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Category Archives: Newborn

Griffin is starting to smile, a lot.  He has finally overcome that newborn frown, the grimace of both pleasure and pain, sleep, and utter dismay.  His eyes are starting to lighten up, turning from a deep, metallic blue to a lighter, more southern-Pacific 25-ft wave type blue with eyes so big they are mesmerizing.  He controls a room better than any executive speaker I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, only that Griffin has much less to say.

What I learned today about being a father:

This may be the new high-point in fatherdom.   There have been so many ups since Griffin’s birth that I didn’t know how much further it could go but from my current experience this may be it.

I’m told that there comes a point, around six to eight weeks, when child begins to smile and giggle and begins to understand (how they can tell this, I’m not sure).  Jackie and I have overcome the obstacles of new parents and have gotten to this point where now, more than ever, neither of us wants to put him down.  He is changing so quickly, growing so fast, getting heavy and long, and his facial expressions are becoming more deliberate making every time he smiles that much more special.

Mama has come a long way and worked to make sure that Grif has had everything he needs, and now, she said, he’s starting to give back.

What I think I know:

Nothing can prepare you for that look in your child’s eyes when you feel, no, you know that they are seeing you.  Before I could have sworn up and down that I recognized the connection, but yesterday it was oh-so apparent that there was no questioning that he was smiling at me.  My heart sank, and I nearly broke into tears today telling a co-worker about it. 

I’m a softy, what can I say.

Jackie was happy, too.  And now I feel like I finally can have a conversation with my son about all the things that are on my mind.  It’s interesting what comes out of our mouths as parents, we start talking in the third person, calling ourselves “daddy” and “mommy” explaining to our 6-week old our day or what it is we are doing right at this moment; “Daddy’s going to take a shower”, “Do you want to help daddy cook?” And then answering for them, “Of course you do.  Of course my big boy wants to help daddy with dinner.”

What I realized yesterday is that he is listening, with an intensity I can’t recall having ever in my life.  Not during my education, my college career, or my professional career.  His eyes are a gaze, staring directly into mine, and he reacts to the different pitches of my voice.  He scowles when I try to sing to him, questions when I am humming along to his children’s music, and gives deep, exhausted breathes when I try to tell him my stories.  But when I talk, just to talk and ask him about his day or have a conversation with mama, he hangs on every word.

I know this is what bringing up child is all about, and I can’t but help want more of it.  Being daddy I watch myself, my actions, my words, just about everything I do, because now some body is actually paying attention.  This is how my child is making me better, and when I thank him for it he gives me a smile, a wink, and an “atta boy!”, just for good measure.

 

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I love this image. Who sticks their hand down the back of a baby’s diaper? How funny.

I’ve thought long and hard about all the things I’ve learned over the course of Griffin’s first five weeks, and I have to say that the one thing I feel most comfortable with is changing diapers.  Now, this may seem typical being daddy, the role of the father being the care taker, the take-charge-taker to take care of things that mama is tired of taking care of, which is exactly what I am.  When it comes to diaper changing I feel I am swift, exact, focused, and never as grossed out by baby poop as I thought I’d be.

What I learned today about being a father:

In it’s simplest form, diaper changing can be summed up like this; if the poop sits, change it.  However, many in the land of Parenthood want to give you a step-by-step instruction, a platform to refer to when you can’t tell if the diaper needs changing, or if you should use baby wipes that are scented or not scented, warmed or just room temperature.  There are so many different diaper changing instructions that I could spend hours upon hours of boring you to death with them.  But no, I am being daddy 101, the student/instructor for other dads to watch, assess, and then be told how to do it properly.  I may not know daddying all that well, but what being daddy has taught me is the art of the Diaper Daddy.

What I think I know:

Instead of the persistent notions that diaper changing is always done in stages or steps, like the blogger of “How To Change a Diaper, for Dummies,” wants us to think, no two diapers are the same.  There are mistakes to be made, bad decisions to be had, and lots of big and little messes that will eventually need to be cleaned up twice.  So to stress the challenges your babies diapers can create for you, I want to show diaper changing from a completely different point of view;  my babies perspective.

Griffin: So I’m sitting here with these two people. They’re familiar, but I don’t like how they keep touching me.  Get off me! (flaying hands, kicking feet).  Ok, here we go, picking me up again, Ugh!  Ok, ok, now she’s shaking me, getting dizzy, holding on, holding on…Ooooo, whatever that was, what a relief.  This feeling, so warm and squishy, not so great for my skin, though, and I’ve got nice, soft skin.  Oh, she’s saying something, yeah, that’s right, tell him I did my business, though I don’t know what my business is it sends him into a frenzy, makes mama say strange things and get all frantic.  Here we go!  I’ll cry a little bit, add some tension to my business, make them think this isn’t that cool, cause it’s not, it’s pretty warm.  Wait.  Wait, why are we going into this room?  I don’t like this room…yep.  She’s setting me down; I’m down.  Uh-Oh.  They’re looking at me funny, saying strange things and their voices, they don’t sound like them.  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!  Now she’s trying to shove that sucky thing in my mouth and I don’t like what he’s doing down there and here we go!  Here we go people!  That cold breeze; Ouch!  Something sticking to my leg; that’s right mama, you tell him to be more careful because those sticky things hurt.  Burrrr, it’s freezing in here!  Get this sucky thing out of my face!  Hey!  You!  Big guy with the overhanging belly and strange, hairy face!  Put that thing back on me…I’m warning you, uh-oh, you did it, it’s out.  Take that old man, enjoy the shower, haha!  What?  What did she say?  No, seriously, I don’t mind the cold anymore.  You don’t have to put that thing back on me, in fact, get all these clothes off me, I’m much better that way, serious.  Let me breathe a little bit…Ooh, that’s nice, I like that warm wipey thing….yeah yeah yeah, I get it, it’s messy, what do you want me to do about it?  She shoves those things in my face and I just do what comes natural…uh-oh…got…to…fight…him…off…come on legs, kick that thing out of his hands…arms, come on arms, twist, shake, hit, slam…dang it, he got it on…Oh well, here comes some more of that hot stuff…Hahaha

Being daddy is all about finding Daddy’s Sway, or your own way of doing things.  No diaper changes will ever be the same.  Griffin is easy, until I get those diapers off.  He crunches his legs into his belly, swings his arms wildly, kicks back and forth, making diaper changing as difficult as it can be.  But once I’ve got the little thing latched on, he stops everything and gives me a little smile, his facial expressions changing like he’s having fun and enjoying our little romp.  And, more than I’d like to admit, he soils the new diaper just as fast as I could get it on.  It makes me think that changing diapers to him is just one big, dirty joke, and he’s the only one laughing.

He’s got his daddy’s sense of humor, that’s for sure.


I take pride in my work ethic, working hard and going above and beyond to do what’s best for my family and my company.  There has never been a time in my life where anyone would have found me asleep on the job.  I’ve worked in many different environments since I was ten years old, work days that lasted over 15 hours, and have somehow managed to put in the extra time to keep up with my personal activities and entertain Jackie’s very often at times warped idea of what constitute as “doing something fun.”

All that changes in an instant, and on a short elevator ride from the basement of my office building to the third floor I became a victim the second worst kind of enemy behind time, sleep.

What I learned today about being a father:

When the elevator reached the 8th floor a co-worker of mine tapped me on the shoulder.  “You OK?”  I was startled and nearly buckled, leaning into the corner of the elevator I had shut my eyes for what I thought was just a second, but on the way up I had dozed, just like that.

He smiled widely and, aware of our new baby, simply said “You’ll get used to it.”

Please be aware, you’ll never get used to falling asleep in an elevator.  I mean seriously, it’s a metal box with no soft edges.  The mirrored plates that line the inner workings of most elevators are usually cold, sticky to the touch.  Has anyone else ever noticed the unnatural film that is invisible to the naked eye that builds up inside elevators?  The sides of my hair changed drastically from said film, sticking out in ways I never thought possible.  A quick trip to the bathroom and a few finger-fulls of water would do nothing to contain the new bend that had formed.  And though it was only  a few bunches of hair, by the looks of me it had become obvious to myself (and everyone else in the office) that being daddy has changed me.

What I think I know:

To make it through the day I was extra caffeinated and made a point to walk around for at least 20 minutes of every hour.  It was the longest day of my life, and my coworkers all had something to say about how pale I looked, how my the redness of my eyes was out of control, and there were only a few pokes of fun about my stint of sleeping in the elevator (like all great work stories, mine made its way through office email).

Though it was tough to get through the work day, it was much easier when I got home.  At home it’s go-go-go, and being daddy means that I have to be prepared to take Griffin out of mama’s hands so she can take care of her needs, make dinner while baby feeds and mama pumps, rock child when he’s fussy, change pants when it is needed, and by all means never, ever, forget to take out the garbage.  Being daddy is about resilience, fighting off being tired and finding the extra energy throughout the day to make things happen.  Today, when I got home, Jackie could tell I was tired, worn out, beat up from the inside and that I needed some time, just a few minutes, to rest my body…And then she went all in about the dealings of her day and I can tell you this much, no matter how hard the day is at work, no matter how tired I think I am, it’s nothing compared to being mommy.


Griffin is growing at a staggering rate and our ration of diapers is running long on the sizes that don’t fit him.  We were warned, but we’ve been asking people to bring us things we need when they come to visit, such as diapers, baby wipes, formula, sanity, you know, the everyday things that mamas and daddies need to make sure their baby is taken care of and that they don’t forget about each other in the process.  Now I’ve got a corner full of newborn diapers that don’t fit and a drawer full of newborn/0-3 month old onesies that mama has thrown on the floor to make room for the 3-6 month old clothes…what a mess.

What I learned today about being a father:

Can you believe it’s been four weeks since Griffin was born, I started this blog, and my hair has started to turn colors other than the nice, dark auburn color I’ve grown to know so well?  In the last 28 days so many great things have happened, but now a reality of sorts is setting in…Change is upon us! 

Jackie and I thought we could plan for this, but we were totally wrong.  Our diagram of baby growing and parenting was thrown out the window 27 days ago, and we’ve been trying to pick up the pieces ever since.  I’ve learned that she is the decider, when she makes a move I just go with it.  When she says to do something that doesn’t make sense I question it every time on accident, not on purpose, trying to gain a better understanding of reason, and she motions with many different contortions of her body and face of how ridiculous my inquisitions are.

What it’s come down to is this; when Jackie makes a mess I clean it up.

What I think I know:

“I didn’t make the mess on purpose, it’s for the baby!”

Sooner or later you will hear this line, or one very similar to it, that describes mama’s reasoning for whatever it is she is doing that daddy doesn’t quite get.  Being daddy has taught me to look past my wife’s simple indiscretions, keep my mouth shut and my head down (to see what’s on the floor that’s not supposed to be there) and never, never ask a question in the form of a statement. 

Our partnership is more than that, however.  It’s being on the same page, turning corners and expecting that the other will be there.  I don’t mind doing the heavy lifting because that’s what I’m good at.  Mama is good at reacting to the changes of baby’s needs, knowing when to create space (even when it is by tossing clothes on the floor, in the crib, or out the car window; it was an accident) and having the magic touch that calms babies emotions after spending too much time in daddies hands.

Being daddy takes a lot of understanding and reacting at a moments notice.  No amount of preparation will prepare you for the changes that are being thrown your way, for the odd times when mama uses baby as a reason for doing what she does, or for the calming, loving effect your little child will have on you.  It sounds cliché, I get it, but within the cliché is much truth.  Our children are a miracle, a miracle created by the actions of individuals, which makes us pretty cool too.  Sometimes the heavy lifting is reminding yourself about that, telling your partner how awesome of a job they did, and knowing that every time you ever said to yourself that you wanted to make a difference in a person’s life that you are.

I know there’s more to this story that I haven’t learned, but I’m keeping my eyes open and my ears alert to all the learning that hasn’t been described in detail for me.  Mama is making sure of that too.  I mean, just last night she taught me how pack old clothes into plastic containers and mark them for when we have our next child…”You want another one?”

Sometimes being daddy is questioning mama’s sanity…sometimes.

Being Daddy Tip of the Week:

Do everything you can to listen to instruction from you partner.  Mama’s do not like to have to explain themselves twice…and remember that whatever she is asking you to do is “for the baby.”  So rub her feet, and stop asking questions.


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.


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 can’t stand still, sit for a prolonged period of time, or sleep without humming, strumming or some type of swaying.  I haven’t noticed the changes, but those around me have called me out on my inability to be still.  It all has something to do with child.  The side-to-side sway that relaxes him or the quick shake of a leg while sitting on the couch and holding him are

all now imbedded in my subconsciousness and I can’t stop myself from doing them even when he’s not around.

(mama break)

What I learned today about being a father:

Keeping up with daily posts has not been easy!  Between the cleaning up after, making meals for, and creating a reassuring atmosphere for my wife (I love you honey!) and trying to care for child where does everyone find the time?  The balancing act between being daddy and being daddy 101 and all my other hobbies is difficult.  Because now, more than ever, people need me.  Daddy’s old way of being isn’t necessarily obsolete, it’s just there is a new way of doing things.

What I think I know:

Learning to live differently, for someone else, began when I first moved in with my wife.  My old life of freedom and independence, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, went out the door the moment we shared keys.  It was hard then, but I got used to it, and thrived in it.  Being daddy has created another new challenge, a new sway, if you will, on where life is going to take me.  Mama still needs me, which is something that hasn’t changed, and noted every time I have to step away from the computer to give her a break (mama break: mamas term for when she needs something, instead of saying, “honey, can you do me a favor,” she now just yells, “mamas break.”, and I respond accordingly).

(mama break)

Being daddy I will learn my balance, but at the beginning we have to choose what’s most important to us.  Writing this blog has helped me learn from my mistakes, understand better what mama and baby need, and reminds me that being daddy is the most rewarding person that I can be.

So I put it to you, anyone who may read this, how do you create balance in your life when being daddy or being mommy?  Balancing a relationship, career, and personal time is tough; adding in a newborn makes it even tougher.  What’s your sway like?

Oops, and mama needs another break.  Until next time…