Monthly Archives: April 2008

Breastfeeding

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

Alright dads, here are a few things I’ve learned about breastfeeding the last few weeks:

1) You know that old saying there are two things you should never argue about in polite company, politics and religion? Well, to a pregnant woman or a new mom, breastfeeding is just as controversial. From what I’ve read, formula is fine and all but nothing beats the real thing. Therefore I didn’t even ask MJ what she planned to do, I just went into this whole thing assuming she’d breastfeed. Luckily, she agreed and so it was never an issue. But I know couples who have disagreed mightily over this. And guys, if you’re a fan of breastfeeding and Mom isn’t, don’t waste your time trying to show her all the scientific evidence proving the natural way is the best way to go. In fact, don’t say anything at all. Because in the end, your nipples aren’t the ones that will be raw and she has the final say. Arguing about breastfeeding can be dangerous to your health, so even though you may disagree just support her in her decision.

2) Have you seen the cost of formula lately? It’s absolutely insane!! My good friends are formula feeding their new baby and it’s costing them about $70 a week. That’s outrageous. That’s also why I’ve asked MJ to breastfeed Will until he’s about 12 years old. It’s either that or he doesn’t go to college.

3) Breastfeeding is not always easy. I know most of you probably know that, but I’m a guy and I had no idea it was such a complex issue. There are all kinds of different holds and positions and tricks to get him to latch on, but I just thought it was “nipple to mouth” and that was that. So don’t make the same mistake I did and cast a flippant remark her way along the lines of “What are you complaining about? Just stick it in his mouth it’s not that complicated!” Yeah…I never said I was a smart man.

4) Make sure Mom has a good nursing bra. I won’t lie to you, I have no idea what makes a nursing bra good. But I know when MJ got one that was satisfactory, she was a whole lot happier. My advice is to ask lots of new moms what they prefer and buy what they suggest. It’ll make you look like a hero and lets her know you care and you’re involved.

5) Alright, this is the biggie. I’m a guy. Therefore I love boobs. Basically when I see boobs I becomee a stereotypical, drooling caveman and I stare. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’m alone on this one. So even though my wife knows I’m just a sketchy pervert at my core, she somehow thought I would change with the arrival of the baby. And I don’t blame her. After all, I witnessed a new life enter the world. And shortly thereafter, I saw the miracle that is a mother feeding her baby and providing him with the nectar of life. Is there anything in the world more beautiful than that? I don’t think so. When a mother is breastfeeding her child she should be revered because her body is truly a miraculous temple providing all the nutrients my child needs to survive in these early months.

Yet every single time she feeds Will, I have the same reaction:

“Mmmmm…boobies!”

My wife still gets upset every time this happens because — God bless her — she expects more from me and she’s sickened when I turn into “such a guy.” But even though I’m honored she has such high standards for me, I don’t think there’s any way to meet them.

I love her. I love boobs. What’s a guy supposed to do?

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Trading War Stories

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

I’m starting to notice an extremely interesting trend that occurs when my wife talks to other women who have given birth.

When two moms get together and start talking — especially if one or both recently gave birth — the conversation seems innocent enough. What did he weigh? What was his length? How long were you in labor? All the pertinent questions you’d expect women to ask each other. But I began to notice something odd in their conversation after a while. At first I couldn’t pinpoint it, but then all of a sudden it dawned one me.

They were acting just like guys in a high school locker room, in that they both tell bold face lies to each other concerning their experiences and their children!

OK, let me give you an example. My wife started talking with another first-time mom about childbirth. They got through all the basics and then the other mom said “You know, it wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be.” I looked at MJ and waited for her to disagree, but instead, my wife just smiled and nodded in agreement. I couldn’t believe it. This is the same woman who was in so much pain before the epidural that she passed out and vomited. This was the same woman who was shrieking “I CAN’T DO THIS, MAKE IT STOP!” as she was delivering the head. But here she is acting all nonchalant and acting like a tough guy.

Example #2: I’ve found that no mother will admit they are having difficulty with a newborn. That kid could cry for five hours a night and not allow either parent a wink of sleep. But if someone else asks how things are going, the answer is “Well he can be a little fussy at times, but all in all he’s a good baby.” Bullshit. I’m no expert and I don’t have the scientific numbers to back it up, but I’m guessing roughly .04% of newborns sleep soundly — or even close to soundly — when they first come home from the hospital. All these parents who claim their little angel is giving them 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night are lying through their teeth.

Then they start talking about their approaches to child rearing and it’s so plainly obvious they are politely trying to one-up each other. The moms who breastfeed think the moms who don’t breastfeed are doing their kids a disservice. No mothers will admit they use a pacifier at any time other than naps or bedtime, yet I guarantee you that’s how all these moms get their kids to settle down. What bottles do you use? Are they BPA free? Tsk, tsk…you’re killing your baby.

And of course, my favorite phenomenon is when you’re out walking with your baby and you pass another couple with a stroller. And even though they won’t admit it, all the moms start thinking “OK, let’s get a look at this other baby and make sure it’s no where near as cute as my little angel.” And so you stop and each couple looks at the other’s baby and they always give nice compliments. Then they walk away and as soon as they’re out of range the moms will say something like “Hmmm…interesting how other babies still look coneheaded huh? Not like our little one.” Meanwhile the other couple is saying something bad about your kid and talking about how their child still reigns supreme as the cutest baby alive. It’s hysterical but also expected. Even though there definitely are ugly babies out there, no one thinks their baby is ugly nor should they. But I love the competitiveness that gets into these mothers, it can get really fun to watch.

The list goes on and on, but the long and short of it is these moms are basically pounding their chests like guys do when they talk about how much they can bench press or how many girls they’ve slept with.  But all you dads out there should know to keep this to yourself. Don’t ever call your wife or girlfriend on this because she will tell you you don’t know what you’re talking about and you should just shut up already. Just do what you’ve been doing since pregnancy: Smile, nod and agree.

It’s safer that way.

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Sneak Attacks

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

Maybe it’s the reporter instinct in me to suspect the worst of everyone, but I believe my baby boy is toying with me.

It usually happens about 20-30 minutes after he eats. I’ll be holding him and he’ll get this look on his face. He’ll purse his lips and grunt and turn bright cherry red. I’d like to believe he’s thinking hard of a solution to global warming, but as his father I know that face means he’s simply taking a massive dump. And sure enough, as I’m holding him I feel him erupting into his diaper with the force of Mount St. Helen.

When I get to the changing table and open his diaper I’m greeted with the unmistakable sight and sound of baby excrement. And so I begin my fatherly process. I undo the diaper and assess the damage, but I temporarily leave it on him so I can shield myself from a potentially damaging stream of urine. Once I’m satisfied that I’m safe, I quickly discard the used diaper and place the new one underneath him, again shielding myself from his pee. Then I take the wipes and make sure he’s clean down there, and rub some A&D ointment to prevent diaper rash. Then I wrap him up, wash my hands and we’re good to go.

That’s how things should go. But my devilish son likes to play with my head at times.

He especially likes to do this when I’m groggy at 3 am and not on my A game. First I’ll forget to shield myself and when I let my guard down, he never fails to pee on me, himself and even the blinds and window. The kid’s got good distance. Then, when I put the new diaper underneath him and start wiping him clean, he poops on me. Right as I’m trying to clean him, he decides to let loose on me. So I throw that diaper away and put another one down. Not to be outdone, Will reaches deep within himself and proceeds to crap again on the third diaper. So I get a fourth one out, wipe him down again, and mercifully I’m done.

But I swear to God that last night, he smiled at the same time he soiled his third diaper. It was a subtle, fleeting smirk but I’m sure he was taunting me. Just a little something to remind me who is in charge now. As if the shrill wake up calls he gives us every other hour weren’t enough.

And to think I used to cringe when I had to pick up dog poop. Now I’m getting pooped on directly by a baby who I suspect is deliberately attempting to drive me insane. He’s a clever little bugger but I think I can take him.

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Meltdown

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

We had a meltdown at the Gouveia house this weekend. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long but it landed with a thud on Saturday.

I’m not sure exactly what caused it. I think it was just a combination of a lot of small things just building up and then overwhelming us all at once. I’m sure it’s normal and everyone goes through it, but it was ugly around these parts for a few hours.

I’m sure it all stems from the lack of sleep we’re getting. Lack of sleep makes us cranky. A crying baby exacerbates that crankiness. My wife being used as a human pacifier adds some more tension. Then, just for fun, throw in two dogs who are still curious and confused as to why there’s a small, noisy human taking so much attention away from them. So the dog jumped off the couch while the baby was sleeping and apparently MJ thought her tags jingled too loudly. A few minutes later the baby woke up crying and MJ immediately started yelling at the dog. All I did was remind her the dog made noise five minutes before the baby woke up so she shouldn’t take it out on the dog. A few minutes later I was on the computer and I looked over and saw her crying her eyes out silently on the couch. I asked what was wrong and received the standard “nothing” response. That drives me nuts. Who cries when nothing is wrong. Women are insane.

Anyways, a little later we were watching Scrubs on TV. And fittingly enough, the episode we were watching consisted of a husband and wife who just had a baby. The husband was making a video diary of the baby’s first day home from the hospital and when he went into the baby’s room he found his wife holding the baby and sobbing uncontrollably.

“I can’t do this,” she said. “We have to give her back.” The mom on the TV show then went on to describe how she wanted to throw her newborn daughter out the window when she wouldn’t stop crying. Just then I looked over at MJ and saw her nodding in agreement.

I flipped out.

I asked her why she was nodding and she proceeded to tell me that she’s felt that way herself. My wife told me she has thought about tossing my infant son out a window. I was horrified and I told her in no uncertain terms that she was a terrible person for thinking this. I mean hey, I get frustrated with Will when he cries but I’ve never wanted to harm him any way. Anyways, I may have told MJ that I think she’s horrible for thinking that and it was all downhill from there. She told me she can’t wait until I go back to work and I shot a few choice phrases her way too. It was ugly.

And ladies, you may think I’m the bad guy here. But I don’t care, because this blog is called the “Daddy Files” and it’s supposed to be thoughts from the Dad’s point of view. And since I’m the Dad, I say homicidal thoughts concerning an infant are not par for the course. It’s crazy talk. Yet I read all these articles online about how this is a common thing among women. Well if that’s the case, I’d like to state for the record that women are frickin’ insane and I’m glad I’ll never understand anything about your gender. Throwing a baby out the window…what the hell?

I’ll miss Will a lot when I go back to work tomorrow and I’ll probably call a dozen times to make sure he’s OK. Especially with thoughts of MJ tossing him into the Canal fresh in my mind. But maybe getting back to work is a blessing in disguise. Maybe we need a little separation and time apart to gain back an appreciation for one another. I love her to death, but I’ll never understand her. Nor would I want to.

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Cranky

This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

We thought we were so lucky when we first brought Will home from the hospital.

He would give us 4-5 hours of sleep at a time. He slept most of the time and hardly ever fussed. We went on and on about how we lucked out and had the perfect baby. Well, it appears we may have spoken too soon.

Will has taken to eating every 90 minutes. And when we go beyond those 90 minutes, he freaks out. It’s amazing to me how one second I’m looking at my angelic son in a deep and fitful slumber, and then in the blink of an eye it’s like he’s that little creature in Alien that pops out of that guy’s stomach. He cries so hard and so loud I start to wonder if he’s been possessed by the Devil or something. And since this is usually in the wee hours of the morning it’s even more obnoxious.

At first I try the usual tricks to appease him. I put his head on my chest, I bounce him, I walk with him, I put him in his vibrating chair, then I try the swing and finally the pacifier. I usually have to sneak the pacifier by MJ, because she is convinced pacifiers are the worst thing on the planet. Seriously, if you ask her to rank the most evil things in history I think her list would be comprised of 1) Slavery, 2) Pacifiers and 3) Hitler. Even though we heard FROM THE NURSES AND DOCTORS that pacifiers are good for the baby if used in moderation, she’s still not convinced. It’s moronic if you ask me. Obviously the kid just wants to suck on something sometimes and there’s nothing wrong with a pacifier at those times. And don’t talk to me about “nipple confusion” because from everything I’ve read and heard, nipple confusion is a bunch of crap.

But I digress…

So anyways, I’m a grown man and obviously Will is a tiny infant. Yet the balance of power is in his favor. Furthermore, it’s amazing what I’ll say to my infant son to try to get him to stop crying. At first I tell him everything is OK, then I try to soothe him. But after awhile I start talking to him like he’s a fully capable adult who can understand me.

“Will. WILL! Seriously, what is this crying accomplishing? WHAT DO YOU WANT ME FROM ME?? I’ll give you whatever you need for five minutes of solace Will. You want a motorcyle when you’re 16? If you give me an hour of consecutive sleep it’s yours buddy. Fine. Your loss.”

Honestly, I’m trying to negotiate with an 8-pound baby. Meanwhile my wife’s body simply can’t handle feeding a baby every hour and a half. The poor woman is running on fumes, but to her credit she does her best to keep up with him. She’s hell bent on not giving Will formula for as long as possible. Despite some close calls at 3:30 am when he’s been awake and noisy for four hours, so far she’s successfully avoided the strong temptation of simply making up a bottle in the middle of the night instead of sacrificing her body to a ravished infant who she swears has razor blades for gums.

It also isn’t helping that I go back to work starting Tuesday, and she’s wondering how she’s going to cope without me helping out during the day. I’m pretty conflicted about going back to work myself, but that’s a post for another time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a crying baby to attend to. Big surprise there.

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