Friday, August 03, 2007

Unsolicited Advice : Fatherhood #3

(From others, and from myself, all advice should be considered unsolicited.)

1. If you are remotely considering parenting, get your advice directly from people. Humans, that is. Books are not humans, neither is the interweb.

2. If at all possible, get advice from your own parents. Take it with a bag of salt, but take it nonetheless.

3. If you are reading "books" to learn about parenting/birth, try hard to keep a conversation with your partner going about "reality" vs what is being warned about in the book. Statistics are not reality, they are (often) scientific snapshots of possible outcomes, not what's actually going to happen with your pregnancy/birth.

4. Get many positive conversations going about when the baby comes. Although some might call this "magical thinking", I call it positive survivalism. Obviously, there are hundreds of resources for the negative stuff, if you focus on that, you will stress yourself and your potential baby out. Prepare for the good stuff! Baby names, nesting options, parenting methods, baby clothing, new and old traditions you are going to use. It's not pollyanna. It's more likely that it's all going to be alright, so be as prepared (or moreso) for that positive outcome as the negative. I'm not saying don't be ready for potential bad news, I'm saying don't focus on it.

5. Go back through your own childhood. Look at pictures of you in your mother, birth photos, childhood photos. Get your parents to talk about your own birth and how it went, what they would change. Damn, I just came up with that idea and I haven't even done it myself! I'm calling my mom in Bellevue right now. Left a message...

6. Talk to your partner. Keep talking. They need support and you do to. Do fun things together. Go out to a nice dinner. Arrange things that allow for more chatting. It's essential, and it's part of the nesting procedure. This belongs as advice number 1.

7. Borrow everything you can. People are dying to let you take stuff out of their homes. Have a borrow-shower. (Good idea #2 on the spot!). Make lists of things you need, tell all your peeps. Have a baby-borrowing registry! Just quit thinking that you need to buy every damn thing new. NOTABLE EXCEPTION: BUY A BRAND NEW BABY SEAT! and get a good one.

8. Have a professional install your baby seat, a month in advance. Seriously. I am a Certified Sit-Safe Installer myself, and I can do it or find someone who can do it. In the last year with 200+ installs, only 5 got it done right. Engineers, pediatricians, geniuses, everybody gets it wrong somehow. Have a pro install and/or check it for you.

9. Get the tests, but don't stress the testing. It's important, but it's not REALITY. The can give you ideas about what might happen, but not what will happen. Again, stay positive. You get these tests sometimes just to rule stuff out, but in the end it's probabilities, just numbers.

10. Surround yourself with supporters. If you have friends who get it, they will be behind you no matter what. If your "friends" tell you horror stories the first time they hear about your pending parenthood, kindly tell them to stuff it. If necessary, keep stuff to yourselves. Don't tell everybody on the planet you are pregnant the moment you find out (like I did...). Let the idea kinda simmer inside while you get yourself ready. Don't tell the name too early, and don't listen to people who say "what kind of name is Tycho?? It rhymes with Psycho!". Get new peeps if you must, but don't let people get you down. Family members might say some stupid stuff to you, just ignore it. Our worst advice, "Don't get divorced!" came from a family member. No offense meant, but that's not the first thing a new parent wants to get as "advice" on parenthood.

11. Document stuff, but don't obsess about it. Be in the moment as much as you can. Don't waste real-time interaction for posterity reminiscence. Take photos and movies, but keep it sane.

12. Be yourself. There is no need to be any damn body else. You're a parent, but you are also a sovereign human being. Nobody gets to tell you what you have to do, and you don't have to pretend to be anybody else to be a good parent. Do your thing. It gets you ready to parent! Don't be fooled, the stuff you plan on telling the kid is peanuts in comparison to the stuff you SHOW the kid by just being yourself. Do that better, and you'll be the best parent you can be.

13. Don't forget to LOVE. Seriously. Love a lot. Get it an give it. You'll understand what I mean, if you don't already. Love, Love, Love.


wazaroff said...

Great post Aaron. I think your number 12 hits it on the head. So many people lose a sense of who they are. Stay calm, and be yourself.

Unless you're an asshole. In that case, be a nicer person.

Love you...

Signmaker: Cupcake said...

YES to 6 & 15. Loving each other is the best thing you can do for Tiny Campbell!

You two are going to be great parents! I can't wait to watch!