Today I am happy to share with you a guest post by Gerry, from the blog The View from Oxford & Maitland. I hope you enjoy Gerry’s story as much as I did.
I am the very proud dad of two kids, both of whom are now in university. My kids are great students, caring citizens and spectacular athletes. But it sure as heck wasn’t easy.
Even as I got married, I wanted a lot of kids. My grandparents had eight kids and I wanted the same. My childhood memories of Gramma and Poppa and all of my aunts and uncles were, for the most part, amazing. This was what I wanted to recreate.
When my first child was born, I weighed significantly more than I do now. Being that my wife would be undergoing a C-section, I had to gown up. Since I was so big, I had to wear two gowns, both with some sort of rubber lining. It was August… and hot… and I was a big man. Do the math. We had no idea as to the sex of the child since there we no such thing as the gender reveal parties we see today. Minutes into the C-section, my daughter was born and was she ever a screamer.
I helped with the first diaper change (bloody disgusting for a guy who gets nauseous throwing out leftovers). As I was holding the baby, I started to overheat. I said I needed to leave, and they said go ahead, take the baby with you. I went into the hall, still gowned, holding a screaming baby. I was now soaking wet and about to pass out. A staff member finally came along and helped me get out of the gowns… my shorts and t-shirt were absolutely drenched.
My daughter screamed until approximately November. Suffering from colic, she was very uncomfortable, wouldn’t eat properly and slept very little. I was working insane hours and the bulk of the parenting fell on my wife. I did what I could, but this whole father thing wasn’t working for me. And I swore there would be no more kids. Six months into parenting, my wife was to return to work. She handed me the baby and said she was going out for an hour. The hour turned into a few hours. The baby wouldn’t stop crying, no matter what I did. My wife returned home, and I was frazzled. She said, “now you know what it’s like.” Lesson learned.
I mentioned I have a sensitive stomach. Changing diapers required me to suit up… covering my face with a towel and sunglasses (so I wouldn’t see the poop) and trying with all my might to not throw up on this helpless kid. I grew to enjoy this dad thing, especially when feeding time came along. Baby desserts, especially custard is amazing… one for you… one for daddy. No wonder the poor girl wasn’t gaining weight.
My wife suggested we have another child and we discussed the pros and cons at length. I was against this… I didn’t want any more kids and I was enjoying spoiling my daughter.
Here we go again
Anyways, weeks later, I discovered we were expecting another baby. I was hoping for a little sister for Sarah. Again, via C-section and on not so hot a day, a lighter version of me dawned the gown and into the operating room we went. The doctor, after a few minutes, announced that we had a boy. I said are you sure, and he turned and handed the baby to me, and as any typical man would say, I blurted out that he was so well hung. The room laughed and off I went to help the nurse clean up my son. Phillip was born, had a huge crap, looked for something to eat and had a nap.
Phillip was a completely different baby, quiet, a good sleeper and hungry as can be. However, we decided this would be our last child.
Parenting is great
I had an appointment to get a vasectomy, again as it’s much easier and less invasive for the man that for a woman. For those unaware, a vasectomy is quite a simple procedure, but the doctor recommended I take some Valium before the procedure. My wife dropped me off and in I went. She would pick me up afterwards. She had some friends over to meet the new baby. Remember… I’m kind of stoned on Valium… and… much to my wife’s horror, I was proud of my vasectomy and wanted to show it off, so I started to undress. I was quickly hustled off to bed. The doctors advised me to protect the area and take it a little easy. I went to work the next day as I felt I was okay. I was fine… until I got home, and my toddler daughter ran headfirst into my crotch… parenting is great.
As a dad, I survived Teletubbies, Blue’s Clues, Barney (I hate that guy), Big Comfy Couch (Damn she was annoying), Dora the Explorer (even more annoying), Arthur, and the worst of all, Hannah Montana. I built the world’s worst dollhouse (stupid thing was so heavy my daughter couldn’t move it). I’ve climbed up on the roof to retrieve balls, frisbees and a remote-control helicopter. I coached every sport they wanted to play and made some of the wackiest dinners for them.
Video games were always a riot in our house. I was the master of Guitar Hero, or so I thought. No one could play “For Those About to Rock” better than this guy. That was until I realized I was on the easy level and Phillip showed that he could kick my ass quite easily. NHL games were especially brutal. Little putz used to beat me up all the time as I didn’t know how to use the controls. Give me an old Atari any day.
The truth comes out
Sorry to break it to my kids, but I was the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I was Santa and yes, I would spend time outside on Christmas Eve, making pretend reindeer paw prints in the snow. I ate the treats you left and drank many litres of warm milk. I was also the one who made the cool lunches you took to school.
It’s not all fun and games
One day, I got a call from my wife that our son had broken his arm. I immediately became scared, jumped in my car and, breaking every traffic law possible, I made it to the hospital in record time. I arrived before my wife and son and paced nervously until they arrived. Finally, they pulled up. I whipped open the back door and my six-year-old son sat there, a few tears in his eyes. He showed me his arm to reveal a “fork fracture.” I held back the tears and rushed into the children’s emerg. The staff brought us into the treatment room immediately and the chief of kids emergency medicine happened to be on duty.
After an x-ray and an examination, the doctor indicated that this was a common injury among kids and was an easy fix. It would require my son being asleep while they worked on fixing his arm. They stated it would not be a good idea for us to stay as this wasn’t something we would want to see.
They administered an anesthetic and I watch my son go to sleep. My wife grabbed me by the arm and dragged me away to go grab a coffee. I was hysterical… my baby was hurt, and I didn’t want to leave. We returned to emergency to find my son in a cast. He was awake, and it looked like he was licking a popsicle. On closer inspection, he wasn’t actually licking the treat… he was stoned and watching Harry Potter!
We took him home and all was good. Throughout the time he was in a cast, he never complained and handled it far better than I could. His principal said it best, “Kids get hurt but are incredibly resilient little people.”
Words of wisdom
As a dad, I will admit I made some bad parenting decisions along the way. You need to take training and pass a couple of tests in order to drive, yet there is zero formal training to become a parent. You learn as you go.
At the end of the day, my children have grown into incredible people and as parents, we had a lot to do with that. However, once the kids start to grow, they start to make their own decisions and learn by trial by error. As they have grown into young adults, they know that their parents are always there for them and that they can always count on us.
I will never claim that dads have it as hard as moms, but we have our challenges. Parenting is incredibly rewarding. I urge new parents to be as involved in your children as you can. Mentor them, teach them life skills and model the way.
I cannot express enough that I love my children with all my heart. I’m not a perfect dad, but I am a proud dad.
Please visit Gerry’s blog, The View from Oxford & Maitland.
You can also find him on Twitter: @GerryLaHay
and on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/gerry.lahay