First Time Dad? - Part 2, "The Baby Years"!
Just a quick note...
I'm not sure that even the voice of God, could distract a Dad while he's staring into his child's eyes*
Those First Couple of Days*
Brudda, is your life about to change.
You know those nights with the boys, at your favorite watering hole watching the big game!
Brudda, are those days over!
Suddenly, without thinking about it, instead of reaching for the remote to watch TV? You'll find your self sitting on your bed, staring at your brand new baby.
Staring, watching, listening. Your mind is just blown away by all of this. So, this is what LIFE is all about! As I said, you'll start to realize that it's not about you any more. Having been a singer, songwriter and performer for almost 30 years - I realized that I now have - a "new baby" to play with.
I remember my wife mentioning that she was surprised, that I stayed in the delivery room for the entire birth. But for some reason I told her - I was just fascinated - about - life.
Time to feed the baby!
If it's bottle feeding, then us guys are able to help. Obviously, women can handle the breast feeding thing on their own.
Ok, my 1st mistake!
Just because the Doctor recommends a certain number of ounces of formula per day, doesn't mean that you limit your baby to that exact amount.
One time, I was left alone at night with our daughter while my wife did some errands. I recall my baby waking up around 9:00 p.m., crying and fussing...
So, I picked her up and held her for a while. Nothing.
I tried burping her. Nothing. ( I didn't realize that, hey, did us guys ever burp without first having "a bottle"?)
Next, I tried to distract her by winding up the little carousel and let the music do something. Nadda.
So, out of frustration, I did what every other 1st time Dad would do. I called mommy. She tried to give me some suggestions, but nothing helped. When she got home, she asked how much formula I gave her. I told her what ever the Doctor said to give. Did you ever think of giving her more? No I said. So, daddy did a quick bottle and baby was off to Beddy By.
( By the way, here's another change we guys go through, we starting speaking another language!)
P.S. Don't forget to burp the baby after feeding! I don't know about you guys, but I've perfected this routine perfectly!
Yea, Changing The Diaper...
OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THAT SMELL!
Listen, don't be a wuss. This is what we guys do, we suck it up! Of course, you can always try one of my favorite methods...tie a kitchen hand tower around your face. Trust me, sooner or later brother, you will need to pull out the towel.
P.S. Don't forget the baby powder! ( I always loved the smell of that stuff )
Nappy Poo Time! (remember that other language?)
This is a special time for you to bond with your baby. To this day, I can still remember taking naps with my mom. Obviously, make sure you have that bed rail to prevent anybody from falling off! Another helpful hint - when you give them a bottle to fall asleep, make sure you take that minute once again to do the burp routine. Otherwise, you may wake up with a mess. Um, this one would be oral.
Strolling Through The Park One Day!
It's a beautiful thing to take your new love for a stroll! It's not so much the exercise, but for you to kinda say, hey, look at me with my beautiful baby! And as they get older and they get old fast, than it's onto the Jungle Gym, Swings, Rope Ladders, etc. (As I look back at those early days, I realize now that the slide wasn't really that big after all!)
When they get around 2 or 3 years old, if you can, get them those Barbie Motorized Cars, they're great! ( Yes, of course I rode one!)
BABY TAKING HER FIRST STEP!
Guys? I gotta tell ya...it was pretty much like the picture. We were all sitting on the couch watching T.V. Guess my wife and I were so distracted by the show that we didn't notice our daughter walk along the edge of the couch, then head straight towards the T.V.! We both freaked, I started yelling and acting goofy! It was great!
I also remember practice time - my wife and I standing about 3 ft. apart from each other with our daughter in the middle. We would encourage her to walk back and forth to us. I remember on more than one occasion that our daughter would fall and I would, once again, freak out saying - why didn't you catch her! She just said, listen, she's gotta learn how to fall too, you know!
How To Handle Temper Tantrums!
Guy's? Like the rest of us, I'm sure you've heard the advice of " just let them be, let 'em cry and get it out of their system"! Me? No way. Maybe it's the over protective Italian. I would pick up my daughter and talk to her. I would walk over the wall with the "ever growing" number of pictures on it and I would explain to her what the pictures were. Who was in it, who was holding her, this is Grandpa & Grandma, etc. After a few minutes, she would stop crying.
My thing guys? If my child is crying for what ever the reason? I will do what ever is in my power to take that pain away.
AH HA! I BET YOU THOUGHT I FORGOT SOMETHING!
No way can l forget this. Potty training was interesting. You had to teach them to start to become aware of their little bodies. That when the feel the urge to go, they had to tell mom or dad so we can pull out the little training potty. And, of course in between we would watch that animated video that explains it all to the children - you know, that one with the song that you remember years later! By the way guys, don't forget to teach your son to aim that thing into the potty while sitting on it, just in case #1 and #2 both come out. ( I can't tell you how many times I got the numbers mixed up!)
The excitement that we shared with them when they got this right or did anything else that was great - were the beginning of memories that would last for ever. Stories that you would share with their children !
Here Some Other Things You Can Look Forward To...
Nursery School Blues!
(Bet 'cha Never Thought Of This One...)
Oh boy. Even I had trouble with this one. Our daughter cried her eyes out and would not leave our hips. A few weeks we tried another place, actually, my old High School had pre-school and it worked out fine. Me? I was a basket case!
But, it got better. And those little things they make while they're there? I still have some of those pictures!
See, now, I don't know if it's just me. But when they had that little graduation ceremony in the class for the kids - I had to put on my sunglasses. No, I am not a wuss...I'm a dad.
Then comes the bicycles, with the training wheels, then without. The ice-cream man, building the swing set in the back yard, Christmas presents, birthday parties, etc. There's also their favorite movies that you'll watch over and over again. But, what ever puts a smile on their little faces.
Of course, the time will come when some kid asks to take your daughter to a dance or the movies. I'm ready for that one. Let me know guys if you would recommend something a little more stern.
I'd greet the kid at the door while cleaning the barrel of my 12 gauge and say the following words...
there isn't one thing that you can think of that I have not done at least twice. So, you touch my daughter and I kill you. I know, a bit over protective. It's the Italian.
Anyway, it's all a beautiful thing guys. Remember to keep it all real. Thank God everyday for everything and teach them to thank God as well. Don't forget to kneel down and say their prayers with them before you tuck them in and end the day with their favorite bedtime story. I remember on more than one occasion, my daughter would say, daddy, I'm just resting my eyes, I'm not tired, so keep reading to me. I smiled and said, ok*