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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 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.


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).


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…


My wife, Jackie, turned 29 years-young 10 days exactly after our son was born.  We celebrated in good fashion with her friends and family making the trip in from out of town and her parents holding the party at their house.  Our small two-bedroom can not accomodate all the people, plus there would be limited amount of place that mama could take baby to nurse. 

We arrived fashionably late, last, actually, and Jackie justified this by taking the stance that now we have a new baby and are allowed 15 additional late minutes on our typical 30 late minutes she uses to get herself ready.  I was ready by 10AM for the 12:30PM party and took care of baby until mama got ready.  As she took baby from me she looked at my bare feet, “Now who’s running late?”, she said, with jaw dropping simplicity and seriousness that nearly set me on fire.  Some things never change.

What I learned today about being a father:

Celebrations are great, but celebrating with your loved ones is even better.  We have been super lucky that her family members have made the extra effort to come in and see baby and celebrate her birthday with us over this last weekend because in life family matters.

As a young boy my family, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, did just about everything together.  We went on summer trips together, saw baseball games together, spent Sundays at grandma and grandpa’s house.  We lived like a community, and every weekend we stayed with our cousins or they stayed with us or we all stayed at G&G’s (grandma & grandpa’s) because our parents believed spending time with family was important.  This weekend was an eye opener, a realization that as a young adult through my early thirties I lost sight of the important roles are families play in raising us as individuals.  My son won’t remember anything from this weekend, but it was great for Jackie and I to relive the simpliest childhood moments from our past that helped shape who we both are, and those moments we talked about all weekend all had to do with family.

What I think I know:

For my family to come to Madison, WI, they would have to travel from Omaha, NE; about eight hours by road one way and hard to get to through the air, so they have yet to meet baby.  Though they couldn’t be here with us, technology has shortened the distance gap and allowed us to connect on a totally virutal level.  My parents, both ripe for their ages, are not technically savy but have mastered the art of Skype.  They love it, actually introduced it to me last year as a way to communicate face to face, and it’s been fantastic!  I come from a large family and we are somewhat spread out over the midwest, but by Skyping I have been able to introduce baby Griffin (child) to his aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents via technology.  I have spoken to my family more often in the last 12 days then I had in the previous 60, and now that I think I have mastered Skyping I know there are more face to face interactions to come. 

Griffin probably can’t even see everyone through the computer screen, but for me and Jackie we have been able to stay connected, one way or another, with family.  They say it takes a village, but what I think I know is the saying doesn’t mean the village has to do, it just means the village has to be, and we are lucky enough to be able to surround child with a village no matter the distance.