There are nights like this when I linger in my sons bedroom. Scratching his back and the back of his head, wishing him sweet dreams that I just placed inside his pillow after I fluffed it. Listening to his breathing get deeper and sleepier.
There’s an urge to hurry up and go watch the latest season of Modern Family but there’s a desire almost like guilt, to stay next to my child and absorb every atom and every moment together, not to miss any of it because it all might be gone one day.
There are many things I want to make time for, but it all crumbles and disintegrates between his curls as I run my fingers through his hair at bedtime.
All I really want is for him to understand how much I love him but my son is only 5 years old. He believes in santa and thinks bats only come out on Halloween and he still doesn’t understand what I really mean when I say that I will love him forever. I say, siempre, and he replies, para siempre. Always, and forever. That’s what we always say, every day. So I leave Modern Family for tomorrow and write these words in my mind instead. I just wanted to share them with you first before I go to bed.…
There’s a part of this past summer that I haven’t been completely open about and people around me have been saying that I should address it, as it’s as much a part of parenthood as anything else. As a parent, or any person for that matter, we shape peoples perception of us by choosing what to share and what not to, based on our own preferences, fears and isms. In todays social media society we can do it more than ever before by telling the stories and narratives that are appealing to us. Some things are more difficult because we’re afraid of judgement, looking weak or vulnerable.
When Ean was born, as soon as I laid eyes on him I could “read” him. Maybe because he looked just like me in my baby photos, maybe because his character is very similar to mine, maybe because he was a boy; I don’t know with complete certainty why but I “got him”. Even though he always gravitated towards his mother, even though to this day he still chooses her over me in all instances, there’s just a connection there that’s been there since birth.
When Ana got pregnant again and when we found out it was a girl, I immediately was hit with doubts, fears and insecurities. When around friends, I always used to make the same joke about gender of kids; that with boys you have to worry about one penis but with a girl you have to worry about everyone else’s! I acknowledge that this fear was a part of it but it wasn’t all. I tried to face my issues well before she was born and I did the classical “as long as the baby is healthy” mantra that didn’t seem to make any difference. Bringing a girl into this world felt like a punishment to her, until I started focusing on all the amazing women who are kicking ass around the world today and those who came before them. Okay, that helped, I was going to raise my little genius gentle warrior and teach her all she would need to get ahead in this crazy world.
Then, she was born. Okay, it’s a girl, she’s perfect and she’s going to be amazing. Wait, are those blue eyes? In intimate quiet moments I found myself staring at her. She didn’t look like me, I mean she looked nothing like me and as I looked into those big blue eyes I couldn’t find myself in her anywhere as I did with Ean and it scared the shit out of me. It got worse.…
Ever since I stopped posting under the Fatherologist moniker, The Mrs. has been asking me to rethink it. I wanted to focus more on my projects and I was having a rough couple of months with the new baby, but that’s a story for another day. I love to tell stories and take photos but doing that with only my children as a subject was starting to feel limiting. There were so many other things going on that I wanted to share and write about but because it wasn’t specifically about parenthood I felt like this wasn’t the platform for it but as one smart lady told me, the platform is whatever I want it to be because I am the platform and regardless of what I do in life, fatherhood will play a part in that, which is true.
This woman of mine has always been my biggest fan and she loves to read what I write because she simply likes the way I express myself. She insists that’s also why people follow my content, that it’s not necessarily for the cute photos, but because it’s about the anecdotes and the people behind them. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, I have been limiting myself unnecessarily. So I thought I would try this, just write, shoot and post because I love doing it and not think so much about what category it necessarily falls under because ultimately I am a father doing whatever it is that I do and if you like to be a part of whatever this is, then I would be delighted.
I would love to hear your opinion though, what brought you to my feed, what content compels you the most. If it’s the photos, the anecdotes, the advice or maybe a combination of all of it and the rhetoric with which I deliver it.
Personally I think Ana has a hidden agenda with her encouragement to get back to posting. When she was working and I was alone with Ean I know how much she loved the daily posts, I think it made it easier for her to have a glimpse into my daily life with our child. Now that she’s getting closer to start working again I know she’s going to miss them and she’s going to worry about how I’m going to deal with my constant projects all while caring for two kids. Let’s find out together, shall we?…
It’s been over a month since Allegra was born and though we’re in the middle of planning to move and all that, we’ve gotten into our routine, a pretty decent one I think. I posted on Instagram and Facebook, asking if anyone of you had any questions and the response was overwhelming….ly small 😉 None the less, I will address the questions here as well.
First of all, and this was the biggest surprise… it’s incredible how different two kids can be right from birth. I mean, everything! Ean liked to be held, Allegra wants to be left alone mostly. He didn’t like to sleep, she loves it. He liked to sleep on his back, she loves to hang like a monkey on my forearm belly down. He was very interactive, she’s pensive and reserved. He loved to be naked and free, she wants pillows piled ontop of her when she sleeps. I can go on and on and they are not similar in any way, they even have different colored eyes!
Ana’s recovery went very quick this time. With the experience from the first delivery, the added confidence and more confident defiance of doctors recommendations she was out of the hospital and picking up Ean from school the very next day. The baby weight is off, not that I give a what about that but I hear that’s a big subject among the ladies. One advice I can give you, breastfeed! It is insane how many calories are burned to churn that gold out.
Anyway, back to Allegra. The girl sleeps, and sleeeeeeps. At birth she was sleeping around 20 hours per day, now it’s maybe a bit less, but yeah she sleeps long and hard so sleep deprivation hasn’t really been as much of an issue this time around. Timewise, since Ana loves to sleep and I hate it (I only want the required minimum and then I want to do stuff) we split the day. Ana has her afternoon siesta together with her and takes the night shift, thankfully she just wakes up to feed and goes right back to sleep. At 6 or 7 am I take over, which usually just means holding and cozying with her a bit until she falls asleep again and the new day starts. Once she’s a little bit older she’s definitely coming out for the morning jogs with Ean!
One of the questions I got, and honestly it was the thing I was the most curious about. Is it twice as hard to have two kids? The simple answer is, NO. Obviously it depends on the kids in question, how they are raised, how they are and how YOU and your partner are. Having the first one is definitely the biggest challenge. Everything is the first time and it’s scary as hell. I was so afraid to make mistakes that I was reading and studying like it was the most important test of my life (isn’t it though???). With Allegra I already knew my skills and limitations and those of Ana.…
Parenting is rarely about big gestures. It probably has more to do with your every day interactions and how you handle individuals and situations. Today I experienced one of those situations where it was 3 PM, Ean was tired and hungry and therefore of course grumpy and sad.
As tears started to run down his cheeks and he was expressing his despair I had two choices either to speak to him like a person who is experiencing overwhelming emotions or reduce him to a nuisance that I need to get control of as soon as possible. I think you know where I’m going with this.
First I asked him to regain control of himself, this is something we have been practicing since he was a baby. I’ve taught him breathing techniques to calm him down when he’s bordering on a tantrum or emotions running over. I made a video about it when he was smaller. Eye contact, focus on breathing and tons of patience. Here´s that video:
So I repeated a few times: regain control, calm yourself and take a deep breath. Good, one more time. Now, please listen for a moment.
I understand what you are experiencing right now and I think you do too. It’s 3 o’clock, you’re hungry and it’s getting close to your siesta time. You know what that means right? Your emotions get really big and you get grumpy and sad. I hear you and I understand that you want to do what do you want to do but that’s not how it works in a family. I can only listen to you if you listen to me and we can only do things that you want if you do things that we want. A little bit for you, and a little bit for me so that everyone is happy.
We went to the shop that you wanted and we’ve been playing in here for 30 minutes and before that you were waiting patiently while I was working. That’s a little bit for you and a little bit for ne. Now it’s getting late, you need to eat and we need to go to sleep. So can we agree that this is best for everyone? Are you listening to me? Yes? Thank you. To show you that I’m listening to you, I know you want my phone and you can have it during the drive home to watch Netflix. Does that sound fair? Yes? Great! Now, a big hug and let’s go home. I love you and thank you for understanding.
Believe me, not every interaction goes this well and I have lost my temper more times than I can count but we have to keep trying right? We have to keep getting better and be the best parents we possibly can, learn from our shortcomings and improve, always. This is just an example of how something negative can turn into something very positive. We were all tired, it was hot and humid and nobody was really in the mood for a conversation but having the mental agility to make that extra effort not only defused a potential powder-keg about to go off but also brought us closer together.…
Allegra is about 1 month old now and we are kind of settling into our routines at this point. I’m still working on the house renovation so I’m not as present as I would like to be with the kids, but I do my best. Thankfully the house is close to where we live so it’s a quick 10 minute drive if I need to assist with any situation.
Baby is gaining weight at an amazing rate, adding almost 1 kg and 2 cm in only the first 3 weeks! She’s independent, calm, very quiet and literally sleeps about 20 hours per day. In many ways she’s already a contrast to Ean. He loved to be held and wanted to interact from birth. Allegra is fine on her own, it seems she prefers just to chill on her own in the crib or the swing and even goes to sleep on her own. Ean was the exact opposite, it’s cool to see such big differences from birth! Like Ean though, Allegra is 100% breastfed and this time around, with Ana having learned all the postures and tricks to feeding as well as having breastfed actively to some extent for 3 years, apart from a bit of soreness the first week, it’s gone without a hitch.
Ana is doing great too, apart from the lack of sleep I guess. The baby weight is already off, one of the many… MANY benefits of breastfeeding. Now she just complains sometimes about pain in her bones and joints from the body adjusting back to normal after having pushed out a watermelon and losing 10+kg with all the changes in posture and pressure that comes with that. Other than that, she’s one haircut away from being back to her old self, ha ha! (her words, not mine!)
So I finally managed to put together my ambitious video from the pregnancy and delivery. Initially I was planning to vlog more and make longer episodes leading up to birth but neither the interest of others, nor the time on my part was there (I know, due to the new house, or finding a house to buy rather) so I decided to condense it into one pregnancy/delivery video. Here it is, don’t forget to give it the usual thumbs, comments and shares if you like it!
It’s been a few months since my last post and it was a deliberate break I took. After having posted almost daily for 4 years, I decided to take a step back and look at the body of work, where and why it started and where it’s lead and where I want to take it because soon there will be two!
I’m quite pleased with the amount of posts that have emerged through the years and it’s been so much fun reading all your comments and engaging in interesting dialogue with people from around the world about parenting. I do wish however that I would have reached a lot more people by now. After Instagram and Facebook changed their algorithms, my views and exposure took a huge dive. Only a few posts managed to get through the jumble of Facebooks code and ultimately the growth slowed down and stagnated to a near halt shortly after.
I was hoping it would be an organic growth overtime, as people saw, read and followed along on this adventure. As the changes in the algoritms made my reach dwindle I did succumb to the temptation of adverts, spam and other tools people use to try to get ahead but I realised quickly that it was absolutely soul sucking and counterintuitive to my creative process, to the point that I didn’t want to post anymore.
But wasn’t it enough to have 30 readers? I’m writing for myself right? Well, yes, kind of but the reach is also a big deal for me because I would love to get the chance to impact people’s lives, to teach and to learn for myself as well, so not being able to reach a new audience was disappointing.
But ultimately, do I want to stop if I don’t reach my imaginary goals? No. I write for myself, for my children to amuse themselves with a unique huge library of stories from their childhoods when they are older, to see a perspective of their infancy and childhood in a honest and otherwise impossible way. Writing, I’ve been doing this my whole life and becoming a father has made that passion even more fun than ever.
Anyway, welcome back. I will still continue to post as the inspiration trickles down and I hope you will follow me on this continued journey. If you want to help out, just like, share and subscribe… easy as that. So here’s to another 4 years of honest introspection and a crap load of brand new baby photos in about 6 weeks when baby girl drops into this beautiful world. YUPPIII!!…
“Ean, what you’re saying does not make any sense and I don’t think you’re behaving appropriately for your age.” He responded by crying.
“We can’t go on like this. you’re turning 4 years old soon and you can’t live on meatballs and pancakes.” He just looked away and continued crying and I felt horrible, but determined.…
I was in tears that day on his first birthday when he squeezed me tight and hugged me, that was the first time he had done that and at that moment I lost it, a whole year worth of diaper changes, cuddles, lullabies and endless feeding and patience and it was well worth the wait, from then on things got better, but mama was always number 1. Over the past three years, we’ve become closer and closer and while mama is still number 1… for a long time it felt well balanced. Then came yesterday.…
Ean brought a present for the classroom the other day. It’s crazy how much he loves going to school. He literally cries if he can’t go one day and he’s so psyched every day at drop off and pick up. I’m glad I didn’t push him to daycare and took it all at his pace to make it a good experience.
Today someone asked me if he lives up to my hype of how I raise him with all the careful calculations and plans I make and all the lessons I teach him in preparation for major changes and she was in disbelief when I said it’s all pretty much worked exactly according to plans.
I say almost because you have to leave room for the kid to be who he is too and adapt the circumstances to him to make it as optimal as possible. Now I know, it sounds like I’m programming a computer but in reality it’s not that different. You have an idea of what you want to achieve and you use common sense, research and a whooooole lot of loving code to achieve your goal. And my goal? I simply want him to be the best possible version of himself by taking who he is, adding my experience and knowledge together with research and science to give him the best chance at success. I study him carefully to find his strengths and weaknesses and take it from there. I strongly disagree with passive parenting, where they just let the kid be whatever without molding, shaping, assisting and guiding.…