Have any of you heard of the show Wife Swap? I’m sure you have. It’s a television show on ABC where two families swap wife/mothers, for two weeks. Well, this weekend Brandon and I did a little swap of our own. From Friday to Sunday we swapped houses and roles with my brother Ryan and his wife Tara. For the entire weekend, Ryan and Tara stayed in our apartment in downtown Cleveland and Brandon and I stayed at their house in Mentor and were temporary “parents” to our 6-month-old nephew, Kayden.
Friday – “What do we do!?”
Friday night we drove in from Cleveland to my brother’s house and got the lay of land – bottles, feedings, toys, bedtime, diapers etc. Once we felt comfortable with the directions on how to keep this little one alive, we all went to dinner at Outback Steakhouse (Brandon’s favorite restaurant). On the drive to the restaurant, Kayden fell asleep and was asleep for most of dinner. We waited awhile to a get a table but once we finally sat down we were able to enjoy a nice meal with our family and then headed back to our temporary home. Since we had to wait for a table, we did not get back to the house until almost 9:30 pm – Kayden was getting a little tired and fussy – but nothing a bottle and back rub couldn’t fix right?! We began the bedtime routine and laid him down to sleep. Phew – cue high-five. We did it. He’s asleep. We prepped a bottle in case he woke up and was hungry in the middle of the night and then we laid down. 3 mins after my head hit the pillow – WAH! – “Shoot, he’s up. He probably just lost his pacifier. I’ll take this one.” Obviously, I do not have that “motherly intuition” yet because boy was I wrong. Kayden was screaming mad. We tried the pacifier, rocking him, holding him, rubbing his back, changing his diaper, toys and the list goes on. Everything we could think of, we tried. He was not calming down. At one point – we just looked at each other and said “What do we do?” I still am not sure what was wrong or how we managed to get him to fall back asleep but we did it. Somehow – thank goodness.
Saturday – “Psht – we got this!”
Saturday morning I got up early to run with a friend and let the boys sleep. Once I arrived home from my run, we made breakfast and all ate together like one cute happy temporary family. The weather Saturday was chilly and rainy so we decided to go to the mall. On our drive to the mall, Kayden fell asleep. We parked the car and attempted to get the stroller together. If any of you have seen the Allstate “Life Can Surprise You” commercial, where the dad is trying to close the stroller to pack it in the car and is struggling then resorts to throwing it in the car, that was pretty much us! Except, we were trying to open the dang thing, in the rain. Once we figured out how to open the contraption, we were good to go! Kayden was in, still sleeping, and off we went. Kayden was a saint! He slept for about 2 hours and was happy and playful once he woke up. The remainder of the day consisted of watching the OSU game and me being an obsessive photographer. The photo shoot went surprisingly well! I mean how could it not when you have the most adorable subject in the game.
Sunday – “I’m never having kids”
After all day Saturday we were feeling pretty confident in our parenting skills. Kayden was fed, changed and in bed by 9:30pm that night, Brandon and I watched a movie and fell asleep. Sunday, 12:30am rolls around and Kayden again wakes up unhappy. I give him his pacifier and all is well. “Wow – that was easy! Maybe I am getting the hang of this.” 1:15 am – another cry from Kayden. This time, the pacifier accompanied by a back rub does the trick. 2:00am – WAH! Kayden’s very unhappy this time. I try a variety of techniques and nothing helps. I figure he’s probably hungry, so I feed him. When I go to lay him back down he’s still not happy. I try all the options I tried the night before hoping something would work but nothing helps. I’m at a loss on what to do. I’m to the point where I’m thinking I’ve never having kids and am about to send an SOS to my mom. Then Brandon comes in, starts rubbing Kayden’s back and boom he falls back to sleep. “What!? I’ve been doing that for 30 mins” I thank Brandon for helping and his apparent soothing touch and finally get to fall back asleep. I wake up on Sunday and immediately take back my “I’m never having kids” statement from the night before as soon as I see my nephew’s sweet face. Clearly, I was getting too confident with my parenting skills on Saturday and Kayden just wanted to bring me back to reality. And for that Kayden, I thank you!
Overall, the weekend was amazing! I am so happy that we swapped places with my brother and sister-in-law. It was a great experience and we got to spend quality time with our nephew. I have always loved children and knew that the feeling you get when you hold a child in your arms is irreplaceable and unexplainable. The cuddles, the smiles, the belly laughs, the soft skin, all those little things completely overshadow the long nights and cries. But being a temporary “parent” this weekend showed me how much a baby can actually teach you and help you grow as you are helping them grow. This weekend also made me excited for Brandon and I’s future family – we just may need to work on our diaper changing skills and baby voices before we have a little one of our own.