Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad Worries About his Daughter’s Milestones

In the beginning, it was so hard for my husband and me to not get caught up in our new baby's milestones. It was so exciting when she would practically learn something new overnight! It was also a bit stressful to compare her growth with other babies around us. While we would be excited for our friends' babies, we would also look at our own child's growth and sometimes feel disheartened or worried when she would lag behind a bit.

Our baby was born prematurely at 31 weeks rather than after a full-term pregnancy. With a preemie (premature baby) there is an adjustment period; for our baby that period was two months. This means that our baby would usually achieve her milestones about two months after a full-term baby.

The EarlySteps Program


With Alli Mae being born at 31 weeks, we qualified for a program called EarlySteps. This wonderful and free program (if you qualify) helped us along the way in caring for our baby and also taught us how to do different activities that would help her along with achieving different milestones.

Editor’s Note: Erik Alexander is referring to EarlySteps, a Louisiana program. But there are early intervention programs for your baby or toddler in every state and territory of the United States, as it is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C. If you want to know more about early intervention programs in your state, you can find a wealth of information on the Center for Parent Information and Resources website as well as on the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center website.

We first met our coordinator for EarlySteps. After they assessed our situation, they assigned us a wonderful physical therapist that helped us so much in the beginning and most crucial time for our baby. Ms. Laura showed us different techniques to help Alli Mae's mind, eyes, hands, and tummy time development. She brought over different toys that would stimulate our baby's mind and also would teach us how to use them.

Physical Therapy

One toy in particular she brought was the jingle ball.

Although this may look like a cat toy, this isn't. It is specifically made to improve a baby's grasping capabilities. The little ball inside has a bell that keeps the baby engaged while the outer ball has holes to allow the baby to grasp it with both hands. This was the first step in teaching our baby to hold a bottle on her own.

Another milestone we had was when she could transfer the ball from one hand to another. That was an exciting day!

An activity mat was another useful item that we got to help during our physical therapy sessions. These pieces connect and were great for the next lesson we were taught.

Tummy time is another of these important activities. Although that exercise only lasts for about two minutes, it was still difficult to watch my baby. My immediate reaction was to pick her up, but we learned that she was not in pain, she was just uncomfortable. And that distress would motivate her to roll over. And after what seemed like forever – it was two months – she did. After that milestone, the other milestones became easier to for her to achieve.

Lessons Learned

I learned so much from our physical therapist, Ms Laura. It was hard to say goodbye. She became a friend and I truly miss her sessions twice a month. She helped Douglas and me become more confident during that scary time by assuring us that we were going to be just fine.

I learned that babies develop at their own pace. Try your best to not compare your baby's progress with other babies. (That will just set you up for disappointment.) Instead, cherish the moments you have not yet reached.

If your baby has not achieved an upcoming milestone quite yet, you’re likely to become anxious. But remember, time goes by fast. You don’t need your baby to reach all those milestones in a hurry. Stop worrying. Allow your baby to be a baby. And allow yourself to enjoy your baby’s childhood.

I would love for you to follow our family’s journey on InstagramNolapapa.com and like us on Facebook.

Feature image photo credit: BSA Photography

 

Show Comments ()
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (A Guide for Gay Dads)

Turns out David Blacker is, in fact, experiencing a midlife crisis — according to the very official results of a Buzzfeed quiz

Today I took one of those Buzzfeed-like quizzes to determine whether or not I am having a midlife crisis. I know what you're thinking. How can 29 be considered mid-life? God bless you, but I'm actually 35. Fine, 41. The Buzzfeed results — granted, we're not talking a true clinical assessment here — implied that I am, in fact, showing symptoms of a midlife crisis. But instead of shopping for a new sports car, I'm looking around for something else.

Problem is, I don't quite know what that is yet.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse