Posts Tagged ‘ testosterone ’

Do Fathers Have Lower Testosterone Levels Than Non-Dads?

Monday, November 28th, 2011

One year.

If you’re asking me, based on personal experience, the answer is… NOOOOOO!!!

{morphs into the Incredible Hunk, as conveniently, only the bottoms of pants tear off }

Back in September the Assistant Editor of Parents.com, Jessie Assimon, sent me a link to one of the other bloggers’ articles here entitled “Study: Testosterone Levels Lower in Fathers.” Knowing she was curious for my thoughts on the piece, I thanked her for thinking of me, as I planned to soon write a post responding to the new study’s findings.

But what could I really say in a Dadabase post about the subject?

“Since becoming a dad, my level of testosterone has dropped. But that’s okay, because now I really can empathize with my wife. When I tell her that I know what’s she going through, I really do mean it.”

Yeah right.

Now, two and half months later, I have finally figured out my response and my take on the issue:

I am convinced that my level of testosterone has actually increased since becoming a dad.

Especially now that my son is a year old and I have 12 solid months experience, I know for a fact that I am more aggressive, more likely to stand up for myself, more likely to hurt peoples’ feelings, more likely to say no and not feel bad about it, and more likely to be seriously tempted to challenge the arrogant [bloke] to a fight outside after he made a rude comment to my wife at Pei Wei Express.

It’s like suddenly every Third Eye Blind song that talks about punching another guy in the nose (“London,” “Camouflage,” “Don’t Believe a Word”) serves as the soundtrack of my life.

In a matter of a year, I’ve gone from being Paul Rudd to Clint Eastwood.

I’m no longer patient to wait to see if the problem works itself out by me being nice. I take control immediately of the situation before it takes control of me.

My son would still be waking up throughout the night if it weren’t for me implicating the “make him cry it out” method in our house. I laid down the law and felt great. And that was only the beginning.

Granted, anyone who has actually read the article I mentioned in the beginning will know that the symptoms for having less testosterone have nothing to do with being more “on edge” like the way I am describing and experiencing.

The article instead focuses on a dad’s increased likelihood of further commitment to his family, as his testosterone drops by near half:

“The study, experts say, suggests that men’s bodies evolved hormonal systems helped them commit to their families once children were born. It also suggests that men’s behavior can affect hormonal signals their bodies send, not just that hormones influence behavior.”

Well, if that’s what this is about, then consider me the effeminate lion from The Wizard of Oz. 

But if having a lower testosterone level means that I’m more mild-mannered and motherly… forget it!

If nothing else it’s pretty interesting that in theory it actually takes having less cojones to be man enough to not run away from your family when things get tough or seemingly less exciting. Man, I could have told you that!

I wonder how much money was wasted on doing the scientific research for that report. Do yourself a favor and come to me next time, scientists.

Just ask for Mr. Chutzpah.

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Distraction is the Cure for Clinginess

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Ten months.

In my son’s eyes, I am the coolest person in the room; except for when my wife is there too. All she has to do is pick him up and he’ll be happy. If I pick him up, he cries for her.

It’s totally a double standard. My son is putting me in a difficult and unfair situation. Doesn’t he realize he isn’t being logical?

After many frustrating weeks of me trying to appease my son while my wife would be trying to cook dinner, I finally got it: Get out!

Get out of the room with him and distract him his toy bucket upstairs. Or take a walk outside and watch him get fascinated by every car that whooshes by.

I wanted to believe that I could make him just as happy as my wife could just by my presence. What was I thinking? I don’t have that ability- I have too much testosterone seeping out of my pores to subconsciously comfort my son the way my wife can.

Instead, I simply must engage him with some good ole distraction techniques. One of my favorite methods is to sit him down on the carpet and play with one of his favorite toys in front of him. He can’t make it longer than two seconds before he just has to play with that exact toy at that exact moment.

Another thing I do is to crawl away from him and hide behind the other side of the couch. Then I pop out every couple of seconds. He thinks it’s funny every time I surprise him. Next, I start crawling directly towards him and he does the same, like a jousting match without the horses or swords.

When we meet, I put my arms around him and squeeze him, while growling into his stomach and chest. It’s hilarious how he knows I’m going to “win” every time, but he always charges me with the same smile on his face.

It’s then that dinner is ready and the courageous crusaders must wash up for supper.

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Jack William Meets Evan Carlos

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Eight months.

Though Jack has been attending day care for a couple of weeks now, I still have been wondering what it would be like when he would be exposed to another little boy about his age and size, in a different environment.  I had these preconceived  ideas that it might be difficult for them to get along, fighting over toys.  I envisioned myself cringing, just waiting for the moment when one of them would smack the other in the forehead with a wooden block or a Matchbox car.

I guess I forgot that infant boys don’t have that much testosterone, yet. Fortunately, Jack’s first encounter with a buddy wasn’t at all as I bleakly imagined it.  While in Sacramento last week, we visited Jill’s childhood friend, Paula; she and her husband had their first child just a few months before Jack was born.

It was funny to observe Jack and Evan (Paula’s son) playing next to each other from the same toy box. Several times they reached for the same toy, then they would both simultaneously back off from it, as if to say, “No, it’s cool.  You go ahead. You saw it first.”

If only we lived in a world with “baby subtitles,” where we adults could translate what our children are saying to us and each other.

For most of the visit, I imagined  in my head what their conversations were like as they were playmates:

“So, you’re Evan? Yeah, my mom has talked a lot about you.  Actually, I’ve seen a lot of your pictures on Facebook.  There’s this one where you’re wearing one of those taxi cab driver hats.  My mom got me one of those but I kept taking it off because I can’t stand having stuff on my head.  It makes me itch.”

“Yep, I’ve heard of you too.  I wonder why our moms are laughing at us right now.  I’m hungry.  Let’s eat.  Wahhhhh!!! Waahhhh! Ehhhhh…”.

“Okay, sounds good.  Bluhhh!!!  Mehm-mehm-mehm-mehm…”.

Being that Jill and Paula grew up together and remain friends despite the long distance and that they still see each other at least once a year when we fly out to California in the summer, I think it’s safe to say that Jack and Evan will grow up knowing each other too.  Even if that means just one actual play date a year and in the meantime their Mommies pointing to a Facebook picture, saying, “Look, here’s your buddy.”

Jack has made his first friend.

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How We Told the Family

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Something else I’ve learned so far about being an expecting parent: People are intensely, genuinely excited when they hear the news.  Now that it’s gone viral (facebook), I have been blessed with all kinds of encouraging messages.

As well as some that crack me up:  A friend from high school said I will be a “fab dad” and that I should have a diaper bag with FAB DAD written alongside guitar-shaped flames.  And my 7th grade English teacher said, “You are like a mom… with testosterone.”

That’s brilliant.

But before the news could go public like it has this week, there was a point in time where we had to find a creative way to break the news to our family first.  It’s not something we wanted to do over the phone, if possible.

Conveniently, we had already planned to spend Easter weekend back in my hometown.  Even more convenient was that my mom’s birthday was exactly one week after Easter Sunday, so we found a way to make her birthday gift the news of the baby.

My wife found a tote bag with an insert on the front for a photograph.  With the sonogram in that slot, as well as a “grandparents’ brag book” inside the bag, we had our strategy ready.  The trickiest part was convincing my sister that she and her husband needed to be there at my parents’ house as soon as we got into town that Friday night at 9 PM.  Fortunately, she didn’t question my shady ways too much.

After the usual “settle in” conversations, I handed my mom’s gift to her, which was inside a larger gift bag.  She lifted up the bag from the bag.  It took about ten seconds.

Then her face dropped.  And the tears turned on instantly.  As to inform my dad, my sister, and her husband, my wife announced, “We havin’ a baby!”

It was everything we had hoped for during the four weeks we had to wait to tell them.  We received our “new parents hugs” in a joyous celebration.

My sister, noticing that my dad hadn’t said a word, asked him, “What do you have to say?”

He responded, “Speechless.”  And a little later: “I guess this means we’re gonna be spending a lot of gas money driving back and forth to Nashville.”  That means he’s really excited.  And again with the convenience thing, our child’s due date is on my dad’s birthday.  No way we could have planned that.

My wife had mailed a card and sonogram picture to her mom in Sacramento, with “do not open until you call me” written on the envelope.  Fortunately, it arrived just a few hours before we told my family.  So both sides of the family were able to find out the same day.

It’s not the kind of news a person can just announce to their closest family and friends through a facebook status.  It takes strategic planning.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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