Recently Mommy and I started going to a new Sunday School class, which mainly consists of other parents with young kids.
One young wife, who is very pregnant with her first child, learned that I daily document my experiences of parenthood with you, here on The Dadabase.
She responded, laughing, “Oh, well I guess that means we will be coming to you for parenting advice!”
I laughed with her, but seconds later, thought to myself, “Actually, I don’t really give advice. I simply just write about each baby step as well as every major milestone that I observe as a parent. But I don’t actually give advice, day to day. Not really.”
It’s been a process, for me, though.
I remember a couple of years ago, when I talked about and endorsed the “cry it out method” on a weekly basis.
By default, the cry it out method was right for our family, but it obviously isn’t for everyone.
I think it used to sort of matter to me that in my mind, my way was right, and the other ways were wrong.
Another example was how I used to be, in essense, anti-attachment parenting.
These days, I don’t want be known for what I am against, but instead, for what I do believe in.
This moment might be me trying to process that concept.
It’s amazing how little “being right” matters to me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned that for the most part, “being right” is a relative thing.
Back in 2011, I cared more about trying to convince people of stuff.
Not anymore. These days I just narrate my life and let the free market of freethinkers take its course.
And so it shall go for all other future events in your life:
I will talk about what’s going on, covering which personal decisions and lifestyle choices I encounter as a parent, but I don’t think there is any part of me that cares about converting anybody anymore, to whatever viewpoint I have.
Yet still, I am very passionate about what I talk about; it’s just that I only really talk about what I am passionate about.
It’s actually funny to me now, considering I used to care about “being right” in parenting.
The way I see it now, is that I don’t give parenting advice, I just simply go through new phases in my life, consisting of both baby steps and major milestones. If my perspective and narration accidentally serves as advice, well… then I will consider myself accidentally honored.
However, it just so happens that around January 1st of 2013, I officially decided I want to make a point to stop participating in the polarization of America.
To quote Jimmy in one of my favorite movies, That Thing You Do, “I….. I quit. I quit. I quit…”.
In other words, I am choosing to see both Democrats and Republicans as good people.
I am rejecting the belief that “the other side” is completely irrational and/or evil, no matter how extreme or overzealous I am conditioned to believe they are, thanks in part to pseudo news channels like CNN and Fox News.
That goes for whatever “the other side” happens to be, not just political affiliations: pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-gay marriage vs. anti-gay marriage, attachment parenting vs. supporters of the “cry it out” method, gun control reform vs. no gun control reform…
Basically, on all of these controversial issues, the side I am now on is technically… neither. Because I now publicly associate with the third party in favor of removing the “vs.” between the two polarizing sides.
Granted, I still have my personal opinions of how I feel about these polarizing topics, but I am much more interested in attempting to help tone down the collective angst regarding all the controversial issues that divide America.
I am tired of adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.
With that being said, I was pretty skeptical a couple of months ago when I was approached by Susan Terkel, one of the authors of the then-upcoming book, The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide for Parents.
Knowing that my collection of blog posts on circumcision had put me in the hot seat with dozens of my readers, on several occasions, I had officially decided to retire from ever writing about circumcision again.
Then I received a preview copy of The Circumcision Decision in the mail. After reading it, I decided I actually wanted to participate in promoting the book, as much as possible.
In fact, I was so passionate about this book that the authors asked me to write a blurb for it, which is printed on the very first page, as well as, the back cover of the book:
“With grace, wisdom, and class, The Circumcision Decision impressively presents both sides of the story in such a balanced narrative, that some of us who have already made up our minds beforehand may now find ourselves challenged by the flip side.”
I proudly associate my name with The Circumcision Decision and am pleased to announce it was nominated as a 2012 finalist for the Books For A Better Life Award: Childcare/Parenting.
This book, which is now officially published and available for sale on its website, is the perfect answer to the circumcision controversy and, more importantly, to any soon-to-be parents of a son who are trying to best educate themselves on deciding whether to circumcise their son, or to leave him intact.
My guess is, no matter which side of the circumcision decision a parent lands, reading this book will simply give them the courage, confidence, and closure on how they honestly personally feel about circumcision to begin with.
Back then, you were a 3 month-old fetus who I best understood through a black-and-white sonogram. You’ve come a long way, kid.
But so have I. I learned how to become a dad.
Like Elvis Costello in 1983, everyday I write the book. We figure this out together, in real time.
Along the way, there have been things I’ve said on The Dadabase, that looking back now, I wouldn’t say; nor are they still accurate depictions of how I see things.
There were times I was so zealous about representing myself as a confident dad with a consistent parenting plan, that it probably came across as bravado, not confidence.
And I do regret my former tone in regards to controversial topics like abortion, circumcision, the cry-it-out method, and even politics in general. I see now how I was only adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.
That’s not me anymore. Everyday, I’m becoming more like Jack Johnson. And everyday, you’re becoming more like Jack the boy… not the baby.
Recently at my son’s daycare, I was asked by a fellow parent, “I’ve noticed you carry Jack out everyday instead of walking him out like the rest of us. Why is that?”
I didn’t know what to say.
Honestly, I had never thought about it before. I didn’t realize I was weird for not letting my son, who is now nearly half my height, to walk out to the car while holding my hand.
One answer that came to mind was that it’s too much trouble to get out of the building and into the car with him walking in the midst of distractions; that it’s just easier to carry him out. True…
But really, now that I’ve thought about it, I’d say the main reason I carry my nearly 2 year-old son into and out of day care each day is because it’s one of the rare times he actually likes me to be physically close to him; aside from wrestling him.
In other words, if you’re familiar with the book, The 5 Love Languages, my son’s is not physical touch.
However, he does this new thing now where as soon as I pick him up and start walking with him, he pats me on the back. It’s really sweet of him.
(I can’t believe I just said the word sweet. That’s so not my style.)
When I carry my son around, it’s like our designated “buddy time,” I guess.
But yes, it’s completely unnecessary, given that he’s been walking since I can’t remember.
So while it could just be that I enjoy our “man cuddle” time, yeah I know that sounds weird, it could be hinting at the fact that possibly, maybe, I might be a helicopter parent.
Let me unpack this theory, out loud.
When I think of the annoying phrase “helicopter parents,” it never has a positive connotation.
I think immediately of attachment parenting; something I never want to be associated with.
Why? Because I never want to be (or be seen as) an extremist, of any kind.
And when I think of helicopter parents, I think of extreme parents who are “a bit out there.”
With your feedback along with my self-analysis, I am going to try to figure out if my wife and I could possibly be considered helicopter parents.