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We Need More Female Engineers

Posted by on 8:32 pm in Parenting | 0 comments

Have you ever actually thought for a minute about why there are so few female engineers, builders, plumbers, mathematicians, or firefighters?  Or on the flip side why there are far fewer male secretaries, flight attendants, or nurses?

Though the complete answer to this is probably more complex than we’ll ever know, understanding it is pretty simple.   (more…)

Let’s not Set the Bar So Low for Dads

Posted by on 5:56 am in Becoming a Dad | 0 comments

You’ve likely seen the images on Facebook or Pinterest or wherever of a dad doing something fun with his child with a caption that says something like: “this is what a great dad looks like” or “I know what a great dad looks like.”   You’ll see comments like these under videos of dads playing with their kids too.  When I first saw these I agreed for the most part, but there was something about them that unsettled me.

I started thinking about it the other day, an activity that often gets me into trouble … but one that also saves me every day from living a life less than my dreams.  In those moments of thought it dawned on me that as a society we have terribly low standards for dads.  If we can look at a dad simply playing with his child and say that he is a good or great dad, then something is wrong.
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Writing to My Baby – The Daddy Journal

Posted by on 5:52 am in Pregnancy for Dads | 0 comments

I was speaking with a friend today, an utterly amazing woman named Pamela MacDonald, and we started talking about daddy activities.  I lit up as I started to talk about my list of activities to do with our kids as they grow up.  But Pam provided an elegant insight to the conversation.  She and I talked about how I could write to my child right now.

This idea makes a lot of sense to me.  I used to write love letters on some of my loneliest nights when I dreamed of sharing love with a special woman. (more…)

Dreaming of Baby

Posted by on 9:51 pm in Pregnancy for Dads | 0 comments

Dreaming of Baby

You know those times when you wake up from a dream and you’re still kind of in dreamland.  You feel like the dream is real just for a few seconds before you realize you’re dumb (just kidding).

For example: After I got home from teaching ESL in Korea for a year I had a hard time getting my sleeping pattern back in order.  One night when I woke up I was beside myself wondering how the heck I was going to make it to class in time … seeing as I would have to fly there!  Boy was I in trouble … Lol.
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The Meaning of Your Birthing Story

Posted by on 12:31 am in Lesson Learned | 0 comments

As the days count down and my baby’s due date moves closer, I reflect daily on birth, pregnancy, parenting, etc.  Amidst all of these thoughts surrounding birth, I have spent some time thinking about my own birth.

Like you, I obviously don’t remember the moments when I first opened my eyes to the world, took my first breath, or felt the cold sweetness of the air that would become my life support.  But my mother has told me the story of how I was born.  She has told me many times in fact … (more…)

Listening to My Baby’s Heart Beat

Posted by on 3:31 pm in Pregnancy for Dads | 0 comments

I know my baby is still only an embryo the size of a grape, but I have so much love for it.

Some nights I watch my Sprout app.  I hold the heartbeat to my chest, so I can feel it beating against mine.  I can’t actually feel my baby’s heartbeat yet, but I can imagine it.  It is beautiful.  One day, after she or he is born I will just lay with my baby on my chest, while we hold each other with helpless and endless love.

That I am alive, and I will get to feel that is a profound achievement of existence.  Not just that it is happening to me, but that it can happen at all.  Life is so precious.

Why We Should Send Our Kids to Overnight Summer Camp

Posted by on 5:32 pm in Parenting | 0 comments

As I do just about every day, I woke up this morning and read about parenting.  Of course some mornings I read about pregnancy or baby brain development, but you get the idea.  The book I was reading this morning is called No Regrets Parenting by Harley Rotbart.  This post isn’t meant to be a book review, but before you think I hate the book just let me set the record straight.  I think it’s a good book, solid 4/5.

The overall premise of No Regrets Parenting is a GOOD one that we should cherish the precious moments we have with our kids.  Those moments will be over before we know it.  Thus it is with life.

With that said there was a little chapter in there that talks about camp.  All the chapters are little, so that’s not meant to be condescending … :D.  See, I do really like the book.  I’m standing up for it against myself, lol.

In the chapter on he talks about sleepover camp.  That’s a good start!  But, then he starts talking about how we shouldn’t send our kids to overnig… I think Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig said it best at the 2013 Golden Globes:

Now that you’re back from the video … that’s pretty much how I reacted: “You get out of here”.

Let’s get serious here.  Though I love Rotbart’s perspective on savouring our lives with our kids, I strongly disagree with him on the point of summer camp.  I’ve worked at camp for six years and seen its power firsthand.

Here are the 5 best reasons I can think of why we should send our kids to overnight summer camp:

 

A Man’s Role in Pregnancy Nutrition

Posted by on 1:59 am in Pregnancy for Dads | 0 comments

I have a feeling this post may be controversial to some.  So before you read it please understand that it comes solely from a place of love.  Love for all the woman out there courageous and strong going through pregnancy.  Love for the men and women who support them.  And love for the little ones that grow inside a woman’s incredible body.  Above all for me, love for my darling and our little one (we just found out our child to be is about the size of a tadpole right now :P). 

I think today’s post may be controversial because it talks about a man’s (or non-pregnant female partner’s) role in the pregnancy.  More in particular the man’s role as it pertains to nutrition and the mother’s body.  This is not about a man taking power away from a woman over her body.  It’s about being a responsible adult and a supportive partner. 

It’s no mystery that pregnant woman can have mysterious cravings during pregnancy.  Last night I found myself eating Kraft dinner with Deb (as a late night snack) for the first time in over a decade.  Some of this bingeing may in fact be necessary, to stay sane.  I am not sure that I can really get into that, as it seems largely subjective.  Who am I or anyone to judge anyway?  With that said, I feel strongly that a woman also needs to up her game, and eat healthier foods.  It seems more necessary that a woman take better care of her nutrition while pregnant than at other times.  After all she is eating for two.  And, when is a better time to start eating more nutritious food than before your child eating meals?

As I’ve mentioned before, the day we found out we were pregnant my life changed.  I stepped up my game immediately, and became more of an adult almost spontaneously.  It’s awesome, fascinating, and maybe a little scary.  At the moment I don’t know if that’s normal for a man (i.e. biological) or that I just figured out it so quickly, because I’m so darn smart (jk).  Our lives are changed, and there’s no going back.  That’s why I say I already feel kind of like I’m a dad.  Sure I may be an initiate at this point, but everything in my life has a different meaning now. 

Part of Our Role

As men (and pregnancy partners) our job may be at times to help find healthy alternatives for a certain craving.  For example, instead of those brownies she wanted, how about a chocolate smoothie?  Or homemade raw brownies (made from nuts), if you can afford it.  It means too that we need to actively seek out understanding of what she may be craving and how we can help. 

We also need to be responsible with nutrition choices because it’s only fair that if she is eating it for our kids we should eat it, and prepare a little more often than we would otherwise.  That means we have to cook more healthy and delicious meals.  You should have that skill as a parent anyway. 

What I think it doesn’t entail is to just give your pregnant partner the exact thing that she is craving (every time).  Sure this may appear to be some sort of soft skill that only seems worthwhile during pregnancy, but it actually has application for the entirety of a marriage or relationship.  I may get belted over the head for this thought before the end of it, but it just seems like the fair thing for our child!  It’s not just about the decisions of adults any more.  Those days are gone…

Some Thoughts on a Pregnant Woman’s Role in Nutrition

It also may be to help our loved ones make good choices about what she eats.  However difficult it may be to accept, a woman does not choose everything in a vacuum while she is pregnant.  Not that we make our choices in a vacuum to begin with, but I think you get my point.  It seems like the mature thing to do is to not give in to every urge for certain types of food.  There is a little one already counting on her.  What she puts into her mouth she is feeding to her baby.  I’m not pretending to fully understand the urges, but I do know the baby is in there and he or she is counting on the mom to make good decisions.

As a parent, we’ll likely lose even more of our ‘freedom’.  We have responsibilities now that basically never go away.  A lot of these responsibilities don’t start at birth.  They start at conception.

I am really interested to hear what you think about this.  Please remember that I am just a guy trying to figure this out.  I love my spouse, and really just want what’s best for us and our child.  Hence why I can’t wait to read what you have to say.

Thinking about Miscarriages

Posted by on 6:20 am in Pregnancy for Dads | 0 comments

These days my life has become largely about our pregnancy.  I keep telling people that this is the most exciting thing that’s happened in my life.  I’ve had a lot of incredible experiences, but having a kid is going to be the top.  I just know it.

The other day I was reading pregnancy and started reading a bit about miscarriages.  You figure it’s good to be educated about pregnancy, since that’s where we’re at, and that involves miscarriages, especially during the first trimester.  I don’t know about you, but it scares me a bit.  In the medical community it’s called “spontaneous abortion”.  Knowing that didn’t make me feel any better!

There’s a tiny bit of fear that lingers.  Deb and I are a month into our pregnancy, so not out of the forest.  And she just turned 35.  That’s a milestone in child bearing, as I’m sure you’re aware.  We’ve never had a miscarriage, but we’ve also never had a child.

It’s really that I’m just so excited, so hopeful, that I don’t know where I’d be if this little one doesn’t make it somehow.  To anyone out there who has had a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you and them.

I know the ‘odds’ are in our favor, but you just wish there weren’t any odds at all!  It doesn’t seem fair that we could get pregnant and lose those dreams.  My heart breaks a little bit thinking about all the expecting parents out there who have hoped and dreamed and lost.

This just has to work out … this little one has to live.

The Unimportance of Picking a Name

Posted by on 10:50 pm in Pregnancy for Dads | 0 comments

When you first start telling people that you are having a baby just about everyone asks you same question.  It’s lovely, because you get to gush about how excited you are about having a baby.  But is the question a good one to ask?  And should we be spending so much time thinking about names in the first place?

When you think about it, choosing a name, in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t very important.  In the very least it is not as important as we make it out to be. 

Debbie and I have spent many hours ruminating on names for our child.  Before we were even pregnant we thought about names.  We’ve got a shortlist of names that we love.  At this point we have ideas for both boys and girls … that of course is because we can’t even tell yet.  We’ve only been pregnant for 5 weeks, if you’re generous.

Though a part of me hopes that we’re abnormal in this focusing on the right name, I imagine we’re being pretty normal about this actually.  “Normal” being what the majority of people do. 

But why the name?

Of all the things to focus on … surely there are more important things than the name of our child.  For example, how will we help them grow into ethical human beings?  Individuals who acknowledge the value in human and nonhuman experience and suffering.  How will we discipline them?  How can I build my patience threshold, (because I might just need it … once or twice)?  How/Is it possible to help a child to sleep through the night?  What should I know about brain development and child psychology?  What’s the best birthing process?  What are the really important things my kids should be learning? What are the keys to a healthy pregnancy?  When will I make time to learn sign language so I can talk with my baby sooner?  Anyway, you get the point.  These poignant questions could go on for days!  And I for one need to think, talk, and read about them to find good answers.

We should be focusing on other things besides the name.  We should be preparing for being great parents EVERY single day!  We’re going to have a BABY!  You don’t just study the night before!!!!

Though we have our parenting ‘instincts’, we also have our parenting and personal baggage.  It’s not enough to just swear that I’m never going to mini lecture or use bribes or punishments.  I need to be ready.  We all do.  

When you think about it too a name isn’t even permanent.  Our son or daughter could technically change their name when they’re 18.  They can’t change the languages they learned when they didn’t even know they were learning languages.  They can’t change how we helped them learn about values, self confidence, or family. And again, we could go on for days.

But what about the name?

We could go look up (in Google of course) most popular baby names in 2012.  Sophia is number 1.  Beautiful name, by the way, but ‘we can’t have our daughter being called Sophia S. in class. That’s silly. So what’s number 59?  Boom, she has her beautiful name!  Done … now let’s get on with the parenting decisions that are going make a HUGE difference.’

Alright, so I don’t actually know the easy way to pick a name.  It seems like it’s actually pretty hard to mess up.  I could have been Chris, Henry, Brian, Blake, or Steven, and that probably would not have changed my life at all.  As long as you don’t name your kid Apple, or Nintendo, or Pop Tart then you’re doing just fine.

Here’s where it gets serious

Now, gather round.  Cozy up with a nice cup of your favourite chai tea, because I’m about to say something important.  I’ve been reading my first parenting book, “Kids Are Worth It” by Barbara Coloroso.  I’m about 27 pages in, loving it and have pretty much decided that I’m a parenting expert now :p.  I’ve got that stupid cocky feeling, like ‘yeah, I got this.’  Meanwhile reality contains the truth that like most areas of knowledge I am (and we all are) extensively ignorant and only slightly knowledgeable.  When compared with our ignorance, our knowledge is like a single candle trying to light up Nebraska (or Saskatchewan, or any expansive planes region of the earth).  You get the point :D

We owe it to our kids to decide what parenting decisions really matter. The first step in raising our kids is in raising ourselves up to another level. That means making the responsible decisions that by necessity will be made for them.

They are counting on us whether we do something about it or not.  Before our kids are even born our decisions are going to change their lives.  We have to take care of ourselves and we have to handle the important decisions.  

 

I asked “why” earlier, and for some that may mean that I’m supposed to resolve that question with a conclusive answer.  I’m not actually too concerned about why we focus so much on the name.  Whatever the reason is I don’t think it can be a good one.  The truth is that we shouldn’t be spending so much time thinking about a name.  There are just too many other important things!  A lot of them can’t be changed.  Like most of you, I’m still going to spend some time picking out my child’s name.  But I hope can keep it in perspective.

I’ll wrap things up there and let you chew on that for a while.  I would love to hear what you have to say, because it matters.  Plus I have to go talk about baby names with Deb. ;)