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...

FODDER 4 FATHERS: 2011- A YEAR IN REVIEW- A LOOK BACK AT HOW FAR WE'VE COME, AND HOW MUCH WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE


What a difference a year makes... or is it two? Actually, it's two and a half (or 30 months) since my wife first marched in to my backyard in the middle of Summer, leaned over me as I sat drinking a beer in my favorite lawn chair, and said: "Your boys can swim!" Now, it might have been the beer, or possibly the heat, but something made me lose consciousness at that moment.  Maybe it was vertigo? Maybe it was a natural gas leak? Or maybe, I was poisoned? Nope… it was the prospect of fatherhood. Talk about your panic attacks…


Fatherhood: how the hell did that happen? Well, I know how it happened, but who gets “pregnant” (see: successfully inseminates their wife) on their first try? Well (upon further investigation) me, and every other male member of my family. It’s a family gift, one that, apparently, no one talks about (e.g. Teenwolf).  Sure, I agreed to “try” for a baby, but in my mind “try” meant having sex numerous times (365) before anything took. So you can imagine my surprise.



And there I was dumbfounded, trying to wrap my head around this new information my brain was attempting to absorb.  I was going to be a father. I mean, sure, it was an inevitability-  sooner or later my Peter Pan Complex was going to battle it out with Father Time and I was going to be a dad- but I fought it as long as I could. Now the reality set in, and it was as scary a prospect as any. 


Did I think I’d make a horrible dad? No. But, that’s not to say my role models for this all important “job” weren’t wanting. There was my own father, who, well, we don’t talk about. And my first step father, who, well, we talk even less about. There was my grandfather on my Dad’s side, who was an awesome Grandfather, but based on his failures in raising my dad I’m not sure I’d say he did a stellar job as a parent.  So where did that leave me? Oddly enough, with my older brothers, two people who had no more guidance in this arena than I, but seemed to have taken the bull by the horns and mastered their new-found roles as “dads” quite handily.  And that was all the inspiration I needed.


So, here I am two and a half years later, a dad, a blogger, a role model (I use the term loosely) to other first-time fathers just learning the ropes of this most amazing of journeys, and there’s nowhere else I would rather be. It’s been 12 months since I assumed the name Fodder 4 Fathers”- food for thought on all issues father related- and embraced the idea that the evil that you know is much easier to handle than the evil that you don’t (or was it “chance favours the prepared mind/the more you know the better prepared you will be?”).  It’s been a pleasure to watch it grow, along with my daughter (now 22-months-old). We have picked up many friends and fans and regular followers along the way (dads, moms, grandparents, parenting experts/professionals, etc.) that appreciate our honest, sometimes humorous, look at the trials and tribulations of being a dad, and we appreciate the hell out of each and every one of you.  


Tomorrow is a new day, a new chapter, a new year to celebrate, and we hope to share it with all of you and the many new parents who will find their way to our humble little blog, looking for a glimpse in to their future.  To me, parenting is a way of life; a life I stumbled (no I wasn’t drunk) in to, but one I now embrace with the kind of child-like wonderment my daughter has for each and every new experience that gets thrown my way.  I hope we’ll take this journey together for many years to come.

A happy and healthy New Year to you and yours. May 2012 bring you nothing but prosperity and joy (or bundles of joy). And, here’s to another Year of the Dad!

- FODDER 4 FATHERS

Scene From "Three Men and a Baby"


Our 5 Favorite Post From the Last Year:
  1. http://theevilthatyouknow.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-see-boobies-breastfeeding-and.html
  2. http://theevilthatyouknow.blogspot.com/2011/04/sit-down-youre-rocking-boat-your-babies.html
  3. http://theevilthatyouknow.blogspot.com/2011/04/circumcision-decision-pros-and-cons-of.html
  4. http://theevilthatyouknow.blogspot.com/2011/09/testes123-testes-new-dads-oozing.html
  5. http://theevilthatyouknow.blogspot.com/2011/09/fodder-up-part-xi-new-dads-managing.html
Please Tell Us Yours, and Why. We'd Love to Hear From You...


T










SPREADING THE LOVE: A SPECIAL HOLIDAY MESSAGE FROM FODDER 4 FATHERS

Scene From "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."

Tonight, I find myself being moved by the spirit of the season. No, it's not because someone spiked my eggnog (although, now that I'm thinking of it, that wouldn't be such a bad idea). And it's not because MTV played Do They Know It's Christmas and We are the World, back to back. If anything, it's because, lately, I've been a douche. True, I've been a well-meaning douche; a douche with a purpose, but a douche none-the-less. And the thing is I don't want to be a disposable douche. And I certainly don't want to be the douche that continually misses the mark.

So, in the spirit of the holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa), I'd like to stop detracting from the hard work of others, and give credit where credit is well overdue. Why? Because, whether I agree with your platform or not, if you spend your days trying to make the world a better place for new and older, more experienced parents alike, you deserve my admiration. And in many instances I have failed to give credit where credit is well overdue.

I’m opinionated. I’m passionate. I’m misguided at times, but I always seem to come back to what’s important – the task of helping others, specifically new dads, prepare themselves for the best job in the world. But, there are thousands, if not millions of other bloggers, and authors, and website owners and parenting experts with the exact same agenda (for lack of a better word). And, at the end of the day, no one’s out to hurt anyone. We all want the same thing...

We want happy kids and well-equipped parents, and schools where no kid has to be bullied, and government bodies that don’t over step their bounds. We want information to be free flowing so parents can make informed choices, and open forums where professionals can provide services to those who are in need. We want freedom to have our own unique point-of-view and the respect of our peers- enough so that they don’t try to contradict each and every word we say- and we want to be able to have a sense of humor and not have it attacked for being something other than that. And we want to be able to talk about serious topics in kind, respectful, and meaningful ways. But, most of all, we just want to be able to talk about the joys (I use the word loosely) of parenting.  And I, for one, would never want to get in the way of someone’s joy of talking about one of the most amazing topics in the world today.
 
So, in the spirit of giving, I would like to thank all the authors, birth coaches, breastfeeding consultants, behaviorists, bloggers, circumcision critics, doulas, doctors, experts, entrepreneurs, humorists, parenting pages, moms, dads, psychologists, teachers, nannies, radio hosts, podcasters, sleep specialists, and anyone else who attempts to use whatever practical knowledge they have at their disposal to make the world better place for both parents and their kids. Whatever brought you here (the World Wide Web), we appreciate your efforts, whether we agree with your parenting politics or not.

And a special thank you to all the guys, stepping it up to be the best dads that they can be. Babble may not recognize your efforts, but us up n’comers do, and we thank you for paving the road so that we may follow in your footsteps.

Finally, to anyone who may disagree with the unique position we take almost daily in our blog, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter, we would like to apologize to you… but we can’t. We do what we do, and we do it with honesty and integrity and a sense of humor that is uniquely our own. But, don’t feel so bad; my wife will be the first to tell you my apologies suck anyways. I do, however, promise to work on that as I’m a dad now and, well, it may not be my best quality.
 
In short, a happy, healthy, holiday to you and yours. And in the words of Tiny Tim, “God Bless us, every one.”

HAPPY HOLIDAYS



-That Douche from Fodder 4 Fathers.

FODDER OF THE WEEK: YOU LOST ME AT "HELLO" - PARENTING PAGES DAUNTING DADS - WHY TOO MANY BIRTHING IMAGES IS NOT A GOOD THING

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If I've learned anything from my short tenure as a dad blogger, it is one thing- most dads are squeamish; no, not necessarily at the sight of our own blood, or the sight of one man taking out an entire army with an AK47 (see Rambo), but mostly when it comes to witnessing the birth of a child. And maybe squeamish isn't the right word? Maybe what we really don't want to see is the sight of a woman's vagina (well, mostly our wives') being stretched beyond its limits. And, even if we're cool with it in a delivery room as a means to an end (the end being the birth of a healthy child, our own), we don't really want to see someone else's wife doing it- well, ever. But every day, more and more, I'm seeing the "money shot" on Facebook parenting pages claiming to be "dad" friendly. So I have to ask: do you know us at all?

BATTLING IT OUT: MEDIA MOMS VS. DAD BLOGGERS- WHO REALLY LAUGHS LAST?


I love mom bloggers. There's nothing like an outspoken woman talking about the things that are nearest and dearest to her heart. I'd like to say this was their kids, or parenting, but, more often than not, it's not. Now I'm not saying all mom bloggers go off course from their initial goal of actually discussing meaningful issues like breastfeeding, or circumcision, or co-sleeping, but I guess the temptation to go from a respected source of information for new parents to a sensationalist "rag" that makes outrageous claims to garner more attention is just too much to pass up for some. I mean, who wants to be the Wall Street Journal of parenting when it's just so much more alluring to be a British Tabloid. And who actually wants to do real research when they can just make outrageous claims about something as simple as the "de-evolution" of man based on one test subject: their own husband. And while these watered down posts are entertaining, and even somewhat insightful within their limited scope of universal understanding, there's something that these types of  "media moms" are missing... foresight.


You see, the problem with being a mom blogger is people actually expect things of you. As a dad blogger, I can say all the outrageous stuff I want, because, let's be honest, if I say something intelligent people can't believe it actually came out of my mouth (imagine, a man knowing something about parenting?). But, it's different for mom bloggers, because of their unique "evolutionary" position as the parent who actually gives birth to a child. In other words, dad's a dufus because he can't birth a child or breastfeed, and mom's all-knowing because she carried a baby for nine months and apparently got some magical manual that dad did not. So dad gets carte blanche to make a fool of himself (note, I said himself, not his wife), and moms, if they want to uphold their position as a respected member of the mommy blogs club- the governing body that says moms are all knowing, omnipotent beings- must hold their tongues. Or, so you would think? But it doesn't work out this way.


Unfortunately for mom, moms want to poke fun at dads too. It makes sense, after all- if you're the "smarter" of the two sexes when it comes to rasing a child, wouldn't you berate your partner on a public forum? Wouldn't you generalize the stupid things that your husband, the inadequate shmoe (in your eyes) that YOU married, does, and extrapolate that to mean ALL men must do it? And then, while you're on a roll, wouldn't you just go all out and throw it in the opposite sexes face by abusing an age old clause in the unspoken marriage act that states that they would have to be an idiot to retaliate in a similar fashion... as they would be "skewered" for even trying?


I mean, what would be the harm? You have all the "power," so why can't you just say whatever you want and expect to get away with it? Men are stupid, right? We can't parent, obviously, or do anything else right for that matter. What are we going to do, organize in revolt? Who’s ever heard of a "Million Man March?" Or, better yet, a Million Man Walk-Out, where every self-respecting father, who is sick and tired of being the butt of his mom blogger wife's jokes just takes off for a week-long bender with a million of his bredren to squander all the money he planned to spend on his wife for Mother's Day on strippers and slot machines that will never pay (put?) out. Who would even think that they would get away with such a thing? Well, I know somebody. And he's just crazy enough to put it out there.


I guess what I'm saying is, there is a point that eludes this specific "new" breed of mom blogger, or Media Moms, as they go about the task of belittling dads for the sake of making themselves look like a superior being. Well, actually, there are several. One, for as much as you believe that men have not evolved enough to be your parenting equal, we dad bloggers do understand Newton's Third Law (simply stated: "...for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction") and we know it's just a matter of time until our numbers hit critical mass and your days of bullying us with your insensitive, unsubstantiated blog posts will soon be at an end. Two, there's enough infighting between mom bloggers (well, women in general) that we won't have to fight this battle alone. And three, we don't need to fight dirty, as our public image is on the rise, while, due to the caricatures certain mom bloggers keep creating of themselves,  yours is on the decline.

So, at the end of the day, we don't want you to stop. We actually encourage you to continue down this path, as we (the dads) can laugh at ourselves. And HE who laughs last, laughs best.

See you on the playground.

Related Links:

BARBIE, NO!: ONE DAD'S CHRISTMAS TIME QUEST TO END THE GENDER STEREOTYPING OF LITTLE GIRLS

"Paris Hilton: Human Barbie Doll?"

It should go without saying that shopping for Christmas gifts with a toddler in tow is never a good idea. But only a glutton for punishment would take a toddler along to buy toys. And only a real fool would walk his little girl (and his wife) right in to his own personal hell (the Doll section) and expect to walk out unscathed. Because when it comes to the battle of wills between dad and daughter over the right time to buy her her first Barbie Doll, there is only one loser. And, that would be me.

FODDER OF THE WEEK: THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A DUMBASS DAD ... NO MATTER WHAT YOUR MOTHER TELLS YOU- WHY NEW DADS ARE SMARTER THAN THEY LOOK

Image Courtesy of The Simpsons

Ladies, we all know that you don't really understand the inner workings of a man's mind. Frankly, we count on it.  And, well, if "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist," (The Usual Suspects, 1995) than the smartest thing a husband (and more importantly, a first-time father) ever did was to play dumb... about everything.

FODDER UP! PART XVIII: THE BOOK OF DAD - HOW TO GET IT ALL ON PAPER


They say you can't know your future unless you know your past. But this is merely for those who might be prone to repeating the mistakes of their forefathers (see: former U.S. Presidents with the name George Bush). For the rest of us, it's just nice to know where we come from. Show me a kid that doesn't enjoy hearing his parents talk about the day of his birth, and I'll show you a teenager mortified by the fact that his parents are actually showing the video to his new girlfriend. Otherwise, most kids like to hear about the events that brought them in to this world- as well as any subsequent events that bring a big smile to dad's face as he recounts them for family and friends, ad nauseum.

FODDER OF THE WEEK: WHEN IT'S JUST BETTER TO GO WITH THE FLOW- DADS IN SUPPORT OF BREAST FEEDING


There's war that's raging. It's being fought in bedrooms and restaurants, on public forums and at family gatherings. It's a war on the breast, and when and where it is acceptable to show one. I'm not talking about pornography. I'm not Hugh Hefner, and I'm certainly not Larry Flynt, but I support what they stand for, at least when it comes to defending a person's right to their opinions on what is and is not "art." And if you ask me, breastfeeding is an art form, as any woman who can feed their child, covering up just enough to ensure that no one sees anything they don't want them to see while feeding their child freely in public places (just as nature intended) is showing the world a thing of beauty. And I'm behind that 100%.

Madonna and Child
No. Breastfeeding is not a part of my daily life. Although I encouraged my wife to breastfeed (once I saw the cost of formula) when my daughter was born, it just wasn't in the cards. We tried, but due to medical complications (let's just say a surgery left most of her milk ducts severed), we were unable to produce a single drop of colostrum. And I say "we" because my wife had my full support. I was there with her for three days in the hospital as she tried to feed the baby, and it was a joint decision when "we" opted to stop trying- to save my wife's sanity. But I was mentally prepared to be that dad who supported breastfeeding then, and I'm still the dad who supports breastfeeding now.

I did the research; I know the benefits. Breastfeeding helps strengthen the baby's immune system; it promotes bonding between mother and child; it saves dad about $120 a month in formula; and it provides all the nutrients a child will ever need. True, I liked bottle feeding my baby. I liked being able to bond with my child that way. But breast feeding wouldn't have prevented me from doing that. So what's a dad really have to complain about? Why are people so up in arms over breast feeding?


Okay. I get it. You're uncomfortable with your wife "exposing" herself in public. But, what is she really exposing? Her breasts? Get real. Those things didn't look like that when you married her. And not they ever did, but they no longer belong to you (although, with the right music and some dinner you might get to borrow them on a Saturday night). They belong to your wife, and they belong to your child.

Function over form my friend. Evolution had a plan and you fell for it. Your wife lured you in with one set of breasts, then she convinced you to have a kid, switched to a new set of breasts and now uses them to feed your kid. And it's not like she's exposing anything: there's a baby's head blocking the best parts. If you really think about it, at a quick glance, seeing a baby latched to a breast is like seeing a baby pressing heads against another really, well, squishy baby with no facial features. And hey, if nature's been really kind to your wife during her pregnancy, there might even be some hair on that breast just for extra effect.

That's what you’re worried about people ogling? Dude, if your wife's okay with it, get over yourself.

And what about society: what makes people so indignant over a baby at the breast? People like babies. People (both men, and women) like breasts. What's the big deal with putting them together? It's a woman feeding her child, how is THAT offensive? Sure, it's distracting as you're trying to angle for a look at some nipple (kidding), but you're never going to see it, and if you do it's not going to be in slow motion. So in essence, seeing a woman breastfeed in a public place is about as interesting (or disgusting, in the opinion of some) as seeing a plumber's butt. It's distracting, sure. It's not something you necessarily want to see. Fine. But I don't see every one walking up to actual plumbers and asking them to pull up their pants, so what gives you the right to ask a mom breastfeeding her baby in the restaurant to take it to the bathroom?

Have we just become a culture of grown adolescents who can't be mature about anything? Will you actually deny a child the sustenance of life, the milk from his mother's breast simply so YOU don't have to feel awkward? Get over yourself. Read the fricken menu, order your food and stop staring at her breasts and try actually having a conversation with the person across from you about why you're so repressed that you can't be an adult and eat your meal without scoffing because you're the biggest f**king baby in the room.

Jerry Hall

What I'm saying is, breasts were designed to feed babies. Somewhere along the lines we as a society decided to objectify them for a different purpose. But whose fault is that. It's not natures'. It's not the fault of the mother who wants to simply feed her child. And it's not the fault of baby who wants to be fed every two hours without fail. The fault is the way we see the world. And I guess moms are the lucky ones, because after they have a child their blinders come off and the see the true beauty of the simple things in life, and they’re too busy feeding and raising a child to give a sh@# about other people's hang ups. Yes breasts have a dual purpose in nature, but to everything there is a season: A time to love, a time to hate, a time to reap, a time to sow, a time for peace, and a time to just f---ing grow up and let a mom feed her f---ing baby.


Personally, I choose to go with the flow. I support breastfeeding moms and their right to bare breast in public for the greater good of all mankind (or a least the hungry infants). But, hey, I also support any woman who decides to bare her breasts simply to make a buck (in the confines of a reputable establishment). What can I say: I'm a breast man, through and through. But I can separate their uses, and I'm hoping you can too.

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/05/should-breastfeeding-be-a_n_890196.html
http://www.conscienceparenting.com/2011/12/05/confessions-of-a-patient-husband-breastfeeding-is-normal/
http://theevilthatyouknow.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-see-boobies-breastfeeding-and.html
http://www.blogher.com/got-milk-yeah-right-here-my-breasts
http://www.blogher.com/got-milk-yeah-right-here-my-breasts

DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS: NEW DADS- WHAT TO DO WHEN MOTHER, AND CHILD, GET SICK ON YOU

Picture courtesy of www.cracked.com
If you ask me, fatherhood isn't always sunshine and lollipops. And no matter how much you love your child, your wife, and even your job, there will be days when you just have to ask yourself if it was worth getting out of bed. Now, I might sound like I have a bitter taste in my mouth (that could just be the taste of vomit... possibly my own), but there are times when being a father is just more than you might have bargained for.

You see, where I come from, we don't take the words "involved dad" lightly. "In for a penny, in for a pound," I say. And this means in sickness, health, and when you're hugging the porcelain thrown wishing for death because the stomach bug you have contracted from your now perfectly healthy child has taken over all of your bodily functions.

Yes, the stomach flu is an evil, evil thing, but when you can't lift your body off the couch to make it in enough time to throw up in the toilet, so is any kind of responsibility. I'm talking responsibility to your spouse, your dog, and especially your child (or god forbid...children). Now, this wouldn't be such a problem if you were the only one who contracted this most heinous of horrible afflictions. But if your back up (your wife) is laid up next to you on the couch, moaning and groaning and also praying for some sort of swift death, you might have a problem.

And although TV commercials would have you believe that moms don't get sick- or if they do they're still going to take care of everything- those of us who live in reality will tell you this is not the case. And whereas it is well-known that men are babies when they contract any illness, whether it be the common cold or a cold sore, moms are just plain evil when they are sick. So evil in fact, that they expect you to get up and take care of the kids... even if you're suffering from the exact same thing!


BLATANT PROPAGANDA (JUST SAYING)

"Honey, the baby woke up from her nap." She softly whines as you lie next to each other shivering beneath a blanket on the couch. "It's your turn."

"But, I fed her and put her to bed?" You say.
"I thought it was your turn?"
"I can't get up," she says. "Just do it!"
"But I can't move," you say.
"Even if I had the strength to get up, I think the vomit that seeped between me and the couch has fused me to it like some kind of glue..."
"Get up" she says, gritting her teeth.
"It's YOUR turn."

And so you choose to fight gravity, as opposed to your wife, hoping that the vertigo you are experiencing is just in your head (and won't spread to your stomach) as you slowly try to lift your body off the couch... failing miserably for five minutes. That's when you decide it might just be faster to crawl to your daughter's room on all fours, only to realize that this is only the faster route to emptying your stomach in an unnatural, and uncomfortable way.

But somehow you find the will to go on, as you are cheered on by your loving, and supportive spouse ("Are you kidding me??? GET UP!!! The baby's crying!"). So you gather up all your strength to make it back to your feet. Lifting one lead-filled leg at a time to take one small step after another down the very long hallway.

You make it just a few steps, having to stop to gather your bearings (and hold in your cookies). You shoo away the family dog, now hovering around your like a buzzard waiting for his next meal (well, more like a baby buzzard) as you dry heave before collecting yourself, mustering up the strength to continue on.

The baby cries. "Daddy!!!!!"
"I'm coming Baby," you say.
You wife calls out to you "I need some water."
"I'll get it!" You say.
The dog circles at your feet.
"Get the f--k away from me."
 You say, meandering down the perfectly straight hallway.

"Coming baby."
You say, as you reach the door knob to the nursery, unable to catch your bearings long enough to turn it.
"Coming, sweetheart."
The cries get louder.
"DADDYYYYYYY!!!!!!"
Your wife calls from the other room:
"Where's my water?"

The dog, unwavering in his determination returns, waiting for your first wrong move.

The wet, warm spit slowly fills your mouth as you try to reach some kind of equilibrium, but it's just no use. You finally get the door open, just in enough time to reach the closest acceptable receptacle to do whatever it is that you are about to do... and you let nature take its course.



Wiping your mouth, you close the lid to the Diaper Genie, turning to smile at the awestruck toddler, no longer crying as she watches you from her crib.

"Hi Daddy!"
She says, a look of confusion on her face.
"Hi Baby," you say, as you rush to her aid.
"What can Daddy do for you?"
"Change Diapee." She says.

So you open it up. Nope, no sunshine or lollipops in there. Just diarrhea.

"Just one second, sweetheart...."
You say, opening the lid to the Diaper Genie, one last time.
"Just in case."

And, that's what being an involved dad is all about.

"Where's my water, for #$%^ sake???"

"It's COMING!!!"

Wouldn't have it any other way.

Disclaimer: This has been a dramatization. No animals, or Diaper Genies were harmed during the making of this story. As well, no husbands were ordered to take care of their children, or get their wives a glass of water... they lost that best two out of three Rock, Paper, Scissors duel fair and square... even if someone seems to wait for you to put your hand out first?

Related Links: (Ironically, no links specifically available for dads)

http://www.babyzone.com/mom_dad/womens_health/article/being-sick-with-baby/
http://www.ohbabymagazine.com/blog/when-parents-get-sick/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/526391-how-to-keep-an-infant-healthy-when-parents-are-sick/