There are few moments in a fathers life when he’s truly proud… One of these moments is the ability to say what I’m saying is that my baby boy Pees standing up. It truly is a guy thing. I know its one of the crowning moments that a Dad with daughters only will never get to experience. For that I’m sorry but for me its the highlight of the month, of the year so far. On the serious side potty training isnt easy, its constently asking do you need to go potty, trying to teach him its not ok to go in the diaper. We’ve been given tons of advice, some of which just made me laugh out loud… just let him go naked for 3-4 days; they dont like peeing themselves… sure you’ll pick up some doodie off the floor… My response was like a look of puzzlement and maybe horror. My wife’s been reading a few “experts” online and really wants to introduce where the poop goes after he does it in the diaper and draw that link. To which I also laugh at – after she got angry that I wasn’t doing it and showing him the poop from his diaper goes down the toilet and I did it. Of course in the handling of not touching said poop it landed on the bathroom floor. LOL Her face was priceless… of course I was the one with bleach spray cleaning up but that’s not the point. My point is this everyone has their own way of training and you’ve gotta make it work for your kid and make it feel right for you and your family. I’m not showing him where the poop goes anymore – really the first goal is dry diapers and only peeing in the potty we’ll get to the pooping in the potty soon enough!
A Dad mulls over the fact that he’s no longer a rookie parent.
I took my 2 year old daughter to play school a few weeks ago. In many ways it was a blast from the past as I had taken my now “big boy” 4 year old son to the very same location when he was two. The owner/operators were still the familiar friendly duo of ladies singing tunes, creating crafts, doling out snacks, and finishing up with story time. Even the parents in attendance gave me a striking feeling of deja vu as the faces may have changed but the characters remained the same. Yet there was a distinct difference. I was not the rookie parent in the room anymore. At four years into parenthood, I felt the confidence and swagger of an experienced veteran Dad. “Step aside rookie parents, Big Poppa’s in the house!” Yet my glorious coronation as King of all Dads would need to wait. My daughter threw down the gauntlet by declaring in no uncertain terms, “Daddy, I have a squishy diaper!”
I did not panic. Well, not at the level of rookie parent anyway. I lifted my daughter up, elevating her body with my arms extended as to not saturate my own clothes (see, a rookie parent would have gotten wet), grabbed her diaper bag and took her to the nearest restroom. The restroom did not have a changing table. It did have a sink with a large counter surface area. I opted for the standing diaper change. In a few swift moves I had a new diaper and clean pants placed on her. I could tell my daughter appreciated Daddy’s Diaper Fu skills by her well placed pat of approval on my back. A few moments later she returned into the mix of things with the other children.
Within milliseconds I found myself mediating the great dinosaur debacle. My daughter and another child apparently had become attached to a particular T-Rex. Unfortunately there was but one of these cuddly carnivores in the entire play area. As the tug-a-war ensued I knew I would need to step in since the other child’s parent (no doubt a rookie) was missing in action. As if in a slow motion scene from a Martin Scorsese film, I saw my daughter retract her right arm to set up this unsuspecting child for a well placed right hook. I leapt “Noooooooo!” and successfully blocked her fury. In the corner of my eye I spotted an appealing Stegosaurus. Making use of finely honed negotiating skills (“Who wants to play with this silly saurus?”) a peace was brokered.
Later on my daughter enjoyed snack time with the other children as well as clean up duty. Bubble time ended what turned out to be an eventful return to play school. Yet this battle tested Dad emerged unscathed. That is of course until my daughter announced to me in the car, “Daddy I got poo diaper.” The adventure continued…
What do you bring the table as an experienced parent? How do you react to other parents and children who are still learning the ropes of parenthood?
Vincent Daly aka CuteMonsterDad is a graphic designer, writer, actor, artist and most importantly a husband and father. He is the founder of CuteMonster.com, a resource for Dads.
It often happens subtly. In most cases they don’t even know that I am witnessing their reaction. But these small, genuine moments take place nearly every day.
It often happens subtly. In most cases, they don’t even know that I am witnessing their reaction. But these small, genuine moments take place nearly every day.
These moments, as short as they are, serve as a reinforcement to Mrs. LIAYF and I that this period of time is unfortunately all too fleeting in the grand scheme of our lives. And, that we shouldn’t for one moment take it for granted.
Whether it be an older couple, children long since grown, who give each other a look of acknowledgement and memory as we pass by with our little guy. Or the young couple, perhaps dating or newly married who do not yet have children of their own, who simultaneously smile while turning their heads over their shoulders as we walk by. Or even the stoic teenager who tries to, but can’t, stifle a smile when my little guy speaks to him with his still developing vocabulary.
We are currently experiencing, multiple times a day, events like these which brought brief moments of happiness to those people’s days.
For instance, just this morning while simply driving through the city on our way to my son’s daycare, I witnessed two such interactions. We stopped at one stoplight next to a woman perhaps in her 30’s impeccably dressed in her business suit. She looked serious. However, when she looked over at my 3-year-old, wide eyed in his car seat, she broke into a huge smile.
Not three stoplights further up the same street we pulled up to a middle-aged man driving with what appeared to his be his teenage son in the passenger seat. Lukas was reading a toy catalog at the time. The man looked over, smiled, then tapped his son on the shoulder and pointed out my little guy. The two seemed to share a moment.
Unknown to them, I shared that moments too. Watching these types of reactions gives me great joy. And, when these moments do take place, I rarely fail to reflect on what I am lucky to be experiencing. Maybe it’s because I am an older first time dad, maybe not – but no matter the reason, I keep thinking to myself “Wow! That is pretty cool.”
Watching my child grow and develop from an infant into a little boy has been a daily blessing for me. I know it will not always be so magical. Or such joy inducing. But while it is, I will be here soaking it in.
And also, peering out of the corner of my eye to catch other peoples’ reactions.
The first official day of summer is June 21st which is exactly a month from today. The beautiful, warm weather means you and your little ones can start spending more time outdoors. Young kids love being outside, whether it be in the back yard, downtown doing errands, the park or pretty much any place where they don’t have to sit still and be quiet. However, leaving the house with a baby or toddler is no small event. Here are some tips to consider before heading out and while on your outing this summer. These tips are geared more towards a short trip to the park, doing errands, etc. as opposed to a longer road trip or vacation away from home.
Attire and protection
Dress your baby or toddler lightly–shorts, tank tops, a cool dress, sandals, flip flops and don’t for get a hat to help keep the sun out of their eyes. If they are cool, dry and comfortable, it will make the outing so much easier on you.
If you will be in direct sun for any length of time apply some sun block/screen on your baby/toddler. There are products made just for their young, sensitive skin. You will want to try the product on a small patch of their skin first as some children may be allergic to the ingredients.
My personal dad tip: You also don’t want to jump into a blazing hot vehicle with your baby so a few minutes before you actually get into the vehicle, start it up and turn on the air conditioner. If the weather is cool enough you can simply open up the vehicle and lower the windows to vent all the hot air. Also, try to park in the shade.
Consider how long you will really be away from the house and pack accordingly. The key here is to pack lightly and keep organized. Here is my usual arsenal of baby gear.
- One or two diapers, that’s all.
- A small packet of baby wipes, not the huge wholesale family pack.
- A pocket size packet of tissues or a soft spit-up cloth. (To clean drool, boogers, etc.)
- One or two servings of baby formula in an easy to despense container. You don’t want to carry the whole can of formula because it’s just too messy to scoop out when on the go.
- One or two baby bottles with water already in them. When your baby needs a bottle simply dump one of the pre-portioned servings into the bottle. (Don’t carry a bottle already mixed as the summer heat may make it turn bad before your child consumes it.)
- A single, maybe two, change of clothes.
- A small toy or two.
- A snack for your little one.
- My gear: wallet, phone, iPod, keys, sunglasses.
Keep things organized in your diaper bag and pack things horizontally, next to each other as opposed to on top of each other so you’re not digging through it to find what you need. Also, try to pack it yourself so you know exactly where everything is.
My personal dad tip: I hate lugging around a diaper bag so when I can get away with it, my weapon of choice is a good, comfortable pair of cargo shorts. I simply pack the bare essentials in the cargo pockets and head out the door.
During your outing
Keep an eye on your child. This may seem obvious but during the summer, public places become much more crowded so don’t let your child wonder off too far and don’t take your eyes off of them.
Keep a cool drink handy for your child. They may not sit still long enough to drink the whole thing but offer it to them often so they can sip it and keep themselves properly hydrated while you’re both out.
In the hot weather they will probably drink a lot of liquids so make time for frequent bathroom breaks. If your child is still in diapers, be sure to check them often to see if they are in need of a change. The last thing you want is your baby to end up with diaper rash.
My personal dad tip: Kids may not be willing to stop and take a drink but I’ve found that they love ice. So try a snow cone or crushed ice if they are refusing liquids.
My personal dad tip: If it’s especially hot and humid I sometimes would forgo a thick diaper and put a cool, breathable underwear on my boy. Make sure you are prepared to clean up a messy accident if you do this.
Do you have any “daddy tricks-of-the-trade” for surviving while away from the house?