Posts Tagged ‘ advice ’

A Letter to Leave Behind…

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He has written the fiction book “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” and is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons and can be emailed at jdeprospero@gmail.com or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

 

I will be dead someday. That’s a scary concept to put down on paper. But it’s a fact. And when I think of my mother or my grandparents, I often imagine things we’d say to each other if they were alive today.  Also, even though I have plenty of home videos with them all, I wish I had a letter, something from each of them I could always refer back to when I was feeling isolated from the rest of the world.  It would be even nicer if that letter included some tips and tricks on how to successfully navigate through this confusing, often perplexing life. I think I’ve effectively teed this blog up, so let’s get to it.

I’m not currently dying, mind you (at least I don’t think I am). But here is my attempt at leaving something behind for my children to read when I’m eventually gone.

 

Dear Antonio, Nathaniel and (God help me) any other children I conceive after this writing,

First of all, know that I love you. I think that’s the most important thing to remember about me (or any child of their parent, really). But no matter what happens in your life, remember that fact, for knowing you came from a place of love should guide you on the correct path in life.

When each of you was born, it changed my life in every way imaginable. From the time I woke up in the morning to the volume of my voice when I shouted, it changed once you entered my life. The sacrifices were all worth it, though. I promise you that.

Be good to each other. The sibling relationship can easily be undervalued if you allow your inevitable differences to separate you. You share a unique bond and history with one another that no other person on earth can touch. So, remember this when having some petty argument about whether Goodfellas or Casino is the superior mob film (the correct answer is Goodfellas, by the way).

Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life. Someone else’s path to happiness might differ greatly from yours. If you want to become an actor, a carpenter, an accountant, that’s fine with me. Just try not to change your mind about this immediately after getting a degree in World History.

Never forget where you came from. From the city you grew up in to the best friend you’ll have since 1st grade, all of this leaves a permanent mark on who you’ll become as an adult. Cherish your family as well as your friendships, as they are the constants in your life. But if a friendship has reached its unfortunate end, be mature enough to end it gracefully. You can’t do this with family, though. Nice try

Always set your DVR to record four minutes beyond the scheduled end time of your favorite TV show. It will save you countless hours of aggravation you can never get back. I should note that if you choose to marry, your partner in that marriage will appreciate this act more than words can say.

Speaking of marriage, deciding who you’ll experience life with is the single most important decision you’ll ever make. Please choose someone who understands you at your core, loves you despite your faults and challenges you when you need to be challenged. And if you decide to not marry, that’s fine. As long as you’re not the creepy guy at the bar in his 60s, drinking because he’s lonely and eating well after his hunger subsided. And don’t let it be because of the demands of your career. When you’re old and gray, you’re never going to look back and wish you’d spent more hours in the office. Especially if your job sucked.

Be active and don’t let technology consume you. As of 2013, there’s already a wide variety of addicting gadgets to occupy your time and energy. Some of them can be extremely useful. But never let electronics keep you from the simple pleasures of taking a walk or playing a game of kickball with your friends. Your mother and I have tried not to over-expose you to technological distractions, but we’re also guilty of letting it happen to ourselves. Me more than Mom.

Speaking of Mom, yours is amazing. She loves you unconditionally. I know this, because I’ve watched you yank her hair, stick your tongue out at her and, after you’ve been disciplined, she still has a look on her face of pure joy when your arms are wrapped around her neck in a hug.

Try not to make the same mistakes I did. This includes: not exercising enough, not applying myself in school, growing a terrible goatee, being a New York Jets fan.

Your maternal and paternal grandparents (Linda, Joe, Chela, Tony) all contributed something unique to who you are today. Regardless of whether they’re living or dead when you read this, they are an enormous part of you. Remember that.

I apologize in advance for your hair being coarse, unmanageable and your least appealing physical quality. DeProspero males have long been cursed with awful hair and a short temper. At least you won’t have to spend much money on shampoo.

Be a thoughtful gift-giver. And offer a sincere “thank you” when you receive one. Etiquette is important and shows others you cared enough to think of it. This goes a long way with most people.

Whenever you’re really angry at someone else, instead of instantly acting on it, write down what you want to say. All of it. Then wait an hour. If you still want to say what you’ve written down, say it. But I’ve found that, more often than not, what I think I want to say when I’m pissed off is not actually what I want to say.

Lastly, when you ultimately have to deal with my death, do both of us a favor and make it a closed casket funeral. Nobody looks good when they’re dead and I would hate for you to remember me looking like Joan Rivers in a tuxedo.

Again, always know that you come from love, be your best in whatever you do, and don’t hold onto anger. Being a positive, courteous, ambitious person will get you much further in life than anger or hate ever could.

Love,

Dad

 

* Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Penis Anger

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

He looks so innocent....don't let him fool you!

The penis is killing me. I will soon need anger management. I have followed the advice of other moms but I am still getting bathed in urine. As are my walls, Emmett’s body–even his face. Today it happened three times in a row. What am I doing wrong?

Here is what one mom wrote to me:

1. Open the front of his diaper for a few seconds to let the air hit his penis; the temperature change is usually what triggers the peeing;

2. Lay the front of the diaper back over him and wait a few seconds to see if he’s going to pee;

3. Proceed with diaper change.

I have not been peed on since I learned this trick over two years ago.

———————————–

I have tried this trick. The problem is, I pull the diaper back, then wait a few seconds. I proceed with the change. And 8 times out of 10 I still get hit.

Emmett poops a ton. And I am still battling this diaper rash. It turned bacterial. I got prescription ointment. Added an anti-fungal ointment in there as well, by my own accord. It went away. But now it’s back.  I don’t want him to sit in the poop for even a few minutes, as that seems to be what made it come back, despite the 10-inch buffer of creams + aquafor + triple paste.

So he poops, I change. 10 minutes later he poops again. I change. This goes on for about 30-45 minutes and up to five diapers. Somewhere in there, we both get a golden shower. Maybe three.

At about 4 a.m. this morning, we had simultaneous poop-pee-barf. Yes, baptism by fire with a newborn. But with Fia I only really dealt with the barf/reflux. She didn’t poop 5 times in 30 minutes either.

I am going to look into a pee tent, but honestly, he wiggles so much, even a burp cloth doesn’t work. It would have to be a tent that you use in a circus to cover the whole area. Oh, but then I’d be under it and get sprayed anyway. I’m also trying to dry out his bum each time, which adds to the length of time we both become moving targets.

This morning I texted my husband. I told him I was sorry to break the news to him, but I may become a lesbian or a nun as I am beginning to hate the penis. He hasn’t written back. He’s probably too terrified to come home.

Now I’m off to swimming lessons with Fia. Where I won’t get peed on because a) the instructor is in the water with her not me; b) she wears a swim diaper; c) she has a vagina. Thank the lord!

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Picky Eaters

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

From the beginning of her bottle life, Fia took it like a champ. So much so, that even after she turned one, I was apparently feeding her too much formula. Truth is, the bottle became my crutch. If she didn’t eat enough real food I’d get nervous that she would be hungry, so I’d give her one. It was quite enlightening when I recently took her to the pediatrician for her one-year appointment.

Here’s how the conversation with Dr. TJ Gold began:

“How’s her appetite?”

“Well, I’m still giving her about 32 ounces a day of formula. Real food is kinda hit or miss.”

A stern stare. I continue.

“She gets picky at the table and I worry that she’s not eating enough, so I fill her up however I can.”

Dr. Gold nods knowingly, as if saying, yeah, I’ve seen this before.

“And do you also run around while she plays trying to put food in her mouth?” she asks.

“YES!” I exclaim, thinking she “gets” it.  She understands how picky babies are. I continue: “I run around the exersaucer chucking cheese into her mouth. I run after her through the living room, shoving saltines in. Anything I can get her to eat and any way I can do it.“ I beam, waiting for the sign of approval.

Dr. Gold clears her throat and she says something to me that was a game changer for me.

“Terrible Two’s happen because of parenting choices made during the 1’s.”

HUH????

She continues, “And it’s much harder to reverse bad behavior than to just begin with good behavior.”

Look, I feel like I’m a fairly reasonable, somewhat smart and aware person. And I’ve read the range of babybooks—from Dr. Sears to Babywise. But in this scenario, for whatever reason, my mom instincts were off. I’m sure it stems from my primal need for sleep and my irrational fear that she’ll start waking up in the night hungry if she doesn’t get enough during the day. Whatever the cause, I’m so so so glad Dr. Gold stopped me cold in my tracks and reversed my behavior. It immediately made a difference, and continues to nearly a month later. Here is a recap of what I learned:

You feed your baby broccoli one day, the next day she flicks it off her tray and refuses to eat it. You try pasta, which you know she likes. And oops, there goes the flick again. She isn’t interested in any of the usual staples. Desperate, you scour your fridge. Yogurt and applesauce. The sweet stuff. You pull it out, try it on her, and voilà, she eats it. Guess what? You’ve just been had and your baby just won a major battle. Continue like this, and soon she’s the master. And you’re the servant, scrambling to find food she’ll eat.

“Picky eaters are formed by this exact scenario,” Dr. Gold tells me. They know if they flick food off, eventually mom will come running to their rescue with something sweet.

Then she gave me a very healthy warning. “This is also how you end up with a 2-year old who can’t sit still at a restaurant. And it’s how you start to lose your edge as a parent. “

“But, what do I do?” I say, wringing my hands. “If she won’t eat, then she’ll wake up in the night, and next thing you know, I’m dealing with a newborn schedule again!!”

Not true, says Dr. Gold. Mealtime is very specific. You put her in the highchair, TV off, time to focus and you feed her. If she flicks her food, you stop feeding. Take her down. Wait 30 minutes. Try again. She’s not going to starve. When she’s hungry enough, she’ll eat.

She also told me to switch to whole milk and cut down to 16 ounces a day max.

At the visit, Fia was in the 10th percentile for weight, 48th for height. While Dr. Gold wasn’t a bit worried, I swear Fi fattened up within 3 days following her instructions. It was a remarkable shift. And now, she literally eats everything. And lots of it. When she sees me setting her food out, she toddles up to her highchair and throws her arms in the air, begging to go in it. A far cry from me running around in circles, chasing her while shoveling bits of food in her mouth.

spoonstrike

Every baby is different, so this might not work for you, but I just thought I’d share my own experience. My new and improved routine goes like this:

7am – She wakes up. I give her a 6 oz bottle of whole milk.

8:30-9am – Breakfast. Yogurt, toast with peanut butter, banana, etc. Sippy cup with water and a splash of OJ.

11am – Lunch. Chickpeas, rice, chicken, mac and cheese….whatever I’m eating. I just cut it up in small pieces.

1-2pm – Small bottle. Snack.

5-6pm – Dinner. Again, whatever we’re going to eat.

6:30pm – Bath time.

7pm – Book and 6 oz bottle. Baby sleeps through night.

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