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Sunday, September 11th, 2011
I’ve made mention before that one of my many weaknesses is that I’m horrible/inexperienced when it comes to anything mechanical. My deficiencies in this department aren’t for a lack of interest or a lack of trying, though. A couple of weeks ago I attempted to change the back tire on my mountain bike, since the tube in the tire exploded from the summer heat.
Fast forward a few paragraphs into this story and it turns out I went to the bike repair shop and was told that the cost of repairing the bike would be more than the cost of the bike itself. I evidently am that bad at fixing even the simplest of things!
Fortunately, the girl at the repair shop was wrong and they were able to fix what I messed up for only $27. (It would have only cost me $10 to let them repair the flat tire in the first place.)
My son, Jack, on the other hand, will most likely not suffer from his old man’s bad luck with understanding mechanics. He currently is sort of obsessed with trying to figure out how mechanical stuff works. Jack loves taking things apart.
I can just tell already his brain is working in ways that mine never has.
Another thing about Jack that I can’t help but be aware of is that he will likely end up being an athlete; something I tried to be a few times as a kid, then eventually turned to art, music, and writing- activities that were more my speed. Even today, the physical activities I involve myself with, mainly running and mountain biking, are noncompetitive hobbies.
But Jack is simply built like an athlete. He’s a tank. He’s a 1940′s wrestler.
A few weeks ago at his 9 month check-up, we learned that he is in the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight. Maybe as he gets older he’ll end up adopting the skinny, bow-legged Italian body style that his dad had. However, I think he will grow up to be the opposite: a tall, large-framed, coordinated boy who is picked first on teams in gym class.
It’s safe to say I’ll eventually become a sports fan and learn a lot more about doing home repairs, thanks to my son.
How did this athletically-built, mechanically-minded boy come from me? All I can say is that it figures. I’m still laughing at the irony that a fair complected, blue eyed kid could ever be the offspring of dark-featured, olive complected parents like his mom and me.
I wonder in what other ways Jack will be the opposite of me . . . I’m sure he’ll be a whiz in math and science.
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Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Knowing that my son will inevitably pick up on the vibes I put out there as I react to him, I make a conscious effort to be calm-assertive, as a dad. Here’s my own definition of calm-assertiveness: being cool, calm, and collected as well as being direct, assertive, and respectable.
I very much enjoy watching Cesar Millan’s TV show Dog Whisperer, as he teaches the importance of being a “calm-assertive” leader. It’s not only interesting to learn about how dogs were meant to be raised and trained, but also how a lot of what Cesar Millan teaches actually translates to human relationships. He himself has noted the comparison, being known for saying: “Humans are the only animals who will follow unstable pack leaders.”
The Dog Whisperer makes a great point about us humans needing stable, respectable leaders. When we (as well as our children) do not have a confident, consistent, authoritative example to live by, we can become confused, angry, anxious, rebellious, spiteful, and/or apathetic. I know for a fact that I am wired to want to follow the best human examples out there. So I am always looking around the room to locate the “pack leader.”
Sometimes that means that I need to be that leader, when there is not a legitimate or active one present. I was also programmed to want to be in control, because often, my ability to control is necessary and needed for the structure of those around me; especially at work and at home.
I can’t allow my son to begin to believe that he is the pack leader; that he is the boss. Sure, I know we parents may joke about our kids “ruling the roust” sometimes, but in all seriousness, there needs to be no doubt in my son’s mind who really makes and carries out the rules. It’s my job to make it clear that there are definite boundaries that must be respected.
When it comes to establishing those boundaries, part of my responsibility as a dad is to figure out the limits while considering my wife’s maternal input. Undeniably, I must make the conscious effort to establish order and expectations for my son to live by.
Granted, my expectations are necessarily and realistically set as low as they need to be. But I refuse to be a dad without direction.
Thank you, Cesar Millan, for introducing me to the concept of the term “calm-assertive,” even though I’m not actually a dog person.
This post is a spin-off of “Putting My Paternal Instincts to Good Use.”
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calm-assertive, Cesar Millan, daddy, daddy blog, Dog Whisperer, dogs, family, fatherhood, pack leader | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Must Read, People, Storytelling
Friday, July 1st, 2011
It’s a big, dangerous world out there and it’s my job to keep this little bambino safe. But I must channel my fears into positive, rational energy.
There is plenty of truth in the stereotype that parents are over-protective with their first child. I know, because I’m living it right now. Subconsciously, I preview every potentially dangerous situation for Jack; no matter how improbable.
I am Jack’s protector- I can not let anything bad happen to him. Like Bruce Banner (the Incredible Hulk), I can instantly turn into the biggest beast of a monster in an effort to protect him. So while I am an average-looking, mild-mannered man, all it takes is Jack being in potential danger for me to transform into a potential killing machine.
But what is most relevant is that I prepare for Jack’s safety in every situation. So that I never have to rescue or save him. Being over-protective means preventing dangerous situations; not just worrying about them happening all the time.
For my 10th birthday on April 20th, 1991, my parents bought me exactly what I wanted the most: Bible Adventures, the Nintendo game. (Yes, it actually existed!) The game was modeled after my favorite video game ever, Super Mario Bros. 2, in that you could carry items above your head and throw them at enemies.
The most interesting (and disturbing!) thing in Bible Adventures was that if you played as Moses’ sister Miriam, you held baby Moses over your head and for some unexplainable reason, if you pressed the B button, you would throw the infant Moses onto the ground…
Miraculously, he would never be injured; whether you tossed him onto the hard concrete sidewalk, on top of a giant mutant spider, directly into a guard throwing spears, or into the river. But I was a 10 year-old boy, so I didn’t let the physical practicality or the Biblical incorrectness of the game bother me too much. But I did have a lot of fun repeatedly throwing baby Moses onto the sidewalk and watching him bounce, cry for a second, then instantly start smiling again. Needless to say, Bible Adventures did not receive the Nintendo Seal of Approval.
Since the day Jack was born, I have always been fearful that I will drop him; knowing that unlike the invincible Nintendo version of baby Moses, my son would not simply bounce and smile afterwards. So now that he is beginning to crawl, it means I carry him around less. Which means I worry less about dropping him, and more about him getting into all kinds of other troubles.
With good reason, I worry about him drowning, being run over by a car, getting electrocuted, choking, falling, getting attacked by a dog, or maybe even getting swooped up by a long-lost pterodactyl. It even scares me to type my fears aloud, even if the last one was a joke.
I am the Papa Bear. I will do whatever it takes to protect Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
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1991, Bible Adventures, dad blog, daddy, fatherhood, fear, Moses, Nintendo, Old Testament, overprotective, papa, parenting, positive energy, Super Mario Bros. 2, The Incredible Hulk | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Spirituality, The Dadabase
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
It doesn’t take being a full week into this to realize that there are predictable patterns of my baby: he eats, he poops/pees, he plays, and he sleeps. Of course the word “plays”, when referring to a week-old infant, is somewhat limited being that he doesn’t really have active neck muscles yet. I have to turn his head to show him where the action is, but that’s okay.
When he’s more awake, I like to box with Baby Jack. He instinctively puts his hands out like a boxer- and because we keep mittens on his hands to keep him from scratching his face, it’s only natural that he makes for a perfect baby boxer. Of course, it’s his fists versus my pointer fingers. And I only push my fingers up against his “boxing gloves”. We are in the beginning stages of “dad wrestles son”.
Another playtime activity is when I lay back against a wall or the bed headboard, placing him in my lap. Then I use my legs as a sort of elevator/recliner, which serves as a fun ride for him. Something else I can do in this position is to flex my stomach muscles very hard, straining hard enough to cause my stomach to vibrate or shake quickly. That makes Jack vibrate and shake too- it’s an easy way to get him to smile. When playing with him, I basically just think to myself: “What are all the ways I would like to annoy a cat if it would let me?” It gives me good direction as a dad.
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baby blog, boxer, dad, dad from day one, daddy, infants, parenthood, parenting, pee, playing, poop | Categories:
People, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
The word on the street is true. And we couldn’t be any happier about it!
Three weeks ago my Mexican grandma (who has always been very religious-superstitious) called my sister, saying, “Do you have something to tell me?”
“Are you sure? You don’t have anything to tell me?”
“Nnnnno…” (more hesitantly than the first time)
“I had a dream. I had a dream where I saw your grandfather in Heaven and he was so happy. He was pushing a baby stroller.”
In other words, my grandma assumed the wrong grandchild. She also told my sister about another dream she had where she saw “the most beautiful little girl in a rocking chair”. We’ll know in about eight more weeks whether or not that second dream is true.
Something I never realized about finding out you’re going to be a first time parent is that it has to stay a secret for a while. Long enough to make sure it’s not a false alarm. Long enough to confirm with a doctor. Long enough to get a sonogram.
We’ve known for over a month now. It’s a huge secret to keep from the entire world for that long. What a relief! Hey, we’re having a baby!
Expected arrival is on my dad’s 54th birthday: November 11th.
Obviously I’ve got a lot more to say about it all and I will continue to encounter plenty more as time goes on. Therefore, this is the first of many in my new series I call “dad from day one”. While it seems pretty easy to find material out there for expectant moms, not so much for expectant dads.
Expectant dads don’t encounter physical changes, but they do experience psychological ones. In this new series I will be journaling the whole process, from the time we found out we’re having a baby, until… well I can’t say until the baby is born because that’s only the beginning. And speaking of the beginning, when is day one?
Was it the day of conception? The day we found out? Today, the day I’m publicly telling everyone I haven’t already told in person or on the phone? I don’t know. Day One is the beginning of this new person I am becoming.
In the likeness of a TV show I’ve never seen but heard good things about, How I Met Your Mother, another goal of “dad from day one” is to create an archive for this kid to come. To show him or her what was going through my head during all this.
Eighteen years ago, I was given a blank journal by a classmate from school as a Christmas present. Inspired by my favorite cartoon show at the time, Doug, I remember my first entry:
“Dear Journal, I will be writing everyday so that in the future when I have kids of my own one day…”
Then I stopped. I embarrassed myself with the phrase “kids of my own one day” because it wasn’t the way I actually talked. It just seemed too weird. I threw the journal in the garbage.
Here I am 18 years later, seven months away from the big day. About to have a “kid of my own”. Let’s do this thing.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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conception, dad, dad from day one, daddy, dear journal, Doug, dreaming about pregnancy, expectant dads, first time dad, first time parents, having a baby, How I Met Your Mother, journaling, Mexican, mom, mommy, Nick Shell, November 11th, Porkchop, pregnancy, religious, She's Having a Baby, sonogram, superstitious, we're having a baby | Categories:
People, Storytelling, The Dadabase