Monthly Archives: March 2009

Dads Do Not Babysit!

I’ve seen this topic tackled on several other blogs in the past. Frankly, I never wrote about it because I really hadn’t run into anyone who thinks like that in real life. Until this past week.

I was talking with a woman in New Jersey over the weekend who had a baby a little older than Will. She was flying solo at the wedding, so I asked her who was taking care of the little one.

“Dad is babysitting for the night,” she said.

I was pissed. I couldn’t say anything because it was a wedding and it really wasn’t my place, but I was seething on the inside.

The thought of a father “babysitting” his child is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Grandparents babysit. Aunts, uncles and friends babysit. A high school student babysits when she watches over the kid for a few hours. But a father? A father does his job and cares for his child. That is not babysitting. Not even close. Besides, babysitters get paid to provide a service. Do you really want to be in the same class as the people who need compensation to care for your kid?

But apparently that’s exactly what some people still think, and it’s probably the fault of both parties. Maybe dad is a lazy douchebag who’s only changed a half dozen diapers in his life and has no clue what a onsie is. He’s probably too busy playing World of Warcraft or Halo when he comes home from work to play with or care for his kid. So perhaps, on those rare occasions he is alone with his baby, maybe it really is babysitting. Which is just plain sad.

And maybe it’s mom’s fault too. Perhaps she’s so overbearing and everything has to be her way, that she completely shuts dad out. And since nothing he does is good enough, he gives up and stops trying. It’s only when he’s “allowed” to watch the kid alone (no doubt he’s left with detailed instructions and barraged with phone calls every 10 minutes while she’s gone) that he gets any opportunity to really bond with his child. But are those few hours really enough to become anything more than a babysitter? Probably not.

It’s just a mindset that society as a whole really has to get out of. Dads should not be babysitters. Dads are caretakers. They are parents. They should be equally adept at caring for their kids, no more or less qualified than moms.

So if you’re a dad out there and the thought of flying solo and taking care of your kid for a whole day with no help scares the living crap out of you, get your head out of your ass because you’re a babysitter and not a parent. And if you’re a mom who can’t/won’t accept differing opinions on how to care for your child, which in turn leaves dad twisting in the wind as a third wheel, you’re part of the problem. Stop it.

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It Takes a Village to Go on Vacation

I have a bunch of pictures to post of the wedding and the reception, which is good because I don’t really remember the end of the reception. It was a very fun time, the bride and groom looked fantastic and their friends are a friggin riot. Let’s just say after 7 hours of open bar, I’m surprised the state of New Jersey actually had alcohol left in it. But I’m proud to say that despite more beers than I could count and two double shots of Jack Daniels and Jagermeister, there was no vomiting! Although I did spend the entire day on Sunday holed up in my hotel room avoiding all noise, sunlight and people.

But before I get to the wedding photo essay, I want to thank all of our friends and relatives who are the best people on Earth. I realized that taking a vacation doesn’t just involve us anymore. It involves my co-worker Stephanie and her husband Adam who volunteered to take one of our dogs. It involves my parents who have already come through for us more times than I can count. They not only took Will for four days, but they also paid for Fenway to be kenneled in a nice place that socializes the dogs during the day so she wouldn’t have to be penned up all day. Words can’t express how grateful we are to them. And to my father-in-law Tom and his girlfriend Donna, who used their credit card to hold the hotel room for us because we didn’t have one available. And finally, to our good friends Vic and Alicia who were sneaky as hell and paid for the damn hotel room without us knowing. I am absolutely furious at them for doing that, and simultaneously touched and grateful that we have such unbelievable friends. Combined, they have served three tours of duty in Iraq and they are both personal heroes of mine. But as impressive as their commitment to fighting for our freedom is, that’s not why I love them so much. You just won’t meet better people anywhere you go. Seriously, I love you guys. But you’re still dead for paying that hotel bill. We’ll get you back, believe that!

Anyways, with the kid and dogs and hotel room taken care of we were able to enjoy the wedding. Here’s some of what transpired:

The bride and groom
The bride and groom
Sober
Sober
3 beers deep
3 beers deep
6 beers deep
6 beers deep
Fully drunk and dancing with the groom
Fully drunk and dancing with the groom
Vic & Alicia sharing a "Awww" moment
Vic & Alicia sharing an "Awww" moment
That's a groomsman with no pants on in the middle of the reception!
That's a groomsman with no pants on in the middle of the reception!
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Pure Bliss & No Left Turns

Something has happened that hasn’t happened for me in years.

When I went to bed last night, the clock read 11:43 p.m. MJ and I had planned on having a few beers, playing a one-on-one game of strip poker and then defiling each other. But the bride and groom showed up at the hotel and needed some help with various items, so obviously we pitched in and did whatever we could. Plus it was great to see them and hang out since we hadn’t been able to visit with them since Christmas.

After they left, we went to bed…and didn’t wake up until 8:30 a.m.!!!!!!!

That may not sound like news to some of you, but I haven’t had 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep since well before Will was born. If it’s not the baby, it’s the dog waking me up and my body has been conditioned to thrive on just a few hours of sleep at a time. I nearly wet myself with joy when I saw the clock radio telling me what time it was. In fact, I was so happy I woke MJ up to tell her. That was not smart.

Also, I expanded my horizons last night by trying Thai food for the first time. You need to know that I’m a VERY boring eater. I like my burgers plain, I hate anything spicy, I eat cheese pizza, etc. I am the most dull eater on the planet. But MJ likes exotic, spicy, crazy food and so does her dad. So they decided Thai food was the answer, which meant I secretly dreaded the experience and was already formulating a plan to run out to Wendy’s afterward so I could actually eat.

But little did I know, it was fantastic! Of course, I ordered the non-spicy stuff but I had pad thai with mushrooms, chicken and shrimp and it was absolutely delicious. The only downside was admitting that I liked it, which only gives MJ more reason to keep pushing me to try new things. She’s so annoying when she’s right.

But of course, this post wouldn’t be complete with a complaint about New Jersey. And that complaint is:

YOU CAN’T TAKE A LEFT TURN IN THIS FRICKIN STATE!!!

Seriously, there are no left turns. Everything is a divided highway and you need to take a right on a designated U-turn road if you want to turn around. Between that and not being able to pump your own gas, I want to stab someone in the heart with a trident!

Tonight is the rehearsal dinner and our good friends Alicia & Vic are coming from North Carolina and staying in the hotel room with us. They have a son (my godson) 10 months older than Will and they are both terrific and looking forward to getting shitfaced and crazy. Vic is in the Army and so hit up the base’s liquor store (tax free baby!) and is bringing Wild Turkey and several other bottles of liquor that will surely be the death of me over the next two days.

Could the Daddy Files see it’s first “drunk post?” Stay tuned.

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Welcome to New Jersey

Toward the end of our car ride today, MJ suddenly turned her nose up at me in disgust and waved her hand in front of her face furiously.

“Oh my God, your ass STINKS!” she said.

Usually she’s right, my farts are horrible. But this time I was innocent, no bad gas to speak of. Seconds later, the smell was explained as we approached a sign that read “Welcome to New Jersey.”

Yup, we made it. The Garden State. I love my brother-in-law and my future sister-in-law immensely, which is obviously why we’re going to the wedding. Well, that and he got so drunk at my wedding he became the inebriated highlight of our wedding video so I feel I have to return the favor. The wedding is in Jersey because they both went to Rutgers and lived there and Michelle is from south Jersey so it makes sense. And I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful and a rollicking good time, but for a Boston boy to get married in Jersey? Oh the shame…

Needless to say I’m wearing my Red Sox hat and Patriots shirt right now.

Anyways, leaving Will with my parents was a little tougher than I expected. When it was time to drop him off I gave him a hug. And then I hugged him again. And then I realized I wasn’t letting go of him at all. I must’ve kissed him about 100 times. MJ, on the other hand, had absolutely no problem whatsoever relinquishing our first born to my parents. I don’t blame her, she’s been home with him on a daily basis for four months and I’m sure I’d need that break too. I swear I’m the chick in this relationship…

Anyways, let the weekend of debauchery begin! I mean after all, we’ll be among family and friends with no dogs, no kids and no responsibilities. And what do you think the first order of business is for a married couple alone in a hotel for the first time in a year? Oh yeah, that’s right baby…

I’m blogging using the free Wi-Fi and MJ is watching Forrest Gump on HBO. We are so exciting. Can’t you just feel the passion and excitement?

So for now, I will leave you with these introductory pictures courtesy of the Garden State:

My beautiful wife after spurning my romantic advances
My beautiful wife after spurning my romantic advances
The view from our hotel room: dead trees and a parking garage!
The view from our hotel room: dead trees and a parking garage!
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Will’s a Flirt…Sometimes!

There’s no two ways about it, my son is a flirt.

I’m not quite sure where he gets it, but it seems Will enjoys being the center of attention. He’s only truly happy when all eyes are on him, and therefore he’s hell bent on making eyes at everyone who walks by. This is especially true whenever we’re out in public, specifically a restaurant. So when my mom and I sat down at Ruby Tuesday’s in Raynham for a quick lunch on Monday, Will immediately began working his magic.

He waved at the couple next to us. He grinned an adorable, toothy smirk at the waitress passing by. It’s like his cuteness is a tractor beam and he just pulls people in with adorable looks, faces, sounds and gestures. And all of this was delighting me to no end, until our waiter came over to take our order.

Will looked directly at him, took the bottle of his mouth, smiled and waved at the guy. All very cute. But then my mom chimed in:

“Will, look at you flirting!”

I swear I heard the sound of a record scratching. The waiter and I shared uncomfortable looks. My mom was oblivious to the gaffe.

I love my mom. She is basically a hippie at heart sans all the weed, and she doesn’t have a mean spirited bone in her body. She makes comments without realizing what she’s saying. Like the time a bunch of us guys (as guys will do) were making fun of my brother and telling him his manhood was lacking. My mom, upon hearing the grave injustice being done to her youngest boy, immediately came to the rescue.

“You leave Nate alone, that’s not true at all. He’s got a big one!” She was referring to what the doctor told her right after Nate was born, but it didn’t matter at that point. We had even more ammo and Nate wanted to crawl under a rock. And keep in mind, we’re talking about the same woman who tried to comfort me in college when my girlfriend left me for another woman, by telling me “It’s cool to be bisexual.” Thanks mom, you’re the best!

My mom is so innocent and unassuming, which means she thinks nothing of the idea of Will flirting with a man. And why should she? It’s not like Will knows what flirting is, nevermind the difference between doing it with a man and a woman. He’s a baby, he’s just being fun.

Yet it bothered me. It bothered me like the time I came home and found out MJ had dressed Will in pink socks. It bothered me in a completely ridiculous, nonsensical, ignorant way. But it still bothered me. My mom told me I was crazy, so I asked some of my other dad friends. It bothered them too.

The thing is, I’m no homophobe. And to my gay daddy readers out there, I hope you take this in the context in which it’s meant. And really, it’s about confronting my own fears that things won’t work out with Will the way I have them in my head. You know, him being the most popular kid in school who dates the head cheerleader while leading the curling football team on to state, and then going to an Ivy League school on a scholarship as he amazingly stays out of any trouble and never gets a cold or has to go to the ER.

I mean c’mon…is that too much to ask.

But “flirting” with the waiter? No no no. Cute waiters are not in the plan. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not gay or anything but the guy was at least good looking. If Will does turn out to be gay at least I know he’s got good taste. But frankly, it’s just not something I’m hoping for. It’s like if he turns out to be a Bible thumping member of the religious right or, even worse, a New York Yankees fan. I’ll still love him no matter what, but I can’t help my preconceived notions of how I envisioned his life turning out.

But then again, I’d rather he turn out to be Rush Limbaugh’s future boy toy than worship at the altar of those pinstriped devils from the Bronx.

Anyways, we leave for Jersey on Thursday morning. But stay tuned because I plan on doing some creative blogging from the road. And word on the street is MJ is coming out of retirement and cooking up a blog post of her own. I’ll keep you posted.

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