Charlee is 8 weeks old… but not 2 months

So I’m realizing that we have to start celebrating Charlee’s month to month birthdays on the 17th of every month and while technically she has turned 8 weeks old, she’s not quite 2 months yet.

At the moment, I’m on the first shift with Charlee while Becca tries to catch some z’s. Charlee is celebrating 8 weeks by having her first cold…. and quite frankly, it’s pretty shitty.

I’ve read that past 3 months, one should anticipate 8 to 12 colds per year for your little ones based on outside influencers like daycare, public transit, and just general family and friends carrying sickness amongst them. Regardless, anything under the age of 3 months gets a tad more attention and concern, so today we visited a walk in clinic for confirmation that Charlee was ok.

They gave her a head to toe assessment and asked a bunch of questions. Bottom line is that Charlee got her vaccinations yesterday, so for her to have a fever is not uncommon. The sniffles and congestion is viral, but with a super low dose of baby tylenol both should be gone in a jiffy.

Currently waiting for that jiffy.

On the plus, it does give me an opportunity to write a blog entry – a much overdue one as last week’s entry was limited to my tip of the week regarding probiotics.

The past two weeks have been pretty great and Charlee continues to exceed our expectations.

First off, Charlee has ‘graduated’ from the midwifery clinic; a bittersweet moment signifying Charlee’s fantastic progress (as well as ours, as parents) and also the ending of a journey and relationship that will not soon be forgotten.

Becca, Charlee, and two of our 3 midwives
Becca, Charlee, and two of our three midwives

To have a team of people so involved in such an intimate and special part of our life was phenomenal, and I would not have traded that for anything in the world. Our midwives were skilled, knowledgable, informative, and genuine. I can’t fathom what midwifery must be like as a career because I can’t wrap my head around how these women are able to treat each family with the same level of commitment as the next. I truly felt as if we were the only family being looked after thanks to the professionalism and dedication demonstrated.

We constantly promote midwifery to other friends and family, many of whom assumed there was a cost, or straight out had never heard of the service.

Let me take another opportunity to stress it and shout it out loud:

MIDWIVES, MIDWIVES, MIDWIVES!

The end of the midwives visits meant it was time to sort out who was to be our doctor of choice for Charlee.

Becca goes to a practice where her doctor of many years changed clinics and Becca was inherited, if you will, by another doctor there. While Becca likes this doctor, we would not have the privilege of having the same physician who has known Becca for years, including her whole medical background, become the same physician for Charlee.

The other options were to either change Becca and Charlee over to my family doctor, or look into a paediatrician.

My doctor is wonderful, and I’ve been very happy going to her for the last several years. I had an issue with my doctor prior, wherein she would bump my appointments regularly for other, more pressing urgencies from other patients of hers. I had enough of being treated as though my health was not a priority for her, and since the move to my new doctor, I couldn’t be happier.  She is attentive, punctual, conveniently located, young and not jaded (very important), and has three kids of her own.

A paediatrician would be the next option, though we would have to rely on word of mouth referrals as to whom we should go to, and it would be another case of trial and error.

While for the moment we have opted to stay with Becca’s doctor, the decision is an interesting one, and I’ll keep you all posted on how things pan out.

So far, we had our first visit with Becca’s doctor yesterday for Charlee’s vaccinations.

Now, both Becca and I knew that it was not going to be a pleasant visit, but we had memories of her being pricked with needles repeatedly in the NICU, so we thought that maybe we wouldn’t be as shaken.

Of course, when the time came, Becca asked that I hold Charlee while the doctor administer two shots, one to each thigh, and an oral vaccine. I tried to have Charlee keep eye contact with me, but man alive, when those tears and that wailing starts, it really breaks your heart.

Fortunately, she bounced back like a champ, and handled the whole ordeal quite well… until today’s fever, but more on that in a moment.

Yesterday also marked my nephew, Ethan’s birthday. He is such a character, and it’s been immensely fun, informative, and emotional watching him through this last year, and watching my sister make her way through pregnancy and into motherhood.

My sister, Meera, lived with Becca and I for a few months while she was pregnant and into the first couple of months with Ethan. It really gave us a first hand account of what to expect and I know it played a huge role in how we prepared ourselves for parenthood.

With Meera and Becca alike, it’s been mesmerizing.

With both, it’s like a switch went off, triggering their mothering instincts to kick in. Before their own babies, you could see with both of them how great they got on with kids, and you knew deep down that they would make great mums. But as the reality unfolds, its been amazing to witness firsthand.

My other sister, Ariel, is the photographer extraordinaire, and so I’m going to exploit her talents and post just a couple pics of my handsome little nephew and you can see how he just tugs away at your heart strings.

If memory serves me, I believe Ethan was 7 minutes old here.
If memory serves me, I believe Ethan was 7 minutes old here
The birthday boy!
The birthday boy!

Looking at these two pictures, or the countless other ones of Ethan that I have in my photo gallery, really reminds you how kids grow like crazy in that first year.

Within the last few weeks, Ethan is walking and forming sounds into words. I remember holding him the way I hold Charlee now, and it seems like it’s been almost overnight, but he’s grown into a little person, with character, personality and mannerisms.

I know I’ll look back and disagree with myself one day, but I swear, I just can’t wait for Charlee to reach those milestones.

Speaking of milestones, back to Charlee’s vaccination – that was definitely a big one. We got another chance to weigh our little tank, and she tipped the scales at 12 pounds 2 ounces – up an entire pound in 9 days! She’s in the 85th percentile for both weight and height. Sure, I know we shouldn’t track these things and pay too much attention to them… but we’re still super proud of our growing little lady.


 

My entry last night was interrupted by the horrifying news out of Paris. I didn’t feel right sending off my blog without some type of reflection, as ignoring the reality of last nights events would be unjust.

The attacks that unfolded last night are atrocious, and as more details arise regarding the aftermath, it sickens me to my core.

Trying to watch last night on TV, Becca kept urging me to turn it off as it was disturbing for her. I understood her perspective, but insisted that it was important to watch and see what kind of evil exists in the world and how these events transform life as we know it.

It dawned on me that one day I may be watching TV, much like last night, with Charlee at an older age; an age where she would be more aware of what was happening and I would need to explain these atrocities to her.

I’m sure this is a situation that plagues parents worldwide; it truly made me think.

On Facebook, a friend referenced a quote from the most unlikely of sources, and it’s helped guide me through what I feel my approach might be.

That person is Fred Rogers, a.k.a. Mr. Rogers and his words were as follows:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

It’s so true and such smart guidance for kids who need to see the good in the most horrendous situation imaginable.

I pray that I never need to explain to Charlee this dreadful side of reality, but sadly I’m all too confident I will.

Pray for Peace
Pray for Peace

Celebrating 6 Weeks of Charlee

Another fun week is in the books with little miss Charlee, and my, was it ever action packed!

Charlee’s bubbie celebrated her birthday, we paid a visit to my office, Charlee passed the 6 week mark, and got ready to celebrate her first halloween.


 

My mum’s birthday was actually last week on the 22nd, but she’s quite the busy body and with a combination of concerts, dinners, and her day job(s) inundating her, we only had the chance to have her and the fam over for dinner on Sunday.

It was a blast! We made some delicious pastrami knishes from scratch and picked up a tiramisu cake from a local bakery. Everything went off without a hitch and the family got to spend time playing with Charlee and my nephew, Ethan.

Everyone loves Auntie Ariel
Everyone loves Auntie Ariel

Mum and I had a very good talk about my last blog entry wherein I discussed some of the different parenting methods out there. I had concluded that I would take the “all of the above” approach and aim for, what I had coined the Compassionate FAITH parenting style.

My mum likes to quote the poem by Robert Burns To a Mouse, where he famously says “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. In other words, she’s a big fan of best intentions, but in her experience she can attest to the fact that plans do change.

I believe the last time she mentioned these words of wisdom was right after I had sent out our birth plan to the family… two days later we found out Charlee was breeched.

Touché mum!

Later in the week, we took Charlee to my office and surprised my colleagues with an impromptu visit. Charlee was perfect; she didn’t put up a fuss at all and was wide awake and engaged with everyone.

It was great to see the team. I have been off for over 2 months now, so it was nice to see so many of the people that I used to see on a daily. The reality that I have another 3 months off is very surreal.

I tell you though, I could get used to this whole ‘not working’ thing pretty easily.

Not that staying at home with Charlee is not work. Parenting is absolutely work, but it’s much more rewarding than anything in the world.

It’s timely that mum and musician, Adele was interviewed this week about her three year old son, and eloquently stated her thoughts:

“It’s fucking hard.

I thought it would be easy. ‘Everyone fucking does it, how hard can it be?’ Ohhhhh … I had no idea. It is hard but it’s phenomenal. It’s the greatest thing I ever did. He makes me be a dickhead, and he makes me feel young and there’s nothing more grounding than a kid kicking off and refusing to do what you’re asking of them. It used to be that my own world revolved around me, but now it has to revolve around him.”

I have so much to look forward to 🙂

I would say one of the things I’m really learning about is patience, and I’m finding out that I’m crap at it. If we weren’t blessed with a little angel like Charlee, I don’t know what I’d do.

I’ve read about colicky babies, crying for hours, days, and weeks on end. I genuinely don’t think I could handle that. Even Charlee’s rare, little spurts, push the limits of my patience and make me have to take a moment and collect myself, remembering that this is something that comes with the territory so get used to it and figure out how to handle it properly.

I’ll tell you who has the patience of a saint, and that’s Becca. She was made to be a mum; you can just see by her demeanour and the way she handles Charlee. I love seeing how naturally it comes to her – every element of it. She connects with Charlee on levels that inspire me, and I’m so grateful to be in this parenting partnership with her.

Becca also has the keen eye that picked this beauty out for Charlee’s first halloween:

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I think you’d have to agree that the cute factor is off the charts!

I’ve been instagramming so many adorable baby pictures in their halloween outfits. Everyone from baby Hulk, to babies in pumpkins, to baby Red from Orange is the New Black. It’s hilarious what parents do with their kids for halloween.

From my experience dressing up Charlee, I’m still going to assume that for every one adorable pic that finds its way online, there are a dozen pics like this that happened along the way:

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Lastly, this week would not be complete without me beaming with pride about my little overachiever. At just 6 weeks of age, we witnessed, on camera, the following feat:

 

Some call it a fluke, I call it Charlee at her finest.

Happy Halloween!

It’s apparent, I’m a parent… but what type of parent am I?

parenting

With so much recently being written and discussed about parenting styles, I thought it would be interesting to summarize what I’ve read and get a sense of what my own personal style has been and get an inkling of what my style may become. On top of that, since this is a Dad blog, I’m looking at the fatherhood angle in particular, because I find that the role of Dad can have its own nuances that differ from the token ‘parenting’ style.

It’s been said that there are four primary styles of parenting all based off of what’s referred to as Baumrind’s Parenting Typology: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive (Indulgent), and Uninvolved (Neglectful). Even our ‘new generation’ of parenting styles, still relies on these as the fundamental principles.


Authoritarian

Because I Said So!
“Because I Said So!”

Authoritarian parents are very strict and controlling – picture the old school Don Draper circa 1960’s parent who has the need for obedience. They’re big believers in clearly stated rules and if their kids don’t step in line and act as directed, they will be punished.

 

Permissive

The grow up so fast...
They grow up so fast…

Permissive parents, while often warm and accepting, make few demands on their children. They very much take a back seat and let the child’s creativity and sense of self blossom by ensuring that they don’t interfere. The permissive parent is the one who tries to be more friend than parent, avoids confrontation, and is generally more nurturing and communicative.

Uninvolved

Hang on boy... I'm debating swiping right
“Hang on boy… I’m debating swiping right”

The uninvolved parent asks for nothing and gives almost nothing in return, except near-absolute freedom. This style is practically non-responsiveness, and is even referred to as neglect.

Authoritative

Understand what I'm telling you
“Understand what I’m telling you”

While keeping authority and control, these parents are warmer and more communicative than Authoritarian parents. Authoritative parents look for a balance between their children’s need for autonomy and the parents’ desire to be respected and listened to. These parents walk the line of being demanding and responsive. For children who fail to meet the authoritative parent’s expectations, the parent is more nurturing, forgiving and responsive. Their idea of discipline is to be assertive but not restrictive, to support rather than punish.


Tough call eh?… I think we all know what we ought to be striving for.

Not that you’d doubt it, but it’s even documented proof that children of Authoritative parents typically do well in school, develop good social skills, and avoid problem behaviours.

So there you have it. Problem solved. You would think that this list more than satisfies the spectrum of parenting styles and immediately demonstrates how new parents need to adopt the Authoritative style with their children, as there is no other way….

But wait! Of course, modern day parenting would not be what it is, without a strong need to rebrand and relabel.

And with that, I bring you the New Generation Styles:


Instinctive parenting

Raising my kids like my pappy raised me, and like his pappy raised him, and like...
Raising my kids like my pappy raised me, and like his pappy raised him, and like…

This can be called the old school method of parenting, wherein an instinctive parent teaches what they know and parents the way they were parented, whether brought up by their mother and father, siblings or another caregiver. It might be the old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, or as Paul Simon put it,  ‘I know what I know.’

Attachment parenting

A family that sleeps together....well...
A family that sleeps together….well…

In attachment parenting, the parent and the child form a strong emotional bond and respond to their child’s needs while being sensitive and emotionally available for their child at all times. This is a super strong attachment, and this type of parenting is usually aligned with folks who often believe in natural childbirth, a family bed, avoidance of corporal punishment, homeschooling and may even be part of the anti-vaccination movement.

Helicopter parenting

helicopter-parents

This is the one that’s been making headlines, as science continues to find faults in helicopter parenting and the long term affects on children. Helicopter parents constantly interact with and often interfere with their children’s lives, hovering like a helicopter. It’s an action that totally makes sense when you’re trying to ensure the safety and security of babies and very young children, but in later years, smothering your child in every aspect of their life can ultimately backfire.  Helicopter parents rarely let their children out of their sight, but unlike attachment parenting, it isn’t to form a strong bond with their child, it’s an attempt to prevent any challenges or obstacles in their child’s life that they can foresee, therefore “preserving” their childhood. Stories of mums calling their child’s employers or college professors, are perfect examples of helicopter parenting gone awry.

Free-Range Parenting

It's more humane, and frankly, they taste better
It’s more humane, and frankly, they taste better

Free-range parenting is the exact opposite of helicopter parenting where parents want to allow kids to have some freedom without constantly worrying something bad will happen. Free-range parents let their children walk to school alone and ride their bikes outside without supervision. In extreme cases, some parents have even reported allowing their very young children to grocery shop and ride public transportation alone. This is how kids used to be raised, but mind you, it was in a very different world.

Tiger Parenting

AGAIN!!... bah bah bah... bah bah bah...
AGAIN!!… bah bah bah… bah bah bah…

This parenting term was coined in the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by self-proclaimed tiger mum Amy Chua. Tiger parents are strict, expect their children to follow rigid rules, and demand excellence in academics. The term stems from the idea that tigers are a symbol of strength and power, and generally inspire fear and respect. It’s reminiscent of authoritarian parenting, but perhaps with a more regimented purpose.


Still know which parenting style you want to adopt?

Perhaps you’re a fan of letting your kid be independent, but not until he’s at least 15. Before then, you’re going to hound him to be committed at school and get perfect A’s to ensure his entry into the best of colleges after high school. And of course, you will be super attentive and hover over your son from infancy until at least age 10…

So what are you? A free range tiger in a helicopter??

What exactly has this modern day interpretation done then? Expanding our labeling abilities, or confused a generation of new parents with silos and one-size-does-not-fit-all parenting models.

I watched a video by Dr. Stephan Poulter the other day, and he put into perspective another key finding that really encouraged me to write this blog entry. Dr. Poulter is a licensed clinical family psychologist based out of Los Angeles with nearly 30 years under his belt. He’s studied and written about the five most common fathering styles (super achiever, time bomb, passive, absent, and compassionate/mentor) and the impact fathers have on their child’s future relationships and career development.

Now we’re talking – here’s how he explains these styles:


Super Achiever

success_man

The super achiever is someone who for the most part, probably did not get enough love from their own father. This dad has a biting, competitive edge; he is constantly critical and hostile to his son, implying that one’s value is all about what you do and how well you do it, not about who you are. 

Time Bomb

images (1)

The time bomb dad really rules the family by fear; the fear of not knowing whats going to set him off, or when. Poulter calls it “parenting by volume – not by connection”.

Passive

"Daddy never told me he love me"
“Daddy never told me he love me”

The passive dad shows his love through actions, not through words. There is often a missing feeling of connection based on the fact that feelings were always assumed, but never stated.

Absent – Fatherless

Missing-Father-600x220

The absent style can be literal but more often is psychological. Sons of absent dads find it difficult to form trusting relationships and it creates rage within them. Daughters can have a tendency of feeling desperation because of it. Sixty percent of dads fall into the absent or passive categories and most kids who abuse alcohol or drugs are most often children of this type of father.

Compassionate/Mentor

mentorship

Lastly, the compassionate mentor style, wherein these dads provide an emotionally safe upbringing yet encourage their kids to think for themselves. There is a capacity to tolerate difference, and these dad’s help you see your life for what it is and where it can go. 


So there we have it. Parenting styles and all their glories, with a side of fatherhood specificity.

So what does that make me? What would I call myself in terms of my own personal approach?

First and foremost, I think that there are elements of my own upbringing that have been instrumental in my becoming a decent, upstanding person. My parents did a lot of things right with the way they raised me, and I will ensure I echo that methodology with Charlee.

I know that I will also push to form a strong emotional bond with Charlee, to ensure that she knows that she is loved and is safe.

For now, I’m very involved in everything Charlee does, and I want to ensure that she is happy, healthy, and nothing will interfere with that.

I want to also give her the foundation to become self sufficient and explore this world, taking in all of it and learning independently.

Once she finds her passion, I want her to be an expert at it and not treat something with that degree of importance inadequately.

And lastly, I will undoubtedly strive to be a compassionate, mentoring father, hoping to instil all the positivity in the world to Charlee, while at once encouraging her to become an independent, contributing, and active member of society.

So in the spirit of artistic freedom, let’s coin it, shall we?

I’ve come up with “Compassionate FAITH Parenting”, standing for:

Compassionate, Free range, Attachment, Instinctive, Tiger, Helicopter Parenting

That’s pretty catchy, eh? I’m sure it’ll stick!

Charlee turns a month, Zaida turns 70, and a brave turkey gives its life

Not only did we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, but Friday was my father’s 70th birthday and today we celebrate Charlee turning one month old. This week was a biggie, so let’s take it from the top…

Thanksgiving is technically a religious holiday in Canada; aligned with thanking God for a bountiful, Canadian harvest. I like to think of it as the statutory holiday of which our country’s cultural melting pot gets to enjoy.

Ironically, being off of work this year for parental leave, the reality of statutory holidays, let alone a weekend versus weekday, is inconsequential to me… sorry to rub it in. But what that does mean for me, is that I can genuinely take the opportunity to reflect on the day and be thankful for so much.

For starters, I’m thankful for our nearly 10 pound bundle of beauty, known as Charlee. She is truly a blessing and this whole notion of fatherhood is certainly settling in. I’m thankful for Becca, the love of my life, without whom I would be incomplete. I’m most definitely grateful for Party, who keeps me on my toes, and shows unconditional love (as he’s parked on my lap right now while I type). I’m fortunate to have a fantastic circle of friends, a stable job that pays the bills and lets us enjoy life, and to own a home that provides comfort, safety, and room for our family to grow.

This year we hosted the Wong family for a Thanksgiving dinner figuring, hey, why not, Charlee is 3 weeks old (at the time), we can juggle her and dinner for 11.

First thing we did was buy a turkey. Google advised that you should factor 2 pounds per person, and without putting much more thought into it, I calculated that we needed a 22 pound turkey. Realize for a moment that 2 of the 11 attendees are Charlee, aged 3 weeks, and Charlee’s cousin Penny, aged 16 months. For Charlee is particular, 2 pounds is over 20% of her body weight… but I digress.

We went to the supermarket and found the frozen turkeys, all categorized by weight – 5-7 kilograms, 8-10 kilograms, and 11-13 kilograms, metricly speaking, of course. To put that in pounds, 11-15 pounds, 17-22 pounds, and 24-28 pounds respectively.

Of course, with my luck, they were completely sold out of the 17-22 pound birds, so in true Goldberg fashion, I erred on the side of overfeed-my-guests, and purchased an 11.5 kilogram turkey, or roughly 25 pounds.

They grow up so fast!
They grow up so fast!

My buddy Jason is a chef and owns a butcher shop around the corner from the house. He put together a fantastic brine recipe for me, which meant that I would need to immerse the bird in the brine and refrigerate it overnight. Because of the sheer size of this turkey, I had to empty out and clean a plastic file box and fill it with around 7 or 8 gallons of brined water, take out all the shelves in the fridge, and let her soak for 24 hours.

The next day, Becca’s mum and her boyfriend came over and helped wrangle the dogs (her’s too) and prep the house for Thanksgiving dinner. I nearly broke my back carrying the turkey and water bucket out of the fridge, but I dried it off and prepared a cheesecloth soaked in butter and wine to help it be even more moist once cooked.

IMG_7483

Finally I made some stuffing, filled the bird and popped it in the oven for nearly 5 hours, basting every 30 minutes.

My hat goes off to Martha Stewart, cause the recipe was brilliant and the bird turned out succulent and tasty.

Becca’s family helped with side dishes, gravy, desserts, and wine, and the dinner went off without a hitch. Charlee was a champ and let us enjoy dinner while she slept, then fed some more and entertained the family with her innate adorableness.

In the end, we had approximately 20 pounds of turkey left, so with that and the abundance of side dishes and desserts, 11 people made off with a weeks worth of leftovers each.

This was our first attempt at a dinner party with Charlee in tow and we were thrilled with how well she did… and I guess how well we did too! It’s nice to test the water by doing a family event. There’s less judgement and more helping hands!

The next test was to come Friday night in celebration of my father’s 70th birthday.

My sister's decorations were a riot
My sister’s decorations were a riot

Fortunately, dad only wanted a small get together with friends and family. I often forget that ‘small get together’ from my dad and step mother’s perspective, is often what others would see as a huge get together. This was no exception, with around 30 people in attendance.

This was also going to test Charlee’s car ride endurance. The longest ride we had done to date was probably a 20 minute stretch wherein she just slept the whole ride away. This was going to be minimum of 30 minutes, but with traffic, it ended up being just shy of an hour.

Charlee was great, and not because she slept through it – on the contrary! She was wide awake, taking in everything along the way. The lights, the sounds, the smells – all the sensations of a drive up from downtown Toronto, to suburbia.

When we arrived, she was inundated by family – not in a bad way – just in the way that family pours over newborns. Everyone wanted to hold her and pass her around. Charlee lately has been having a mild skin irritation, and now knowing the source, we told ourselves that we would ask whomever was holding her to wash their hands first.

That idea was short lived.

I guess on one hand, you want your baby to be free of any toxins, and with Charlee having been in the NICU for the first 4 days of her life, we were a tad shell-shocked when it comes to her health.

On the flip side, you also want her to build up immunity and sometimes the best way is to get elbow deep in people squishing cheeks, and kissing foreheads.

Regardless, Charlee was again, an absolute dream, engaging with people, taking it all in, feeding with Becca, pooping up a storm, and then sleeping it off.

My dad was a very proud Zaida (grandfather) and you could see it on his face. It made me realize that when my father was my age, he had me as a newborn, and now 35 years later it’s my turn with Charlee and his turn as Zaida. May we have many years ahead for Charlee to get to know her Zaida and learn everything he has to teach her.  Having visited with my 90 year old uncle over the summer, I realize how we often take our parents and grandparents for granted, when we should be really maximizing the moments we have with them, and listening to the stories and life experiences they have to share.

My father definitely has stories to share, but is very much to himself and you have to ask the pointed questions to get the answers you want. At times though, he will bring up stories from his past to relate to a conversation or situation we may be discussing. Much of his youth was spent in California in the 60’s where he lived in the Bay area and attended Berkeley. He and my mother were married in 1970 and nine years later they adopted my brother. 11 months later, yours truly came along.

So hip it hurts
So hip it hurts

My dad is excited about my blog and twitter feeds, and I look forward to collaborating on some blog entries in the near future. I think based on his own childhood, he wants to play a much more active role in Charlee’s life, and I look forward to that wholeheartedly.

And that brings us to the other milestone event of the week, Charlee is celebrating one month since her escape from the womb!

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Not to sound too cliched, but wow… where does the time go!

This little angel is at the top of the charts in terms of weight and length (nearly 10 pounds and 23 inches…nearly the size of a 3 month old), and we’re really gunning for her to be the tallest Goldberg to date (anything over 5′ 8 and she wins).

At this one month milestone, I can see the following in Charlee:

  1. She definitely recognizes our voices
  2. She can see and focus on things, be they people, pictures, or the puppy
  3. She is in a routine and we can plan our days and maximize our time around that
  4. She has a sense of humour… trust me, I can tell already
  5. She can communicate, you just need to figure out her cues
  6. She’s most definitely a daddy’s girl… and I’m not complaining!

I have just over 3 short months left before I head back to work, but based on this last month and all that it’s had to offer, I am stoked that the next few will bring lasting memories and huge events that I’ll get to see first hand.

The Top 10 Tidbits of Wisdom About Fatherhood

So here I am. Not even a full three weeks in to fatherhood and I’m creating my first top 10 list.

I must admit, if I waited any longer, this list would be MUCH larger, so I figured, why not strike while the iron’s hot and propose a list of my findings over the course of the last three weeks and, of course, the nine months leading up to it.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 tidbits of wisdom to potentially help you through early fatherhood.


1. Expect the Unexpected

keep-calm-and-expect-the-unexpected-18

I still find the fact that there is a book called “what to expect when you’re expecting”, laughable. Our approach to pregnancy and parenting has been so methodical and planned, yet regardless, countless times, the best laid plans go awry.

Therefore, our new mentality has been to simply expect the unexpected. Recognizing that on one hand, you cannot control everything in life, and on the other hand, the likelihood of you coming across a situation that has never been encountered before in the history of man is so unbelievably unlikely, that you sometimes just need to rest assured that everything will be ok.

2. Midwives, Midwives, Midwives

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I’m sorry folks, but for a moment I need to direct my comments to my Canadian audience and reiterate to them the fact that our tax dollars pay for a service that we should all capitalize on; Midwifery.

Even the vision statement of the Canadian Association of Midwives is that midwifery is fundamental to maternal and newborn health services, and that every woman in Canada will have access to a midwife’s care for herself and her baby.

This is a free service.

Let me repeat that: THIS IS A FREE SERVICE.

By signing up, you potentially could have up to three dedicated midwives, who themselves are registered nurses. They will be there throughout your pregnancy, hands on through your labour, and then provide postnatal support until they are comfortable to discharge you to your family doctor or paediatrician. We were blessed to have the most fantastic midwife team, and even when plans changed and we scheduled a C-section, they were still involved in every step, including in the operating room for the procedure and were literally second to have hands on Charlee after she was born.

For more information, you can go to the Canadian midwives website here: http://www.canadianmidwives.org/ and of course, please check your provincial college of midwives for more detailed information.

3. While she’s pregnant, you may struggle to connect

This guy is a legend
This guy is a legend

It’s a tricky principle, but totally logical. One day you have a pregnancy test resulting in some great news and almost instantly she begins (or has already begun) feeling the changes that are happening within. Meanwhile, Dad is thrilled with the news (hopefully), and then goes into a stage of waiting… months and months of waiting. During that time it can be extremely difficult to keep the same levels of excitement. Your partner changes. Hormones can run rampant. Intimacy levels change, and social activities are down to a minimum.

My recommendation: Keep yourself as involved as possible. Help out with setting up the nursery. Attend the doctors appointments (all of them!). Communicate with your partner and try and share in the feelings that she’s having. Most importantly, put yourself out there. Tell her that you’re there for her, whenever she needs you, for whatever she needs from you.

4. When baby arrives, you again may again struggle to connect 

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As if getting through the waiting game wasn’t difficult enough, all of the sudden you are officially a new dad. Baby arrives and she is just the image of perfection, looks like the mrs (thank god), and in every way has stolen your heart. But over the course of the next several weeks, your role, again, becomes uncertain.

If baby’s being breastfed, there’s not much you can do in terms of providing nourishment or sustenance . You tend to the housekeeping chores, make meals, and walk the dog so that your partner can rest when she needs to, feed when she has to, and recover from labour.

The worst tease is that the baby doesn’t even genuinely demonstrate an emotional bond with you or affection until around 2 to 3 months old, if you’re lucky!!

So what to do?!

As mentioned in a previous post, the Dunstan Baby Language was a great tool that I’ve been using, giving me an opportunity to understand what Charlee needs and when she needs it. Also, I’m up and in the room for every feeding. I’m doing a good share of the housekeeping, and I’m keeping strong communications with Becca.

A combination of all of these things seems to genuinely help me feel as much a part of Charlee’s upbringing as can be, and as the days go by, I’m sensing more and more of who she is and how she and I can connect.

5. Read

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I’ve done my fair share of reading in preparation for Charlee, books that I figured would come in handy regardless of what you can find online or what you hear word of mouth. However, I’m still shocked when I read blogs and articles from people who are flabbergasted when they realize how little sleep they’re getting, or how ill prepared their home is, or, my favourite, how they assumed that things would just come naturally to them.

There are literally thousands upon thousands of books for expectant parents, some better than others, but each should highlight some fundamentals of having a baby.

In the future I’ll be using this blog to review many of the books I’ve read, so do stay tuned.

6. Be weary of Dr. Google

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When I mention reading, I recommend that you refer to published books and the odd website (like a babycenter.com or the like). However, as you should know, it can be very frightening to refer to Dr. Google, and downright dangerous to rely on it.

My most recent example is with Charlee’s belly button. It hadn’t quite healed, so I took to the internet to see what I could find. There is so much paranoia built in to all of these medical links, that I was truly overwhelmed and frightened, especially as a first time father.

My next move should have been my first – I had our midwife paged and spoke to her on the phone. She answered all my questions and put my mind at ease!

Bottom line – always refer to a specialist in their field before losing your mind referencing the interweb.

7. Talk with other Dad’s

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Many of my very good friends are Dad’s. In fact… my Dad is a Dad. If you want to hear advice and guidance from folks who have been there and done that, ask a Dad. Remember, they are not trained medical professionals, so tread lightly. Stick to questions like “what did you find to be the most effective technique to calm baby down?” vs. “what kind of medication works best for my wife’s pain from a C-section but won’t be dangerous while breastfeeding?”

8. If possible, take time off work to be with your partner and child

Oh baby!
Oh baby!

It’s a very hot topic right now, especially in the United States, but if you have the ability to take parental leave, do it! I’m fortunate enough to be on paid leave for 4 months to be with Becca and Charlee at a time where quite frankly I don’t know how people do it solo.

I mean, I understand that you have to do what you have to do and in such a situation, we would ensure Charlee is cared for appropriately, but the amount of things that I help out with which otherwise would need to be done either when I get home from work, or somehow for Becca to do it all during the day, is insane.

For what it’s worth, it really makes you respect and admire the single parents out there. Kudos to you all… this ain’t easy!

9. Buy some stuff, but don’t go nuts

So much STUFF!
So much STUFF!

I’ll be the first to admit that the moment I knew we were having a baby, I wanted to spoil the crap out of this kid. We bought everything under the sun.

First and foremost, Charlee rarely uses her room. Granted she will soon, but so far she’s been between the change table, the bassinet, her stroller and a cool little Baby Bjorn rocker we got for the living room.

Clothing is a whole other story. Charlee was born 7 lbs. 14 oz. – already way too big for the majority of newborn clothing we bought or had handed down. It’s crazy to think that she outgrew things before even being born!

I will add that there is no shame in taking hand-me-downs, as a matter of fact, I recommend it … whole heartedly! Why bother spending money on clothing that otherwise is just getting crapped on and spit up on. Sure you should splurge and buy some outfits for your little one. But don’t go nuts – they wear them for such a short time anyway.

And lastly, buy Diapers… LOTS of Diapers. I read the other day that you should expect baby to go through 10-12 diapers a day, or roughly 320 diapers in her first month.

Let that sink in for a second.

Most diapers are sold in bags of 40 or so…. you’ll blaze through nearly two of those a week!

Think about this, especially if you’re going organic or even cloth – the prices can get up there and you need to do the math to see if it makes sense.

10. Don’t forget about YOU

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With all this craziness going on, it’s easy to forget to eat, sleep, rest, and stay on top of your own health. Remember, your baby needs you now, but also needs you for the long haul. Keep healthy and it will help you be there for baby and wifey alike.

On that note, don’t forget Movember is right around the corner!! Get yourself in for a physical sooner rather than later.

Articles and fundraising to follow 🙂

 

 

Hello Charlee, My Name is Dad – Part III, My first weeks with baby

Today, Charlee turns two weeks old, and the transformation has been unreal. Physically, she is truly growing like a weed, but of course, the most beautifully stunning, exquisitely gorgeous weed you could imagine!

Here’s a little before and after for you:

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To say that time has flown by is an understatement, and I can only imagine myself saying this same mantra weekly, monthly, yearly.

These weeks have definitely seen their share of emotional highs and lows, each presenting themselves in a multitude of situations.

As mentioned in my previous posts, the hospital was a very trying time for us all, but we overcame and are much stronger because of it, and for Charlee in particular, this is a literal truth.

She came home from the hospital having lost only 2 ounces from her birth weight (far less than the expected 10%), and since being home has put on an impressive 11 ounces in 8 days! I know this doesn’t sound like much, but as far as babies go, she’s a pretty high achiever!

Seeing as it’s two weeks in, I figure at this point, I can highlight some of the takeaways and advice I can provide with my vast fatherhood experience. Kidding aside, regardless of the small window there is a TON I’ve learned, and my first hand account of what’s worked for us can hopefully benefit other new dad’s in the early stages of their adventures in fatherhood.

For this post, I’m going to highlight 4 items in particular which, I wanted to stress, have been a huge factor in our success thus far with Charlee, and they are:

  1. Harvey Karp’s book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”;
  2. Dunstan Baby Language;
  3. Our newfound knowledge of breastfeeding; and
  4. My own personal thoughts on communicating in your relationship with your partner when you have a newborn in tow.

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First off, Dr. Karp’s Happiest Baby book.

This book was recommended by a slew of new parents we know, as being an excellent reference on how to deal with a ‘colicky’ baby. Colic technically refers to a baby younger than 5 months old who cries for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for at least three weeks. I know we’ve all heard babies crying – family members, acquaintances, or the crowd pleasing baby-in-a-public-space-who-just-won’t-give-it-a-rest. Imagine for a moment if that poor parent deals with that for 3 hour stretches throughout the majority of a week and the majority of a month – that’s soul crushing!

Fortunately, if you take the time to read Dr. Karp’s book and implement some of the strategies from the get go, you may benefit from never even having a ‘colicky’ baby… or so our experience has been thus far.

Dr. Karp’s book is quite extensive, but if you actually trim away a lot of the personal anecdotes and history of humanity, you get to the crux of his book being what he refers to as ‘the 5 S’s’ all based off the premise that after birth, your child enters the unofficial ‘fourth trimester’.

The principle of the fourth trimester is that your baby has been lovingly put up in this human presidential suite for three trimesters already, and the shock of entering a world so very different and inhospitable, is a shock to the poor little one’s system causing them to cry out in frustration.

The cure for this is to try one’s best to replicate the environment that they were so familiar with for the last 9 months, and thus we arrive at the 5 S’s: Swaddling, Side (or Stomach), Shhh-ing, Swinging, and Sucking. Done in order, or sometimes in combination, these methods effectively ease your crying baby back into a feeling of zen, and all becomes right in the world.

Often, the moment Charlee starts crying, we’ll immediately start swinging her back and forth with a loud and stern shhhhh, and let me tell you, it truly works like a charm.

The one caveat, and segue to my next topic, is that with the ability to understand Charlee’s newborn language, you should rarely have to initiative Dr. Karp’s technique… and that brings me to my second gem, the Dunstan Baby Language.

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Now, since I have no affiliation with anybody, I’m not ashamed to admit that the only interaction I had with this theory was via a video shown in our prenatal class, and then a subsequent youtube clip with the founder on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Priscilla Dunstan, a former mezzo-soprano from Australia, first developed the theory and then spent 10 years traveling the world and meeting parents and babies from all walks of life. Her conclusion and theory is that there are 5 universal words that babies use to communicate. Again, these words are universal, so regardless of where you are and where your baby comes from, they will use these words to engage you and communicate 5 specific needs.

The words (or sound reflexes) are: (excerpt from wikipedia)

  • Neh (I’m hungry) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Neh” to communicate its hunger. The sound is produced when the sucking reflex is triggered, and the tongue is pushed up on the roof of the mouth.
  • Owh (I’m sleepy) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Owh” to communicate that they are tired. The sound is produced much like an audible yawn.
  • Heh (I’m experiencing discomfort) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Heh” to communicate stress, discomfort, or perhaps that it needs a fresh diaper. The sound is produced by a response to a skin reflex, such as feeling sweat or itchiness in the bum.
  • Eairh (I have lower gas) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eairh” to communicate they have flatulence or an upset stomach. The sound is produced when trapped air from a belch is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestines tighten to force the air bubble out. Often, this sound will indicate that a bowel movement is in progress, and the infant will bend its knees, bringing the legs toward the torso.This leg movement assists in the ongoing process.
  • Eh (I need to be burped) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eh” to communicate that it needs to be burped. The sound is produced when a large bubble of trapped air is caught in the chest, and the reflex is trying to release this out of the mouth.

I kid you not…. THIS WORKS!

We are successful in avoiding any lengthy crying bouts due exclusively to this theory. It’s fascinating – Charlee makes a noise, we translate and address the situation – bingo, bango – happy baby!

There have been times where we’ll hear her “neh” and know that she’s hungry, but Becca will need to organize herself and ‘setup shop’ to start feeding, so in the interim while Charlee is continuing to ‘neh’, I’ll rely on the trusty 5 S’s from Dr. Karp, and shush her back to calmness.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but our techniques are so far working like a charm!

Charlee happens to be a champ at latching and eating, so we truly have lucked out, but this also took work. This brings me to my next trade secret to success, Breastfeeding.

Now I probably don’t need to mention this, but my role with breastfeeding is fairly removed from the actual process, but dads, let me tell you, you can and should play a large role.

Our routine, is that regardless of the time, but especially for the overnights, I’m waking up and in the room while Becca is breastfeeding.

I’m the diaper man – changing Charlee before, after, and even sometimes during. I’m the water boy, the towel guy, the burper extraordinaire. I’m the conversationalist, the time checker, and the reacher for anything just out of Becca’s grasps while feeding Charlee in the glider. In the hospital, I was the cup feeder, helping Charlee sip away at the supplemented milk while we were trying to encourage her consumption – why? – because this was something I actually could do.

One of the key messages in the Dunstan Baby Language theory, is that dads in the first 6 months of fatherhood, tend to feel less ‘involved’ in baby’s life compared to their partners.

It makes total sense.

While Becca can feed this child, and needs to in order to provide for her, Charlee is not even capable of communicating any connection with me, regardless of what I do. The ability to understand her 5 words, and also to contribute to the feeding sessions, is a great way of making your early mark as a father – an engaged parent who is there to be a part of your child’s upbringing even when it’s not mutually beneficial.

And this point about working with your partner, be it regarding breastfeeding together, staggering nap times, or scheduling walks around the neighbourhood, brings me to my last point – communication.

A little tête-à-tête with my daughter
A little tête-à-tête with my daughter

I’m not gonna lie – two weeks is not a long time, yet within it, we’ve had our struggles with communication. Struggles spawned from lack of sleep, heightened levels of frustration, and an overall sense of, at times, being quite overwhelmed. We want to entertain guests so that they can meet Charlee, yet also set boundaries so we don’t lose our minds. We want to be a team and parent united over our child, while also taking time to individually connect. We have other dependants, like Party, who needs to have the same level of attention as before, but also needs to be disciplined with the understanding that he’s sharing his house with a new addition. We have each other, and we need each other more so than ever before.

Two weeks in, and all of these things can be difficult to navigate.

I don’t have all the answers, and everyone has their opinions. But truth be told, communication is the fundamental basis for anything and everything.

Telling your partner that they’re acting crabby and shouldn’t be taking out there lack of sleep on you is justifiable and needs to be done the moment the feeling is recognized. If it’s pent up, a snowball of anger starts rolling downhill, and you know it’s just moments away from crashing. Trust me, you can tell your partner that their tone is shitty, or that they are busting your chops for no reason – you’ve had a baby with them… I know they can take it.

You both should know that the underlying theme of your togetherness, your parenting methods, your approach to each other, is love.


 

And there you have it… my little pearl’s of wisdom as a dad celebrating two weeks of fatherhood.

I know there are going to be new challenges and amazing events in the days, weeks, and years ahead. If these first weeks were any inclination as to what is to come, I know that Becca and I will be stronger and better parents for it, and Charlee will grow even more into the little masterpiece she is.

5 signs you’re Nesting, as determined by the Wongbergs

Here we are in week 37, and suffice it to say, it’s been another eventful week.

Having determined the week before that we have a breech baby on our hands…. er… on board… we’ve been elbow deep in stretches, inversions, moxibustion sessions, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and obstetricians visits. We’ve been swimming and walking, stretching and flexing, talking to baby and playing her music, but alas, our baby doth not wish to turn.

As week 38 nears, we know that the window for baby turning is getting smaller and smaller, as baby herself is getting bigger and bigger. I’ve read that baby can be growing as much as an ounce a day, and judging by the sneak peak ultrasounds we’ve seen, our baby is carrying it mostly in the head and bum, just like her father.

I’ll tell you one thing we figured out, albeit a tad late – for all of you expectant fathers whose partners are not enjoying the heat nowadays let alone the back pain from pregnancy, go for a dip in a local pool. We have one around the corner, and as Becca puts it, you’re weightless to the point where you don’t even feel pregnant anymore. It’s a nice relief after shlepping your little zygote around for the last 8 months.

Breeched babies supposedly can take the opportunity to roll into proper position during a swim, but sadly this wasn’t the case for us.

We’ve determined that at this point, we are down to 3 options and therefore had a fairly major decision to make.

Option the first: Continue with a breech birth. While historically, this was frowned upon, as more doctors gain better familiarity with the process, there are more successes. With that being said, the risk associated with breech births is such that we are not comfortable putting baby in that position (pardon the pun!). In a breech birth scenario, there is the possibility for baby (and mum) to suffer complications, and an emergency c-section would need to be performed. Not the most risk averse approach.

Option numero dos: External Cyphalic Version aka “Version”. Becca got a sneak peak of the version technique and it was NOT comfortable. Recognizing that Becca would have a spinal anesthetic, she would not feel the pain, but the idea being that with the relaxant administered, the doctor can physically manipulate the baby and turn her, followed quickly by inducing labour, and Becca pushing out baby naturally soon thereafter. Again, the number of complications that can arise including but not limited to a sudden drop in baby (or Becca’s) heart-rate, followed again by an emergency c-section, are potential happenings that push this beyond our risk tolerance.

Our third and most reasonable option, is the scheduled c-section. As the OB iterated, this option lends itself to be the most straight forward and risk averse option as it allows us to schedule the surgery, have our midwives on hand, provides Becca with the ability to have skin to skin with the baby immediately after birth, and we should be out of the hospital within 24-36 hours. Since we are with midwives, they actually have extra visits that they’ll do postnatally, along with the wonderful support from family and friends, we should be just fine.

It’s an oddly appealing option as it falls in line with our desire to be organized to the point where we now can literally schedule our baby’s birth. The unknown is now a bit more decided.

Time to update the baby betting board at work and take the win!

All of these options still have the caveat that baby may still turn! We are not relenting and will continue the stretches and moxibustion up until the newly scheduled date. Just before the operation, the doctor will check and again, and if baby has actually turned, we head back home and wait for labour pains.

I, myself, was a c-section and so my mother can relate first hand accounts of how things were… 35 years ago. Friends just had a cesarian and all seemed well, but Becca is still concerned at the prospect of being under the knife, as she has never had major surgery.

I’ll give it to our OB for being one of the most pleasant, reassuring, and professional individuals that we’ve met throughout this journey, and the fact that he will be there performing the surgery is much of the reassurance we need.

 


As all of this information has come available, and the final pieces of the pregnancy puzzle have fallen into place, our week together off work has continued, and low and behold it would appear that the next phase of pregnancy has kicked in, in parallel…

Nesting.

Without further ado, here are the 5 key indicators in the Goldberg/Wong (aka Wongberg) household, which have led me to this conclusion:

1. The nursery is complete… finally… and strangely, quickly all at once

Star Wars themed cause regardless of gender, baby is going be a geek
Star Wars themed cause regardless of gender, baby is going be a geek

2. We have a bag packed, nay, a suitcase packed, and it comes with us in the car, just in case Becca goes into labour while we’re in line at Costco or snacking on Bao’s at the CNE.

3. The dog has a bag packed – not even kidding.

Cute, but not actually our dog, Party
Cute, but not actually our dog, Party

4. We are cleaning the house… constantly… On one hand it’s very clean, on the other hand, at this point I think it would be quicker just to shave the dog, but I digress.

5. We have blanched 30 pounds of food so that we can quickly prepare healthy meals while taking care of baby… or in case of a zombie apocalypse.


 

 

Becca is an incredibly strong woman, and the fact that she’s muscling through all of these chores, while staying so positive and wonderful, is truly a gift. I’ve read stories of women undoing knobs from drawers and cleaning the screws, so I would say we’re doing just fine.

All signs point to birth as being the next stage in our pregnancy or in bloggers terms, one more blog entry away.

I’m sure next week I’ll have even more to talk about including my last day at work and what other expectations I have of what the future may hold.

Until then we’ll probably be adding to the nesting list above… in fact we just got back from doing #6 – canning tomato sauce, and pickling beans and cucumbers…

I think our shelter is finally ready – bring on the walking dead!!

“So…do you know what you’re having?”

 

INTELLIGENT LIFE MAGAZINE MAY / JUNE 2012 Intelligence Portrait of Expressive Baby rvw196741                                                           (       #           -       (           8       3           C       >           N       I           ^       Y           k       f           u       p

With the soon arrival of my first child, comes the realization that (in the PG sense), opinions truly are like noses, everybody’s got one. However, when the topic of child rearing, pregnancy, diets, education, discipline, and a multitude of other parenting aspects arises, opinions are more like blood cells, everyone has trillions.

The first of many conversations happened when we found out we were pregnant, and the question  “so…are you going to find out what you’re having?” was posed, to which we definitively replied “yes!”

I’ve come to learn that regardless of what you answer with, the retort will either be “Really? we didn’t find out with ours. There are so few surprises still left in this world, and this is the biggest!” or of course, there is the “All I would care about is that the baby is happy and healthy; ten fingers, ten toes.” Or my favourite, “Yeah, a lot of people are totally finding out these days, I guess it’s kind of a thing now.”

Personally, our choice to find out is mostly due to the fact that we are very organized people (though that could be contested from time to time) and we want to be prepared. In my career, I oversee a project management team – the essence of which is time management and determining the critical path to completing a task. Becca manages a retail shop where she needs to be on top of product and sourcing, staffing and time, or dollars aren’t made and business falters. Suffice it to say, we both try as best as possible to not leave things up to chance or have to be too reactive.

So we waited until the week 18 ultrasound and decided that as a compromise for the folks who were convinced that we should wait, we opted to host a ‘reveal party’ so technically we would still get our surprise, but it would be a few weeks before baby arrives.

On an aside, Pinteresting for a gender reveal party can be a full time job!

Finally the day came, and Becca headed into the ultrasound room with the technician while I sat back and waited. This particular ultrasound is 45 minutes long, so they would rather I wasn’t in the room there with her as Dads usually ask a lot of questions and the technician needs to focus.

Finally, I got the okay to come in, and the technician showed us very quickly, just a few choice shots but couldn’t answer a single question. We would have to wait on the midwife for confirmation.

We asked that the results be kept secret from us, but we provided Becca’s sister’s contact info as the recipient to keep the secret until the reveal party.

3 days later, Becca got a call from the midwives.

Baby was too active, and they aren’t definitive that they know the gender.

You’ve gotta be shitting me.

The pros:

When people ask, we have an easy out; “Baby was just too active, so they weren’t sure – looks like we’re waiting till he or she arrives!” – this satisfies both parties; those who wait, and those who find out early.

The cons:

Our newborn wardrobe is full of yellows, greens and whites – no real defined theme. Becca has made the best of it, and done a great job with teals and oranges. It works really well actually, so regardless of gender, this is going to be a very stylish baby.

And of course, the other con, and probably the most entertaining yet borderline annoying; not knowing the gender, brings out everyone’s psychic abilities.

People have dreamt of our baby.

Everyone knows every old wives tale out there and can advise by how Becca’s belly looks, what her diet is, how the bridge of her nose looks, or how frequently baby kicks.

My favourite so far is that apparently the frequency of your “baby making attempts” at the time of conception, dictates what the gender will be. If you humped like bunnies, it means you’re having a girl. Every now and then means you’ll be a having a boy.

So yeah, I guess we know what we’re having. So when my daughter arrives, please make sure to act surprised 😉

Pets make for healthier babies… and nervous parents

Here is our dog, Party, listening for our babies heartbeat. So bloody cute. So endearing.

Makes you almost forget how absolutely cray cray he can be.

The number of times Becca comes home and out of sheer enthusiasm and excitement, Party will jump up and smother her with kisses…and inadvertent scratches. Right now it makes me fear for Becca, let alone my unborn baby.

Party means well, and when he calms he’s a gem. A little too curious sometimes and wanting to literally get inside my nephews mouth (as seen below), but otherwise, I sincerely think he has some innate tendencies of wanting to safeguard the youngins in the house.

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Articles I’ve read, hint to the fact that babies brought up in a house with pets, get to deal with the dander and other airborne loveliness that surrounds our furry beasts, and therefore get an early dose of strengthening their immune systems.

All I know is that the photo ops are going to be priceless.

 

 

Hello, my name is Dad

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I remember the first time reality set in that I was going to be a father.

It wasn’t from reading the results of the Clearblue test, or even when we got back our first ultrasounds. It was at around the 11 week mark when we told Becca’s family over dinner, that we were expecting.

Plates were circling and I offered Becca’s sister food from one of the dishes to which she replied, “no, no… daddy first.”

I paused and waited, trying to figure out who she meant, then finally realized she was talking about me.

I was going to be a daddy.

I’ve waited for so long and now couldn’t be a better time – I have a partner that I love, cherish, and adore; we have a house, careers, support, and our health.

My father was 35 when he had me. And now here I am, 35 years later, starting my path through parenthood.

Thanks to my upbringing and the people in my life, I have a strong idea of what should and should not be done in order to raise good upstanding human beings… of course, it’s all so easy to say.

I will look to my parents for guidance and support, but I will also look to my friends. The same friends who used to queue up for hours to get front row concert tickets, or help sneak 2-4’s of beer into my bedroom closet as a teen, now will be comparing stroller models and where to get the best return for my child’s RESP.

Things have changed, but I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to meet my child.

My name is Ben, but soon you can call me Dad.