What does it mean to take joy in your child’s fascination and communication? Children from the very first moment they open their eyes are observing, absorbing, and learning about our world. Their amazement at the little things captures every new parents eye but we sometimes start to overlook it as our children grow older. It’s helpful to get the reminder to pay attention and take joy in our children’s fascination with this world.
As children learn about the work they begin expressing themselves through communication. It’s amazing to see how well children respond to their parents and begin using looks, sounds and jesters to communicate with us at such an early age. As a parent observing and taking joy in your childs ability to communicate is crucial to helping them learn the nuances of conversation later in life.
Chris Singer is @BookDads. Chris is both a stay at home dad and a work at home dad. Chris runs the site BookDads where he reviews books for children and dads. Chris is another excellent writer and his site provides excellent reviews on new books. Chris has also helped to provide direction on my writing as I’ve worked on TheDADvocate Project. You can find Chris’s blog at Bookdads.com
Kevin: Chris, thanks for joining us and let’s get started. Can you tell us a little bit about your kids?
Chris Singer: Well I have a daughter, her name is Tessa, and we’re about two weeks from her first birthday. And I stay home with her four days out of the week and I’ve really gotten to see her grow and develop and that’s been really a lot of fun and she’s a lot of fun to be around. She’s very happy, pretty content kid for a baby and just loves exploring the world around her.
Kevin: That’s cool. It’s an awesome opportunity to be able to stay home with your kid. How did you end up making that choice?
Chris: Well, I was working on a project for a non profit that was based here but also had a component that was based in Uganda. We actually went there when my wife was six months pregnant when we’re there for a month. When I return, I had decided that maybe I’d try and step down and just do part time. They didn’t want me for part time, so they questioned my commitment and asked me to leave.
It was kind of a good thing, actually. When we planned on having Tessa we wanted to raise Tessa and didn’t want to have a childcare giver raise Tessa, so it was going to be a commitment that I was going to try and work from home or be home and it wouldn’t have worked, I know that now. And I knew that early, no way it would have worked out. So it ended up being a good thing.
So I made that choice and right around that same time I started my own consulting company. And completely underestimated how much caring for a newborn and infant is and because I can be a workaholic kind of person. You know, my wife was home for eight weeks, so we were here together.
I kind of started seeing that, like I don’t know if this is going to work out really great in terms of me trying to work during the day. So I made the decision right before my wife went back to work. And said, “You know, I’m not going to try and work during the day. I’ll work at night after Deb gets home.” And that was probably one of the smartest decisions I made because I think by focusing my attention directly on Tessa, our bond got so strong after that.
It was really cool and I was learning a lot of stuff and I’m a pretty confident person but I was not confident about this at all and was really feeling that I wanted to do the best thing for our family which was, my wife has a good job and for her to continue that, though I think at times she gets a little jealous of the things I get to do with Tessa and the freedom and stuff.
Kevin: During the first year what’s been your favorite experience with Tessa?
Chris: It’s so much of it because I’ve worked with kids a long time. I worked with special needs kids. I’m from New York and when Deb and I met I was running my own business. I was doing respite care for families with kids with special needs and I worked mostly with autistic kids. And I worked with young ones – two, three year olds and I did activities with them after school or during the day, would shadow them at a gymnastics class and try and get them involved with kids and things like that.
But this is my first real experience with a baby. I just like watching her sometimes. Just to see the things that fascinate her and see her develop and play. I love watching her play; it’s one of my favorite things. But you know, just getting up in the morning and generally my wife will be up before me and let me try and sleep until like 7:00 and then she goes to work. But that first part of the day where Tessa realizes I’m up now and then the arms are outstretched, ready for me.
Seeing that and just being able to do things with her, seeing those milestones happen and you just get so proud and excited. I’ve really documented a lot, not just because I’m addicted to taking photographs and videos and stuff, but really I wanted to show my wife too, I didn’t want her to miss stuff. So I’ve been trying to really do as much with video and photos and stuff as I can. And just to kind of keep a record of it because it’s been a year and I feel like I can’t remember things. So I’m really glad when I look back at the pictures.
But I think overall, it’s hard to pick one best thing, but the thing is she’s made me a better person, I think.
Kevin: Without a doubt my kids have made me a better person. So, anything that you’ve seen that you’ve done that’s been a super success so far?
Chris: There are two things. Early on I was really stir crazy so I’d need to get out of the house a lot. So I would take her everywhere with me, including meetings and things like that. And what I think that did was get her used to being around a lot of different people, because she’s an only child, we don’t have a lot of family around here, but it got her seeing all different kinds of people. I had a client that ran a homeless shelter; I’d take her in there. And after a while it was kind of a big event when I would bring the baby in. It was like baby therapy for some of the people there who were experiencing a lot of tough things in their lives. And I would never see them smile, and then they’d see Tessa and they’d be smiling.
I really tried to just expose her to lots of different people and get her to kind of care about people. So to me, I’m really happy about how she’s been with people.
Daniel is a master at podcasting. He has five shows including Yet Another Weight Loss Show, Inside Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketer Fitness Challenge, Be a Better Podcaster, and Geek Dads Weekly. Daniel is also a stay at home dad. You can find Daniel on Twitter @QAQN and his web site is QAQN.com.
Kevin: You said you have two kids?
Daniel: I have two kids I have a daughter named Winter who is four going on five, she’ll be five next month. Geez it’s already July, she’ll be five next month and my son Ian is 18 months. Just about 18 months.
Kevin: What’s one of your favorite experiences that you’ve had with your kids?
Daniel: That’s a tough one because there are a lot of thing when they are this age, there are a lot of things, there’s just one favorite thing after another and it’s constantly being replaced by a new favorite thing. I think, probably I would have to say, seeing them communicate for the first time in a meaningful way and I don’t say talking because it comes before that. When they look at you and they try to make a point and they succeed at it, that has been my favorite experience for each one of them so far, we taught the kids sign language starting at ten months old and they both picked it up really well so the first time that they started to use the sign language in a meaningful way, correctly, that’s been my favorite experience, because it’s like wow, this little kid is communicating with me, how awesome is that? That’s so cool. I love it.