Dom Perignon and Runny Nappies.

Well, she’s been one big old week. If life was a roller coaster – I’ve just experienced it first hand. All in all though it’s been a cracker. 

Rewinding to last Saturday : Lisa and I were celebrating some epic news. Hold your horses folks … no baby news … we aren’t planning or hoping for anything on that front! We cracked the Dom Perignon to mark a very special day – the day that we found out Lisa got an amazing job offer. It’s an absolutely amazing job and the whole experience for Lisa (and for us two lads) will be so cool. I’ll be sure to blog about it as our lifestyle is about to change substantially. We’ll be well and truly surrounded by culture, community and awesomeness. More on that front soon. 

But the next day wasn’t so flash. Don’t be running to conclusions though – it wasn’t a hangover or anything silly like that. Lisa started puking (and the rest that accompanies the stomach flu) Sunday afternoon. Then our friends got the bug and Finny had the runs too. Ever had a Thai Laksa? Well that perfectly matched his nappies. I was the only one feeling chipper. I couldn’t figure out why it had skipped me but I was counting my lucky stars. Must be the luck of the Irish?!

Lisa started to pick up a few days later. Then suddenly I felt a strange wave rush over me after dinner Tuesday night. And the fun began. Irish luck turned to Murphy’s Law. It was shocking. I can’t go in to detail – you might never return to my blog! But I have to say, we were bloody lucky that we didn’t both get sick at the same time. I honestly don’t know how we would have coped with the little guy that night. We would have had to call in the troops. But then you feel like you don’t want to ask anyone for help because you don’t want them to get sick … it’s a dilemma. What would you do??!!

Anyways – the week is coming to a close and I’m managing to keep down my Green Tea and crumpets so that’s just marvellous. 
Finn is still delivering vindaloo a little too often in those nappies of his but the Doctor assures me it will pass. For now, he’s been banned from Daycare. But for all the right reasons! It’s important as parents we don’t spread this sh$t around (literally) – so make sure you respect your daycare’s policies and also invest in some hand sanitiser and a gas mask!

Till next time.

James
Instagram Mayhem

The Terrible Twos… a year too early!?

Who hasn’t heard of the “terrible twos”!? We’ve all heard of those tantrum-fuelled horror stories. Those supermarket moments where the little rascal lays down across the shopping aisle screaming bloody murder. I’ve even witnessed scenes like this unfolding and I’ve always thought that the parents need a wake up call and ought to learn to discipline their child. However, times have changed. I am now THAT parent being glared at by the mid-20s non-parent. Yup, role reversal is legit. 
For those of you who know me, you will know that I am merely twelve months into this parenting malarkey. A few months back I was told that Finn was “advanced”. It’s the old one-liner that every parent just loves to hear. But honestly, I think he is just downright outsmarting me. He is very switched on and knows exactly how to get what he wants. 
The Sky TV remote is like Finn’s little fix. It’s his mission to successfully pilfer the remote, and proceed to change the channel. If he notices that the TV channel has changed he will start scanning the room like a hungry Eagle spotting dinner, just so he can see who has his favourite toy. I often think I’m outsmarting him and try to change the channel then attempt to hide the remote under a pillow. But I swear he has eyes on the back of his head. Within 30 seconds he has tracked down his prey!
As of late, I have noticed Finn belting out his hideous scream. It’s frightfully unbearable. It’s usually when he’s munching on a cracker and he spots a Chicken Curry on my plate. Once he realises that I am on superior fodder it’s game over. Once he gets what he wants he instantly cuts out the screaming and seamlessly breaks into a little chuckle. 
How on earth do we sort this little rascal out? Honestly – it is so funny at times. But I don’t want to be that parent who constantly appeases their child. The last thing I wish for is a gaming-addicted, self righteous teenager. And I’m told 10 years goes by in a flash. 
If you have any genius parenting discipline tips for Hurricane Finn, please feel free to share!
James 
Modern Dad

An about turn perhaps?

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetSo, if you’ve been a ModernDad follower you might just remember my blog on posting images of your children online. I have a pretty strong stance on it. To date – there have been no photos of my little son Finn posted online showing his face. However, I’m on the fence right now.

Yep, you heard me. I might have to eat my words. But, I’ll own it like a pro. Give me shit, wind me up – do whatever tickles your pickle. But I’m starting to see a different side of things. Now, just pump the breaks a bit Tonto, I’m not swinging right to the other side of the scale. I’m not contemplating being one of those parents who posts every moment in their child’s life. I’m just willing to consider posting the very odd photo of the Finnster at special occasions or when he’s with his sidekicks.

Here’s what has triggered my “about-turn”… Rewind 15 months – Lisa and I rocked up to our first antenatal baby class. And yes, it was awkward as hell for the first 20 minutes. We had to tell 30 other adults what made us gush about our partners. For those who know me, I didn’t struggle to show my soft and loving side (some of my mates might prefer to call it my feminine side – but they are just muppets) but it was hilarious to watch the macho males shrink back into their little mancaves. Anyways, I digress! The antenatal class has been the most amazing resource for us as it connected us with other great people who were going through the same thing as we were. We have made really great friendships and continue to spend time with the fellow parents.

This past weekend was the joint 1st birthday celebration for the entire group. We all converged, dressed in family colours and had a grand old time. Of course my little Finn was a little boisterous and caused havoc – but hey, who wants a boring child!? Haha. They ate relentlessly, smashed cupcakes, shat now and then, pee’d and tore around the house like little terrors. It was just awesome. There also happened to be a photographer present to ensure that we got a record of that special moment. I started to panic a little as I realised that I didn’t want any photos of Finn online. I then scanned the room, terrified! All the parents at one time or another snapped shots of their little cherubs running amok – and of course they are going to potentially want to post these photos online.

I said nothing at the time. But I went home thinking about the whole situation. I spoke to ModernMama (aka Lisa or AKA The Boss) about the whole thing and we both agreed that Finn might be left out of certain moments and special occasions if parents had to exclude them from their photos. The last thing we want is for our little ninja to be left out of things, or be missing from every antenatal birthday celebration photo.

So … long story short (actually I’m talking bullshit, as you and I both know I can never tell a short story!) … Lisa and I have decided to post a photo of the little guy at his Antenatal Party!

A pretty huge deal for us, and a moment where I’m most certainly backtracking!! I shall await the bombardment of “I told you, you wouldn’t keep it up!”. But hey, I have thick skin so fire away and be prepared for a rebuttal.

Cheers,

James

IG – the_moderndad

The Smoking Preggers

Bogan MumLet’s rewind fifty years when it was more “OK” to smoke while pregnant. What a time to be alive. Well not really. The education back then regarding the affects of smoking may not have been quite as extensive as it is today. I laugh when I hear people say “My mum smoked every day when she was pregnant with me, and look how I turned out!”.  But it comes down to risk. Perhaps not every smoking pregnant woman will end up with a baby that experiences side affects. But let’s face it, would you be willing to take a risk like that?

Here’s a short list of potential problems that your baby may run into if your wife smokes, or if you smoke and your wife inhales the second hand smoke.

  • Lower the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby
  • Increase your baby’s heart rate
  • Increase the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Increase the risk that your baby is born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight
  • Increase your baby’s risk of developing respiratory (lung) problems
  • Increases risks of birth defects
  • Increases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

This information is widely available and widely known, but why do we see people continue to ignore it?! It baffles me, it really does. Just last week I noticed a woman here in Christchurch who would have been more than 8 months pregnant, and she was smoking blatantly. I was shocked, what an unfortunate little baby – the poor little thing doesn’t have much of a chance to start off on a healthy footing.

Dad’s – this is where you can help. If you smoke, then perhaps it might be a good idea to quit as soon as you find out your partner is pregnant. If you continue to smoke then it will make it so much harder on your partner to quit because you will be smoking around her more often than not. You could also get some pamphlets from your GP or midwife and chat to your wife about it. It might be a delicate subject, but it’s not one of those conversations you want to put off until tomorrow. If the conversation and the pamphlets don’t do the trick then perhaps you need to go to the midwife and tell her that your wife is continuing to smoke. The midwife or GP might have some good advice or know of a different way to approach it.

I recall living in the city when Lisa was pregnant with Finn. We lived in a modern townhouse which was pretty convenient for our social life! However, our neighbours lived in very close proximity. Our next door neighbours chain smoked – like a cigarette every 20/30 minutes. We couldn’t open any windows or patio doors as the house would get flooded with their second hand smoke. I had a friendly chat, which was met with a one-fingered salute from them. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t realise I’m like a dog with a bone when someone ruffles my feathers. So in the end, I rallied the other owners in the Townhouse complex and have passed a Body Corporate rule that forbids anyone from smoking in the complex.  Modern Dad : 1. Numpty Smokers : 0.

I hope at the very least, I have got you thinking about this topic. If you are a woman who smokes whilst pregnant and you have a rebuttal – please do comment and Im happy to hear your side of the story. You will undoubtedly be wired to the moon though.

Keep it healthy folks!

James

Baby-brain is now a Dad thing!

Baby Brain (2)

Our darling wives often get accused of suffering from “Baby Brain”, now don’t get me wrong, I would never dream of saying this to Lisa … I know better. The consequences are unspeakable. Pick your battles guys.

When Lisa was pregnant she often chatted to her girlfriends about this baby-brain stuff. One of her friends said that it was poppycock and that it was something that someone just made up. She was very sure of it, and was not going to be convinced otherwise. Nothing motivates me more than getting on the old Google and researching to prove someone who “knows it all” wrong lol. It’s just too much fun.

Dr Laura Glynn, a psychologist at Chapman University, California, claims that baby brain is a real thing. She suggests that women’s brains change so that they will be better able to concentrate on their newborn’s needs after the birth, with the result that they become less focused on the other things, such as where the car keys might be.  She claims that these changes may be brought about by massive fluctuations in women’s hormone’s as well as tiny movements by the foetus. Check out this short video about similar research.

It makes sense, right? Just think about the crazy hormone changes a woman’s body goes through during, and after pregnancy. Don’t pretend you have noticed any hormone affects, mood swings, cravings … us blokes know it’s legit. I don’t think baby-brain is actually a bad thing at all. I think it’s absolute genius. It’s natures way of making sure that mum is 100% focused on baby. Us blokes can look after the menial stuff! Mum’s have a natural instinct or intuition with their baby – it’s just an innate skill. Us dad’s certainly learn as we go, but mums have this amazing talent of knowing what is required. Examples – packing the diaper pack and replenishing it every day, knowing a hungry cry from a tired cry, knowing when to bum pat to get the little one to sleep … not mention countless other abilities!

BUT – have you heard baby-brain for Dads? Well I would assume not. So I’m going to patent it and put my hand up as the first sufferer of the ailment. Yep, you heard me. I’m owning up to having baby-brain. I’m not kidding either. I legitimately think I sometimes just lose my marbles – and it has all started happening since May 9th 2016. I wonder what date that might be?

So the other day, I was having a rough old morning with Finn. In fact, it was St Patrick’s Day and I blogged about it – check out the post. What I didn’t tell you in that post, was how the rest of my day unfolded. We won’t get into the fact that I didn’t end up having a Guinness, but in fact was sleeping by 6pm with manflu. Back to the story. So I drop Finn off at Daycare and pop his diaper back into his cubby in the nursery room. About an hour later I reach for my wallet only to realise I can’t find it. I search my office and my car – no luck. So I exhaust all my options and resort to calling Lisa. Not fun. Can I admit this is the 6th time I have “lost” my wallet/passport/keys. Lisa then suggests I go back through my movements that morning. This concludes in me calling ABC Merivale … and the lovely manager Aimee confirms that yes indeedy – my wallet is safely tucked in Finn’s diaper bag between a fresh nappy and a bum wipe!

Thank god for that. But it really leaves me wondering what’s up with my brain? There doesn’t seem to be much research out there on daddy baby-brain. If you can find it – please send it to me. Have my hormones changed too? Am I now focusing on my little whippersnapper and not the mundane stuff? If so, I guess that’s not a bad thing. Wallets are overrated anyways. Sons on the other hand – they are life’s most wonderful gift.

So if anyone tries to tell you Baby-brain is “not a thing”. Send them my way.

Thanks for reading!

James

Founder of MdoernDad.guru

Breast is best. Right dads?

breastThe old saying Breast is Best is still a big catchphrase today in modern parenting. If you haven’t been to an Antenatal class and you are trying to figure out if it’s worthwhile – just stop thinking and get your butt along to one! The class is a little awkward to begin with but by the third class you start to make some connections with the other new parents. We learned a little bit, but mostly nothing we didn’t already know. The BIG bonus of these classes is post-labour. We have made some great friends through it, and because we are all going through the same challenges we tend to reach out frequently.  For the lads, that means consuming beer and sharing dad jokes. Lisa and the girls all message each other on a little FB message group – it has been golden during the tough times (and yes, we aren’t perfect parents smelling of roses, every now and then there’s a splash of fertiliser).

Feeding was a key element of one of the classes. However, they asked all the Dads to go to another room and think about how we can nurture our wives (or something warm and fuzzy like that). Honestly – I wonder why we weren’t included? Seriously though. What they don’t tell you is that as a Dad – you are the first responder to those feeding emergencies. The sweet granny hosting the feeding class isn’t standing by my bed at every hour on the hour ready to help with this new art of Boob-nutrition. You are the one helping your darling wife and new little cherub learn to feed. Let’s face it – the 2 day old human has no clue and is on a steep learning curve, not to mention your wife has never breastfed so she’s no expert either. Who’s the first person they look to – yep, silly old Dad. So – you learn how to squeeze, poke, prod, massage …yes boys, Im talking about your wife’s mammaries. But all of this action isn’t in the least bit romantic or fun! It’s serious business.

Now – to be fair to the New Zealand system, you are assigned a midwife from the moment you find out you are in the family way. Well actually, it’s more of a mad dash to find a midwife as you pick one from a website – Find Your Midwife. It’s kind of like Tinder for Midwife finding lol.

Your wife (and you, if you aren’t a dead beat dad) visit this midwife throughout the pregnancy regularly. She is also there to deliver the baby and visits almost every day for weeks after the birth. The midwife is a great resource when you are stuck or lost. Our poor midwife got bombarded with a million questions from me – the over-excited newbie Dad.

So, our little Finn, was not overly keen to do things the natural way. It just wasn’t working like the books said it would. Breastfeeding was hard for Lisa – lads we just don’t get it, but it’s a mom thing and we need to just support our darlings through this. Lisa tried so hard to make it work for Finn but it was just not happening and the little guy wanted more fodder. And seriously, more and more people talk about breastfeeding just not working for them now that we openly discuss it. However the midwives are anti-formula up to the 6 week mark. It’s like we are a total failure if we feed our babies formula. Yet I talked to a friend in the USA who said the nurses made up a bottle of formula within hours of the birth as the baby wasn’t feeding properly. I think we would have saved ourselves a lot of stress and anxiety had we been given the option. We were looked down upon and told it was dangerous to feed the baby formula. That’s where this new term “donor milk” popped up. We had no idea what it was. In a nutshell – some moms produce too much milk and have an excess. So they pump the excess into sterilised bags or bottles then freeze the milk. The milk then goes to a milk bank and is distributed to those who need it.

Dad Preparing Baby BottlesNow we have to be honest and admit this was a really hard decision. We were comforted to know that the milk donors go through some very thorough screening and testing to ensure they are healthy. However, it was still an emotional rollercoaster for us to give Finn donor milk. Looking back – it was a good decision. But we also would have went to formula a lot sooner had we not been rookie parents. About 6 weeks in – we shifted to Formula. It was the best decision we made. Finn was finally getting enough milk and was much more settled. Now, is Breast really Best? I think not. The best thing is whatever is best for mum and baby. Don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise.

Breast is best, so we were told. New Zealand has a service called “Plunket”. It’s a government funded organisation and is one of the major providers of child health services. They offer free classes for new moms to attend as well. So Lisa rocked along to one of the classes only to be looked down upon from the group as she was not breast feeding. It was absolutely terrible behaviour – and the person doing the “shunning” was the old lady from Plunket who was hosting the classes. To me, this was beyond ridiculous. How on earth could she think this behaviour is acceptable? We have a perfectly happy and healthy baby who receives nothing but love and affection. The old girl clearly had her own fair share of issues. She also received an official complaint from the protective dad and hubby (silly old me) and in turn received some free training on how to relate to other people in general. What a twit!

So I say to all new parents out there… feed your baby what you can. Ensure they get what they need and that doesn’t necessarily mean breast milk. Let the haters hate. You will do the right thing for your baby to ensure things don’t go tits up. (my dad jokes are bad, right!?)

Keep on being awesome.

James

Founder, ModernDad.guru

Embrace the Poo.

123Prior to Finn joining us (aka turning our world upside down!), I had many male friends give me advice about being a dad, and what it involved. It varied quite a bit, but for the most part the gist of the advice was that the hands-on stuff was for the mum. Now, I have to admit many of my friends are a few years older (by a few, I mean a few decades) and I had been warned about the southern man syndrome – a New Zealand term for a rough and ready, partially chauvinistic male. This doesn’t apply to all my mates … I might be friendless pretty quick if I didn’t clarify that.

Here’s a few of the classic tips I received.

  • Don’t wake in the middle of the night to assist with parent duties. Once you do it once, you are screwed. Just pretend you are sleeping.
  • Don’t consider changing a diaper/nappy. This is not a man’s job. Leave the wife to it.
  • Continue to go about your life as normal. Go to the pub when you normally would, go out with your mates as always, and generally don’t let the baby stuff up your life as you know it.
  • Don’t show your son too much affection.

Now I have to be honest, life is a little bit like Monkey see, Monkey do. I was lucky enough to have a great Dad who was hands on from the start and gave my siblings and I the love and support we needed. My dadding style is largely based on what I experienced from my own dad. But let’s remember, not everyone had the same dad experience as me. So if yours wasn’t a positive one, then you can be the person to change the tradition. I know of a family who has a history of abusive, controlling, chauvinistic males. They have been this way for generations. The guys brush off their a##hole behaviour as a genetic trait, so all of a sudden it’s acceptable. And the women seem to enable them. The son’s born into this family have a small chance to get it right for the next generation. But they will have to stand up and turn the tide. They will be the “real men” in the family. Hopefully.

If you have only one shot to be a dad, don’t you want to do it brilliantly? Who wants to be that dead beat dad that sits on his iPhone and scrolls through his Facebook feed? I took all of the advice from the males around me, filtered it and flushed most of it down the dunny (a toilet, for you North Americans). A good dad wants to be a part of their child’s life, not just pick and choose the fun bits he wants to do.

When Finn came screaming and kicking into the World, I made it my mission to cherish every single moment with him and Lisa. Here in New Zealand, your wife and baby get checked into a “recovery facility” (and no, not along with the alcoholics!) for a few days post-birth. It’s an amazing service, funded by the government. If you are here in New Zealand, do not even consider turning this down. They rolled out a lazyboy for me too so I could be there to support Lisa through the first few nights. The best part of it being that I could ask as many questions to the experts whilst we were there. One of the key things I wanted to know was how to change that first shitty nappy. You know, the black tar nappy. And yes, I took a photo and Im still not sure why, but I did. And you probably will too. But anyways, changing that very first dirty nappy is what you need to do. Don’t put it off and say you’ll do the next one. Roll up your sleeves and get involved. Your missus will feel that you are there for the long haul, through thick and thin.

Here’s a few things I wish I had been told earlier :

  • Breathe through your mouth. That stuff is seriously potent. Like flatulence 22 hours after you’ve consumed a killer Vindaloo. Only twice as deadly.
  • If it’s a boy, cover that fire hose whilst your are changing. It can go off at any point and it soaks everything, and everyone, within a two metre radius. Including iPhones …
  • Pull out the flaps. This is the single most important thing you need to know about diapers and nappies. No sh*t! Literally. If you want no runny poos down the wee ones legs, up their backs, all over your clothes and furniture, then pull out the flaps on the diaper. Easy to spot – they are little white flanges. Once you have fastened the diaper in place, pull those things out. They are life savers. Just do it. Don’t try “living and learning”. But if you do have any hilarious poonami stories or explosions please do share.

A study has shown that Dad’s who spend time with their kids have happier wives. Enough said. Apparently your chances of getting laid, double. Now I’ve perked your attention… lol.

So Dad’s, embracing the poo is so much more than just taking your turn to change the diaper. It’s about bonding with your child and investing in quality time. You may think that your child will never remember whether you changed a nappy or not, and you are probably right, but in the long run you have missed out on HOURS of bonding time. This could have an affect on your relationship with them. Changing nappies can be fun, in fact it can be hilarious. Particularly when your son decides to do a 180 degree flip whilst his bum and legs are covered in baby curry – not fun, but in retrospect absolutely hilarious.

Get involved with the Nappies lads.

 

James

Founder of ModernDad.guru

You the Daddy!

12I have thought about Dad-blogging for the last 9 months… but I just haven’t managed to take the step. Well, I figured it was time to man-up and get it out there. Actually, the wife gave me a swift kick up the proverbial to get my ass in gear. My son Finn is almost 9 months old and is keeping me on my toes! My wife Lisa is an amazing mum and has so many great resources online that cover everything about being a new mum. Forums, FB groups, FB chat groups, blogs, Vlogs. And the list goes on. It makes us Dad’s look useless, when I started looking at the same resources for Dads, I was utterly disappointed. There are a few options out there – but they are few and far between. And to be honest, I’d rather watch paint dry than read the majority of boring blogs.

Today’s world is so different than it was a few decades ago. The role of “dad” has also evolved and the expectations placed on Dads is ever-changing. I want to do my bit to share my dad-experience with any new dads by blogging, in the hope that I can establish a fun and engaging online community for Dads to unite, share, impart and most of all have fun. And I have to be honest, I stuff up often – so bear with me. I’m Irish too – so I’m not sure if that means I have another slight disadvantage lol.

I never imagined just how amazing it was going to feel to become a Dad. It’s seriously an awesome experience. That very first moment that I met my son was simply divine. My world changed forever, and no one could ever have prepared me for that. Now I have to be honest, it’s not all plain sailing. There are tough times, tired times, shitty times (literally!) and everything in between. But all of the trying times are far outweighed by the joyful experiences. Watching my baby grow into a little character is hilarious and exhilarating. And I am learning every single day! ModernDad.guru is my way of doing my little bit for those dads out there who care to go the extra mile for their baby and their partner. Otherwise, for those men who actually give a damn.

 

Please help me, help other dads, by sharing your experiences and getting other dads to join the FB group and subscribe to the blog. Being a dad is simply thee most important role a man has in his life. You get one shot. Make it count.

James

Founder of ModernDad.guru