What to do when you have a baby and your relationship turns toxic

This is a chapter from my upcoming book “The Clueless Father’s Parenting Survival Guide.”

It’s also one of the longest chapters in the book. Sorry about that. But if I could spend an hour of reading and hopefully spare my child years of pain, I’d consider it a good trade.

I’d say probably about 15% of the book deals with preparing your relationship for having children and also things you can do to rescue the relationship if you weren’t prepared for what children would do to it.

Hope you find it helpful.

More

Advertisements

My baby only wants milk, HELP!

My baby only wants milk! Help!

My oldest daughter, now 3, was on solid foods and loving it by the time she was 6 1/2 months old. And she’s a good eater. She doesn’t demand sugar too much, she eats veggies and she loves steak as much as or more than her daddy (that’s me). So I really didn’t get what the big deal was about parents who had a problem getting their kids to eat but I was happy that she was fine.

Then our second daughter arrived and by the end of 6 months she refused to put anything in her mouth other than milk. The real big downsides of this are:

1. The baby wakes up more often during the night for feeding (3-5 times is not unusual).

2. You constantly worry about proper development, are they getting enough nutrition?

3. Washing bottles and preparing baby formula constantly isn’t really what I’d call a hobby I enjoy.

But by the time our daughter was 11 months old, a pediatrician we consulted with said that she was out the bottom on the baby development chart (below the 5th percentile in height and weight) and at this point I really started worrying. As an aside, my wife is petite, so I always knew there was the possibility of our daughters being petite as well, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. Anyways, the pediatrician gave us various techniques to essentially force our daughter to eat. None of them worked and all of them made me feel a little guilty because she was obviously beyond miserable.

We then left Mexico to visit some family in LA and I went and saw the doctor who had taken care of me when I was a kid. She told me all about her youngest son who had been a “milk baby” and the great frustration she had to go through as well as the worries on development because just milk isn’t enough by itself. So she started researching and testing various concoctions until she found one that worked great for her kid and after several months he went up to the 100th percentile on his growth chart and has stayed there for the last 3 years. Her theory was that it wasn’t really the taste as much as the texture of the food that the kids had a problem with.

Now as a note, we already complemented the breastfeeding with barley formula (http://youtu.be/feQ6FcZRgFg) because we don’t like using the powdered baby formula products. So now we were looking adding another supplemental/complementary milk formula to this. I rounded up the products and started making this every morning right when she wanted her “wake-up” bottle and at first she started drinking it and then spit it out. I kept trying until I finally found that with the banana out of the mix, she drank it no problem.

I’ve been giving this to her now for almost 5 months and she has now gone up to the 68th percentile on the height chart so I am relieved and happy. The nightly awakenings are still exhausting but my wife and I deal with it as a team so it’s bearable.

The formula she gave us was: (NOTE: CHECK WITH YOUR OWN DOCTOR FOR THE EXACT QUANTITIES AND INGREDIENTS FOR YOUR KID!!!)

12 ounces of organic vitamin d milk, or whatever milk your baby uses.

1 1/2 Tablespoons of vanilla flavored egg protein powder (I use 1/3 scoop of the protein powder I bought which means basically 8 grams of protein. You have to figure out the proportion based off the protein powder you use and how much your baby should be getting. I know there are dozens of others out there such as whey proteins, but I haven’t checked into any of those yet)

1 tablespoon of Kidsafe Supreme Superfood. This is basically powderized vegetables, fruits and other good stuff with all the amino acids, vitamins, iron, etc… intact. Pretty expensive but worth it.

1 teaspoon of organic flax seed oil

1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses for all the B-complex vitamins. This is a strong flavored ingredient, the doctor recommended a full teaspoon but until I brought it down to a 1/2 teaspoon or about 14 drops, my daughter wouldn’t drink it.

Fill up a 9 ounce bottle. If your baby won’t drink the milk because it is slightly chilly, then warm the milk before you blend it. But I found my daughter preferred it slightly cool. I then usually have about 3-4 ounces leftover and I drink that and then head out with them for daycare.

Hope that helps.

Best,

T.C.F.

 

 

 

Why and How to Have a Baby Shower

 

Having just finished our new daughter’s baby shower and cleaned up all the large cake stains smeared all over the place by small children I figured I’d end the day talking about Why and How to Have a Baby Shower.

In the US baby showers tend to be a small gathering of close female friends who bring gifts to the mother to be to congratulate her and help with things that are needed.

Having now been to a number of baby showers in Mexico I’ve seen that it’s totally different here and I’m assuming in other parts of the world.

If you think about it, a baby shower is the exact opposite of a funeral. A funeral solemnizes death, while a baby shower celebrates life. What’s my point? Every child should have one. It’s a welcoming party that will let the child know that they are welcome and have friends and family standing by to provide them with the love and support they will need to survive during their formative years.

And no one brings gifts to a baptism.

But skipping the philosophical side of things there are three main reasons to have a baby shower listed in order of priority:

1. Finances

2. Friends and Family

3. Fun

1. Finances

It’s a pretty tough world and the economics aren’t that great. Nowadays having a baby can be an amazing blessing that comes attached with the fear of being able to support a family with a baby in it, especially if both parents are already working to make ends meet.

With a baby shower, the expecting couple can be given a really good head start by friends and family because make no mistake about it: babies are beautiful, joyful, exhausting, exhilarating and dozens of other emotions but they are also expensive. I don’t care what your income bracket is, having a child is a major drain that gets placed on whatever income a family has.

Baby showers can help ease the impact of financial burden by a large group of friends and family getting many of the necessities that new parents might spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars buying that they really don’t have.

2. Friends and Family:

Unless you are living under a stone at the back of a cave in a forgotten off shore island, then you know that social interaction is slowly being replaced by social networking.

Call me sentimental if you will, but in these times when everyone seems to find excuses to not get together with family unless there is a funeral, you need every excuse you can find to bring everyone together. And the celebration and welcoming of a new member of the “clan” is about the best one you could hope to have.

3. Fun:

In Mexico, any excuse to party and have fun is a good one, ESPECIALLY with friends and family. Baby showers here involve games, dancing, music, good food and anything else except alcohol. There are plenty of occasions to get drunk on, getting drunk at a baby shower is an action that even the truly tasteless would scorn with well measured disdain.

In the rest of the article I’ll cover each of these categories and most importantly how they affect what type of baby shower to have and how to prepare for it.

More

The Uninvolved Parent

I realize that most people in today’s modern world are simply looking for a quick fix for each problem as it comes up as opposed to the more in depth problem solving that takes hard work, learning and true understanding to help avoid the problem from continually recurring in the future.We have passed out of the Age of Aquarias and entered into the “Age of Google.”

Accordingly I’ve posted the solution to the problem right at the top and then past the read more, the whole theory behind the problem under that. You can take the swift approach or you can struggle through the equivalent of 8 Facebook posts to get a better understanding of the problem itself.

I’m not judging or trying to be preachy. Really I’m not. I just know that while this might help solve today’s problem, understanding more about the problem itself might just save your marriage. That being said here goes:

HOW TO SOLVE THE “WHO DOES WHAT” DILLEMA

The basic problem in what most perceive as “uninvolved parenthood” is simply lack of laid out agreements between both parents. One parent might be completely content doing all the parental work providing that they get one day a month in a full luxurious day spa and a trip to Rodeo Drive. The other parent might be blissfully happy simply writing the checks every month and not having to change a single diaper.

While I think both of the above are being denied the depth of character and the true value of the life changing experience that parenthood actually is, who am I to judge? If that’s what happiness it is to certain people then you know what I say? Let them be happy.

But if suddenly that check isn’t written and that day-spa trip has to be cancelled and then someone has to change a diaper that wasn’t expected, then friction enters into the equation. But you know what? No matter how perfectly people think they have it planned, it is going to happen. Why? Because that’s how life works: unpredictably, with fevers that don’t fit into your monthly schedules and temper tantrums that weren’t on the daily planner.

Life challenges you and forces you to either grow or perish. And parenthood for some is the raw essence of life itself.

So how to avoid the unpleasantness and friction? Settle the agreements. You know “if blah happens so and so does blah.”

Ideally do it before you have the child. Because once you do, there is no going back. And if you won’t provide for that child, they will either die or wind up with real parents leaving you behind with the label of a “biological” one. Being a biological parent doesn’t make you a father or a mother. Even gods have to earn that right, and when they don’t, their children suffer and then eventually even the gods do.

To quote one of the most brilliant lines ever written in a screenplay: “Mommy is name of God in the mind of a child.” But so is father.

So what do you do? Sit down with your partner (ideally before you decide to conceive, but if it’s too late for that, it’s never too late to set things right.) and write out the following:

FOR THE 6 MONTHS FOLLOWING BIRTH:

1. If Mommy has Cesaeraen birth, who is going to help change the diapers and give baths and help feed the baby for the 2-3 weeks while mommy gains full mobility? (Daddy? Nanny? Grandma?)

2. Who is going to wash the bottles? All the time? Or just once a day? Or once a week? What? (If you buy 6 bottles they will need to be washed and sterilized once a day, less if the mother can regularly breastfeed)

3. Who is going to change the diapers? All the time? Most of the time? (Expect up to 8 diaper changes a day until they hit 6 months old. If you change less than they need they will get bad rashes and generally make life miserable because you were to lazy to do the work to change the diapers regularly. And just because life is like that, even if you do change the diaper often enough, they will also get rashes when you change the diapers enough anyways)

4. Who is going to wash the baby? All the time? Most of the time? Some of the time? 1 time a week? 3 times a week? (They will need at least one bath a day although if they don’t puke or pee or poop on themselves sometimes you can get away with a 48 hour gap)

5. Who is going to feed the baby? All the time? Most of the time? Some of the time? (They will need to be fed every 2-3 hours on an average for at least 90 days and possibly up to 180 days)

6. Who is going to feed the baby when they wake up 2-3 times a night? Are you going to trade from one day to the next? Do the parents have maternity leave to be able to deal with the exhaustion or can one stay at home while the other goes to work? If the partner who has to go to work can’t sleep and therefore can’t work, how are you going to solve this?

7. Who is going to get the baby ready for bed?

8. Who is going to read the baby bedtime stories?

9. What do you do when one parent is sick?

10. What do you do when the baby is sick?

11. What do you do when everyone is sick?

12. Who is going to take the baby for stroller walks?

13. Who is going to take the baby for walks in the park?

14. Who is going to do the grocery shopping?

15. Who is going to do the shopping for the clothes and accessories?

16. If both parents are going to work, who is going to care for the baby?

17. What is the agreed “girl time” for mom to relax and hang out with friends and take a short breather?

18. What is the agreed “guy’s time” for dad to relax and hang out with friends and take a short breather?

19. What are both parents going to do about “hobbies” they had prior to parenthood (because you can for the most part just kiss those goodbye. Seriously, donate that X-Box or playstation to your favorite family member.)

20. Who is going to look after baby when mom and dad need some “together time” because you HAVE TO HAVE THAT or you will burn out before the race is even really going. (Nanny? Grandma? Sister?)

21. DISCLAIMER CLAUSE: BOTH PARENTS MUST AGREE TO REVISIT THESE AGREEMENTS FROM TIME TO TIME TO ADJUST THEM BASED OFF THINGS THAT THEY HAVE LEARNED.

And pretty much anything else you can think of that might become a problem. You need to talk about it before it becomes one, or if it already is one, you need to talk it over until you reach a mutual agreement. And if you can’t reach a mutual agreement then realize you’ve hit a point of cancer that will eventually destroy not only the parent’s happiness, but the child’s as well.

You are entering into a life-long contract with a child, and often you enter into it unknowingly in a head first screaming dive off the side of a cliff with an undersized parachute strapped to your back. That again, is life.

And if you can learn how to deal with it, you can learn how to truly enjoy it. And if you think that was too long for your taste or cut a bit close to the bone, then don’t even bother clicking “read more.” But I do hope that helps and wish you the best of luck in enjoying the full depth and breadth of parenthood.

READ MORE

More

Diaper Rash Remedies

Diaper Rashes. All babies get them. Some get them worse than others. So here are a couple remedies to help you get rid of your baby’s rash as fast as possible.

We use “desetin” which has zinc oxide as the active ingredient. Buy that and a box of corn starch, mix them into a sticky creamcheese like paste and coat the entire rash in that. With the new diaper open pour in a bunch more corn starch and close it up. Check every hour. As soon as you notice she pees or poops, pull it off and clean her up. Leave her naked for an hour if you can and repeat.

Then at night add a couple ounces of white vinegar to the bath full of water. DO NOT USE too much or it will make the baby cry. Let them soak their butt in it for 15 minutes or so. For a full baby bath we only add about one or two ounces, you’ll know if you put too much because your baby will call you a jerk as soon as their tush touches the water.

Clean and dry baby.

Then use desetin and corn starch paste again with another layer of corn starch after applied. Change diaper about half way through night. Should be gone in two days maybe three no matter how bad the rash is. Good luck!

Baby’s first real accident and how to prevent them

A day at the park

I know there is a fine balance between underprotection and overprotection but when you land on the wrong side of the equation it really guts you as a parent.

July 2011, my wife and I are eating at a restaurant with a little kids area where our daughter is playing with her nanny. I started getting a queasy feeling in my stomach and told my wife that we should go.

She agreed as soon as she finished eating we would split.

About two minutes later I hear my daughter shriek in pain. I run over and see her running towards me with blood pouring down her chin. I pick her up and hold her as we flag down a taxi and head to the hospital which fortunately is only a few blocks way.

Some idiot had left the cap off one of those big umbrella things that go over the tables and my daughter tripped and hit her chin right on the edge of it.

No stitches needed, but she’s got a decent cut on her chin which is going to be a scar for a bit to remind me of not being slack.

I feel terrible about it but what did I learn from this?

When leaving your child anywhere to play, first check everything for potential injuries and eliminate all those which could potentially REALLY hurt them. The little bumps and falls are inevitable, but the really bad ones are completely avoidable.

Two weeks later the cut has full healed but yes, she has a nice little scar on her chin. The doc says it is going to go away. But until then it will certainly serve as a reminder to me.

Until next time. Hope you have a great day.

Best,

Dare

aka

“The Clueless Father”

http://www.cluelessfather.com

When is the right time for a second child?

When is the right time for a second child?

I haven’t really stated it openly on my blog other than posting a gender test, but its now official, my wife and I went to the Ob-gyn and we are expecting a second child in October.

Honestly, despite the nerve wracking, life bending, reality changing experience of becoming a parent for the first time I wanted to have a second child right away when our daughter was born in 2009.

My wife however, was still a bit gun-shy from the first go around and so I asked myself the question “When is the right time for a second child?” and after thinking about it over and over I finally came up with an answer that is probably the best one that I can think of: “When the mother is ready and wants a second child.”

I mean lets face it, as fathers and men we do share a large portion of the burden of raising a child, but the truth is that we don’t have to go through even a fraction of what the mother must go through physically (and to some degree mentally) to bring a child into the world.

To see your child born is a humbling experience and is one which I feel should always create a bond of strong respect of the father for the mother. No matter what else may come between them in later years, no matter what fights may ensue or whatever, a father should never forget how indebted he is to the mother for bring their child into the world.

I certainly feel that way at least.

Anyways, it’s going to be a two year difference between our children which is just on the border of being “age-seperated” but actually should work great. So far everything points to it being a boy which I am totally stoked about, however, we’ll get 100% confirmation in 4 more weeks.

And while I have friends with 3, 4, 5 and even 6 kids, this will be our final child. Two is certainly enough for the both of us.

I’m curious if anyone else has a different take on when it is the right time to have a second child?

Previous Older Entries