New Fatherhood: The Frank Interview (September 2014)

resource website created for new moms that provides reliable news, information, support and helpful tidbits.

For more baby related news and information, please review        
 my other pages and the news feeds to the right (scroll down).

 This page features my latest article for new moms. Enjoy!
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New Fatherhood: The Frank Interview


I wanted to share with my audience a recent interview with my husband, Frank, who you have seen here on NetworkforMoms.org.  I'm sure some of you have wondered what Frank is like - let me say that he is a wonderful father, husband and friend.  Frank wanted to have a daughter - he told me this when we were pregnant and prior to receiving our results from the amniocentesis.  He got his wish and loves pink so much, he wanted me to paint all of the rooms the same pink color that is in our daughter's nursery!  I was tempted, but decided to keep the pink in the nursery for now.


Our family, 2014

My husband, Frank, is an attorney (for almost 15 years) working for a small firm in Boston. Once we knew we were on our way to parenthood, Frank made the announcement and could not wait for the big day!   Frank's experience during my pregnancy and after our daughter was born is one that I wanted to share for the benefit of new fathers or fathers-to-be.  Without further adieu, here's my Frank:



Joy:  Hi Frank, I wanted to interview you for NetworkforMoms.org and ask a few questions about your daddy experience. Can you describe how you felt once we knew we were having a daughter?



Frank: Excitement. Anticipation. My twin brother Michael is the best but I think I missed something growing up without a sister. I also spent too much time doing the 'right' thing: School and sports and part-time jobs meant studying by myself or running on all-men teams or working in restaurant kitchens. I didn't spend enough time with friendly, relaxed, interesting women. So meeting you (Joy) after law school was a real trip. You're so breezy and clever and fun. We clicked so the thought of having a mini-Joy (a daughter as bright and as lively) was perfect.  



Joy: When you told other men that you were having a baby, can you describe some of those responses and how you felt about them? Also, did you feel that these responses were helpful?



Frank: Responses ranged from helpful to non-helpful. By helpful I mean: "Having a daughter means you'll fall in love with another woman." That's my favorite. Evelyn's the other woman in my life.  Also: "Being a dad means you'll have a sense of purpose and direction you've never had before." "Being a dad means you'll always look forward to going home." By non-helpful I mean: "Being a dad means you'll be spending money for the rest of your life." Responses were mostly helpful.   

Joy: Once our daughter was born and we showed her to family and friends, what surprised you the most about their reactions? For example, your Dad, Aunts/Uncles/cousins.

Frank: Their surprise was not so much that Evelyn was born but that I was now a "father". Their surprise was (and perhaps this is my surprise that I was now a "father" projected on them): We know Frank as a guy who studied hard in school and works hard as an attorney and listens to The Who and crashes on weekends in a small apartment in Beacon Hill with his brother. But now all of a sudden he's dating a woman who works in his building (is she older?) and they're moving in together (Brookline?) and they're getting married and planning a family? and they're having a daughter after 2 years of marriage? (such a pretty baby ... looks a lot like Frank's mom ...) In any event: Everyone (to their credit) did react positively to Evelyn (as pretty, warm, cuddly, inquisitive and well-behaved as she is) but were surprised (I think) that I was now a "father" and we were now "parents". 

My wife, Joy, with our beautiful daughter!
Joy: Was it hard to return to work after being home with me for 2 weeks?

Frank: Yes. A couple days before Evelyn was born, I "entered" the tunnel ... and 2 weeks later I "exited" the tunnel ... quite an experience in the interim ... Evelyn was now our daughter and you were now a Mom and I was now a Dad ... and you were doing what Moms do (everything) (diapers, bottles, feedings, bubble-baths, onesies, check-ups, indoors, outdoors, around the clock) and, 2 weeks later, I needed to do what Dads do (return to work) (in the usual course ... we're lucky the managing attorneys at my firm knew you and understood the 'process' ...) For the initial weeks, I did worry about you and Evelyn simply because you'd never 'done this before' ... but you always 'had the hang of it' ... and we figured out a routine (for weekdays when I was at work, for weeknights when I got home, for weekends when the three of us could go out together, to beaches, museums, parks, road trips). In no time (even less than 3 weeks I think) I could be at work one moment (and off and running with you and Evelyn at night the next moment to Babies-R-Us and road-trips and family dinners out).         

Joy:  How do you feel now about the time that you spend with me and our daughter?

Frank: I love it. We both know ... for you and for me ... parenting is hard work ... parenting is tiring ... but ultimately parenting is a whirlwind of an experience that re-invents itself every day ... for me, parenting filled an emptiness I didn't know existed ... we're lucky that Evelyn is as sweet, loving, playful, curious, understanding as she is (in fact, she does seem to understand us). 

Joy:  What activities do you enjoy with our daughter the most?

Frank: Parks (Minot rose gardens in Brookline). Museums (Peabody-Essex in Salem, MFA). Beaches (Singing in Manchester) (when it cools off in the fall). These are wide open spaces (indoors and outdoors) where Evelyn and I can run around, chase each other, explore, play. The interaction with Evelyn and freedom of these places are the best.  
Joy:  Thank you so much Frank! xoxo.

I hope everyone enjoyed the interview with my husband, Frank, and want my fellow parents to feel that they now have the truth about new fatherhood.  I think new fathers and fathers-to-be will find this interview to be very revealing.  Frank's words, I'm sure, will resonate with many new fathers, fathers-to-be and experienced fathers out there and I wish you all the best!

Happy family fun everyone!
Joy E.
Posted September 28, 2014
JoyE@NetworkforMoms.org
The Earle Family, Arnold Arboretum, 2014

People in the Park (August 2014)

resource website created for new moms that provides reliable news, information, support and helpful tidbits.

For more baby related news and information, please review        
 my other pages and the news feeds to the right (scroll down).

 This page features my latest article for new moms. Enjoy!
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People in the Park

For the past two summers, I have enjoyed taking my child to play in Winthrop Park in our neighborhood. The people in the park that I have seen regularly have really enjoyed their time with their children and I have been pleased to see the many toy donations to the park.

The sand pit toys can be arranged quickly for easy access.
I have noticed that after the children played with the donated toys in the sand pit or the spray pool, as expected, these areas looked disorganized.  Also, many of the donated children's vehicles were left in different areas of the park.

So, when my daughter was using the sand pit, I would dig out any buried toys and place them along the side of the sand pit so that children could access them and my daughter could find them.   Once she was finished playing, I placed some of the items (that she had used) on the edge of the sand pit for the next child to enjoy.

I collected these vehicles nearby and placed them in an open area.

I have no problem organizing these toys while my child played in the sand pit because I want all of the children to be able to find the toys. Organizing and arranging the toys encourages the children to play and have fun in the sand pit.

Many parents that spent time in this park did not always realize that by not cleaning up after their child had played, the park looked messy, disorganized and unpleasant.

 That is why I encourage parents to pitch in when you are in the park with your child/children and help make the park pleasant and fun for the children.

If you notice a broken toy, please remove and dispose of it -these toys are not safe!
I left the chalk behind for the children to have fun creating sidewalk drawings.
It was not a big deal for me during our time in the park to organize a few sand pit toys, arrange a few children's vehicles, remove a broken toy (these are dangerous for young children/babies) and bring sidewalk chalk to donate.



Extra chalk can be placed on tables to create drawings together.



















On a recent park trip with my daughter, I took pictures of examples of a few things that parents can do in the park to help tidy up the park, make it safer and more fun for the children. For example, picking up a few small branches of leaves while walking with my daughter around the park equipment, or, removing some stones that may cause an accident.

Small branches with multiple leaves littered this section of the park.
I placed the branches of leaves in a pile in a grassy area of the park while walking with my daughter.
The same play area after I picked up the branches of leaves.

Stones this size are too large to be in or near the play area, I remove them.
Again, if you are donating toys to the park, new toys are the best ones to give.

If you are  bringing toys to the park for your children and their friends to play with, a good idea is to write your name on the toys with a marker in case one of your toys gets separated from the rest - other parents will see your name on them and place them to the side (if you want to include a phone number, that is optional).

Remember that some of the people in the park may have accidentally left their child's toy behind and will return to retrieve it, so it is best to assume that the toys in the park are not all donated.
My donated pails and floating duck family set for the spray pool (ducklings floating in the middle).
My 'sand toy set' (by Play Right) arranged for the children to use.
Below I have created a list of useful suggestions for parents to review before their next trip to their local park:

1. Organizing for children's play: If your child is using the sand pit, dig out and organize the toys that are not in use.  I saw many parents watching their children in the sand pit without realizing that many fun, interesting toys were buried nearby. If you dig them out your child will spend more time enjoying the sand pit. This is where a little effort on the parent's part can go a long way.

2. Remove obvious trash, including broken toys: I noticed that many of the parents did not remove broken toys - I suspect it is because they did not want to throw away something that was donated by another parent for the park.  However, if the toy is broken (for example, wheels are broken and missing), it is simply time to place it in the trash without guilt because it is now a hazard for small children!

3. Remove excess branches and large stones: If you are walking with your child around the park and can scoop up stones and excess branches, that is greatly appreciated - this will help others avoid slipping/falling in the park.

4. Place children's vehicles in one, accessible spot: This is nice for the children because they know where the vehicles are located rather than becoming frustrated searching the park for their favorite vehicle. If you get chance to place a donated vehicle in the accessible spot, that is greatly appreciated.

5. Chalk: Donated chalk is always appreciated. I like to bring a typical $1 carton of sidewalk chalk, break each piece in half and leave the pieces behind for other children to enjoy creating sidewalk drawings. It is best to leave the chalk in an area of the park where parents are sitting (children feel safer when parents are nearby).

6. Donated, undamaged toys are appreciated: The most useful toys are sand pit toys (shovels, pails, etc.)  and spray pool toys (ducks, pails).  Children's vehicles are great to have as well, as long as the wheels are in good shape and the vehicle is still mobile.
Link to the Sand Toy Set by Play Right: http://www.toysrus.com/buy/sand-beach-toys/sizzlin-cool-20-piece-deluxe-beach-set-8091-3509982
Link to the Duck Family by Play Right: http://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Duck-Family-Bath-Set/dp/B004USI7E4

Swinging with Daddy.
7. Park equipment: When having your child play on the park equipment, I always stay right by her side climbing on the equipment with her, or walking alongside, to avoid injuries from falling through an opening accidentally.

Mommy helping me down from the stairs.
I have seen children in danger of falling through the openings of the equipment because their parents were preoccupied with a phone call, talking to other parents or simply, sitting too far away from the equipment. I saw a small child (under 2 years old) fall off of the park equipment recently, so I encourage parents to stay with your children on the equipment and avoid these accidents!

I know the park benches are a temptation for parents, but it is better to stay on your feet with your small child and stay alert!

I hope my NetworkforMoms.org buddies find this information useful and if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at JoyE@NetworkforMoms.org.

Happy day at the park everyone!  

-Joy E. 
Posted August 14, 2014
JoyE@NetworkforMoms.org   

Baby Safety this Summer: 2014 (July, 2014)

resource website created for new moms that provides reliable news, information, support and helpful tidbits.

For more baby related news and information, please review        
 my other pages and the news feeds to the right (scroll down).

 This page features my latest article for new moms. Enjoy!
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2014 Nominee for Boston A List's 'Best Local Blog'!
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Baby Safety this Summer: 2014

Once again, summertime is here and, as parents know, there are different safety concerns during these months.  I am re-posting for my NetworkforMoms.org buddies the following news articles that appeared in the news feeds in regard to baby safety issues, food safety and parenting.


Grandparents flunk baby safety quiz:http://www.today.com/moms/grandparents-flunk-baby-safety-quiz-1C6602741?franchiseSlug=momsmain

Overprotective parents and teachers 'ruining children's play' because of risk-averse lifestyles: Adults are 'over-supervising' and 'over-scheduling' children; Cambridge lecturer says a lack of play stops normal development: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334235/Overprotective-parents-teachers-ruining-childrens-play-risk-averse-lifestyles.html

Dry Drowning: Water in the lungs during swimming can cause 'drowning' within 24 hours, see this important article about Dry Drowning: http://news.msn.com/science-technology/drowning-101-knowing-the-signs-and-symptoms-could-save-a-life

Water Safety: Time to worry about water safety as summer approaches: Pools, swimming lessons, etc. Swimming can also help people with arthritis.
http://www.ocala.com/article/20140508/ARTICLES/140509739/1001/news01?Title=Time-to-worry-about-water-safety-as-summer-approaches-&tc=ar

Sunscreen for Babies and Children:  A woman claims that a sunscreen product meant for babies caused a burn to her child's face. The Mayo Clinic offers guidelines for sunscreen use on children:
http://whnt.com/2014/07/03/taking-action-local-mom-believes-sunscreen-burned-her-baby/

Child Safety Warning: Teething Gels May Be Dangerous: Check out the Orajel Lawsuit:
http://www.orajellawsuit.com/
Here is another article regarding the lawsuit against Orajel Teething gels:
http://www.familysafetylawyers.com/teething-gel-safety-lawsuit.asp

Could your child be allergic to Red Food Dye?:http://family.go.com/parenting/pkg-school-age/article-797235-could-your-child-be-sensitive-to-red-food-dye---t/

Paint your child's room in one coat: http://news.consumerreports.org/baby/2013/01/paint-your-childs-room-in-one-coat.html?EXTKEY=I72RSBB

Senators Call for Closer Look at Flame Retardants: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/greenliving/Senators-call-for-closer-look-at-flame-retardants.html

Educational Benefits of Children's Toys: http://www.wpri.com/dpp/rhode_show/homelife/rs_channel_60/educational-benefits-of-childrens-toys

CCEI recommends child care safety training in support of safe toys and gifts month:
http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/12/11/ccei-recommends-child-care-safety-training-support-safe-toys-and-gifts-month

'Snow Plow' Parenting becoming new trend: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/national_world&id=8995990

Our daughter in her NFM t-shirt!

Links on NetworkforMoms.org: 
For more information and links in regard to baby safety, click on the 'Baby Safety' tab above. Also, for a useful list of baby care tidbits, click on the '*Tidbits*' tab above.

Most importantly, I wanted to inform residents of Massachusetts that all children between the ages of
0 - 3 years old who qualify for the Massachusetts Early Intervention Program will receive services at no charge. The income-based fee was waived in 2013 for every income bracket (the fee was between $0 -$1500 per child based on income!).

Anyone can make an appointment with Early Intervention and they will send a team of professionals to your home to examine your baby or young child for any developmental delays (speech, motor, etc.).  This meeting is at no cost to the family as well. If it is determined that your child needs services, they will send professionals once a week to your home and provide whatever necessary services your child requires.  For more information, here is the link: http://www.massresources.org/early-intervention.html

If you want to check the Early Intervention services in your state, here is the link:http://ectacenter.org/contact/ptccoord.asp

I discuss my brief experience with the Early Intervention program on my '*Tidbits!*' tab. Just click here: http://networkformoms.blogspot.com/p/tidbits-new.html




Also, below are very useful NetworkforMoms.org articles for new moms and moms-to-be:
My husband, Frank, feeding our 5-day-old daughter. Yum!
















1. Pregnancy Awareness Month 2014: http://networkformoms.blogspot.com/2014/04/2014-pregnancy-awareness-month-april.html


2. Lost the Weight, but not the Waistline?:http://www.networkformoms.blogspot.com/2012/06/welcome-to-networkformomsorg.html

3. The Lack of Sleep and Stress that New Moms Experience: http://www.networkformoms.blogspot.com/2012/04/welcome-to-networkformomsorg.html 

4. Toys for Babies and Children: http://networkformoms.blogspot.in/2012/10/a-resource-website-created-for-new-moms_17.html

I hope everyone finds these articles useful this summer as well as the other tabs above.  We will take a vacation for the next few weeks and return in August with our next post.
My happy daughter playing with her stickers (10 months old).

I hope my NetworkforMoms.org buddies have a great 4th of July and enjoy your summertime fun with your families.
Happy summertime everyone!

-Joy E. 
Posted July 1, 2014
JoyE@NetworkforMoms.org                                                                                                                                                                


Our Family Adventures:


Museum of Science

Finished lunch with Mom & Dad at MOS.
Playing with the light & mirror frame.

Me and Mommy in the nest covered in leaves 6-7-14.

At the chain design board at MOS, 6-7-14.
Wearing bird costume.




The back of the bird costume.





Daddy and me in the nest covered in leaves.

Daddy holding the bear face.
Spinning the static wheel.


Viewing the dinosaurs.

With Daddy in the nest, Discovery Center, 6-7-14.









My Gym!


Practicing somersaults!









Completing somersault!











Visits to the Arboretum


Exploring on Bussey Hill.

Found interesting piece of wood.
Examining an acorn.
Examining the leaves.


Lunch at Bertucci's after Arboretum visit.
























MFA 'Playdates' class


With Mommy at MFA Play dates, 6-16-14.
Making bird nests.



Examining the Felix Gonzalez-Torres "Passages" bead curtains.
Passing through the bead curtains.

 Paint Playground!


Blending colors, 6-3-14.
Making wash paintings. 


Making dot and drawing mosaic.


At the water tables.










Belated Father's Day family outing: My Gym and Artesani Pool


At My Gym on trampoline with Daddy, 6-21-14.
Swinging with Daddy!




Me and Daddy in the octagon, 6-21-14.

Me and Daddy playing with the sensory balls.


Artesani park, on the bridge with Daddy, 6-21-14.



Touching the fountain.
Getting our feet wet at the spray pool, 6-21-14.

Come give Daddy a big hug!
Big hug!















Artesani pool family outing!


Having fun with Mom & Dad in the pool.
Ready to play in the pool with Mommy 6-28-14.



Set.....

Go! 





Playing with Daddy in the pool 6-28-14.


















Birthday Party for my play date at Plaster Fun Time!


The birthday girl!




Painting the base coat on the butterfly.

Former Isis classmates Melissa, Annie, Frank and Laura helping to paint base coats.


Daddy helping me paint my butterfly!

Finished painting the butterfly with Mommy.
The birthday girl during strawberry time!


Playing with balloons with Daddy (Frank from Isis class in the back).








Playing with the balloons with Mommy.
Singing happy birthday to my friend (her Mom, Dad, Laura (from Isis class) and my Daddy in the back).
Melissa handing out party favors.



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