#FathersDay Blog 2015: The Luckiest Man in the World

I desperately wanted to be a dad.

Luckily, my wife desperately wanted to be a mom.

And thanks to the love and support of our families (and science), we both got our wishes.

*****

Growing up, my dad worked multiple jobs. He taught during the day, night school, some weekends, and then spent most of the summer as a day camp counselor (and then director).

Work ethic was something I saw early. Dad did his best to provide for our family, and I don’t remember ever truly wanting for anything.

When it came to college, he just said “Pick a place.” And when I picked the expensive private liberal arts college, he didn’t blink.

And through the years, if I’ve needed anything, Dad was there.

That kind of support is what I plan to provide for my girls.

*****
The old joke is that “when you marry someone, you marry their family too.” For me, that’s been a great thing.
 

I got another dad with an admirable work ethic, one who also does whatever it takes to support his family.
 

He busts his butt at work every day, and whenever I stop by I see that he truly has the respect of all his employees — something I strive for in my own career.

And through all the ups and downs and adversity he’s faced, he’s always there for his kids.


 

*****

And of course, there’s my journey to becoming a father. We had tremendous support from both of our families, especially when we needed help from Modern Science.

I was the one who took the phone call when they told us Shannon was pregnant. Probably the greatest call of my life. Of course, until I got to call Shannon and tell her.

I remember standing in the hallway of my office. Sun streaming through the windows, a mid-day shot of adrenaline and happiness to the heart.


 

*****

It was a rough pregnancy, but Shannon was the ultimate trooper. Gave up caffeine and chocolate, focused completely on giving our girls a great start.

Still, there were multiple hospital visits. An laparoscopic gallbladder surgery at 20 weeks. And then they came early.

*****
The C-section was lightning fast. Ali at 11:34. Norah about 10 seconds later. In all the commotion, I tried to get as many photos as possible. I was only able to get one set of footprints on my scrub top.

 

And then the scariest three weeks of our lives.
Here’s how it went down:

 

 

 

 

But it’s all good now, and that’s what matters.

 

*****

I’ve narrowed it down to Six Commandments of Dadding:

6. Provide. Get out there and EARN, son. “Baby needs a new pair of shoes” is a real thing.

 

5. Support. Don’t OVER-do it. (Trophies for all!) But be there when they fall. Encourage when they need help. Compliment when they least expect it.

 

4. Be there. As much as possible. Put down the phone. (Something we all struggle with.) Engage with them, because every moment is precious.

3. Smile. I truly believe the positivity that Shannon and I pour into them is why our girls are awesome, smart, nice, helpful and happy. And smiles are free.

 

2. Be patient. (Something else I’m working on.) They’re kids, for Pete’s sake. Even if it’s at the end of a long day, that’s not their fault. Count to ten, take some deep breaths, and listen.

1. Show the love. Lots of hugs. Cuddles on the couch. When they want to be carried or ask for a piggyback ride, give it. They won’t ask forever. (And they’ll get too big or “grownup” to carry.) Besides, it’s a good mini-workout.

*****
Being a dad is the greatest job I’ve ever had or will have. It’s a responsibility that I wanted, was blessed with, and I cherish every day.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Enjoy your day — and every single moment!

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Twins Update: 11/27/11, 12:40 a.m.

Can’t sleep, haven’t updated girls’ progress for far too long.

NORAH loves to run. Especially down the hall and into my arms for a big lift to the sky.

ALI says “thank you” and “no thank you” so sweetly and softly it could melt brick.

NORAH pooped in the potty two weeks ago, but hasn’t done it in the potty since.

ALI is Queen of the Nap.

NORAH sometimes says she “doesn’t feel well “and wants to “go to the doctor.”

ALI had a giant purple/black toe which she barely complained about, although she had a wicked limp for several days.

NORAH currently enjoys dressing in Ali’s “Pink Batgirl” Halloween costume. Technically, though, it was Norah’s selection that we gave Ali at the last minute when we discovered her Ladybug costume was incomplete, and all they had left was “Batarina” — which was purple, Norah’s favorite color. (Kids are complicated sometimes.)

ALI likes to bring empty plates to the kitchen sink.

NORAH gets a kick out of sitting on top of my shoulders.

ALI knows how to push my buttons, and stares at me with mischief in her eyes and a wicked grin. (I’m a dead man.)

NORAH likes when Mommy fixes her hair and just tried a bit of makeup. ALI hates getting her hair fixed. BOTH love bathtime and splashing.

NORAH could watch the “Yo Gabba Gabba Live from L.A.” special and “Peppa Pig” reruns all day.

ALI rarely makes TV requests, although she does still enjoy “Bubble Guppies.”

BOTH girls enjoy sightings of the neighborhood bunny rabbit who frequents our backyard. I foresee some sort of bunny pet in our future.

 

 

Don’t Kill The Buggie!

Li'l Bee

Parenting is not for wusses.

The other day, I’m walking down the hall with Norah. A pleasant little stroll from the stairs to the kitchen.

And she starts to pull away from me, going towards something on the wall.

Instinct kicks in. It’s a bug. Spider? Poisonous? Is there a yellow recluse spider? What if it bites her? She was “the sickest kid in the NICU” two years ago!

I pull Norah back and yell for Shannon (she’s already in the kitchen) to grab a paper towel. She comes running with the towel, and I squoosh the bug. Several times. Just to make sure.

And Norah is crying.

I saved your life! What are you crying about?

Oh wait. You don’t know that some buggies bite and hurt. You watch “Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids” where bees and butterflies and spiders all get along and have cute adventures.

It’s OK, baby. Daddy’s sorry. But he didn’t know if that was a bad buggie or a buggie that we’d normally just shoo away.

Mean Daddy killed a buggie. Oy.

I repeat: Parenting is not for wusses.

Bad Daddy, Part 2

It’s been six days since It happened. And  yes, I should have blogged it sooner. (Hence the title.)

I mentioned in my last post how verbal our girls are getting. But nothing prepared me for this:

Friday, Ali flicked a mental switch. And all I could hear was “DADA DADA! DADA DADA!”

And yes, she was directing it at me. With increasing volume and joy at seeing me.

Cue heart melting into puddle.

And last night, just because she wanted to make sure she was mentioned in this blog post, Norah said — quite clearly, to both Shannon and me — “Sit down” whilst standing on her little pink chair. She then sat down, taking her own advice.

It feels like I should do this every day. I’m at work, but this took like four minutes to do. Am I too selfish and wrapped up in stupid things to capture moments like these? Answer: Kinda, yeah.

I promise to try to be better about it. Excuses abound, but that’s not fair. Some day in the year 2031, my daughters might be hanging out reading Dad’s old blogs (“How quaint!” they may chuckle at our primitive technology) and wishing that I had been more online-attentive.

I’m a writer, for Pete Rose’s sake. Paid for my skill with words. I should be better at this kind of thing.

Sorry, girls. Daddy’s only human. (Clearly, one of the greatest living humans, but still.)

Please don’t put me on a floating chunk of ice  when I get old.

Our angels

Bad Daddy.

I have been incredibly lazy/stupid/wrong in not updating the blogworld about our girls. Of course, I never get more than 100 readers (and that’s on a HUGE day), so this is really more for posterity than reader entertainment.

Ali has caught up to Norah and is walking around with speed. She’s a bit more verbal, and recognizes “ball” and “banana” and a variety of other words in print. She’s also eating better, although is still sometimes finicky.

Norah loves to give hugs and, as we discovered a couple nights ago, laughs hysterically at sneezes — especially fake ones that send your arms and legs flying. The sound of her laughter is completely infectious.

They are healthy, happy little girls who will turn 2 on April 16. (We are not expecting anything “terrible” about their “twos.”)

It has been an unbelievable journey thus far, and I eagerly anticipate every minute I can spend with them. (Being back at a full-time job with an hour-long commute cuts into Daddy Time, but I’m doing my best.)

And when they finally do figure out how to say “I love you, Daddy,” I completely plan on melting into a big fat puddle.

Been gone a while, but with a great excuse…

Aside from being lazy, I’ve been busy…since my beautiful wife is PREGNANT!

Oddly enough, that’s not the whole story.

It’s TWINS!! (Note the double exclamation points. I imagine a great deal of my life will now be spent in “twos.”)

My lady is 16.5 weeks into her pregnancy, and unfortunately it’s been rough. She has almost constant discomfort, and the promised relief of the second trimester has not appeared as of this date.

But so far, everybody is healthy and growing and all that good stuff.

And holy wow, I’m going to be a dad. Daddy. Papa. Abba (Hebrew).

I’m pretty much excited, elated, thrilled, scared, freaked, and in a constant state of worry.

(“Welcome to Fatherhood, sucka!”)

Slightly funny note: I’m not the only Dallas-area senior copywriter/ACD-type in his mid-30s with twins (his are born already) and a blog. Click on “The Adhole” on the right-hand column to visit his “regular” blog, or here to see his Dad in Training one.

[Editor’s Note: We have differing opinions on major issues, but these similarities were interesting to me.]

Anyway, as those of you who know me would have guessed, I’m doing my best to wait on my wife hand and foot. I can’t imagine having one teeny person growing inside me, much less two.

Naturally, I’ll update my loyal readers here as news happens. (Next major ultrasound is December 29 – and we’ll be finding out the official genders at that time.)