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Tag Archives: Being Daddy

What’s in your wallet?

Jackie takes the best pictures of babies.  When our niece, Harper, was born she went out and bought one of those expensive Canon cameras with the adjustable lenses, interchangeable flashes, and all the other bells and whistles.  It’s a beautiful piece of electronics that has made her good quality of picture-taking to great. 

Being a grad student has slowed down her ability to take her picture-taking to the next level, but we’ve seen a revival of that passion of hers since Griffin was born.  She takes the best pictures, creates these awesome slide shows and collages intertwining all the things from our courtship, our engagement, our wedding, and beyond.  She keeps her masterpieces on her computer for the most part though, never really satisfied with the way the end product looks.  Something about the generic photograph paper at all the big box stores, just another thing I don’t get.

What I learned today about being a father:

I miss my guy.  Today especially for some reason.  I am fortunate enough to have a bright picture on my desktop of him, though, and I keep a special one that mama took in my wallet.  There is nothing significant about today, neither good or bad.  Today feels like just a day, and maybe that’s why I was thinking about doing something other than my work, like taking the time to read some new blogs, maybe skip out on work and go see  a movie (I love movies, and I’ve heard great things about The Avengers), but looking at my boy’s picture not only stopped me from being foolish, but has given me a reason to do better.

What I think I know:

We all come across these times in our lives, whether it’s a rough day at work or a bad argument with a loved one that makes us want to do something that isn’t typical, something maybe dangerous or completely out of character.  I’ve never thought these things were bad, just some situations call for us to be unconventional and spontaneous and I think we all know when this is and when it’s not. 

Today, when my mind was wandering, wishing I was doing something else and contemplating jumping ship from work, it was the picture of Griffin that stopped me.  I realized that what I’m doing, I’m doing for him and my family, trying to create a good future for us so that he can have a life that he deserves.  He stopped me in my tracks, made me re-think my priorities, and helped me be a good daddy and do the right thing. 

So, if you happened to waiver, watch pictures of your children, because even now they’re talking back to you.  The hard things that come with being daddy feel a lot easier and make a lot more sense when you know why you’re doing them.


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).


Archie

Archie, our dog.

We walked today, for the first time in baby’s life.  Well, mama and I walked, baby rode, and dog (Archie, pictured left) strutted in tow.  It was a top 10 day in Madison, WI, easily one of the best over my five-plus years of living here.  We made it half way up the block before baby fussed, scaring mom into a frenzy of what-could-be-wrongs and maybe-this-or-that suggestions that I couldn’t quite comprehend in the manner they were being shot out of her mouth at me.  I tried my best to listen and agree, but in the end mama didn’t acknowledge with the idea that baby did not need sun, but that fresh air is good for his lungs and brain.  We walked up the hill first, then scurried down it, and back into our little two-bedroom where mama saved baby from whatever it was that ailed him…which was probably my whistling while I walk.

What I learned today about being a father:

My darling wife was in charge of all things baby related when it came to registering for gifts.  She overindulged on things, and half of the stuff that fills our apartment don’t make practical sense to own.  But one thing she got right was baby’s stroller.  I don’t like to name drop, but mama high-rolled on a Britax B-Agile Stroller plus carrier, the high end type of bad-assness stroller that you don’t even expect to get as a baby gift, but ba-bam!  She scored!

Anyhow, this thing turns on a dime, rides on the bike path like a cruise liner through open waters and provides excellent pushing sensations that make one want to walk with child…but I only know this because mama keeps telling me.  It was a simple lesson today, but a heart dropping one as well.  I learned how fold the stroller up, carry it by it’s provided handle to the landing spot outside our apartment, and then unfold back into it’s upright position.  Mama handed me Archie’s leash, thanked me for getting the stroller ready, and set sail for a walk that would end up disappointing everyone involved.

What I think I know:

Honestly, there is so much to say about what I think I know that I could go on and on about the state of the world, the workings of mobile magicians, and how every act is in and of itself purposeful no matter how small the act, but I don’t know squat about mamas and babies.  I try to understand and listen to the reason that is mama, but babies cry, sometimes, to test us.  Today baby cried, and mama, like many mamas do, got scared.  She blah-blah-blahed me about all the things that could be going on with baby and convinced me (not rationally, but by turning towards home and leaving me holding Archie) that baby needed to get back inside.  She rushed me, “come on, come on” and waved me along only because I had the keys. I unlocked the front door, her grabbing baby and keys and leaving the heavy lifting to me.

We never went back out on that walk like she said we would, so I went running instead.  But now my back hurts, and I equate the partial walk, the quick turns and twists to get back inside while navigating Archie backwards-forwards and the constant folding/lifting/unfolding/setting down of said stroller/car seat combo for the blame.  It’s the small acts of being daddy that have made my back hurt, but like so many new things in our life my wife made me realize family walks will happen.  Being daddy means that I need jut need to bare with her and take it slowly before she’s completely comfortable, “One step at time,” she said.

And when she’s ready to let go, she promised she’d let me walk behind the stroller, too.  One step at a time, that’s what being daddy is all about.


I know I trend on the lovey-dovey side of my relationship with my wife, but truth be told for the most part that is what life is like.  She is a wonderful person who I was lucky to find at a rough time in my life, a destructive time that could have gone two ways, and I’m in her debt because of the way that it did.

We have are problems, sure, just like any other couple, but we bounce back from each altercation stronger and more in line with each other than before.  We are far from perfect, she can be bossy and demanding at times,  and worried and overly anxious about what might happen rather than what is.  I, on the other hand, am relaxed and agreeable, and not overly sensitive about my feelings or in too much of a hurry to get to what happens next.  What we’ve come to completely agree about is that it’s all the little things we are for each other that keep us strong and help to build faith in our relationship.

What I learned today about being a father:

The days are flying overhead like aF16 leaving smoke trails in the clouds.  I meant to go to work today, but I didn’t.  I wasn’t ready yesterday and I knew this morning when I woke up (for the 4 time in 5 hours, kids these days) that it wasn’t my time.  I relaxed a bit, and when I broke the news to mama she started crying.  I didn’t know why she was crying, but then she gave me a big kiss and a hug, a sign that I’m still just as important to her now as the day we got married.

She told me how much she appreciates me taking all this time off of work to be with her and child.  I told her that this is just a part of being daddy.  She kissed me again, and for a second I thought that our passion had been reignited, the flame of our love burning brighter and hotter than ever and it was this moment that I knew that staying home wasn’t just the right thing to do for my family but the right thing to do because I wanted to make out with my wife.  I snuggled closer, skin on skin like, and then she handed me baby and told me to change his diaper.

Buzz kill.

What I think I know:

I claim to know a lot of things, but in reality I don’t know much.  I can’t read the signs from wife, let alone any other woman that I had a relationship with, but when I woke up today there was a sign, or rather, an instinct, that today was a great day to be daddy.

When mama got up from the bed and left me to diaper duty I was reluctant at first, but knew that any complaint I would make wouldn’t look good on my love-making resume for later.  I changed the poo-poo and got peed on, afterwards which the cat licked up than threw-up, cleaned that; picked up after the dog, gave her a bath because she had poo-poo on her butt; did the dishes (3 days worth, no recycling of dishes in this household, all by hand of course), vacuumed the one rug we have plus loaded, folded, and stuffed away three loads of laundry.  Mama held baby, watched, and smiled, because what I know is that all the little things are the big things, and being daddy makes all the little things worth while.

Being Daddy 101 Tip of the Week:

New topic; I’ll try to cue in a tip of the week to mix things up a bit.  I can’t say that I’ll remember, but maybe mama will remind me.

If you haven’t done so get a Munchkin Warm Glow Wipe Warmer for baby.  I don’t like to plug commercially, but it’s a charm.  Baby’s butt loves the damp, warm feeling of cloth cleaning him or her up.  TOPIC ALERT! If you do buy the Munchkin Warm Glow Wipe Warmer and you have a baby boy be sure to shield his pee-pee when you change him.  If he’s anything like my son the warm wipes que a certain response that makes baby pee all over; craziest thing really.


Today was my first day back at work, part time of course, because being away from work for an extended period of time makes it harder to go back to work for a regular period of extended time, especially in the middle of a week.  So I tried as I could, getting up early, doing some laundry, changing child and kissing mama good-bye.  I packed my bags, walked out the door after petting both cat and dog, and walked to my car.  Sounds like a normal adventure in the ponzi scheme of a work-aholic father, though it was anything but.

What I learned today about being a father:

Everything was running smoothly, but what I learned today was that as soon as my butt hit the seat of my car I had already begun to miss my family.  Mama is a graduate student studying to be all that she can be, and as the majority bread winner in the family I have to continue to work to provide for the basic need of child and mama which makes work a necessity.  I sat in my car and idled in the parking lot of our small, four unit apartment complex and I didn’t want to leave.  Thoughts of all the things I was going to miss in this short amount of time rummaged through my mind like lost baggage in an airport.  I began to drive myself a little crazy with wishes and dreams of a day when I wouldn’t have to get up to get ready and leave my family, and to say this on my first half-day back makes me wonder how I’m going to get through all of next week when I go back to being full-time plus!  I’m scared, nervous, and worried that my work will show signs of distraction or not be as on top of all the things and projects that I have going on in my life.

What I think I know:

Being a work-aholic daddy whose hobbies include running two, tiny, itsy-bitsy businesses while writing frantically trying to finish one of my many masterpieces (that may or may not include short stories, full length novels, screenplays, poetry, and now, of course, this blog) as well as working full-time plus make it hard to find time to get to know your family.  Walking out today was difficult knowing that I was going to miss the trials and tribulations of my sons 8th full day of life (where does time go!) even though I had planned to gradually get myself reacclimated at my position over the next two days.  I tried to get comfortable at work, readjusting constantly in my chair for a better angle at my cell phone just in case mama calls with some new news of what baby did or to tell me about a poop or pee-pee that we weren’t expecting.  I caught myself watching my iPhone, waiting for something to happen, while emails and phone calls and service requests went unanswered.

I like what I do, but being there made me want to be here, at home, even more.  I know how hard going back to work can be for mamas, but I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to go back to work being daddy.  I don’t know if others can relate to this, but I also don’t think any of us want to miss what happens next.  Unfortunately we have to, and I know that as much as mama missed my support at home today I know that she appreciates my support by continuing to bring home a paycheck.

Do you have any advice for a work-a-home-aholic daddy who struggles to find time just for himself without trying to find time for baby and mama?  I appreciate your feedback and insight.


As baby settles in to his new routine we have clamored over who gets what picture taken with him and when.  In our small two bedroom we have cameras and computers and other picture-taking electronics strewn throughout across our space, waiting with our breaths held to catch baby’s first full-fledged smile, a new pose we have yet to see, or for that time when both eyes are opened wide and attentive.

What I learned today about being a father:

It’s been a struggle to keep track of which pictures are on which camera or if these or those pictures have been posted to Facebook or sent to Shutterfly or not.  Mama and I keep telling each other to get the camera, or saying things like, “we need to get a video of this.”  What I’ve learned over the course of our first week is that the harder we try catching the moment the more moments that we’ve missed.  Last night mama and I put the cameras away, stored the video recorder back in its attache, and have just been more conscious of keeping our iPhones closer than before.  But we don’t worry anymore about a look or a smile, or a new pose that baby hasn’t done before because we are now both being more attentive seeing it for ourselves.

What I think I know:

I’ve been a father for one week, and it’s been the happiest most difficult and shortest week of my life.  I never gave the concept of “they grow up so fast” much thought, but last night mama and I talked about how much new hair has come in on baby and how much his face has filled out in such short time.  I always knew that baby would grow up, because that’s what babies do and if we didn’t I wouldn’t be as I am, but man, they grow up so fast.

I thought we’d have a chance to enjoy each and every one of his little moments for eternity, but I think I realized that we only have a small amount of time to relish them, and that if I don’t get to see them first hand, not behind a camera or a lens, that those moments really won’t stick with me the way I want them too.  I can close my eyes and see baby better each and every day over the past week than I can trying to find the pictures in a file on my computer.  Being daddy isn’t simple, but knowing that it’s better to see than to realize that he is growing up so fast might just make it easier on the both of us.