A Parenting Resource by a Father for Everyone
With Spring in the air and in my step, I have begun taking LTD to the playground at least once a week. While he can’t really do anything yet, he does enjoy the baby swing and the equipment you sit on and bounce. However, I have begun to notice a small bit of awkwardness in the playground vibe when other people are present. Specifically, when mothers are present. Sometimes I get the polite pity nod or a curt hello, but usually I get iced out. We are talking way past dagger stares and into the cruelest realm, the shun. The cool moms talk about what is going on in their baby universes ignoring me the whole time. They talk about day camps and Gymboree classes and mine as well be invisible.
I know that local playgrounds have there clicks and I’m not looking to intrude or join any gossip gang, but you could at least be civil. Even in 2010 the stigma of seeing dad as fulltime caregiver freaks people out. The playground moms can’t just let it go rather they give looks of ‘I wonder what the deal with that guy is?’ Perhaps over time some of the moms will loosen up and see me as an equal. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I’m not 6’2”, 300 lbs and covered in tattoos.
Back in the day, Friday’s used to be a day of celebration. At five o’clock on a Friday you knew you were free. We are talking about Friday the payday and Friday the day to go out for happy hour with your co-workers. Sadly, for me Friday as a magical day is gone. Why? Because now when five o’clock on Friday hits I am burned out. At the end of the week, I am in the weeds as the 50 plus hours I spend taking care of LTD take their toll. Also, Friday used to mean that the next day you could sleep in and didn’t have to face rush hour traffic. Well, my weekend morning routine is now the same as my weekday routine minus the traffic. So I have lost my special Fridays and all I got in return was the fact that yesterday my son hugged me for the first time. Yeah, all right, we’ll call it even.
As a rule when it comes to baby products targeted at dads I get nervous. They reek of either trying to hard to be clever or trying way to hard to be hip and cool. In fact you get the feeling if people didn’t need to find Father’s day gifts most of these products wouldn’t exist. However, DadGear keeps their products simple with an eye towards making your life easier. I will admit they walk the tight line between necessary and why not. As a New Englander I love my fleece and so the Cargo Jacket fits right into my extensive collection. The big feature of the Cargo Jacket is the multiple pockets. I have never met a guy who didn’t love pockets. The jacket has so many pockets that the one on the lower back is reserved specifically for a changing pad.
Every parent knows that there are certain items you can’t have enough of, with tissues being high on that list. The Cargo Jacket provides plenty of room so you don’t have any excuse not to have extra wipes or puffs. You do feel as if you are trekking in the jungle on a survival adventure with the Swiss Army knife of jackets. The drawback to all thse pockets is that at DadGear they …”oversize their items to accommodate your necessities so products run larger than normal.” I can see how some people would not be able to get used to the large look and feel which makes the jacket perfect for a long day trip, but a little awkward for daily use.
For almost seven months now watching the baby during the day hasn’t required an extreme level of vigilance. Recently, that has all changed. People say you have to baby proof when they start to crawl, but no one talks about what to do when they start to roll. I put LTD down on the tummy time mat and looked away for a second and when I turned back he had rolled to the other side of the room. The way this kid moves, I should rig him up to a generator to power the house for free. So now that the tummy time mat is painfully small, I have started using a comforter on the floor to prevent LTD from putting dog hair in his mouth (or at least no more than usual).
The time feels right to get a baby jail, but that would mean that 1/3rd of the household population would be incarcerated and that just feels too high. I always wanted a free-range baby but my liberal ideals have run smack into the cold reality of the situation. Hopefully we will figure it all out by the time he starts to crawl. This whole thing has taught me one thing though, with LTD there is never a dull moment.
Capitalism being what it is, companies have started to market a great number of baby products to men. They assume we can’t handle things with ducks and bunnies on them, so they make bags and shirts with slogans like ‘rebel dad’ in all black. For the most part, I don’t care what the baby product looks, that being said, I guess since LTD is a boy, I don’t really have any pink Barbie inspired bags and blankets. However, one product that straddles the line between baby product and okay for a man to be seen with in public is Columbia’s Trekster Diaper Bag. In fact, to the untrained eye it looks like a regular backpack. So much so that sometimes I feel like a spy trained to covertly enter a building and change a diaper without anyone seeing me.
The Trekster comes with a whole bunch of cool pockets and by cool, I mean a foil lined pocket to keep a bottle chill. The bag also features a generous sized foldout changing pad with plastic supply bags attached. The truth is I actually prefer the backpack style to the over the shoulder diaper bag. When you have a baby you tend to over pack and the diaper bag gets heavy fast. Between the bags and carseat I lift way more than I like too and it starts to feel like exercise.