LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

YOU HAD ME AT HELLO - REPETITIVE SPEECH AND ITS DETRIMENTAL AFFECTS ON DADDY'S DEMEANOR


"WE MEET AGAIN!"
If you've ever spent any time with a toddler, you'd know that the most important thing to watch, other than the kid of course, is your language. Babies are like sponges. They absorb every thing your throw at them. Sometimes they learn words quickly (like when you inadvertently blurt out the "c" word in an act of road rage and your kid says it for the rest of the day). At other times (like when you want to show off to your family) they don't. The key they say is repetition. If you want your kid to learn the language, you have to be consistent, and repeat the words, again and again, until he gets it right. Right? Well, kinda.

Bad Daddy!: Top Ten Worst Movies To Watch With A Toddler in the Room


It's not like I did it on purpose. Sometimes I forget that my daughter's mind is a sponge absorbing everything around her. She took a nap, so I decided to watch a movie on the tube. Problem is she woke up and I forgot to change the channel. Actually, she woke up, I forgot to change the channel but decided to film her playing happily on the floor in front of the TV. Well, the real truth is, she woke up, I forgot to change the channel, I decided to film her playing in front of the TV, and then I showed it to my wife... who loved being able to see what went on while she was away for a few hours (not). It's not like my wife has never done this herself. It happens. She just didn't tape herself doing it. And, luckily, she watched the tape before loading it up on Facebook to show all her friends. Otherwise, it would have made me look like a bad parent... wait a minute... damn!.... 

So what did we learn from this experience? One, until my daughter is old enough to understand the difference between reality and make believe, some time in her early twenties, when I tell her to get a job or get out of my house, I will be watching television that is more suitable to her tastes. And, two, if I'm going to do something stupid that could possibly cause irreparable damage to my daughter's psyche (like subject her to "Barney") I shouldn't catch it on film (or digitize it if you will). 

In my defense, I wasn't actually watching anything that was that bad, but the fact that I was watching something that warned me at each commercial that is was not suitable for young kids because of the violence, language and nudity, which could be heard several times, clearly on the tape, didn't really impress my wife.

So here's my list of the ten movies I will no longer be watching when they show up on my television set on Sunday afternoons. For various reasons, as you shall see, they are bad. Bad! Bad! Bad! But so good at the same time (like wrestling, and ultimate fighting, and boxing). Sigh...

Behind Every Great Father... Is The Woman Who "Nudged" Him Into Having a Child


Yes. I said nudged. You might prefer the word "pushed" or "forced" or even "coerced," but the honest truth of the matter is unless the condom broke or you forgot to sheath your sword in the first place, you yourself made the conscious decision to have a child (with your partner), and nobody, with all the guilt trips in the world, could have forced you into it. Your wife merely made a suggestion, something like "I need a baby, NOW..." and you simply weighed the pros and cons (as you were removing your clothes) and decided now was as good a time as any to take a leap (onto the bed) and begin the process that would forever change your life.

New Dad's Dilemma- Corner Office or Connecting to your Child?- New Study

It's the dream of every dad to have his cake and eat it to (no, I'm not talking about having a fling with your secretary). But new dads face a difficult dilemma when attempting to balance both their family life and career. And, since you can't be two places at once, there are trade-offs for every first-time father to consider while trying to provide the best life for his child, and its a balancing act most find very difficult to maintain.

If you're feeling the pain of this parenting/professional advancement predicament, take comfort, you are not alone. Here's what a thousand other guys (well, mostly professionals working for Fortune 500 companies) have to say about it:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/15/uk-dads-survey-idUSLNE75E06120110615

Article from Boston College

The NEW DAD: 2011 Study

AND THE WINNER IS... OUR FIRST FATHER OF THE YEAR: YOU JUST CAN'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF HIM

Our First Annual Father of the Year Award could have gone to a few contenders, but only one put up a good fight when it came to touching this guy"s skills on the dance floor (see Salsa Larry, our first Father of the Week). So, sorry Larry, we know you can hold your own against the ladies, but this guy (below) is untouchable. Those moves. That shirt. The fact that he has no idea when Labour Day is and could probably care less. I hope the rumors are true, and this was just an act to mess with his daughters, but if it isn't, even better. 


So hats off to you Dad from Dance Fever. You might be lost in the seventies, but you know how to groove with to the beat of the Beebs (as he is called). May we one day be able to burn your outfit along with this record. Until then, keep Leo Sayer's Memory alive.

- Fodder  4 Fathers


Thankfully, video did indeed kill the radio star. Yeesh.

TRUE DAT: THE STRAIGHT FACTS ON FIRST-TIME FATHERHOOD

PART  FIVE: THE CHANGE


You've conceived, you survived your wife's whims during nine months of pregnancy, you didn't faint during the delivery, the reality of fatherhood set in, and you've learned to take the good (sh@*) with the bad (sh@*). But, this is just the beginning, and you have no clue how different your life is about to become.

As a man, your life doesn't really change until around the second week after you take your first born home from the hospital. For the first few weeks, you are surrounded by helpers- family, friends- people much more familiar with the needs of an infant; people who have no problem taking over for a while as long as they get to leave at some point and go back to their nice, quiet lives. But, after about the second week, they all seem to disappear, and you and your wife are on your own.  Your wife had nine months of changes- interrupted sleep patterns, puking, and internal bruising (from all the kicking)- to prepare for this. Unfortunately, reality doesn't set in for you until the last visitor brings over the last gift and there's no one else to give your baby to... and you have no one left to save you from a life of dirty diapers and dutiful dad-dom (my word)

Everyone leaves, and your wife says: "Finally, life gets back to normal." But, who is she kidding? Your life won't ever be the same again. For one, after the birth of a child, your wife is different (temporarily anyway). That sweet, laid back girl you married- the one with the great smile and fancy-free demeanor- is gone, only to be replaced by high-strung, low energy, no nonsense version of herself that has no sense of humor (possibly due to a serious bought of Postpartum Depression that you should keep a keen eye out for) and an even more serious issue with your lack of understanding. Translation- no sex, no rest, and no peace for you. From now on, your life is a series of brow beatings, all related to the fact that you don't understand the needs of both your wife and your child. Your needs? Well they no longer matter... in the context of having a child.

This brings us to a second fundmental change is your life - from this day forward, you will get no sleep. Whether it's the baby waking you to be changed, or fed, or entertained, or your wife waking you because she doesn't support your need for a sleep in, or a nap, or a healthy R.E.M. cycle, your days of getting a full eight hours is over. And, if you get more that three hours a night, consider yourself lucky. If your wife has to get up at 2, 4, and 6 a.m., it's only fair that you should as well (or at the very least, offer to get up).

Three, with a newborn,"time to yourself" is a thing of the past. My condolences to all the self-pleasurers out there, but unless you can do the deed in the shower, you may have to give up this time honored tradition until your kids go off to college. Your time is now better spent cleaning bottles (not your pipes), and watching your baby whenever your wife has to go run some errands (i.e. stuff you yourself don't want to do). And, if you think you can make last minute plans to make a tee time with your buddies, forget it- unless you can plan time out with the boys weeks in advance, it ain't happening. Your calendar is now a pre-planned parade of play dates and parental visits (your wife's) and productive outings to Costco. Accept it.

Four, no time to yourself means no time to get to those unfinished projects around the house. As of now, your priority is your child. What does your wife care if you can't find three sunny days in a row to fix your leaky gutters, or half an hour to re-caulk your tub? If it doesn't affect the baby, it's not a priority. But, not to worry, when your house starts to fall  apart, it will be time to move anyway... to make room for your second child.

Lastly, and most importantly, are the changes in you. Seemingly overnight, you will go from a selfish, self-serving, self-indulgent dolt to a surprisingly sensitive and somewhat competent caregiver who only wants the best for his child. Sure, you no longer have the discretionary income that once allowed you to get out there and spoil yourself, so that could explain the change, but for most of us, its a conscious effort to do right by our children- to grow up and to be responsible... and to love someone more than you could ever love yourself... second only to your wife.

Oh, I forgot to mention... you're gonna get fat. Live with it. 

Tune in next week when we discuss our next stage in the series: PART SIX- THE TRADE-OFFS

And, if you're a glutton for punishment, here's some more changes to consider after the birth of your first child:

RELATED LINKS:

THAT'S NOT VERY NEIGHBOURLY: WHAT MR. ROGERS WOULD SAY ABOUT... ON-LINE PARENTING MAGAZINES

"SIGH"
Ever wonder what got under the skin of possibly the most laid back man in Children's Television? I do. Sure, moths and scuffed running shoes must have been at the top of his list, but if he were alive today, what would really burn his britches? Who would make Fred Rogers go completely apeshit? Hmmm, I wonder...?

(Spoken as Mr. Rogers)

"Hello boys and girls. Today I would like to talk to you about something that has me quite perplexed. No, not the careers of Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Love Hewitt... I'm sure God has his reasons for punishing us. No, I'm talking about On-Line Parenting Magazines. You know, the ones that talk about "Parents" but all they ever really make reference to are the problems of "mothers?" Are you hearing me children? These motherf@#$%^* are claiming to be equal opportunity, but all they really care about is bitching about how hard it is to be a mom. What, dads don't have things to complain about? F@#k, I don't even have kids and I'm running around talking to puppets and entertaining your kids for an hour everyday just so you can plop them in front of the TV long enough to go yammer on the phone with your girlfriends about how hard it is to be a Mom... But at least you have friends. You don't even let your husbands out of the house long enough to get the freaking morning paper, let alone have friends. Look at me, I have to stick my hand up a puppets a$$ to get it to talk to me. Most of the time I find myself alone, dressed only in a sweater and running shoes, talking to myself in the mirror going, "Are you talking to me? There's nobody else here? Are YOU talking to ME?" But I digress...

Children, On-line Parenting Magazines are a sham (aside: I think he said "shame," but who can tell with his accent). Well, maybe not a sham, but a travesty of justice! If you're going to exclude fathers and call yourself a parenting magazine, why not just come right out and say what you really mean. C'mon, you know you want to... SAY IT!: "Women do all the work, so women get all the attention!"

Is that right? All the work, or just 95% of it? What's the split there mom - 75/25...? 60/40? Um, hmmm. And, um, who's watching the kids while Victor Newman is trying to do a corporate takeover of Jabot? Yah, I thought so! Your loving, undervalued, and under appreciated husband. All he has to read is Maxim and Playboy and Marvel Comic books, but you, you get the good stuff - the On-line Parenting Magazines. It hardly seems fair, and it irks me to no end! It's bull I tell you. Capital B.U.L.L. with a whole bunch of C.R.A. P. on the side. Calling one of these mom focused rags a "Parenting" magazine is almost as ridiculous as calling Playgirl a "women's" magazine.

Now children, I'm going to go back inside and take off my sweater and running shoes, and I'm going to get changed back into my street clothes, and go outside and clear my head for a few minutes. But, when I come back, I don't want to hear any more B.S. about these parenting magazines being for parents when you and I both know they are designed exclusively for moms... with dads as an after thought. You hear me? I'm mad. Really, really, mad. And the only thing that's going to calm me down is the truth!... But, since we won't be getting that anytime soon... who wants to go to the ice cream parlour? Tutti Frutti for everyone! Yay!"

Make sure to come back next week when we ask Pee Wee Herman for his take on whether or not husbands need their wives permission to go to strip clubs...

Disclaimer: This has been a dramatization. It was in no way meant to tarnish the reputation of a well-known and greatly admired children's educator and entertainer with a fetish for cardigans and comfortable footwear. May he rest in peace. 

In actual fact, this blog post is in answer to the question: How do we get Dads more involved in their children's lives...? Well, not marginalizing them in the magazines that are supposed to help them, and educate them is a start. Don't you think?






NOT MY LITTLE ANGEL?: DISCIPLINE AND YOUR TODDLER - WHEN IT'S NOT YOUR JOB, WHOSE IS IT?



You know the punch line to the old joke: "Ward, quit being so hard on the Beaver." And that's how the world used to work- Dad was  the one who called all the shots in both the bedroom with Mom and when it came to "educating" the kids. When they were "bad," albeit for different reasons, Mom and the kids both got spanked.  But, things change, and today not only is Mom a dominatrix (when she's not too tired) in the bedroom- and domineering with you when it comes to how to handle your duties as a father- but she also has no problem playing the role of disciplinarian with the kids.

I mean, let's be honest, she's always been in control, but now she's no longer content to pull the strings from behind the scenes; she's out in front, taking the lead. I remember being a kid, watching a show called "Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home," and the whole idea was if you didn't behave you were going to get "it", whatever that was, from your dad. But that no longer holds true, and fathers no longer want that role.  Dads always been happiest to play the role of the good guy, and now that Mom has no problem taking off her boomerang shoe and letting it fly (Ala Eddie Murphy "Delirious"), we can do what we do best- play video games with our kids and watch cartoons.

I mean, who can really discipline a toddler? I can't say no to that face, even if there's a devilish smile on it. In my mind, my daughter can do no wrong. Sure, I try to teach her to play nice with the dogs, and not to pick her nose, but until she's tall enough to put her hand on the stove, rob a liquor store, or date, I'm not inclined to impede her natural curiosity or her need to do stupid sh*@ that isn't really hurting anybody. If she not bullying the kid next to her in day care, I say let the Duplo Blocks fall where they may. Live, and let live- we all get our turn to play with the Tickle Me Elmo doll.

For now, I want my daughter to feel like the world is her oyster to ravage as she sees fit....There's plenty of time to break it to her that the world we live in is made up of rules and most of them suck. There's plenty of time to pull back the curtain and show her that the wizard is nothing more than some weasly old guy who has no real magic left in him. I don't want to be the one to tell her that Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, was about as socially inappropriate as a pedophile (or, to a more accurate extent, Jerry Lee Lewis).

Childhood is about fantasy- not reality. And discipline is part of the reality I don't want to expose my daughter to, as yet. So that means no corporal punishment (for one it's been outlawed- speaking of rules- and two it doesn't work, especially now that your kids know how to throw child services in your face and/or threaten legal or civil action against you). That also means no time-outs - the lesser of two evils, but still not a pleasant prospect for the father who wants to be perceived as the "good guy." And this also means not threatening to take stuff away or remove her from her favorite things because if I did that I'd be robbed of the joy of watching my daughter find her calling as either an electrician ("don't touch the socket"), a veterinarian ("No, honey, we don't stick our fingers in the sleeping dog's bum"), or a demolition specialist ("F*#@! I just put all of that away!"). She'll be an escape artist ("Where's Dylan? Oh, crap...Who left the door open to the basement?").  She'll start her fair share of food fights (my dogs already love her for it), and she'll push my buttons in each and every way she can, but I just can't bring myself to discipline her for it- yet.

For now, I'm happy to let my wife be the bad guy. It's not like my kid can really win- after all, it's hard to hate your Mommy and have Mommy-itis at the same time. So I'm just going to bide my time and be the playmate for now- but the second she goes through that Raven Simone/Tina Yothers not-so-cute phase I'm calling Super Nanny to show me what to do. (I bet she looks hot in a dominatrix get up... Or a french maid's outfit?
What? Like you weren't thinking it)?

Here's some helpful links on appropriate ways to discipline your kids- from infant to toddler and beyond:

http://www.babycenter.com/baby-discipline
http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/discipline.html
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/discipline-behavior/8-tools-toddler-discipline
http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/discipline/tips/7-tips-for-disciplining-your-toddler/
http://babycarejournals.com/184/disciplining-your-toddler
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVFt7Ahs8gw
http://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/family/Preschool/BehaviourAndDiscipline.htm

Your wife (who can now be as hard on the Beaver as she wants- in most states) should find them very useful.



TRUE DAT: THE STRAIGHT FACTS ON FIRST-TIME FATHERHOOD

PART FOUR: THE SH#@!


Welcome back. So far we've covered the pregnancy, the delivery and the reality of having your first child. And, so far, you've survived. But now comes the hard part- dealing with the day to day crap (literally) that comes with having a baby.

So here we go with our next installment...

# 4. I DON'T DO WINDOWS, DOG DOO, OR DIAPERS... UNLESS MY WIFE TELLS ME I DO!

What's the downside of having children- the same as having dogs, or donkeys or dragons (I don't know why but Pete's Dragon was in my head, sorry)- you have to clean up after them? And every first-time dad learns this the hard way.

First there's diaper duty. If you're like me, you wanted no part of this, but the reality is there is no way to avoid it. Somehow, you're going to find yourself alone in that hospital room with a screaming baby with no wife or nurse in sight (your wife will probably be getting a sponge bath at the time) and you're going to have to give yourself a crash course in how to change out a dirty diaper for a clean one. It's easy, really:

Step one: take a deep breath. Step two: hold that deep breath. Step three: place your baby on a big bed and begin to unravel the swaddled maze of blankets and clothing they wrapped her up in. Step four: once your baby is naked, gently undo the dirty diaper, making sure not to touch the umbilical cord stump and not to look at what's inside the diaper (ew). But, don't remove it- the diaper or the stump (that would be really bad). Step five: open a fresh diaper and stretch it out. Step six: before you turn blue, turn your head to the side, exhale and quickly take another deep breath and hold it. Step seven: like that old tablecloth trick, quickly yank the dirty diaper from beneath your baby's butt and just as quickly replace it with a clean one. Wipe from genitalia to anus, and not vice verse, with fresh, um, wipes, until clean. Make sure to get in between the folds of skin around her thighs as well. Next, Secure the tabs to make sure the new diaper is snug, but not so tight as to cut of the circulation. Step eight: gag (its a normal response) at the sight and smell of either a black sticky or yellow curdy, mucousy poo that resides in the old, dirty diaper and roll it up before you pass out from the fumes. Step nine: like Larry Bird at the free throw line, toss that disgusting thing in to your hospital roomates' wastebasket (across the room) and hope you land it (missing could be bad for so many reasons... especially if you didn't close it properly). P.S.: Make sure they are out of the room. Step ten: re-wrap your child, trying to remember each swaddle fold in correct, reverse order to make it look like you never did a thing so no one will be the wiser- and if you're lucky, you may get away with never having to change a diaper again, but I doubt it.

Second... Spit up. No matter what they tell you, it's less "spit" and more "puke." Some kids just dribble it, others can shoot it out of their mouths and aim it across the room like they were using a missile guidance system- sometimes they get the cat, but most often it's your favorite dress shirt or sports jacket (if you're dumb enough to be wearing it around a puking geyser). True, it's just formula, for now, mixed with stomach juices and saliva, but one day it will be more consistent with the kind of throw-up you encountered that last time you over did it on the Tequila and tacos (wait til your kid gets the stomach flu for the first time), so build up an immunity now. Don't hold your newborn without a burp cloth either over your shoulder or on your lap. And a lobster bib, a big one, might not be such a bad idea either.

And, finally, snot: what would the world be without snot? Well, although it's every parents dream to watch their child discover their snot for the first time... and eat it (the kid, not the parent, although it happens, in traffic, a lot), you are many months ahead of yourself for that kind of spectacle. Instead, prepare yourself to wonder how that much ectoplasm comes out of a kid that small. Your newborn sneezes, and its like watching a magician pull a handkerchief out of his nose- it just keeps coming and coming. It oozes, and dangles and drips right into you kids mouth before you even have a chance to grab a Kleenex. Or it hardens and peaks out of the nostril like a groundhog in search of his shadow, but if you go to pull it out it becomes more like an Anaconda, a long, slippery one, with no end in sight. Its gross- but it's your kid, and, therefore, your snot. So buy stock in Kleenex, if you know what's good for you.

And there you have it, the s@#!, the crap, the grossness of being a first-time parent. And you don't even know the half of it...

Stay tuned for our next tutorial, entitled: "The Difference," when we tell you the truth about how much your life is really about to change... boy does it ever.



FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES: TEACHING YOUR TODDLER THE LINGO (OR LANGUAGE)

"WHATTUP!"
As someone who moonlights teaching English to adults (technical writing for business of all things), I know the importance of mastering the language, and the earlier you can grasp all of its concepts the better. So you won't hear me complain about the fact that my 15-month-old daughter is well ahead of the curve when it comes to conquering many of the common words you and I use everyday. At last count, I think she had mastered about 50 of them, but more importantly, she is slowly beginning to put two and two together and stringing a couple of words together at a time to make short, grammatically incorrect phrases. Now, I'm not saying she doesn't need some work when it comes to diction, or inflection, or verb conjugation- she should conquer that by junior kindergarten- but for now I'm happy to see that she understands the concept of communication, and its importance to her development.

Children are sponges, and with so many people (me, her mom, grandparents, caregivers, aunts and uncles) to help her learn the lingo, it amazes me what comes out of my daughter's mouth on any given day. Some days I come home and my wife can't wait to show me the new word or phrase my daughter has learned for that day. In quick succession she has gone from babbling to a few key words like "Mommy" and "Daddy" and "Doggy" to more complex words like "No" and "Now" and "Night Night." And she has no problem using them in the correct context:

"Dylan, are you tired?"
"Night night."
"Do you want Daddy to take you?"
"No!"
"Do you want Mommy to take you?"
"Now!"

But what's more amazing is her ability to put ideas together on her own. It's one thing for your daughter to know how to properly use the words "more" and "please," but watching her put them both together for the desired result of conning her father out of his whole bowl of ice cream is priceless. Or seeing her frustration when she's sitting in her Zaidy's lap, and he's not paying attention to her when she wants him to read to her, and she grabs the book, shakes it vigorously and says: "ZAIDY... READ!"

In the words of Hannibal Smith, "I love it when a plan comes together." And, there is nothing that makes me prouder than to watch my daughter conquer the complexities of the English language at such a young age. Sure, all her friends are walking, but I'll take talking over walking any day. Why get something yourself when you can ask someone else to do it for you? My kid knows her first and her last name, her age, and her favorite colour (yellow). She is able to effectively communicate when she is finished eating ("all done"), when she wants the food off your plate ("french fries") and the appropriate way to pet a dog (while gently stroking the beast say: "nice"). She even knows her geography, playfully screaming "Bubbie" when we are within three blocks of her house. Sure, she still likes to say "hi" repeatedly to every person she encounters, forcing me to strike up conversations I don't want to have with complete strangers, but you take the good with the bad. From my experience, and this works for adults too, first you teach them the words, and then you teach them when to use them.

Here are some helpful links to help you get your toddler down with the lingo:


http://www.englishclub.com/young-learners/english-for-babies.htm
http://www.pbs.org/parents/readinglanguage/baby/talking_milestone_baby.html
http://www.ivillage.com/baby-talk-8-easy-and-fun-ways-improve-your-babys-language-skills/6-n-136622
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1968874,00.html

And, remember, if you want the TV to teach your child the language be prepared for some interesting conversations... with your daycare provider, other parents, child services...

FEATURED FATHER OF THE WEEK: ACOUSTIC ANDY HOLDS A HIGH NOTE


It's been a while since we found a worthy contender, but we think Andy's a winner, and we're sure his baby girl agrees. So here's to you Andy, our fifth (or is it sixth?) Father of the Week. Its just nice to find a video of a father singing to his daughter where the father can actually sing. It's rare. Very rare. For that, we take our hats off to you.


SCREWING THE POOCH: FROM "PET PARENT" TO REAL PARENT- WHY TREATING YOUR DOG LIKE A BABY IS INHUMANE


"Say: Buh-Bye...."

All Right. It's hard to be the bearer of bad news all the time, but I guess somebody has to do it. And, although it's not my place to take the narrow views of the innocent and turn them inside out until their world's implode - I don't see anyone else here to do it. This is a very delicate matter, one that will make local dog "boutique" owners bitterly angry with me, but here goes...

Hey you, with the Pomeranian dressed up like he's Baby Huey, guess what, he's not your frickin' baby, and in some countries, where daily survival is still an issue, they call him dinner. So wake up! And, don't even think of trying to argue with me about it...I have eight years of working in the pet industry under my belt, and I can see your kind coming from a mile away. Problem is, much to your poor dog's chagrin, you don't see the error of your ways until it's too late- until after you have real, honest, human children of your own. And who pays for it- your stupid, prada wearing, gold encrusted, leather studded, collared dog. That's who.

Why does everybody always think they're re-inventing the wheel? You see a young couple buy a puppy, as a kind of precursor to parenthood, and all you can do is shake your head knowing what's coming next. First they buy about two-thousand dollars worth of useless crap that they could have gotten used on Craig's list for $150 bucks. Next they pay thousands more in training classes, and specialty leashes, and collars, and special foods , and special dishes, and special costumes for Halloween. And before you know it, you've wasted a few grand on an animal that is so far removed from nature it wouldn't be able to survive ten seconds on the streets. And, that cute puppy is now a 150 lb. dog that no one, including you, wants around  because he's no longer cute, and he drools, and he sheds, and he bothers the crap out of everyone, especially all the people whose houses you take him too because he's "your baby" and you can't leave him alone at home. NO! He's a dog, and in some countries, they leave them tied out to stakes in 30 below weather... and they don't mind. But what does bother them is being replaced... and although few young couples can see it through the credit card payments for doggy spa days, the second they have a child, a "real" boy of their own, little Pinocchio, the Doberman Pincher with the long snout, is S.O.L.



Any experienced parent will tell you, once you have kids, your dog becomes a second class citizen. And not only that, but the dog that you once revered and adorned with gifts like it was an Egyptian God, suddenly goes from "totally sheik to totally geek." Yep, when you have your first child, your dog becomes persona non grata. And if he barks, or growls, or does anything to either threaten the well being of the baby, or your well being by affecting the babies sleep habits, he'll be one step out the door before you can say Iams. If your baby develops an allergy - gone. If your baby develops an irrational fear- gone. If you and your wife continually forget to take him out to relieve himself outside, like you had five times a day before the baby came- he's gone. Once a baby arrives, it doesn't take long for your dog to get the picture - you used him. You used him for practice, and once the real thing arrived he was no longer necessary. And, let's face it, once you have a kid, you begrudge your dog's very existence. You hate walking him, and feeding him, and remembering to put water in his bowl. You have disdain for his need to scratch at the door, and lick himself only a few inches from your head while you sleep. You fume about every accident he has on the rug (even though they are always your fault), and you forget that you pledged a responsibility to care for this animal- til death do you both part.


So what do you do now? You let the nanny walk him, and feed and water him too. Or, you just open up the back door every morning and hope that he gets the message and just runs away. He was your first "baby" but he's now obsolete... and no one saw this coming, except every family member that told you not to treat your dog like a baby, knowing full well the day would come that you'd ignore the crap out of him, only caring if god forbid something terrible happens and he needs to go to the vet to be put down. Otherwise, you'll treat him like dirt, because all he does is make more work for you as your try to manoeuvre around the tiring world of real baby crap. Ah, the human condition. If only dog's were smarter... they would eat us. For now, they're relegated to responding to our whims, both good and bad.

So, to all the young couples thinking about getting a dog as a kind of practice run for having children - don't - the two aren't even remotely the same, and the only one that suffers will be the dog. Why don't you do it the logical way- have the kid and wait until he or she is old enough to ask you for a dog, only to have to explain to him or her that dog's are too much work and goldfish are the way to go. Now that's intelligent.

And if you want to inappropriately dress someone or something up in rhinestones, watch Toddlers & Tiaras... now that's creepy. 




WELCOME! TO ONE AND ALL....


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If you are new to Fodder 4 Fathers, we would like to welcome you into the fold. First-time fatherhood (and motherhood for that matter) is no easy task, and we hope you learn as much from us as we do from you. Please, if you like what you read, take a moment to click on the link to our facebook page and give us the "thumbs up" as we will be updating it from time to time with pertinent information you and your family be able to use. Thanks for stopping by, and we hope you will come back again.

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Please spread the word. New Dads shouldn't have to suffer ( I mean, experience first-time fatherhood) alone.

Fodder 4 Fathers

DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER: WHY IT SUCKS SOMETIMES TO BE THE GUY WITH THE EASIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK


If you've been following along for some time, you know, from time to time, I like to voice my opinion on everything and anything associated with first time fatherhood. And, by voice my opinion, I mean complain. But the fact is I don't really have anything to complain about. Sure, like any parent, I'm always tired and that's 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no end in sight. It comes with the territory, but it's not a screaming child that keeps me walking around like a zombie, it's the schedule I now have to keep to satisfy the needs of three people- my child, myself, and my wife. But, having heard many of your parenting horror stories, I know I shouldn't complain because I'm getting off easy. Really easy.

Case in point, yesterday I was at a baby naming for a friend's third child. I was surrounded by babies and parents of all ages, personality types and neuroses. It would have made a great nature/nurture study as watching the various parenting styles I couldn't help but wonder if nervous parents create nervous, neurotic children and if calm, collected parents make carefree, confident children....or maybe children are just born who they are going to be from the get go? All I know is, so far, from what I've seen, I have the easiest kid in the world, and it's nothing I did. And every time it was time to go around the table and share a parental horror tale, I didn't have one. I just don't have that kind of child. Sorry.

As parents, my wife and I are just as lost as everybody else- but a daughter that sleeps and doesn't cry surely helps us out- a lot. Sure, there's screaming and crying (usually two minutes before her regular feeding time), but rarely is there a meltdown- on my or my daughter's part- when we are left alone together, and thus I can handle almost everything else you throw at me. Diaper changes aren't that hard once you learn to hold your breath. Puke doesn't bother me as long as I remember to close my mouth (to keep the puke out) the second my daughter's stomach makes that Princess Bride "fire swamp" noise. I can tune out that fake crying that she does when she's crabby or overtired, so that doesn't affect me.  And, she can throw all her food on the floor for all I care because we have dogs- and they eat everything. Crying in the middle of the night doesn't wake me up- I go to sleep at 3 a.m.. And, my daughter's need to scream every morning between 7 and 7:30 for a bottle is easily solved with a little preparation... I simply get up, pull a pre-made bottle out of the fridge, warm it up, hand it to her in her crib (with a pre-selected book) and go lie in bed until she's in a better mood (which usually only takes until she finishes the bottle). It's all about finding a system that works for you.

Sure, my daughter has slept 12 hours every night, without fail, from the very first day we brought her home. Sure, she takes regular naps. Yes, she's a good eater. And, of course she loves the bath and her ability to use her splashing skills to empty one. But, don't blame me for it. I'm innocent! I just got lucky- this time. My kid, through a freak stroke of luck, came out of the womb pre-programmed to chill, and because of that I come off looking good. But don't think for a second that I don't know how easy I have it. While I'm sitting at the table eating my breakfast in peace while my daughter is being passed around the room to anybody and everybody that wants to hold her (I started this on day one at the hospital, by the way, as I knew it would come in handy later on), I'm listening to all the mothers at the table share their horror stories, and I'm taking notes.

Why? Because I know my next kid will be a terror by comparison. What do I know about sleep training, or colic, or separation anxiety? These are all foreign concepts to me... this time around. But, sooner or later, I'm gonna have to learn to deal with such things, and it's gonna suck. So, hate me now, as you're up in the middle of the night rocking your baby to sleep, but when your second kid causes you similar trouble you'll know what to expect, and how to handle it- I'll be totally lost. So take solace in that. And, if I complain, it's all relative. My kid may be easy, but she's still a baby and as we all know raising a kid is no walk in the park (unless she can verbally tell you what she wants at a mere 15 months of age and doesn't walk- very much- because she's lazy and prefers to read quietly to herself on the floor). Okay, you can hate me now...

TIME KEEPS ON TICKING... BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN I WANT A WATCH FOR FATHER'S DAY!: ONE MAN'S FIGHT TO RETIRE OUTDATED FATHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS


With it being so close to Father's Day and all, I thought I'd talk about something that hasn't made sense to me... well, ever. As far as Father's Day (or any other occasion for that matter) goes, what's up with men asking for fancy watches as gifts? I don't get it. When I got married, my in-laws offered to buy me a watch as a kind of "thank-you" for taking their daughter off their hands, but I had a hard time biting my tongue on this one (I hated the idea) and so I asked: "why?" In this day and age, especially with everyone and his brother walking around with a cellphone with a digital clock built right in, why does anyone need a watch? It's as out-dated as, well, a wedding ring now that everybody can look up your status on facebook.

Sure, I get that a watch is just a piece of jewellery at this point...something flashy and expensive to show off to your co-workers at your next "big" meeting, but can't you just pull out your macbook instead? It's flashy. It's "hip." It's got the right price tag that tells people you're an up and comer. And, guess what- it also has a clock! And, it comes is an array of colors, and you can even get a fancy carry on bag ("koff"- purse) for it to match your shoes. Am I making fun of people that still enjoy a good time piece as a fashion statement- YES, I AM! It's technology that should have died with the Commodore 64 and the pinball machine. Next you're gonna tell me how vital it is to your ensemble that you carry an engraved Cross pen with your name on it. Why? You have a touch screen on your ipad?!?... How often do you need a friggin' pen??? Do you really need a fancy one to sign your Visa slip at your favorite over-priced restaurant so the waitress will think you're the sh@#? No. Because, one, you're married with a kid (or at least I am) even when you're entertaining clients, and two, if you think people think you're cool because you have an engraved pen that cost you a few hundred dollars, you're so uncool that nothing will ever help you overcome that.

What am I saying? Honestly, at the end of the day, I really don't want a watch or a pen or a tie clip or a silk tie or a wrack of silk ties and some tailored suits from Japan for Father's Day... I got enough of that sh@# at my bar-mitzvah. I didn't like it then, and I certainly don't care for it now. I'm more practical than that... Just give me a book of coupons to McDonalds so I can treat myself and my daughter to a Chocolate Milkshake every day for two weeks and we'll call it a wash...that and a day-long nap on a hammock in my backyard as someone else (preferably hot) does all the work around my house that I no longer have the time or the energy to do. Maybe in a few years from now when my blood-pressure goes down enough to golf, I'll ask for clubs, but I'm sure golf bags will have advanced enough by that time that I still won't need a watch... unless, of course, it's a fashion statement.

Father's Day is Sunday, June 19th, 2011. Here's what other men, like you, say they want from their wives (er, kids):

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/father-day
http://www.tiptoptens.com/2011/04/18/10-best-fathers-day-gift-ideas/
http://familyfun.go.com/fathers-day/fathers-day-crafts/ 
http://www.fathersdaygifts.org/

http://www.amazon.com/Fathers-Day-Gifts-Sale/b?ie=UTF8&node=502661011
http://www.zazzle.ca/funny+fathers+day+gifts
http://www.findgift.com/Holidays/Fathers-Day/
http://www.leadingedgegifts.com/uniquegifts/fathersdaygifts.shtml?gclid=CP2Jva3KmKkCFcW8KgodIhWnwQ

THE DAYCARE NIGHTMARE: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MAN (YOU) PLANS AND FATE (ANY THING THAT CAN GO WRONG) LAUGHS IN YOUR FACE.


Let's be honest. No matter how much you love and/or adore your kids, children are a burden- a burden that you chose to spawn, which makes them your responsibility (well yours, and depending on how the division of labor works in your house, more so your wife's). They require constant care 24/7 that no one in their right mind would be able to handle alone (if they ever wanted to keep their sanity), and if you and you wife both work, you have no choice but to farm out your responsibilities, from time to time, to a secondary caregiver, or daycare facility, if you will. The whole transaction seems quite simple: you pay a set monthly amount, they watch your kid while you are at work. It should be so easy... but it never is.

Whether your child goes to a daycare with three kids or thirty, the rules all seems to be the same: they make them up to suit their needs. I can't tell you how many times me and my wife (well, to be honest, it's usually my wife) have been called at work to pick our daughter up from daycare because she is sick. Sure, sometimes it's because I sent her there with a bit of a fever (barely, at 99.1 degrees) in the first place, and in my defense, I sent a thermometer and a bottle of Tylenol too. Other times it's because all the other kids at daycare got sick, and even though my daughter looked healthy (to a doctor) the ladies at daycare said she looked sick and should go home. Can't tell you how much fun it is to leave work to go pick up your daughter from a half day of daycare that you're still paying for (I really can't, my wonderful wife always does it), but it sucks! It's a waste of your time, and money.

I mean, why do you pay for daycare in the first place? Because you can't watch your kid between certain hours of the day, right? And whether your kid is sick, or healthy, the fact that you need to go to work doesn't change, right? And, if your kid gets sick with something mild, like a cold, which she probably got from daycare anyway, you should be able to send her there and expect the same level of care, right? WRONG! And, if your kid has to stay home, and you have to take off work for an entire week to watch her because your daycare provider won't assume the "responsibility," you shouldn't have to pay for the missed days, right? WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! It's all so wrong. I haven't seen a more lop-sided contract since Donald Trump married his third wife (and she got the raw end of the deal for having to sleep with him). They take in your healthy kid, watch him for a few uneventful days, get him infected with some other kid's germs that lay dormant until such time as you have an early meeting that you can't miss or your wife has an appointment that she can't reschedule, and... BAM... your kid's sick, and the place that got him sick won't take him in (forcing you to stay home) and on top of that, you have to pay for the service even though you're at home, missing work and watching your own kid.

Does this sound familiar?

  • Kid falls and bumps her head (even though it's because no one was watching her)... Daycare calls: "You should come and pick up your daughter....she's got a bumpy" - that I couldn't even find.
  • Kid feels warm to the touch (because she's been sitting in front of a window, during summer, with the sun shining on her for an hour)...Daycare calls: "You should come get your daughter....she's got a raised temperature" - that was 98.9.
  • Kid's lips well up like two pieces of uncooked liver (because no one told the new kid that peanut products were not allowed)... Day care calls: "Your daughter had an allergic reaction, and you may want to meet her at the hospital...."- it wasn't my kid, it was this one (press for picture).
Sometimes I just think it will be cheaper just to have a second kid and get the economies of scale of having a live-in Nanny (did I just say that out loud?- don't tell my wife). For now, I will resolve myself to the fact that every fourth time my daughter gets sick and has to stay home from daycare I will be staying home with her- right in line behind my wife, my mother-in-law, and my mother, the way nature intended it (or, I'm just that low on the totum pole). After all, I'm really just complaining about the money. Nothing I hate more than paying for a service I didn't get (no shiatsu jokes today, sorry). I guess what I'm really trying to say is... is there a tax write-off for having to send your kid to daycare, even through she never stepped foot through the door? Well, there should be... and my wife would be entitled to it... and not just because the government says so.

Stupid germs... 

The End!

Here's are the pros and cons of a variety of child care situations. Enjoy!: