Archives for posts with tag: Fatherhood

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.

Gray’s 1st birthday was last weekend. We were in San Francisco to celebrate. Well, fine, we were in San Francisco for the Ben and Mira’s wedding, which so happened to coincide with Grayson’s birthday. But, it was good to be back in The City for his birthday, considering a year ago we were there… you know… having him. We’ve discussed making that an annual tradition, so we’ll see. Grayson, if you’re reading this at 18, and are currently wondering we didn’t make this an annual tradition… um… ask your mother.

I started this blog so that one day I could have it printed to eventually give to him. Just to let him know that Dibs and I are truly awesome, and that, like most parents, are sort of winging it as we go.

There have been some interesting surprises, like being pooped on multiple times, a few trying times, like dealing with a non stopped, crying baby, and a whole lot of highlights, like Gray’s first Giants game. We’ve seen the Giants win the World Series and the Mavericks win the NBA Finals (to this day, I still point to Grayson as the reason), we’ve moved from San Francisco to Texas, we’ve changed jobs and we’ve had a lot of fun adventures as a family all in his first year.

But, I’ve basically talked about all of this when I guest posted on Mommybeta (A Look Back at My First Father’s Day). (By the way, you guys should read Mommybeta if you’re a new, or old parent. Natali and friends do a great job of coming up with offers for parents, keeping parents up-to-date on trends and product reviews/recalls, and writing quality posts.)

As Grayson rounds the corner of his first year, he’s talking nonstop. Sure, it’s mainly his trademark, “bacca bacca bacca.” But, every now and again he tosses in a few gems (swear he said “thank you” the other day when I called him handsome). He regularly says “book,” which is friggin’ insane to me. How he can say book regularly, but still won’t repeat “mama” is beyond me. Of course, that’s not to say that he doesn’t say mama, he just doesn’t say it when Dibs wants him to. Granted, it’s pretty hilarious that he’s already rebelling.

He’s also now, finally, going through some separation anxiety. I don’t want to admit that she’s admitted it, but there’s a bit of Dibs who is kind of happy he cries for her when she leaves him at the daycare in the morning. I’m sure he’d feel the same way if I dropped him off at daycare, too, right? Right?

He’s on the verge of walking, but it seems like he’s been on the verge of walking for a while. He’ll push his stroller around, and will stand behind his little car and push it around. He walks holding our fingers with ease, but he’s lacking in full walking confidence. Poor kid falls down more than anyone I’ve ever seen. Honestly, we can’t help but to laugh every time.

He also loves to play with anything other than his toys. Seriously, if you’re thinking of getting Gray something, just get him a box. He’ll play with it for days, and eventually eat it. Or, maybe you should get him a TV remote control to throw around, or if you’re feeling generous, an iPhone to throw.

We’ve added a lot more regular food to his diet. Clearly he has Mexican in his blood, as he really only likes burritos and tamales. I’m not joking, he’ll eat a whole burrito.

Every day since his arrival has brought something new. His daycare daily reports are usually filled with things like, “Grayson fell today,” or “Grayson bumped his head trying to crawl over something,” or “Grayson rolled off his mat while sleeping today.” The kid is pretty clumsy, but he’s also not scared to do anything.

I. however, remain terrified.

 

Yesterday, I leave to meet Gray and Dibs at Babies R Us. We had to pick some things up, you know, baby stuff. We arrive at roughly the same time, and I see Gray wearing these plaid shorts, and this hideous turtle shirt (with a stain!). Of course, I’m like, “Honey, what the hell is he wearing right now?” Sure, ok, apparently this was a backup outfit, because the little guy had an accident, but that’s beside the point. You can’t excuse it because it was a backup.

I spent the rest of the BRU (that’s what us hip suburban parents call it) trip thinking about how this was not the first time I’ve been concerned with his outfit. I once came home while my parents were taking care of Gray to see him in a Top Gun t-shirt and diapers. Yeah, I know, it sounds really awesome… ok… that was awesome. And, I was absurdly jealous of how awesome it was.

The point is, why do I sit and debate a $20 onesie, knowing he’ll only wear it a few times before he outgrows it? I know it doesn’t make sense, but damnit, I don’t care. So, I’ll shop regularly at places like Gap Baby, and Bubble when we lived in SF.

I proudly admit that I want my kid to look awesome all the time.

I am a snobby dad.

I do apologize for the lack of postings… If you don’t know, we are currently in the process of relocating from San Francisco, back to Dallas.

While we’re all extremely sad to be leaving the city we love and the place where we became a family, we’re extremely excited about the next chapter in our lives.

I promise I’ll be back with more tales of parenthood once we’re settled after the new year.

Gray is becoming a whole new man! He’s moved a notch up on his car seat, he got sick for the first time, he’s in his new stroller (bye bye bassinet) and he no longer gets swaddled when he goes to bed (yet still sleeps for 8-10 hours a night!). It’s incredible to watch his develop.

With that said… Thanks for the memories, San Francisco. You’ll always be the place where I started my family, and the greatest city in the world.

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?

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!

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?

We had some pretty big steps in parenthood happen in consecutive days. I should probably tell you about them.

The first was on Sunday. Dibs, Gray and I got out of the house for longer than 2 hours. The second was Dibs leaving the boys home for her first girl’s night after Grayson was born.

On Sunday, a friend invited us over to his place to watch the Cowboys game. He lives about 3o minutes away in the North Bay, so we were a bit scared. We had milk supply, with an hours worth of traveling, plus you knew he’d be fussy considering it was our first extended trip. Surprisingly, Grayson was fine during the game, despite the abysmal showing from the Cowboys. We fed him right up until we left to his house, and we fed him a few hours into the game. He took down the bottle, and needed more, of course he did. No big deal, right? Marse had her Hooter Hider, and she feed him.

After the game, we had to stop by Babies R Us to pick up a breast pump (we’ve been renting). Inside of Babies R Us is when things got interesting.

I need to briefly preface this story. Leading up to Sunday, Grayson had not pooped in about 3 days. I know you now know where this is all headed. Naturally, we were concerned, since before this poop-lull Grayson had not gone 30 minutes without shitting (I just got a vision of him reading this at age 18 and being like, “Seriously, Dad? You told people about my poop habits?”). The doctor said that if it lasts over 7 days, then we should be concerned.

He starts getting really, really cranky inside of Babies R Us. So, I pick him to see if I can calm him down. “Weird, there’s something wet on my arm,” I think to myself. I pull him away to see an ocean of poop all over me and him. He exploded! There was poop everywhere. It was so bad we had to buy him new clothes. Hell, we threw away most of what he was wearing. Luckily, we were at Babies R Us, right? How all that poo was inside that little body I’ll never know. So I clean him off, clean myself off, change him, change myself (let’s be serious here) and he’s happy again. We’ve just had our first 5 hour excursion!

The next night, Monday, I finally convince Diabla to take a break and go meet some friends for dinner. Monday night was going to be Daddy/Gray night. We’d watch some Monday Night Football, maybe clean up the house a bit and perhaps we’d surprise her with a little treat when she came home for actually leaving the house.

It went really well. Let’s be honest, he slept most of the time in the Baby Bjorn. We watched the game (with my Fantasy Football season basically on the line), and we managed to make Dibs some Chocolate, Chocolate Chip cookies. He started getting pissed off, at what I still don’t know, so I fed him his bottle. The milk storage bags aren’t accurate with the ounces, did you know that? Me either. Thanks to that new fact, I suppose I didn’t give him enough. Here I’m thinking he’s just taken out 4 and half ounces. Well, he didn’t. So I give it all to him. Still though, he’s not happy and none of my tricks are working.

Thankfully, Dibs came home, and he was immediately quiet. Once she held him, all was right in Gray’s world. Either he was really happy to see her, or was totally done with me.

We’re a month in, and things are finally seeming like they’re getting relatively close to normal.

By relatively close, I mean, not even remotely close to normal…

Every dad I’ve talked to is always telling me how they like to bond with their kid without having boobs.

Have you ever seen a group of people more desperate to have boobs? It kills me every time I’ve heard a dad mention it. “Sure she can feed him and all, but you can, too. They have bottles, you know.” Or, “I like to rock him to sleep, since I can’t feed him to sleep like someone can.” The jealousy is astounding. The only other group of people who understand this type of jealously are tween girls. All their friends have boobs, when will theirs show up??? It’s the same thing really.

This is reason number 183 why parenting is so weird.

So, let’s discuss some ways that dads can bond with their kid, without having the boobs from Meet the Fockers. Though, I guess, you could try that… weirdo. I’ve covered some of these in the 10 Commandments, but they should be repeated.

Bring the baby to the wife at night: The kid is upset, and the first thing he sees is you. Ok, so it’s not the most ideal situation, but it’s something. I like to see if I can calm him down before I hand him over to Diabla. That way I give myself credit for what has happened, as I drift back asleep. It’s the small victories.

Burp and Change him: This sort of goes along with the first point. In between boobs, I take Grayson and burp and change him. Of course, this usually results in getting spit up on, pissed on and shit on. Do with that what you will.

Feed him: Yeah, I know I just made fun of it, but it does work. I will say, I’m amazed how quickly my kid can tear through a bottle. 20 minutes on each boob, equates to 2 minutes on the bottle. He really treats the bottle like a shot. This really makes me scared for his future liver. 2 ounces means nothing to this kid.

Tummy Time: Oh man, tummy time is hilarious. I hate that we can’t think of a better name for it. Fish out of water time? Grayson is a master of fish out of water time. Just put the kid on his belly and see if you can make him flip over. If anything, it’s funny to watch for 10 minutes.

Skin to Skin: Here’s another name I can’t stand. Skin to Skin. Have you seen Requiem for a Dream? There’s a scene in there that the words Skin to Skin always reminds me of. You either know it or you don’t. Anyways, I do like when Gray sleeps on my chest. Apparently, he loves it too.

Massage: I guess babies love to be massaged. Every time I do it Gray farts like a high school kid after eating McDonalds, and I laugh like the high school kids more immature friend.

Baby Bjorn: Holy crap, this works 90% of the time. Put the kid in and walk around. Boom, he’s asleep in your arms aren’t going to sleep.

Watch the Cowboys together: Maybe this is just what Gray and I do? Ok, so we don’t let him actually watch tv, but I let him hear it (along with a few obscenities… he’ll learn them sooner or later, right?).

Whatever you do try and give the wife a break. Grayson and I go on stroller walks, or I’ll hold him while she showers. It sucks, you know, because you’re at work all day. So, take advantage of all the time you can. Otherwise, you’re a terrible dad, and you won’t be thanked when he wins the Heisman.

I’m sure y’all have plenty more ideas, so feel free to comment below. By that I mean on the blog, your Facebook comments do no good to anyone, but me.

Football started last night! While watching my fantasy team implode in the first game of the season, I started thinking about my little team at home.

From the time I was a small child playing flag football and throughout my football playing life, I was always told that a football team is a family. And, as cliche as it is, it’s true. You protect your teammates, they have your back, you have theirs. Everyone has a role, and if everyone executes that role well, you succeed.

Last night, I started filling in the starting offense of my family football team. The one I mostly struggled with was the quarterback position. Was it the mom? Or the baby?

Ultimately I’ve decided that, unless we were calling mom the head coach, she had to be the QB. She’s really the one that makes the offense go. Her production makes the running back even better. She “feeds” the baby the ball. The stronger her game is, the stronger running game/the baby will be.

I decided that our friends were the receivers. They’re on the outside, sure, but they can make some big, big plays. Things like bringing us dinner, taking care of the baby in an emergency, or giving the QB a break with ladies dinners.

Our family (Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins) is our security blanket. The people we can rely on no matter what. They’re the tight ends of our offense. They fight for the tough yards, they’re our red zone target and they’ll draw plays up with you in a hotel room (3 people got that).

That leaves us, Dads. The most under appreciated part of this offense. For we, Fathers are the offensive line. We protect the QB, we open the holes and we do the work no one appreciates. Well, our QB appreciates what we do. She may not be buying us a Rolex when we execute a perfectly time glass of water. She may not take us to a steak dinner when we bust out a 3am diaper change/burp combo. But, without us, our team is going nowhere.

Cheesy? Yeah… Accurate? Hell yeah.