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Category Archives: Stupid Things Daddy Does

Baby. Check.

Mama. Check.

Being Daddy’s Survival Guide to the Coming Apocalypse.  Check.

Now that I’ve got your attention, there are going to be so many things you can’t take with you when the apocalypse strikes.  And even if it doesn’t strike, as daddy I want to be über prepared, ultra ready, and light years ahead of the game so that I can take care of Griffin’s needs, mama’s wants, and keep daddy’s sanity, even if I don’t know exactly what I’m talking about.

What I learned today about being a father:

Basketball is my zen.  Shooting hoops on the open court relieves any type of stress that builds up inside me, relaxes all tension in my torso, my back, and especially my head, so when the apocalypse hits the fan, the needs for myself are few and far between, but I know that a basketball and a needle and pump will be key to keeping me cool, calm, and collective.  As for baby and mama, well, those are two extraordinarily different beasts all together.  Jackie, my beautiful wife, has already stated that if an apocalypse does show up in 2012 she’s going to be super angry, and even if her anger doesn’t stop it from happening, it may just slow it down.  Because trust me, you don’t want to make mama angry.

What I think I know:

Baby’s needs come first.  Clothing of all shapes and sizes is key to battling the things we can’t control, like the weather.  Make sure to pack no less than one pair of each size of baby clothes 6 months from child’s age.  The thinking behind this is  pretty simple, no matter the situation Griffin is going to keep growing.  At the beginning it’s better to keep him comfortable, so whatever he’s wearing at the time plus five outfits his size are key to the transition from pre-apocalypse living to post-apocalypse surviving, but watch out for that nuclear summer, it could throw a complete wrench in what types of clothes you’ve prepped.

Next you’ll need at least three blankets.  Imagine, if you will, a slow-moving apocalypse, one that doesn’t “happen” right away, but takes some time to rev itself up.  Blankets cover baby, keep him warm, add just another layer of protection to whatever might be ailing us at the time.  Three blankets because most likely one will get ruined from the running around, trying to survive mode that mama and daddy will be in.  So you will need one to replace the one you lost and another back-up for when baby blows out and dirties the one you are using.

The next thing you’ll need to think about is baby stuff; what are necessary items that need to fit in the small back-pack already being filled with 10 days of baby clothes, three blankets, a basketball (deflated, of course), pump, and needle (and we haven’t even gotten to mama yet!).  The first thing I can think of is Griffin’s Nuks.  When we need something to calm him down or help put him to sleep his Nuk comes in really handy…But wait!  There are Nuks for the different stages of his life, so how do I decide which Nuks to take?  Easy, even though there are Nuks for all stages, the best Nuks are his newborn ones, so I pack three of those and then two more for down the road or barter material (because I’m sure we’ll need some good barter material, and what if we run into a family with no Nuks and acrying child but has an extra tent, don’t you think they’d be up for trading the tent for a Nuk?).

So we’ve got some basics handy, ready to roll.  Now we need to decide if we load the rest of the space up with toys or formula.  This is the tough spot we are put in being daddy, but for me, formula makes the most sense.  Because Jackie is able to nurse I work it out with her first that she’ll continue to nurse as long as possible because we can only get so much formula in our bag that’s filling up fast.  Jackie agrees (even though I know she will argue against my suggestions, just because I suggested it), so we grab two containers of formula and put them into Zip-Lock bags.  Why Zip-Lock bags, you ask?  Because they are more pliable and take up less space in our carry along, leaving more room for our next essential objects:

Our E-Reader.  Now bear with me here.  Even though the apocalypse has come and energy will be hard to come by, by taking our E-Reader we can load as many children’s books on there as they have in a library, thus saving tons of space (and weight) than packing all of Griffin’s books into the limited space that we have.  We will purchase a solar pack that plugs into our E-Reader, what, with the nuclear summer and all…

And lastly, but not least, our digital camera.  Even though we’re facing the apocalypse, we are still going to want to get pictures of Griffin growing up, and plus we have yet to get our first family photo.

Though I haven’t gotten to what Jackie would bring just yet, I can tell you from experience that she wouldn’t bring anything if it meant taking up space for baby things, and we’d be just as fine as we are now (though she’d probably make me leave my basketball, it’s OK though, because I always lose those pesky needles to fill them up with air, pesky needles).

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I’m a martial arts junky and a fan of foreign films of just about every genre.  Last night little Grif wouldn’t go to sleep.  I did the dance with him, actually dancing with him, singing in elaborate voices that sound more like Cartman from South Park than a real human being, and pushing him back and forth in his stroller in our small two-bedroom (he likes the car seat, even when not in a car).

I did everything I thought I knew I could before having to sit down on the couch.  He kept grabbing, whining, smiling, making baby noises that creep out the neighbors.  I was spent, so I turned on the Netflix, him dangling from my arms.  I strolled through the offerings and settled on a movie about 17th century Mongolia.  From the moment the movie started Griffin, now sitting up in my left arm looking like daddy, became fixated with the television.  His eyes were wide, his mouth shaped in a small “o”, and he was still.

What I learned today (tonight) about being a father:

When mama grasps for peace and quiet she hands baby over to daddy.  Being daddy is a mix of taking care of mama and baby, but when she relinquishes control of her child its double duty for daddy. 

It’s important for mama to get her sleep and for us dads to learn how to take care of ous infants.  But be warned, because everything I thought I knew up to this point went out the window.  I ran through the list in my head titled “How to Keep Baby Quiet”, thumbed through chapters 1, 2, and 3, until the list went blank.  Jackie got out of bed, twice, but each time she reached for him I told her “I got it.”

I really thought I did, and when I didn’t I gave up trying so hard, sat down and turned on the telly, and that’s when my miracle happened…silence.

What I think I know:

As new parents we trend on proven ways to calm our babies down.  I had to watch a video before leaving the hospital, the 5 S’s (Swaddle, Side, Shoosh, Shake, Suck) and it worked for all of two days before my being daddy radar kicked in.  From there I moved on to other things, like singing, humming, skin-to-skin, dancing, baby-walking, cheering on mama when she was about ready to nurse, etc.  All those things were great, and here I am four weeks into his life and everything has changed again!

Being daddy is all about adapting and babies changing quickly.  Sooner or later he might be a terror on the bike path, a car junkie, a rodeo clown or a professional skydiver but the one thing I know is that I have to learn now how to take care of him today.  I never thought TV would be the answer, and I know that I don’t want it to be a staple in my sons life.  Heck, when he was born we dumped our cable company for this very reason!

But it was dimwitted luck that I found success through my martial arts films, and even though I know it wasn’t because of the film, rather, it was because I used the one piece of advice I actually think helps from the 5 S’s film; I relaxed. 

No amount of training or film study can prepare us for the changes in our children.  We have to roll with their punches, adapt to their environment by creating an environment based on merits we choose and hope that some day they succumb to our wills, willingly or with force.  But until then we can’t let our emotions get out of control.  Their crying won’t stop the more anxious we get, so when the time comes find something that calms you down, and baby will take cue and follow suit.

Then enjoy some Stir Fry for lunch, and celebrate passing the lesson of being Kung Fu papa.


I can’t dance, and I’ll be the first to admit it.  Tonight, after 23 days of being latched at the nip, mama decided to take some time for herself and hand daddy the reigns to child.  She was reluctant, stalled with excuses like reading him a book, pumping, maybe doing a basket of laundry (maybe), but in the end I gave her my certificate of reassurance that I wouldn’t burn the house down (see Stupid Things Daddy Does II) and I wouldn’t submit Griffin to any of my crazy daddy ideas that I have floating around in my head (not yet, at least).

Once the door closed behind her Griffin pooped, I changed him, plugged in the iPhone to the iDock and turned it up.

And we danced.

What I learned today about being a father:

This was the moment I didn’t know if I was ready for.  I mean, I’ve thought about for 23 days, thought about the time when he and I would be alone and how I would handle all the things that happen that mama usually takes care of.  Jackie, bless her heart, went over all the precautionary details if he was fussy, how I could tell if he needed to be changed, where the bottles were and how much to feed him (not too much, though, when she gets home she wants to breast feed!).  The Nuk came in handy, I fought off serving him bottle as long as I could, and played and danced until daddy ran out of gas.

Kids are tough and desire a lot of attention, especially now.  In two hours I realized what mamas put up with for a whole day.  I was inspired, however, by the music of O.A.R., Grasshopper Takeover (a band from my hometown who didn’t sell many records but made some beautiful music), Phoenix, The Head and The Heart and Dave Mathews Band.  When I didn’t think I could keep him entertained much longer I just did what I thought I had to do, I turned the music up!

What I think I know:

If the neighbors were looking in our windows they would have seen a wiley young man in his early 20’s (days, that is) in his diapers and his aging daddy in his underwear dancing the night away.  It was majestic, our flow, our glide across the hardwood floors, the way his legs struggled  about without notion or rhythm.  In the end, it was the greatest time of both our lives.

I lulled him to sleep while singing along to Led Zeppelin, “Hey Hey What Can I Do…”, and held him in my arms until mama got home.  He was half asleep, she was sweaty and lovely, beautiful mama.  Right then and there I knew that I was lucky, because I knew that I had more and more dancing to look forward to.


Mommy took Griffin to work to show him off tonight and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me dazzle her with my culinary expertise.  No simple mac and cheese or pasta Primavera, no, not for my wife!  I prepped the kitchen utensils and cleaned off the countertops and took aim at her favorite dish; Swanson‘s canned chicken chunks mixed with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Pizza cheese wrapped in a Pillsbury croissant roll with broccoli rice and home-made egg rolls.  Oh, it was to be stupendous!  Alas, however, my sister Skyped me!  And while in Skype my mind must have wandered, for croissants began to burst and flake than rice got overcooked…but in the end, it was those dang egg rolls that  got the best of me.  Home made (not by me, by a co-worker who makes them delicious) and ready to fry in oil over the stove top preheated to high.  I pulled five rolls from freezer and a sixth (just in case), and dropped them into the high heat and nearly set the kitchen on fire!

What I learned today about being a father:

If Griffin could understand what I just did, he’d laugh.  Mama didn’t find it so funny though.  Our cramped two-bedroom smells of burnt…something?  I can’t place it really.  It just smells like smoke.  Everything smells like smoke.

It took less than five seconds for our place to be engulfed in the fumes and smoke, 10 seconds for our fire alarm to go off, 12 for the one in the hallway outside our door.  I pulled the oil off the flame, but smoke poured over the sides, the oil popped, and the carbon filled my lungs.  I was coughing with such force that I dropped the frying oil, with egg rolls, into the sink.  More smoke, more popping, skin getting burnt from the drops of popping oil into the air, and then the oven timer goes off…Let me just end right here, what a mess.

What I think I know:

I am no chef, and I’ve never claimed to be one.  I tried to do something nice for mama because she was trying so hard to be mama and take care of obligations that she had at work which she couldn’t hand over to some one else.  I thought it’d be sweet, thoughtful, the husbandry thing to do.

I called her to warn her not to bring Griffin home for a few hours.  It was just too smoky, my eyes still burn and my lungs hurt and I didn’t want to put them through that.  I opened all the windows (Wisconsin in April!) and let the smoke take it’s course.  Four hours later, four hours, Jackie knocked on the door and I let her in.

“It still smells in here.”  She gave me a kiss and handed me dinner, a McDonald’s bag with the french fries mostly eaten.  Griffin made a face, and we sat down at the table to eat my wife’s second favorite meal and laughed our heads off.

These are the days we don’t forget, one of the stories we’ll share with Griffin when he makes a mistake or is feeling bad about not being good at something.  And if I know Jackie as well as I think I do I know we’ll be laughing our heads off then, too.

It took this many to put out my kitchen fire...