5 Things I Forgot About Infants

A little over 10 months ago, we welcomed our baby boy into the world. Suddenly, I went from a father of one precocious little girl, to a father of a precocious little girl AND a little boy, who would teach me more flexibility and juggling than I have ever encountered. It’s only been a few years since I had an infant last, but there are certainly things I have forgotten (either by choice or by the sheer delirium of parenting). Here are five things I forgot about infants:

  1. How awesome baby laughs are. Like really, is there a more pure joy in the world than a baby laughing? My daughter laughs a ton as well, and her laugh is fantastic and brings me so much joy, but the laugh of a baby is on an entirely different level. It’s like a auditory representation of sunshine and candy, coated in sprinkles. I love it. No wonder Tinkerbell says that when a baby laugh, a fairy is born. (side note: I’ve watched far too much Tinkerbell in my adult life. #Parenting)
  2. How disastrous a blow out can be. As joyous as a baby’s laugh can be, a baby’s blow out can be equally as miserable. My beautiful baby boy, in all of his smiles and laughter, was sitting in his car seat while we were at a restaurant. I didn’t hear anything, smell anything, THERE WAS NO WARNING, but my daughter says “EWW” and I look down, and he’s playing with his poop. You guys, it blew out literally all over his car seat, and his hands are all up in it like it was play dough. *insert gagging .gif here* I looked at my wife and said “the baby’s broken, take it back.”
  3. How significant every milestone can be. We get so excited about every roll over, every sit up, every new food, every giggle, every time our infant breaks into a new size of clothes. Everything he does is mind blowing. I kinda wish we shared this same level of excitement in the rest of our life. Like, “OH MY GOSH, my wife rolled over in bed all on her own awwweeee.”
  4. How precious sleep is. Sleep is life. Life is sleep. Sleep is the aqua vitae of the infant universe. If baby is asleep, don’t you DARE effing wake him up. If he needs sleep, he gets sleep. And heaven forbid you make the choice to do something for yourself that conflicts his sleep schedule, because you’ll be paying for it for the next week. Say it louder for the ones in the back – LET THE BABY SLEEP.
  5. How little they care about your physical needs. Oh, dad, you made a bad choice and stayed up until after midnight last night? Don’t care. I’m up at 5 am and demand my bottle NOW. So grab your coffee, buttercup (after my bottle, of course) because you’re in for a long morning.

Infants are wonderful, beautiful creatures. They demand the highest level of dedication, but the rewards are unlike anything else I have experienced. Cherish these early days, because your little infant in all their splendor is growing and changing by the day.

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5 Exciting Things About Having A Son

Having a daughter is amazing. Terrifying, but amazing. She is stunningly beautiful, makes my hair go grey, keeps me on my toes and every day is an adventure. There is something about having a daughter that simply makes your heart swell as a father, even when you are forced to endure the mind numbing pain associated with watching yet another princess movie.

Having a girl has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, but there is something that feels remarkably different knowing that I am having a son. With that said, here are 5 things about having a son that I am extremely excited about.

1. Easier diaper changes. If you don’t have a girl, you have no idea what I’m talking about. There are every specific concerns and techniques associated with changing a girl. With a boy, from what I’m told, you can just do whatever the hell you feel like. Wipe it any direction you please, use a hose, whatever. All you have to worry about is getting clean. No real threat of UTIs here.

2. Colors other than pink. And it isn’t just because all they make is pink for little girls. My daughter truly LOVES pink. It’s pink everything. Pink walls. Pink clothes. Pink toys. Pink blankets. It’s all pink. And listen, if my little dude loves pink, I’ll let him, but I’m really hoping he’s more of the blue/green/grey type of guy. I can really use a break from the pink, little man. Help a brother out.

3. Hopefully some less shrill noises. There are certainly some boys whose screams could rival my daughter’s, but I’m really hoping for some sounds to be an octave or two lower. Not every sound emitted from my house needs to be capable of calling every dog within a five mile radius to our location. There are other ways to communicate.

4. A knight to protect my princess. My daughter is exactly what I would expect from my wife’s daughter – strong willed, opinionated, has strong lines, and will not tolerate anything less. I love it about her. It will serve her greatly in her life. Even with that being the case, I have every intention of teaching my son from the day he is born that women are to be respected, and that his family means everything. He will be taught to always look out for his sister, no matter the age gap or the situation. I won’t always be around to protect my daughter, but I hope there will be situations where my boy will be able to stand up for his sister.

5. Watching my daughter become a sister. I cannot wait to watch my little girl take on the responsibility of being a big sister. Watching her step into that roll, be a good example and nurture and care for her brother will be so awesome. Now I know there will be times where I will walk in to her duct taping her brother to a chair or drawing on his face with makeup, but I believe she will largely be a great care taker.

I’m Having a Son

About three and a half years ago, I became a first time father. June 4th, 2014 was the single most exhilarating, terrifying, emotionally unstable day of my life, all of which was experienced by the time my daughter way born only 31 minutes into that day. I was a father, yet hardly a decent man. I had a daughter, a tiny princess whose smile and laugh would leave me reduced to no more than a puddle, and whose every adventure would highlight the different chapters of my life. I was a Dad of a Daughter, a Dad of playing tea, watching Frozen (no matter how deeply I despise the movie), surrounded by pink and princesses and tutus, and loving every second.

Just one thing – a small little curveball is being thrown into the mix, a wrench into the gears. We are approximately 23 weeks into our second pregnancy, and everything is changing. Now, pregnant with number two, my wife and I are having a boy. A BOY. I am having a son. Goodbye princesses, hello woodland creatures, tonka trucks, super heroes, loud noises and sports. There will be balance, parody, juxtaposed situations and varying nuances in the raising of my two children, and I cannot be more excited.

With becoming the father of a boy, there are inherent and innate fears and responses that enter into the picture. How am I supposedto teach this boy how to become a man when Ihardly feel qualified to teachhim? How do I help him avoid my own pitfalls? What if someday he looks atme with nothing short of total disappointment?

This is real. These are the fears that have kept me up at night and have given me sudden bursts of emotion throughout the days since we have found out. I’m not a man that will be able to teach my son to fix things. I’m not a man with a track record of integrity, humility and respect. These are all things that I wish I was. These are things that I am working for, not just for my own sake, but for that of my two children. They deserve a father that is steady, rock solid, dependable, trustworthy, and that they know will protect them.

To my daughter Olivia and my future son Emerson, you are my everything. The two of you are the two greatest things that I have ever done in this life and for this world. My promise to you is this – I will never give up, I will never stop trying, and I will always be there for you. I am still and will always be finding fatherhood.

7 Promises I Always Make And Never Keep

Ever since the birth of my daughter about a year and a half ago, I feel as though I have been hurtled into the passenger seat of a Ferrari. It’s really fast, I am in no way in control, and everything is flying past me in such a blur that I can hardly make out what I’m passing.

This is the time of year for resolutions. Yes, a vast majority of individuals will excitedly rush to the gym for about six days before falling back to their Netflix binge-watching habits, and parents everywhere will tell themselves that they will get it all together. I’m going to cut through the crap, though: I am most certainly going to continue to fail

in my next year as a father. Despite my best efforts, here are seven promises I will end up not keeping… (Continue reading at Scary Mommy here.)

How To Transition From Baby To Toddler

Babies are easy. They sleep, they poop, they eat, they smile and yes, they cry. With babies, that’s about it. But see, the things is, those tiny little things that don’t go anywhere end up growing, and then they sit up, and then they crawl, and somewhere in that flurry of dirty diapers – you have a toddler. Get ready, because this next phase of life will seriously test your patience. Here are six ways to prepare yourself… (Continue reading on Scary Mommy here.)

5 Ways My Daughter is Smarter Than Vegetables

You know, I never really paid much attention to vegetables until my daughter started eating solid foods. I have always liked them – I think they are delicious, they come in a tremendously wide variety of shapes and colors and flavors, and I have willingly ate them for pretty much my entire life. But now, I have a staunchly opinionated one year old on my hands, and she hates them. She hates all of them. Suddenly, one of the biggest points of emphasis in my life is how to shove those healthy things into my daughter’s face and, ideally, convince her to chew and even swallow some of them. My daughter has proven to be vastly superior to the vegetables and has outsmarted them at every turn. Here are five ways she has proven to be smarter than vegetables.

1. She picks around them. It’s quite amazing to watch this little person be so determined not to consume a single vegetable. We have put mass assortments of food on her tray, and somehow, she navigates that maze like a pro, eating every ounce of starch and protein, even fruit, without being fooled into the tiniest bite of chopped vegetable. Stinker.

2. She throws them off her tray. When she’s not in the mood to pick around them, she will straight up clear them out of her way. “Hey, broccoli, you’re in the way of my chicken. Get gone,” she mumbles in baby babble, chucking the broccoli into oblivion.

3. She swats them off the spoon. We’ve even resorted to trying to spoon feed her vegetables, but it’s like she knows it’s coming. She has given many-a-spoons the backhand to end all backhands, and she has no problem doing it.

4. She purses her lips in a “you shall not pass” sorta way. When the spoon doesn’t work, we have tried hand feeding her vegetables, hoping that if she could just get a little taste, maybe she’ll change her mind and realize that these delicious little morsels of health are not going to kill her. But no, she won’t possibly allow it. She’ll lock her mouth down tighter than a safe door, and there is no hope at pushing some health past it.

5. She screams. A lot. If you are foolish enough to keep pushing at this point, she unleashes a scream that is so opinionated, so shrill and sharp that you are completely demoralized and begin to question your very existence. You have failed, and there is nothing you can do about it, except try it all over again tomorrow.

My daughter really, really hates vegetables.

What My First Year as a Father Has Taught Me About Life

My beautiful, smiling, brilliant, opinionated, strawberry blonde little angel is one today. She’s one. I don’t know what happened. There was crying and diapers and midnight feedings (admittedly much more by my wife than myself, but I digress), bumps, bruises, learning experiences and the occasional fear that I was completely ruining my daughter’s life, and suddenly I have a one year old. She is brilliant, entirely too cute for her own good, and is pretty much already the boss in the house. In my twelve months as a father, there are many nuggets of wisdom I would like to pass on. You know, seeing as I’m an old pro now. Or something. Here are 10 things fatherhood has taught me about life.

1. Slow down. Nothing shows you quite how fast your life moves like having a baby. Suddenly, she’s one. She is 1/18th of the way to adulthood. It has flown by, and I’m terrified of missing it. Having this little lady in the house is making me reevaluate what it means to be present. Don’t blink, people. Be present. Savor every day.

2. Stop stressing. There are way too many unknowns in life to spend your time constantly stressed and under the gun. Guess what? One way or another, everything will work out. You’ll be fine. Take a breath, let tomorrow worry about itself, and just take care of today.

3. Have joy like a child. My daughter finds so much beauty, bewildering disbelief and pure joy in the simplest of things. From a single flower, to the color of the sky, to the shine on daddy’s ring, she sees beauty in the every day. That bewilderment and unfiltered joy is astonishing. I wish I saw the world through the same lens.

4. Invest in family. There is nothing more precious than family. Think outside yourself, think of others, look at how you can make their day better, how you can serve them, and you will have a sense of peace and happiness that comes from very few things in life. This is a lesson I’m still learning, so to my wife reading this, sorry I haven’t been better.

5. Things are just things. It’s all stuff. It’s junk. In the end, it doesn’t matter at all. Your clothes, your jewelry, who won the NBA Finals (side note… go Golden State) – in the end, none of that matters. What matters is love; what matters is family. 20 years from now, I will care a lot more about how my daughter thinks of me than I will about how I looked one day at that one place for that one event.

6. You are more resilient than you think. Life happens, mistakes are made, things don’t go according to plan, and sometimes that is terrifying. But the more I get through, the more I take on and see myself grow, the more I am learning that I’m a very resilient creature. You’ll be just fine, promise.

7. Forgive yourself. Hate to break it to you, but you’re human. You’re going to screw up, especially when it comes to parenting. If you constantly dwell on your mistakes, that’s where you will stay. It is so crucial to forgive yourself, to let yourself learn instead of dwelling in your imperfections. Keep your chin up and eyes forward. Stop regretting, start learning.

8. Listen. Listen, listen more, and when you feel like you’ve listened enough, listen again. You are surrounded by people willing to provide words of wisdom, others who want your feedback, and others still that have needs you are capable of meeting for them. You will miss all of these if your ears are tuned out to the world around you. Get out of your own head, stop focusing on yourself, and start listening to the people around you. Game changer.

9. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Like nothing I have experienced, parenting is wonderfully adapt at hurdling you outside of your comfort zone. With each new phase, you are presented with an entirely new set of challenges that you feel absolutely inept to handle. Get used to this! Feeling uncomfortable in new situations is perfectly fine, just don’t let it completely hamper your ability to step out, try something new, and tackle the situation head on. Embrace these learning experiences for what they are.

10. There is no love like your love for your child. Nothing – and I mean nothing, compares. Your child is the only thing on this planet that can simultaneously elate you and break your heart. Never before have I desired so deeply to be better – to be perfect – than I do when I am around this kid. She is the light of my life, a one year old representation of all I hold dear. There are no words, no possible way to describe, what it means to have a child and the instant, remarkably intense love that you feel for them. This is the only situation as a writer where I feel absolutely comfortable in knowing that I will be unable to describe the way I feel.

Parenting is awesome. It’s challenging, time consuming, tiring, and simultaneously the most exciting, joyful and rewarding experience I have ever had the privilege to have. Being the father to my beautiful girl makes me more proud than anything else I could ever accomplish, and has taught me tremendous things about myself and what matters most. I hope that, in some small way, she will someday know all that she means to me.