2012 | Ask Your Dad Blog

Friday, December 28, 2012

Help me help you help me cure cancer (and be less fat)


Turns out I'm fat. Stevie is back to her pre-pregnancy weight. I am not. I know… I hate her a little for it too. So it's time to get my ass off the couch, get on to the road/treadmill/footpath and start attempting to avert my descent into the glorious world of Type 2 Diabetes and Sleep Apnea Masks. I want to be Batman. I don't want to be Bane.




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My 3 Hours as a Stay At Home Mom

Hey gang! Dad here. This week's blog post comes from my lovely, wonderful, kind, patient, pretty wife who is definitely not mad at me for leaving the kitchen a complete mess last night. She's been staying at home with the Captain since he was born and today decided to keep the Duchess home from daycare for a fun filled stay at home mom day. Here's what happened: 

Ten years ago, I would have told you that I would NEVER be a stay-at-home mom. You know, because of something to do with Feminism... and because I want to "contribute" to the household like an equal member of society. (Since clearly the only way to contribute is money.) Now, at 25, I still think I will never be a stay-at-home mom but for an entirely different reason: it's hard as shit.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deschutes Brewery Is Anti Lead Ink - Pro Customer Service

So I'm still working on this week's post, but I just wanted to drop in and give a huge shout out to the awesome customer service at Deschutes Brewery. Here's what happened:

Earlier this year Stevie and I took the Duchess on a road trip to the Oregon Coast. We were accompanied by a couple friends and their son who is the Duchess's age. We rented a van and drove all the way to the coast and back. If you'd like to read about the trip and what I learned, you can read about it here: Dad's Guide to Road Trips with Toddlers.


ANYWAY... during our road trip we stopped at a few different breweries around Oregon. At each one a purchased a pint glass, all of which now live in my cupboard and are used regularly. The other night I was drinking out of my Deschutes Brewery glass when I noticed that I had some paint on my hand. I then looked down at my shirt, and it was all over my shirt! I didn't care so much about the shirt, but I was super bummed about the glass, which now looked like this: 


Faded Deschutes Brewery Glass

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

5 Things I'd Forgotten About Having a Newborn

Coming home from the hospital wasn't nearly as scary this time. This wasn't my first rodeo. This was my second rodeo. Newborns aren't scary. Compared to a two year old, a newborn is just a cute paperweight with adorable, tiny poops and a tendency to fart and smile at the same time. If I can handle carrying a bowl of Cheerios and a screaming, back arching, 30-pound Duchess down two flights of stairs without killing us both, an eight-pound toothless meat ball should be a breeze. Or so I thought.

I suspect it was the sleep deprivation that occurred during our first week home with the Duchess, but somehow my brain selectively forgot (or downplayed) these five things about having a newborn in the house:

Baby flipping dad off
You thought this would be a breeze...

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Captain - A Birth Story

We have a baby boy!

Picture of The Captain.


His name is Captain Wedontsharehisnameontheinternetforsafetyreasons, and he is perfect. Stevie and I went into the hospital on Tuesday, waited a few hours for the operating room to open up, and then went to meet our little man. This is that story.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Comic: When a baby is screaming, every conversation is a fight...



Ask Your Dad - Web Comic


Artwork by Adam White, courtesy of Jakob Marketing Partners






Friday, November 2, 2012

Potty Training is a Bunch of Crap


Censored Potty Photo
Yes, that's an iPhone. She takes after her dad.

We have two weeks (maybe less) to hopefully finish potty training The Duchess before baby number two gets here.  After that I'm on my own. Stevie will be preoccupied with healing from surgery and feeding The Captain and all potty training duties will fall to me. This is not a skill I possess.

This is my impression of me potty training my daughter:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dad Gives Public Speaking a Try



As many of you who follow the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page already know, I was asked by the Utah Pride Center to give the keynote address at their National Coming Out Day Brunch. Much like the response to the post itself, it was a beautiful and humbling experience. 

I got to bring a table full of guests (including my adorably noisy daughter) and had the wonderful privilege to talk a little bit about my experiences growing up in Utah and coming out in support of my LGBT friends and family. 

A lot of people who were unable to attend, including my mom, asked me to post a copy of my speech. So here it is - all twenty minutes of it! I hear there may be video out there somewhere too. If I get a hold of it I'll post it - although I hate hearing my recorded voice. I feel like I sound an evil elf. Here you go...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Friend Liz


I want you to meet my friend Liz.

Elizabeth Van Gesen Roberts
This is Liz
Her family needs our help.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mystery of the Nap Time Mess - CSI Mom Investigates

Hey gang! I am currently writing my key-note address for the National Coming Out Day Brunch sponsored by The Utah Pride Center. They have kindly asked me to come speak about my post, Dear Hypothetically Gay Son. So, on Sunday at 11 I'll be coming out in support of my LGBT friends and family! No matter where you are, I hope you'll join me in doing the same. I'll post a full version of what I say sometime next week. In the meantime, here is a post from my awesome wife about a cute habit The Duchess has formed. 

Love, Dad 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Kid is Either Gifted, Maniacal, or Possibly Both

Stewie Griffin from Family Guy


I hate to even say this, but I think my daughter may be gifted. I know. I know. Saying you think your kid is gifted is the married with children equivalent of a bachelor saying “I think that stripper really liked me.” All your friends nod their heads at you and smile, but as soon as you leave to go back to the ATM they are laughing behind your back. 

Why do I think my daughter is gifted you didn’t ask? 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Dollar Friday - KaBoom!


Playgrounds! Remember play grounds from when we were younger? I sure do. I still have the scars. The playgrounds of my youth were remnants of the 70's. They were splintered wood and scalding steel structures casting ominous shadows over a hard and unforgiving bed of dirt and rocks. They were tools of natural selection. Kids would talk about the playgrounds they had survived in the same way one might reminisce about battles in a foreign war.

Dangerous Playground
Photo courtesy of 1000awesomethings.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Political Fights On Facebook Make Us All Toddlers


political debate

Ugh. I did it. I fell off of the wagon. I've been so good too. I've been taking it a day at a time, changing the things I can and accepting the things I can't. Tonight it just got to be too much. I got into a full blown political Facebook fight. I railed. I ranted. I posted links to articles that supported my argument that no one in the thread read. Eventually everything devolved into name calling and by the end we were figuring out how to spell our grunts and beat each other to death with bleached femur bones through social media. Sigh…

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Dollar Friday - NPR (KUER) and My Non-sexual Man Crush on Doug Fabrizio


I am back!! My hand is healing from surgery and working - slowly, but working. I am pumped to tell you guys about this week's Five Dollar Friday! It's "guilt week" over at my favorite radio station, KUER (NPR). You know how at the end of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood there was a five second sound bite that told you that the program that you had just watched was "brought to you by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and viewers like you"? Well, a couple times a year NPR decides repeat something similar over and over and over again for an entire week. Bottom line: NPR needs money to keep running! They don't like to beg, but that's not going to stop them. 


KUER Fall Fund Drive

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guest Post - Donna White: Memoirs of a Committee Mum

Good news Ask Your Dad readers; I am currently typing this with two hands! That means I am back and posts written by yours truly will return soon! I just need to start writing - which I will tonight. I promise. I've got something fun in store for tomorrow! Until then, here's one more guest post from my friend across the pond, Donna White at Mummy Central, a parenting blog based in the UK. This post is part of a little "blog foreign exchange" we're doing, so stay tuned to her website where I will soon be representing the US! (I apologize in advance)

Also, if you have any questions about the British sounding terminology, feel free to ask Donna Directly through her twitter. She'll be happy to teach you the lingo!

Memoirs of a committee mum


She’s the one you avoid eye contact with at the school gates, always asking for raffle donations, tombola prizes, and – perish the thought – volunteers.

British parenting website Netmums categorised her a while back, flatteringly dubbing her “PTA busybody mum”.

*Stands up Spartacus style*

I am that busybody. Although in my case, I’ve only reached the dizzy heights of playgroup.
So if you don’t mind, I prefer committee mum. Both of my sons have been through our local playgroup, a registered charity which relies on fundraising.

So to give a little back (and I’ll admit, to exercise my brain cells) I’ve spent more than two years doing roles from chairperson to secretary, fundraiser and all-round general dogsbody.
The majority of committee mums I’ve worked with are likeminded, roll-your-sleeves-up-and-get-on-with-it women I’m incredibly thankful for.

But I’ve met a less than helpful bunch who enjoy the title – without doing any of the actual work. They merit their own special names. Let me introduce them. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Five Dollar Friday - Scary Mommy Nation


Mom (wife) here. Someday I should find an easier code name. Anyway, Dad is still recovering. Funny story: he has an appointment on Tuesday to have his stitches taken out. But when we changed his dressings on his hand, get this: there were no stitches....dom dom dommmmmmmmmm. Ok maybe that's a little dramatic. They probably just dissolved. Or they forgot to stitch him up. Ya know, whatevs.

I'm here to bring you today's Five Dollar Friday. Today my five bones went to Scary Mommy Nation. In a blog full of daddy issues (not that kind), we are recognizing a group aimed at helping out the mommies out there in need. 

Scary Mommy Nation - Five Dollar Friday

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guest Post - Guerrilla Mom's Abridged Version of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"


While my hand heals, I've asked a few of my favorite bloggers to pick up the reigns. This week's post is from Guerrilla Mom. 

-

I was racking my brain for what to write for my Ask Your Dad guest post.  Then I remembered that you have a new baby on the way.  So I thought, Great! I'll give him some parenting advice!  I know you have already done this once before, but heck- there are things that we all fail miserably at the first time around, right?  I don't know what your particular failures are - so I'm just going to project.  Mine is sleep training.  My child will be two in November, and I still have absolutely no idea what his bedtime is.
Shoot.  

Maybe I shouldn't be giving advice on this subject.  It is an important one though- so in lieu of having you fail in my footsteps - I picked you up a copy of  Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
  
It's five hundred pages long.

Guerrilla Mom's Abridged Version of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Okay, so I edited the cover a little.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Dollar Friday - Limbs for Life


Sorry that I've been a bit absent this week. As most of you know, I busted my right (dominant) hand.  In fact, this is currently being typed with my left hand only. That sentence: two minutes. So I'll be brief. Not having a right hand sucks. Here is a small list of things it makes difficult.
  • Putting on a backpack
  • Putting deodorant on my left armpit
  • Typing
  • Turning pages in a book. (Thank God for my iPad)
  • Picking up my daughter.  
  • Getting her in her car seat.
  • Buttering toast. Poor toast, never had a chance :(
  • Wiping (Sorry TMI)

I could go on for pages. My point is not to complain, but to introduce this week's Five Dollar Friday: Limbs for Life

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Dollar Friday - The Sequel


Wife here, welcoming you to Five Dollar Friday the sequel! For those of you who don't know what the hell I’m talking about, each week here at Ask Your Dad Blog, we pick a charity or cause and then we donate five dollars… hence the name: Five Dollar Friday. Well, John and I each donate, so I guess that's $10. But I could be wrong, math isn't really my thing. We write up a little post about where we're donating and what it's about. Then, if readers would like to join in the fun, they can also chip in $5 (or more or less). Lastly, if you really want to get into it, you can spread the word! Share, Tweet, +1, e-mail… heck, hire a skywriter. Skywriting would be cool.

This week, I'm in charge. So I've decided that this week will be in honor of the little dude that John so lovingly refers to as our squirrel-dog Chihuahua thing. Squirrel-dog Chihuahua thing happens to have a name: Riley. Riley was my buddy before John and I met, and while John didn't like him very much at first, he did like me very much. And Riley and I were kind of a package deal. Since then, John has learned to tolerate love him.

Riley has full run of the house, the yard, and more often than John would like, our bed. Not all pets do. We want help the thousands of pets out there that don't have the loving home that Riley does. So this week we are donating to Cause for Paws.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just When Things Were Looking Up - Dad Gets Kicked


Dear Ask Your Dad Readers,

I have some unfortunate news. I am John's wife. That's not the unfortunate news. The unfortunate news is that my husband broke his hand this past weekend. He plays goal keeper for our indoor soccer team and, despite not looking at all like a soccer ball, some dude confused his hand for one. He immediately knew it was broken (read: small bones were clicking around in his hand) so, of course, he decided to keep playing. Because he's a "man". And that's what "men" do. Men also have shorter life-spans. I'm just sayin'.  Eventually, a teammate drove him to the hospital, and I, despite having my all-girl fantasy football draft that evening, made the selfless decision to meet them at the ER. That's love.

After a not-so-terrible-for-an-ER wait, we had a few nurses, medical assistants, and janitors randomly come into our room. Each one informed us that they were just "borrowing" some supplies and each time, John told them "that's ok, we're not using them anyways". Not a single one of them laughed at his joke.

When the doctor finally came in, he asked "What can I do for you?" which really struck me as an odd question to begin with, but not nearly as odd as my husband's response, which was: "I could really use some drugs, to be honest with you." Don't worry dear, you're not coming off as a druggie looking for a fix. Nope, not at all.

Luckily, his request seemed more reasonable to the doctor when the x-rays came back. John had a fractured fourth metacarpal that would require surgery. Shit.

x-ray

My concerns immediately focused on how this would impact me. I'm a good wife like that. You see, if not for my husband, our daughter and I would not eat. He does all of the cooking. I run the risk of lighting a bowl of Cheerios on fire any time I step in the kitchen. Needless to say, the next few weeks are going to be an interesting culinary experience for our family.

His initial concern was that we're 11 weeks away from from the birth of our boy-bun, and despite the bonus of not having to change diapers, he really wants to be able to hold him with two good hands. He's a good husband like that. Now that we've met with the surgeon and been assured that we are only looking at six weeks for a full recovery, he's more bummed about you folks.

That's right, despite the fact that he is going into surgery, his main concern is that he'll have a hard time doing the blog. Having his hand sliced open doesn't bug him. But the man is determined. He may be a little slower at typing, but with my help, a guest post or two, and the assistance of the ever inaccurate text-to-speech capabilities built into Windows, we will do our best to continue with your regularly scheduled Ask Your Dad Blog posts. That, of course, includes our Five Dollar Fridays (which, by the way, we had a GREAT response to last week, so thank you, thank you, thank you!)

Love,

Wife (Mom)

And now, without further ado, a message from John:

Hi. Typing with my left hand is difficult. - Dad


Who has two thumbs and gets to have surgery on Thursday?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Five Dollar Friday - Inaugural Edition

Welcome to the inaugural “Five Dollar Friday”. This is going to be a weekly post where, each Friday, I will pick a charity or cause to which I will donate five dollars. I’ll then write a quick post with a few links, Tweet it and post it on the Facebook Fan Page. Hopefully, some of my readers will see it and share/retweet/repost or even donate! The idea is that five dollars is a relatively small amount, but if even 10% of the people who read my blog were to donate, that would turn into a substantial about of money - like forty-five dollars! Or more, math is not my forte’. Anyway, worst case scenario: a random charity gets five bucks.

So…

This week my five spot is going to The Christi Anderson Rack Pack Foundation.




I don’t have breasts. Well, not officially. I could probably work out a little more and say that with confidence, and there were a couple awkward moments when my daughter tried to nurse from me… I digress. Breasts. I don’t have them, but my wife does. So does my good friend Mandi. So do at least six other women I know. If my math is correct that makes eight. According to the National Cancer Institute one in eight women will get breast cancer. A little over a year ago, Mandi found out she was among the one in eight women who will get breast cancer. Since then she’s documented her journey on her Breast Cancer Blog. It is funny and honest and heartbreaking and joyful. It's even a bit crass at times – which any good blog should be. Someday I’ll convince her to compile it into a book. Until then, you should check it out - AFTER you finish reading this post.

Shortly after Mandi was diagnosed, a representative for the foundation showed up at her door with a chemo care package. They explained that the foundation was created by friends and family of Christi Anderson, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2010. Since then, The Christi Anderson Rack Pack Foundation, or CARPF as no one calls them but me, has created and distributed care packages to anyone currently going through treatment for breast cancer.

From their “About Us” page:

“Having personally gone through several family situations involving cancer very recently, we feel properly equipped to help – with a care bag, a gift card for gas or groceries, a hug, a text message, a phone call, a friend. We want you to know that you have someone to go through this cancer experience with – someone on YOUR team.  The Rack Pack’s got your back!”

So there you go. They’re awesome. AND they have no idea we’re doing this. So go to their page and donate five bucks with me and let’s take them by surprise. I won’t have any way of measuring how much we raise, but that’s not the point. We’re not doing this to pat ourselves on the back. We’re doing it to make a difference. As my two-year-old daughter loves to scream at the top of the slide:

REBBY… SEK… GO!

Click the “Donate” button in the upper right corner of this page.

Love,

Dad



P.S. Mandi documents her experience with CARPF (My acronym, not theirs) here

If you have a suggestion for Five Dollar Friday, please e-mail it to me through the "Contact Me" tab with the subject line “Five Dollar Friday”. I probably will not be replying to these e-mails, as I imagine there will be a lot of them. I promise to read all of them though, and even if I don't feature them, I may still donate.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Comes After My 15 Minutes?


So… how was your week? Did anything exciting happen? Not sure if you heard, but I wrote a blog post that may have gone a little viral.

As of writing this sentence, last week’s blog (Dear Hypothetically Gay Son) has been viewed 137,219 times on Ask Your Dad Blog. It was reprinted on The Huffington Post, read and tweeted by Ellen DeGeneres, and shared on Facebook more times than I can count. Needless to say, it has been an exciting week.

When I started this blog, my hope was for it to be more of a conversation than a soap box. Last week’s post brought that dream to life in the most unexpectedly fantastic way.  I now have what most writers only dream of. I have an audience. So now what do I do?

Well, I’m going to keep writing about what I’m trying to know: how to be a dad. And while it was incredibly nice to have thousands of people telling me what a great dad I am, or will be, the proof is going to be in the pudding. Earlier today the pudding was all over my kitchen floor, and in my daughter’s hair, and in my hair. Then we yelled at each other. Then we laughed. 

Later, at the park, I caught her on her hands and knees drinking muddy puddle water by a method that could only be described as “dog like”. I have a lot of work to do. And I am going to keep writing about it. I hope you’ll stay with me for the journey, because I’m damn glad to have you all here.

Before I leave last week’s post behind and start writing posts about poop and potty training, I’d like to say a few things.

Last week’s post connected with something much bigger than me or my son. That is obvious from the response. I am incredibly humbled to have written something that had such a profound effect on so many people. There are many better writers out there that will never get the chance to have thousands of people thank them and tell them that their writing made a difference in someone's life. I don’t take that honor lightly. I may never write something that goes viral again. My fifteen minutes may be up, but your comments will be with me forever. So thank you.

Lastly, it appears that some of you will be sticking with me. You’ve subscribed to my feed, liked the Facebook Page, or followed the Twitter account (They’re on the scroll bar on the right if you still need to find them). Welcome! I have some big hopes for this blog, and one is to make a difference for people. This Friday I am going to start something a new. It is going to be called Five Dollar Fridays. Don’t unsubscribe yet, just hear me out.

For the last little while I have found one, small charity or cause to donate five dollars to every Friday. When the Chick-Fil-A fiasco was going on I donated five dollars to Utah Pride Center with a note that said “This is my chicken sandwich”. Last week I gave my five spot to a dear friend whose dog needs a legbrace that she can’t afford.

I’m going to keep this up, but now I’m going to write about it. I’ll do a little research and post a write up with links on Fridays. Then I'll tweet it and get it up on the Facebook. If you want to donate five dollars (or more, or less) feel free. If not, please stay subscribed for my regular scheduled, poo-filled parenting blog. My hope is that I can take some of the love I’ve received for last week’s blog, and spread it around. I inspired you. You inspired me. Now let’s see who else we can get. I’m excited. I hope you are too.

Love,

Dad

Father and son

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dear Hypothetically Gay Son

I ran across this letter on Reddit this morning. It is from a father disowning his gay son. It broke my heart. It's not the first time that I've seen something like this. Living in Utah, it's a pretty common story. I had friends experience it first hand in high school. This morning was the first time I've run across it since becoming a dad. My son is living in his mom's belly, so obviously we don't know his sexual orientation. Still, the letter I read this morning made me wonder what my letter would say if the news that my son was gay ended up being a surprise. So here it is:

Dear Hypothetically Gay Son,

You're gay. Obviously you already know that, because you told us at the dinner table last night. I apologize for the awkward silence afterwards, but I was chewing. It was like when we're at a restaurant and the waiter comes up mid-bite and asks how the meal is, only in this metaphor you are the waiter and instead of asking me about my meal you said you were gay. I don't know why I needed to explain that. I think I needed to find a funny way to repeat the fact that you're gay… because that is what it sounds like in my head right now. "My son is gay. My son is gay. My son is gay."

Let me be perfectly clear. I love you. I will always love you. Since being gay is part of who you are, I love that you're gay. I'm just trying to wrap my head around the idea. If you sensed any sadness in my silence last night, it was because I was surprised that I was surprised. Ideally, I would have already known. Since you were an embryo, my intent has always been to really know you for who you are and not who I expect you to be. And yet, I was taken by surprise at last night's dinner. Have I said "surprise" enough in this paragraph? One more time... surprise!

OK. Let's get a few things straight about how things are going to be. 
  1. Our home is a place of safety and love. The world has dealt you a difficult card. While LGBT people are becoming more accepted, it is still a difficult path to walk. You're going to experience hate and anger and misunderstandings about who you are out in the world. That will not happen here. You need to know with every fiber of who you are that when you walk in the front door of your home you are safe and you are loved. Your mother is in complete agreement with me on this.

  2. I am still, as always, your biggest defender. Just because you're gay doesn't mean you're any less capable of taking care of/defending yourself. That said, if you need me to stand next to you, in front of you, write letters, sign petitions, advocate, or anything else, I am here. I will go to war for you.

  3. If you're going to have boys over, you now need to leave your bedroom door open. Sorry kiddo. Thems are the breaks. I couldn't have girls in my room with the door shut, you don't get to have boys.
     
  4. You and I are going to revisit that talk we had about safe sex. I know it's going to be awkward for both of us, but it is important. I need to do some research first, so let's give it a few weeks. If you have questions or concerns before then, let me know. 
That's enough for now. Feel free to view this letter as a contract. If I ever fail to meet any of the commitments made herein, pull it out and hold me to account. I'll end with this: You are not broken. You are whole, and beautiful. You are capable and compassionate. You and your sister are the best things I have ever done with my life, and I couldn't be more proud of the people you've become.

Love, 

Dad

P.S. Thanks to a few key Supreme Court decisions and the Marriage Equality act of 2020 you're legally able to get married. When I was your age, that was just an idea. Pretty cool huh?* 

*OK, so I was a few years off in my projection. When I wrote this in 2012 it seemed a little further off than it was. I've never been more glad to be wrong! :)


dad and family at family dinner


I'd like to thank Reddit user "RegBarc" for bravely sharing that letter. I'm sorry for the pain your dad caused by writing it. If you're ever in Salt Lake City, you're welcome at our dinner table any time. 

What would your letter say? Chime in on the comments.

::UPDATE:: I think it is safe to say that this post has gone viral. I am joyously overwhelmed by the response we've received. Just in case this never happens again, I want to try and do something that makes a difference. If you want to help spread the love monetarily, the Utah Pride Center always needs help. You can click the "donate" button on their front page. Here is a little bit about their mission. Aside from donating in the past, I am not associated with them in ANY way. I just know that "fame" (ironic quotation marks intentional) can be fleeting, and "internet fame" even more so. So if you'd like to help, please do. If not, no worries. From my family to yours, thank you. thank you, thank you for all of the love. 



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Circumcision: Update


Hey, remember a few weeks ago when I set the internet on fire by asking whether or not I should lop off the tip of my kid's wang? And by chop off my son's penis, I mean consent to minor cosmetic surgery to remove his foreskin, a tradition in Western culture that most likely would have little effect on my son's future development.  And by simple, elective procedure, I of course mean an invasive surgery akin only to genital mutilation and child abuse. Remember that blog? Yeah, me too. 

So do a lot of people. I still get all sorts of e-mails asking what decision we came to. Some of them are a bit aggressive, but most are very kind and concerned. So to ease inquiring minds, this week's blog is an update to my previous circumcision blog. (If you haven't read it, I suggest you start there.)

Instead of teasing it for 600 words, going to commercial, coming back, lowering the lights, opening an envelope and then going on for a few more minutes on how the votes were tallied, I'm just going to get right to it. We have decided to not circumcise our son.

Now to be fair, the first paragraph of this blog touched on the extremes of the conversation. Our decision was made with the help of the many comments from the center.  We also talked to our doctor and our family and friends. I even asked my two-year-old daughter. Her answer was something about wanting string cheese. To be honest, I probably publicized a personal decision too much.  I'm glad I did though, because with all of your help and love I know that we're making the best decision for us.

A few points I'd like to make


On the original blog and the comments:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to everyone who commented! The original blog highlighted one of my main goals with Ask Your Dad Blog, which is to have conversations about the parts of parenthood people don't usually talk about. I understood that circumcision is a sensitive topic, but it was wonderful hearing from folks on both sides.

Now… if you read the comments on the original post you know that they were weighted somewhat dramatically to one side. A bit of explanation is warranted.

The original circumcision blog was found and posted on an anti-circumcision message board hosted on Reddit.com. This brought in a lot of wonderful visitors that contributed helpful, kind and productive comments to the conversation.  They linked to great articles and sent me some very nice private e-mails that presented a rational argument against circumcision.

It also brought a few folks who were nearly militant with their beliefs and thought personally attacking people with differing opinions than theirs would help prove their point. While I left anything that made a point in the argument, any comment that was personally attacking another commenter was removed.  (These were the rare exception though.)

On our decision to not circumcision:

I do not think that those who choose to circumcise are cruel parents, less intelligent, or even less informed.  I have many friends who made the decision to circumcise their sons and not only do I consider them spectacular parents, but I also look up to them as role models of the type of parent I'd like to be in a few years.  

I do not think that circumcision is evil. Based off everything I learned, I don't think it is necessary. But it's not evil. Like I mentioned before, I'm circumcised and I like my penis just fine. I also feel no ill will towards my parent's decision. I did find it surprising that when I talked to my mom she mentioned that if she had the decision to make again she didn't know if she'd make the same one.  In fact, she said she probably wouldn't.

Lastly…

I support a parent's right to make the decision. Here's why I made mine:

One thing kept hitting home for us. If it's not a religious issue for us (it's not), and there's very little legitimate medical reasoning to do it… then why do it? I trust my communication skills enough to explain to my son someday why his little guy is wearing a turtleneck. Hell, I'll just show him this blog (which honestly, will probably damage him much more than the circumcision ever would have.) At the end of the day, there were more reasons not to circumcise than there were reasons to circumcise. And thus, our decision was made.

It was a personal decision and I am glad I (we) had the right to make it. It involved me in my unborn son's life in a way that made me feel closer to the little guy. Up until that point I had thought of him in fluffy generalizations like "ooh we'll play catch in the back yard someday" and "ooh I'll have to learn how to throw a baseball someday". Remembering that all decisions aren't simple made him seem more real than any silly day dream I've had. And while some decisions are going to need to be made on the fly, I'm glad we had nine months to make this one.

Thanks again!

Dad

Washington Monument With A Bow
This picture makes more sense if you read the last circumcision blog. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The 5 Dumbest Things I Did in My First Two Years as a Father




My little girl turns two next week. I write that sentence, and yet it still feels unreal - from both directions. I can't believe two years have disappeared and, at the same time, I feel like she's been a part of our lives for much, much longer than that.  I have my theories on how this paradox occurs. One is, that while a baby is crying, time slows to a crawl (pun intended) and a minute is an hour. If that theory proves to be true, I aged about two years just during bedtime last night.

Anyway, my wife suggested that I write a blog looking back at the last two years with our daughter. Unfortunately, such a blog would be the length of a novel. So instead, I'm going to dig into my bag of lazy blogger tricks and make a list.

The 5 Dumbest Things I Did in My First Two Years as a Father


1. I worried for the entire 9 months before she got here.


I slept less before the baby came than I did when she got here. Seriously. Miscarriage, Down's Syndrome, Mental Retardation, Cleft Palate, Still Born, Maternal Death, Blood Sucking Spider Baby (that one was actually a nightmare from when I did fall asleep). I worked myself up about every possibility (and impossibility). I wouldn't just worry about those things. I obsessed about them. I'd imagine how I'd react if they happened. I had conversations in my head. I bathed in my worry. It was horrible. It was a giant waste of time.

What I've learned:

It wasn't a giant waste of time because those aren't serious things. It wasn't even a giant waste of time because those things are statistically unlikely to happen. (Don't worry. I Googled the numbers in the midst of my madness. They didn't help). It was a waste of time because my worrying had zero effect on the outcome, nor did it prepare me for something to happen if it did. If our daughter had arrived with a birth defect, illness, malady, arachnid like features I would have loved her. And we would have figured out the next steps. And we would have loved her. And our lives would have been made better by her existence. I know this with every inch of everything I am. It comforts me. And now, with our son less than three months from getting here, I sleep well.

2. I compared our daughter to other kids.


Our close friends' little boy, born about a week after our girl, walked first. They posted a video of it on Facebook and I went a little crazy inside. Why isn't our child walking? Are we doing something wrong? Are they doing something we're not? Did they post that video just to spite me! Did they work extra hard to teach their child to walk just to prove they're better parents? I'll show them! Child, put on those ridiculously small roller blades that I ordered from unrealparentalexpectations.com. We're making a movie!!!!

What I've learned:

One year olds cannot rollerblade. That, and I had unreasonably high expectations for my child's first two years of life. Aside from how to keep a kid alive, you know what I've learned in the last year? No? Neither do I. You know what my kid learned? She's learned more words of a language than I learned in all of high-school and college combined. She's learned colors, shapes, animal noises and names, puzzles, spatial relations, object permanence, how to get what she wants through a combination of looks, tears, and sometimes poop... AND how to walk. And I would look at her and think "WHY AREN'T YOUR TEETH GROWING FASTER!?"

Kids dictate their own development schedule, not my anxiety. And parents post videos of their kids because they're proud of them, not because they want to show off what their kid can do. (Who am I kidding, we all show off. I'm the worst offender I know.)

3. I was carrying my daughter into her room and smacked her head against the door frame.


When my wife asked why she was crying I shrugged and said that I had no idea.

What I've learned:

Spatial relations. I'm a little behind the curve. Sorry honey!

4. I gave advice to other parents.


You're a first year parent? Tell me again how to get my toddler to go to bed.

I was like the freshman senator who thinks he can fix the entire system with moxy, and gumption, and sleeping on a cot in his office! Your kid isn't sleeping? Let me tell you how I get mine to sleep. Get this… I lay her in her bed. I think the secret is the "I lay her in her bed" part. You're welcome.

What I've learned:

Being a parent does not make you "every parent." I wish I could take back every piece of advice I gave friends with kids older than mine. I was a cocky novice with a superiority complex. Most of the things I thought I was doing right were merely gifts from the gods: easily given, easily taken away. That easy bedtime I bragged about causing with my made up bedtime skills? 2 hours now. That clean nursery we claimed anyone could do if they just put in the time and effort? It's simple when your baby is a paperweight. I'm sorry. Build me a time machine and I'll go back and slap myself. And kill Hitler.

5. I didn't say thank you enough.


This is the big one. My mother in law watches our kid four days a week. My sister and her husband will babysit at a moment's notice. My father-in-law and his wonderful wife have been there on numerous occasions to lend a hand, as well as my best friend and my sister-in-law. My mom, my dad, cousins and grandparents are a phone call away all day, every day.

What I've learned:

We didn't do this alone. Our family and friends have formed a support structure for us that is so integral to our lives that it leaves me choking back tears as I write this. I am endlessly grateful for all of the love that is in our life, and I know how lucky (my religious friends would say blessed) we are to have it. So I promise to say thank you more. Starting now.

Thank you. All of you.

Dad


I want to know: What are your things that you would have done differently? Leave comments! Comments make me very happy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dancing With My Daughter


I am the best dancer my daughter knows. In fact, as far as she is concerned, I am the greatest dancer in the whole world. I know all the dances. I know "fast feet" (that's the one where you move your feet really fast). I know "clap your hands" (that’s the one where you clap your hands). I know the "daddy may have left a large portion of his pinky toe on the ottoman and is currently trying not to cry while simultaneously trying not to teach his word-sponge of a daughter easily pronounceable, single-syllable words that rhyme with 'truck' and 'punt'" dance... (That's her favorite one, by the way. She laughs and laughs and laughs…. Because it's SOOOOOOO FREAKING FUNNY).

It started when I was talking to my grandma the other day. My grandmother is THE matriarch of the family. She is tough as nails, resilient as a rubber band, and able to say more in a sentence than most say in a life time. When I got my first job she wrote me a letter telling me how important honesty was to an employer and how I should never steal, no matter what the temptation - even if I knew I would never get caught. I was a rebellious little shit at the time, and to be honest I probably would have filled my pockets had it not been for that letter. But I knew the grave consequences that awaited me if I did. My grandma would be disappointed in me. That's it. She wouldn't have smacked me upside the head, or called the police. She just would have been sad. She is just that lovable… and remarkably powerful.

She's always got good advice like that, which is what I was expecting when I talked to her the other day. Keep your kids off drugs. Teach them to read before kindergarten. Always know where you are financially and always make a budget. Instead she said "Johnny, (she still calls me Johnny) you be sure to dance with that little girl. You dance with her as much as you can. Kids love dancing with their parents." And so I did. I started dancing with my daughter whenever possible.

And by God, she was right. My kid loves dancing with me. And I love dancing with my kid. I don't care if I look like a bearded hippo trying to relocate his shoulder like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, she laughs and then tries to do it too. The way we communicate while dancing is, in some ways, better than talking. It's more immediate. I put my hands up, and she puts her hand up. I pat my belly. She pats her belly. I clench my foot in my hand, scream, fall to the ground and roll around mumbling obscenities… and she laughs. The little shit laughs. Still, I get back up and dance some more. It's just that much fun.

I'm still going to teach her to read and make a budget. I'm still going to teach her to be kind and loving and to never steal from her future employer. I'm pretty sure my grandma knew I had already planned to teach my kids those things. Never in a million years did I think I'd teach my daughter to dance. And that my friends, is why she told me to do it. My grandma is a very smart woman. I hope my daughter inherited some of her genes. Thanks Grandma.

Dancing like no one is watching (dear God please don't let anyone be watching), 

Dad

Dancing With My Daughter



P.S. I can't post about dancing without showing off my nephew's sick dancing skills. I can only hope to someday be as truly awesome as he is.








Monday, July 2, 2012

You've Got (Hate) Mail!

Ladies and gentleman, I have arrived. I received my first piece of hate-mail this weekend. As hate mail goes, it's actually rather tame, but I was excited to get it none the less. I stumbled across an anti-gay parenting blog the other day (I'm not going to link to it because they don't deserve the traffic.) They had written a blog about how gay parents are ruining the world and gay people should just "keep it in the bedroom." I left this comment:




Turns out that someone followed my profile back to Ask Your Dad, read my blog, and sent me my very first HATE MAIL!!

I promise I won't make a habit of sharing every piece of useless hate-vomit I receive in my inbox, but in honor of my very first one I thought I'd share the original and an annotated version.

Original, unedited e-mail

"Are you a feminist? I saw your comment supporting LGBTs as a "straight father". The only "straight fathers" I know who do that are feminists. Children need both a father and a mother. Both men and women. Feminist men are sickening and are contributing to the downfall of the West. Instead of having the picture of that man in black and white do the following: post a picture of Barack Obama and Sandra Fluke. Thank goodness that feminist women don't reproduce. Your working "wife/mother" is probably one of the older generations. Young feminist girls don't have children anymore thanks to contraception and abortion. It's a good girl and there will be less of them around."

- Young Anti-Feminist Millennial Girl

OK, let's break it down:

Are you a feminist? (I don't have a picture of Gloria Steinem in my wallet, and I try to avoid labels where possible, but if you're asking if I support women's rights, then yes I do.)

I saw your comment supporting LGBTs as a "straight father" (I like the quotation marks she puts around straight father. I can almost picture her making them with her hands.)

The only "straight fathers" (More ironic quotation marks) I know who do that are feminists. (These "straight" "feminist" "LGBT loving" "fathers" you "know" must just "LOVE" you. I bet you're just the "life" of the party.)  

Children need both a father and a mother. Both men and women. (Those two sentences are a bit redundant, but ok. Arguing the importance of the nuclear family is a conversation worth having. I disagree with you to some degree. But I'm definitely willing to have a calm, rational discussion… ) Feminist men are sickening and are contributing to the downfall of the West. (And… you've lost me. You know, if you hate us women-loving Westies so much I know a couple countries where you'd just have a wonderful time!)  

Instead of having the picture of that man in black and white do the following: post a picture of Barack Obama and Sandra Fluke. (In the banner? Now you're just being silly. But OK.)


Thank goodness that feminist women don't reproduce. (Science) Your working "wife/mother" is probably one of the older generations. Young feminist girls don't have children anymore thanks to contraception and abortion. (More Science. You can't argue with that.) It's a good girl and there will be less of them around. (I'm not sure what happened with this last sentence. My guess is that the author shoved her head so far up her own ass that the voice-to-text software she uses to compose angry e-mails whilst inserting her head into her rectum was unable to fully translate it. If I were to take a guess at its meaning, it would be that last sentence is saying that it's a good thing that I have a daughter who I will, no doubt, imbue with my LGBT loving, feminist qualities - in turn socially sterilizing her with a contraception ridden, abortion filled life… and this is a good thing to the author because that will be the end of Feminism. You're welcome.)

- Young Anti-Feminist Millennial Girl (Well, with a name like that her parents really picked her path for her. I suppose I should have named my daughter Young Pro-Women's Rights Future Abortion Factory Contraception Consumption Mcgee. That was on our list, but my wife said no.)


-

So there you have it. I'd like to thank Young for taking the time to send me the e-mail. It felt good to laugh this weekend. I sincerely hope that she passes along her love and tolerance to the dozens of children I'm sure she is in the process of conceiving.

Love,

Dad
P.S. One more exciting note. Aside from the joy that was receiving my first hate mail, Ask Your Dad Blog hit two semi-major milestones last week. The Facebook Fan Page hit 100 followers and the blog itself surpassed 10,000 views in the two months it has been up! Thank you all for your support and please keep reading. I'm having a blast and hope you are too!


Hopefully this isn't just my mom hitting the refresh button to make me feel better.