It’s been nearly a year since I began writing about my experiences as an at-home dad expecting a newborn (for the third time) for Pregnancy & Newborn, and it’s been a blast. I’ve tried to enlighten you about life as an at-home dad. I’ve tried to inject some humor into it because if you can’t laugh at some of the stuff that happens as a parent, you’re doing it wrong.
Finding the time for each child (and post) was no easy task. Fortunately, as soon as I get on the ground I turn into a human jungle gym for all three. Austin, the newest and fairest of the brood, is close to crawling, and I assume he’ll get in on the madness as soon as he can. For now, it’s fun watching the wheels turn in his head as he stares intently at his two older brothers, Linds, and myself. It’s crazy how you can literally see a 6-month-old baby soaking it all in, probably thinking to himself, What the heck have I been brought in to?
There are ups, downs, sleepless nights, milestones, diaper blowouts you didn’t think were possible for such a little person. But that’s what he’s turning into, a little person. The first few weeks/months they’re kind of … boring. They just eat, sleep and poop. Keeping an infant’s attention for longer than 10 seconds is tough, but reading to him helps. He giggles and coos when we read him books. He’s grabbing at the toys hanging off of his car seat and has really been going to town chewing on Sophie the giraffe. I actually just got a package 20 minutes ago from The Rad Dad Box, a monthly subscription for dads. I’m certainly going to let Austin have at the llama wooden teether to supplement his Sophie usage.
Here are a few other things I’ve learned as a dad to three boys …
1. Saying you “slept like a baby” is laughable, unless you got up several times crying/whining, peed in your bed or wore a diaper.
2. Kids eat. All the time. No, literally, all the time. Except whatever you cook for dinner. They’re actually less likely to eat that. They might also eat gross things like dirt, leaves, sand, etc.
3. Boys have an inordinate amount of energy.
4. Kids are emotional roller coasters.
5. It’s 100 percent OK to bring your infant to the bar on Sunday to watch football.
6. If you have to rock/feed your baby to sleep, DO IT! Forget the naysayers.
7. Some kids take a little longer to start speaking. It’s OK because once they do, they won’t shut up.
8. And if you don’t like hearing mommy or daddy repeated hundreds of times a day, kids aren’t for you.
9. Don’t force them to do things you want them to do (e.g. sports, music, etc.).
10. There’ll be times you say things and immediately think to yourself, When did I turn 70?
11. Don’t worry about what other people think, and don’t force your parenting beliefs on others.
12. Enjoy the outdoors!
13. There need to be more changing tables in men’s restrooms.
14. Chances are your kid will behave better in public than at home. Bribery is allowed.
15. Your house will rarely be clean. It’s OK.
16. Experiences > Toys. Plus, there’s less to clean up.
18. You’ll always be at least a little bit sleep deprived.
19. Boys will be boys. That said, teach them to be kind to others.
20. Pretend coughing while opening something you don’t want your kids to know you’re eating (e.g. their Halloween candy) in the kitchen works half the time.
21. Hangovers are 100 times worse with kids.
22. Kids will follow directions from a teacher/coach better than they follow yours.
23. It goes fast. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. So, enjoy every minute.