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Monday, June 20, 2011

Hands on/Hands off

I love my son.

He's five months old, and I love watching him play, read, talk, wiggle about in his pack & play. I love to hold him before and after naptime, when he's extra snuggly. I love hanging out with him in the mornings and evenings. I love watching him jump in his Johnny Jump Up while K and I are making dinner. I love rolling on the floor with him and having him bump against me.

I'd say I'm pretty much a hands on type of dad. The thing that I'm having difficulty with, truth be told, is letting him grow in his independence--being a little hands off. This kid has an independent streak in him like you wouldn't believe. On the day he was born, he let us know after being held a bit, that he wanted to sleep in a corner of the hospital room and take some time to be alone. He plays well by himself and is not afraid to try new things.

Now that I'm staying home with him full time during the summer, my tendency is to make the most of every waking minute to be with him. I know that one of the best things I can do as his dad is to teach him to make his own decisions and let him be independent. And that can start now--having time to play together and time to play by himself.

But at five months, maybe the best thing I can do now is let him know I love him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I know, right? Why on earth would someone title a "welcome back" sort of post "Hashtags"?

Because they've been a lifesaver to me through Twitter!

I had been tweeting for about a year and a half before my son was born this past January, but my tweets were more about food, since I love cooking and I'm always on the lookout for gluten free recipes since my wife is Celiac.  I've used #celiac and #glutenfree.

But on the day my son was born, I felt like I found a whole new community when I added the simple hashtag: #newdad. I felt like I had joined a brotherhood of new fathers, and in an instant, I understood so much more about my own dad, my grandfathers, uncles, and even my brother, who's been a dad three times over in the past five years (and he has one on the way).

Since the day my son was born, I've discovered other hashtags, like #dadstalking where I'm getting tips about what to expect in the upcoming stages of fatherhood. I've discovered #sahd (stay at home dad), since I'm at home with JJ during my summer vacation as a teacher and discovering that laundry and dishes, truly, never end.

The dads who post are not experts, but we're all sharing our own experiences about fatherhood. Primarily, we're looking for community, for shared experiences, for help, and sometimes it's just a way to vent our frustrations. With these hashtags abounding and Twitter always open now that I'm at home, I just don't want to hashtag my way through fatherhood. I definitely want to be present in my son's life. I want to enjoy this time with him and grow with him. I want to share my experiences with other new dads in Memphis. I want to love my son and just be the best dad I can be for him.

That's a great new hashtag I may use now: #bestdad.

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