If you are nervous about becoming a new parent, want some information about early childhood development or just want to read some cute stories and anecdotes, this is definitely the post for you. I will tell you, I was very nervous to have a kid. I was very excited, but moments of terror would flood into my head when I would think about the future. My wife, Monika, was very helpful during this time. But how much stress do you want to add to your pregnant wife? None. The answer is none. In fact, I tried to never make her stress level more than a 3/10. It didn’t work, but I tried. The first 10 days of our pregnancy was insane and I didn’t want her to have anything that stressed her out. Her father died in a foreign country 6 hours before we found out that we were pregnant. While trying to deal with that, a few days later she had a very painful infection. And early the next week we thought that she lost the baby.
I know this is not terribly up-beat but I wanted to give context. I promise, the rest will be fun. Needless to say, it was very stressful and I wanted to try to avoid anything else the whole pregnancy. So, I did what men tend to do to keep stress of their wives, hold it in. What helped me was reading positive stories online that would flip me from terrified to excited. So, if you are nervous, keep reading this post.
Something that you really won’t understand until the days come, is the amount of pride that you have for the most ridiculous things. My first time feeling this was literally the first day after his birth. He was lying down on top of my exhausted wife in the hospital room and popped his head up. I couldn’t believe it. I knew nothing about child development, but I knew that wasn’t normal. I immediately texted my mom. My mom told me something nice and dismissed it, assuming that I was delusional and exhausted. He did it a second time, I pulled my phone out and missed it. I sat with my camera app open for a solid half hour, just waiting.
Finally, I saw his head popped up, took a 5 second video and sent it to my mom. She was incredibly shocked. I told doctor and he said “sometimes on the first day blah blah blah…he wont do it again until he is around 2-4 months old.” A few days went by and I figured he was right. But every few days he would pop his head up for a few seconds. By three weeks old, he could be held without supporting his head. To almost anyone, that is a boring story; when it is yours, you helped make Superman. We were actually going to name him Sampson, but I thought it would be terrible if he ended up a weakling. I started regretting that quickly.
Laughing/playing is another of my favorite milestones. I remember my first game with my son and the first time he smiled with me. He would kind of smile in his sleep and my wife could get him to smile a little bit. He was crying and I was trying to give my wife a break. I held him in my lap and started pretending he was a race car. I would bob him up and down while we were “shifting” and sway him back and forth when we were “turning” with all of the sounds to go along with it. He got the biggest smile either of us had ever seen. When you realize that you did that, it makes your heart melt.
This is only one example of the countless games that I have invented over the last two years. Playing will definitely be some of your favorite memories. It will be some of their favorite memories as well. I have many great memories with my dad. One of my earliest is us chasing each other around the kitchen, living room and dining room with these toy guns. In fact, I still know exactly which guns they were too and I can vividly make them out in my head.
I can remember a lot of firsts with my parents, because everything is a first for a kid. I’m hoping that is what will happen with my son. Sharing new experiences with someone is something that makes you bond. Think of something that you like to do and I bet that you can remember the first time you did it and who you did it with. Sharing those experiences with your child and seeing them enjoy something in this brand-new world that they know nothing about is fun and heartwarming.
I promise, when you have a kid, the strangest things become vivid, happy memories. I can even remember the first time that he laughed at something on tv. He was 9-months-old and we were lying down, watching Curious George after we just moved into our knew house. George and The Man With the Yellow Hat got sprayed with water when a car drove by. George shook his head and made a funny noise and my son laughed like crazy. He is two now and after his bath, we watch Curious George every night before he goes to sleep. He will be finishing his bath and he will say “Yilk n Geoss (milk and George).” I know that means he is ready for bed.
The way they talk gets to you too. Around 9-11 months, kids will start talking and by 2 will likely have 25-50 words that they can say. They will be so cute, that you will use them with your spouse. You may even use it accidentally with someone that will cause and interesting pause and explanation. My son’s first word after the standard mama and dada was our dog’s name, Athena. First it was just “Nana” after we would come home. Then he would crawl toward her with a big, naughty smile, grab her face and yell “Hi na na!” Now he is calling her, “Atena, com” so that he can get in the drawer, grab the treats that he isn’t supposed to grab, and get her to chase him
I’m not kidding, I could do a post on cute things that my son says and the context in which he says them. I will do a few. Hey, it’s my post, I can do what I want. “bubwee soulo” is one he recently picked up. He is trying to say “bubbly sour” but is not quite there yet. We have a soda maker and we add lemon or lime juice to it. “Yaki” and “yaki sous” are teyiaki and you guessed it, teriyaki sauce. It is his favorite food right now. But the absolute best one comes from his grandma “see see oney.” He is trying to say “excuse me honey.” I can hear my mom’s exact speech pattern when he says it. Everyone absolutely finds if freaking adorable.
Seeing him in a performance was an amazing experience. My church did a Christmas thing and all of the kids had something that they were supposed to do. I genuinely thought that parents went to the plays for moral support, but you actually swell with pride as well. He was only 20-months old and all he did was shake some bells, but man was I proud. I probably had the dumbest smile on my face.
We wrestle nearly every day and I can’t tell you how important this is to do. I know this is kind of an era where we try to suppress a little boy’s aggression, but it is actually pretty important. Plus, it is super fun for you and you will enjoy it. If you have ever seen a kid that tends to smack people a lot and run away, it is likely because they haven’t learned the appropriate time to be aggressive or only get attention when they act up. These are not the only reasons, but they are common ones.
Before my son could walk, he was chasing after me to wrestle. He would crawl at light speed to “push” me over. Well, I would sit down and he would push on my leg, then I would fall on my back so that he could climb on top of me. There are times when they advance so quickly that it seems as if they get stronger in a week. That is very fun to see. But, we have never had an issue with him hitting other kids. If he doesn’t want to wrestle, we don’t wrestle. If daddy can’t wrestle, we don’t wrestle. That way he learns that it must be mutual. And don’t worry about them getting hurt. I have accidently donked him in the head with mine, and I swear it bothers me more than him. But heaven forbid he trips walking toward something, then it is catastrophic.
One of the best parts is that you are the greatest stand-up comic to ever walk the planet to someone. It is surprisingly validating; I can see why actual comics do it. Something as simple as bonking your head against the wall when you’re pretending to go to sleep will get you a standing ovation. Pretending that you’re eating their arm can make you into Richard Pryor. You can goof around in public and not seem ridiculous. In fact, it just looks like you’re a good parent. I shove a shopping cart that he is sitting in and say “bye bye…Oh no, come back” and run up on him just to stop in front of his face. That is absolutely hilarious, apparently. Then I look around and people are smiling at me. When was the last time that you could act like that in public and people found it endearing?
If you are reading this because you are scared to have a child, welcome to the club. But by the time that they are a one-year-old, the bond will be stronger than you can imagine. And for the guys out there, don’t kick yourself if you don’t feel as attached as you think you should be. I wish someone told me that before my son was born. The moms have 9 months to start the bonding, you have to start when you see them. I felt so guilty that I didn’t feel what I thought that I was supposed to feel. I never hated him or anything but I didn’t really connect with him until we could kind of do stuff together.
Trust me, you won’t regret having a kid. Being scared is normal. It is stressful for sure, and I understand that they can show up in less than ideal circumstances. Every time that they accomplish something, learn something or play a game, you will be so happy and proud.
If you now happening to be wondering ¨Should I have kids?¨ Well, I just happen to have a post called Should I Have Kids?