On a visit home recently, I bowled an entire game with my 8 month old strapped to my upper body. We got a strike on our first frame. And a 120 overall. I thought this was reason for celebration. Others seem to think it’s reason to call the Department of Child and Family Services.
What could be more dangerous than subjecting your child to the physical demands of bowling? Luckily, the only other people were dads bowling with their younger kids. They wouldn’t dare report a fellow father to the authorities for exercising his right to bond with his child.
My brother and his wife called it “The Office” and we’ve been lucky enough to get it from them second-hand.
Why do we call it “The Office” too? Because that’s where babies go to work. They can stay busy at their “desk” for about twenty blissful minutes, which gives their parents invaluable time to get stuff done. It’s far more interesting to kids than the simple Johnny Jump Up that only offers a couple of distractions. This thing has almost a dozen pieces of plastic for our baby to put into his mouth.
But does calling it “The Office” mean we’re violating some child labor law?
What child’s toy do you find indispensable for maintaining your sanity?
It’s easy to go insane when you’re logging some serious hours in a car with a four month old strapped in the back seat. The traffic. The screaming. The crying. And then there’s the baby. Since my kid is too young for SpongeBob DVDs (thank god), we had to turn to another resource, my iPhone.
Mid-meltdown on the drive back to NYC, we realized we had a visual pacifier in our hands the whole time: the Bloom app by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers. Try it out next time your little one can’t be consoled. Use his fingers to tap the screen on “Create” mode, or just hit “Play” and watch them be mesmerized. It makes the miles fly by.
Here’s a surefire way to gain a boatload of admiration for women in two “easy” steps:
Get a woman pregnant (perhaps even your wife)
Watch that woman give birth
And partners, I’m not talking about just “being present” at the birth. I’m talking about being down by the magic place and full-on watching the miracle of the birth—from “the crowning moment” to the placenta’s world premiere.
Who the hell ever said the female was the “weaker sex”? That’s not a rhetorical question: seriously, who said it? I researched the phrase to no avail. It’s one of those mystical “quotes” that people rail against that were never really uttered. However, they do say that if men had to give birth, the race would be extinct. Ain’t that the truth? I can’t imagine doing what my wife did that day. And she did it without drugs. Twelve hours of contractions and three hours of pushing. I’ve never heard such screaming. And she never once fell back on those clichéd TV moments: like swearing at me for getting her into this mess in the first place.
What if…wait for it…what if the justice system made anyone convicted of a crime against a woman watch the birthing process first-hand? Wouldn’t that change around his perceptions and maybe even get him to gain crazy respect for that gender? Just a thought.
Watching a woman give birth almost makes me want to accept the concept of women’s tees on the golf course.
And I don’t even golf.
Gents, did your appreciation of ‘the weaker sex’ skyrocket exponentially on your baby’s birthday?
You know that sweet honeymoon a new family experiences from about 5 months pregnant on? When everyone beams big smiles at your wife’s swollen belly in awe of the promise your future holds. When strangers, thugs, cops, and robbers look at your wife, stop what they’re doing, and guess at the baby’s gender and wish you well. When you’re pushing your stroller with the new addition and everyone—from children to octogenarians—coo and ahh and talk baby talk to him, repeatedly exclaiming how gorgeous he is?
When does that honeymoon end?
At the exact moment the baby’s annoyingness outweighs his general cuteness.
I’m sure that soon we will be transitioning from that cloud nine feeling to asking the same question that strangers inevitably will: “Who is this demon hellchild running down the street screaming at the top of his lungs?”
We’re still in the phase where people are glad to see us and our baby in a restaurant. Only because they think he’s cute and will manage to sleep the entire time we’re there. But soon, soon, he’ll be super squirmy and way more vocal, and then we’ll be forced to get dinner at 4pm before anyone else even thinks to eat.
We’ve seen those terrible two and three year olds in restaurants and on our block, screaming at the top of their lungs in the throes of an unspeakably meaningless tantrum. And we feel so sorry for his parents. But then we realize that will be us all too soon.
Unless, of course, we have the perfect child. And who of us doesn’t?
When did the baby honeymoon end for you and your family?
It’s been quiet on the Band of Fathers front for a few days because the editor hasn’t been getting much sleep. However, we do have family in town which helps ease some of that burden (like if we’re going especially crazy at 4am, we can just hand him off to someone in the other room for a couple hours).
Family was also critical in helping us get away for our first date night. We count ourselves among the extremely lucky to have been able to go out on a date just eight days after he was born. EIGHT DAYS!? I’d imagine that’s unheard of. Some might think: “How did you manage to leave your baby that early—didn’t you feel guilty?” Answer: No. He was in the more-than-capable hands of my mother- and sister-in-law. They even walked with us and the baby in the stroller to the restaurant to “drop us off.” It was quite cute.
We’d heard horror stories of people who hadn’t been able to go on a date night for six months or a year after the child was born. And it seems pretty important for the parents to regain some of their connection after a majority of the effort has been (and will continue to be) about the baby.
Granted, we were only away from the kid for a bit over an hour (mostly because my wife can’t have more than half a glass of wine, what are we going to do, go to a bar so she can watch me drink?). Besides, we wanted to get back to see him. My wife was able to satisfy a long-standing wish: eating some oysters. As it was in the forbidden dietary category, she had to deny herself the pleasure for the entire pregnancy. Here’s a pic of her enjoying those bivalves and one of the finest sights a man can see: a cold glass of beer.
How about you, when did you get out for your first date night? Was it enjoyable or were you just worried about the babe?
It’s the time-worn complaint that almost always begins with an audible groan, “My In-Laws are visiting.” But for me, for right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My mother-in-law has been staying with us for the past several days and will be here until the middle of next week. Why is this a good thing? Because we have an infant on our hands. An infant who sleeps all day, but refuses to at night. My mother-in-law has been instrumental in helping us keep our sanity—as opposed to losing it.
She has been keeping the kitchen spotless, ordering take-out food, going to the grocery store. And while those things are helpful, the most touching thing was how she took the baby the other night after a 12am—4am run of him crying inconsolably. She grabbed the little guy and had a mini-sleepover for a few hours in the other room just so we could get some much needed rest. And that really is priceless.
My wife and I never thought we would. But when we realized our young, fragile, crying daughter wasn’t getting enough to eat even though she seemed to be “latching” properly, we did what any new parents would do: we panicked.
Luckily, before we went to extremes like having the underside of our newborn’s tongue clipped (which was actually recommended by a cut-rate lactation consultant in Brooklyn) we got Freda Rosenfeld’s name from a trusted source (this before the NYTimes covered her). We arrived at Freda’s house, tires squealing, with mothers-in-law in tow. She exuded the wisdom of a shaman and was as welcoming as a Labrador retriever. She was overjoyed to see us and to help us overcome the trauma—and embrace the beauty—of breast feeding.
Freda spent the better part of an hour with us, teaching us how to soothe the little one and coax her into latching properly. It was clear that she’d done this before and we’ve come to learn that damn near everyone in Brooklyn has seen her for this service. It turns out that our baby had weak jaw muscles as a result of her very lengthy delivery. Freda helped us learn how to massage the baby’s jaw, and after we practiced a couple of times, she was eating like a champ. At the time, my wife dubbed Freda the “boob whisperer” (I think the Times stole the title from her).
Though the fee for a good Lactation Consultant may seem steep, it’s worth every penny—especially if you’ve exhausted your other options or are facing even the simplest of surgical procedures.
Our little one is old enough where she’s no longer breast-feeding, but the connection my wife was able to make with her all those months is something you just can’t put a price on.
This baby bottle from Mimijumi is getting rave reviews.
It’s called the “Very Hungry” and was designed with the help of lactation experts, docs and moms.
The nipple for the bottle was, “…designed to mimic mother’s breast.” Uh, yeah, we think that’s been achieved.
On Mimijumi’s website are some testimonials. One gal from Louisiana was simply loving it:
“Gibson usually doesn’t like bottles, she prefers breastfeeding (and she does not take bottles from me at all) but latched on great to your bottle. It was unbelievable! I am just happy that she takes your bottle from me. It is a relief that I don’t have to keep whipping out the boob in public!”
Gibson can be a handful, I’m sure. And “whipping out the boob” is never fun.
Here’s where to buy the bottle that won a Spark design award. What they didn’t win any awards for is racial sensitivity: a friend pointed out that it “mimics the breast,” but only that of a caucasian’s. What about other moms?
A question for experienced dads: if you had a baby that wasn’t taking to the bottle, wouldn’t it be worth $18 for one that worked?