“We should get a puppy.”
“And have a baby?”
“And buy a house.”
“Huh? But we got the puppy and the baby.”
“The house is for them”
“…what do I get?”
Who says, “Let’s get a puppy, get pregnant, have a baby, buy/build/move into a new home” all in like a year? This family.
So… we’ve moved!!! And we did it all with a baby! “That doesn’t sound hard” you say?! “Stop fishing for compliments” you say?! What if I told you we didn’t hire movers? What if I told you that after dealing with builders for 6 months, an annoying flooring company, and painters all with a baby strapped to my chest, that I boxed the contents of a two bedroom apartment every day for two weeks and transported it all to our new home across town with a Hyundai Elantra? Aaaaand, on the last day of using said Elantra to move it started to break down with me, Emma, and a bunch of our crap inside, the result being that I had to switch to an even smaller Mazda 3…. ‘CUZ THAT ALL HAPPENED! Oh… and I had to keep working to boot.
Now, having work done on a house, you might think it’s emasculating to speak to a bunch of dudes working with power tools, doing back breaking work, making a living off the sweat of their brow all while carrying a baby in a daddy saddle. Not, really, no, because I’m paying them to be there so I will call out every late arrival, ding, chip, splatter, etc. until I am satisfied that the home we’re building for our daughter is perfect in every way. Plus, I kind of wore Emma as a badge and a shield, simultaneously; everyone who we hired would know or soon find out that I was a picky and particular father, but would they dare argue with (or God forbid hit) a dude carrying a baby?
(Actually, our flooring guy did… I won’t be recommending them. Just you wait till my Yelp review!)
I’m like those parents you see at the mall or zoo who use their kid’s strollers like a battering ram to break through crowds. Yes… I too, am an ass.
Seriously, though, a lot of that was done with Baby Emma strapped to me. Last time I discussed the benefits of the daddy saddle and these past couple of weeks while moving boxes it really came in handy. However, due to the location of my baby girl being right dead center of my chest, I ended up balancing boxes on my head like some sort of primitive early version of man. I was definitely the gathering kind, not the hunters, all the while grunting out my monosyllabic disdain for manual labor and cursing the California Sun for being 80 degrees in October. The fact that our apartment was like 3000 miles from our parking spot didn’t help. Moving to a home where you can park INSIDE is amaze-balls. The whole process of emptying the apartment was this arduous task that spanned two weeks and felt like carrying the one ring through Mordor, my precious Emma just getting heavier and heavier.
We’re here now though, and harness got me through it all without having to abandon Emma to the elements. I also have to give a special thanks to our friends who helped us move the big stuff. They’re the best and there’s not enough Thai food that could ever repay their generosity.
Well, all that being said, I haven’t had a lot of time to organize my thoughts on the whole experience of parenting while pack-muling to our new home. So I’m posting a little poem I wrote for Emma about one the grossest, yet satisfying experiences I’ve had as a parent so far- picking her nose. Seriously, it’s so sickly satisfying.
I’ll Pick Your Nose
An Ode to My Daughter
Never fear my daughter!
In my duties,
I shall not falter.
I, your father,
shall pick your boogies
so you breathe without a bother.
Boogie Picking Daddy
I’m not a poet.
So what’s the grossest thing that you have to do for your child that is oddly satisfying? Comment down below or as always, feel free to hit us up on Facebook or Instagram.
“… Seriously? In the car seat? Well, a boat load of responsibility and a woeful longing for solitude and crapping with the door shut.”
“OOH! Let me see!”
“Back up you old bitty!”
I wanted to discuss how the elderly behave as if they have a right to my child when they see us out in public. They see the car seat and flip out like someone just said they were getting a new hip for free. I wonder if they would be so demanding and invasive if I was a mother. My theory is that they’re trying to get close enough to suck the youth out of my daughter’s breath, like that Goblin in “Cat’s Eye.” I’m not going to write about that, though. We’ve hit the 17 week mark and $#!& has hit the fan.
Everything I’ve written about calming and soothing can go right down the crapper. Emma has started rolling over and now it’s like everything about her is different. She doesn’t want to be cradled. She’s completely abandoned the week and a half of scheduled nap times I’ve had her on. She doesn’t want to finish a bottle in one sitting, preferring to take little sips throughout the day, resulting in a bottle of milk reaching the 5 hour mark of un-refrigeration, the point of spoiling according to our baby making class. My baby… likes to take her milk to the point of expiration. (Coincidentally, that’s how I drink a beer; nursing it till everyone around me complains about how warm my drink is. Mind your business! It’s not like you’re drinking it.)
Anyways, sometimes I feel like I’m back to knowing nothing about my child and I’ve been needing my wife’s help figuring out 17 week old Emma. The upside to all her development is that she’s starting to look more and more like a real person. You know what I mean, right? Newborns and infants are weird… they just flop around and their facial features haven’t filled out yet. They’re a little alien. At 17 weeks, though, Emma’s face is filling out, she’s cooing up a storm, rolling around, actually grabbing for all her toys that have sat around collecting dust for the past year, waiting for her to be born and then grow up enough to notice them. Oh! And she found her feet! That’s adorable right there!
The biggest difference in her now is how curious she is. She wants to sit up or try to stand, be held in a manner where she can look around, and she hates going to sleep. She just wants to be up all the time, especially when she’s tired. That’s when the crap hits the fan. I know you’re tired! YOU KNOW YOU’RE TIRED!!! JUST SLEEP!!!
The new “binky” this week is her harness. It lets me carry her so she can look out at the world and watch everything I’m doing while freeing me up to actually do said things. It’s extremely useful. We have two harnesses, because we had to buy one that fits an infant. She didn’t fit in the one we put on our registry. We chose it because it has this awesome hood with animal ears. ANIMAL EARS!! From behind she might look like a bear or a Pokemon or something. I don’t know because she’s not big enough for it yet. A word to the wise- make sure you buy a harness that fits your baby. The daddy saddle, as I like to call it, kind of reduces me to nothing more than a means of transportation, a sort of weirdo centaur-like beast- half man, half horse, half dad- to take her from room to room so we can play with the same toys, read the same books, and listen to the same lullabies over and over and over, but I’m OK being nothing more than a baby taxi if it can quell a screaming tantrum.
Now I’ve had several side glances and smirks thrown my way by moms, random ladies just passing by, and bros with tiny dogs. Fine, whatever. Judge me in my daddy harness. I’m proud to have full mobility of my upper limbs. I join the ranks of other giants with tiny jockeys like Krang’s Android Armor, Master Blaster, Willow and Madmartigan, Hodor and Bran… Seabiscuit and Tobey Maguire. Being judged for being an attentive and caring father with a child strapped to him like a suicide bomber’s vest is not my concern.
Since it frees up my arms to work, I thought about doing some illustrations while ferrying my girl about. I tried a little digital painting without the harness for last week’s image of me fighting Emma’s symbiote dookie. Unfortunately, I was holding her in my lap while trying to work… needless to say I’ll never do that again. It resulted in a muddy image and a crap ton of frustration. But it was an experiment in mobile art- can I draw and paint while holding a baby?… hell no. Next time I’ll try drawing while harnessed.
Another upside to having a harness it that Emma will fall asleep in it easier than me trying to rock her @$$ out while holding her in a way that she hates… and she hates every way that I hold her this week.
One of my best buds who’s also a new dad JUST sent me this harness/baby seat/fannypack thing that he got from Kickstarter called TushBaby and I have to say it’s pretty damn useful. It doesn’t give you as much freedom as a harness, but it’s easier to put on and take off, and doesn’t result in you and your baby overheating from her being stuck to you like Kuato from Total Recall. Essentially, your baby is perched like a gargoyle on this seat sticking out of your hip while you steady them with one arm. It also has storage! So I can put my phone, keys, pocket knife, etc all in there and travel a little lighter sans diaper bag or car seat. I haven’t had the guts to wear it in public yet, but I’ll try it this weekend and let you know if anyone laughs at me.
If you’re on the go a lot or need to free up your arms, but you can’t step away from your kiddo for a while try a harness. Happy parenting!
I wanted to write about other topics but I’ve been burdened by a very specific subject this week. I feel like I should have written about this earlier and I meant to eventually get to it, but since I’ve been victimized several times by the same assailant the past few days, I might as well just tackle it now while it’s fresh in my mind. I’m talking about secret poops and poo creeps.
You might be asking yourself “What’s a secret poop?” “How can a poop be secret? I mean you got the diapers with the blue line that tells you when they’re soiled. Then there’s the smell. What’s so secret about poops? How do you not know your baby’s dirty? What are you, a bad parent?”
It’s not that easy. First of all, screw you, don’t judge me. Secondly… I hate poop. All poop. My wife knew this and tortured me with the thought of dirty diapers for nine months. She was relentless. She was mean. She took her knowledge of my unnaturally strong aversion to poop and she used that to torment me by constantly reminding me that babies poop… a lot.. It’s ironic really, that I became the primary diaper changer.
I mention this because it’s not just stinky diapers and dirty wet wipes that have invaded my day to day operations. There’s also poo escapees. In the past, I’ve mentioned blowouts and projectile poop and how fun those can be. Those are poops that escape the security of a diaper. Secret poops are less obvious. They too, are poo escapees and they’re just what they sound like- a poop that exists in complete secrecy. One day you’re doing the dad thing, parenting away, and then all of a sudden you need to change a diaper. You do your best to clean everything up and just as you’re about to fasten that last Velcro strap, WHAM… how’d that poop get on your foot, baby girl? And on the back side of your thigh? And your tummy… and hand… AND OH MY GOD IT’S ON MY HAND!!!! IT’S EVERYWHERE!!!!
Secret poop. It just shows up. How much random poop do I have floating around my person? Am I filthy? Is my daughter dirty? AM I BAD DAD BECAUSE I COULDN’T FIND ALL THE POOP?!
I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW!
I do know that poo escapees don’t stop at these gross little ninja particulates. There’s also poop creep. Poop creep is that little bit of filth that creeps out from the side of your kid’s diaper… yeah, the expensive name brand diaper that you so meticulously fastened to your child to secure all that filth to their body. Here’s how I discovered poop creep.
We were having hardwood floors installed in our house and as the “work-from-home dad with the flexible schedule who does all his work at night anyways “ I spent my days dealing with the flooring installers. If I was lucky, Emma stayed calm in her car seat as I carried her from room to room inspecting the day’s progress… or problems (but that’s a different story). She has a love/hate relationship with that car seat. She loves to hate it. For the most part, she was great. Except one day she let out a little cry, and like I do, I plucked her from that car seat as fast as I could to get her to hush up.
I did the whole, “my forearm is a bench seat” type hold… you know where they just cop a squat on your forearm like a parrot? Well I held her in one arm, then once I got tired I switched arms. In the process of moving her I noticed it. The smell. The distinct smell that parents with older children say, “Oh, it doesn’t smell like anything. Wait till they get on solid food.”
The hell it doesn’t!
My baby’s dook, though she’s on a milk only diet, smells like so many different foods… combined with crap. The most prevalent smell is that of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Ruined for me. Other foods that have been ruined by my baby’s poop scent shifting abilities are caramel corn, caramel apples, and buttered baked goods. I can no longer eat any of that without calling to mind a filthy diaper. Do you know how often Costco has caramel corn on sample? ALL THE TIME! Now the holidays are rolling in they have caramel apple samples and all sorts of baked goods to try. Holidays…ruined.
So I smell that faint Kraft mac and cheese odor while shifting arms and immediately knew we had a dirty diaper to contend with. I wasn’t sure if she had a blow out or what, but in situations like that you sniff around like a bloodhound looking for clues. I did that weird parent thing where I lifted her up and sniffed. I SNIFFED. I hate seeing people do that and now that’s me. It’s not OK for people to sniff each other like dogs. I digress. Where I noticed the smell wasn’t where I would expect a blowout (which can pop up in the front or back, like God is playing a cruel trick on you). No, the smell was coming from my forearms… MY FOREARMS!
Did I mention my aversion to poo. NOW I’M LITERALLY UP TO MY ELBOWS IN IT. IT’S ON MY SKIN!!! WHERE ELSE IS IT!!??
So now I have to talk to this guy about flooring and why my baseboards aren’t perfect all the while smelling like Krap mac and cheese. “Does he know I have a thin film of crap on me? He’s not being very helpful… I should hug him.” Inside I’m freaking out. I rush home, clean the baby, clean myself, and wait for Kelly to get home so I can sneak off and eat my feelings.
So now, do I really want to post this to the world? Yes. This is my PSA to new dads. Be vigilant and never drop your guard or else you may find yourself covered in a thin film of poop creep.
Do you have any experience dealing with over exposure to your child’s excrement? I’d love to hear about it! Or if you’re a parent with tips and tricks on how to entertain a four month old or keep sane feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page.
“Hey babe, do you think the baby is ok? She’s wrapped up kind of tight?”
“Yeah, she’s fine. Is she crying?”
“That’s because I swaddled her up tighter than a double meat quesorito with guac at Chipotle. …guac is an extra two…”
” I KNOW GUAC IS AN EXTRA TWO DOLLARS!”
And that’s how quickly you can get back to living life once you’ve mastered your swaddling skills. As a new dad, the swaddle is one of your primary defenses against a crying baby. It’s one of my “binky” techniques I used to soothe Emma when she would freak out for no apparent reason. She’s too big to be swaddled now, but for the first two and half/three months after she was born she would need to be swaddled up to fall asleep.
I guess the reason it works is because restricting their range of motion reminds them of being back in the confines of the womb. That makes sense; the first three months of a baby’s life have been referred to as the “fourth trimester” …since babies are utterly incapable of survival without parents, a wolf pack, or gorilla to adopt them and raise them to be the hero of the jungle, so feeling like they’re back in the womb must be a comfort to them.
Kelly and I learned the proper technique for swaddling in our baby making classes, though there has been some debate, I’m told, as to how tight to actually bind your child into submission. I’ll go over the general maneuver, you decide how safe you want to be. I suggest taking a class or talking to your pediatrician about what they consider to be “correct.” If you break your kid it’s not on me.
So you start with a large square cloth, that’s the swaddle. They come in a range of styles and patterns. I recommend something basic,, but one with a bit of texture in the weave, though. That’s going to come in handy when your kid tries to struggle free from your loving embrace. They’ll squirm, they’ll fidget, and ultimately they’ll tucker themselves out when that texture starts to stick to itself like velcro. Texture.
First, lay out your square nice and flat so it’s rotated 45° (like a diamond.) Then fold down the top corner. How much you fold over depends on how big your swaddle and your baby are. Above this little fold is where your baby’s head rests when the mummification soothing begins. Second, once you have your baby in place, wrap one side over and behind your kiddo. I found that rolling Emma on to her side allowed me to really tuck that sucker behind her. Lock it in good because babies will pull some David Blaine Houdini crap on you as soon as you turn your back. I’ve had many a night ruined by a weak and lazy swaddle. Ok, step three, gently roll baby back so they’re flat again. Now take the bottom corner and fold it up over and behind the opposite shoulder of the first fold. I’ve found this fold to be the weakest point in my swaddle. You need to make sure you have enough material to tuck behind them so they don’t kick it all loose. Finally, wrap the fourth and final corner over and around baby then tuck it up under itself on the topside. That’s it. Easy, right? Maybe for you but it took me two weeks to master. I clearly remember the night I got it- it was out of pure frustration. During the midst of a screaming fit I had decided that tighter was better and I was going to wrap up my little chunky monkey like a pig in a blanket. Which, I might add, was nowhere near as tight as the nurses had her swaddled when she was born. Unwrapping that first clinically applied swaddle was like unboxing a new iPad that craps on you. The packaging was immaculate! Over time, we developed various styles of swaddle to accommodate Emma’s growth and arm movements. She got to a point where if her arms were confined she took it out on us like we owed her money. So we employed the toga swaddle and the mermaid swaddle. These seemed to work; as long as her legs were bound but her arms were free she would stay calm. We tried other products that make swaddling easier. Like this big velcro swaddle sac. Emma, true to her nature, hated it, like she hates anything that simplifies parenting for us. Also, the first time we washed it the Velcro stuck to all her trifolds and clothes. It tangled up everything, ruining my life. On a final note, we were told to stop swaddling when baby starts to roll over because it poses a suffocation risk. We stopped before that because Emma just sort of outgrew it and as soon as I can start cutting steps out of my routine, dammit I’m going to. I hope this helps. Swaddling is your friend- learn it. Use it. Happy parenting!
If you have any advice or tips that your want to offer feel free to leave a comment down below or on our Facebook page.
Welcome back to my life as a stay-at-home dad / work-from-home illustrator. I’d like to describe for you my experiences communicating with people who refuse to speak the same language as you. People like my child. Granted, it’s not her fault; she’s fourteen weeks old. Words aren’t her thing. Heck, baby sign language isn’t even her thing. Her thing is crying. Yes, crying. SURPRISE! The language that every baby is born knowing. You actually anticipate that first wail during childbirth. It lets you know that, “OK, so far so good. My baby is alive. Her lungs work and she’s expressing some sort of feeling right now. Boy, I hope she quiets down soon.” The last part never happens. But it’s like I’m learning a new language! You know how people say if you spend six months in a foreign country you can pretty much learn the language? Well, the same is true for babies. At first, it’s like speaking to someone with a one-word vocabulary, but they use the hell out of that one single word. I mean, they can hold conversations… long conversations where they’re just talking at you. They don’t care what you have to say, but dammit you’ll hear them out. With her monosyllabic rapport my baby lets me know when she’s hungry, dirty, bored, tired, or just generally displeased with my parenting services. In fourteen weeks, I’ve learned the subtle differences in her cries. To the untrained ear it’s all just blood curdling noise that leads one to believe that I’m a crap father. False. Not True. Fake news. Babies can be complicated in so much that they’re finicky, fussy, mood swing-y, constantly pooping, and all-around exhausting. But they have a pretty limited number of M.O.’s. Here’s what I’ve gathered:
Their diaper is dirty
They’re mentally or physically uncomfortable
I like to sing a little tune to my girl when she’s fussy. It helps me run through my list and it kind of entertains her. It goes like this: Whatcha doin’ in the world, baby girl, whatcha doin’ in the world? Whatcha doin’ in the world, baby girl, whatcha doin’ in the world? I give you drinky. I change your stinky. I give you binky. Whatcha doin’ in the world, baby girl, whatcha doin’ in the world? I suffer from some sort of musical Tourette’s Syndrome. My wife is catching it as well; but that’s how I run through my check list.
That’s it. Pretty simple really. Solving how to attend to these basic needs has been the interesting part. It’s like a puzzle, but one where the clues and answers change over time. So, what works one week might not work the next, so you need to really pay attention to how your kid is changing. You can see it in their eyes. It’s like every month they wake up and a new part of their brain is turned on. They’re more curious, more aware, and more deliberate with their cries. For a hungry baby, you might think the solution is obvious- feed your kid… fool. For the most part yes, but dammit there’s a lot to it. New dads, you can’t breast feed. Shocking, I know. This means that your wife is most likely pumping like she works at a dairy as a prized heifer. DO NOT CALL YOUR LADY A PRIZED HEIFER. I haven’t tried it, but I know it wouldn’t end well. You may be relying on formula, which can be expensive. I recommend someplace like Costco to buy formula in bulk or try a monthly renewal service through Amazon. If not to save money, then just to ensure that you have enough on hand- time can get away from you, then suddenly, before you know it you’ve used up all your formula, and you don’t want to be up the creek without a paddle. Personally, we use Enfamil. Then there’s different types of formula to consider. They have some to ease digestion, some that are non-dairy, in case your new child, who completely subsists off milk… can’t have milk? We thought that was the case with Emma. Either she had colic or was allergic to dairy. “WTF?” I asked her pediatrician. “What do we feed her if she can’t have the one thing God intended her to have?! It’s not like she has teeth yet! I’m not gonna go and blend up chicken and peas every day. She eats every two hours!” Yeah, babies eat a lot. But as it turns out, some babies have an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk. Emma’s mom just had to cut out milk from her diet, so it didn’t end up in her …milk. Our pediatrician gave us this Enfamil formula because it lacks that dairy protein. It’s more expensive than the formula that has milk proteins, but thankfully it turned out that she doesn’t have that particular allergy after all. We thought we had figured out the cause of her colic-like behavior and I pretty much have my mom to thank for the discovery. Let me tell you about THAT! My mom is a new grandma and super excited to be one. She came out to visit her granddaughter when Emma was about eight weeks old and at the time we were giving baby girl about 2 ounces of milk or formula in a feeding (following recommended guidelines). My mom, like any good Italian mother, fed my child until she was “satisfied.” “I just fed her ‘till she stopped eating. She’ll let you know when she’s done. She pushes the bottle out of her mouth with her tongue. Don’t worry… she’ll let you know.” This went on for about a week and it seemed to work. Whatcha doin’ in the world baby girl? Ah… the drinky. Then my mom left… a day early, I might add, like she knew something was up. The next morning, while changing Emma’s diaper, she projectile pooped EVERYWHERE! IT WENT ACROSS THE ROOM. I tried to contain it with a wet wipe, but dear Lord, the force sprayed it back at me. It got on her changing table, the blinds, the wall her tuccas was pointed at four feet away, her crib, and her brand-new wicker hamper. WICKER! I’m still finding poop splashes in the wicker. It’s never gonna come out from all the crevices. Somehow it got under the lid. My kid can poop THROUGH solid objects! AAAAND it’s white wicker so you know it’s poop when you see it. “Hey guys, where’d you get the polka dot wicker?” “Oh… it’s, um… homemade.” My mom knew what she was doing. She had three of her own kids, there’s no way she didn’t know Emma would pop like a poo piñata. That was some sort of payback for years of me being …well, me. Which leads to my next point- the stinky. Dirty diapers aren’t always accompanied by tears and tantrums. Sometimes my kid is just happy to be sitting in her own filth. In fact, the only time she really giggles is when I put her down to change her. Like it’s a game. “Maybe I poop on daddy, maybe I don’t.” It’s been horrifying ever since the poo-splosion. We tried cloth diapering for a while. My wife loved these cloth diaper shells. They grow with your child, but we couldn’t keep up with the amount of laundry we had. Plus, Emma was getting crazy diaper rash until we started using these super absorbent reusable charcoal inserts. Still, the laundry was getting out of control. For any new dads, kids poop a lot. I was told by clinical professionals that when you have a breast-fed child they might not poop for like a day or two and not to worry because this is normal. Breastfeeding is more “biocompatible” with your child’s digestive system. LIES, MAN. LIES! Expect to change a diaper at least 8 times a day. Butt… a dirty diaper can be upsetting to your kid. Again, we use Costco to stock up on either their brand or Huggies. The nice thing besides convenience is that they have a little yellow stripe that turns blue when they’re soiled. Butt… if you can cloth diaper I highly recommend it because a standard disposable diaper takes 500 YEARS to biodegrade. That means your dookie and your kid’s dookie and their kid’s dookie and probably their kid’s kid’s dookie will all still coexist on this planet long after y’all are dead. We fully plan on going back to cloth once Emma isn’t trying to set records for how many times she can go in a day. Whatcha doin’ in the world baby girl? Ah, the binky. If your kid’s not hungry or dirty they probably need to be soothed. I rely heavily on binkies, or pacifiers, plus it goes with my song. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with decorations and whatnot. Now, our pediatrician told us not to rely on them because it will confuse a breastfed baby about which nipple is the right nipple or something. Rubbish I say. If it soothes my baby to the point of silence, then I’m using it. And I’ll tell ya what, she wasn’t confused about whose nipple is whose. But when I use the term “binky” it’s really a metaphor for “soothe.” What can you do for your baby to soothe him or her? Some folks can rock their kid to sleep. We have a glider in Emma’s room for just such occasions. It doesn’t work on her, but it may for you. We also tried a couple of motorized bouncers by Fisher Price and Graco. I really liked the one by Graco. It was a little expensive, but it did sooo much!!! I wish they made an adult sized one. Alas, Emma hated it. What works for her is a combination of binky and core ball. I spend many, many, many evenings cradling her while bouncing on a core ball we bought for my wife’s delivery. Let me take a second to talk about that. As an expectant dad you’ll come across these lists of things to bring to the hospital for when your wife goes into labor. This list will include things like scented massage oils, slippers, snacks for you which you must go eat in the hall or something because your wife can’t eat so don’t be an ass and eat in front of her. Sometimes the list, like the one we had, include a core ball. I bought it on Amazon and it came with a pump. Super stoked, I packed up the hundred or so items that the internet told me to bring and when the day came we didn’t use a single thing we brought. I did end up unboxing the core ball on a whim just to see if bouncing on it while cradling her would soothe my little girl. Whattaya know, I’m a freaking genius. But now she’s so used to being held and bounced that that’s the only way she’ll fall asleep. She’s such a princess. Keep in mind, that if you bounce your kid, you need to support their little wobbly heads and do little, soft, rhythmic bounces. You don’t want to give your kid whiplash or shaken baby syndrome. That being said, I’m not responsible for what happens to your child if you’re off bouncing on this like a cracked-out kangaroo in a bounce house. Be smart about it. Another very useful tip is to burp your kid. A lot of times my girl just has a big ol’ burp stuck in her belly and as soon as she lets it out she’s good. If nothing works, your kid might have colic. Since we ruled out milk allergies, and once I’ve gone through my drinky, stinky, binky list there are nights where my baby screams like she’s being murdered. It rips at the soul to hear it, because there’s nothing you can do to calm her. Colic is when your child screams relentlessly for no reason at all for an extended period. We learned about the “5 S’s” in our new parent classes. They stand for 1. swaddle, 2. stomach or side, 3. Shush, 4… shhhhhhit, I can’t remember. But that all only worked for about a week when Emma was born. Essentially, you wrap up your kid like a burrito (which is one thing that continued to work until she got too big and started busting out), then you hold them on their stomach or side, and as loud as they’re crying you shush them in their ear. This simulates the sounds they hear in the womb. I remember the 4th- sway… or shake. It can’t be “shake” … there’s a syndrome that goes with that. Basically, gently rock your burrito baby while shushing them on their stomach or side. It didn’t work for us. I did download this white noise app for my phone. My wife has it, too, but I have an old Galaxy Note 3 that is now a dedicated white noise machine/lullaby player that goes wherever Emma goes. We just want to make sure we’re never without it because it’s worked wonders for us. She’s catching on, though. I think she knows she’s not in the womb anymore. She likes to freak out in the evening, especially if daddy wants to have a drink or if we want to go out to eat. If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that our pediatrician says that colic and fussy babies grow up to be smart adults! We’ll see. I know that’s a lot, but I hope if you’re a new parent or an expecting parent you got some good tips out of this. There is hope, you’re not alone, and if you have a baby with colic it gets easier. You eventually figure out what they want (that week) and maybe get used to the crying. Crying is just how babies communicate. Speaking of communicating, I should communicate to you that I’m trying to make a little scratch off this site. I had Google AdSense for about an hour, but it littered my site with ads and I can’t put people through that. The product links are affiliate links to things we’ve tried ourselves. If you want to know more about them feel free to message me on Facebook or email. Also, some of the pictures might end up available for print or as a t-shirt:) That’s it for now. Keep calm and keep on parenting.
“Hey babe, what would you think if I started a blog about my experiences as a stay-at-home / work-from-home dad?”
“I think that would be great, babe.”
That’s how this all began. Well, that, and trying for while to have a baby and then having said baby- our adorable little Emma. Then I posted my idea to Facebook, on my private wall, on a personal account, asking only my friends if they would read an illustrated blog about my new life as a stay-at-home dad/artist. I told myself that if ten people said yes then I’d give it a go. Well, ten freaking “friends” said yes. At first I was thrilled. No one ever reads my posts, let alone responds to them. At most I get like three pity comments.
“Wow!” I thought “This is gonna be a hit!”
Two days later this is my fourth attempt at a post. On top of that I told people that it would be illustrated. Flippin’ brilliant, Chris! It’s not like you don’t have enough to do already.
Why has it taken me four attempts? Well, my first post was, as my wife pointed out, a stream of consciousness. I didn’t think I wanted that to be my introduction to the world of blogging. Also, as she was reading it I tracked how many times she laughed. If she laughed at least three times I would feel fine about what I wrote. Three little, tiny, itsy bitsy chuckles later I thought I was golden.
“$#*€ YES I’M A WRITER!”
Then she called it a stream of consciousness. She insisted that she enjoyed it, but “stream of consciousness?” I’m not trying to be POTUS, here. I need more structure than that.
Then over the next two days I was thinking about organizing my thoughts (I wasn’t actually organizing them, I was just thinking about what I was thinking. This is why I never get anything done. I’ve incepted my own damn mind and I must have gotten stuck somewhere).
While organizing my thoughts I had ALL the emotions you could possibly have in two days. Parenting does that. Late one night, after a long day of our little girl screaming for no apparent reason my wife looked at me and, seeing a defeated man, suggested that maybe we put her in the daycare at her work.
“Are you crazy?!” I said, “I just started a blog on parenting. I can’t quit now. I still need to post my first blog!” I have thirteen weeks of wisdom to impart on the world and, yes, you’re welcome.
(Crap… this will just be another stream of consciousness. Which, if I was speaking, would be considered verbal diarrhea. Speaking of poop, let’s discuss parenting, which is why we’re all here.)
Why am I really doing this? Because I recently became a father, hence the poo hook. I change a crap ton of diapers (pun intended) on the daily trying to keep my little girl happy and clean. I’m also a freelance illustrator who is solidly between projects and thinking that illustrating a blog will scratch a lot of mental and emotional itches that I’m having at the moment. It’s definitely not to fill any free time because my thirteen week old doesn’t give me any.
Also, I don’t know any other stay at home dads. This may be a cry for help or just a call to arms for any guys out there trying to make a living while raising their progeny. There aren’t a lot of resources in my small Central California town that I could find for guys in my position so I’d imagine that there aren’t that many in other towns. I think there’s also a bit of a stigma surrounding the whole stay-at-home dad thing. I know I’ve already encountered my fair share of backhanded compliments or off-color statements. If you’re a guy who’s not pulling in the majority of revenue for your household people definitely look at you a little differently. That could just be my own perception, though, or me projecting some insecurities.
I hope to explore all of that in future writings. That, and share my experiences with anyone looking for insight about balancing a home business while parenting, curious about raising a little girl, or anyone who just likes pictures… because I’m a professional picture maker.
On a side note- I debated using swear words in this blog. At first I wrote it with the same kind of feeling and tone that my buddies had when they shared their early fatherhood stories with me. I toned it down some, because on one hand, I don’t want the idea that parenting drives you to a point where your vocabulary breaks. On the other hand, the art and writing on this site are things I want to do for me so you will come across grown-up language from time to time. I’m not going to sugar coat my experiences as a father or a businessman just to keep up appearances. I’ve heard and read too many parenting stories that recount the hardships of raising children only to punctuate that tale with some line about how it’s the best thing to ever happen to them. Like I would judge them if they didn’t qualify their experiences with a disclaimer. Maybe in hindsight it’s the best thing, but I’m still waking up at 2:30 in the morning to change, feed, burp, swaddle, change, swaddle, and soothe a baby back to sleep. I love my daughter more than I thought I could ever love anyone, but dammit she can be a pain the @$$. It’s not her fault; she’s just a baby. Parenting is hard. Running a business is hard. Doing them simultaneously is crazy hard. But it’s not impossible.