When a man becomes a father

when a man becomes a father

Time stops.
The nurse hands you,
your creation.

A life so perfect,
so small in your arms,
so helpless.

This baby needs you,
her eyes gently see you,
her father, her one and only.

I really wanted to reflect on the past year and a half becoming a father for the first time. It’s been a whirlwind of emotion and a whole lot of work!

Yes, becoming a father has been the hardest job of my life so far but has been the most worthwhile. Together, my beautiful wife and I make a great team. When one of us is exhausted, we take a time out and the other takes over.

Our beautiful daughter Josie is an absolute joy, the light of my life, and the reason I was put on this earth! Everyone, and I’m really not exaggerating, everyone says such a happy baby she is. We are truly blessed.

This past year and a half have brought a great deal of challenges. Josie was so sick off and on. She was born with jaundice and we had to keep her on a light bed for the first 2 weeks, no fun. To make it worse, right after she recovered from that she got pneumonia and was sick as a dog. In her first year she had 4 ear infections back to back and had to get ear tubes along with countless colds and now has pneumonia again.

While this seemed like a lot of illnesses to us, we know babies can get sick so often and we are truly blessed that she is as healthy as she is. Some children are not as lucky.

Ms. Josie also had many positive milestones. She was able to sleep through the night starting at 4 months. She could also use the toilet at three months! My wife learned about “elimination communication” which basically means you pay attention to the baby’s signals before they poop and then put them on the toilet. People were amazed by this and so were we! Sadly however, she has stopped going on the toilet after she learned how to crawl and wouldn’t sit still.

We also tried cloth diapers. At first we were going so thrifty we bought some really cheap ones from china on eBay. I do not recommend them. They didn’t fit right and leaked all the time. Eventually we realized we had to invest in better diapers so we got Bumgenius and they worked way better. They were more expensive but we got them used and saved a lot. Ultimately, after she turned one year old we switched to disposables. The reason was because she was going more at one time and less frequently so it was becoming impractical to run such small wash loads and they weren’t getting very clean anymore.

My wife breastfed until Josie turned 10 months when we switched to formula and eventually cows milk at 12 months. She did well on the transition and I discovered that giving her a bottle was a bonding moment for daddy and baby 🙂

Josie an I have bonded so much over the last year and a half it’s amazing. One of her first words was “Da Da” and I even created songs for her. I also had fun reading to her, acting out stories, and watching her grow. She has grown and developed a personality which is really fun to watch.

Josie is the light of our lives and is the light that has helped our marriage continue to burn bright despite some setbacks. We know the best gift we can give Josie is two parents that love each other. This will make her feel secure and loved as she grows to be a young girl and eventually a young woman.

Josie May was born April 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm (read my blog post about the birth)

Open letter to single parents

I'm a single parent, what's your superpower?

Dear all single parents out there,

You Rock! I can’t say thank you enough for what you do everyday! You are remarkable individuals and deserve so much respect for doing it all on your own. Here are just some off the amazing things single parents take on without complaint:

1. They often become the sole provider for the family.
2. They are jugglers and balance work and the many other tasks involved in running a family.
3. If possible, they maintain good relations with the ex and arrange visitations civilly.
4. They sometimes have to jump through hoops just to get child support to feed their kids.
5. They learn how to date again as a single person with children.
6. They make their children feel safe and secure through all these traumatic changes.
7. They deal with the guilt from the absence of the other parent and how this affects the kids.
8. They go to college on top of it all and are constantly trying to make a better life for their kids.

I was raised by a single mother, and while she humbly denies it to this day, she was the most positive force in my life growing up. She provided sustenance for my mind, body, and soul. There was always food on the table and love in her heart.

My mom did so many sweet things for us. Even though there was five of us, she gave each one of us individual attention. She used to sit in bed with one of us and then when we fell asleep she would go to the next. She wouldn’t play favorites and loved us equally. She put her children first, even above her marriage and relationships.

Without my mother, I know my life would have taken a much different path. My mother taught me how to understand my emotions and encouraged me to share them. She also taught me to treat others equally and how to respect one another.

She is a nurse, a caregiver, and cared for us like no one else could all by herself. Like most single parents, she was one woman who did the work of two parents. She says herself this probably made her a little crazy but by doing this she made us feel like a complete family and not a broken one.

Single parents take on so much and rarely get the appreciation they deserve. They deal with countless financial, emotional, and relationship issues. Thank you so very much to all the single parents. You make the difference in your children’s lives!