One Day…

One day…

My last kid won’t let me pick him up.

(And one day, I won’t be able to even if I tried.) leg

My son won’t physically stop me from dialing into a work conference call.

He will let us get a good night’s sleep.

He will eat roasted chicken breast and not dinosaur chicken nuggets.

He will learn to use the potty. And wipe himself.

My third kid will talk in complete sentences without animal sounds in between every word.

He will run off to explore his world and I won’t instinctively panic.

He will realize not every color is “green.”

He will NOT tear the house apart looking for an imaginary dragon he dreamed about at naptime.

He will stop eating squeezie baby food.

He will think kale is delicious AND nutritious. And value both things equally.

He will get his own drink at Starbucks and stop beginning to share ours.

He will move from the crib that once belonged to his brother and sister to the toddler bed that once belonged to…his brother and sister. With a fresh coat of paint, of course.

He will stop using the plastic kiddie utensils for his Cheerios.

He will stop cuddling and snuggling and noseying.

One day he will grow up. And then the next day, a little bit more.

Those days will be bittersweet days.

More bitter than sweet.

And that’s OK.

That day, thankfully, is not today.

 

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Dad Survival Kit: 3am Baby Feedings

IMG_6347Whether your baby is nursed or bottle-fed, your new addition will need to eat in the middle of the night. Likely more than once.

For breastfed babies, like ours, Dad’s role is a little more defined than babies taking formula.

But no matter how your baby gets his or her sustenance, it’s important to be prepared for what happens when the inevitable 1am, 3am, 5am feedings come.

The following is your Dad Survival Kit on how to handle these feedings:

  1. Just Change the Diaper. I’m calling on Dads to do at least one thing for every middle of the night feeding: change the effing diaper. It’s not fun, but did you push a 6-10 pound human out of your body? No. So let Mamma Bear rest an extra minute while you wipe your child’s rear. Related: For those early weeks, have a makeshift changing table in your bedroom. The baby is likely your third roommate during that time, so putting a table in the corner with a table lamp will make life so much easier.
  2. Load the DVR. When baby is up, at least one parent, and likely both, will be up, too. And you will want something entertaining to watch in the middle of the night. Don’t get too aggressive, though. You may think this is the time to binge-watch Law & Order: SVU reruns. And you would be totally wrong. Remember, this is 3am we’re talking about,man. I recommend short, funny shows that can keep you entertained without requiring too much (read: any) brain power. Our favorites right now include @Midnight, Robot Chicken, and Caribbean Life.
  3. Snack Up. This is where it gets tricky. You are awake in the middle of the night, which means STAYING awake in the middle of the night. Much like an anesthesiologist that tries to give you the minimum amount of medication required for the entire period of performance, you need something to keep you going, without making it difficult to go back to sleep. We keep boxes of cereal on our nightstands to help fuel us for as long as needed. CAUTION: mindless munching makes it hard to get quality sleep afterwards, so limit your intake.
  4. Keep It Short. Become a Navy SEAL of parenting. Wake up, do your job as efficiently as possible, go back to sleep. You are lucky if you can get three straight hours of sleep, so don’t waste a single second of potential sleep by doing anything other than sleep.
  5. Communicate Expectations. There is no one right way to divide your parenting. But there are right ways for you and your partner – and they all center around effective communication. Talk through how you want to handle the middle of the night feedings BEFORE it’s 3am and you resent each other for not reading minds. Just talk it through.

This period of time is not easy at all. It will test your willpower. It will push your relationship to new levels.

Above all else, though, it should be happy.

Use this survival kit to keep it that way.

 

Baby Snuggles Are Magic

Newborns are hard.

Ridiculously hard.

They eat…constantly. They sleep…barely.

They spit-up.

They poop.

They pee.

They cry.

But they also do one thing that makes up for it: They snuggle.

Baby Snuggles: Magic. IMG_4067

When a baby curls up, head on your shoulders, bottom on your forearm, hands tucked under their body, there is nothing better for a parent.

Those moments override the stress and sleepiness of a baby’s first few days, replacing them with a rush of love and energy to get you through.

Over Squish’s first week of life, he has done the following things:

  • Prevented us from sleeping more than 2.5 hours in a row.
  • Peed on us. Multiple times. He has “after seeing a movie in a theater” amounts of urine.
  • Filled a diaper with nasty, watery poop. And then 30 seconds after we cleaned the mess, did it all over again.
  • Spit-up on us. A lot.
  • While laying flat on his back next to me, spit-up in the air and directly INTO MY MOUTH. MY MOUTH! [I was too amazed – and kinda proud – to be grossed out.]

None of this was anything close to pleasant.

But those snuggles, man…

Shortly after peeing on me twice within one diaper change today [I said he had insane amounts of space in his bladder], we laid down and he slept on me for an hour. I dozed off for just a few minutes, but those were freakishly restorative. And without a doubt, enough to power me through the rest of the day.

Like I said, baby snuggles are magic.

 

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7 Things Dads Must Do Before Baby Arrives

The end stage of pregnancy is strange for everyone involved. Momma Bear is uncomfortable (at best). And Poppa Bear is waiting on pins and needles for the new Baby Bear to arrive.

For Dads, it can feel like there is literally nothing to do at this point, as you wait for active labor or a scheduled Cesarean. [All of our kids were delivered via active labor, so that’s the perspective I can share.]

electronicsCharge Everything Every Day

Phones. Cameras. Laptops. Portables Speakers. Make sure that every device you will need on-site for delivery is at 100% charge. Also, put all of the cords in a bag you will take to the hospital/delivery center. Highly recommend a “dad bag” for such things.

Clear Device Memory

Memory cards, device memory – clear it all. Who wants to see “iPhone Memory Full” when you are taking pictures of your new bundle of joy? We have an external hard drive for all kid-related photos and videos. Makes it so easy to clear devices.

Just Choose Sleep

You’re holding on to the last vestiges of no children (or just one less than you currently do). I get it. But this is no time for binge-watching House of Cards, bud. Trust me, you will have plenty of time in the coming weeks, as babies LOVE letting you stay up all night. Keep your latest obsession for then. Plus, let’s just say Momma Bear is in active labor for a long time. You’ll wish you slept tonight instead of staying up to watch literally anything.

Bathe, Ya Filthy Animal

Once it’s go-time for delivery, you switch into Dad Mode. You’ll be at the hospital/birthing center where you are NOT the patient. They do not support you there, nor should they. Plus, after the baby comes, you won’t want to leave. So stay clean…it may be a while before you can freshen up you musk. [Note: toss some deodorant into the Daddy Bag. Please.]

Groom, Ya Filthy Animal

Chances are pretty damn high that over the next few weeks, you’ll be taking pictures you will cherish for a lifetime. Every day when you wake up past, say, 36 weeks into the pregnancy, you could end up meeting your baby for the first time. It’s an event you’d want to remember. So if you were thinking about getting a haircut, do it. If you were thinking experimenting with a new facial hair style, this may not be the time.

Stock the House

Hunting and gathering is part of our instinct. We want to provide for our families. And a new baby kicks those hard-wired instincts into high gear. However, this is the 21st century. As a modern dad, you want to bond with your baby over those precious few hours and days. The last thing you want to do is stand in line at the grocery store. Also, when the influx of friends and family come to see the baby – let them help you so you can stay home.

Support Without Overwhelming

Like I said above, this is a strange period of time in a woman’s pregnancy. Something little can mean EVERYTHING. And something that feels big can mean NOTHING. And since each pregnancy is different, even on Baby #3, like us right now, there are new experiences to be had. Your job is to support. Be calm. Ask questions. But don’t be annoying about it. Momma Bear likely has as many questions as you do. You aren’t a doctor (…unless you are, then, apologies, doc), you’re a dad-to-be. Enjoy the ride.