Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Son, In 26 Years

I wish I could see the future.

For myself - Where am I? What am I doing? How happy am I? Am I successful, healthy, wiser?

For my girlfriend -  Are we married.....nevermind, yes, we're definitely married.  Are we happily married? Is she spending her time how she wants to spend it?  Is she proud of her husband? Are we going where we want to go, when we want to go, and how we want to go?

For our son - What's he like? What's he into?  Is he like his dad? His mom? A little of both? Where does he live? What does he do for a living?  Is he happy, motivated, positive?  Does he look up to his parents?

I'm not a visionary, but I do know how I can all but guarantee that our son is living life the "right" way.  In fact, there's only one way.  And that's to be an example our son would be proud to emulate.

Simple question - "If my son or daughter were living how I'm living, would I be ok with that?"  I said simple - not easy.  That could certainly be a painful question for some.  I know for me there are certain things I would want him to copy, and certain things I would hypocritically teach him not to do.

I don't know what the world will be like when our son is my age, but I do know what type of world I'd like to create for him.  That part is up to me and mom.  We're responsible for shaping the type of man he'll hopefully grow into.  Its our job to imagine who we want our son to become, and then get busy being that!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who's Raising Who?

We're now officially passed the half-way point of the pregnancy.  And when I say "we" I mean "her".  I'm exactly as far along physically as I was 22 weeks ago.  Mentally?  Well, that's a different story.

Is it normal to gauge every decision on whether or not we would find it acceptable if our children were acting the same way?  When I find myself getting bent out of shape over something, I simply ask myself, "How would you feel if your son were reacting the same way to a similar circumstance?"  

Its become not just about being proud of myself, but being someone I not only want my son to be proud of, but someone he would be proud to emulate.  Isn't it strange how we grow up seeking our fathers approval, and then raise children that we hope are also proud of us?  Its a cycle that continues from generation to generation, from father to son, and so on and so on.

I've already started noticing the differences in my personality since finding out about impending fatherhood.  He's not here quite yet, but here's what I've learned so far:

  1. Our son will fill up a diaper, whether I enjoy the smell of excrement in the morning or not.  He doesn't need to adjust, I need to.
  2. They say 93% of communication is non-verbal.  Well that's not going to cut it considering 100% of their communication is non-verbal early on.  I've learned how to voice my opinion well, but acting out opinions in a game of baby charades is going to be a new experience.
  3. Mom is always right.  Enough said.
  4. My role is ever evolving.  There will be times when I need to play housekeeper, and times when I need to be the "boss", still second to Mom, but a boss nonetheless.  Being flexible is key.
  5. Being stupid is also ok.  If I need to put face paint on, bark like a dog, or dress up like Santa, than thats the breaks.  Being stupid for our sons enjoyment?  Priceless.
  6. Sleep is overrated.  I don't sleep much to begin with, which should help once baby makes landfall.  I'm being told I will have a new found respect for sleep once the baby is here.  We'll see.
  7. Being a "Stay At Home CEO" is going to be a huge advantage, with some disadvantages, all at once.
  8. Mom is always right.  Worth repeating.
  9. There will probably be a day where baby, Mom and dog are all crying, upset, and hungry.  My mission, which I've already accepted, is to be the cooler head.  Its my job to put one to bed, sooth another, and feed the no particular order.
  10. Its possible to read everything about fatherhood, and know absolutely nothing, yet feel excited about it at the same time.  

I still remember the first time I felt the baby kicking......well, not exactly kicking.  I've been feeling flutters for weeks, and the butterflies are in a frenzy for sure.  Its almost like interviewing for a job that you've already been hired for, that you're not entirely sure if your suited or prepared for.  You're grateful for the job, couldn't imagine not having it, but know there will be moments when you question your ability.  But the best approach - jump in head first, mom in one hand, baby in the other.  If this isn't "On-The-Job Training" I don't know what is.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Parents Scared Straight

We are to parenthood, what hurricane warnings are to Floridians.  The scare tactics companies (and close friends and relatives) use once learning we were having a baby boy are disrespectful, rude, imposing, negative.....and effective.

If there's not a YouTube video for "Crazy Sh*t New Parents Say", there should be...and there probably will be. With each week that passes by my partner in parenting gets a little bigger, slightly less mobile, and even more gorgeous than I thought possible.  She's amazing, and in spite of a full plate (sometimes literally) she's avoided binge eating on pickles, and hasn't had a serious case of morning sickness to date.  The one downside - as the due date nears, "our" fears grow alongside it.

I say "ours" en quote because I didn't even know we were suppose to worry about many of these things.  It's the classic case of "you don't know what you don't know" syndrome.  While I was skipping along ignorantly in bliss-land, she was consuming every baby book, magazine and newsletter available to her.  Most of which are filled with extremely helpful information that I'll learn the hard way, I'm sure.  I still think I prefer that method over the scared straight program aimed at unsuspecting new parents like myself.  Things I know for a fact that OUR parents and grandparents never had to consider.....and are likely laughing over at this very moment.

Here's my list of  "Ridiculous Sh*t New Parents Have To Worry About in 2012":

- Crib bumpers are now a serious health hazard, and even banned in certain states.

- Multiple air bags in car seats.....which should only be installed by a fire fighter, or someone certified to install baby car seats, who has at least 6 children of their own.

- Air quality in the baby's room.  And stressing the importance of an air purifier and humidifier in their room.  What's next?  The Toddler Sauna System by Whirlpool??

- Anything and everything that moves needs anti-lock breaks.  That means strollers, bassinets, swings, those bouncy seats, etc.  Until they reach the age of which point we just put the wheels directly into their shoes.

- Motion sensors under their mattress to detect lack of movement.....isn't the whole point of a mattress to get them to stop moving?

- Organic bed sheets, clothes, soap...and everything for that matter.  If its not organic they may morph into some type of mutant zombie baby.

- Baby wipe warmers, because parents prefer a diaper change to more closely resemble a spa experience for their little one.

- High chairs with or without the iPod dock??  As if getting kids to eat healthy wasn't hard enough - now we have to make sure their pureed carrots come with a touchscreen tv. (Not happening)

- Aroma baby bath salts.

I should probably mention that as much as I make fun of all the insanity that comes along with parenting warnings, I've bought into most of them.  I figure organic baby food may cost more, and may not make a huge difference, but if it helps even a minuscule amount - why wouldn't I?  I guess that's why we fall into most of these traps.  The majority of "New Age Parents" gladly pay the price associated with being paranoid parents.  The risk of doing nothing is too great.

Sure, my parents probably had no idea that warm wipes were more comfortable for me as a baby....but they probably didn't care either.  Not in a bad way, but in a "you'll be fine without all that jazz" kind of way.  I'm not sure if it's totally out of hand yet - but it's certainly heading in that direction.  I'm all about safety and using technology to improve the growth of our children.  But more than anything else I fear over technology, a lack of self reliance, and over coddling kids these days.

What are some of your legitimate fears, and some that you're sure are overboard?