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).
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).