Monday, September 22nd, 2008
Advice Needed for a Newly Single Dad
A father stumbled upon Thingamababy over the weekend who could use the collective advice of Thinga-readers. We’ll call him “Jim.” Here is his lightly edited story (assembled from several e-mails).
I just wanted to write you a note and thank you for the path you have started me on. My wife and I are currently separated and in the middle of what looks to be a messy divorce. We have two boys, one 9-months-old and one 20-months-old. The marriage went south but I want the boys to feel special and to be the best Dad that I can for them.
I was looking for some interactive toys on Google when I came across your website and I’ve starting reading a bunch of stuff on it, some comments pointing to other websites which I will explore as well.
I am trying to come up with things that they will enjoy playing with, activities that will be fun for all of us, etc. but have to admit that in the background I keep Noggin on in case I’m playing too much with one and the other gets bored.
Do you have any tips on things that both might enjoy at that age? I picked up a couple of interactive Thomas the Train and Elmo books this weekend that I’m hoping they’ll like.
Money is tight for me so I have to be selective in what I can get. I sometimes skip a few meals because I’d rather spend it on them than me (I’m still healthy and eat well etc., don’t want you to worry about that).
I wanted to be a very hands on Dad and felt like I was pushed into the corner [in the marriage] and that my job was to earn a paycheck and say goodnight to the boys when they went to bed which broke my heart. It is only because of my getting a lawyer and the judge ordering her to let me see them every other weekend that I am able to.
I want the boys to feel free to be able to do stuff, such as play in a puddle right after bath time, sit with Dad near the sidewalk to watch the cars go, and jump off the retaining wall we had at the old house with Dad’s assistance because the oldest enjoyed it. I could go on but I imagine you get the picture.
I am concerned about the kids’ social skills because they haven’t interacted with other kids outside of the children in their mother’s family. I was reading about library story times and think they would enjoy that. I have also recently gotten back into the Lutheran church that I love and have gotten reacquainted with the pastors and really want that to be a strong part of their life as well.
The two weekends that I have had them things have gone great and we’ve had a wonderful time playing together. We’ve read books, we’ve built stuff with Mega Blocks that I purchased a ton of used, and we’ve played with a castle that has little soft balls that roll down the inside of it.
I just want to make sure that the time we get to spend together is quality time both in terms of our time with each other and in terms of stimulation and enjoyment for them.
I would appreciate any advice you could provide or additional websites that a single Dad could use to make sure that his boys get brought up healthy, happy and knowing how loved they are.
Do you have…?
- Suggestions for toys or activities enjoyed by both a 9- and 20-month-old (or the same in a few months when the baby is more active).
- Suggestions for promoting social skills during weekend visits.
- Recommended websites for single dads.
- Any other advice.