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.
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Spirituality, The Dadabase | Tags: 1991, Bible Adventures, dad blog, daddy, fatherhood, fear, Moses, Nintendo, Old Testament, overprotective, papa, parenting, positive energy, Super Mario Bros. 2, The Incredible Hulk
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.
Categories: People, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: baby blog, boxer, dad, dad from day one, daddy, infants, parenthood, parenting, pee, playing, poop
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:
Categories: People, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: 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