Archives for category: Parenting

FACT: Every day morons raise children.

Every time Dibs or I were struggling with Gray, I either told her this reminder, or said it to myself. It’s an important thing to know.

Yes, morons successfully raise children every day.

You better believe poor people raise children every day.

And, even wolves have raised a kid or two.

I’ve found that reminding myself that I’m not the first person to experience the hard times, the frustrating times and the oh-my-god-he’s-still-crying times has helped me.

Welcome to parenthood Jeff and Jessica. Wait, that sounds like you guys are married. You’re not. You’ve never met, but you’ve both just become parents. So congrats!! Just remember, morons raise kids every day.

I originally started writing this post on Tuesday. It was going to be about how after a point, you seem run out of things to do with a baby. Because, really, there’s only so much you can do.

I had the title all cued up, “So, What Do We Do Now?” And it was going to be this post about all the things we do to keep Gray engaged in life, and how we’re starting to run out of ideas. Really, how many times can we sing Old McDonald, or read Fox in Socks before he’s over it? (Side note 1: Fox in Socks is so much fun to read. It has become our favorite.)

All that changed yesterday, when Grayson went to his pediatrician’s appointment yesterday. See, that morning I got a text from Dibs that Gray had successfully rolled over from his back to his front. Not once, but twice. He’s 3.5 months old. At the pediatrician’s office he went back to front, then rolled back over front to back. This isn’t normal, folks.

Dibs was telling the pediatrician that he seems to get frustrated. Our pediatrician explained to her that Grayson was likely getting bored, and not stimulated enough. Basically, our son is out pacing us.

We’re really good about not letting him watch TV. I read to him every night. We constantly sing to him, and help him practice sitting. Tummy time is a daily activity. Plus everything else, like when we’re eating, “This is a piece of chicken. Chicken is awesome.” But the kid is already bored of us!

Do we need to do quantum physics with him? (Side note 2: Quantum physics always reminds me of the best part of Men in Black. The part where Will Smith is training, and the only person he shoots is the little girl in the middle of the ghetto with quantum physics books. Laugh every time. “Hesitated, sir.”) How do you keep something that can’t talk, or even sit up entertained? Sorry that we’re boring you, son.

The first thing I said when Dibs told me about the pediatrician’s visit was, “Well, did you ask how to keep him stimulated?” “Oh, uh, no,” she replied. Great.

So, that’s my new mission. Finding ways to keep Gray stimulated, so that hopefully he’s smarter than us by the time he’s 5.

Feel free to leave your tips in the comments below.

I was walking with Gray in the new and improved Baby Bjorn on Black Friday, as Dibs was taking a much needed nap, and an old Scottish woman approached me on Union St. “Oh, he’s a precious baby,” she said. “Oh, thank you very much.” “What’s his name?” she asked. “His name is Grayson.” She then said, “What a nice name. Fathers in my day didn’t do this, you know?” “You know, they didn’t do it in my day either,” I replied.

I keep running into this topic. The whole idea of Dad’s being all sensitive these days. I read a post by Natali Del Conte-Morris about The Era of the Sensitive Dad, and my mom talks about my involvement with Gray a lot. That’s really when I decided that perhaps I should tackle the subject.

Suffice it to say, my father wasn’t the best at being a father. This is something I’ve known from being older. Small things, like never changing a diaper, showing any real interest or really being affectionate were par for the course. Of course, my (Step) Dad was the exact opposite of that. He was/is hugely involved in my life and (as soon as we move home) Grayson’s life. Obviously, when modeling myself after who I wanted to be as a father, it was a no-brainer.

It just seemed natural to want to spend time with Grayson, and make sure Dibs was taken care of to the best of my abilities. And, with all honesty, to see the pride he has from filling a diaper, makes me just as proud. So, yay, whoo-hoo, I’m an amazing dad.

But, what about the other side of the coin? What is scaring me now is what my friend, Christian, brought to my attention.

In summary, are we turning our kids into pansy’s by being so involved and nurturing? When you look at athletes and successful men, they generally have one thing in common: being driven to succeed at a Hitler level, or just being completely abandoned by their fathers. We looked at examples of this, and it really started to take shape. Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, LeBron, every rapper, and every dude on Wall Street. The list goes on and on.

Perhaps the environment we’re creating for our sons is too easy, too nurturing, too sensitive.

Then, just like clockwork, my friend, Alison, posts a story about how trying to create the perfect environment for your child will make living with kid unbearable.

Can we, for a moment, flash back to the benign neglect of the 1970s and ’80s? I can remember my parents having parties, wild children running around until dark, catching fireflies. If these children helped themselves to three slices of cake, or ingested the second-hand smoke from cigarettes, or carried cocktails to adults who were ever so slightly slurring their words, they were not noticed; they were loved, just not monitored. And, as I remember it, those warm summer nights of not being focused on were liberating. In the long sticky hours of boredom, in the lonely, unsupervised, unstructured time, something blooms; it was in those margins that we became ourselves.

They’re right! I loved not being a micromanaged child. It gave me the freedom to make my own choices, for better or worse, and become a person. It’s a good article, you should read it.

A frequent discussion between Dibs and I is how we are going to handle the discipline of Gray when the time comes. Her concern is that she’ll be forced to be the tough one, because, well, you don’t earn the name Diabla without being a tough one.  Now I realize that this is a terrible idea!

Tonight when I get home, I’m making Gray go out to find a stick. That’s right, a stick to give him lashings with!

Or… maybe I’ll just continue to be an awesome dad, and hope for the best?

I didn’t want to write an entire post that talks about how awesome my wife.

Seriously. I didn’t.

But last night, Grayson and I caught the tail end of her training session. She was in pushup position, in wet grass, at 6:45pm, and had to get up when her trainer called and sprint 40 yards. Repeat from laying flat on her back. Repeat. Repeat. She goes to the trainer 3 days a week. And the trainer don’t joke, y’all. How many moms do you know that have joined a trainer 2 months after giving birth, not named Heidi Klum?

Grayson is 3 months old now. For the past month, Dibs has been working out with the trainer. This is in the evenings after she’s been working full time all day. Since she does work from home most of the time, she usually takes care of Gray (working her job that pays as much as she can) during the day, goes to the trainer and then has to work till about 9pm to make up time while I get my time with Gray. Keep in mind, she’s up at least twice a night either feeding or pumping.

I mean… damn.

Speaking of, breastfeeding is hard. I saw first hand just how difficult it is. Dibs was determined. Want me to be graphic? Ok! She endured nipples that were sensitive to wind hitting her through a sweater. Yeah. That’s serious. (She won’t appreciate me saying that, but damn, right?) Even though that, she never gave up. She met with a lactation consultant until she got it right, and her persistence paid off. She’s now a champion breast feeder. That’s a big deal.

Plus, she makes sure her husband is happy, if you know what I mean… know what I mean… too far? Ok.

And, it’s not just the things I mentioned above. She’s leading the charge on finding us an apartment in Dallas for our move. We’re sharing cooking duties (Hey! I’m doing my best! I can make steak and tacos, dang it!). She’s handling the Wondersitter planning and scheduling. Plus, she manages to get a few rounds of AngryBirds in. Oh, and, you know, she’s raising our kid.

Hell half the time she can’t even stand up, she’s so tired.

Yet… she carries on.

Pretty friggin’ amazing.

So, new dads, my advice to you is to tell your SuperWife how incredible you think she is all the time. Because, damn, they really do turn it out.

I’ve been traveling and working like crazy, so I thought I’d just give a quick update.

Laughing – First of all, Grayson laughed for the first time, and holy crap it was amazing. He’s doing it with some regularity now. It’s this sort of uncontrollable laugh that absolutely slays me. I’m now really excited for parents to hear their child’s laugh for the first time. I almost skipped work that day just so I could keep doing whatever I was doing to cause this. While it’s not abnormal for a baby to laugh this early, most don’t laugh for the first time till about 4 months. Needless to say, it’s incredible moment. (If you’re on Dibs’ Facebook page, I highly recommend watching the video she posted.

Baby Bjorn Update – As I mentioned before, we made the wrong selection when purchasing our Baby Bjorn. Today our new one showed up. It. Is. Amazing. I once again urge you guys to make the right decision here. We didn’t go with the ERGObaby Baby Carrier as I mentioned in my last post. Instead we settled on the Babybjorn Baby Carrier Active. Much better back support here. Trust me.

Wondersitter – We’re in a pretty different situation than most people. For those who haven’t heard, we’re moving back to Dallas at the end of December. That being said, it doesn’t really set us up well for daycare/nannycare. No sense in applying for daycare and going through that whole process, when we only need it for two months. Same goes for finding a nanny. It’s a long process, and no one is going to commit for 2 months, either.

Dibs found Wondersitter and after some research (and friend testimonials) we decided to try them out. Basically, Wondersitter provides families with a network of screened babysitters. We have not had a bad experience yet. All the girls have been great, and Grayson has loved all of them (of course he has).

And lastly…

Dibs and Gray are traveling to Dallas next week. I’m going to try my hardest to get her to write about her experience with traveling with him. Will she actually do it? That’s probably a no. But, maybe I will write it for her. I can’t wait to hear about it. And I also wished I was going with them.

Hindsight is a bitch, ain’t it? Of course you can always make the right decision after you make the wrong one. This is a curse in my life, it starts with Grayson, and it continues through Fantasy Football. You know the problem, you have 3 solid running backs, and you inevitably bench the guy who scores the most, week after week.

The same can be said for making decisions about products before your baby is born. How should you know which diaper to buy, which pacifier they’ll like or, in this post’s case, which baby carrier to buy?

You’ll inevitably chose the wrong one, because, as much as you try, you’re not fully informed to make the right decision.

When picking our Baby Bjorn, we made a giant mistake. We went cheap. Honestly, we couldn’t see the difference on the box. We were flying through Babies R Us, doing our registry and not really thinking about things too much. This is how you get in trouble. So, we thought, “These all look remarkably similar. I guess we should just get the cheapest one.”

Fast forward to today, Gray is 10 weeks 13.3 lbs, and our backs almost rip in two when we carry him. Thanks, Baby Bjorn Original.

If you can afford it, my friends say to try out the ERGObaby Baby Carrier.

Just do your back a favor, and think this through more than we did.

In an ideal world, I would never have poop on me.

This is not an ideal world.

No, this is a world covered in poop. I am the world. I am covered in poop.

I know what you’re thinking, “Toph, what’s the deal, buddy? Why can’t your kid keep it in his pants?” To be honest, I have no idea. We’ve tried so many different types of diapers. We’ve tried the Pampers Swaddlers and the Huggies Little Snugglers and still poop comes pouring out.

(Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Another edition of Gray’s poop stories)

His favorite place to poop seems to be on me. When I have him in the position that’s photoed in this post, forget it, he’s going to poop on me. As soon as I feel the rush of poo, I pick him up quickly and sprint to the changing table. Too late. I’m covered.

We do seem to have a bit more success with the Little Snugglers.

I think the biggest problem is the amount of poop Grayson produces. Seriously, when he lets it go it’s everywhere. When he goes more than day without pooping, our house is on Threat Level Red. Expecting parents prepare yourself. When these kids poop, it goes everywhere. It goes between their leg creases and under their huevos. The best part is when they start kicking their legs and get their feet in it. The whole thing escalates quickly. Next thing you know your kid is covered in poop and Brick killed a guy with a trident.

My steps to avoid this disaster (though futile) are:
1. Removing socks and pulling up onesie as high as I can.
2. Trying to clean his butt with the existing diaper as much as I can.
3. Holding his legs up while I get more wet wipes.
4. High pressured water hose.

When you’re traveling with him, I also recommend packing a few freezer bags in his diaper bag, plus an extra outfit (or two, depending how long you’ll be gone). The freezer bags help to protect the contents of the diaper bag after an explosion. Just be careful not to leave the poop-laden clothes in the diaper bag too long. Trust me. I opened a 2 day old bag, and it fried my nose hairs off. Sure, it was good to get rid of some unwanted nose hair, but there are better methods.

There comes a time for most new parents when we have to go back to work.

(I don’t want you to think I have any antidotes about how to make this easier, because I don’t. I’m just talking.)

For me, it happened quickly. I was back to work 2 weeks after Grayson was born. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But it was easier knowing Dibs was home with him. She is really good about letting me know what they’re doing and sending photos throughout the day, which makes it a lot easier.

On Monday, she goes back to work. I have a feeling she’s broken down a couple of times today about this, and probably will a few more times over the weekend. We have both of our moms coming in on alternating weeks, which will make it a little easier, but not really. The longest she’s been away from him since he was born is about 2 hours.

She knows everything about him. She knows what his cries mean, she knows how he likes to be held and she knows when he’s pooped himself. Plus, it’s rare that he’s bottle fed. How will he react when he has to have a bottle throughout the day? Will our mom’s get sick of him quickly? Gray loves being held all day. We probably spoil him, though we’ve been told you can’t spoil a baby. Will they handle that well? How will Dibs handle not knowing what he’s doing at all times?

The other issue is that there’s nothing we can really do, Dads. There’s really nothing anyone can do, because we all have to work.

I guess this is the part where I ask how you guys are dealing with this. If there’s any advice you can share to make it easier, please do.

I’ve already considered adding webcams to make sure everything goes ok while we’re at work. Is that a step toward crazy?

Also, please comment in the comment section below. Commenting on Facebook helps no one!

Finding the right bottle is key to your kid’s development. If you choose the wrong bottle, you’re screwing him over for the rest of his life. It’s the butterfly effect of raising a child. Pick a BornFree today, and your kid fails his driver’s licenses test when he’s 16.

No, none of that is true at all, but picking the right bottle is important and difficult. We’re now two months into it, and we still haven’t really settled on a bottle. We’re actually using a Bottle-By-Committee, and going with a three-headed attack.

Here’s what we choose, and why.

Playtex Drop-in Bottles – We like the Playtex drop-ins, because it reduces the cleaning by a lot. It does increase the amount of trash, which I’m sure some people will frown upon. We like the Drop-ins because it reduces burping and farting, plus it’s supposed to help reduce colic. Price is pretty cheap. About $5 for the bottle, $10 for the drop-ins.

Medela Bottles – We use the Medela breast pump, so we store in the Medela Bottles. It’s pretty much as simple as that. I can’t recall a time when we’ve used them outside of the house, but if you’re going to pump they’re good to have. Just close them with the cap, refrigerate them, and then replace with a nipple (hahah… nipple) when you’re ready to feed him. I don’t know how much they cost, because I’m pretty sure they came with our breast pump. (Diabla Note: We did use the Medela bottles over the weekend, because we were gone all day. She pumped, and we used those bottles, since she couldn’t breastfeed him. She’d also like you to know that we don’t use bottles often, since she breastfeeds.)

LifeFactory Bottles – These bottles really are great. We were awarded one in our birthing class, McMoyler Method, and we haven’t looked back. We also bought bottles for us, we liked them so much. Here’s the details: They’re a Berkeley startup that creates sleek BPA-free glass bottles, free of chemicals and FDA approved. Ecofriendly, and awesome. You will not regret having these bottles. At around $12, they may not be the cheapest, but they’re definitely the most worth it.

BornFree – We have two BornFree bottles. They sit up in the cabinet unused.

“When your kid comes, your life will never be the same. Enjoy it while you can.”

How many times have you guys heard that? Every time I went to Vegas, Miami or New York before the kid came some douche dad said that to me on Facebook. So, I started blocking them on Facebook. (I love blocking people on Facebook. It’s the best. Yeah… you’re my friend… but you’re BLOCKED!)

Obviously when the kid comes things change. No one really tells you what is actually going to change, though, do they? Well, guys, that’s why you hired me! What’s that? I’m doing this for nothing? Eff…

So Long Life Without Guilt – Prepared to feel guilty about everything you do from here on out. I went golfing for the first time since Gray was born two Sunday’s ago. The whole time I felt like I was a terrible person for being gone. I wasn’t. On Sunday I’m going to the Frightened Rabbit concert. I’ve felt guilty about this since I bought the ticket. 2 months before Gray was born.

Seriously, You’re Going to be a Whole New Kind of Sleepy – And, here’s the thing, you can’t really complain about it! Dibs is a part of new mom’s group that discusses this sort of thing. I’m thinking we should start a new dad’s group to talk to each other about what we’re not allowed to talk to our wives about. Because no matter how tired you are, she’s 10 times more tired than you. Of course she is. Why wouldn’t she be? The metaphor would be complaining to someone that you had to settle for a BMW M model, when they’re driving their Grandma’s Cutlass Supreme.

You’re About to Accept A Lot – My example of this, if you follow my twitter, happened the other day at lunch. My friend, Ryan, and I were in line at the Thai place, and I’m on my phone. Ryan says, “Dude, what’s all over your phone?” I examine, shrug my shoulders and say, “Grayson pooped all over me last night. It must have gotten all over my phone.” This was at lunch! I’d gone over 12 hours with poop covering the top of my iPhone 4, and I shrugged it off. Never in my life did I think I’d laugh when someone hosed me down with poop, yet, here we are.

You’re Excited About the Tiniest Things – Every milestone that happens makes you think your kid is a genius. I mean… of course he is.

Eating Is a Whole New Experience – When we go to restaurants, we basically prepay, and ask them to bring it out in to go boxes. When he cries, one of us tries to calm down, if we fail, then we’re out. Eating at home is even more fun. She’s eating and I’m holding him. I’m eating and she’s holding him. Just be ready to eat cold food.

(As I type this, I’m having a beer at the office. I feel guilty about this. I told you!)

What else have you guys noticed as changing? Let’s start the New Dad’s Group…. now.