truck and lasso

a dad blog

Archive for the category “Tips and Advice”

Bananas

Roscoe’s mother will only allow half of a banana a day because too many bananas will stop him up. She was out of town last week and I had to manage being a dad, being busy at work and a sick pup. I figured any task I could eliminate would be to my benefit.

So, I fed him nine bananas a day. Didn’t change one poopy diaper. Times three and a half days, that’s fifteen minutes right there.

Interrupting

My wife has gotten on me a lot lately about interrupting her.  She says that I constantly do it and that it concerns her, this terrible habit I seem to have picked up since the birth of our son.

Before Roscoe, conversations were simple and relatively intuitive:

Her:  Do you want to go out and eat tonight?

Me:  Sure.

We were even firing on all cylinders through more complex conversations:

Her:  Where would you like to go and eat tonight?

Me:  Sure.

Her:  Mill Town, then.

Now, however, she gets about three words in before I interrupt.  And it drives her crazy.

Her:  Do you want-

Me:  -to see who can spit the farthest?

Her:  No.  Jesus.  Why do you keep interrupting me?

Several reasons, actually.  My wife is frequently distracted.  Sometimes she’s tired.  And if the little guy’s in the room, he’s the center of attention.  Rightfully so.  But as a result, and with all due respect, it’s flipping impossible to have a conversation with her.  She trails off and mutters like a homeless guy on the subway.

Her:  Do you want…oooh, look at his little ears…so cute.  Do you…can you hear me with your little ears?  Do…it’s so busy at work.  Do you want…and he’s got a little nose and a little chin!  Forgot to order checks.  Do you…what time is it?  I like blue.

Minutes later, still hanging on to what seems like a random string of words and phrases.  Do I want what

After months of this, I learned the fastest way to get my wife to the end of a complete sentence is to interrupt.  Because I’m never even remotely near the ballpark when I attempt to finish her thought (which irritates her even more), she immediately corrects me.

I’m know I’m going to get a little grief, but it’s worth it.

Her:  We should get-

Me:  -portraits made.  Semi-nude, lying on a bear skin rug!

Her:  No!  What’s wrong with you?  We should get milk.

Jumparoo

I would’ve laughed at this thing six months ago.  Probably even felt sorry for friends with children who had to have this sitting anywhere in their house.  It’s big, clunky and loud.

Roscoe’s outgrown his bouncer and swing, however, and the jumparoo has made it’s way into our living room.  And it’s awesome.

It’s still big, clunky and loud, but so is a muscle car.  This is the 1970 Camaro of baby stuff.

Yesterday, I was home with Roscoe while ice was taking over the south.  He spent most of the time in the jumparoo while I toiled away at emails and other work-related tasks.  I heard him…to stick with the muscle car thing, let’s say rumble.  I heard him rumble.  I thought, I’ll wait to change his diaper.  Just one more email.  And I’ll knock out this radio estimate.  And this job update.  Meanwhile, Roscoe couldn’t be happier.  Jump, jump, jump.

Now, gravity and engineers ensure that most of the time things end up in the seat of the diaper for easy clean up.  The jumparoo, however, and my lack of urgency, ensured that Roscoe was guaranteed a…well, to stick with the muscle car thing, let’s say a racing stripe.

Roscoe had a racing stripe from waist to neck, up his back.

Dog Days

I like dogs more than I like most people, but right now it’s difficult to find value in our big, furry friend.  I’m responsible for two walks a day and have been for months.  It’s wearing on me.  The most irritating thing is changing clothes three times in a 12 hour period.  Pajamas to dog walking clothes.  Dog walking clothes to work clothes.  And work clothes to dog walking clothes.

I am constantly sweeping hair off of everything.  Or getting yelled at that there’s dog hair on everything.  Quality time with pup consists of me pushing her off of the bed, couch, or out of the way when I’m trying to have playtime with Roscoe.

And when it’s nice out, one of my wife’s favorite things to do is go for a good, long walk with the baby.  And her second favorite thing is to take me along for said good, long walk.  Well, I don’t want to go.  I’ve already got two on my agenda today, thank you.

It’s a beautiful day, she says, don’t you want to be outside?

I’m a writer, I respond, but that doesn’t mean I’m aching to transcribe medical records.

On top of all that, every time I take our dog to the vet, there’s a $500 cover charge.

I understand that there’s a counterpoint to each and every item mentioned above in relation to my wife and raising a child.  But just for one day, I’d like to trade.  Instead of putting on nine layers to trudge over hills and through the rain, let me sit in a comfy chair, topless, with a good book and a beer.  What man doesn’t dream of this?

Does this mean I’m going to be a bad father?

Han Shot First, Roscoe

Click here to see a great PSA for new fathers like myself tackling the tough issue of talking to your kids about Star Wars.  Love the part where one dad says that he’ll tell his 4-year-old that Jar Jar killed grandma so his son will hate the character.

Magic Kingdom

When I lived in Brooklyn, there was a woman who was sending her toddlers up and down the escalators at a G stop in Greenpoint like it was Disney World.  The kids were having a ball, asking if they could ‘ride’ again and again.  I had never seen anything so funny and sad at the same time.

Until I took Roscoe to Lowe’s.  I had him for a few hours to give mom a break.  We drove around, walked through a park, looked at goats and he was fussy through it all.  Needing a few items, I decided to take him into Lowe’s.  And we found our Magic Kingdom.  Traveling down the ceiling fan and lighting aisle.

He cooed and cawed, bright eyed and happy.  Turning his head from side to side to take it all in.  We circled that aisle for a half-hour.  An employee asked several times if she could help me find something.

She already did, I wanted to tell her.

Image credit: http://www.chrisglass.com

ThredUP

Roscoe’s already outgrowing some of his infant items (Gerber runs small).  My sister visited this weekend and brought two bags full of clothes with her.  Some he’ll wear, other items she told us to give away.

Because of the generosity of family, friends and co-workers, we have spent little to nothing on clothes.  And, due to this kid costing us a fortune, we hope for this ‘little or nothing’ trend to continue.  Used or consignment clothes are a great way to keep costs down.

A friend of mine told me about thredUP.  You pack up (they provides the boxes) and send your gently used clothes to someone who claims them, and are able to claim clothes in return.  There is a $5 dollar charge plus shipping each time you get a box, but that’s pennies on the dollar if you pay retail.  It’s Netflix for baby clothes.

Check it out, let me know what you think.  My wife and I are packing up a box or two now.  The four and six month marks are not far off…

What’s a Doula?

When I told my mom we were using a midwife, she responded,

“There’s electricity now, son.  You don’t have to give birth in a barn.”

That’s the general consensus among most people.  Why not take advantage of cutting edge care and modern medicine?  I’ll admit the term midwife has a very dusty connotation.  I had an outdated impression of what they do.

Who knew they don’t deliver babies in troughs?

I’ll post about our search for care and my experience with a midwife another time, for now I just want to set up our ‘earthy’ pregnancy.  Midwife?  Check.  Natural childbirth class?  Check.  Doula?  Check.  Porn mustache?  Wait, what’s a doula, you ask?

A doula is a ‘coach for the coach.’  She’s a calming presence in the delivery room.  If and when a quick decision has to be made, she’s objective and educated and has your best interest at heart.  She’s also a valuable source of information and support so that hard decisions are more likely to be if than when.

Our doula was also our Bradley instructor, weekly classes over three months that provide couples with all of the tools necessary to have the most natural birth possible.  It’s not all breathing exercises and it’s not an attack on modern medicine.

Frankly, it’s a way for someone like me to have all of the information I’m able to absorb before my wife and I had our baby.  The Bradley classes helped my wife prepare physically for Roscoe’s big entrance (Google Kegel exercises).  And they helped me become more valuable in the room when my wife and child most needed me to be valuable.

Before our first class I made a granola joke, a midwife joke, a Magnum P.I. joke, a hippie joke, a Kumbaya joke and a Lamaze joke.  I wondered if we were going to have to share, sit on a mirror and if I was going to have to draw my inner vagina.  My wife liked the Magnum P.I. joke, did not want to see my inner vagina and was very patient with me, even though five minutes into the first class I knew I was glad to be there.

My only gripe was that every time she handed out cards with a pregnancy-specific word or phrase, I seemed to always get Episiotomy (don’t Google that).

As we got closer to our due date, we knew that we wanted to hire a doula and that it had to be Jo.

When I told my mom that we had a doula, she asked if it could be passed to the baby.  I’m happy to report no, but the baby can be passed to the doula.

Manufacturing Pity

I noticed that when my wife was pregnant, other parents or expecting mothers were genuinely pissed when I would remark how well we were doing or that everything was sailing along smoothly.  I heard tales in response that would make combat medics vomit.  Like it was a competition and we were somehow cheating by having a healthy pregnancy.

Not everyone and not on purpose, and not with the intent to injure.  But talking about pregnancy or a child is a minefield for passive aggressive behavior.

“Healthy pregnancy?  Well, uh, I mean, I was on bed rest, but I don’t need to work.  Thank God my husband makes over 100,000 a year.  How’s the restaurant job?”

Or

“I’m glad the pregnancy is going so well.  But don’t worry, God will make it hard on you some way.  He’ll probably have colic or something, bless his heart.”

It got to the point where I’d make up a difficulty because the pity was easier to handle than the horror movie I’d get in return.

“My poor wife.  The pregnancy is just horrible!  She’s gained 81 pounds, there’s a hand coming out of her vagina and she’s attempted to set our bed on fire three times, but just can’t figure out the childproof lighter because of blindness in one eye.”

I get a polite nod and no lip.

Baby Talk

Dude, how hard is it to make an 'R' sound? I'm five weeks and I can do it.

Fact:  Friends drop off the face of the planet when you have a baby.

The new parents have no free time.  Friends are sometimes freaked being around a baby, especially in relation to your change in behavior.  They want Frank the Tank and you’ve become Dora the Explorer.

However, the real culprit is baby talk.  I start with good intentions, i.e. my regular voice, and about five words in my voice goes higher, syllables become clipped or repeated and gibberish is inevitable.  I can’t make an ‘R’ sound to save my life.

And this ‘voice’ has made its way into my personal and professional life.

“Sammy wammy and her husband are buying a car?  A wittle car or a big car?  A wed car or a blue car?  Who wants a hybwid?  Who wants a hybwid?”

“Does the client wient wanty a wevision on the TV?  Yes she does.  Yes she does!”

Who the hell wants to be around that?

Post Navigation