Parenting

Hey it's Fatherhood Friday!  Make sure you go over to Dad-Blogs and check out all of the great stuff going on there.

Let me just say that the person who came up with the idea of the motivational poster is genius.  A simple picture, a one word title and an inspirational line and you got a best seller on your hands.

That being said, the guy who learned how to make motivational posters in photoshop is awesome.  Take something popular, copy it, and make fun of people and things.  It's the American way. 

My buddy sent me a bunch the other day and of course this one jumped out at me.

My little girl can be fussy, but she's not old enough for me to want to lock her in a kennel . . .YET!

For another classic fake motivational poster check out my post on some simple dad advice.

Why Are You Crying??

 This post is taken from my weekly column on Dad-Blogs (Yeah I got lazy this week)  Go on over and check it out.  While you are there check out Fatherhood Fridays, there are some great links to other dad blogs.

Once again I have angered the gods and tempted fate.

When my little girl was born she did nothing but sleep.  My friends and family would ask how things are going as a new dad and I'd say "You know, surprisingly easy.  She sleeps a lot and doesn't cry at all."

This is like someone saying "What could possibly go wrong?" in a comedy movie or "I'll be right back" in a horror flick.

When my sister visited with her new baby, I mentioned to my wife how lucky we were that our kid didn't cry like that.  I should have known that the universe would punish me for my pride in having a daughter who did not cry or fuss that much.

All of a sudden my daughter has found her pipes.  She will erupt into lip quivering, red in face crying for no apparent reason.  Having no prior baby experience, my wife taught me to go down the checklist.

Does she need to be changed?

Has she eaten?

Does she need to be burped?

Does she need to be rocked to sleep?

But now my daughter feels the urge to start screaming bloody murder when apparently all of her needs have been met.  It reminds me of when Riley, our functionally retarded labrador, figured out she could bark.  She went on a campaign of barking simply because she could.

Has my daughter figured out she can cry and make the world around her come to a stop?

The funniest thing is my kid goes from 60 to 0 with the crying.  She'll be mid cry and all of sudden just stop.  This leads my wife and into thinking she is faking this and that nothing is really wrong.

Since I'm online all day long, I Googled this situation and found that although she is only 2 months old she may be teething.  We tried to give her one of the frozen chew toys during a fit the other day and she wanted nothing to do with it.

We checked with the doctor and nothing is medically wrong with her.  But she won't sleep for the hours she was before without waking up and screaming for us.  My normally level headed wife even let some expletives drop last Saturday night as my daughter decided it would be fun to wake her up every hour!

I'm at a loss dear readers.  Please help!

So Sad. . .

Cooking with New Dad

I like to frequent other dad blogs to get tips on life and how to deal with the little one, the Mrs. etc.  A lot of Dad's like to do step by step posts on how to cook a good meal.  Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, allow me to present the first installment of Cooking with New Dad.

Today we'll be preparing one of my favorite dishes that I don't get to eat all that often anymore.  The delicious and nutritious Chicken Pot Pie!

Step 1: Purchase these wonder little concoctions of crust, potato, peas, carrots and chicken flavored meat cubes all in a mystery "sauce".  If you're paying more than $0.50 per you're getting robbed!

Step 2: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Yes, you can cook these in a microwave, but they taste like ass.  Spend the extra 25 minutes and cook them in an oven.  Plus, you avoid those pesky salmonella out breaks that kept these bad boys off the shelves for a bit.

Step 3: Place on baking sheet and cut a slit in the top of each CPP.

Step 4: Bake for 30-32 minutes.  I recommend 32 minutes plus.  It makes the crust crisper and darker.

Step 5:  Take these bad boys out of the oven.  Flip them face down on a plate.  Make sure to watch out for the scalding hot steam!  Scrap out the the crust that didn't come out.  Pepper and enjoy!

35 minutes and you're on the way to the culinary wonder that is the Chicken Pot Pie.

Next time on Cooking with New Dad we will be exploring the wide selections of Chef Boyardee.  Rachel Ray better watch her back!

Don't foget to check out FatherHood Fridays at Dad-Blogs.com

Meet the Rest of the Family

As my wife's blood pressure dropped back into the realm of normal, we prepared for our exit from the hospital.  We packed up all of our stuff, gathered our flowers and gifts and made sure to take all of the hospital supplied stuff we were being billed for anyways.

My wife was stoked!  Everyone we talked to said "Stay in the hospital as long as possible" but she was anxious to leave.  The thought of being a dad without the safety net of a 24 hour nursery, nurses and doctors kind of freaked me out but like everything else during this journey that is fatherhood, I sucked it up and plowed forward.

Our little girl, Reagan, was not only going to see her home for the first time, but also meet the rest of our little family.  I'm not talking about my West Coast side of the family, but our two dogs.  Now, neither my wife nor I are those pet wackos who think that their dogs are their kids or that they would be my daughter's sister and brother.  But for better or worse, our dogs are part of our family and we do love them.

Riley: The Functionally Retarded Lab

Riley was our first dog. My step-mom and Dad got divorced when I was 17 and she took the dogs with her.  Ever since then I had been dying to get a dog.  The weekend I closed on my house I went and picked her up.

I love her to death but she can be a handful sometimes.  Despite puppy class and all kinds of training / discipline regiments she is hyper, destructive and doesn't realize she weights 55lbs.  She has ripped apart our couch, eaten my DVDs and done severe damage to our carpet.  She loves to drool, lick, and would probably fall in love with an intruder if one should happen upon her.  My wife and I joke that she a little "touched" and we call her "Riley; the functionally retarded lab."

Our fear with her is that she is so big she isn't aware of herself sometimes.  She has knocked over little kids before while just trying to play with them, smacked me in the eye with her tail, and scratched us both with her nails.  So naturally, we were concerned how she would be around the baby.

Barkley was our second dog.  Valentine's Day 2007, I took my wife to her favorite Indian restaurant where we had way a little bit too much of the wine.  There just happens to be a pet store close.  30 minutes later the combination of wine, Valentine's Day and my wife's pleading led to the purchase of a little ball of fur, a Bichon Frise, we named Barkley.

Toughest Dog in the World

Barkley is a crazy little dog.  I should have named him Napoleon because he has little dog syndrome like you have never seen.  Anything he gets his paws on a treat, bone or anything he wants he will growl at Riley if she even tries to approach.  He is militant in his defense of his stuff and his person.  (He let some big dogs have it at the dog park because they were sniffing him in the wrong way.)  His over protectiveness also concerns us in regards to the baby.

So in order to prepare, I did a little research on the glowing box with a keyboard and also with the help of several "Dog Whisperer" episodes I formulated a plan to get them adjusted to our newest member.

  • We started by not letting them in the baby's room for too long.  They could smell the stuff but they weren't allowed to hang around.  This way they don't think "This is my territory".
  • I brought home several blankets that had been used to swaddle the baby at the hospital.  At first I let them just smell them, but then I started wrapping stuffed animals in them and pretended it was a baby.
  • I read that you need to take the dogs out for a run and bring the baby in while they are gone.  This way they are coming into the baby's space and not vice versa.  Unfortunately, I didn't have time to do this, so I just let them outside to play before my wife came in with Reagan.
  • Finally, dogs need attention too.  My wife and I take turns playing with them, giving them treats and just petting them.  Every time they come close to the baby to smell her or see what all the fuse is, we tell them they are good.

We figured the little one would be the worse because he is my wife's lap dog.  But honestly, he doesn't seem to care much.  He likes to smell her but besides that wants nothing to do with her.  And Riley, the functionally retarded lab, well a picture says a 1000 words. . .

Best Friends

“I Think I’m Having a Heart Attack”

Part 2: Continued from Where Did you Sleep Last Night

Every Monday I write down a to do list. I fill my daily routine stuff and leave room for stuff that comes up. Here's a sample of Friday's list:

  • Work Out
  • Run
  • Core exercises
  • Read
  • Work on blog post
  • Etc

Nowhere in there did I write "Have a Baby". . .but here I am! In scrubs, watching my wife get pre-surgical injections, calling my boss, mom and step-mom letting them know what was going on. (Ironically, my sister just had her baby the day before, so my mom is having two grand kids in two days!)

My wife hopped up on the table and gave her "time out" to the doctor and nurse. She had to recite her name, age, and the surgery she was having. That's right; medical technology has advanced to the point where they count take a ultrasound image of my baby 15 minutes ago and tell us how much she is going to weigh and show us what she looks like, but my wife needs to tell the doctors who she is and what they are supposed to do so they don't amputate a leg or something instead of removing a baby. It's just like when I woke up from surgery on my left arm and on my right arm "NO" was written. Makes you really have faith in the medical establishment. But I digress. . .

The anasteseologist tried 3 different needles to give my wife her spinal block. I held her hand and supported her on the table with a nurse so I couldn't see the needle go in, but I saw it come out! Holy crap!

They laid her down on the table, set up the sheet over her and blocked her view as I sat on a stool next to her head. Her arms were out in crucifix fashion and they began the surgery.

Because of the surgeon and her assistant's positions I couldn't see all of the craziness; but I stood up a bit and got to see some of the action. I saw them cut her with the scalpel, and saw them separate her stomach muscles and reach in her. I kept on looking back at her and nothing seemed to phase her too much. Then both people working on her grabbed her skin and tugged so hard they had to brace themselves with their back legs!  My eyes got really wide and all of a sudden I realized my wife could see me. . I looked down and she had the same look on her face. I reassured her it was ok and went back to watching.

That's when it happened. As the doctors were working their way through my wife's innards I felt a dull throbbing pain in the middle of my rib cage right under my heart. It kept on getting stronger and moving upward. I thought "I think I'm having a heart attack!!"

I kept on picturing the scene from one of my favorite movies, Blow. Johnny Depp's character, the biggest cocaine distributor of cocaine in America during the 70's and 80's, has a heart attack during the birth of his daughter. "It was the best feeling in my life abruptly followed by the worse feeling my life." Of course that dude was doing 10 grams of coke a day. . .

Right as I started thinking I should tell one of these fine medical professionals I thought I was going into cardiac arrest I heard a gasp and "Oh there's her butt" I popped up from my stool and saw half of my daughter and with a few good turns and a pull out she came. After that I didn't feel a thing. . .

Reagan Ann came into this world Friday the 13th (yeah some luck huh?) at 9:50 am. She weighted 6lbs 7 oz and was 18.75 inches long.

Reagan Ann 2 minutes old

The minute I saw her I feel in love. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! I guess some sort of irrantant was in the air because my eyes mysteriously misted up. . .I think the hospital should look into that. . .

On a side note; I think I missed my calling because I look awesome in scrubs!

Dad and Reagan

More to come from the hospital. .

More simple advice

Advice comes at you all the time when you have a pregnant wife. Friends, family and perfect strangers often feel the need to give you little pearls of wisdom. A lady in Wal-Mart talked to me about the third trimester and child birth for 10 minutes while my wife was in the bathroom. Sometimes you get great advice and sometimes you just smile and nod and think, "Wow, you are all kinds of crazy!"

As we enter the third trimester I find myself looking for more simple advice to help me through being a dad and raising my daughter. Honestly, I still really don't understand women, so how am I supposed to raise a little one? Through happenstance I got some advice from a combination of unlikely places and while a bit unconventional, I think it fits.

I listen to the Adam Corolla radio show every morning through Internet radio, and he has a theory about being a good dad to a daughter; Your only job is to keep them off the stripper pole. That's it! If you're daughter isn't serving up lap dances you've done a good job being a dad. You can also use it as a litmus test; By doing or not doing X will my daughter be pushed towards the stripper pole?

Yeah it's simplistic and doesn't address all of the intricate issues that exist between dads and daughters but I think it's a great overlying theory.

The other day my best friend Jason sent me one of those emails with fake motivational posters. One fit the Stripper Pole theory of daughter raising all too well. . .

strippersNow I'm not saying strippers are bad people. Everyone has to make a buck, and I'm not one to judge. Nor am I saying stripper's dads are horrible dads devoid of love. But you have to face the fact: If your daughter is taking her clothes off for money, somewhere along the line, no matter how much you loved her, you f*cked up buddy!

It's the same with people who have substance abuse issues. My wife and I love the show Intervention on A&E (it makes me feel better about the problems in my life). As they tell their life stories either there is divorce or some form of abuse that leads to these people using drugs and alcohol. As it begins we'll say to each other "So you think it was divorce or molestation?" It's sad but true.

The actions of mom and dad have huge effects on their kids. In order to be more educated about the subject I bought a book on the relationships between dads and daughters, I'll let you know all about it in a future post. Until then, I am sticking with the Stripper Pole Theory.

The Big Ultrasound

Ever play pong?  Yeah, the original home video game that consists of a ball being bounced between two paddles.  That was my wife on the subject of whether or not to find out the sex of our baby during the ultrasound at 20 weeks.  First it was yes, then no, then I would find out and not tell her, then I would find out and decorate the babies room and pad lock it (?) so she couldn't find out, then no, then yes.  Back and forth, back and forth for weeks.  The entire time I knew she would have to know, so I just smiled and nodded until she finally landed on "Yes".

I have said from the minute I found out about the pregnancy that our baby was going to be a girl.  See, up until pretty recently I was a raging asshole to women in my life.  I made huge mistakes, acted very inappropriately and did not care too much about the ramifications of my actions.  In the process I hurt the feelings of women from my past who cared a lot about me and did a lot of emotional damage.  I knew there is no way that Karma wouldn't let all of that just go by without some sort of cosmic balancing.  And truth be told I owe a debt that can never be repaid.  So I see it as only fitting that I have a daughter for my first.  Chances are I will have all girls!

On the other hand my wife said it was a boy.  She "just had a feeling" and some dreams that convinced her.  I know, very scientific methods used by both of us.  Not to sound cliche, but despite whatever we thought we just hoped for a healthy baby.  I'd be happy with either sex and so would she.  My wife and I sat in a darkened room, watching a tv screen while the ultrasound tech took all of the measurements for our little one.  We got to see the baby's feet, hands, face (which looks like a skeleton) spine etc.  Finally, the tech said "So, do you want to know the sex now"  Yes!! The suspense was killing us both (and she knew this so I think she was messing with us a bit).

She rotated the ultrasound wand and an undiscernable grey blob appeared on the screen.  "See those three white dots?  Those are herlabia forming".  OH SHIT I AM GOING TO HAVE A DAUGHTER! And ewww, I don't want to hear about her labia.  My daughter doesn't have women parts and isn't going to date until she's 30.

My wife erupted in tears!  She had secretly been routing for a girl  and only claimed it was going to be a boy just so she would "win" either way.  I love my wife; she cracks me up!

So without further ado:  Here is my daughter!

First Doctor Appointment

As soon as she could my wife called for an appointment to see her doctor.  Many home tests had confirmed she was going to be a mom but we wanted to make sure everything was kosher and we were on the right track.  I thought her head was going to explode when they told her they couldn't see her until her 8th week; about 2 weeks from when we found out!  She didn't like it, but she passed the time by taking more home pregnancy tests (?she already knew she was pregnant?) and reading all about our new baby.

I have decided that I am going to go to every doc appointment I can, so I cleared my schedule and went with her to our first one.  We went in and met the nurse, got some of the basic tests and stats out of the way and waited for the doc.  In actuality, the doc is really a midwife who my wife has been seeing for all her womanly needs since she has had womanly needs. She was nice, answered all of our questions, and gave us plenty of info and a parenting "starter pack".  All of this was great, but we were there for one thing: the ultrasound.  Normally they don't do the ultrasound unless you request it, and yes it did cost us $45!  Are you kidding me?  $45 to see a picture of my developing baby?  I'm in!

I won't walk you through the how (it gets a little graphic), but eventually, we got to see a picture of our baby.  Of course I had no idea what I was looking at so the doc had to show me what was going on.  So without further ado; here's the first pic of our kid:

More importantly, it looks like the baby is healthy and growing according to schedule.  We also dodged the twin bullet (they run in my wife's family); so only one baby!

Til next time,