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what i learned about preparation for daddy-hood (for Dog)(23 posts)

what i learned about preparation for daddy-hood (for Dog)Nearly 30 HaiKurate
Nov 6, 2001 12:45 PM
...and the first few days...

disclaimer: advice is often worth what you pay for it, even if it's from a new daddy. or is that, "...worth what you get out of it"?

misc:

* books help, at least they help you feel more prepared and in control. fyi, you can be prepared for just about anything, but you're never in more control than you would be in the jaws of a large, hungry alligator.

* don't shrug off the advice about putting together a bag for the hospital for your wife, including all the stuff she'd need for several days spent there. one of the best things i read and heeded was to also put one together for myself. where you keep these, in light of the last-minute "it's time" call, is very important. think about it. one word: socks. warm, wooly ones, for your wife. hospital rooms are cold, and he floors are worse.

* driving to the hospital when it's "go time". this paragraph includes driving to pickup pregnant wife, if this is necessary. cycling proverb here: DFL beats DNF, every time. you have a blank check to drive like a maniac, so long as you're completely in control and don't endanger your family (or any other families) getting there.

* a camera is a must for the first few minutes of life. but, do you really want childbirth on videotape?

* strange as it sounds, i wish i'd had my son's first cries on tape. it's been a tradition (well, started by my father) to make tapes of the kids at different points in their lives, crying/cooing, speaking monosyllabic sounds, then first speech, then later ramblings, etc.. my son's first sounds were startling, because his voice was much deeper than expected, and hoarse.

* I took a free "expectant daddy" class at the hospital. it was a 2-3 hour one-nighter with a bunch of other nervous guys. some of them were too macho to handle the baby doll when diaper changing came around (not me). however, i'd have to give that class a zero on the useful scale, as i learned zilch, and it took up riding time. bonus points with pregnant wife were high on the scale, though. probably an 8.5 out of 10.

* pregnancy class / childbirth preparedness class, with your wife: do it. i did this with my wife and we enjoyed it for the most part. of course, it was 65% fluff, but there were some helpful discussions and interaction with other pregnant couples. useful points for daddy AND bonus points with pregnant wife were both in the 8-9 range for the class. note: our hospital offered this either in a one-day, 8-hour session, or one night per week for four weeks. guess which one we took?

* get junior's room ready NOW. yesterday. that's one less thing to consider. the fun part is shopping for furniture, if you need to do that. we painted the walls with fun stuff (astonomical), put up framed pics, bulletin board, filled the room with stuffed animals and toys, you know the drill. do it now and get it off your mind. there are other things to worry about and do later, and you never know if your wife will be able to lend a hand with this in the later stages of pregnancy.

* pediatrician: ours is open m-f standard hours, saturday for a short time, and has a walk-in clinic, for sick kids only, during weeknights and weekend days, for short hours. they only let a set number of kids in the door. getting there early and standing in line is the only way to go.

* diaper bags: two or more, identically packed. can't have too many. an infant requires a traveling grocery store. a toddler requires same, plus a packable toy store and the entire children's clothing section of kids-r-us.

* does your wife drive? don't even think about moving the carseat from one car to the other. this is a pain in the arse. buy two.

* carseat? plus carrier? plus stroller? buy two all-in-one units, or one and two bases for different vehicles. ours was a stroller, carrier, carseat and drink holder :o) in one. limitless use.

don't forget! some say a gift is expected from husband to wife post-birth (most likely some jewelry, NOT a colnago mountain bike, Dog). i'd read this several places. we're practical folks, and discussed this in advance, deciding against it. unbeknownst to her, i'd contacted her best friend from childhood (lifelong best friend), and flew her in from 1500 miles away for a weekend visit in month 8. bonus points: off the scale. can't be quantified.

books:

"what to expect when you're expecting"--buy this book, read it twice, and put it in your "daddy to the hospital" bag. don't forget the bag. our delivery wasn't straightforward, and the book was most helpful in triage.

"what to expect the first year"--buy this book, read it twice, and keep it in a central location in the house. more beneficial than a dictionary, and i use the heck out of dictionaries.

"parenting for dummies"--ditto.

one of the most fun things about being a daddy: buying toys. one of the most striking moments: taking the little one to the toy store when junior is old enough to sit in the shopping cart seat, and picking out toys according to junior's (pre-speech) reactions. priceless.
wow, thanksDog
Nov 6, 2001 12:53 PM
Sounds like good advice.

Already bought "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and have read about half of it. Good stuff. Also got the Mayo Clinic book.

The future baby room is an office right now. Will need to rewire cable modem and move files. You're right, better get started.

Basically, I'm in "do what I'm told" mode. I told her she gets a 7 month free pass to get me to do anything she wants. I have a feeling it may not expire, though. My back is sore from the yardwork already.

Doug
correct, no expiration. welcome to subservience. nmNearly 30 HaiKurate
Nov 6, 2001 12:58 PM
A couple moremickey-mac
Nov 6, 2001 1:04 PM
When you put the crib together, be sure you put it together IN THE BABY'S ROOM. Unless you have extraordinarily wide doors, it won't fit. Fortunately, I was warned about this one or I probably would have put the crib together in the living room and spent another hour disassembling and reassembling.

Get a warmer for the baby-wipes. If you have a boy, you're less likely to get a face-full of pee at changing time using a warm wipe. Even if you have a girl, it's just nicer to use a warm one. Would you want someone slapping a cold towel on your butt in the middle of January? (You don't have to answer that.)
yeah, and...Nearly 30 HaiKurate
Nov 6, 2001 1:21 PM
* we never did find the "diaper genie" useful. too complicated for such a simple purpose. solution: plastic grocery bags.

* desitin is worth it's weight in platinum. resolves diaper rash overnight.

* pack-n-play functions as a crib and an enclosed play area, folds up and has a handle. what more could you want?

* traveling with a baby: bring ALL the baby food you might need, including liquids. you never know if you'll be able to find it where you're going.

"it takes the whole village to raise a child, but just one little internet forum to totally overwhelm an expectant father with advice."
thanks, but how did people manage before the internet?Dog
Nov 6, 2001 1:32 PM
I really do appreciate the advice.

I was talking to my wife about all the advice, books, internet research she's doing, etc., and I pointed out that the human race has survived for quite a while without all that. Imagine that.

Nonetheless, I'm for making it as easy as possible. Thanks.

Doug
improving by generation. what do you think happened to me? nmNearly 30 HaiKurate
Nov 6, 2001 1:52 PM
LMAO! Too bad Hubby didn't have anyone giveSpinchick
Nov 6, 2001 3:54 PM
him that advice before he made the crib mistake. That was a memorable (humorous for me, aggravating for him) evening. I remember it well.
FWIW, I can only add one small thing to that...cory
Nov 6, 2001 3:12 PM
Great job! My kids are 21 and 16, and I figured I'd come up with a bunch of experienced-dad stuff, but he's covered it all.
Only thing I'd add is more of an assurance than something to do in preparation: Your life is going to change (if you have the brains to be a decent parent, anyway)--and you probably won't care. There's a small rough spot around age 2, and an incredibly frustrating year or two around 14, and you do need to keep some time for yourself and your relationship. Nothing you'll ever do on a bike, though, is as important as doing a good job with your children. In 20 years, it won't make a damn bit of difference whether you rode 5,000 miles or 500 miles in 2002. What you do with your kids could change the world. Or at least change them, which is the same thing, for a parent.
uh-oh...what happens around year 2? nmJs Haiku Shop
Nov 7, 2001 6:16 AM
2 yrs and 14 yrs are ages of transition...........STEELYeyed
Nov 7, 2001 7:56 PM
when they start to assert their independance,from baby to child,from child to adult-boys are worse at 2,and girls sometimes completly lose their minds at age 14,some never recover(kidding),one thing is for sure,when they hit the teen years,parents are the biggest idiots in the world and are totally clueless about life,I don't know when it ends my daughter just turned 17,my son 15,but I'll let you know.
thanks, i'll start drinking heavily NOW. nmJs Haiku Shop
Nov 8, 2001 6:24 AM
15 year old teenage girl...........DINOSAUR
Nov 8, 2001 9:17 AM
My daughter turned 15 in June. One minute she is a sweet, kind, loving teenage girl. The next she is a raging psycopath. Sometimes I am beside myself as how to handle her. I rasied two boys who are now in their 30's and can't recall going through this with them. From what I've read it's a normal transistion from childhood to puberty. The main difference I notice with my daughter is that she is more verbal than my boys were, both put together. When I play dad's taxi and drive her hill and dale we have interesting conversations. It's remarkable what she says sometimes. She just tested for her learners permit and soon I will be in the passenger seat while she gets her 50 hrs behind the wheel time mandated by Ca law. I dread the day she starts driving on her own. Cherish them while they are still young, they grow up so very fast. I can identify with being the biggest idiot in the world. My daughters usual remark used to be "Oh Dad, you don't know anything." Actually she is probably right, but at least she will have to listen to me when I teach her how to drive.
On another note, my middle son is a veteran of Desert Storm. You can't imagine how much we worried about him. One day he was in high school, the next he was in a war. Life is short, enjoy them while you can. Thanksgiving is a big holiday for us as we are all together, I'm looking forward to it. I'd say parenthood is the biggest reward in the world, it's what I have to show for my short time on this earth.
the fun's only started with that driving thing...cory
Nov 15, 2001 9:57 AM
My daughter got her license a couple of months ago. I didn't want her driving to school as a sophomore, so I set high standards before she could do it. This was (you'll get used to this phrase) SO unfair... But when I didn't yield, she met them: Played varsity soccer, did some other extracurricular stuff and got a 3.8 GPA. I had confidence in her maturity and driving ability (she's driven quite a bit, including in snow and on long trips, with us in the car). So when my wife got a new Honda, we cleaned up the old Neon and it became my daughter's.
Today, THE VERY FIRST DAY she's driven to school, she left after a snippy reply ("I KNOW THAT, dad") when I reminded her to clean the ice off the windshield, but came running back five minutes later: "Dad, my tire is SO flat... I'm parked across the street can I take your truck goodbye."
I'm off today, so I slogged down the stairs at 6:30 and went across the street to change her tire. It was weird, though--two parallel vertical gouges out of the sidewall, clear through the casing, about three inches long and a quarter-inch wide. I couldn't figure out how she'd done it...then I noticed a scratch, a deep crease, the length of the formerly pristine car about a foot off the ground...and a dent in the front under the headlight...and the rear-view mirror was snapped off, hanging by its control cable. I had no idea. I also noticed, though it didn't really register, that the windows were completely iced except for a volleyball-sized patch on the windshield.
Going back into the yard, I saw where she had run into the gatepost, apparently unable to steer a six-foot wide car through a 14-foot hole. The post had raked the side, and pair of bolts on the lower hinge did in the tire.
The gate's all bent to crap, but I can probably fix it. Mirror is $115, tires (we'll need two) about $120, bodywork (which I'm inclined not to have done; let her drive it that way) is $1000 at a guess. Haven't talked to her about it yet, but there are no good choices. She unarguably hit the post, so whether she didn't even realize it or decided not to tell me doesn't really matter. How the hell do you hit a post with the DRIVER'S DOOR when the gate is twice as wide as the car anyway?
AND--here's the best part--you'll never guess who the bad guy is going to be in this... Why, it's me, because I'm going to say this is evidence of a lack of concentration and it means she can't drive my cars for awhile.
Good grief...DINOSAUR
Nov 19, 2001 9:52 AM
Your post made me laugh, but it's no laughing matter. Down here in Placer Country in 1998 Del Oro High School lost three kids in one year in traffic accidents. The requirements for obtaining a license are so strict but I've seen teenage kids drive like complete idiots. When they crash the girls usually break into tears and the boys act like they are real cool and it's no big thing. If I had my way my daughter would just take the school bus for four years. I earned my living driving on the freeways and back country roads, but I get white knuckles sometimes when I drive on the freeways. Like I've said before, I feel safer on my bike....
There really should be a lawKristin
Nov 19, 2001 4:34 PM
That prohibits teenagers from riding in cars with other teenagers and no supervising adults present. I really don't understand why there isn't a law like this. When I was 16, I was riding around in a car with 4 people:
*Driver: Bobby, 18
*Passenger1: Kristin, 16
*Passenger2: Ray, 19
*Passenger3: Michelle, 14 (Rays little sister)

We had all been drinking and Bobby was driving like a maniac down a twisted road. Everyone was laughing. I was a bit nervous, but I didn't want to be a killjoy (the primary reason kids can't be responsible), so I just laughed and laughed. Until we spun, flipped, and slid.

*Ray: Nearly died, 90% road rash on face
*Michelle: found 50 feet away with a busted kneecap, shattered nose and an elephant forehead.
*Kristin: trapped in car, severely bruised wrist
*Bobbly: whiplash, cut up hands, concusion

Facts:
* With adults around, we would never have driven like that.
* Severe fear kept me from getting licensed until I was 18.
* Even then, I was a very careful driver because of the accident.
* I still made stupid mistakes, despite my carefulness (Hit a Corvette and a brand new SUV with a 10 year old Mustang when I was 21.)

A law prohibiting kids from riding around together would break up some of their fun, but would save lives in the process.
Dad's dating rulesTig
Nov 8, 2001 10:49 AM
My daughter turned 13, yet is going on 18 and 5 at the same time! Time to pull out the ol' rules book for the guys that want to date her:

Rule One:
If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two:
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three:
I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open-minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four:
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "Barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five:
It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is, "early".

Rule Six:
I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you.
If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven:
As you stand in my front hallway waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process than can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight:
The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goosedown parka -- zipped up to her throat. Movies with strong romantic or sexual themes are to be avoided; movies which feature chainsaws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks' homes are better.

Rule Nine:
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless God of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with
me.

Rule Ten:
Be afraid. Be very afraid. The voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car. There is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.
Dad's dating rulesDINOSAUR
Nov 8, 2001 11:11 AM
My daughter hasn't really starting dating yet (long story). However just reading this stuff makes me want to lie down on the floor and meditate. Think I'll just go for a ride and put this stuff out of my mind for now...
Excellent!look271
Nov 8, 2001 4:52 PM
I have 2 daughters, 7 and 9. I'll keep these things in mind. Besides, they're not going to date until they're 25, right?
Had a neighbor.......Len J
Nov 9, 2001 5:19 AM
who had two Beautiful daughters who were models. He would tell anyone who would listen that He figured that he would shoot the first guy that came to date one of his daughters. He figured that word would get around.

Len
please elaborate..4bykn
Nov 9, 2001 8:46 AM
Rule 2, when you state that you "will remove them", do you mean you will remove them from your daughters body, or you will decapitate him?
I know all about your set of rules, I have a beautiful (okay, I'm biased) 17 year old daughter.
Two of the proudest moments of my life: When my mother told us we had done a great job of raising her, and when Megan (my daughter) told us that she and her best friend think we are "pretty cool". I guarantee you I never told my parents that!
A hundred years from now...Tig
Nov 8, 2001 10:44 AM
An oldie, but a goodie:

A hundred years from now
it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in,
or the kind of car I drove.
But the world may be different,
because I was important in the life of a child.
A hundred years from now...DINOSAUR
Nov 9, 2001 7:26 AM
This is so very true. We are fortunute as our two sons were almost grown before we had our daughter (a "miracle baby").
One thing we learned from our son's is to communicate and keep track of what is going on in their life's. When they are adults your relationship with them will depend on what type of relationship you had when they were kids. The most important is to make sure you let them know that you love them and care.
I'm printing out this poem and sticking it on our refrigerator.