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New dads dish about their lives as parents PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Calgary Herald   

Across the country, thousands of men are preparing to celebrate their first Father's Day as fathers.

Across the country, thousands of men are preparing to celebrate their first Father's Day as fathers.

Meet three of those new dads -- one of a newborn, one of a six-month-old and one of a little boy who'll celebrate his first birthday next month.

Read their stories. Enjoy their advice. And most of all, hear the love they have for the new little beings who they've helped to create.

A New Dad of a Newborn

Marty Vysek, 27, works in real estate; he's also the brand-new dad of a three-week-old little boy named Aiden Oliver.

Aiden was born May 18; proud mom Christina is on maternity leave from her job as a sales executive.

On the Big Day

We waited about six hours before we went to the hospital. I drove normal. Her water hadn't broken yet. I would imagine that when the water breaks, it's a little more dramatic and people haul ass a little more. I would say I was pretty calm and cool about it. . . .

Christina was in labour for about 22 hours. She went the first 12 hours without drugs and that was enough. We had an epidural. Whoever says to try to do it without drugs, they're on drugs. It was a lot better after that.

I saw the baby come out. It was kind of an accident. It's like a car wreck. When you drive by, you have to look. . . .

I have to say, I really admired my wife at that point. I have some newfound respect for her after watching that.

They weighed him first, then they gave him to us. They wiped him off a bit, but he was still pretty messy, little crusties all over him. He was so cute.

On What the New Baby Looks Like

He's the cutest baby ever -- a full head of black hair, blue eyes, nice complexion -- but he's quite little. He's like a little doll who burps and pees and poops. . . . People say he looks like me, but I don't know. He's got my nose for sure. That's certain. And he's got my mouth. Everyone says that.

On Coming Up With a Name

His name's Aiden Oliver. That's my middle name, Oliver. Aiden, I think we first heard that name, he was that guy who was dating Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City.

Actually (before he was born), we first named him Riley but my brother called and said, 'How's little Riley doing?' And I thought, 'Oh my God, I can't call him that.' . . . That kind of tainted the whole Riley experience.

Plus I knew this guy in high school that was kind of an idiot, and I thought, I can't name my kid after that guy.

His Advice for Other New Dads

It's very important to lay down some ground rules (for grandparents and other caregivers). I just basically said, 'You know, give Christina a break. This is new to us.'

You get these people who are pros, they've raised two or three kids, but we've got to figure stuff out by ourselves.

It's a little overwhelming. You feel like you're under a microscope the whole time. You've got this brand-new baby, and you don't want to make a mistake.

On Documenting the First Few Weeks

We went nuts with the photos. We've taken more photos of him than we did of our wedding. We put pictures of him on Facebook so people from school can find out I'm all grown up and have a family and stuff.

On Getting Sleep. or Not

I'm tired all the time. My wife is tired all the time. I look like I have two black eyes all the time. So does Christina.

On the Perfect Father's Day for a Brand-New Dad

I would love to get a full day's sleep. A full night's sleep. Sleep. I'd just sleep through Father's Day . . . and I'd have Aiden sleep on my chest while I do it. That's the coolest thing, to have him do that. It's just so comforting. He's just a little ball of warmth. His heartbeat's so fast.

On Baby Tears

When he's crying, I want to hammer my head into the wall sometimes. He doesn't make a newborn cry. He has that full bottom-lip quiver. When he does that, you just melt. You think, 'I'm the worst parent ever. I can't get my baby to stop crying.'

You question everything. I've fed him. I've changed him. He just woke up. Maybe he just wants attention.

On What He Wants for His Child's Future

I want him to be well-educated. I want him to be happy and, of course, healthy, too. I don't want him to be bullied in school. . . . You hear of kids killing themselves because they're being bullied or whatever. I don't want that.

On What It Feels Like to Be a New Dad

I love the guy, even though I don't know him at all. He doesn't even recognize me, but I love him unconditionally. It's quite overwhelming, the feeling you get for him. There are times when I look at him and I think, I should have had a baby two years ago.

On Having More

We'll definitely have another. I think one more. Just enough to replace me and my wife. That's good enough. The world's overpopulated enough. And we want him to have a little buddy to hang out with.

Plus, I want to be a young dad. I want to have grandkids and great-grandkids and stuff.

A New Dad of a Six-Month-Old

Owen Weldon, 31, is the father of a six-month-old baby girl named Natasha, who was born Nov. 30 and who "just learned to sit up and she's starting on solid foods now, or what passes for solid foods."

Weldon's wife, Shelley, is on maternity leave.

When he's not talking about his new daughter, Weldon is an information technology consultant at an oil company downtown.

On the Big Day

That was kind of a crazy day, if I remember right. I woke up and went to work. I'd been working for about two hours when my wife called me and said, I think I'm going into labour. . . .

So I finished up what I was working on and went home. I had a snack or something and made sure everything was packed. We got to the hospital about 12:30 p.m. and, seven hours later, we had a baby girl. She was born around 7:45-7:46 p.m., something like that. . . .

I'm a pretty calm person. Not too much fazes me. I did my best to avoid looking down there, but at the end, you really can't help it. I said I'd wait till the baby's head came out before I took a look. When the baby's head was crowning, I looked over. It all just happened so fast.

On Sleep

We got pretty lucky. She's a pretty good sleeper, although the first couple of weeks were rough. She was semi-sleeping through the night by four weeks, four to six hours at a time. Now she sleeps pretty close to 12. . . . For the most part, we just developed a bedtime routine. She pretty much soothes herself. There's usually a bit of crying, but it only lasts a minute or two.

On His First Time Alone With Her

It's happened so many times now, I don't actually remember the first time. Luckily, I haven't had any disasters, nothing that stands out in my mind. We usually just sit and watch TV, or she'll sit beside me on the floor when I'm on the computer. I'll just talk or sing, and she'll play with her toys.

On Taking the Baby Out

I'm not really allowed to take her out by myself. Shelley's pretty protective of her. Aside from maybe taking her to the grocery store, I don't think I've ever taken her out all by myself. Shelley usually comes with us.

On What Natasha Looks Like

This sounds really bad, but all babies have really big heads. She has a really big cute head, big blue eyes and an invisible lower lip because she's always sucking on it. She has thin, fuzzy, light brown hair. She's a big chubby baby. . . .

We sit and argue about who she looks like most. She has some of my features and some of my wife's features. She has my baby hair for sure, because I was a blond, fuzzy-haired baby, but she's got my wife's nose. We kind of argue over whose eyes she got, but we both have brown eyes and she actually has blue eyes.

On What He Misses About His Pre-Dad Days

I can no longer sleep in on weekends. . . . Now we argue about whose turn it is to get up with her.

My wife also complains if I leave her alone with the baby too much. I don't go out for drinks with my co-workers anymore. I have to say no to my friends more often than I used to. I'm allowed about one night a week when I can go out, so I have to choose that night very carefully.

On Why He'd Never Go Back to His Pre-Dad Days

I'm surprised by the way it changes the little things. You know, the little smiles or the happy goos or the laughs. She's a little older now so you can actually play with her. She's not the sleeping lump that most babies are when they're born.

She just adds a little sunshine to my life that wouldn't otherwise be there. One more thing to look forward to when you get home from work.

On His Daughter's Future

I hope she grows up happy and healthy and adjusts to live properly, and goes on to become a productive member of society. She can decide what she wants to be when she's older. She'll probably be doing a job that doesn't exist right now anyway.

His Advice for Other New Dads

It gets better, but that implies the first part's bad. Maybe just something to the effect that there's a new adventure every day.

A New Dad of An (Almost) One-Year-Old

Bryan Waller, 36, is the father of Daniel Jacob, who'll celebrate his first birthday on July 7.

When he's not sharing stories about his son, Waller is a geographic information systems manager.

His wife, Laura, 31, will return to her job as a dental hygienist in the next couple of weeks.

On the Big Day

I saw him when he was about half-way out. I was pretty scared. I didn't pass out, but I didn't really know what to do. I didn't know what to think at the time.

He wasn't in real distress, but they did say, 'We're going to get him out right now,' because his heart rate kept dropping every time she had a contraction. They had to use the forceps. He didn't really want to come out. . . .

He was born on Sneak-a-Peek night for the Stampede. It's quite a blur. I remember leaving the hospital the next morning, riding the elevator downstairs with another new dad. He didn't say much to me, but when we got downstairs, he turned and said, 'That was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life.'

And I agreed.

On What His Baby Looks Like

He had hair when he first came out, nice dark brown hair, but it's thinned out on the sides and it's really thick on top, almost like a mohawk. It's starting to get really curly. He has two teeth on the bottom. They've been out for about five months. The other two on the top are starting to break through.

On His Baby's Personality

He's the happiest, flirtiest kid on the planet. He loves staring at people and smiling at them. A lot of girls on the street will laugh and say, 'Is he trying to pick me up?' He loves people. When he sees other kids, he just wants to get out and hug them ....

He's extremely active. He's always doing something. He's crawling pretty fast right now, and he can walk with assistance. Right now he's pulling his mom's cookbooks all over the floor.

And he loves the Tupperware drawer. His favourite thing in the world is to get in, pull all the containers out and then go do something else.

On Sleep

He was sleeping through the night after probably two months, maybe two and a half. He has the odd day where he'll wake up in the middle of night. Maybe he'll get twisted up in his blankets, but other than that, he goes to bed around 8:30 p.m. or so, and gets up around 6-6:30 a.m. It's tiring, but it's not from lack of sleep. He just keeps you going . . . I don't think I could do it full-time five days a week.

On Food

He pretty much eats whatever we eat. We eat a lot of Indian food, and he'll eat it, no problem. Obviously we don't give him the vindaloos, but he'll eat spicy food. He likes butter chicken, daal. We had spicy Italian sausage from Spolumbo's the other day, and he liked that, too.

On the Best Part of the Day

Coming home. That's the greatest part of the day, for sure. I get home and he's just woken up from his nap or he's eating dinner. He just has this huge grin on his face. . . . He can hear the back gate open up and he just loses it, he gets so excited.

On Having a Second Child

We're in negotiations, I guess. Laura would have a huge family -- she comes from a family of three kids -- but it's a lot of work. I'm still on the fence. But having two is the optimum.

It's probably really good for them to have a brother or sister to play with and hang out with.

His Advice for Other New Fathers

If you have anything to fix around the house, it would be best to have it done beforehand.

From now on, your time will be measured in half-hour increments. Whatever's broken will be loud or in his room. These projects need to be wrapped up ahead of time.

Other than that, it's wise to figure out how to keep a little bit of your former life going, as far as activities or going to the gym or whatever. If you went to the gym five days a week, you're probably not going to go five, but you can probably do two or three.

On Being a New Dad for Father's Day This Year

I didn't even realize it till last week, when Laura asked me what I wanted to do for Father's Day. I thought of my dad first....

I'm thinking of maybe going golfing with my dad, then all of us having dinner together.

On How Having a Baby Has Changed His Life

There are a lot of things you think about that you wouldn't have before -- news stories about kids being hurt or missing, they affect you a lot more.

Obviously we don't have as much free time to do stuff, but it's just different time, really. There are no regrets. He's the greatest thing that could happen to us. He's just so much fun. He makes it all worthwhile.

sboettcher@theherald.canwest.com

 



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