Any parents will agree that there are so many reasons you love your little one that listing them can be redundant. Of course we love Max in all the obvious ways, but it’s the subtle moments that warm our hearts. Today I’m talking about dads. With my dad and Aaron’s dad retiring this year it got me thinking about the special things our dads did for us growing up and how those things shaped who we are today. I’ve never been sentimental, but since having Max I’ve found myself wanting to preserve and write down all Aaron and I’s childhood memories so one day we can share them with Max.
My dad the scientist
When my sister and I were young, my dad was our class scientist. This meant that every few weeks he would come to our classes with graduated cycliners, beakers and lots of cool science stuff. In second grade, he showed us that if we sang softly we could put flies to sleep (don’t worry we woke them back up). He also taught us to make slime and that water was actually just a bunch of tiny “mickey mouse molecules”. I still remember loving those days when my dad came to class and it’s largely his influence why I still think science is so fun.
Aaron’s dad the tech lover
When Aaron was young, his dad coached his little league team and taught him how to use his first computer. But one of my favorite stories from his childhood is the way his family geared up for road trips. To appreciate this story you have to remember that back in the 80’s TV’s didn’t come standard in cars and tablets and smart phones weren’t a thing. Our parents had to be so much more creative than we do when planning for a long car trip. And for Aaron’s family a long car trip meant non-stop driving from Florida to Illinois.
Being the engineer and visionary, Aaron’s dad hooked up a TV and VCR in the car (I wish I had a picture!). This alone was no small feat, and required a good bit of technical know-how. Not to mention TV’s back then were not that portable. For two weeks before a trip, Aaron’s dad would manually record cartoons on VHS tapes (no tivo!). Then Aaron’s mom, who is Pinterest level crafty, made black out curtains for the car windows to prevent glare on the TV. Yes, this made it impossible for the driver to see any blind spots (or non-blind spots!), but this was the 80s and that was totally okay. As a result, Aaron and his sister got to watch their favorite cartoons in the car during road trips. It is clear that Aaron’s love of technology and gadgets is a direct result of his father’s influence. And I know that is something Aaron wants to continue passing down to Max.
Aaron and Max
Fast forward to today. Even though Aaron doesn’t have to hook up a TV/VCU system in our car, it hasn’t stopped him from infusing his love of tech into Max’s life. I know that Aaron can’t wait to get Max his first programming book so they can start futzing with gadgets together. But until Max can read, here are a couple ways that Aaron has geeked out for Max.
Aaron reprogrammed a couple Amazon dash buttons so they change our living room lights to either red, blue or green. Max loves pushing the buttons, pointing to the lights and calling out the colors. For a while he called all colors “yellow”, but now he is getting better and will occassionally call out the right color.
He set up Alexa so we can use voice commands to control Max’s night light and start and stop his sleep log. All the data is stored on our home server so it’s easy to analyze his sleep patterns. At this point Max has heard us say “Alexa, turn on Max’s night light” so many times, that now when Max walks into a dark room he says “Alexa lights”.
Since Aaron and I like keeping our house chilly in the winter, we needed a solution for Max. To keep his room nice and toasty, we set up a wemo switch in his room and plugged a small space heater in it. To make sure Max’s room doesn’t get too hot, we keep use a wifi enabled temperature sensor to monitor the temperature and humidity so his room stays comfortable.
Max’s lights are scheduled to come on at 6:30pm to a medium brightness for story time then at 7:30 they dim to 7%. If his night light is turned off for any reason our home assistant will get an alert and immediately turn it back on. This ensures that Max will never wake up to a pitch black room.
When we were still tracking feedings, diapers and sleep (now we only track sleep), Aaron automated a process to update Max’s summary report so we could see daily and monthly trends (read about that here). He also created automated sleep reports for us, which was only fun to look at once Max started sleeping through the night (read about that here)!