Posts Tagged ‘ toddlers ’

Higher Paid Working Wives, Increasing Househusbands

Friday, May 4th, 2012

17 months.

My wife makes more money than I do. Not to mention, her job carries incredible insurance and benefits for our family.

While that would have been weird for my dad in the Eighties, here in the 2010′s it’s not so unusual. I recently read an article on CNN Money that spelled it out for me:

“In 2008, 26% of women living in dual-income households had annual earnings that were at least 10 percentage points higher than their spouse, up from 15% in 1997, according to the Families and Work Institute’s latest data.”

The article went on to say that daycare costs continue to increase while wages are not increasing.

So it only makes sense for those wives and mothers out there who are worth more financially than their husbands, in a household where it is is more financially suitable for one spouse to stay at home, that the dad becomes a “househusband” instead of the mom becoming a “housewife.”

How do I feel about this, as a lesser income-earning dad?

Personally, we couldn’t quite survive on just my wife’s solid income. But if we could?

Heck yeah. I wouldn’t hesitate at all to be a stay-at-home househusband. Of course, I’m under no illusion that it would be a breeze.

Stay-at-home parents are working parents; as every politician’s wife should know.

It’s just that as a modern dad, I by default am already extremely involved in raising my son on a daily basis. To me, I would view it as a career upgrade; especially psychologically.

Beyond all the formerly-ironic-but-now-cliche dad skills like being able to change my son’s diapers and feed him, I already consider myself his main disciplinarian, sleep trainer, and nutritionist; all of which are very important when caring for a toddler all day long.

And for everything else, I could figure it out. I’m proud of the fact my wife can make more money than I can. It’s cool that her employer sees what she’s financially worth; which again, is more than I am.

Most importantly, I want to spend as much time as I can with my son. He’s awesome! Why wouldn’t I?

I always want to have a close, well-communicated relationship with him. It starts now.

If this were the 1950′s, I would evidently be able to provide enough income for my family; my wife wouldn’t have to be a working wife.

I would come home each day and smoke a pipe while wearing a robe, sitting in my cozy chair, reading over the newspaper while halfway paying attention to my son.

That doesn’t even sound at all appealing to me. I’d rather it be this way, where I’m definitely an active and positively influential dad.

“Househusband” is not an insult; I say it’s an honor and a privilege. But even if I’m not fortunate enough to be one myself, being a dad in the 2010′s still rocks, like a T-Rex playing an orange electric guitar.

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The Dynamics of Jack And His Cousin Calla

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

16 months.

Jack is 7 months older than his cousin Calla; my sister’s daughter who was born last June. I think he’s still trying to figure out how to react to her.

Last weekend as we were visiting my family in Alabama during Easter, I paid special attention to the two of them. I tried to imagine what Jack was thinking:

“Is she a fellow toddler citizen? Not quite yet.

Is she a puppy? Maybe.

What am I supposed to do with her? She keeps staring at me.

Why does she keep touching me? Why does Daddy look upset every time I start to reach back at her?

This is weird, man.”

For me, as Jack’s dad, watching him try to socialize with his very feminine little cousin was kind of like hoping your dog doesn’t bite someone else’s smaller dog at a park.

Fortunately, I think he realizes that she is no threat. That became evident to me when we were hanging out in the storm shelter and Calla stuck her fingers up to the side of his eye, then plopped her leg up over his. He didn’t move; he just sat there, confused.

It was like in an Eighties’ sitcom where someone knows they’re about to get pie-faced but instead of moving out of the way, they just stand there and take it.

By the end of the weekend, I think Jack began to assume she really is a baby friend. They read a book together and then had a lot of fun out on the swings in the backyard.

As many pictures that have been taken of Jack in a swing, none of them have ever been featured on The Dadabase because Jack doesn’t look like he’s having any fun; just very stoic.

This is the exception. Jack’s cousin doesn’t walk or talk yet like he can, but she is able to show him how to have fun; even if she is a girl.

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Helmets For Crawlers And Toddlers (And First-Time Parents)

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

16 months.

What the helmet?!

When I saw the MSN headline this week saying “Does your high-speed crawler need a helmet?” I couldn’t help but laugh and feel sorry for all those naive first-time parents out there taking that idea seriously. Then I remembered:

Exactly a year ago, my wife and I actually searched online for one. Oh yeah… that.

I was, and still am, an unexperienced first-time parent in each new stage of my son’s life. Yeah, it goes back to that stereotype about the firstborn child being overprotected.

Needless to say, we ended up not paying the 43 bucks for a “crawling helmet,” but only because back in April 2011, it wasn’t as easy to find such a thing. But now, it’s quite the trend.

There is a demand. There is a supply.

Yes, the “crawling helmet” is smart, sexy, and most importantly, a magnet for hipster toddlers everywhere in America; especially Portland, Oregon… I assume.

As much as I mock the concept now, I honestly believed last year that it was a good idea to buy my 5 month-old a helmet to prevent him from everyday head-bumping injuries.

After all, the house we lived in at the time had hardwood floors. But mainly, we as newbie parents hadn’t yet learned that babies’ heads are durable enough to take quite the banging.

It didn’t take long to realize that 99.3% of the time, when Jack hits his head on the floor, or the table, or the wall, he’s not even clued in to what happened.

In fact, one of my new games I play with Jack is to see how many times I can repeatedly hit him in the head (while he’s looking the other way playing with another toy) with this cheap, thin, extremely light, made-in-China inflatable ball you find in the dollar bin at Wal-Mart.

(Pictured right.)

After about 5 or 6 direct hits to the back or side of the head, he finally looks over at me and chuckles as if to say, “Oh, you’ve been doing that this whole time?”

Sure, my son is hard-headed; but that’s not unusual for young kids.

I wonder now what would have happened had we bought him a helmet last year; had there really been a fresh market for it back then.

Well, I guess ultimately, we wouldn’t have learned a very valuable lesson; that “high-speed crawlers” don’t actually need helmets.

Something else I wonder is if there an official way to get your kid tested to find out if they truly are a high-speed crawler. I predict there will be plenty of poser babies out there who are really just medium-speed crawlers…

Even worse, for all I know, “crawling helmets” are probably the gateway protection device leading to “steel-toed booties” and  ”baby bulletproof vests.”

If only crawling helmets were pitched on the TV show Shark Tank. I would love to see that episode:

“As a toddler, I jumped off the couch onto the hardwood floor headfirst and not only did I not bleed, but I turned out smart enough to make it here. So for that reason, I’m out.”

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Validation In My Kid Wanting Me To Hold Him

Friday, February 17th, 2012

15 months.

Now at 15 months, my son Jack actually asks for me to hold him; even when my wife is in the room too.

Actually, he grunts for me to hold him, but same difference. For me, the dad, that’s a honkin’ big deal.

A few weeks ago my wife had to stay home from work with him because he had a fever. When I came home that day, as soon as he saw me, he started crying, “Dada-dada-dada-dada…”.

“He’s been doing that all afternoon,” my wife told me.

Without hesitation, I responded with a big smile, “Really?!”

It’s just that for the prior 14 months, I was a bologna sandwich compared to my wife, when it came to comforting him.

Now, all of the sudden, he whines for me to hold him… on a daily basis!

Sorry, but this feels really good. Maybe I’m just overly eager for some validation as the dad who has spent most of his son’s life trying to figure out how I can actually help take care of him.

I’m no longer ghost dad.

Maybe it’s just taken this long for him to learn to appreciate the smell of my natural manly musk; I don’t know. But somehow, I comfort him now.

He’s my koala bear. I’m the Eucalyptus tree.

As I look at this collage my wife made for his 1st birthday and compare it to a more modern picture of him, I can’t help but think, “Yeah, 15 months old is my favorite age for him so far.”

These pictures of him going all the way back to his infancy show me, like my sister recently told me on the phone: “Jack looks like a little boy now.”

He is a little boy, barely. But I really appreciate the “boy version” of him over the “baby version.”

Because the boy version makes me feel validated as a parent. And I’ve been waiting for a long time to feel this way.

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Thankfulness for My Toddler’s Teacher, Ty

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

One year.


Last week when my son turned a year old, he was lucky enough to have his official birthday cupcake three different times. Therefore, I have three different pictures of the event: one with just our family of three, one with his extended party with friends and family, and one at his daycare, KinderCare.

Jack’s main teacher, Ty, had his classmates sign his birthday crown that she made for him. In case you’re wondering, the way toddlers sign things is by using their thumbprint. I have these pictures hanging up now at my cubicle at work. So while I’m listening to some weirdo on the phone tell me his life story, I can look over and catch a glimpse of what life must be like for my son in Baby Land.

I never have to question whether or not Jack is okay there at his daycare or whether or not he’s been well taken care of. After all, I’m not “that dad” who has to suppress my anxieties about my son when a non-family member is taking care of him.

He is okay. He’s more than fine. In fact, I’m pretty solid in knowing that he’s a smarter little boy because of Ty’s guidance and teaching; as compared to if he was under my care for 40 hours a week instead.

Despite an already impressive book collection at our house, we don’t spend nearly as much time as we’d like reading to Jack. But when we do, it’s very apparent that he is accustomed to being read to because of Ty. He sits there and enjoys the book when we read it to him.

Because of Ty, he now knows how to use his thumb and index finger to pick up pieces of food and bring them to his mouth. This same learned skill has also helped him to turn on the Wii when I’m not looking.

Jack has learned to find confidence and independence through Ty’s guidance. I can tell that he not only thinks the world of her, but that he also respects her.

She was telling me last week that when he starts to get into some trouble or into a mess of some sort, she will say, “Jack… no, no.” Then he starts doing his fake cry. But he is learning boundaries from her.

My wife and I are very thankful for Ty taking care of our tyke. (She creatively found ways to avoid my camera in the midst of writing this post.) It’s sad to think that in the near future he will be moving out of her age/stage group. She has been there to see him learn to walk. But the boy must grow up.

Thank God for good teachers who help our kids along the way when we parents can’t be there for every minute of it.

Unexpected Bonus!

This week I gave Ty a copy of the brand-new book, God’s Promises for the Teacher. It is a new addition to Thomas Nelson’s best-selling God’s Promises series. The book serves as a quick devotional for teachers, using specific motivational Scriptures for 45 different topics including patience, wisdom, peace, and courage.

You guessed it. One lucky reader will win a free copy of God’s Promises for the Teacher to give to a special teacher in their child’s life.

Just be the first person to A) leave a comment on this post saying you want it and B) send me an email including your mailing address to nickshell1983@hotmail.com.

*Congrats to Wendy P. of Houston, TX on winning this!

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