Thursday, June 16, 2016

#ThanksBaby- Or how my son made me a dad.

15 years ago, I wasn't dad material.

Oh sure, I was capable of being a father (and had some close calls regarding same) .

I knew lots of great dad jokes (still my reigning champion-- "What's brown and sticky?  A Stick.")

I was great with kids (Hey, I am a professional clown)

But despite all that, somehow, someway I didn't feature being a dad.  I didn't think it would happen for me, and I wasn't particularly sad about it. And if you talked to my friends and family, they probably would have had a hard time believing that I would be a dad too.

The chairman of the board likes to wear his food.
Part of it was that I hadn't met the right woman, part of it was that I was focused on the hardscrabble life of being a self-supporting artist.  I was travelling all the time, and honestly, I didn't see how I could afford to have a kid either timewise of financially.  I was really into living in the now, in the moment, and there never seemed to be a now when saddling myself with extra responsibilities seemed to be something that didn't seem wise.

About 12 years ago, I met my wife, and we immediately were hooked to one another.  We ended up moving in together after about a year and a half of long distance dating.  We bought a house together. She was on the fence about kids, and I was perfectly okay with that.

About a year or so after we moved in together, her biological clock started ticking.  At first, I was a little resistant, but I loved my wife, and thought, "Well, let's try and see. If it's meant to be, it will be."  (and other rhyming thoughts)

Also, the thought of breaking up with her over the kids issue was pretty scary to me.

Our family at the Mouse House.
She got pregnant almost right away (my boys can swim!) , and I was in the nervous/excited/elated/freaked out stage.

Sadly, that turned out to be a miscarriage, which brought a whole different level of freaked out/nervous feelings.  (And to be completely honest, a little relieved as well)

We started trying again, and about 3 months later-- another pregnancy.  Back on the nervous/excited/bandwagon.

About 10 days after we discovered we were pregnant, my mom passed away, which changed my whole perspective on time, kids, and family.  I felt like it couldn't come soon enough.

That nine months of waiting for the baby to come was excruciating.  For the first few months I was in denial,  (we also planned our wedding and honeymoon,  got featured in the NY Times for the same, and oversaw several home projects at the same time, including moving my office.  You know, the little stuff)

Once I got out of denial I was in the full panic mode.

 I felt woefully unprepared.  I started reading all kinds of books, which is the way I prepare for things, and then I felt even MORE unprepared. Go figure.

I had a lot of fears that I wouldn't love the baby, that I would resent him for ending my career as a touring clown,  I was afraid I would be grossed out by having to change him all the time.  (As it turns out, it wasn't so bad.  Because, you know, shit happens.  And also, thanks to products produced by the sponsor of this post Pampers, it wasn't as terrible or as smelly as my fears made it out to be. Thank you Pampers! Your products work!)

Here's our world famous song, my contribution to the world of songs about children going to the bathroom!

As soon as my son was born, I'm happy to say that all my fears WERE UNREALIZED.   I loved the little guy to pieces, and have loved watching him grow, and progress, and learn, and become a person. Yes,  I do sometimes miss my former life as a responsible to no one performing artist,  but I wouldn't trade positions.  I love my life as a dad, in a way that I didn't know that I would.

My son and I making faces.  I am teaching him how,
and he's teaching me!
In fact, if you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be happier having a baby, having more responsibility, having less "freedom", I would have looked at you like you were crazy.  Counter-intuitively, I added responsibility and I have never been happier.

I don't think that it was as simple as him being born that changed me into being Dad material.  It was the process.   It was changing all those stinky diapers and staying up with him when he was sick and watching him sleep and bringing him to his first playdate and holding him when he has a temperature.  It was that process-- that slow laborious process-- that has turned me into a dad.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

DISCLOSURE: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion. All the thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories remain truly mine.

When a baby is born, a dad is born. This Father’s Day, Pampers is encouraging dads to give thanks to their kids for making them feel special, and to recognize how babies (and children) help the dad to grow along the journey of fatherhood.

 Please join them by tweeting or instagramming how your baby changed your life with the hashtag #ThanksBaby.

Pampers has also released a new #ThanksBaby video that captures the  relationship between dad and child that starts at birth and when the journey of fatherhood begins.

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