We love meeting dads who are involved with their children’s lives. They often have a funny & unique take on everything from diaper changing to strollers to baby jail. We recently made a new friend who we came to find out is a Chicago neighbor, writes his own blog Man vs Baby and also blogs for Pregnancy & Newborn! We know you will love Josh and he will fast become your friend like he has with Kolcraft.
You have lived in Japan, set foot in Antarctica & are the author of a novel. Did you ever think you’d be a stay at home dad? I really refer to all that B.C. (Before Child) stuff as my former life. I enjoyed it, I had some great experiences, and now it’s over. It’s kind of trite, but in its simplest terms, that was all my life as a son. While I’ll certainly still be a son, I’m now also forever a father. But no, you don’t hear a lot of boys on Career Day pronouncing, “I wanna be a stay-at-home dad when I grow up.” But why not? The pay is lousy, but the benefits are amazing.
Have any your adventures prepared you for the adventure of fatherhood? Not specifically, but what I learned from travelling is to take advantage of every second and to not fear the reaper. If you go on vacation (think beaches), you have time to burn, and that’s the point. To unwind. Travelling is different. 90% of the places we’ve been I’m relatively sure we’ll never go back it to. Therefore, while you’re there, you do and see and experience as much as possible, you don’t wait till tomorrow or hesitate. It forces you into the moment where decisions (often bold ones) need to be made with certainty, and instincts have to be trusted. It’s the same with parenting. You can talk about sleep training’s different strategies and methods and read ten different books on the subject and wait for the weekend to start, etc. Or you can just do it and trust that whatever you’ve decided is the right thing for your child.
What were your first thoughts when you brought your son home from the hospital? I clearly remember coming home, putting Bub in the swing and thinking ‘Now what?’ Since he spent 4 weeks in the NIC (Neonatal Intensive Care) Unit, we had become very programmed in being told what to do and what not to do, lots of opining combined with sterilizing. The babies were all hooked up to monitors, and alarms would go off at least every five minutes. Diaper changing was still optional. Now, in our living room, it was clear for the first time that we were on our own. There is a scary sense of freedom in that. It also dawned on us shortly thereafter that there was no one telling us we couldn’t hold him as often as we liked. And no alarms would go off, either.
What is a typical day like for you? Do you even have “typical days”? I am constantly attempting to be on a schedule, but with really limited success. On paper, I get up around 7:30, when my wife leaves for work. Bub is generally at his calmest in the mornings, and this is when I try to get my writing done as well. We like to get out for a walk at some point. We do chores, and by we I mean me. We eat, he naps, we read and play and just hang out together. He likes to look out the window. He also likes to put his feet in his mouth. To each his own.
What has been your biggest daddy challenge? Lack of peers. SADs (Stay-At-home Dad) are certainly not new, and they are currently gaining prominence, but I still get a lot of ‘Oh, is Mommy sick today?’ questions and looks. But worse (and I am just as guilty of this), I don’t think men aren’t as social as women, at least in this role. I’ve never once stopped another man with a stroller to exchange baby anecdotes.
But it’s also a change in social structure for us. A newborn really puts you in no-man’s land. You think of people with kids, you think of go-karts and treehouses and leaving him at play dates. Bub doesn’t play. And we don’t have any friends with young kids, either. People know it’s hard, but until they experience it for themselves, there’s really no way to fully understand. I know I didn’t.
What has been your biggest daddy joy? Our son was born eight weeks premature and spent the first month of life in the NIC Unit, so in a very literal sense, he had never seen the world. Never breathed fresh air. Never heard a bird chirp or smelled a pile of autumn leaves. And for us, the back and forth every day (twice a day for my wife) was almost unbearable. Then one day we walked in and they had the car seat all ready for him. It was the moment I walked out of the hospital to go pull the car around that it really hit me. It was the biggest weight off my shoulders. I felt alive, I felt hope, and for the first time, I felt like a parent.
Josh at a glance :
Funniest baby moment? First real poop he had–a melty peanut buttery mess that covered the majority of his lower half as well as some of his torso. It was everywhere, my equipment was beyond substandard and I didn’t know what to do. So I carried him to the kitchen sink and hosed him down.
Favorite daddy son activity? Bath time is right up there. Right from the start he enjoyed bathing, which subsequently helped me to enjoy it as well. Nothing says male bonding like a receptacle of warm water and shameless nudity. We also enjoy doing the Sunday crossword together, though his contributions are meager at best.
What you learned from changing diapers? Always secure the feet.
Describe the perfect day: Warm fall day, red leaves on a killer disc golf course all to myself, a couple of my favorite beers, no phone, no baby, no responsibilities. Not really a whole day, but not a bad start.
And since Josh now has “baby on his brain” 24/7, a little fun mind game with Josh. We asked Josh what is the first word that comes to mind when we say:
Baby: Fish mouth
Sleep: Abandon hope
Lady GaGa: Guilty pleasure
Thanks Josh. We had a great time with the interview & look forward to more of your blog posts!