My 43 Month Old

Charlee’s irritated mom face

I’m totally kidding – I’m not really that guy! I just found it funny that I was about to type out a blog and realized it was the 17th which is technically Charlee’s 43 month birthday, so I thought to myself it’s about time I write a little ode to my sweet pea, my bubbaloo, my Charlee Bear.

When we were having Ever we weren’t really sure how Charlee would react. You definitely read about first born kids whose spotlight dims and they turn resentful and act out. But then again, you hear about those kids who instantly form a bond and grow up as the best of friends, but how much of this outcome depended on us?!

Well, I’ve got to say, so far things are leaning towards best buds – Charlee is the most phenomenal big sister. She’s caring, attentive, and for months has been the only one of us who can make Ever crack up laughing on a whim.

Of course, sisterhood is the most recent evolution of Charlee – there is so much more to her and I wanted to really take a second and capture some of that.

Some of you may know of my youtube channel. I think I was probably predating the whole instagram video thing and at the same time half-assing a proper vlog and true youtuber attempt. Nonetheless, I have a handful of videos that I took throughout the first year and change of having Charlee. The intent was to film a monthly 3-4 minute shtick and feature Charlee and her latest achievements. Every so often Becca and I will pop over to the channel to check out the videos, especially now to see how different Charlee and Ever are at the same stage in life.

The other day we rewatched this one – Charlee at 18 months:

It feels like it’s been forever, but I really remember those days and am still so blown away at how brilliant she is and was, especially at such a young age.

These days, my 3.5 year old daughter has begun reading and writing, two traits that we are so proud of her for. Her memory has always been beyond incredible, so her aptitude for memorizing the sound and shape of words and letters just seemed to make sense. She’s reading books to herself, her sister, her dolls, and of course, us. She’s always had a knack for memorizing logos of companies, and after a while 2 and 2 came together and she could read the words based on her memory of the symbols.

Leveraging her memorization skills, I’ve got her into cars. She can name all the car manufacturers from looking at their logos and I mean even some real random ones like Koenigsegg and Alfa Romeo. She knows all the Formula 1 teams and drivers (and many of their numbers) and we watch every qualifying and every race together. Becca’s got some old fabric swab books from college and Charlee has memorized the entire binder, cover to cover, off of a combination of the feel, texture, colour, look and spelling of the words representing the fabric – it’s incredible!

I don’t think she could smile any bigger!

Charlee is a clever and witty individual and she is constantly making us laugh. She gets subtle nuances and puns like an adult and even makes up a few of her own.

She can be very polite and has very good manners, ironically with strangers more so than us! When we’re with her, she’ll introduce herself to the cashier at the grocery store or to another kid at the park, with a “Hi, my name is Charlee – C H A R L E E, and I’m three and half years old!” She is articulate and talkative and has a very good range of vocabulary, especially for someone her age.

Charlee does tend to be somewhat apprehensive about starting new things and often likes to be in her comfort zone. This is true for many things including sleep, which she really depends on us for. We still need to hop in bed with her and fake sleep to make sure she goes down. And even then she’ll wake up several times throughout the night, so we usually just end up dividing and conquering with Becca staying in our room with Ever, and Charlee and I crashing together. Eventually it’ll have to change, but for now, it’s the path of least resistance.

Life’s a beach

I’ll tell you one thing I’ve grown to realize with a toddler – their general lack of self-awareness. There are a ton of books out there, many of which we’ve bought, that help kids identify the emotions and feelings they’re going through in hopes that they’ll connect the feeling, with an emotion, and subsequently with a fix for it. The two biggies in my view are hunger and sleep.

If your kid is hungry you’ve got a small window to identify it, address it, and keep the peace. If you miss it, sometimes you can’t go back and things will just spiral downward into complete and utter meltdown. Becca’s way more on top of this than I am, but if you keep an eye on the intervals between meals and snacks, you can keep them fuelled and prevent any catastrophes. Remember though, they’ll rarely tell you themselves.

Autoshow 2019

Same is true for sleep. A well rested child is a pleasure. When they start having sleep issues, you’ll feel it in multiples.

Lately Charlee’s had two of the worst meltdowns of her life – to the point where strangers look and judge – my favourite. In hindsight, we know we could have prevented these with food – both times. She had been exerting a lot of energy walking or running for a long distance and time, and we were debating on where to have lunch but by that point it was already too late.

We’ve read a ton of books on how to connect with your child emotionally during these moments and lead them out of the meltdown. All fine and dandy, but these two in particular were way passed the point and she needed to be removed from the situation pretty quickly.

With all said and done, I still love this stage of Charlee but really can’t wait for kindergarten later this year. I want to see her in a structured system where she can be taught by professionals and really start to excel even more. I can’t wait for her to learn new things from the school system and I just hope to hell this new government won’t completely shit the bed.

I often talk about looking forward to the day when I get to visit my kids at their work and take them out for lunch. When I look back at what 3.5 years has been, I can’t imagine what’s in store for another 20, and where that place of work might be. Charlee now talks about becoming a scientist or an engineer. I don’t doubt that she will achieve anything and everything she puts her mind to. And what a mind it is!

Hello, My Name Is Dad – remember me?

Ok so it’s been a while.

A long while.

A long, LONG while.

You look great – did you do something with your hair? New glasses? No?…

Look, I’m sorry – life really takes hold and it becomes super difficult to dedicate the time. Every year brings a new New Year’s resolution to write more (or write SOMETHING), and yet repeatedly I fail. Maybe that’s just cause I’m human…. yeah let’s go with that.

Truth be told, I’ve realized some interesting aspects to parenthood over the course of the last three and half years, but even more notably, I’ve realized how difficult it can be to share all of them! I’ve realized that laying out my life on social media is easy and even entertaining when things are good, but when it’s time to talk about the ‘other’ parts of parenting, I really don’t feel so inclined. Maybe the truth in that is relatable enough to you.

What I have enjoyed doing is continuing to share knowledgeable articles and insights into parenting from actual parenting experts through my Twitter feed. I’ve also been really digging posting to my instagram different dad related pics with clever captions (if I do say so myself).

And I will be the first to tell you that with all it’s challenges, fatherhood is the incredible and I wouldn’t change it for the world… usually… 😉

With all that being said, here I am again, and the least I can do is bring you all up to speed.

Let’s begin with Charlee. She is 3 years and 7 months old and she is phenomenal. Granted, just yesterday she had an absolute meltdown at the mall and needed to be taken out by Becca and I like a lunatic strapped into the stroller, but more-so than not, she is a pleasure – she’s brilliant, insightful, hilarious, clever, gorgeous, and loving.

She is reading, writing, singing songs, telling jokes, and enjoying the hell out of life.

One of her latest gigs is really her favourite, though – the role of big sister!

That’s right!

On October 2nd of last year we welcomed Ever Lillian into our lives. She’s such a wonderful little person and we are gaga over her. She has many of the same mannerisms as Charlee, but also is most definitely her own little person.

She is the happiest baby I’ve ever met and can instantly put a smile on anyone’s face. Pretty sure she says, Mama, Dada, and Ever already too, so she’s a genius just like her sister.

Suffice it to say, there is much to catch up on. I’m off work for the moment enjoying a little self imposed paternity leave, so it gives me a chance to rebaseline and rebalance some things. I aim to keep the ball rolling and the keep the posts coming, so stay tuned!! More excitement to follow!

And just like that… I have a two year old!

Not only is Charlee turning two this weekend, but it will also mark an entire year since I wrote a blog entry.


Well, there goes my commitment, eh?

Suffice it say, I have many excuses, but I’ll phrase them anecdotally to show just what kind of a year it’s been.

I said I’d do it tomorrow!!

I reread my posting of the 12 Months of Charlee: The 12 Things I’ve Learned in my First Year of Parenting, and I agree wholeheartedly with what I wrote! In fact, it was quite refreshing to read it cause it truly echoes my sentiments on the first year of having a child.

Year two, however, is flurry of events that make the first year look like a holiday cruise! I can look back on this year and relive so many different milestones that were painstakingly rewarding from start to finish.

Everything from teething to walking, talking and communicating, daycare and anxiety, potty training and sleep regression – it’s been quite a ride!

And I’ve loved it all.

Sure it wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns, but holy moly, to be a part of someone’s upbringing and watching a little human become such a personable, emotional, lovely, adorable, brilliant little angel has been exceptionally rewarding.

First and foremost, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – my daughter is a genius!

Do you watch the videos on my Instagram or YouTube channels? She was putting sentences together at 16 months – singing ABC’s, counting to 20, reciting the national anthem! She even knows all her colors including teal and other random ones (thanks Becca). On top of that, she learned how to sing classic 90’s tracks like ‘Killing me softly’ and we have that on film too!

Of course she has some flaws like all people do. She can be incredibly anxious around big groups of people (but she’s working on that and getting much better). She’s also the queen of selective hearing … to a fault. The most recent iteration was “Charlee don’t climb the dining room chairs… don’t climb the dining room chairs… DON”T CLIMB THE DINING ROOM CHAIRS!” followed by a swan dive and bloody nose incident (she’s ok).

But her faults make her human, and Becca and I continuously say to each other how wonderful she is and how lucky we are to have her in our lives. She is the best of both of us, with a twist of uniqueness that makes her so lovable, so phenomenal, so charismatic, so… Charlee!

So what exactly has been going on? Here’s a quick summary:

September to December

We had a super fun photoshoot at the end of September, done by Becca’s very talented friend Catherine – you can find her work through her website:

We clean up nicely

Halloween was a repeat of last year…. there’s always next year!

I think she likes it

We saw Raffi live in concert in November (checked that off all of our bucket lists)… and dada got charitable, sporting the Movember stache

Christmakkuh was merry

Charlee sometimes hides her emotions, but she was very happy

January to April

We finally visited Ripley’s Aquarium and Charlee was enchanted by all the sealife

Charlee… scared shitless

Charlee had her first Valentine’s Day date (chaperoned of course) and caught up on her speed reading skills

It’s like a blur!

Guess what… we got into Montessori!! Charlee started in March and was the happiest 18 month old you’ve ever seen

In April, I can’t figure out exactly how it happened, but we suddenly had a toddler!

May to August

In May we celebrated Mum

She is NOT flipping off the camera

June walks in the park (I totally made this my screensaver)

In July I got sneak-peaks into her future (what a beauty!)

And the rest of the summer was full of fun and memories

As her birthday comes up this Sunday, Becca and I have so much to be grateful for. We’ve learned a lot from each other and from Charlee, about ourselves, our parenting, and our passion.

I’ll send Charlee a message directly, as I always do, but I want to thank her for being a part of our lives and showing us a whole new level of pride, admiration, and love.

Bring on the THREENAGER!!


12 Months of Charlee: The 12 Things I’ve Learned in my First Year of Parenting


So, what better way to celebrate a year of Charlee then to reflect back on getting here and what I’ve learned.

It’s really interesting and almost comical sometimes when I look back on the older posts in my blog, where I have advice or recommendations that I’m providing. There was nothing wrong with those, but often they reveal a Dad who was sooooooo unaware of what was up next! Not unprepared per se, but most definitely unaware. And here I am, looking back on only the first year! I can’t even begin to think about year 2… daycare, talking, walking…. Oy vey!

What I can say is that this year has been something that I could have never expected. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with my journey so far. You keep reading and I’ll keep writing J

On that note, what a great segue into number 1 on my list… Enjoy!

  1. Read!


It’s really just that simple.


There are tons of books and while I personally recommend the Dr. Karp series, look around… ask around… google some reviews. There are so many parenting books out there and they are there for a reason.

You will have questions!

You will want to know that you are not alone in this journey, nor has anything you are about to encounter never been encountered before!

I read one book that ironically advised not to read books. But rather, many of your parenting intuitions will come naturally. That’s fine and dandy, and I hope for whomever abides by that principal, they are right, but the number of approaches that we took which did not come naturally, were not spawned off of our natural intuitions, yet resulted in the right outcome is staggering (approaches to sleep is my #1 in that regard!)

It was interesting what happened in-between books as well.  We read plenty leading up to having Charlee, a little bit after having her, and then sort of assumed things were on cruise control. Little did we realize how quickly babies change and how difficult it is to stay on top of what happens next and how to handle it!

I’ve started reading again, and right now I’m on Dr. Karp’s, The Happiest Toddler on the Block. He himself says that you should start reading it ideally when your little one is 9 months of so, in order to be ramped up for the 1-3 year window.

I know it’s a toughie to fit in to anyone’s schedule, but really, it will help out immensely to be as prepared as possible.

  1. Yard by yard is pretty hard, but inch by inch is a cinch


I wrote a blog entry once called How Quickly We Forget – The Halo Effect and Dad’s with PTSD. The main point being that we often go through situations which seems incredibly catastrophic and painful yet, in time, we move on and get to reflect back on it.

I look back at Charlee’s year and even when she was enjoying womb service:

First there was the determination that she was breeched and all the chiropractic visits and moxibustion attempts and the scheduling of a C-section. Finally when she was born there was 4 days in the NICU, sleep regression, food sensitivities, more sleep regression, teething, my changing employers, more sleep regression, milk shortages, financial hiccups, more sleep regression, relationship strains, and did I mention sleep regression?!

But at a certain point, you get a chance to look back, be it through a blog or just personal memory, and go, holy shit that was rough, but we made it!

  1. It ain’t a competition


So don’t get me wrong – I fully understand that everybody wants to know that their child is doing well. But similar to the earlier point, if your baby starts crawling at 6, 7, 8 or even 15 months, it’s great at the time, but when they are older these things will be so inconsequential! The fact that your baby is in the 85th percentile, or the 35th percentile – it’s all irrelevant as long as they’re healthy, it doesn’t matter!!

However, and I hope this point makes sense, you should never, ever, ever, feel that you need to suppress your urges to talk about your baby.

You should be proud.

You are raising a human being and every achievement of theirs, is a representation of your work and dedication. So good on you!

Granted there is a fine line between pride and gloating, and you know what, sometimes it will just be heard the way that it’s heard, but in my honest opinion, you don’t get these opportunities too often, unless you’re breeding like bunnies (and all the power to you if you are), so go on, be proud of yourself and of your little one!

  1. Your life will change… duh!


In case for some ungodly reason you thought that this is just an addition to your life, I will firmly state that you are wrong!

A baby does not accompany you to the club. They WILL get carded and refused access.

A baby does not sleep in on weekends, nor do they pull all-nighters… well… not in the good sense…

Your relationship will not be the same and you need to come to terms with that.


You’ve just created a miniature version of yourselves – how friggin cool is that?! Granted when they first arrive, they’re a tad wrinkly or ‘fresh’ as one woman in a shopping mall once referred to 2 week old Charlee. But in time, it’s amazing how you start to see elements of yourselves in him or her.

With Charlee, she has my laugh, many of my features, and somehow at the age of 1, my sense of humor. She also has Becca’s disposition, kindness, and for what it’s worth, toes!

  1. Routine is important, but don’t obsess

Many books we’ve read address the fact that babies thrive off of routine. They will act better, sleep better, and overall just function better. But this doesn’t mean that there is no flex to the rigidity. Other than the fact that there can be extenuating circumstances, you have to realize that your life is not obsessively routine so how can your child’s be?

My mum had my brother and me 11 months apart (he was adopted, not that that matters, but just to help with the math and not assume that my mum and dad were aiming to have two kids so close together). Her line to me when I asked how the heck she juggled two children under the age of 1 was simply, “have baby, will travel”.

Makes sense to me – sometimes your baby just has to come along for the ride.

I’m a pretty firm believer that balance is everything, so stick to a routine for sure, but don’t obsess over every little thing… for the baby’s sake… and your own!

  1. Figure out child care as early as possible


Maybe I’m putting this in here because it’s kinda fresh in my mind, but the most ridiculous thing happened the other day to me, and apparently it’s much more common than you would expect.

I approached a daycare which is well situated and affordable, they start with kids at the age of 1, and with all of these factors there understandably is a queue of families who are pre-registered.

Now here’s where it gets interesting…

I was directed to their website to register and low and behold, there is a 2 year waiting list… “Approximately”… meaning that it could actually be OVER 2 years!

In our situation, it would have meant a very interesting first date conversation where we skipped the dinner and drinks and went straight to pre-registering our unborn…nay, uncreated baby!

In Ontario and Toronto specifically, child care is expensive and hard to come by. Granted, our province has just recently abolished waiting list fees, but while we were searching it could potentially have cost us hundreds if not thousands of dollars just to get Charlee’s name on some lists!

We’re still sorting through ideas, but at this point, Becca is home with Charlee until at least 18 months and we’re on a few waiting lists, but that clocks a’ tickin’ and finding out that there are waiting lists that are over 2 years long, gets the heart rate rising!

  1. Money talk


So, aside from those costs you can forecast, there are just a ton of things that creep up on you and apparently are never ending! Different wages for different stages you could say… patent pending.

When we first looked into daycare, we factored that it would cost anywhere from around $800 to $2000 a month; $800 being on the cheaper side through something like an unlicensed home daycare, and top of the price range being a licensed city run daycare (yup… $108 a day!).

Our in between option was a Montessori, where it’s around $1500 per month, but low and behold, waiting lists and questionable reviews have made things a wee bit more complex.

Next there is the food factor. If you’re breastfeeding, that’s fantastic, and we are too, but there were some unexpected situations with food sensitivities, sick baby not being able to feed successfully, drop in milk supply… y’know… expecting the unexpected again.

Due to Becca’s work and upbringing, she is very conscious about food additives and the like so we are pretty diligent about the quality of food we give Charlee. And with that comes a price tag too.

Even when you factor and budget for all of those things, there is still STUFF.

We have been extremely lucky to have Charlee’s older cousin who provides a ton of hand-me-downs, and also so many generous friends and family. And I’m actually pretty proud to admit that I don’t think we’ve binged on anything unnecessary for Charlee, even though I do still have my eye on a $2000 kids’ ride on Porsche…

But food, toys, gifts, and even at times entertainment, adds up – be mindful and diligent and don’t forget to put money into an RESP if you’re in Canada! In 17 years, university is going to be pretty steep.

  1. You and your baby are going to get sick

For the record, no baby is happy with a nosefrida

For the record, no baby is happy with a NoseFrida…

I always think of that Nyquil commercial, with the dad trying to call in sick.

We all wish that were true.

What actually happens is that one of the parents gets sick and brings it home to treat the whole family to a bout of the flu.

Somehow you have to muster the strength to get through your own cold while also treating the baby with whatever lack of medicine you can use (though infant Tylenol, Advil, a NoseFrida and a bottle of Salinex do work wonders) and all the while holding down a job, keeping the house in order, and sticking to the routine as best as possible.

Keep in mind that every sickness the baby gets through usually implies a strengthening of her immune system; so really, she’s just doing this to become that much bigger and stronger.

  1. Don’t forget about YOU

Healthy dad or attempted mugging?

Healthy dad or attempted mugging?

Remember that your health is just as important as the baby’s – after all, you’ve got to be in peak shape in order to take care of the little one.

I follow so many dads online who are proponents of keeping in great shape. I am all about wanting to do that too, and I have way too many excuses.

The least you can and should do is keep up to date with your own doctors’ visits, eat your vitamins, and take your meds.

That’s the easy part.

What people often forget is that you sometimes need a break from your family. Sounds kinda mean, but it’s really true. It doesn’t mean you love them any less, but from a purely psychological perspective, getting out for a pint with the boys, or especially taking the misses out on a date night is hugely important for you and your relationship with your family.

  1. Treasure your quiet time


Date nights and drinks are few and far between, and I often find myself enjoying the most bizarre quiet times.

I follow a blogger online who wrote about how she even treasures the silence between buckling up her little one in the backseat of the car, closing the door, and walking to the driver side!

Another blogger seeks solace in his breaks to go to the bathroom…alone!

We’re lucky that Charlee is a lovely, calm, and gentle little angel, so in general the volume is fairly low, but she is active and mobile, and sometimes, yeah, it’s nice to get away, even if it’s just to sit on the can!

  1. More importantly, treasure your time with baby


Sure it’s important to get away, but it’s even more important to be involved.

Charlee is fantastic and watching her learn and develop is breath taking. In one weekend around 9 months, she said momma, dada and started crawling… ONE WEEKEND!

I did a review on the book thirty million words, and the messaging there is one that, at least for me, appears fairly new. There is an overall recognition now that the first three years of a baby’s life are some of the most fundamental for growth and learning. A child’s brain undergoes an amazing period of development from birth to three, producing 700 new neural connections every second. The fact that you can actually witness it firsthand and help develop it with the way you engage with them is surreal!

Treasure it!

  1. Love is the answer


Yeah it’s a little hokey, but you know what, it’s true.

Maybe I need to define what love means to me…

To me, there are two key factors in in love:

  1. Love is unconditional to those who are deserving of it.
  2. You get back what you give.

If those fundamentals are met, everything else is just noise.

Sometimes it is not easy to love, because the noise is loud; so loud that you forget that the fundamentals are still there.

You can block the noise with strong communication. Without it, the noise keeps ringing in your ears.

I don’t mean to sound too profound here, but that metaphor works for me.

With some, I’ve found that the noise is so consistent that I need to reassess the fundamentals.

With some I’ve found that the fundamentals are not there.

When that occurs, I need to rid myself of the noise, because it’s not healthy noise. It’s not noise that’s going to subside.

With others, the noise comes and goes, but the fundamentals are strong and the basis of our relationship is valid and meaningful and important.

Charlee has introduced to me a whole new world of love and a whole new approach to priorities.

She has fundamentally changed Becca and me, including our love for each other. It’s not gone by any means, it’s just different.

We’ve learned a lot about each other through Charlee, and we’ve developed a new love for one another and a new love as parents – a new definition of who we are.

I was thinking once about how you rarely know for sure about how your mate is going to parent, let alone how you are. You chat when you’re dating about things like what kind of school you’d like your future kids to attend, and how you’ll celebrate Chanukah and Christmas together, but you rarely discuss how you’ll approach baby led weaning, or what technique you’ll use for sleep training.

When those events arise in parenting, you are no longer addressing them as individuals. You are a team of two parents, approaching something foreign to the two of you.

You’ve either read up on it together or separately; queried a parent together or separately; have heard experiences through a friend, together or separately; or just have a gut instinct on how to handle the situation, together or separately.

Regardless, you now have to handle it… together!

This next year is going to be eventful, to say the least! I’ve just started back at school, part time. I have a new job but my contract expires in February (hoping for an extension). Becca and I have been chatting about opening up a store, but also discussing whether Becca may want to go back to her old work, or maybe school. We’re sorting out day cares and interviewing different Montessoris. We may even invest in a rental property in the next few months.


I do not know what the future holds but I look forward to continuing to share my wild journey through fatherhood with you and hope you’ll stick around for the ride!