labor, delivery, and postpartum, it can feel like a useless time for a dad. Rightfully so, it is all centered around the mother and the child, their health and well-being. That we’re “allowed” into the delivery room is still noteworthy to many—I was the only one of my dad’s four kids he was allowed to be present for the delivery.

You just became a dad. You’re pretty amped up about it. Some of your friends might congratulate you, but overall, it’s all about mom and baby. What should a dad being doing during this time?

Whatever possible for your child and the momma. Your sleep, within reason, doesn’t matter. You don’t have stitches in places where the sun doesn’t shine that require you to use…

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Dads Pull Out Surprise Dubstep Dance For Christmas

I am so glad to have found this! Dads you rock ! Thank you “cute or funny videos” for sharing!!

Cute or Funny Videos | Cute Funny Kittens, Puppies And More

Amateur dad dance crew, The Christmas Jumpers, get down to a remix of Dance Of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

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Five Things You Learn in the First Two Months of Fatherhood.

1: Redundancy is not just good for business.

It will only take one rendition of Mt. Vesuvius recreated by your daughter’s rear end to learn the value of having a back-up to the back up. One diaper cannot withstand firepower of that magnitude. Always keep a spare diaper handy and remember that wipes cost far less than shampooing a carpet so don’t be stingy!

My aversion to poo is equal to my aversion to lava.

My aversion to poo is equal to my aversion to lava.

2: You will do something to make your child cry and don’t be surprised if you cry too.

Baby nail clippers will lead you into a false sense of security before ripping your soul out when you accidentally clip too close. While your first instinct will be to commit seppuku, you must restrain yourself and remember that even the best parents aren’t perfect. There will be mistakes along the way and there will be tears but as long as you can bear through the pain of the moment, both you and your child will grow from it. To quote everyone’s favorite doctor, “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” (Doctor Who, Vincent and the Doctor, Series 5, episode 10)

3: Sleep happens…Sometimes

Sleep deprivation is only fun when it involves binge watching all three original trilogy Star Wars in one night. Unfortunately, baby is more Rancor than Princess Leia.

Give me milk!

Give me milk!

(Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back)

 

The key to sleeping soundly as possible is figuring out what works best for you and the baby. Doctors push sleeping in cribs and bassinets because it is the “safest” setup and keeps them liable free in case of SIDS. Some babies are completely on board with the doctor but sometimes babies work best with co-sleeping. My advice is to research it yourself to determine what would feel best for you and your little one. As long as they are safe and are sleeping it doesn’t matter what configuration you are in.

4: You inexplicably have become fluent in jibberish

Babies are notorious for screaming their heads off so when you get a glimpse of a smile, you will work you butt off to see it again. This may require you to do some things that you swore you would never do, like speaking three octaves higher with Tweety Bird pronunciation. What seems even crazier is when you realize you have had a full hour discussion with your baby whose main response is “oooh” with an occasional fart to spice up the conversation. The best part is you finally have someone to share your time travel theories and will listen with rapt attention. It doesn’t matter what you decide to talk with your baby about, it is a magical time where no one is understanding each other and everyone is totally cool with it.

5: You don’t have to be Superman to be super dad

As many men can attest to, we are a get it done kind of species. Give us our tools and duct tape and we can fix any problem. Men desire challenges and want to know they can stand up to the tests given them. When it comes to babies, there is no “fixing” a baby. There is no instruction manual, no special power tool to solve a dirty diaper (note to self: invent diaper changing power tool). Sometimes babies are going to cry and sometimes there is not a thing, not one single thing, that is going to stop them crying. And that is 100% ok. My wife can confirm that I have been stubborn in my manly fix-it ways to the point where I spent an hour in the bathroom with the water running trying to emulate being in a uterus. You are not going to be able to fix it all the time. Asking for help and accepting help does not detract from your ability as a father. Knowing your limits is what will help keep you sane enough to continue being a father and will help you know where to grow in the future.