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Ten Things I’ve Learned in My First Two Weeks as a Father

1.) Dressing my baby is like dressing a misshapen, wooden plank.  Perfectly relaxed and malleable for the last three hours, but unsnap a single button and she tenses up like rigamortis set in.  Good luck pulling that ninety degree angled elbow through a thin, cylinder shaped sleeve.

2.)    Poop can be expelled with astonishing trajectory.  Good thing this only happens at 3:45 AM when my mind isn’t quick enough to tell my body to move out of the way.  It’s like taking a bath in soggy, mustard colored corn flakes.

3.)    Speaking of poop… babies poop as soon as you change their diaper.  After painstakingly cleaning every crevice of my child and finagling her rigid limbs back into her third day in-a-row pajamas, she simply fills those diapers up for round two. 

4.)    I would like to murder all the people who create baby clothes.  Seriously?  12-15 buttons on every piece of clothing?  With the way my daughter squirms, trying to button your stupid snaps is like playing darts on a sailboat.  Not only that, but every one of you decided to place your buttons in completely different patterns.  If it takes an instruction manual to put on your line of clothing, I hate you. 

5.)    My sleep is very important, but my child doesn’t give a crap about that.  Maybe those Vitamin-D drops contain a full dose of “Never Go To Sleep, So Daddy has to Stay Up With You” serum.  And just when I think she is ready to dose off, I lay her down and you would have thought I laid in her in a pile of bees.  TempurPedic should create a line of bedding called Daddy’s Tired Arms.

6.)    Leaving the house takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 30 hours.  I thought waiting on my wife to get her make up done was going to be the death of me, but alas, the baby wins again!  My daughter has more accessories than Elton John and Lady Gaga combined (which when combined makes Elton Gaga).  I used to be able to simply walk to my car and drive away, but now I run the equivalent of a 5K each time I want to go to Target.

7.)  Going back to work means answering the same three questions over and over again.  How’s your wife doing?  She’s fine.  How’s the baby doing?  She’s fine.  Are you getting any sleep? No, you idiot. 

8.)  Farting and burping are worthy of celebration.  When my baby burps after feeding, you would have thought she cured cancer.  We basically organize a parade in the neighborhood each time gas is expelled. 

9.)  Baby books are horribly stupid.  In fact, I am going to write a baby book right now….in front of your eyes.  Ready…..let’s go. Cats say meow.  Some cats are black and some are brown.  Do you like cats?  Smile for the cat.  Now smile at Daddy.  BOOM!  Bestseller.

10.)  I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family.  I am only writing this one because in order for a blog to go viral, it must contain at least one bullet point that has a serious tone.  This bullet point must be at the very end in order to drive home an emotional connection.  So….friends and family are vitally important to surviving the first two weeks.  Here’s a freaking tissue.  Stop your crying.

Quote of the Week:

“I feel like I’m her personal cow.”-  My wife after feeding my daughter.

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Elsie Lynn Lee

The cold, hard floor of the bathroom cracked against my knees.  Even with the door shut I could hear the sound of my newborn daughter screaming as she received her first bath.  A little over an hour had passed since she took her initial breath and my ability to hold together a myriad of emotions had reached its limit.  My limp body crumbled down towards the light blue tiles, tears flowing freely from my tired eyes.

As I wept, my mind raced with thoughts of sleepless nights and overwhelming responsibilities.  Just hours before, I felt as though my life was completely under control.  Drive to work.  Attend some meetings.  Go home and eat dinner.  My days were calculated and flowed perfectly within the context of the mostly carefree life I had created.  Those cries on the other side of the door represented chaos to me, and I shook with fear.  In that sterile, dimly lit space, I cried out to God, “I need you, please!  I need you!”  And then I sat there, silently crying next to the emergency pull cord.

I realize I have a lot to learn when it comes to being a father, but had no idea the lessons would begin so quickly.  I was overwhelmed with joy that my daughter had been born, yet mentally listed all the ways she was going to ruin my “perfect” life.  Joy, fear, love, excitement, and gratitude all lost out to selfishness in those early moments of her life.  I wanted control so badly that I cried more for what I was losing than what I had gained.  The florescent lights glared across my swollen eyes and for only the third time in my life, I felt God speak to me directly: “You never had control to begin with.  Now get up and go be her father.”

And then I held her.

Her warm body settled into the crook of my arm and I looked down at her smooth face.  My previous experience holding babies was limited to awkward, rigid arm cradles that lasted for seconds at a time, but this was different.  It felt normal and natural.  I stared at her and the tears once again welled up in my eyes.  But fear was not present.  Selfishness had vanished.  Chaos was nowhere to be found.  A peace settled over my body like never before, and I relished my lack of control.  Praise be to God the Father!

Elsie Lynn Lee was born at 6:24 AM on March 21 and at 8:43 AM, daddy started to believe the words he wrote on September 26, 2013….

I can do this.  I can dad.

Matthew 6: 33-34

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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Infant Safety and CPR Class

Question:  What is a house?

A.) A place where a person live

B.) A gathering place for families

C.) A multi-roomed, killer of infants

If you answered C, you must have gone through the most recent Infant Safety Class!

Designed as a way to educate parents on common safety issues related to infants, this class should be called “Congratulations Idiot, Your House Is An Infant Death Trap”.  Although I’ve learned to navigate the clear safety hazards of my home with ease, my infant must be protected from its imminent doom, and it is my job to ensure success.  Here are some things I learned:

1.)   If your television has cords, you must get rid of them.  Hmmmmmm….I’m not the Best Buy Employee of the Month, but I’m pretty confident that if I get rid of the cords, the TV won’t work.  Sorry kid, but I need my Netflix.

2.)   Move harsh chemicals out from under your kitchen sink and put them somewhere else.  So instead of quickly killing my daughter with chemicals, I will slowly kill her through bacterial growth on my counters, because I forget where I put the cleaners.

3.)   Don’t put anything in the crib that is made of soft material.  So basically, 80% of what they sell at BabiesRUs is not meant to be near my child.

4.)   Infant chest compressions should be done with two fingers instead of your whole hand.  This isn’t too hard unless your fingers are different lengths, like most normal human beings.  Five chest compressions and your knuckles cramp up like you just got done bowling.

5.)   If your child starts choking, you must act quickly and calmly, slamming your hand against their shoulder blades.  I once witnessed a friend perform this maneuver on her choking child and I immediately broke out into full body sweat.  If my child starts choking, there is a large possibility I will just curl up into a ball and wait until a brave person shows up.

6.)   All outlets should be covered and cords should be out of reach.  Similar to the television, most of my lamps will no longer operate without their cords, so it looks like we’ll be raising this kid in the dark.

7.)  When performing CPR on a fake baby that is not breathing, make sure their plastic tube is connected to their fake lung or you won’t be able to see their chest rising.  Seriously, it doesn’t matter how hard you breathe.  In addition, your unproductive, gale force wind breathing will make the rest of the class uncomfortable.

8.)   Your car seat is designed to protect your child, assuming you installed it correctly.  Based on this class, however, I have about a 1in 7300 chance of not screwing up the installation.  Not only that, but I must remember to remove all of the unsafe parts that the car seat manufacturer forgot to mention when they were marketing their death seat to me through direct mail.

9.)   Do not put mesh bumpers in the crib where your child sleeps.  However, the child is free to sleep in the Pack and Play which is lined with….mesh.

 

My kid is totally screwed.

 

 

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The Ten People You Meet at Infant Care Classes

Today we are doing an experiment!  I’ve decided to record today’s post so my sweet, southern drawl can lull you into an ICanDad stupor.  For those of you who don’t like reading, feel free to hit the play button below.  Hit me up with some feedback on whether or not I should keep recording the posts!  Thanks!

1.)   The Over Participator- When the instructor tells you to treat the fake baby doll like it’s your new baby, the “Over Participator” picks up the fake baby and immediately begins to fake breast feed.  Her fake baby also receives fake infant massage for four fake hours.  The “Over Participator” is the first to volunteer and the last to leave.

2.)   The Specific Question Asker- Sorry, I didn’t realize that you were here for your own personal question and answer session.  I know you want to know what to do with your extra breast milk, but can you not wait until after class to ask about which brand of freezer to purchase?

3.)   The Answerer- The instructor of your class has been a nurse for a thousand years, but “The Answerer” can’t help but interject her own internet researched opinion.  Yes, we know you read Baby Wise.  Please stop talking.

4.)   The Over Zealous Agree-er- Be careful, or that head of yours might pop off.  When the instructor’s opinion matches with the “Over Zealous Agree-er”, you can’t miss it because her head will rage up and down like a ram fighting for its position on top a hill.

5.)   The Opinion Giver- If the instructor asks a simple question, the “Opinion Giver” is not able to give a simple answer.  Her well-rehearsed treatise will flow from her mouth with the vitriol of a political attack ad.  Disposable diapers will kill my babyAt this point, we were just asking for your name and due date.

6.)   The Comedian- This role is typically filled by one of the dads in the room.  It doesn’t matter what the topic is, this guy will have your rolling on the floor with laughter…nope…wait….not laughter…..hatred.  Sorry dude, but talking about SIDS doesn’t really lend itself to a one liner.

7.)   The Been There Done That- Not sure why you even came back to the class after your first child, but here you are, ready to impart wisdom.  While “Been There Done That” might have some excellent advice, the endless stories about her first child will eventually lead to you feeling like she probably shouldn’t be having a second.

8.)   The Non Participator- Unlike “Over Participator”, the “Non Participator” will leave you wondering why they even showed up at all.  Ok class, let’s practice putting the baby in a diaper.  Yeah, um… I’m good.  Thanks though.  We havin’ a break soon?

9.)   The One More Timer- As the rest of the class moves on to other things, the “One More Timer” glances at her pathetic excuse for a swaddle and asks to practice just once more.  One more time inevitably leads to a fifteen-minute private lesson while the “Comedian” tries to keep everyone else entertained.

10.) The Skeazy Politician- Despite all the compelling evidence, the “Skeazy Politician” will whisper her unsolicited opinions about how the instructor is incorrect about everything.  She may even pull you aside during break to campaign for support on issues like sleeping arrangements, diapering, or breast feeding.

Well, that wraps up our list.  If you over zealously agree with what you’ve just heard, leave me a comment down below.

Thanks for visiting and keep on dadding!

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Pop Music Is Easy

So, I made a list of possible jobs for my daughter a while back, but pop star wasn’t on the list.  After some careful thought and research into the ease of creating pop music, I decided she might as well go for it!  If I can replicate today’s Top 40 tunes, so can she, right?

I present to you Pop Music Is Easy, the first YouTube video from ICanDad!

Enjoy!

P.S. If you’ve never heard a man screech out the chorus to “Let It Go” from Frozen……now is your chance.

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The DVD That Shall Not Be Named

Men of the World,

Food has lost its taste.  Love has lost its feeling.  Joy has been sucked from my life through the vortex of traumatic imagery.  I have tried soap and water.  I have tried a scouring pad.  I have scooped my eyes from their sockets with a melon baller, but nothing seems to rid me of this curse. This hollow soul has experienced the horrifying childbirth DVD and I urge you my brothers to never cast your eyes upon the debilitating spectacle.  Let my experience serve as a warning to you, lest your scarred eyes gaze ahead, empty for all eternity.

They will attempt to fool you with soft narration and 1980’s bouffant hair.  You may even experience a calming sensation as Casio Keyboards fill the room with melodic tones and preprogrammed drum beats.  Chapter titles lilt across the screen, convincing you that the birth of your child will be as carefree as the title itself: The Birth of Your Baby, A Joyous Affair.  LIARS!  Do not be fooled by their tricks.  This DVD is not meant for mere mortals!  You must heed my warning.  You must not give in to its wicked schemes.  Let not down your guard, for the real battle is yet to come.

The epidural needle will be your first enemy and your eyes may need to take a moment to adjust to this new reality.  Long gone are the soft breathing techniques demonstrated by the fair ladies dressed for Jazzercise.  If the needle is too much to bear, please vanquish the DVD and go on with your life while you still can.  You are not prepared for the rest of the journey.  For the rest of you brave souls, eager to support your wives in their time of need, plow ahead at your own risk. Oh, how I long for an epidural needle to be plunged into my brain to numb my memory from its shackled prison.

Then, the fateful moment will arrive and the women will peer at you from her sterilized hospital bed.  Her eyes will tell you it’s not safe, but you in your prideful stupor stare foolishly ahead.  An expectant father stands awkwardly to the side while a doctor creepily narrates the critical moments before your impending doom.  “It’s time to push,” he tells her. Before you know what hits you, a flesh colored watermelon is seen forcing its way into the frame.  There is no turning back now!  You have seen it!  In your eagerness you may proclaim, “Rejoice, for the baby has arrived!”  NO, YOU IGNORANT FOOL!  You think you have conquered the beast?!?  Let this not be your downfall!  Raise your shield of manliness and brace yourself, for the placenta is coming.

When it emerged, I knew my eyes had seen too much.  No!  Please God, No!  The moment passed so quickly, yet painfully slow.  And this, men, is the deciding moment!  You must make the choice to dwell upon the alarming scene laid bare before your eyes or quickly move to thoughts of life before the DVD began.  I dwelt.  I dwelt too long……and now I will never be the same.

Placenta has turned me into a lesser man.  May you carry my message to the ends of the earth so that all men may heed my warning.   If my tale has not convinced you, may God have mercy on your souls.

Fare thee well,

Clayton

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Nine Jobs My Daughter Is Already Qualified For

Unless the economy turns around, I’m not confident about my daughter having future success in the working world.  However, I can rest easy in knowing that she will always be qualified for one of these jobs:

1.)  Letter Turner on Wheel of Fortune- Ability to walk back and forth?  Check.  Have arms?  Check.  Ability to wear a dress? Check.  You’ve got the job!

2.)  Football Side Line Reporter- Your entire job is to yell exactly three questions into the ear of a sweaty person.  #1 How do you plan on winning the game?  #2 What do you plan on doing differently during the second half to win the game?  #3 Can you tell me how you won the game?  You may on occasion be required to speak to the losing coach.  If this is the case, make sure your tone of voice and body language reflect empathy.

3.)  Meteorologist- Can you read lots of inaccurate numbers while waving your arms in front of a green screen?  Do you have a history of never being right about anything?  If you answered yes to those questions, you’re hired!

4.)  Host of Jeopardy-  Simply read from the screens in front of you and say, “right”, “you got it”, or “no, I’m sorry, but you’re still in control of the board.”  You don’t even have to know the answers!  You’ve got a freaking PANEL of judges.  A PANEL!  Well, the person said a different answer than what I have written down here, but let me confer with the panel before I make a final decision.  On occasion, you may be asked to grow a mustache, but this is negotiable.

5.)  Test Procter- Sit in a room and stare at people taking the GMAT.  I know it’s a lot to ask, but when the test taker arrives, can you please check their name off a list?  Thank you.

6.)  Any Job at the Department of Motor Vehicles- Call people up to your window as slowly as possible.  When the customer arrives, log into your antiquated computer system and tell them that you are unable to help because the person who changes addresses is only in on Friday.  Make sure you are angry as possible so the customer is sure to have a horrible experience.

7.)  Run a Mall Kiosk- If you can stare at your cell phone for hours while sitting next to a pile of fake sunglasses, this is the job for you.  With no more than seven customers a year, you better make sure that phone of yours is charged.  You will never be lonely though because the airbrush girl and the boy with the Pillow Pets are itching for some human interaction!

8.)  Author of Business Books- Read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and pay a ghostwriter to retool all the concepts under a different name.  Your title must include the words innovative, team, risk, leader, inspire, overhaul, how to, and any number one through nine.  Tack your name on that sucker and get out there and start consulting!

9.)  Blogger- Do you have zero original thoughts?  Do you have an inflated sense of self-worth?  Do you feel like your opinion is more valid than anyone else?  Do you constantly self-promote?  If you answered yes to these questions, blogging is for you.  But when you only make $1.62 a month like me, you probably won’t be able to quit your day job as a meteorologist.

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3 Things I Know About Parenting, Even Though I’m Not Yet A Parent

1.)    Taking Care Of A Child Is Not Hard

Every day I put food down my gullet and wipe my own butt.  I go to sleep and wake up at least once every 24 hours.  I drive myself all over town and bathe myself each day.  Doing these same things for my child will be time-consuming of course, but certainly not hard.  It may test my patience and cause me to be late, but even then, these tasks are incredibly easy.  In fact, I could farm out this work to a nanny if I wanted too.  These are simple tasks that any person can accomplish and this is why most babies are clean and well-fed.  It is the parenting part that is more difficult.  Meeting the physical needs of my child is simple compared to the daunting task of training my child to be a decent person.  Our physical responses are automatic, so responding to the cries of a hungry baby is simple, because we all understand the need to quench hunger.  Responding to a shy child, one who refuses to talk to a guest in our home, is a much different story.  We don’t have a natural, responsive instinct for this type of situation, so when something like this presents itself, I have to find a way to parent appropriately.  This is where most parents drop the ball.  These hard moments are more important than the automatic response moments.  These are the moments that will shape the way your child interacts with its world, and if we take the easy route (ignore, pass off responsibility, electronic pacifier, etc.) we are damaging our child.

2.)    Plans Change, But Some Plans Shouldn’t

Some of you will flippantly dismiss the words you read in this post because “Clayton doesn’t know what it’s like to be a parent.”  Congratulations, you are correct!  I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, but I do know that my child doesn’t have to be here yet for me to start making plans about how to parent.  I am well aware that some of my best laid plans will be thrown out the window once I’m up to my ears in poop, and I’m more than willing to make a change if necessary.  At this moment, for example, we plan on having our child sleep in her crib, down the hall from our bedroom.  We may let her sleep next to our bed at some point, but for now that isn’t part of the plan.  These plans might have some minor consequences for us, such as lack of sleep or a screaming baby, but these are the type of plans we are willing to change.  However, some of our plans are non-negotiable, even though the methods by which we accomplish these plans might change. For instance, we plan to teach our daughter the concept of first time obedience.  We don’t want to use the “I’m going to give you to the count of three” method.  We believe first time obedience is incredibly important, so we are planning on teaching this concept by consistently responding when our child disobeys.  This will be incredibly difficult to do when my daughter is screaming in the aisles of Target, but we make these plans now so we are prepared to respond when the screaming begins.  Will we fail at times?  Of course!  Failing is inevitable, but we are sure to fail if we fail to plan.

3.)    My Wife And I Must Stay On The Same Page

Being on the same page and staying on the same page are two totally different things.  Lots of parents start on the same page and slowly drift to opposite ends of the spectrum when the hard times come.  Parents must recognize that having a united front is crucial to the development of their child.  If my daughter isn’t eating her green beans and I tell her that she will not get to have cookies, my wife must also follow through with my decision even when dinner is put away and the green beans are distant memories.  This is important because it shows my daughter that mommy and daddy mean what we say even though only one of us used the words to say it.  Green beans and cookies are one thing, but think about harder choices like what we watch on TV, what websites we allow our daughter to visit, curfews, dating, and a host of other decisions that have to be made.  If we can’t stay united on green bean type issues, our daughter will learn at a young age how to play the system.  Our desire to stay on the same page throughout our daughter’s life is one of those plans we talked about in #2.