Sorry Son(s): Chronicles of a New Dad (For a Second Time)

Starting over was never one of my strong suits. I like to get things right the first time around (let me just state for the record that with JAX we definitely got things right the first time… he’s amazing to the nth degree). That being said, I thought starting over always had to be a “bad thing.” But honestly, starting over is not so bad this time around. Starting over is a new opportunity, a way to broaden your horizons and see the world in a way you never thought possible.

As a “young” guy I always had so much going on, I was trying to figure life out, what it was all about, what’s coming next, or how I was going to build my career. Then it became not all about me anymore. It was “I’ve got to take care of a baby” and of course it gets easier as time goes by and you get older and parenting becomes easier. I was able to slow down and appreciate what I had… a healthy and ridiculously happy little boy and was totally OK with putting him first.

And then… Jackson hit two and a half. I spent nights watching him throw kitchen chairs around and sprawl out across the floor because he didn’t want cheese on his macaroni… (the same cheese he ironically had just asked me to put on his macaroni). You would think this kid had learned that Olaf wasn’t a real snowman or something. Life got tough. Days got longer; nights became more and more sleepless. Still, my days were bright because I was so in love with this little guy and because, I knew we had been through so much. I knew that it would just keep getting easier and the answers I was looking for were just around the corner.

That was until I found out I was going to be a dad… AGAIN. I thought things were just calming down. Life’s craziness was just coming down off the climax of a never ending rollercoaster. How the HELL am I going to manage to take care of another human. Honestly, I am surprised Jackson hasn’t packed a bag and gone off to live with Auntie Tricia by now, let alone the fact that he still has 10 fingers and 10 toes.

This time there was no cake with blue frosting or a sonogram with GO PACK GO written across the top. There was no craziness of prepping a nursery (there still somehow has been enough baby clothing coming in to rival Hillary Clinton’s pant suit collection). Things are so much different than they were threeish years ago. Buster and Max are no longer running the roost and I am lucky if I get a few minutes to use the bathroom without seeing tiny little fingers reaching under the door like some sort of real life horror movie.

Now I have to start all over again!??!?? You know what? I am scared as hell. Two kids? With one kid you can play man to man with safety coverage over the top. On tough days you can even double team one kid. But two kids? That is zone coverage day in and day out, and for all you football fans out there, you know zone coverage is easy to beat. Jackson is slippery, one minute he’s under your feet, the next minute the screen door is squeaking and he’s half way up the front lawn. He can beat zone coverage every day and twice on Sunday.

I’m starting to freak out a little bit over here. Don’t get me wrong, Jackson has been the greatest joy and most precious blessing in my life. There is not a day goes by that his presence hasn’t made my life better, but raising one is hard enough. My body still struggles to catch up to the extra hours I need to raise a son. My calendar has become an overlapped mess of appointments, music classes and kid birthday parties weaved in and out of work meetings. If I wasn’t playing, feeding or inventing a way to get him to sleep, I was trying to find a quiet 20 minutes to catch some 💤s myself.

It was never easy, but it also wasn’t always as hard as everyone seems to make it out to be. Eventually we hit a groove and Jax slowly became adjusted to life in this crazy household and settled into his routines quite nicely. The feeling of exhaustion was reserved for times few and far between. Emails were answered in a timely manner again and I actually was able to clear out about 50% of my DVR (on a side note how do people actually have more than like 30% space available on their DVR. It’s Un-American to not have at least 25 unwatched movies recorded… just in case). Two kids though? All that is down the drain. It’s back to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, bath time in the sink and sleeping anywhere I can close my eyes.

Raising a kid is scary as hell, but when you start creating a team of them… scary is an understatement. The only hope is that Mom and Dad built a good foundation with the first one, so that we have a head start on what works for the next one. I guess we’ll find out in March.

Good luck mom… good luck dad… good luck Jax, Buster and Max… Good Luck Earth. There’s another Fragola on the way.

 

Five Things my Son Calls “Dah”

 
You imagine all these amazing milestones when you first learn you’re going to have a baby. First steps, food, words… Funny thing is it never winds up the way you thought.  His first steps are a few unstable stumbles and his first real food is some nasty combination of peas, zucchini and apples… But the first words… That’s what really throws you off.

1. Dah (Traslation: Dad)

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The original “Dah.” This one was easy; there’s not to much to figure out here.  “Dada” was his first word, so it’s not hard to figure out why “Dah” means dad.  I’m the first and I’m the best.

2. Dah (Translation: Dog or Buster or Max) 

Jax loves his brothers… I mean his “Dahs!” So much so he gets up to almost full speed and swan dives on top of them when he gets home everyday.  Coincidentally, “Dah” is also the same sound Busyer makes when Jax lands on top of him.

3. Dah (Translation: Toy) 

Doesn’t matter what toy… the singing donkey with two chewed off ears, the snail that gets body slammed daily, or the boxes he like to stack and then karate chop over… all referred to as “Dah”… Except for the creepy ass ride-on dog that asks “will you be my friend?”  That is not “Dah” that just makes the poor kid cry.

4. Dah (Translation: Book)  

I remember when he first laid eyes on a book… It was love at first sight… (If eating the pages and trying to rip the pages out equals love).  It took a lot of reading every night before bed… but now there is not a chance he goes to sleep with out us reading him a “Dah.”  As a teacher its pretty cool to see your son run to the book shelf and find his favorite book, take it out, hand it to you and yell “Dah”… now that I think about it… I wonder if “Dah” also means, “Please read me Chika Chika Boom Boom for the seven-thousandth time!!”

5. Dah (Translation: Yes)
So here’s the thing… Maybe he’s Rusian? maybe all the other words above are just his approval of the thing itself?  Maybe he’s just saying yes to everything… Is your dad the coolest dad in the world? “Dah!”  Do you want to swan dive off the couch onto your brothers?  “Dah!”  

On a side note every time I hear him say “Dah” I feel like it’s matter of moments before he turns into a Russian Bond Villian or I find out he was one of the extras in Rocky IV who were sent to keep an eye on Rocky while he trained.  

   
 

Jimmy Freaking Fallon

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“Hey dada look, I found Jimmy Fallon’s book… where is your book?”

Jimmy F-ing Fallon.  Everything about Jimmy FREAKING Fallon is starting to tweek my last nerve… not terrible nerve pain… but more of a dull throb of my last nerve.  I can’t stand it, I can’t stand the jealousy coursing through my veins right now.  It is a maddening feeling. Everything about this SOB is perfect… his hair, his job, his jokes, his “superstar” status… he totally stole it from me.  The guy is like the perfect version of me… (minus the fact that I am not famous, can’t rap, don’t chill with Justin Timberlake and closest I’ve ever been to the Tonight Show was a pre-printed autograph photo of Jay Leno that I once got in the mail).  I mean think back a few years, he was the character on SNL who couldn’t get through thirty seconds of a sketch without laughing (see: Debbie Downer w. Lindsey Lohan)… and now he is basically King Midas.  Everything this guy touches turns to gold.

I’m sitting here mashing the keyboard on my “Dad Blog” stoked to recieve 17 views a day, and passing my “Dad Book” out to publishers like its a free condom at senior prom… and this dude writes seven words max and is a New York Times Best Selling Author?!!! WTF Jimmy… save some for the rest of us.

Here is the thing though, I love the guy, like I literally would dump all my childhood friends to chill with him.  He seems so much cooler than the guys I grew up with (they are so overrated; I can say those things about my friends because I know there is no way in hell they are reading this).  I love the fact that he just seems like an average guy, just wants to hang out and laugh at immature crap and drink beer.

In an interview Fallon told MPR News, “I just want the baby’s first word to be ‘dada.’ I don’t care if she’s smart. I have one agenda.”  Totally my views on parenting.  Steal the show, steal the fame and live to tell another day. That quote brings us to the main point of today’s blog, Jimmy’s book,  Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada.  What a parenting power move.  I sat here for days on end basically saying “Dada” until the word iteself sounded weird.  I caught so much heat for it.  Parents, in-laws and the wife gave me grief for not being equal in the first word teaching techniques and then you have Fallon… he just does the same thing and can call it research for his new book.

So unfair.  So Jimmy.  Guy can’t do anything wrong. I would be surprised if Jackson’s first word wasn’t Jimmy.  Damn you Fallon!

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PS: Fallon was right… 

What it Means to be a Dad


I never know his to start these things. It’s always so weird thinking that there are people out there who read my stuff other than my family and friends. I mean you don’t know me. The only thing u all have in common is you’re bored at work and looking for something to read that hasn’t blocked by your boss on the Internet. I’ve enjoyed writing this blog almost as much as I’ve enjoyed being a father the last 13+ months. It’s never boring, it’s never easy… But most of all it’s never NOT worth it.

I’ve tried to touch on some topics that everyone encounters… Fathers, mothers, families, friends of people with kids, etc. here’s the thing, I still don’t think I’ve really been able to figure out what it really means to be a father.

Having a kid is like having an insane parrot glued to your shoulder. Sometimes I think how much I love him. I look at him and think I couldn’t love any person any more right now. And sometimes… maybe even in the same minute… I think to myself maybe I’ll just leave him at the next gas station. I think that sums up fatherhood decently right… Love and Frustration.

So what else? I think being a father is about learning to focus on the things you do well and asking for support with the things that you’re not so good at and being able to share the responsibilities. A perfect example to this point: I don’t know what I would do if Stephanie didn’t take care of our monetary situation. I’m not even sure how to use an ATM. The wife knows the bank we use. I couldn’t even ball park how much money we have. Thank god I can rely on her to keep us out of the red. So I guess that’s another fatherhood descriptor… Sharing and Reliability.

I keep going back to being able to teach my son about the world… How to handle certain situations and maneuver through an ever changing society. There are so many important lessons I want to teach my son… important things, tidbits of knowledge necessary to survive. Like… How how to open a sleeve of saltines without breaking them into a million pieces when you try to get them out. I’d like to teach him how to end a conversation normally. I can’t just walk away from a conversation. Have you ever tried to walk away? I’m always trying to say something witty and funny, but it usually just comes out sounding creepy. I guess being a father means being a teacher too.

In all reality I think the biggest thing I’ve learned being a dad just to be there for my son. Through ups and downs, as long as I’m around I think we’ll be ok.

One of the greatest “dad moments” ever… “no Olympic emotional outburst is ever likely to dislodge Derek Redmond’s Olympic 400 meter dash at the 1992 Games. What made this moment special was that it brought into focus not just the near-heroic desperation of a single professional athlete but a much more universal theme: the nature of parenthood.”

After hearing his hamstring pop and realizing his Olympic Dreams were over, Redmond got up off the track and refused to be helped off. With about 120 meters still to go Jim Redmond, Derek’s father hoped the barrier and reached his son. He puts his arm around him and whispered, I’m here son. We’ll finish this together.”

  
    
        

Dove’s Dad Commercial Won the Super Bowl

Super Bowl commercials do one (maybe two) of the following to the viewers: hype us up, make us laugh, or make us cry.  This year there were a few of the hype and comedic commercials… but it was the attempts to make us cry that seemed to prevail.

The folks at Dove have decided to go with the latter this year by running an ad as part of its #RealStrength campaign, which depicted children of all ages and races calling out for their father.  Essentially, the spot contains only one word the entire time: “dad.”  Whether it was “dad,” “daddy,” or “dada” the commercial shows real dads who are a positive influence on their children.

This commercial brought on all the feels.  Chills, Goosebumps, tears… you name it we felt it!  In doing research for this commercial Dove says that it conducted a survey in which only 13% of the 1,000 fathers surveyed said that fathers are portrayed as care givers for their children.  This commercial is perfect.  It’s a simple and beautiful statement.  Fathers are responsible for more than teaching their children about sports, girls and cars.

Recently, mom and I have been playfully arguing back and forth about Jackson’s first words.  I swear we’ve heard him say “dada” a few times.  Hearing your son call you dad for the first time would make even the Grinch’s heart grow..

Most of the time dads are portrayed in a negative light in the media. I for one am happy to be a dad who prides himself in being largely involved in his son’s life.  I am glad this ad ran during the Super Bowl, not just because of how horrible the other ads were, but because it gives us dads a little air time in a positive light.  Plus, it gave us a good reason to shed a few tears… but only a few, because remember dads are tough… we don’t cry!

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