1. I am overprotective.
Some may call it a pseudo-pessimistic approach, but I am constantly catching myself thinking out worst case scenarios whenever my daughter is doing everyday activities. These issues would be solved if the world would come equipped with self-deploying airbags on EVERYTHING. Since that advancement has yet to evolve, I am merely left with encompassing my little one in an imaginary bodysuit of bubble wrap. It is only recently that I have been realizing that this little girl is pretty tough and not nearly the uncoordinated ogre that her father is.
2. It is important to appreciate the little things.
Children have this capability to teach without knowing – handing out reminders to us adults from the time they enter the world. I have long been guilty of letting these precious moments slip by unnoticed. Seeing a child’s reaction to a passing butterfly or lying in the soft grass watching the clouds go by make the everyday problems that we fret about seem trivial and insignificant. While bills must be paid and deadlines must be met, looking at life through your child’s eyes can help balance the stress and anxiety our adult lives bring. Blow bubbles, catch fireflies or share an ice cream cone with your child. It will be a thrill for your little one and also serve as a reminder of how simple life can be.
3. Tube slides are not made for 280-pound men.
Consider this a warning to all of you active fathers out there. These tube slides that are so popular in playgrounds today are dangerous for you. Oh sure, they pose no problems for your child at all, but for the playful father who chases their child down one of these adult deathtraps, serious injury may occur. Why are there different sizes of these devilish concoctions without some kind of warning label? It is bad enough that you hit your head at the bottom of the tube. You also run the risk of getting your middle stuck so badly only the Jaws of Life can get you out. What is with that? Does the tube shrink on the way down? Don’t even get me started about the static electricity. Is there entertainment value in getting zapped 20 times during a trip down the tube? Heed this warning and slide at your own risk.
4. Children see and hear everything.
The majority of parents would agree that this may be obvious. A simple slip of the tongue around your little one can come back to haunt you days or weeks down the line, usually at the most inopportune time. This also applies to the positive, as a child’s mind is like a sponge – absorbing information and learning to apply it to everyday life. From reinforcing rules like “no running in the house” or “no hitting” to simpler things like remembering their ABC’s and the proper hand motions to the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Children want to learn and they look to us, as parents, to supply the proper information for them. It’s a two-way street I have found, as we have plenty to learn from children as well.
5. Fatherhood builds up the neck muscles.
Our family likes to go Geocaching, which is basically a high-tech game of treasure hunting using GPS satellites. Many of these hunts require hikes in the woods that could range anywhere from a quarter of a mile upwards to four miles or more. And while our little one likes to do her share of hiking, she also has another favorite place she likes to ride on Daddy’s shoulders. At first this really wasn’t a problem, but as she gets older, the trails seem to get a little longer and the knees start to hurt a little more. Still, no matter how big she gets, as long as she wants to ride up there I will do it as long as I can. They say if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. So when I am feeling like I should be as strong as the Incredible Hulk, but hunched over looking like Quasimodo, I will smile, because I have loved every minute of it.
6. I am a wimp.
I wasn’t always a wimp. At least, I never thought I was one. However, a few things over the past few years have made me change my tune. First, watching my wife go through her extensive labor and recovery from her C-section has left me in awe of her. Second, the fact that I cringe with every bump, tumble, trip, fall, scrape, crash and scratch and Julia bounces back. Third, the cracks of every bone in my body when I try to get up in the morning. Just a few days ago we filled her inflatable pool up with water from the outside spigot. Julia hopped in with no problem, splashing, playing and having a great time. Seeing as the temperature was in the 90-s, I thought I could get in and cool off. Stepping one foot into the water left my face contorting into a mass of painful expression as the blood left my foot seeking warmer climates leaving a cold, numb stump. She must get her pain toleration from her mom because I now have an intense fear of inflatable pools.
7. The Wiggles could kick Barney’s butt any day.
Looking over this match up of children’s icons of the last two decades, one would think it would be a pretty even contest. Barney has the size advantage along with a pretty extensive set of chompers on him. The Wiggles have the numbers game on their side and although they lack the size of Barney, they do have the quickness advantage. In the end however, I feel that with added assistance from Captain Feathersword, Barney would be taken down by The Wiggle crew, only to be saved from certain doom by the arrival of Dorothy the Dinosaur, who quickly ends the confrontation peacefully and serves Rosy Tea. Only Barney’s tea is poisoned and Ok, this is where I usually wake up after dozing off with Julia in my lap watching Greg, Anthony, Murray and Jeff Wiggle do their thing every morning.
8. If there is a performance, you’d better watch…or else.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the last 10 seconds of the Super Bowl or the finale of American Idol, if your little one takes this moment to show off their new ballet dance, you had better give them your complete attention. Many a dad has fallen victim to the television coma and has missed such fine performances only to face a disappointing look, waiting for your applause. To avoid this heartbreaking scene and to watch your child gleam with pride, pay attention to them. The signs may be subtle: singing a song, playing with the piano or performing a dance are some ways to get your attention without asking you for it. It’s when you recognize these and applaud their effort that you receive an immediate reward in the form of a smile, a hug or a kiss that makes paying that extra attention well worth the effort.
9. I am one happening guy, if only in her eyes.
If you have ever walked through the mall carrying the pink duckie diaper bag, or if you are trying to look smooth while buying that jumbo pack of Huggies, just realize one thing it doesn’t matter. All you really need to make you feel like the king of the world is a look, a smile, or a hug of appreciation from your little one. I am the big daddy DJ, spinning the tunes in our car while Julia is in the back just singing her heart out. Honestly, there is just something about driving through the â€˜hood with the windows down while the CD player is blaring out Laurie Berkner’s “We Are The Dinosaurs” or Raffi’s “Baby Beluga” that just screams cool. Add some prescription sunglasses and you are smokin’ no matter how many people are laughing at you.
10. The Mom is The Bomb.
Having to work out of town 3-4 days a week and being away from my family has made me realize how remarkable the Mom is. She spends every waking moment with our little one, cleaning, teaching and developing her while I am away. Then she lets me come home and milk up the playtime while I am there. Hard working and sometimes underappreciated, the Mom can do things us fathers could never fathom childbirth anyone? So the next time the Mom asks you to change a diaper or bathe your little one while you are distracted with other important things like the World Series of Poker Championships on TV, realize where you would be without the Mom. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Scary stuff, isn’t it?