Hold On Daddy's Coming!

Stories, rants and reflections by a clueless father of three

Archive for the tag “babies”

On Being a “Night Student Daddy”

Now that school has ended for the semester, it’s officially time for me to discuss (which means “complain about”) how hard it was.  Those of you who are night students may be able to appreciate some of things that I “have”:

I have a boss who expects me to do my job; several bosses, actually.  They support me going to school and all, but they also expect me to actually work for my salary.  They’re demanding like that.  

I also have professors who expect me to be prepared for class. More often than I’d like to admit, I “research” important cases on Wikipedia and sketchy legal blogs.  And yep, I could soon become your lawyer… 

I have a body that’s beginning to fight back from all the 7/11 Big Bites (with nacho cheese and chili, or course), coffees, Mountain Dews, Red Bulls, Quiznos, and bags of peanut butter m&ms.   You know it’s bad when fruit snacks are literally your biggest source of fruit. 

I have a backpack filled with ridiculously heavy books that I bring with me pretty much everywhere I go.  Nothing says “professional” like a suit, tie, and a high school backpack.  

Oh, and then I have my beautiful wife.  We see each other in person on the weekends, and on Facebook during the week.   On my first day of class last January, Jackie said “bye babe, I’ll see you in the summer.”  

(It’s funny cuz it’s true).

Friends?  Facebook claims I have a lot of them.  But the call history on my cell phone would beg to differ. 

(It’s sad cuz it’s true).     

Also, being a night student comes with some unique dilemmas:

Should I finally take Jackie out on a date or should I finally start writing this paper? Should I save $50 and buy the old version of the textbook or buy the new one the professor says I “need” to have? Should I take a day of leave from work so I can study, or should I save it and go in?

These are things night students just have to deal with – a balancing act between work, school, marriage, and on occasion, friends.  I sometimes jokingly refer to it as “the night life.”  Amazingly, I’ve been living this night life since the Bush Administration. 

But now I also “have” something else:  two babies (that are super cute).  Which makes me a “night student daddy.” Or is it “daddy night student”? 

(Thinks about it…) 

Definitely “night student daddy.”    

Anyway. This past semester was the first full semester with the babies, and it was a grind. Nobody in our house slept much, and everybody in our house did some screaming. 

But now that it’s over, I can look back and truly admire what my wife has done for me and my family, and it’s really awesome.   

WARNING: it’s about to get real sappy up in here…

Here’s a quick-hitting list of things Jackie does:  she works (32 hours per week), she watches the kids, she wakes up with the kids, she does my laundry, she gets them to bed all by herself, she does the shopping, she runs all the errands, she pays all the bills, she cleans the house, she packs my lunch and dinner (and few snacks for in between…),  she sends me adorable pictures of the babies during the day, she thinks it’s important that I play racquetball on Sundays, and she makes me “soup and sandwich” when I start to get sick.  Yea, she’s good.

Me?  I take out the trash.  Unless I forget. 

One of these days, I may actually get to reward her with some of the “finer things.”  But until then, we will continue to use our old washing machine that, with the help of duct tape, usually works.  And we will continue to have a plywood board serve as a makeshift countertop in our kitchen.  And we will continue to pay for new semesters of tuition while holding off on the new refrigerator I know Jackie is lusting after.  And we will continue to go to restaurants that serve endless free chips.  Confession: I have signed my fair of $6 dinner tabs. 

Look, I’m not saying we’re poor; we’re not.  But we have had to make some sacrifices over the past four years to pay for school, and I’m glad I have a wife who is capable of thinking long-term.  

God hooked me up with a wife who is ridiculous, but also ridiculously awesome (for instance, she often answers the phone with “what up player?”).  I would have it no other way.  And when I finally finish school next semester, that degree will be every bit as much hers as it will be mine. 

Being a night student is tough and being a “night student daddy” is even tougher.  But my wife is a “night student mommy,” and that’s by far the toughest gig of all. 

Told you it was about to get sappy in here. 

Textbooks arent cool but these people are.

How I Miserably Failed P90X

Well before Jimmy and Riley were born, I resolved to stay in shape throughout their infancy.  This is something that’s important to a lot of new dads (and moms too).  Well, two months after the twins were born, I did what lots of people seem to be doing the moment they spot some flabbiness:  P90X. 

Before I get into details, let me just make a few general comments about P90X.  First off, the whole premise is that you do ridiculously hard and uncomfortable moves for about an hour or an hour and a half… 90 days in a row.  On top of that, you’re supposed to eat things like soy sausage muffins and asparagus soup and grilled ahi tuna salad.  No joke.

Secondly, the dudes on P90X are ripped, but not necessarily jacked.  I think this is why I keep convincing myself that I can do the program.  A lot of workout programs are led by dudes who have been roiding since high school.  Me? I’m a stick who played a lot of chess as a kid.  So the last thing I’m gonna do is listen to some crazy, oiled-up body builder tell me how to add 70 pounds of muscle.  In contrast, the guys on p90x look like they might work at Goldman Sachs during the day and just happen to be workout freaks on the side.  They’re the kind of guys I can look at and think: “hey, maybe I can look like that too…”  

Of course, the reality is that I can’t.

If I was a workout freak of any kind, it wouldn’t have taken me almost 25 minutes longer than Oprah Winfrey to finish the Marine Corps Marathon.  And if I was a workout freak of any kind, I wouldn’t classify 18 holes of golf as my exercise for the weekend.  You get the idea.

Well, my plan to “do P90X” was dead on arrival because it’s by far the most unrealistic workout ever.  In fact, I’ve now failed it twice.  The first time was because “law school was really ramping up and I really needed to stay focused and blah, blah, blah” Translation:  I quit because it was miserable.  I have no idea why I thought things would go any better when I tried it once again just two months after Jimmy and Riley were born.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how I failed the program:

Before I even broke a sweat, I decided not to follow that ridiculous diet.  Zero chance I’m eating pears and granola for breakfast.  Besides, there’s nothing more American than a donut and coffee in the morning.  I’ll just do the workouts… 

Day One was a “Chest and Back” workout, along with a separate workout for abs.  They had me doing lots of pushups (which I can do) and pull ups (which I can’t do). 

Day Two was a ridiculously hard workout called “Plyometrics” where you’re pretty much just supposed to jump all over the place for an hour.  It totally sucks. 

Note: at this point in time, the kids are sleeping just a few hours at night.  I’m seriously wondering if this is even a worthy cause.  Basically, I’m laying a foundation for many excuses to come… 

Day Three: I decided that the stretching part of the workout was taking too long.  And other exercises that I thought were stupid were taking up too much of my time as well.  It was questionable, but I think I can say I “finished” the workout.  Either way, I decided it was time to show off what I had accomplished over those past three days: hello sleeveless shirt!

If you now have a visual of me in a sleeveless shirt, I apologize.  Moving on… 

Day Four was yoga – “definitely not doing yoga.”   FOR GOODNESS SAKE THE WORKOUT IS AN HOUR AND A HALF LONG!!!  And I’m really tired.  And I just don’t want to do it.  And it sounds hard and boring.  And I hate stretching.

Note:  Aaannnnnnnnnd were totally falling off the tracks. 

Day Five was legs and abs.  Unfortunately, it fell on a Friday and I just didn’t have the time for all of it.  I did the ab workout with Jackie (which always makes things a little more…interesting).  I rationalized not doing the leg workout by telling myself that leg strength isn’t really something that dudes in their twenties should be worried about anyway.   

So thus far, I’ve told myself that the following things are pointless:  the diet, the stretching, some of the more awkward maneuvers, the entire yoga workout, and the entire leg workout.  And I’m about to add another…

Day Six was karate.  The problem was that I spent much of the night before up with the kids so that Jackie could get a few hours of sleep (a luxury for her).  And then I played golf the next morning.  And now I’m supposed to do an hour of karate?  Uhh, no.  So I improvise, telling myself that a 30 minute jog is basically the same as 55 minutes of intense karate.  Much better.

Day Seven was a day of rest with the option of doing an hour of stretching.  Shockingly, I opted for the day of rest.    

The next week got worse.  Slowly but surely, I was doing less and less of the workouts.  At some point I had to admit that even if I continued what I was doing for another 70-80 days, I wouldn’t look like the dudes on the infomercials who had religiously followed the program.   So I stopped entirely.  So much for my transformational story about going from slob to stud…  

As a new dad, I can blame a lot of things on Jimmy and Riley.  For instance, I recently used the word “tummy” in a serious conversation.  I say “cute” way more than is acceptable for a man.  And I spent a recent Friday night watching the Lion King – for which I definitely blame the kids.  But for failing P90X? I can pretty much only blame myself.  The kids merely accelerated my inevitable downfall. 

P90X isn’t just the most impractical workout for people with newborns; it’s the most impractical workout ever.  So if you’re thinking about doing it and you have newborn twins, then you should prepare for a miserable failure.

And if you don’t have newborn twins?  Well, you should still prepare for a miserable failure…

Dont hold that picture on the left against me. That was *before* I got into the best shape of my life…

The Dreaded “I Think We Need A Bigger Car” Conversation

Clearly, these sleeping babies are miserable because they don’t have enough room in the car…

Dudes, be warned. If your pregnant wife drives a car that seats less than 8 grown men, then you need to know this: she won’t be driving it for long. 

Like I’ve said before, women are sneaky.  Chances are your wife has been scheming to acquire a nicer vehicle for months (pretty much rule #1 about women is that they like new things…even when the older thing is still perfectly good).  This is her golden opportunity. 

It’s actually a four-phase process.   Here’s how it goes down:

For me, Phase One began with subtle suggestions that my wife’s car was too small to fit the necessities of life (episode two of the new show “Up All Night” actually does a pretty good job of depicting this).  Prepare for your wife to explain to you that “we can’t go (insert fun place) because there just isn’t enough room anymore.”

The thing is, she could fit it all in there if she really wanted to.  Oh, and she knows it too. Here’s proof: when my wife and I go on vacations, I am continually amazed by the amount of things she can fit into one suitcase.  A month’s worth of clothes?  Packed!  Games? Packed!  Seven books that most definitely won’t be read?  Packed!  Sometimes my wife will literally stand on top of the suitcase and pull the zipper shut to accomodate excess luggage.  I think this is something she stragely enjoys doing.

But now, somehow, she cant fit the stroller into the car?  Riiiiight…

Once it’s been established that the car is a bit too small, she will begin Phase Two.  This was when my wife brought the full court press on how “frustrating it is that I can’t fit everything I need” or how it took her “ten minutes just to get everything out of the car!”  If you have twins like we do, prepare for an even fuller dose of sob stories.  Oh, and if you have a dog, this is where your wife will insert comments about how your four-legged friend “just doesn’t look happy in the car anymore.”  Apparently the dog’s level of happiness in the car actually matters…   

So now it’s 4 to 1 in my wife’s favor: that “old” Nissan Altima (a 2008!) is wholly inadequate.  Note: it doesn’t help that every other mother on the planet also has an SUV and likes to talk nonstop about how much happier they now are with one.  So thanks for that, other moms. 

With public opinion squarely on her side, my wife moved in for the kill.  Wait for it…

Boom!  She drops the safety card on me.  Welcome to Phase Three.  “That car just isn’t safe for our child.”  Your wife may cite some random website which says that her car only got 4.5 stars (out of 5) on some random side-impact crash test.  Bottom line?  “I think we need a bigger car.”

Here’s the beauty of all this: it’s not for your wife…it’s for the child!  I mean, come on dad.  You wouldn’t want to put your child in danger, would you?  You don’t want your child to die because you were too stingy to buy a fully-loaded Lincoln Navigator, do you? 

Didnt think so.

Men: I don’t know when it happens, but at some point women realize that child safety is the ultimate trump card.  It gives them carte blanche to buy ridiculous things like organic baby clothes, booster seats with multiple cup holders, and $500 pieces of wood (er, cribs). 

Yep, “child safety” is a winner and your wife knows it.  And she isn’t done using it against you (stay tuned, its coming…).  

So.  We’re looking for cars.  But now I have something far different in mind than my wife.  Maybe a gently-used minivan?  Ya right!  She doesn’t want to look like her mom did 20 years ago; she wants to look like a baller.  So even though the minivan would seem to fit her criteria (bigger and safer), we spend 100% of our car search in the SUV department. 

This is when I suddenly became an environmentalist.  “These cars only get 13 or 14 miles to the gallon! That’s horrible for the…ecosystem.”  It was a good try, but this tactic was totally futile.  Apparently small to mid-size SUVs just aren’t big enough for our family; only something resembling a yacht would do.  Besides, this is America and we do what we want.   So let’s just move on.

Here’s where she drops the safety card again.  See, the reasonable car you are hoping for (about $10,000 less than the one she wants) doesn’t have a rear-view camera or hi-def DVD player (OBVIOUSLY, these are vital safety features).  And it doesn’t have heated seats, either.  Why are heated seats important, you ask?  “The kids need them.” 

Once youre finally on the fence about whether or not to get her the car she wants (and has been secretly eyeing for about 7 months), she has one last trick up her sleeve: the good husband routine (aka Phase Four).  She will tell you about how hard it’s been adjusting to caring for a child day and night, and that this is what she needs.  Translation: be a good husband and buy your wife this car. 

Game. Set. Match.  Enjoy those car payments, gentlemen.  

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