Ode to Dad

I feel that it comes naturally to us as moms to relate to each other based on conversations, experiences, feelings, situations, etc. A simple post in a Facebook group elicits many comments of encouragement and similar stories of similar experiences. We’ve all felt overwhelming joy when we hear our babies laugh and we’ve all felt the pangs of guilt when we have to leave our kids. We know there is this “always on” worry that our kids are OK or happy and we’ve all been thoroughly embarrassed when our child acts out in public by throwing a tantrum, or licking the floor of a bar (like my child did in front of my co-workers). It’s so easy for me as a mom to have tunnel vision and only focus on my feelings and how being a mom makes me feel, that I often times forget about Alex and the overwhelming support he brings to our lives.

Alex is definitely the calm, cool, collected one for the most part. When I am stressed about having to go to William’s 2 year pediatrician appointment because I know he is going to go completely insane, Alex just takes him like it is no big deal. He forces me out of the house for date night even though it’s hard to hand over a child screaming and clawing for me not to leave. And he is ALWAYS willing to play with William. Not just sit in the room while he scrolls through his phone, but gets on his hands and knees and becomes an imaginative character William is so excited to play with.

So, in an effort to remember the guys in our lives, I’ve included a Q&A I did with Alex. I wanted him to write out his answers so that it was really Alex thinking about how he wanted to respond vs. reacting to my look or question in real time. I think this is a perfect representation of Alex and his love for William and love for being a dad. And a good reminder to stop and ask our partners, husbands, guys in our lives how they are feeling and what parenthood means to them. Enjoy!

How many kids do you want?

For now, two sounds pretty great. I was never big on sports analogies, but man-to-man defense seems doable. Introduce that third child and who knows what might happen. Maybe get another dog to keep an eye on it?

What do you love most about being a dad?

There’s something inherently cool about knowing part of you lives on within something you’ve created. For me, watching William grow into a person and seeing his personality come to life is more fulfilling than I ever expected. Plus I now have an excuse to play with Play-Doh and Lincoln Logs.

What is the most challenging part about being a dad?

The patience that is necessary to deal with temper tantrums and trying to understand what your child needs/wants without actually being able to understand them.

What was your favorite product when William was a baby?

Anything that helped him sleep. Maybe the doc-a-tot? But I also love taking walks, so a top notch stroller was also (and continues to be) pretty great.

What is your favorite product now that he is a toddler?

Lincoln Logs… super nostalgic for me. William’s favorite thing to do is put on the roof and the chimney, and then destroy the whole house. Who knows, maybe it’s a precursor to a life as an engineer.

If you could tell another guy one thing to do to prepare for a baby, what would it be?

Realize your life as you know it is about to be turned upside down. And that’s OK. You’re going to sleep a little less, have less time for yourself, be required to work harder to find alone time with your spouse (which is even more important), but it’s all worth it. Maybe just have one more 2:00 a.m. night at a bar before the first child comes.

What is one thing that most surprised you about becoming a dad?

The exhaustion that comes with parenthood and the amount of love you realize you can have for something. Nothing prepares you for it.

What is your favorite thing to do with William?

Dancing around the kitchen and singing songs. If we’re lucky, they’ll coincide with each other. It used to be we could only dance when COCO would be on, but he’s expanding his horizons. Turn on Wallykazam and you’ll have a full fledged dance party on your hands.

What is one thing you did with William that you wouldn’t do with another baby?

It’s tough to look into the future and say what I will or will not do with a future child. I can tell you there are things that I do with William that may be more special since he’s our first child. For example, the songs we sing in the morning, or the galloping dances we do, or frog hopping around the house… I’m sure these are things I’ll experience with every child, but with William, they’ll always be the first.

If I was going to change one thing, it would be finding more time to spend away from screens. Screen time can be very educational, and in fact I credit some of William’s verbal skills to time spent watching Sesame Street, Wallykazam, Daniel Tiger and others. And it definitely has its purpose to keeping a parents sanity. But, I think it would do all of us (kids and parents) some good to take ourselves away from screens a bit more often.

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