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Tag Archives: Children

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).


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’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.


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.