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Monday, October 31, 2011

Interesting Article about Parenting later in Life.

Jim and I often get asked WHY we decided to have kids "at our age" or WHY, after 11 years together "traveling the world" and "enjoying the freedom without kids", we decided to add kids to our lives.  There are no easy answers to those questions.  As mentioned in some of our earliest blog posts, Jim and I struggled for years in answering those questions for ourselves.  Having kids is a very personal decision and therefore I don't think there is any right or wrong answer.  I  would assume that you would get different answers from every single person asked "Why".  That said, I found this article on another blog I follow (Thanks Doug!) and thought it captured some of the reasons we felt it was time to add children to our lives. Thought I would pass it along.


Older Parenting: A Modern Day Fountain of Youth

Is Older Parenting Worth It? YES!

Fathering in Your 50s: Is There a Difference?
My first psychology professor was Dr. Dick Bruce. He told a marvelous story about his family during Psych 100: When home for the holidays, one of his siblings complained that earning a Ph.D. seemed an impossible goal. The degree would take so long. Dr. Bruce's reply was "In 4 years you'll be the same age whether you go to school or not."
Fathering in your 50s is much like Dr. Bruce's thinking. If being older is the only reason we decide against having children, then we have allowed ourselves to be enslaved to age. Certainly anyone should consider factors like health, energy levels, or financial capacity when making the choice to have children. We can decide to have, or not to have, children in our 40s or 50s, but we will end up the same age, in 18 years, either way. When we magnify the negative meaning of age, we don't balance the benefits of having children at an older age. Once we place age into its proper perspective, we can see that there are many reasons to become an "older" father.

Our relationship with our parents can be complicated—even rocky. But whether they're young or old, dads are just as important as moms,

Staying Young  Fathers, like everyone, create beliefs about the meaning of age. How we define age then affects other parts of our lives: athletics, diet, vacationing.  My young children demand that I stay young. They want to play on the floor, run in the back yard, eat ice cream, and go on family vacations. I find that having young children keeps my perspective young, and my daily life more energetic. I have a youthful perspective, and my life shows it. 

Feeling Connected  As we grow older, experiences can reduce our feelings of attachment. Deaths, and other losses, push older men away from the vulnerability of deep connection. But, children express their love and affection so freely, so that avoiding a bond with them is impossible. I am not closed-off in other relationships, because my children keep me open to connection every day. 

Enjoying Life  The older we get, the more life feels like a grind. We ask ourselves, "Is there anything thing new or exciting in the world?"  Young children feel joy and are excited about just-about everything. They see fun in the mundane as boxes become forts. If we let them, they will take us along for the "joy" ride. Fathering in my 50s gave me back life's fun. My children make well-worn activities feel exhilarating again. 

Learning Fearlessly  All adults know the pain of embarrassing themselves while trying to learn something, but not doing so well. When men hit middle age, we discover how our bodies and minds have begun to falter (even when we try something well known). But, children approach learning new things (sports, reading, games, etc.) without fear. For example, my son is learning to read-and mastering a new word puts joy on his face, with no signs of worry. My son and daughter show me daily that I have nothing to fear if I try something new. I took up golf, as a serious pastime, last year.  And, I have fun learning to play. I thank my children for the courage to learn the game..... to enjoy the pars and the double-bogies. 

A Final Word from an Older Dad  Yes, there are plenty of reasons to become a father in your 40s or 50s: Youthfulness, Connection, Joy, and Fearlessness are but a few. Parenting has challenges in your 50s, just like it would at any age.  But older parenting can reset the aging clock. You live a younger life, and your children benefit from your years of wisdom. Older fathering might not be a fountain of youth, but it will add years of happiness to your life."

Monday, October 24, 2011

A few new pictures and a Happy Birthday to Momo!

The kids are doing very well in the NICU.
Piper is eating all her meals from a bottle.  In fact, she was so bored with the feeding tube in her nose that she ripped it out herself!   (and we thought she was going to be the mild one)

Campbell is taking every other meal by bottle and doing well.

Travis is not yet interested in the bottle and prefers to snooze while being fed through the feeding tube....hoping that changes soon.

Doctors think Piper will come home in a week with Campbell coming home at the same time or shortly thereafter.  Travis is likely home in 3 weeks or so.  They are all healthy and growing fast.  All are over 4 lbs now and gaining weight everyday.  It won't be long now before the real fun begins and we can't wait.

Happy Birthday to Momo today!!!! 
She is spending her birthday at the hospital with Cora giving the kids lots of attention.  Looking forward to celebrating with her this coming weekend.

Here are a few pictures from this past weekend in the NICU.

Daddy giving Campbell her bath....terrified....(and I don't mean Campbell)

Piper getting her first bottle......loving it

Travis just looking around.....

That's all from here.
Until next time. . .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3 weeks 5 days old

Just a (very) quick update on the kids.

Doctors decided it was time to start trying to feed the girls by bottle.  Babies start learning to "suck/swallow/breathe" at about 34 weeks gestation.   Since our kids are just a little over 33 weeks, they told us not to get discouraged as it would likely "take a while".   Well, they don't know our kids.
Piper took 1/4th of her first bottle and Cam took half!   By the third bottle, they were taking the whole thing...and within 15 minutes...these girls are hungry!

Other news:
Campbell was first to move into an open crib.  She is now taking two bottles per 12 hour shift and weighs just under 4 lbs.

Piper moved into an open crib on Monday.  She is also taking two bottles per 12 hour shift and weighs 3lbs 9oz.

Travis was moved into an open crib on Tuesday.  He is not yet ready ("wimpy white boy") for the bottle and is happy with his feeding tube.   He had is nasal canula removed on Monday and is doing great without it!  He seems to have moved past all his pulmonary issues and is rapidly catching up to his sisters.

Doctors are thinking that we will be bringing the girls home in a 'couple of weeks' and Travis a week or two after the girls.....then the Real Fun begins.  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pictures of Campbell, Piper and Travis

Campbell Bruner at 2 weeks old (aka Miss Feisty). Yes, she may look sweet but she is all business. Apparently she had had enough of the womb, being the first to rupture her bag and first to be born. She is long (90th percentile in length), blond hair with a very distinct personality. We’re envisioning her as the ring leader of her siblings. Can't wait to see if we’re correct.
Piper Whitsett at 2 weeks old (aka Miss Chill). She was 2nd to be born and, so far, is a classic middle child.  She is very quiet and sweet and, although she was having a bout of gas when we took this photo (thus the grin), she is truly happy all (most) of the time.

Travis James at 2 weeks old (aka The Fighter). Our little handsome man seems to have overcome his critical illness (pulmonary hemorrhage) during the first week of life and is now starting to catch up to his sisters. He gave us quite a scare and we are so relieved with his progress. He is now cruising under the radar of concern of the NICU nurses (which is just where we like it).   He better get his rest now because his sisters are certain to gang up on their baby brother when they all get home.
Thank you to everyone who reached out to us during Travis' health crisis.   We are eternally grateful to the doctors and nurses who saved his life.  They are amazing people doing amazing things everyday and have taught us not to take any day for granted.   We are thankful for all the love and support of our family and friends who were in touch with us during that difficult time.   These kids had our hearts from the moment they were born and we are so thankful to you all for helping us through that dark week.  

All our Love
JR, Jim, Campbell, Piper and Travis