My son was born in January, so Easter was the first major holiday to come along. Not to take anything away from Presidents Day , St. Patrick’s Day, or Mardi Gras, but those celebrations just don’t bring the families together in the same way.
My wife’s and my families both live in and around Houston. We love our families and enjoy spending time with them, but several years ago, we decided that trying to see both families each and every holiday was just too much work. Celebrations with each family always started at the same time, so we would have to leave one family early just to get to the other one late. To avoid this, we started dividing up the holidays, such as spending Easter with one family and Thanksgiving with the other. That little change made the holidays much more relaxing.
However, now that we have a son, we know it wouldn’t be fair to our families or our son to split up the holidays. Both families want to see him and we want him to spend a lot of time around both families. So, now we’re back to bouncing back and forth between houses.
The day began with us packing up the SUV with a fully loaded diaper bag, formula, bottles, the stroller, and his Pack ‘n Play (a portable crib) because letting him get his sleep is not only good for him, it also saves us from dealing with a tired, cranky baby. Once we were all packed up, all three of us got dressed and were out the door to go to church. We go to church every Sunday, but we usually get to come home afterward and take a nap or do whatever we want. But not on Easter.
After church, we drove through Starbucks because I knew I needed a little extra juice to get me through the long day ahead — plus, I have a bit of a coffee addiction, but that’s beside the point. Then, we went to my wife’s grandmother’s house. It was fun to have him around the entire family for the first time and watch him get loved on and passed around like a football, although it did get a bit hectic when my wife had to feed and burp him in the middle of a crowd. We ate, talked, laughed, and left, all without our son getting a wink of sleep. But he did spit up on one of my wife’s grandmother’s chairs — sorry.
After that stop, we were off to my parent’s house, which allowed our baby to get in a 45-minute nap on the way there. When we arrived, and before we even made it to the front door, we were rushed by a pack of three nieces and one nephew. After a few minutes of oohing and aahing over the baby, the kids noticed that my wife and I were there, too, and graciously allowed us each a quick hug and hello.
After a while of talking, laughing, dying eggs, and hiding eggs, it was time for the hunt. Well, my son’s little nap in the car just wasn’t enough, so he wasn’t up for being lugged around outside while I helped him find eggs. He and my wife watched through the windows while I ran around stealing candy out of the kids’ baskets and getting hit with confetti eggs, and we were able to get some pretty cute pictures of all the kids, including our son, after the hunt was over.
After my son spent some more time bouncing from aunt to cousin to grandparent and back again, family members cleared out, leaving us with just my parents. It was nice, but my poor son’s lack of sleep had become too much. He reached a point where he was too tired to go to sleep, — yeah, that can happen — and that made him pretty mad. But my wife and her magical soothing abilities finally got him to calm down and go to sleep in her arms. Not long after this, we decided that it was finally time to head home.
It took our son several days to get over this exhaustingly long and sleepless day, which wasn’t fun for us. The moral of the story is to let your child get some sleep, even during special holidays. I know it’s not going to make family members happy when you pry your child from their clutches to lay him down for a nap, but it’ll be worth it. My wife and I had good intentions and planned to make sure he got his naps, but as the Pack ‘n Play spent the entire day packed up in the SUV, our little plan fell to pieces. Yet another lesson learned in the tiring course of Parenting 101.
The New Father: Baby on Board | Dealing With Baby Heartburn | Father and Son, One on One | Diaper Changing, Learning the Hard Way | He's Crying and I'm Freaking Out | My Baby Smiled at Me | Food Sensitivities and the Breastfeeding Baby
On Mondays, Travis King will be sharing some of the surprises and learning experiences he encounters as a new father.
– Travis King, CMN Staff Writer
Photo: Travis King