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I feel like I’m starting from scratch again!  You wouldn’t have guessed that Jackie gave birth over a month ago because it feels like it’s happening all over again.  The constant complaining, the shouting at the Playstation 3 for cutting out on shows, the weeps and sobs when that commercial about the orphaned dogs comes on TV, and that’s just me!

Seriously though, Jackie is going through some new emotions and changes in her attitude that I just don’t get.  Griffin is feeling it too, following right along with mamas reactions towards how daddy makes a bottle, how daddy folds baby’s clothes, and how daddy can’t seem to utter a word in when mama’s yelling at everything and anything.  I’ve always liked rollercoasters, no, loved rollercoasters, but this is the bumpiest, loopiest, most upside-down ride I’ve ever been on! (Speaking of rollercoasters I suggest Six Flags in the Chicago land area, epic rides)

What I learned today about being a father:

It’s been nearly four days since my last post, and I know what you’re thinking, “Why so lazy daddy?”  I promise when I say I’m motivated, obligated, and doing my best to emancipate myself from my wife to keep up on this blog.  I am trying to convey this in the best way possible, but over the last four days my wife and sister (who is in from out-of-town) planned a Cinco De Mayo party without telling me; one that I had to take off early from work to prepare for.  My sister was supposed to help me cook, Jackie run errands and prep our small two-bed for company, while I did all the grocery shopping, meal and bar preparation.  Though I wasn’t keen on the idea of making food I for twenty in our little kitchen, at 6AM I had it in my mind that with all the help from the other two this wouldn’t be an issue.

Daddies, never make plans that something won’t go wrong.

My sister ended up lame with a hurt back, one that would end up making sending us to a hospital and making her bed ridden for the remainder of her stay in town, at a hotel room, with my parents coming into town.  Jackie called grandma over to help clean the apartment which turned into grandma and mama sitting on the couch watching Grey’s goo-gooing and ga-gaing over baby.  Daddy went to work until 11AM, then to the store to buy the goods, then home and unloaded and went straight to work prepping, baking, and cooking for the next 7 hours.  It was a whirlwind of on-goings and what-the-heck-am-I-doing dessert making, but it all worked out in the end.

And that’s the thing, Jackie, completely ignoring my pleas for help, just kept saying, “B, it will all work out in the end.  Everything will be great.”  Smiling wide, looking at baby.

What I think I know:

Despite the problems with my sister and Jackie’s emotional ups and downs, all in all it was a great weekend.  My parents were able to meet their grandson for the first time, and though they had to take turns, one watching my sister, one at the two-bed holding Griffin, they couldn’t have asked for a better, more complete weekend.

I didn’t get it, to be honest.  I talked it over with my parents Sunday night, wondering with the serious back issue my sister faced (and I mean serious-serious, she couldn’t walk, stand up, move from her laying position, or get to the bathroom in time because of the pain) and the long road they took to get here why they thought it was such a great weekend?  It was damp and rained off-and-on all weekend, we didn’t even get a chance to go out for dinner or lunch or hang out as a family.  Moms (I call her moms, can’t really explain why) and dad chuckled, and they agreed that it was great because they got the chance to not only be fun, loving grandparents, but they got to be parents again.

The art of being a parent never really goes away.  My parents house has been empty for over five years, and though the enjoy us staying over when we come into town they never, ever have to take care of us.  This weekend moms and dad went to work on my sister, and I, older brother and all, got a chance to give good brotherly help as well.

As everything changes, some things never do.  My parents, the guardian of their children, went into protection/take care of mode without hesitation.  They relished this role, the role of parent, husband and wife taking care of their little girl.  It was amazing, perfect even, just watching them do what they do best hoping that in the coming years I can be the best daddy I can be.

Once the smoke cleared, the grandparents gone and my sister back home, I sat with Jackie and listened to her complain about our dinner, yell at her phone, scold the dog, and tell me how need to stop telling people stories because it takes me too long to get to the point.  The point is, and I’m sorry it took this long, she gave me a kiss, thanked me for watching Grey’s with her, let me hold baby and got me ice cream, just because. 

Being daddy it sometimes feels like we are starting over again and again, but it all works out in the end.

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When Jackie hands Griffin over to me after he falls asleep and she goes off to take care of some of her mama duties like breast feed, feed herself, bathe, study, search the internet endlessly for information on what she might think is wrong with him, I secretly hope that he wakes up in my arms, opens his eyes, and sees me first.

What I learned today about being a father:

I could sit for hours with my little guy and watch his little chest move up and down as he breathes in his sleep.  I get goo-goo when he is dreaming, and then suddenly his little arms shoot up and over his head and then they slowly descend back down by his sides, his hands resting peacefully on his bulging belly.  He’s growing, I can tell and the doctor said so and when I see his now pudgy fingers I waive Jackie over quietly just to point them out.  “Here here here, you’ve got to see these things.(!)”  She runs over on tip-toes and looks at what I’m holding up, his fingers gripping my pinky, and shakes her head at me.

“Can you believe that little wonder was in my belly?”

She says it with inspiration, amazement, awe, and pats her tummy and goes back to doing whatever mamas do.  I grin daddy proud, and slowly one eye pops open, Griffin’s right eye, and his pupil moves around to see what’s going on.  He doesn’t open his left eye, not yet at least, but it’s at this point, when he first wakes up, that he is always smiling, and it’s daddy’s turn for babyface time.

What I think I know:

Children are a wonder, and it’s amazing what women have to go through to get them here.  I wanted to share that moment today because it was a first for me to experience what Jackie calls ‘Babyface Time.’  I have had the luxury of witnessing many handfuls of time when she has woken him from his sleep, but it was a first for it actually happening to me.  He doesn’t like me as much, I can tell by the scowls and way his eyes crease and his brow raises and lowers, but in that moment I feel like I get it, whatever it is.

I started writing a long time ago on accident, just pros and anecdotes about my life and my thoughts and I moved on to other things like fiction and screenplays (all for personal use of course) and in everything I do I write about the it in life that defines us.  I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I’ve been searching for it, researching it through the various religions and texts and stories and movies for a long, long time.  I’ve spent so much of my life breaking down and discussing with people the in’s and out’s of destiny and nature, the ideals of philosophers, theologians, naturalists and my dog Archie, that I failed at the time to realize one thing; I’ve never done anything as significant before as being daddy.

I could talk all I want to about life but never really know anything about it until I was a part in creating it.  Babyface time, looking into Griffin’s eyes and thinking about all the world that I have to offer him, made it  pretty clear, but I don’t know how to explain it other than with the moment when he opened his one eye, his right eye, and he looked right into me and smiled.

And like so many others before her I took an hour of Jackie’s time trying to explain to her the feelings and the emotions and the clarity involved in the simple look that Griffin exposed me to listened with as much might as she could before she readily put my insights and pontificating into simple terms that being daddy made me understand, “He probably just shat in his pants.”

As usual, she was correct.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Looking at this question now, I wonder if any of us really had a chance to answer it?  I’m starting to hear it already, from friends and family alike, how child looks like this and that and how adament my wife is about him becoming a swimmer.  My lovely wife, she’s a fiesty one, and she gets pretty competitive when it comes to playing board games, running a 10K, working out at the gym, her education, her accolades, and now our baby boy.  Fathers, sure!  That’s who I hear it from the most!  Guys want to know if I’m going to breed my son to play basketball (as I was pretty good once upon a time) or baseball (that too) or soccer (yep) or if I’m going to push him to be writer (still working on that) or a magician (I was terrible), but what I tell them is he’ll decide exactly what he’s going to be…Unless my wife has her way.

What I learned today about being a father:

Kids don’t have choices, they have options.  Jackie and I talk about what our expectations are for our child, and I firmly believe that you need them, but as I’m putting our list together I start to wonder if our expectations are too demanding.  Not demanding in that they are too much (though they most likely are) but demanding as in how will are boy now whathewants out of life? 

Parents are driven to create success situations for our children and to teach them all that we can.  I know a few things about sports and could teach child about the sports I grew up to know best, but I couldn’t teach him anything about what I don’t know.  I want to be able to open him up to his own experiences, let him make choices based on his interests and preferences so he shapes his life.  In my late teens I became pretty independent, made decisions good or bad and was held responsible.  It was hard, but sometimes I think what made it harder was the fact that my parents tried to direct my lifes path.  There was nothing wrong with their direction, but I created a fork when I was 16 and when my path began to pull away from the path they had begun to build it created immense friction in our relationship.

I look back on it all now and chuckle, knowing that my parents were doing what they thought was best for me and I know my wife and I will do what’s best for Griffin, but will we?

What I think I know:

There has to be a point in our children’s lives when we let them make choices, whether good or bad, so they can learn to take responsibility of their life.  But when does that happen?  Is there an age that we, as parents, have to let go of the strings, stop trying to build a road that they don’t want to travel down anymore and if so how do we know?

Being daddy doesn’t give me the answers to any of this, nor does my life experience.  I know I’m better off letting Jackie talk about the future Griffin is going to have rather than deter her from being the best mama she is going to be.  It was only three weeks ago that he joined the outside world, and everyday I watch him change from this incredible, tiny thing, into a small child.  Soon he will be a boy and then a teenager and at some point he will become his own man, but I’m scared, even worried sometimes because I don’t want to push him into his future.  In a snap, just like that, he will be his own person.  Maybe an explorer or a writer, an actor, a scientist or star in his own podcast reality show, I don’t know, but whatever he’s going to be, it can wait.  For now, I am enjoying the moment, him being him and me being daddy, and letting mama worry about teaching him how to swim (I was never good at that).


Welcome to How To Be a Dad

I just came across another compelling website, HowToBeADad.com.  Like so many other fatherhood websites this isn’t a site that defines dads or dads to be.  It’s a fun play on the musings of two different fathers and their livelyhoods and has some great articles to entertain and somewhat enlighten us.

But is this it for us daddies?  In my research this is pretty typical of what I find, sites dedicated to being daddy for our entertainment only.  Below is how they introduce their site:

If you were looking for a website telling you how to be a dad… You didn’t find it. We aren’t experts in “dadology.” We aren’t even sure such a thing exists. We’re just here to tell you that being a parent sometimes means experiencing things without an authority, letting love and humor get you through. For those other times, we recommend a sturdy helmet.” – Charlie & Andy, The Dads

We are not looking for the answer or the authority on daddying, but for many of us we are looking for some advice that doesn’t hint just towards the funny. I know, I know, you might be saying, “why so blue?” I’m not down or out, just searching for information and trying to provide an alternative to what isn’t out there.

What I learned today about being a father:

HowToBeADad.com is funny and whimsical and has many great blurbs that I will gravitate back to.  I like to joke around, and Jackie tends to my jokes with some laughter when necessary, but mostly hates my sarcasm and tells me to save my jokes for her father (because we get along really well and understand each others jokes, it’s a guy thing).  But as for understanding how to be a dad, I fell we, dads, are all in this together and it has been proven time and time again, through avid internet research, the lack of daddy articles in any parenting/baby magazines, that we, dads, are like fish out of water when it comes to parenting.

What I think I know:

Women have a sixth sense when it comes to being mama that seems to be in direct correlation with the zero sense men have being daddy.  Give a women a baby and she may look at him/her funny for a second, but then it all just works out.  Motherhood is embedded in the back of their subconsciousness.  Men, on the other hand, takes weeks, months, years and maybe a lifetime to figure out what being daddy is all about.  There isn’t enough information out their for us, so we have to work together to at being daddy.  I know we need some relief from our everyday contributions in the realms of parenthood, and I’m glad that I can find them with websites like howtobeadad.com.  But I also know that we need to take ourselves and the lives of our children seriously.

I believe that being daddy represents an opportunity for all fathers to help mold a good life for our children and give them the tools and opportunities to be successful human beings, and that learning to be daddy has been a fun and challenging experience for me.  We need to enjoy the experience, but referring to the experiences and challenges we face in a manner that doesn’t take parenthood seriously may not be the best approach to fatherhood that we can take.

Tip of the Week:

Being daddy is great, but know the difference between taking care of your child and watching your child grow up.  My wife, bless her heart, got into the habit of asking, “Can you watch our son for a minute?”  I nipped that in the but when I caught on to the trap she was setting for herself and me, and told her to ask me to take care of our son so that I could feel like the little things I could do mattered.


I work with a bunch of women, seriously.  My current career path has me working long hours around a bunch of mothers and grandmothers, easily making up 80% of the people I am around on a daily basis, in meetings with, or working in close quarters to.  They have seen me in all of my glory, through my promotions and my wedding and now the birth of child and I can not stress enough how these women, whom I know so well but also know so little, are proud of daddy.

What I learned today about being a father:

Newborn children, especially first borns, are the doorstep into any meaningful conversation.  I write this with a smile, because I’ve learned so much more about the people who surround me on a much deeper emotional level.  For some, I am their boss, for others co-workers and for others clients, but all these people want nothing to do with me work-wise until they can talk about child. 

They want to see pictures, which I now show with honor, and talk about the birthing process and the sleep processes and the nursing.  They want to ask about mama, tell me what she’s going through and how I can be more help and then listen as I explain my goals and what I’ve realized being daddy is all about so far (because, they will tell me, there is so much more to learn). 

Some cry, others just hug.  Today, of all days, more and more people have come to me to for something other than business plans, correspondences or advice.  They have come to congratulate, pat me on the back, and tell me how proud they are of me, and I couldn’t feel better about my life.

What I think I know:

It’s all in the pictures.  A few days ago I wrote a litte about catching the moments, and I came to the conclusion that those moments are better captured not with the lense but with my own eyes.  I still believe this, but through the thousands of pictures I took (seriously, thousands) everyone else is able to get an idea of the moment and ascertain for themselves what they think of baby.  It truly is an experience to watch faces light up with joy, to see the disgruntled co-worker (because we all have them) take part in the celebration of a new being, a baby, whom all immediately consider him one of their own.  They love his small mouth, his round head, the simplesest expressions that they get from the pictures and especially his big toes!  (akwardly large, even the doctor said so)

The point I’m trying to get to, I guess, is that even though I’ve gotten to know these women enough to know something about them through the birth of my son I’ve become closer to them then I could ever have imagined.  I have become, in a strange sense, one of the ladies.  It is different with other fathers, sure, and this feeling of camaraderie probably changes with time, but for now I’ll take my hugs and I’ll show my pictures, I’ll listen to the wonderful stories of parenthood that people come out of the woodwork to share, and I’ll continue to do my best to raise my son and be the best husband I can be.  My family makes daddy proud.  With each picture I show and with each smile my little guy brings I’m reminded just how proud I am.


Me, being daddy

I’m scared. 

Today child and mama each have doctors appointments and I can’t be with them to hold hands and reassure them everything is going to be OK.  We get his newborn test results back from the lab, and because tests and doctors make mama worry none of the three of us were able to get any sleep last night.  Mama held onto child tight whispering in his ear that everything was going to be fine, that nothing was wrong with him and that the tests would come out negative for any signs of chronic diseases or disabilities.  It wasn’t an easy night, and it isn’t an easy day because once child ran out of juice daddy held mama tight and whispered in her ear that everything was going to be OK, that the tests where going to come out in our favor for child, and mama too.

What I learned today about being a father:

Doctors and tests never worried me because I always knew that no matter the outcome of anything I would deal with it head on and not falter in destruction of disease or potential disability.  It was easy for me when all I had to think about was me, but today my life has embarked on a totally different attitude towards the health of my family.  I’m worried, and have been all day only because I didn’t completely think there was anything that I should be worried about until mama began to break down.  

Mama is in good health, but since the pregnancy she has run into some complications with her lady parts.  She is scared that we might find out something is more wrong then she thinks, and before last night I didn’t know to the extent what she was worried about.  She opened up about what could be wrong, what might be wrong, and what could happen if the x’s and o’s line up the way she fears they can.  She has over-researched her symptoms, done too many personal tests that can not truly be considered tests and continues to come to the same conclusion: that we will not be able to have more children.

Griffin, our boy, is our first.  And as a new mother the thing that scares her most is not being able to have more children.  She’s scared for herself, but finds solace and humor in knowing that we have him.  But if you add-on the ideas of all that could be wrong with him that we don’t know about with a woman whose hormonal balance is completely out of structure we have created a recipe for super-sized anxiety, (hold the added stress).  Being daddy I worry about my wife, I worry about my child, and I worry that I won’t be there in this time of need whether the news is good or bad because I am back to work. 

What I think I know:

Though I have never considered myself an over-the-top romantic I know that a little support in the right direction goes a long way.  I like to leave little notes in my wife’s purse or travel bag, maybe stuffed in the pages of a book she is or is not reading, to let her know how much I care about her and how wonderful she is.  I don’t do this to gain from it, I just know that sometimes she needs a little pick-me up, a reminder that I’m here for her and that despite what she thinks I am thinking about her.  At the doctors she found my note.  I don’t know how things have turned out yet, but when she texted me to tell me she found my note I could sense a that strength coming back in her.  It read, ‘Found Ur note.  U R the sweetest man I know.  I love U.  Need milk.’

Positive letters from mama make my day better, and no matter how low I can get I know that doing what I can to brighten her day is what being daddy is all about.

Tip of the Week:  Carry the Load.

The Load can mean many different things for different people, because every situation is different.  For me, my wife needs me to be strong when she can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or when the what if’s seem too out of her control.  Being Daddy means I have to carry that load for her, be up when she is down, leave loving messages for her to find even if it isn’t me. 

But whether it’s that emotional load our significant others can’t bear or the load that is all the new things that go with taking your baby somewhere, being daddy is being strong when we need to be, empathetic when she needs us to be, and loving as much as we can be.  Oh, and don’t forget the milk.


When I first found out mama was pregnant I read all the daddy books that were out there and tried my best to read literature that my wife set neatly on my desk so that I would see it when I got home from work.  I learned some good things, became more understanding about the changes she was going through and did everything to help her out that the books suggested.  The fact is nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen.  All the books and websites  gave great advice on what to expect when my wife was expecting and helped out more than I like to admit.  They were invaluable in creating a better partnership during her pregnancy, but offered very little on what happens next.

I looked all over, and there is information here and there about being a first time father but what that information doesn’t focus on is what it means being daddy.  I went back to my books, re-called all of my friends and sought out the golden rules from my elders on living with a newborn and a no-longer pregnant mama.  After hours of searching and reading articles and talking with fathers I couldn’t find the answers that I was looking for.  So I started this blog to give a behind the scenes look at being daddy, offer up my stories, theories, advice and updated knowledge even though I don’t know what being daddy is all about…Hey, we have to start somewhere.

What I learned today about being a father:

Back to work and everyone’s friendly for the first day, asking questions about child and mama and laughing at my expense because sleep is hard to come by and I look like a mess.  Coming back to work after a few weeks off is hard enough, but going through the chitter-chatter of life amongst co-workers makes it just that much more difficult.

I work in a professional setting with many already parents and grandparents who are all interested in what I’m going through.  I ask them questions about what their first years as parents were like, and what I learned is that none of my co-workers had the same answer. 

Being daddy is unique for each man just as each pregnancy is unique for each woman.  A few of the men I talked to seemed to remember nothing about the first few years of their kids, but had plenty to say about not getting enough sleep and reassuring me that, “It gets easier.”

“What gets easier?”

They think about my response for a second, they shrug their shoulders and reply the same way.  “I don’t know.  Being a father?”

What I think I know:

Being daddy is harder than most of us think.  It’s not hard like being mama, but hard in a completely different sense with a unique learning curve that is more dictated by the man then anything else.  It seems that no matter how many years experience one has or how much time someone has put into being daddy, they don’t really have the answer to how it gets easier, or what it actually takes.  There is no simple, laid out plan to creating an environment in child’s first year that says this is what you’ll deal with and here’s how so-and-so will affect your life and here’s how you can be the best daddy for your child.  It’s not there, I’ve looked!  I’ve explored the depths of fatherhood from across the oceans of time and swam against its currents seeking out answers to being daddy!  And ahoy!  This is the best I can do…

In time, being daddy might get easier, and maybe what my fellow fathers are trying to tell me (that no book can) is that being daddy is like being naturally gifted at something, you don’t know why, you just are.