Adding a third child to our family is pretty much the most exciting thing to happen to our family ever.
We’ll have a new human person to play with! Plus, both Beanie and Bug will be big siblings, completely changing their dynamic with us and each other, and the baby.
But besides excitement, I’m honestly feeling another emotion right now: anxiety. But not for the reasons you may think.
Sure, having another mouth to feed and behind to wipe and such is a daunting task. The responsibility is immense. But we’ve done that before. Twice. I’m not worried about that.
No, my anxiety is as much logistical as it is practical.
Our two kids both have their full calendars – daycare, soccer practice, swim lessons, birthday parties, playdates. After the baby is born, I’ll be “owning” those calendars for a while, preparing, packing, picking-up, everything.
Add a baby to the mix and I’m sincerely concerned about spending enough quality time with all three.
For dads of three (or more) – how do you balance time with all of your kids?
We all have them, but we don’t generally think, on a regular basis, about WHY we have them. And if you do, umm, ick.
Our belly buttons were our conduits to nutrients in utero. Not to be confused with In Utero. [Click the link to look it up, kids.] Basically, the umbilical cord connected us to placentas, which are so nutritious, some parents actually eat it. I’ll take a pass, but suit yourself. Chop off the cord, you get a belly button.
Here’s the crazy part:
Doctors and scientists still don’t know when you should separate baby from the placenta by clamping or cutting the cord. We’ve been at this birthing babies thing for a little bit of time, but this is still somehow up in the air.
A recent study showed something interesting: if babies are attached to the placenta via umbilical cord longer, it may provide cognitive benefits years down the road.
Over-simplifying: waiting a few minutes to cut can make your kid healthier and smarter.
On the other hand, babies can be deprived of oxygen during delivery and clamping the cord can apparently help doctors diagnose if that’s the case.
With our third kid arriving soon, we are discussing the talking points we’re going to share with the doctors and nurses in the delivery room. This study definitely gives us food for thought. Still not going to eat a placenta, though.
We worked really, really, really, really hard not to “genderize” our kids.
We had a simple philosophy: let them play and explore and be kids without forcing them into stereotypical gender roles.
Our son hosts intricate tea parties and likes bulldozers and firetrucks.
Our daughter is a rough-and-tumble kid who loves both Queen music and unicorns and rainbows.
So the next step after unicorns and rainbows is princesses. The classic princesses, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and the like, exist to be married to a prince. And that’s about it.
Disney has done such an incredible job over the past 20 years in reshaping the image of “princesses” to reflect so many cultures and ethnicities…but don’t neglect how they have also evolved into independent, skilled role models, like Merida and Mulan. When discussing the “princesses,” we focus on their talents and abilities, not just their partners.
Watching my daughter watch the first Star Wars was an amazing experience. Her world was literally expanding in front of her eyes. Light sabers, Jedis, SPACE! Her jaw was pretty much on the floor for the entire film.
But nothing topped “her.”
A princess like she had never seen before.
Princess Leia fought side-by-side not just WITH the heroes, but AS a hero.
You can use a dozen words to describe Princess Leia in the original Star Wars before you even begin to consider stereotypical femininity. Not that she isn’t feminine, but that is such a small part of her character in the first movie.
She was smart, strategic, aggressive, courageous, brash, witty, resourceful, perceptive, adventurous, commanding. To be honest, it’s easy to forget that she’s a princess.
For my daughter, this was the most amazing depiction of a “girl” on-screen she had ever seen. A princess that was the antithesis of dainty and proper opened new doors in her imagination.
In the two months since seeing the original Star Wars, she:
1) talks about Princess Leia just about every day
2) wants to dress up as her, hair and all
3) is now OBSESSED with space and astronomy. She has spent weeks learning about all the planets in the solar system.
The role models our kids choose for themselves shape how they view the world. Thank goodness my daughter chose Princess Leia and the light side of the Force.
Taking a tour of the hospital you will deliver in is legitimately important. Are you learning to actually BE a doctor on this visit? No. But spending an hour to reduce stress on, let’s call it “Game Day,” is worth the investment.
Truthfully, on “Game Day,” dads have a billion things going through their mind, from getting to the hospital to the health and well-being of mama bear and soon-to-be-birthed-baby-bear. Do anything that can declutter your brain so you can focus on the tasks at hand.
What do you get from this hospital tour?
Practice your driving route to the hospital (because…on “Game Day” you can’t waste a second using Google Maps. No parent wants a Car Baby.)
Get familiar with the parking procedures (because…hospital parking lots are uniformly THE DIRT WORST)
Understand how to best check-in (because…again, on “Game Day” you’ll want to shout the three words they need to hear at the front desk before letting you up to the Labor and Delivery Ward)
Visit all the rooms! (because…well, there isn’t much snark there. It’s good to see where your bundle of joy will pop into the world.)
Hear the idiosyncrasies of the hospital and how to avoid them (because…knowing they will charge you $20 for cable TV unless you tell them not to is a big deal, dammit!)
Learn what you need to pack in “the bag” (because…again, this is a lovely thing to review. Case in point, the hospital where #3 will be born changed what they provide since #2 was delivered there.)
JUDGE OTHER PEOPLE’S FITNESS AS PARENTS AND HUMAN BEINGS (because…let me elaborate below)
We have now done three hospital tours, one for each kid, and have collected a treasure trove of stories. To wit:
One father looked at the couch in the recovery room and repeatedly asked if he could bring in his own inflatable bed. And then started measuring the space. The dumbfounded tour guide stumbled through various versions of “no.”
One mother complained that while she was delivering her first child, she was surrounded by doctors the whole time. THAT’S WHY YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL! IF YOU DON’T WANT DOCTORS CHECKING ON YOU, HAVE A HOME BIRTH!
One father asked “for a friend” about how the hospital handles some truly horrific health conditions, while the smiling mother gave no craps and sucked on a lollipop. We moved a few steps away from them.
Too many families deep into the final trimester hadn’t yet begun to think about a pediatrician for their kid. [Hint: you need a pediatrician within like, two days of birth, so knock this out early.]
The stories go on. These true examples are universally horrendous, right? And these don’t even count the people that make “valid” parenting decisions that you and your partner disagree with vehemently. Like, things they are legally allowed to do, but the sheer thought of doing that with your family is nauseating.
Note: When you go in on “Game Day,” you will forget 99% of the things you learned on the tour. Don’t sweat it. Just remember to tell them no cable TV. Who wants to pay $20 for Law and Order reruns?
And we’re starting it all over again – when my wife gives birth to our third child – in a matter of days.
Perfect time to start a blog, right?
You may be asking yourself about the utterly pretentious name for this blog.
“The Best Dad Blog” is not a shy title. Nor is it true…I know I’m not the best dad; this is certainly not the best blog, either. But they are ideals to strive towards every single day. [Also, Search Engine Optimization for the win!]
How do I go about improving myself? And this site?
No clue. Yet.
But we’ll figure it out. And inch towards being a little bit better all the time.