Tag Archives: Stay at home dad

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27 Weeks: The Christmas Bandit

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WHAT DO I DDDDRRRRAAAAWWWW!!!

Merry Christmas! Now that the pleasantries are out of the way …

Holy Crap! What a bananas time of year! My kid made out like a bandit. You’d think she was royalty or something with all the stuff she got. 99% of the presents under the tree were for Emma. I guess that happens with babies- people love babies and they shower them with attention and gifts and smooches and weird baby talk. It’s great! Really. It is. The only thing is that my 6 month old is totally oblivious. She’ll look away from you if you don’t speak to her as an adult, she turns her cheek at loving smooches, and she doesn’t know the meaning of gifts.

So what the crap is it all for?

WRAP IT UP!

Wrapping paper. She loves wrapping paper and eating wrapping paper. Obviously, she couldn’t open her own gifts so mommy and daddy helped or else we’d have been there all day watching her eat paper.

Daddy- “OOOH! What’s this?”

Emma- “NOM NOM NOM”

Daddy- “No, not the paper. This toy/clothing/book,etc.”

Emma- “NOM NOM NOM”

Daddy- “GET IT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH YOU’RE RUINING CHRISTMAS!”

She loves wrapping paper.

WHO YOU FOOLIN’?

Here’s what I don’t get- Santa aside, we got Emma some gifts. At this stage in life she got things like clothes and toys to help her become super smart; necessities. All of these things from mommy and daddy were wrapped and put under the tree. WHY?! WHYYYYYY!?

I know what we bought her. She won’t remember the whole unwrapping process. Who is this for? Not Emma. I’ll tell you who it’s for- the adults. We took a lot of photos, none of which we’ll put on the internet because we’re not into showing our kid to the world (despite having a blog about my family), and she was the center of all the photos. Honestly, I could have done without the wrapping. I would have saved a ton of time wrapping a ton of things, and then… unwrapping the same things. But it’s part of our culture and I’ve decided, especially since we had such a low key Thanksgiving, that holidays and life should be celebrated. I have a happy little girl and I want her to learn to celebrate all the great things in life.

The Christmas Bandit

Learning Time

The bandit got a ton of great toys to help her with hand eye coordination, colors, numbers, opposites, feet, songs, etc. All the stuff babies need to learn before you can let them graduate to whatever the next stage of being a kid is. Toddler maybe? Once we got past the wrapping paper she was all about her toys. I mean… All. About. Her. Toys.

Now they’re strewn about my floor like some American Ninja Warrior obstacle. Little rings. Blocks. Washable books. Baby tablets. More blocks. More books. Amazing books. Dolls. Chains of snap together planes, trains, and automobiles. Plus so much more! I’m buried in things.

Now, if these weren’t toys that were meant to teach her some necessary motor skills so she doesn’t end up scooching through the city sitting on a skateboard like a residentially challenged transient absent of her legs, then we probably wouldn’t have given them to her in the first place.

I guess the lesson we would like to teach her is that Christmas isn’t about gifts. We don’t want the commercialism of the holiday to be what she looks forward to every year. It really is better to give than to receive because it fills a void that things never could. After all the lessons about fine motor skills, the alphabet, colors, and shapes, we’ll get her to learn about humanity and how getting new things isn’t the point of Christmas.

Lady Death Strike

This is just a friendly reminder to cut your kid’s nails. If you’ve ever cut your own finger nails too short then you’re familiar with the annoying sting that accompanies your awful mistake. I know if you’ve never done it before then you might be frightened of trimming your baby’s nails too short and inflicting that same traumatic short nail pain on them. The reality is that it’s a mistake to not cut your kids nails. They grow like weeds. They’re thin and sharp like little knives. They don’t mean it, but they claw at your face and rip at your flesh like pissy little kittens. They roll over during nap time and slice into your back, stealing what precious little sleep you get during the day. (Yes, when it’s nap time daddy tries to steal some shut eye, too. And yes, we let her sleep in our bed because she stays asleep a lot longer in there than in her crib.) Cut your kids nails before they cut you like one of Wolverine’s pointy nemeses.

Sizing Issues and the Diaper Dilemma

We’ve had issues with our diapers blowing out more and more frequently. If you’re a new parent then you’ll have recently learned of the number system of diapers. I know that there are at least 3. Why? Because we recently started using 3’s. Each number has a weight limit ascribed to it. For example, 2’s in the Kirkland brand of diaper hold 12-18 lbs …of baby, not dookie. A 12 to 18 lb baby. 3’s on the other hand are rated for 16-28 lb babies. The thing is, though, is that there’s the small 2 lb overlap. You best mind those two lbs. We went right up to 18 lbs and that was a mistake. For days and days it was a mistake. A stinky, messy, mistake.

I blame the two month gap between baby check ups for this oversight. The pediatrician is the one who weighs Emma. How was I supposed to know she gained a gajillion lbs in two months? I blame her mom’s genes for that. Her grandpa, my wife’s father, is a giant, like the nephilim offspring of angels and mortal women; an 8 ft giant full of other-worldly knowledge like how to run a house. My child growing so fast and me not knowing her weight is a product of her nephilim heritage and the poor appointment-scheduling skills of the pediatric industry working against me.

My advice, switch your baby’s diaper over to the next size up at the low end of the weights for the new size, not the high end for the current size. It’s gonna save you a lot of laundry time.

Day Care & the Daddy Blues

So we went to visit a daycare for Emma because she’s going to need to socialize with other people besides mommy and daddy. She’s also going to need a decent influx of germs to help her build up her immunities. It was a great day care. The teachers seemed very kind and knowledgeable and it has kids ranging from infants to preschoolers. So in theory we’d be set for quite a while in regards to her initial education.

I asked a lot of questions, checked on the cleanliness and security of the school, and started to well up a little bit. Yeah, I’m gonna cry when we drop her off that first day. I’m gonna cry hard. Then I’ll sit in the car waiting for her class to get out, just crying like a little beeotch. That’s gonna be me.

Dadbod Update

There are so many great foods during the holidays!!!! My wife makes these amazing giant cinnamon rolls with a delicious frosting. They’re so good you’ll cry. As an adult, you will cry. That’s how good they are. My eyes are still all puffy from crying over how good they are. Also, Costco has a Costco-sized tin of Danish Butter cookies (my favorite). Did I eat them all? Yes. Yes I did. I shared some, but not too many. If I have an addiction, it’s Danish Butter cookies. Aaaaand, just like I PLANNED– I gained weight, thus ensuring that my dad bod stays intact and safe. Not to worry, my body still says, “Hey look at me …I helped make a baby.”

Happy New Year!

Well that’s it for now. The new year is upon us and it’s time to set some unrealistic resolutions that I’ll break. What are your resolutions for the new year? Do you have any advice that will help me not cry in public on Emma’s first day of daycare? Feel free to comment below or on our social media and as always Happy Parenting!


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24 Weeks and She Still Drinks Like a Fish

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Here we are in week 24. I’ve said to H, E, double hockey sticks with not giving my daughter solid foods. Actually I’m going to plan on saying H, E, double hockey sticks… I haven’t yet. Why not you ask?

I’m scared.

I’m not scared of my toothless progeny not being able to handle solid foods. That’s just a mild concern. If she’s anything like her old man then she’ll be able to handle food. That’s when we have a problem; several, actually. Childhood obesity (not for the aesthetics, but for the healthiness of it all), cost- I used to put down 2 entrees at a time at Denny’s and IHOP and it took its toll on my wallet (I don’t expect Emma to down a club sandwich and a lumberjack breakfast in one go like her daddy, but I also don’t want her learning that that’s OK), and competition- when she’s old enough to find my secret stash of snacks I don’t want to have to fight over Oreos in my own home.

What I’m scared of is the whole change in her digestive process. I do about 90% of the diaper changes and I have it on good authority that once solid food is introduced into your child’s diet then you enter a whole new and horrible sphere of hell when they soil themselves. To be clear, my buds who have described this change in their own children to me prefaced the whole dynamic by telling me that baby dookie from a milk and formula only diet doesn’t smell. FREAKING LIES. Baby poop smells at any stage. It’s not like we brought her home on day one and thought to ourselves, “Oh, we can save on air freshener and Febreeze because now we have an endless supply of dirty newborn diapers.” My fear is that if solid food baby poop smells bad enough to make milk and formula baby poop seem odorless then I’m going to be covered in legit dookie for the next 5 to 10ish years. I don’t know… when do kids stop getting poop everywhere? Whenever that happens… that’s how long I’ll have to battle this evolved and hideous dook.

I’m not allowed to give her solids, though, thankfully. It’s not that we’ve heard from the pediatrician and were denied this opportunity. Not in the slightest. That would be amazing if we got a call; we tried to circumvent the whole 5 month limbo I talked about last week where the 5 month milestone of eating solid foods rests between her 4 and 6 month check-ups by calling our pediatrician. They never told us yay or nay about if we could or could not so we were never green lit to go solid. Alas, I can’t feed her solid food because …wife. And as the mother of my child, the oven that baked the bun, my other half, she has a solid say in how we raise Emma and she said “not yet.”

So my kid is still on a liquid diet, but it has to be some sort of amazing milk. I’m talking roided out to the max, get you kicked out of the Olympics good, because my kid is super strong. Despite my wife, or any lady for that matter, making super milk my advice still stands to new and expecting dads and significant others- if your baby mama is nursing do not call her your “prized heffer.” I still haven’t tried it, but I know it would be one of my less well received jokes.

Taking Baby Shopping

This week presented a bit of a nightmare for me. As it’s the beginning of the holiday season I decided to bring Emma Christmas shopping with me, which, I don’t know, was a mistake. Once again we were accosted by the the elderly and my baby thought so little of shopping that she literally poo pooed the whole experience. On the upside, she’s doing a lot better in public; less freakouts, but still, there are some occasions where I think I should have just stayed home. She’s growing up so fast and we’ve stopped using the baby carrier/carseat/stroller combo so she gets to sit up in her stroller like a big girl whilst we’re out and about. She LOVES stink eyeing people; it’s her serious disposition. I love when older women walk up all lovey dovey talking their baby talk to my kid and she just mad dogs them. It results in them a) talking baby talk louder in public in an attempt to make her smile and ultimately b) them taking a step back and saying something like “Oh she’s a serious baby” or “Oh somebody’s grumpy.” No lady, you’re just not as charming as you think you are… now back away.

So we’re out at Costco this week, like we do, and this happens a couple of times. The first time Kelly was there and this Laverne and Shirley looking duo make a b-line right for the stroller. I’m taken aback by this since they approached with such speed and ferocity. I had a bad dad moment. I wanted to whip the stroller around and put myself in a defensive pose between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and Emma, but I took a queue from Kelly and observed helplessly as these women descended upon my child, proffering up unsolicited parenting advice. My fave. Kelly knows I hate that and the look she gave me after they resumed their baby-less course told me she knew exactly what I was thinking. I should have stopped them in their path and I feel like I punked out a little bit.

Afterwards, I needed to shop without Kelly since she gets a gift this year, too. My solo experience with Emma being fawned over by strangers wasn’t as bad. Let me preface by saying that I dress differently now-a-days than I used to. I wasn’t necessarily “thugged out”, but I was into a lot of angst alt rock as a kid and some of that style sticks with you. Ya gotta love the 90s. Sometimes, when my wife isn’t around, I slip back into that fashion sense. I don’t have the baggy ripped cargo shorts anymore since Kelly spent 6 or so years trying to get me to throw them out.

What is it with not liking cargo shorts? They have a purpose. Why do women hate pockets? Y’all have these tiny pockets in your own pants barely big enough for an oreo, complain about it, and then try to strip men of their extra pockets. What’s up with that? Pocket envy that is. If I still had my baggy cargo shorts I wouldn’t need to carry around the diaper bag!

Anywho, on this occasion I dressed a little like I did back in the day- shorts, rugged looking kicks, and a baggy black hoodie (courtesy of my lady I might add.) Only this time I have a baby and a beard. I’ve come to realize that in today’s political climate a tan man with a beard isn’t necessarily perceived as your friendly neighborhood hipster barista. On the contrary, I get more looks like I’m about to cause an incident with an incendiary device rather than make you a latte with a perfectly pulled shot of espresso and expertly foamed milk. And the lady who approached Emma this time took notice of me just a little too late. As she approached like a ravenous hyena, she reached out for my child. Without Kelly there to temper my reactions, I recoiled and withdrew the stroller from her grasp. Then she noticed me… the unabomber looking ambiguously Hispanic, maybe Middle Eastern dude who’s probably never perceived as either Italian or Filipino and obviously jumped the border illegally to be here. Then she recoiled. Emma must have been mad dogging her, because she backed away mumbling something about a serious baby and how she wished she was a grandma.

Leaving the store I thought I’d stop by Kelly’s work to grab some lunch with her. “What a nice husband!” THANKS! So I ring her and set up a date, but her lunch is still like 45 minutes out. So I have time to kill and shopping to do, why not go to the mall? Good idea. Wrong. The parking garage at our local mall has the TINIEST parking spots. And as it’s December it was crowded with holiday shoppers. Horrible, greedy holiday shoppers. So after 15 minutes of pulling off a 30 point turn, I squeeze Emma out of the car through the tiniest space between me and a double parked douche only to feel something wet on her back.

What was it, Chris?

The dooks.

She had a blow-out, so we went right back through the tiny car chasm, into her car seat, and on to the tantrum that accompanies someone being made to sit in their own doo doo. It was screaming like you’ve never heard. On occasions like this I usually just go home. With a tear in my eye I called Kelly and canceled our lunch. Driving home Emma’s screaming became horribly, terrifyingly, panicked and louder than I’ve ever heard her cry. So much so that I pulled over to check on her and wound up changing her diaper in the trunk. Afterwards she was all giggles and I called my wife to let her know lunch is back on!

En route the screaming starts up again and this time it was hunger. I didn’t bring enough bottles to make it through a spontaneous lunch with my lady so I called her up and canceled again. Swipe left, huh? And that’s my first Christmas shopping experience with my baby.

Consumerism Sucks

To clarify, Kelly and I aren’t big on gift giving. A few years back, we took a page from our friend’s book and decided to stop giving “things” to each other and spend the money we would have spent on gifts on experiences and trips instead. It’s a hard change in a sense, considering that we’ve grown-up and continue to live in a consumerism driven society where a good deal of self worth and validation comes from material objects. But it’s great to know that we’re getting out, seeing new things, and living life. Plus, my wife is super hard to shop for and super hard to surprise. Since we have a joint Amazon account and a joint bank account it’s pretty hard to buy anything without the other person knowing. If I look up, oh say, a slingshot that shoots arrows on Amazon (it’s a thing) then Google, Facebook, Amazon, and big brother internet at large, flood her online feeds with ads for slingshots that shoot arrows (look it up).

Since it’s Emma’s first Christmas in the new house, though, I wanted to have presents under the tree. So I suggested that maybe this year we be a little materialistic and get gifts. Nothing expensive, just some stuff to open on Christmas morning. But my wife is still hard to shop for because she doesn’t want anything. Or she doesn’t want for anything; as part of the shrinking American middle class (which I’m not sure we are if you consider crippling student loan debt) we have everything and anything we could need or want at our fingertips. If you don’t have cash you have credit. If you can’t leave your house you can order online. It’s kind of gross, if you think about it.

Our deepest desires for each other aren’t things that can be packaged and shipped, though. We want stuff like reaching our fitness goals, will power, a healthy lifestyle and outlook on life, wicked time management skills, time together. And sure, you can buy books and equipment that claim they can help you achieve all that, but really it’s just more consumerism dressed up as a helpful means to an end. Anyway, we already have too much in my opinion. That being said, if we need something we buy it. So we don’t need anything when gift giving occasions come around.

But Emma needs stuff! She’s outgrowing clothes left and right and her books and toys seem old- to me.

Boring Daddy/Digital Daddy

I’m at a point right now where I’m not sure if my child is entertained enough and I’m starting to think that I’m boring. We read, we play, we eat and nap, but for me, it’s the same old stuff. It’s a sort of routine, but is SHE bored? I’ve read all her books to her, but she only chews on them. I’ve played with all her stuffed animals with her, but she only eats the faux fur. We do tummy time and practice sitting up on her own and maybe, hopefully crawling soon. But is it enough? Also, I think I might have as much separation anxiety as she does. If I put her down she screams. If she’s not screaming I think something’s wrong and rush to her side.

Friends have told me it’s when you don’t hear your kids that you worry the most and that’s totally true. If I’m being absolutely honest, though, all the noise is bit of a downer. Here I am caught between a loud place and feeling totally boring.

So this week I turned to the kids programming available through our cable provider for help. It’s this bright over-saturated world of animated kids songs on demand. And it’s blowing my mind. Emma loves it, but like I discussed last week I’m trying to limit how digital her home life is going to be. I even took the leap and bought a companion device. Not the Light Phone or some other secondary tiny phone. I gots me a smart watch with a speaker phone in it. I’ve already reduced my phone usage by like 1000%. The nice thing about the holidays are all the sales and the new Samsung Galaxy Watch was available at a huge discount. So, since we’re part of the shrinking American middle class with crippling student loan debt, I bought it of course, and it really has changed everything! It has a timer app so I can track how long her naps are or how long her bottle has been in the warmer. It also stores and plays music so I loaded some lullabies on it and can play them softly right behind her head as I cradle her to sleep. I can take calls and text without Emma even looking at it. That’s huge for me; there was a point where I swear I was texting or something dumb with my phone and out of the corner of my eye I caught Emma looking down at the phone in my hand and then looking up at me with a little feeling of neglect in her eye. Worst feeling ever.

Amazeballs doesn’t even come close to describing how useful it has been for, ironically, decreasing the amount of tech in Emma’s life. Now when she cries for food or a nap I’m not fumbling with a phone to set up music or a timer.

The Switch-a-roo, Nap Time, and the Sleepy Time BFG.

Speaking of crying, she’s started crying for different reasons now and sadly, my new smart watch isn’t smart enough to make her stop. I mean, crying from being hangry is a constant, but other than this week’s blow out she’s switched it up a bit. Whenever she would soil herself we knew because she would let us know in no uncertain terms that she needed a clean diaper. Screams and tears definitely accompanied a smell, despite what people say about newborn poopies. She doesn’t seem to mind doing her business that much anymore. What sets her off now that she’s all alert and curious is her hatred of sleeping. When before she would sleep without a fuss, now she fights and screams if she gets a little drowsy. So she’s gone from crying everytime she pooped and passing out without a fight to pooping with a certain amount of joy and crying when she’s about to sleep. Is that normal? Should I be concerned? I mean, I understand not crying when you have a decent BM, who doesn’t, am I right?! Lately, to help stem her crying and fits I’ve been reduced to a carnival ride when it’s time for her naps. I’m either walking her around in the daddy saddle like a Big Friendly Giant or I’m loading her up in the car for a little nap time drive. I’m a little concerned about her falling asleep with either method because her head always tilts forward and I don’t know if she’s falling asleep ooooor blacking out because her head’s so heavy that she’s putting herself in a sleeper hold. I don’t want her pulling an elephant man and just clocking out by letting her gigantic head slump too far into her chest. Plus, there was just a story about how a child passed away when a daycare left her/him to sleep in their carseat for too long. I check on her when she falls asleep this way to make sure she’s breathing. I had to do this with my grandma when she got super old. You just walk in on a situation where they’re blacked out and you look for the chest or belly to be going up and down or you creep close and feel for breath under their nose. Getting caught that close to someone’s face is always weird no matter if they’re the elderly or an infant. They always look at you like “WTF, dude?” Is it safe? Do you let your kids fall asleep in the car seat? I’ll ask her pediatrician what we should do at her next visit.

As a friendly reminder, though, always read the safety instructions on your kid’s stuff.

Dad Bod Update

I’m still pudgy.

People Read This?

I recently found out that more people than my five friends read this. That’s awesome! I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to learn about my family and my journey as a stay-at-home dad. It means a lot! I wish I didn’t write about my daughter’s poops so much, now, but I’m stoked for the audience. As always, if you have any advice for my particular dilemmas feel free to comment below or on social media and as always happy parenting.

UPDATE:

There was an issue where the post from last week was sent out a couple of times. I think the problem was from using the WordPress app and WordPress in a browser. It’s all very technical, I don’t want to bore you with it, but we think we solved it and the interwebs should be all good now. We apologize to anyone who may have subscribed for any misleading and confusing posts. And a special thanks to my father-in-law for giving me a heads up every time it happened.


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The Boogie Exchange

23 Weeks or This Is How I Work

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The Boogie Exchange

This actually happened.

 

This Is How I Work

(If you’re not interested in my working life skip this part.)

I’ve always wanted to do one of those “this is how I work” posts that I read about on tech and life hacking blogs. They always have some cool editor or globe trotting journalist talking about their working habits, tips for staying productive, and the cool tech they use to get the job done when they’re stuck in some hellish commute in some romanticized, overly crowded city. How I envy them. Truth be told, I used to live in big cities, had a hellish commute, and just stared at my phone the whole time. Being stuck on a train for an hour to go nine miles is not romantic. I guess I never took to city life. I could never see myself having a family and raising kids in a place like NYC. Luckily for me, given my penchant for road rage and distaste for large crowds and pickpockets, we live in a small town. Life is calmer, but how is the career now with a baby? How’s the working life of a stay at home dad/illustrator?

Well let’s explore.

Raising Emma is my first and main job. It’s essentially all the positions you need to run a hotel all rolled into one. During the day I’m the manager, the receptionist, the cleaner, the plumber and maintenance crew, the chef, the bellhop… I’m everything. Then when Kelly is home she can be everything because I sneak off for a long break that leaves her saying, “where the hell is that guy? It’s only a fifteen minute break!” (She’ll never know where I sneak off to..)

So my days are eventful… and very full.

I’m really just trying to keep up with Emma’s development since it seems like she grows into new habits and new developmental stages each week. Once you think you have her figured out she up and jukes ya. One constant that I can bank on is her nap time. That’s when I try to get some work in. I’ll either tackle client work, this blog, personal projects, or try to manage the constant disarray which comes with having a baby and has consumed our home.

Mainly, in regards to professional illustration, I work at night. Sometimes I lose sleep and sometimes I dread going to sleep because I know I’ll be up in 45 minutes when Emma needs to be fed or changed. Oh, holy crap, btw, night time changings are the devil.

La Scenario Del Diablo

Here’s a scenario- your baby has a wet diaper, you can feel the weight as the diaper sags off of their tiny tuchas, what’s more, you can smell it. Now, most parents have an instinctual urge to keep their children clean and for me that kicks in with a fury when I get a whiff of the dookies.  So now you have to change your kid’s diaper, but you also know that if you go to change them they’ll wake up screaming bloody murder and they won’t go back down for another hour. That’s another hour that you’re awake in the middle of the damn night and you really like to sleep because you don’t get a lot of it.

I’ve never had a hidden addiction or a vice that would ever get me on that show Intervention; nothing I’ve ever had to hide from my family and sneak off to enjoy. If I did, though, it would probably be sleep. There’s no greater feeling than the way I feel when everyone one else is asleep, I finally put the baby down where she’ll stay down for the night, and I slowly creep through the house, double check the locks, and finally crawl into bed and await the warm embrace of slumber. I am dead to the world when I sleep. If I get more than five straight hours I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

That being said, I also have obligations to my clients, so sometimes I don’t get to sleep.

Back to Work

When I started working from home I got myself a nice set up, I did. I recreated the the old workstations I had when I was an in-house artist for various studios- a really strong desktop, big @$$ Wacom Cintiq, and a dual monitor setup. Only this time I got myself a good strong, gaming PC that won’t buckle under pressure because I do a bit of animation, too. I also set up a very respectable studio space in the new house and it’s done up to the nines. I’m surrounded by all my reference books, art, degrees, toys, and a nice mini bar with seating for clients and friends. What’s it like spending my days in this amazing space you ask? I couldn’t tell you, I don’t have any daytime to myself.

During the day the majority of my work is done on one of two devices- my phone or my tablet. I’m a big Samsung fanboy and have been a huge geek for their S Pen since it came out because it uses Wacom tech to operate. From these devices I’m emailing clients, researching, getting some preliminary sketches done, tracking hours, sending invoices, chasing down payments, and of course taking calls. I even get to write this blog and do my weekly doodles from the comfort of my companion devices. Well, it’s more convenient than anything. They let me multitask while I’m caring for Emma. I can be in the same room when she’s sleeping, playing… that’s it. She sleeps and she plays. She eats, too, and I can feed her while I’m emailing or making calls.

I do try to keep that to a minimum, though, because I don’t want her learning bad habits or growing up wanting to spend all her time on phones and gadgets, it’s apparently unhealthy for children. Plus, I really want to spend quality time with her. I don’t want her seeing me pay more attention to a phone than to her.  In fact, I’ve really considered decreasing the amount of tech in our life so Emma isn’t completely surrounded by it at home. The phone is a big problem as it’s my sketchbook. I’m always on it and not necessarily sketching. I’ve wanted to switch to a Light Phone or a companion phone that limits the amount of time I’m staring at a screen by simply offering me less to do with my phone. That’s partly why I got a desktop instead of a Surface or a laptop- I don’t want to bring my work everywhere I go. Unfortunately, when you run a business, and in the case of being an artist where you are your business, you can’t stay disconnected during the working hours of the day. I’ve actually lost a client because, despite the quality of work, I wasn’t as available as they wanted. Luckily, word of mouth and social media have actually found me more work than I would have imagined, which is good and bad. I’ve ended up prefacing all my deals with the fact that I’m a stay-at-home dad and pull my 40 hours a week in the early mornings, at night, and on weekends. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have Kelly, though. In fact, I couldn’t do a lot of stuff without my wife. I’d probably be a troll living under a bridge right now if it wasn’t for her and Emma.

23 weeks or 5 months… something like that

Speaking of which, Emma is an old lady now! She’s got that Benjamin Button disease…

Nah, she’s 23 weeks old and amazeballs. She looks so different and more grown up every time I look at her. She’s almost crawling. She has all the pieces she needs; she can prop herself up on her arms and reach out (for toys), scootch, pull her legs underneath her and push them back out. Everything’s there, she just needs to put it all together. Sometimes I feel like a Russian gymnastics coach for the Olympics. I’ve instituted regular tummy time so she can become more mobile, which I’m told, is something that I don’t really want. I can see that. She’ll be going places and it’ll be hard to keep an eye on her… but it might give me some reprieve from carrying her everywhere. I don’t know. I’m new at this so I’m probably getting it wrong.

She should also be on solid foods by now, according to the experts. Kelly and I are waiting for our pediatrician to give us the OK, though. Here’s the weird thing about waiting for the pediatrician to green light solid foods: your baby has a 4 month check up and a 6 month check up so they can get their shots.

VACCINES, PEOPLE, OR WE’LL ALL DIE OF THE MUMPS!

Well, what about all the milestones in month 5 like grown up human food?! Huh? Am I just supposed to figure it out on my own? I can’t do that! Example- Kelly’s parents told us how they dissolved puffed rice cereal into her milk to help fill her up. I said, “Like Rice Krispies?”

No, wrong, dumb.

They have puffed rice cereal just for babies, apparently. I would have been pouring bowls of Rice Krispies for my kid thinking everything was fine. How many adults who don’t have experience with baby food know about this mysterious Rice Krispies Jr.?

Am I psychic? Are my cartoons premonitions?

I’ve had a revelation- I’m partially psychic. Or my cartoons are psychic. I might have a super power. Last week I drew a strip where Emma grabs Shinobi’s ear and she yelps. Well 2 nights after that post that literally happened to us. We were just sitting on the couch, Emma on my lap, Nobi on her blanket next to me and all of a sudden this very sad and pathetic whine started to grow. Shinobi didn’t bark, growl, or nip at Emma… she just sat there and sadly whined at us. It kind of intoned, “Are you serious with this right now? Why me? Pay attention and fix this situation because my life is really crappy right now. PLEASE GET THIS KID OFF MY EAR. PLEEEEAASE!”

It broke my heart, but it was a teachable moment. Emma got another lesson in good touch/bad touch, which I’m sure stuck with her considering her excellent grasp of the English language, or as I like to call it “American.” And as it turns out, since Shinobi didn’t bite back, we don’t have to kabob her. Not an edible pet. That’s good news for the family.

I’ve also been drawing Emma grabbing my beard. I thought it was funny, you know, for the pictures. It’s now a reality.

Now that I might have a super power or magic drawing abilities Kelly wants me to draw other things that might become a reality. So I’m drawing us having hit our health goals. I might draw me in a jetpack or with a really cool sword riding a winged tiger and a like a Viking braid in my beard with a wicked little skull bead. That would rock.

The Boogie Exchange

Ow, my beard

Speaking of beards, thank God I started proper beard maintenance or I’d look like Mr. Clean. My little girls favorite thing is to grab two big handfuls of beard and yank my face around like she’s driving a car. It’s funny until it hurts. Oh, and if she grabs the stache part it’s all over. Daddy cries. It does have its uses, though. I’m the fuzzy face in the house and I think my beard has become a symbol of comfort and something familiar for her. I came to this conclusion after a few nights of rocking her to sleep. Sometimes, when she’s fighting how tired she really is, she’ll reach up and caress my beard. She won’t look at me, she’ll just close her eyes, snuggle into the nook of my elbow, and reach up and pet my beard. It melts my heart every damn time and I feel like a good dad.

That’s it for this week. I’m off to train my kid to crawl. Thanks for reading and Happy Parenting.

 


  • 3

Unsleeping Beauty

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“Babe?”

“Yes?”

“I’m very tired.”

“I’m extremely exhausted.”

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!”

(Translation: Screw you guys! Feed my face! Clean my dookies! ATTEND TO ME, SERVANTS!)

That’s a literal conversation I’ve had several times with Kelly.

Sleep? What’s Sleep?

What is it like to sleep through the night? It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten. My daughter wakes up every night, like clockwork, hungry as a shark with a wet diaper that adds like another 10 lbs to her when picked up. SHE’S SO DAMN HEAVY NOW. She’s been getting heavier this whole time but I’m not getting any stronger. My buddy had a kid way before I did and he described the first three months of raising a new baby and not getting enough sleep like constantly walking through water. I took that to mean that moving was slow and getting around was a bit more difficult. We’re going on 5 months soon and we’ve hit colic 2.0 and I’m basically a freaking zombie.

“Thanks, Wife”

We’re pretty frugal people, my wife and I. We don’t feel the need to upgrade our phones, computers, and TV every year despite the barrage of ads and commercials making my current tech seem dated, and thus making me feel dated, unhip, and out of touch. We like to save our money so we can invest in things that last, like a nice bed. Beds should last like 20-25 years, right? We spend a good deal of our lives in them so why not spoil ourselves with a bit of luxury if it’s not going to be outdated in the next 6 months? So we did; we bought a Tempur-Pedic and an adjustable base that vibrates and inclines, reclines, declines, Calvin Klein…. All the clines. It’s great. Buying it was one of the best decisions of our lives and we can’t wait to pay it off and get the title from Wells Fargo so it can become a family heirloom. The only bad thing about the bed is that I have to share it.

Like, not with my wife. That’s fine. She’s more than welcome. No. I have to share it with the whole family. When we got our puppy she would not, for the life of me, take to her kennel training. She was a rescue and the family she was with before us let her sleep in their bed. As a result, she would whine through the whole night. Out of desperation we let her out of her little puppy prison to sleep with us in our bed.

Cuddles and snuggles of any kind went right out the window. Human on human snuggles, anyway. My pup likes to get right up next to us when we sleep, preferring the back side like she’s the big spoon. Have you ever been spooned by a 15 lb animal? It’s weird. She just hangs out like a fanny pack.

Once she established herself as a permanent fixture in our bed she started stretching out- full leg extensions right into my back, shoving me to the edge of a king size mattress. And if I move she has the gall to growl at me! I’m still paying off this bed, who are you to growl at ME!? But that’s our fur baby and she’s spoiled.

Fast forward to today. Emma is going on 21 weeks and Kelly let her sleep in our bed. She put the baby right in the middle of our king size memory foam mattress and turned the vibration on, essentially guaranteeing that we will never get her to sleep anywhere else… EVER AGAIN.

In her defense, just like the long nights trying to train our puppy, she was desperate for some peace and quiet and looking for anything that would appease our little adorable cry baby.

Muay Thai

Emma has two beds- a crib and a bassinet. She never uses the crib to sleep in because we co-sleep. That is, she sleeps in our room and will until she’s six months old or learns to roll back to front and front to back. It’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics so your child doesn’t die in their sleep. I think it’s from SIDS or just rolling over onto their face and not knowing that the air goes in that way.

Does she use any of those beds, though? No. To boot, she’s started fighting us when it’s time for a nap or time for bed. I mean, she is screaming up a storm, twisting and contorting her body like she’s had some really bad Indian food and she knows the diaper won’t hold it.

No, she’s a fighter. So we have to tag team each night like the championship belt is on the line. We bust out the white noise, a warm bottle, a binky, and get to rocking in the glider in a pitch black room. It takes about half an hour but she eventually fades and we walk her to her bassinet like we just won WWII.

But we know that at 2 am she’s going to wake up. She’s going to be hungry. And she’s going to be pissed- literally and figuratively. The difference now, since she’s had a taste of the good life, is that she won’t go back down in her bassinet. Nope. No sir. She will fake sleep repeatedly until we put her in our bed, where she proceeds to sleep with her arms up next to her head like a Muay Thai fighter. God forbid there’s a sudden noise or jostle of the bed because those little fists will fly out and hit anyone and anything while she remains dead asleep. If you’re going to hit me in the side of the head at least have enough respect to be awake when you do it.

There’s no way she’s going to go back to sleep in her bassinet. I’ve felt the padding. It’s essentially cardboard with two-ply paper towel as cushioning. No, it’s not gonna happen. It’s memory foam and I’m pretty sure they call it that because you will never forget how #$@%ing good it feels.

Now here I am… sharing a bed with my wife (obviously), my dog, and my baby. You can’t sleep with a baby in the bed. My wife and I stay up like it’s a game of chicken, making sure the other one doesn’t roll over onto her. We never would, but that crap happens; I saw it on the news once. It was tragic. To avoid this, we both scootch to our respective edges of the bed, stare at each other in the dark like creepers making sure the other doesn’t get comfortable enough to fall asleep on the baby. All the while, our puppy is curled up at Emma’s feet, growling at me as I jostle her awake when my baby sucker punches me in the back of the head.

On a side note, I couldn’t be happier because Emma and our pup, Shinobi, are becoming very aware of each other. Shinobi has become super protective and I just want to share a very proud experience of mine. We had some blinds installed in the new house and the guy who was doing the install had to come into the master bedroom where Emma and Shinobi were chilling on the bed… because they’re spoiled little princesses. Well, as soon as this guy walks into the room Shinobi starts growling and barking, gets up, stands between him and Emma and proceeds to stand over Emma and then lay at her feet when she’s decided that the threat has passed. I’m so proud and I can’t wait for their adventures together.

A Poem

I wrote a poem about my situation and figured I’d illustrate it. Enjoy. And as always, happy parenting.

The Remembering Bed

by

Chris Mendoza

There once was a baby

Who wouldn’t sleep through the night

And when it was time for a nap

She put up one helluva fight

Her mother and father

Felt trapped in their own home

Until mom laid her in their bed

Made of remembering foam

It held her and snuggled her

And she slept through the night

And when it was time for a nap

She didn’t put up a fight

The bed remembered her

And she remembered bed

And together they would sleep

As sound as the dead

Until Dad tried to move her

To her crib or bassinet

Then an ear full of screaming

Is what he would get

So there they all laid

All three and the dog

Everyone except dad

Asleep like a log


  • 3

Midterm Blowout! How I Voted With a Baby.

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Another week, another seven dozen dirty diapers. Ah, parenting. This week was a mild week, filled with a whole slew of first world problems, intrusive elderly folk, and a midterm election, which for me… was a blow out.

20 Week Old Starfish

Emma is 20 weeks old and the apple of my eye. To be honest I don’t know what that actually means. I’ve just heard it said before. She’s trying to crawl like a fiend, but is still my little starfish just scootchin’ around on the floor. Her range of scootchin’ has spread so much, though, that we ended up buying her some foam floor mats. You know, the square ones that lock together like a puzzle. They’re a necessity because even though she can hold her head up when she’s on her belly she can’t quite rest it on the floor without headbutting the ground. I saw her face slam once and was like, “Oh hell no.” She was unphased, but daddy? Not so much.

We had the option of getting multi-colored ones with numbers and letters; very educational and full of teachable moments. Instead we went with these pretty grey and white tiles with animals and shapes. They’re probably less educational, but they really go with the decor in her room! (though they’re currently in the living room so I can keep an eye on her). C’est la vie. All in all, we love them, they look great, and she’s safe from smacking her face against the hardwood.

Dad-bod Update

Last week I talked about dad-bod and how I was planning on getting rid of mine. I’ve had great feedback and really appreciate everyone willing to help me out on this journey. Well I’ve made a couple of strides towards hitting my goal. First, I put all the leftover Halloween candy in the freezer. I actually stapled the bag shut because while rearranging some stuff in there I noticed a hand sized, cave-like opening into the bag, like someone was sneaking candy. Afterwards I asked my wife if it was her and she denied it, but was laughing the whole time. Laughing while denying something just makes it seem like you’re really bad at lying, which she is. Luckily for me she’s not a big liar. After I had accusingly asked her about the cave into the candy bag I remembered that I was the one who snuck some candy last week. I was stress eating because I had a helluva daddy day. Sorry, hon, but I was wrong. I also started going to my Weight Watchers meetings again. I had previously lost like 50 lbs. on Weight Watchers, but with the stress of life and all the changes we’ve been going through I just stopped checking in. I was surprised to find out I was actually down 2 lbs!

I haven’t started working out yet. I think I may have induced some sort of full arm carpal tunnel syndrome. I wake up with a cold, numb arm and tingling in my fingers. Chalk it up to age and my temple being in ruins, but I’m pretty sure I have a pinched nerve.

The Geriatric Menace

One of the weirder things that happened this week, though, was when I was waiting to weigh in. We were accosted by an elderly woman who really wanted to see Emma …up #$&@ing close, once again verifying my theory that the elderly are just trying to suck the youth from my child. I mean, this lady was all up in the car seat, head under the handle, like some sort of boa constrictor about to coil itself around my baby. I almost kicked her in the damn hip she was so close. And then she tells us “What beautiful blue eyes she has!” Kelly and I immediately looked at each other like, “BLUE!?” OK big bad wolf… wtf? Emma’s eyes are brown like her mother and her fathers. Weirdo.

Then I had another scary lady call my baby her baby while grocery shopping. She wasn’t claiming that Emma was hers, which is a fear of mine- how would I prove that Emma is mine if some psycho said she wasn’t? Like if I’m at Target and some creep-o lady takes a shining to my lil’ girl and starts screaming that I took her baby I’m pretty sure that all the other women in the immediate vicinity would side with her. They’d have to call the cops, have the manager review the surveillance footage of me walking in with Emma, and I’d have to show all the photos of her on my phone, but all the while I‘m sure I’d be detained. That’s how I see it playing out. OH THE LAWSUITS I WOULD FILE!

This lady, though, was just fawning over Emma and creeped me out by saying, “OOOOH MY BABY!”

Lady, no.

Midterm Blowout

Anywho, that was my week. Women everywhere asking to see my baby. It happened while voting, too, which was a literal $#!^ show. Since we moved into a new development my address was too new for me to be found in the system at my local polling location, so it appeared that I wasn’t a registered voter. I blame Russia for that. Oddly enough, my wife, who lives with me, moved with me, and has had all the same addresses as me since I tricked her into falling head over heels for me, was in the system. She got to vote while I had to trek across town to the election office HQ where they could sort me out. And sort me out they did. But everyone who helped me looked at the stroller and was all, “Oh, whatcha got there?”

Dumb… it’s a baby.

It took 5 people to get my address in the system and 5 people wanted to see Emma. “Dammit, I’m trying to get her to sleep. Don’t rile her up.” They finally got me a ballot and it was time to vote. By this time, 5 nosey ladies later, my baby, who was as calm as a Hindu Cow, was now awake and very much wanting my attention. To boot, there was no way I could fit a stroller in the voting booth so they told me to fill the ballot out anywhere I wanted. I really value the sanctity and privacy of my vote so there I was, off wheeling from corner to corner with my baby and ballot trying to find some privacy, clutching my precious ballot like Gollum with the one ring. Emma, though, wasn’t having any of it. So it was time for the daddy saddle.

I strapped it on, strapped her in, and sauntered over to a voting booth, all eyes on Emma and me like we’re some sort of street performers about to do a jig for everyone’s amusement. Emma, the whole time I’m trying to fill out my ballot, was trying to eat the damn thing.

So Emma, at 20 weeks of age, has participated first hand in the democratic process. She’s a real ‘merican!

M’nards

On a side note, now she’s tall enough to kick me in the nards while in the harness. Joy!

What the crap?

When we got home I discovered that Emma had a blowout while voting. Being in the harness just smooshed it all everywhere it shouldn’t be. This crap-tastic spectacle revealed itself to me when I placed my hand on her belly in an attempt to settle her down during her diaper change. The feeling… wasn’t quite right. I expected baby soft skin, but what I got was a tacky paste all over Emma’s tiny tummy. Now situations like this call for a bath. So I strip her down, throw the poopy clothes in the utility sink in the laundry room, get the water running, and start filling her baby tub. Then, out of the blue, sitting on my lap on the side of the tub, she peed MY pants. Let me tell you, when someone pees your pants, the sensation of warm liquid running down your leg and quickly cooling off as it reaches your sock is pretty much identical to when you do it to yourself. I’m not saying I’ve done it recently, but boy, did it bring back a rush of memories. So, stinky, drinky, binky… after her bath it’s time for lunch, where she promptly vomits all over me. I wear a lot black shirts. Spit up does not go well with black shirts. Every time I get poop or vomit or pee on me I think back to my younger days before Kelly and Emma when I was a bachelor. My mom would tell me not get anyone pregnant. It always came with a warning threat of dirty diapers, but no one said that I would have poop, pee, and vomit on me on a regular basis. If they had said that I would have become a monk. Well here it is, fair warning, if you’re planning on having a kid you WILL have all the dookies all over you.

So in one day I took part in my civic duty and had feces, urine, and vomit all on my person. Sometimes it’s like I don’t know what I’m doing. But hey, Emma is still alive and I’m down 2 lbs!!!

If you have any advice on how to cope with people peeping on your baby without reacting with physical force please, please, please feel free to let me know what you do. I’m about to lose it with people getting 2 inches from my baby’s face during flu season. Also, what do you do with a 20 week old baby to entertain and educate them? I’d love to hear about it. Oh, and what’s an apple in your eye have to do with kids? As always feel free to comment below or on Facebook and happy parenting.

‘merica!


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How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it.

Moving Day- How to Move to Your New Home With a Baby

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August:
“Hey Babe?”
“Yeah?”
“We should get a puppy.”
“Ok.”

October:
“And have a baby?”
“Sure.”

April:
“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

By

Chris Mendoza

Never fear my daughter!
In my duties,
I shall not falter.

I, your father,
shall pick your boogies
so you breathe without a bother.

How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it.

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.


  • 0

Saddle Up!

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“Hey there. Whatcha got in the car seat, fella?”

“… 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!


  • 2

Week 16… a rant

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What the Poop?

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.
Happy parenting.


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A Blog for New Dads by A New Dad Ep.1.4

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“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.”

“OK, cool.”

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.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy.


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