Archives for posts with tag: dad tips

I’m not exactly sure how this happened, or, frankly, when it happened. Last thing I remember, Grayson was just a little fellow who could barely muster a few words. Sure, he was kicking a ball around, thinking he was going to be the next (only?) savior of US Soccer. But, today? Well, today he’s kicking the soccer ball with gusto. Celebrating by yelling GOOOOAAAL and throwing his hands up, or lifting up his shit to reveal his belly (a soccer goal celebration as good as any). Today, he’s starting to say complete sentences (“I kick,” counts people.) He knows all the sounds animals make, and letters and numbers, and just random shit like that.

Can he tell us after he’s pooped? Yes. I’m not sure what good that does me after the fact, because the smell more than let’s me know what has happened, but it’s important people say.

His development is rapid, and it’s pretty mind-blowing that he (and kids this age in general) can soak up so many things. At some point, we need to stop cursing in front of him, because I’m pretty sure he already says shit.

He definitely gets frustrated, though, not being able to vocalize the things that he wants. Yes, he knows sign language, but that doesn’t really help with things like, “Dad, this sandwich sucks. Can I get some chicken?” Really, the sign language is good for getting girls to think he’s blowing kisses at them (when he’s actually saying “thank you”).

I do generally like to talk about things that he likes, so I can give friends and readers a heads up on what they need to be buying their kids. The problem here is that for the most part, as long as he has a soccer ball around, he’s perfectly fine. It’s the damnedest thing, but 70% of the time, he’s perfectly content with having a ball. The other 20%, he wants a book. And, the other 10% it’s a complete crapshoot.

His reading list consists of, all of the Brown Bear, Brown Bear series, Goodnight Moon still, the Dr Seuss hits (Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Sox, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Mr. Brown Can Moo), Where the Wild Things Are, and a couple of really random books. If I hear “Elmo can use the potty!!” one more time…

While I’ve allowed him to sneak Arsenal matches, and football, baseball, basketball games since he was old enough to lift his head, we’ve just started to introduce actual TV. Perhaps this is because of laziness, or perhaps our hippie San Francisco ways are almost completely drained, I’m not sure. But, he’s started watching this show Chuggington on Disney Whatever It’s Called Now.

And, really, that’s about it right now. The kid is just awesome. We cannot get enough of him, and I think he feels the same way.

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The worst part of my life is the amount that I travel. Yes, it’s the coolest part of my life, too, but you know… it has its drawbacks.

Don’t get me wrong, traveling is probably the most important part of my life from a career standpoint, too. I encourage my business travel, as it’s generally the main source of leads for me. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, I do go to amazing places, and have amazingly good times.

But, it can be really depressing getting texts from Dibs of her and Gray playing and having an awesome time. It’s rough on dads to be away from their kids so often. You’re often left wondering if they’ll even remember you when you get home. It’s a source of constant frustration for me.

With that said, I thought I’d try and put together a little survival guide for other dad’s who, like me, travel entirely too much.

1. Photos, photos, photos – Dibs is very good at constantly sending me photos of the little guy when I’m on the road.

2. Video chat – While my schedule to compared to theirs often doesn’t allow for this often (different time zones, etc), the best possible way to connect is to video chat with them.

3. Education – Let’s be honest here. When you’re at home with the wife and kids, it doesn’t really allow for much “you time.” (Openly admitting I get me time will likely land me on the couch tonight.) This is a perfect opportunity to catch up on books to help you be a better dad and husband. I recommend Brain Rules for Baby, which was given to me by my friend, Beau Lebens. (More on this book soon)

4. Short trips – Really, that’s the best thing you can do. Try and schedule full days of meetings in order to get in, get out and get a lot accomplished. I used to go to conferences and wing it. Now, I’m a lot more diligent in reaching out to potential leads, and setting up meetings before I arrive. This way I can be a lot more productive in a shorter amount of time.

5. Drink a lot – This way, you don’t have to think about what you’re missing out on too much.

“I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Never has a song lyric meant so much to me. Being in a city with a baby where we have no family, we’ve leaned on our friends pretty heavily.

Let’s be honest, everyone says when you have a kid, you’re going to lose your friends. Well, I quite like my friends and I definitely don’t want to lose them. Sure, we can make some new ones along the way, but we have great friends now. Just because they don’t have kids, doesn’t mean we have to lose them. Granted, we’re not going to be getting wasted till 2am every night (some nights… one night a month? year?), but we can still be a part of their lives and vice-versa.

We haven’t taken them up on babysitting quite yet, though they have marked it our calendar, but we have used them for just about everything else.

Thought I’d share with you guys some ways to get your friends involved without going to the bars every night. Believe it or not, they do want to still be a part of your lives.

Invite Your Friends Over – We’ve found this is has been the easiest way to hang out with our friends. Sure, you’re place might be a mess, but at least you’re most comfortable there. Plus, if you need to breastfeed, you can escape to the bedroom, if it makes everyone more comfortable. We’ve been having people over for Cowboys games, and it has gone really well. They get to hang out with Gray, hang out with us, plus, root for the Cowboys.

Lunch/Brunch – We’ve found that Saturday/Sunday brunch has been easily manageable with Gray. We’ll feed him before we go and we’ll take a bottle just in case. We haven’t really had any problems, which is good. No one wants to be around a baby crying and acting like a fool at a restaurant. Sure, our time will come, but it hasn’t yet.

Visit Friends Homes – Same concept as hanging out your place. As long as they’re cool with you feeding at their place. As I mentioned before, we had our first friend’s house visit not too long ago. Everything went really well. It was like the foundation of being out of the house more.

Walks/Workouts – Our friends have accompanied Dibs on walks around the neighborhood and workouts down at Marina Green. Once we get a BOB, then we’ll be able to do more of this.

Free Babysitters – Finally, you’ll eventually trust one of your friends to look after your little person for at least a couple of hours, when you go on your first date away from the baby.

Escaping with Your Friends – Sunday night was my first time to escape (non-work-wise) with my friends, as we went and played golf. I’ve forced Dibs to have ladies nights, too. It just really helps to lean on your friends to get a break from the daily goings-on of parenthood.

If you have great friends, then they’ll offer to bring you food, take you out

Me: “Honey, lots of new moms want to throw their baby out the window.”
Her: “No, honey. I don’t want to throw him out the window. I want to throw him against the wall. This way he has a better survival rate.”

Actual conversations by brand new parents! Please, don’t report us to CPS. If you are CPS, I was clearly kidding (umm…). And, if you start thinking we’re really terrible people, then you probably don’t have a child yet, or are past the 3 year mark and you’ve forgotten all of this fun stuff. In fact, you’re probably reading this because you’re ready for kid #2. Meaning, you’ve definitely forgotten all of this, or are in denial about what happened the first time around.

Being a parent is like being bipolar. This morning, while feeding, Gray’s pee leaked through his diaper and all over Diabla. “GET IN HERE AND GET HIM OFF OF ME!” I did, quickly. I changed him, and Dibs immediately went to prepare a bath for him and her. While preparing a bath, Gray started smiling like he’s never smiled before. I felt like he was almost on the verge of giggling. (PS. I know babies don’t giggle till around 4 months, but apparently they don’t roll over till month 2, and Grayson was doing that at week 3.) I quickly rushed him over she could see it, and she gushed, “I just love him soooo much. He’s so cute.” I didn’t feel the need to remind her that she still had pee on her. Hell, it was so adorable I almost took the day off from work hoping he’d smile at me all day.

Man, I’m on a tangent that was nowhere near where I wanted to go. I think I’m going to leave it anyways.

So, where was I wanting to go? Oh! Dibs throwing our kid against the wall. Let’s be honest, kids cry. It’s kind of what they do. But, there are some ways to help calm him down. I thought I’d share some of my techniques to getting Gray quiet with you guys. That’s what I do, right?

There’s a book that everyone talks about. Something about New Babies on the Block, or something. Some guy talks about the 5 S’s. I have heard these s’s, and I use some of them. I wished I remembered them, or bothered to read the book. With that said…

The Boob – I mean, this is a no-brainer, right? Nothing gets babies to chill quite like the boob.

Sweet, Sweet Swaddle – I have found that once I’ve swaddled Gray, he will chill out. It’s weird, because he hates it as I’m swaddling him, but he can’t really sleep without. He’ll wake himself up with Gangsta Pose without being swaddled. Sometimes he gets a little worse before he gets better with the swaddle, so keep that in mind. (Little known fact outside of my house… I’m the swaddle king. There is no swaddle queen. I don’t know why I love this fact so much.)

Over the Shoulder Hold – I don’t know what it is, but when I throw Gray over my shoulder he just chills. And I mean, over the shoulder, too. His belly is on my shoulder bone (To show how little I know about bones, I’m now wondering if there is a shoulder bone… Google it.). I toss him over and pat his back, and he’s fine. Well, until I take him off my shoulder. Everyone is always shocked when they see me do this.

Bouncing – He’ll also chill out when I stand up, put him on my chest and start bouncing. This will also usually put him to sleep. And, if I talk/rap (yeah, rap) while doing it all the better. I guess the vibrations calm him down. By the way, don’t shake him. That will obviously get him to be quiet… forever. You will go to jail. You will not pass go. You will not collect $200.

Baby Bjorn – This is just a super version of bouncing. So, I can bounce him while checking fantasy football scores in one hand and eating a burrito in the other. I had no idea how amazing being able to use both my hands would be till I discovered the magic of the Bjorn. Sweden is the gift that keeps giving.

Baby Massage – I’ve mentioned this before. Usually massaging Grayson involves a lot of farts from him, and a lot of laughing from me. Yep, I’m a dad.

Bath Time – He LOVES bath time. It’s hilarious. Once he hits the water, he’s in pleasure country.

Going for a Walk – If things are really bad, I’ll put Grayson in his stroller and take him for a walk. This is so phenomenal that 60% of the time it works every time. The change of scenery, combined with the sidewalk bumps calms him down.

Change their Diaper – Oh, snap, he’s crying cause he’s got poop in his diaper.

The Pacifier – Or as it’s known in my house, the silencer. This combined with anything above, besides the boob of course, increases your chances of a calm baby by some percentage that I’m sure has been reported somewhere. Let’s just say 83%. I think I mentioned before that Dibs was against the silencer. But, once she learned that as long as you don’t rely on it after month 3, they won’t still be using it when they’re 8 years old. And, that, my friends is a good thing.

Just, try to avoid throwing your baby at the wall, ok?

Granted I’ve only been a Dad for 2 weeks, but in that time I’ve heard the magical words, “You’re the best husband ever.” Trust me, I was just as floored as you are right now.

Best husband ever is not really a title I’m used to, you know? Ever since she said this I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ve done to earn such a praise, from a woman nicknamed Diabla, mind you.

Not only what I’ve done, but also how I can help my fellow new Dad’s in achieving this wonderful title. So, here’s my list of things I did (or really tried to do) to make my wife’s life so much easier.

10. Do not let the home become a shit-hole. Man, this is hard. I hate cleaning. If you ask me, I say it’s always worth it to pay someone to clean your place. Problem is, when you have a baby all you can think about is saving money (we’ve already started a 529 for Grayson). I decided I’d make it my job to clean the place while she was breastfeeding. Shocking the results.

9. Cook. I am the worst cook in the history of the world. Seriously. Luckily, we have friends around us who were thrilled to bring us dinners, in exchange for some precious baby time. Fine by us! But, they won’t do it every night (we need more friends). I’ve learned to follow recipes fairly well. Nothing too difficult, pre-made pastas, taco night and steak and potatoes are all perfect. Make sure you clean the dishes while you’re at it. Trust.

8. Give the lady quiet time. Dude, you’re sleeping so much more than her. Let’s be honest, during the 3am feedings, you’ve definitely fallen asleep. So, help her out during the day by taking the kid for a walk outside. She’ll be able to take a nap, or shower. It’s shocking how much showering makes my wife feel like a normal person.

7. Laundry. Wow, does our kid go through a lot of clothes. And, of course, we have coin laundry. In our house, me doing the laundry this isn’t a problem, because I do it anyways. Of course, you could always pay someone to do it for you.

6. Bring the baby to your wife at night. The best tip I got was from a dad who said, “When it’s feeding time at night, get up and bring the baby to your wife. This will pay off dividends.” It has.

5. “You’re a great mom, you’re a great mom, you’re a great mom.” Having a kid is the most frustrating thing a woman can go through (I’ve determined). Constant reminders about how wonderful a job she is doing can go along way. Plus, it might save her from throwing the baby out the window when he won’t latch at 3am.

4. Don’t bitch. “Honey, I’m tired.” “You’re fucking tired?! Really!? You’re tired? Let me tell you how tired I am, then we’ll see just how tired you feel, a-hole.” Yeah, let’s avoid this at all costs.

3. Keep track of the feedings and the boobs. I’ve been keeping a log so that we were on a schedule during the first couple of weeks. It’s helped keep both our sanity, and allowed us to plan for everything outside the boob a lot better. Also, it helps to know what boob to start with. Trust me, it’s too difficult to keep up. PS. Some people buy their wives bracelets and things of that nature to remember.

2. Don’t let her feel like a milk cow. The worst thing that can happen is for your wife to feel like she’s only here to feed the baby. On one boob, diaper change, on the next boob, baby goes away, she pumps, he sleeps, she sleeps, he wakes up and it’s rinse and repeat. Make sure your wife is getting quality time with the little guy. Otherwise she’s going pretty depressed, and it’ll be your fault.

1. Change every diaper. I made sure I changed every diaper in the first two weeks. Mainly because it was bonding experience between Gray and I. She was feeding him, and he was sleeping, right, so I wanted a way to connect with him. Maybe there’s a better way than getting shit and pissed on, but I haven’t figured it out yet. So, for now, it’s our way of connecting. Even though it means I’m getting pooped on.

And for bonus points… Tell off a parent or two. I had no idea just how far this would go. The truth is, everyone raises children differently. So, when your parent tells you that this isn’t the way they’d do it, tell them you appreciate their input, but they can stick it up their ass. Wait… maybe don’t say it like that……….