Tuesday, August 31, 2010

***The Final Post***

It's the end of the line for Dawn of the Dad. I've done 365 posts (one a day for a year) and my time as a stay at home dad is almost up. Tomorrow, I return to work as a teacher. The kids come in and the school year begins in earnest.

This last blog entry will sit atop all the other for all eternity. So to put a little cap on experience of blogging about my daily life there are a few things I want to do.

Explanation of this Blog

If you are perhaps a first-time visitor, here's a little backstory...

I took the last year off from working as a middle school teacher to stay at home with my daughter (referred to in this blog as Baby J). I began this blog so that family members who live far away could keep tabs on us and so I could keep a running record of my experience. I figured it would be cool to look back on it someday, to offer it to Baby J when she's old enough.

Dawn of the Dad also became a place where I could think out loud (or type out my thoughts out loud...whatever, you know what I mean). This process of reflecting and ranting and posting has given me valuable insights into the nature of family, fatherhood, and child-rearing. Over the course of the year, there have been some "valuable insights" which have developed into what you might call Super Mega Reflections, big ideas or perhaps major themes that involve parenting. Here they are...

Super Mega Reflections
  • Public libraries are the greatest thing on Earth. There is no doubt about it, libraries were what got us through this year. They have space, programs, and toys designed for little kids. They have a limitless supply of information and entertainment right there for you and your family. They want nothing more than for you to take from them all you can carry. And it's all for free. When you really sit and think about it, libraries are just amazing.
  • The parent who parents less parents best. I'm not advocating lassiez faire, total hands-off parenting. Keep your kids safe, of course. But, let them learn to fall and get up on their own. Let them learn to make decisions, screw things up, and then set them right again. Let them figure things out on their own. Someday you won't be around anymore and your kids will have to get along without you. Help prepare them for independence right from the very start.
  • When you care for a child, you must also care for yourself. Otherwise you will both suffer. Do what it takes to keep yourself healthy and sane. Sleep, eat, exercise, socialize with other adults. Whatever it takes. If you aren't a whole person, you cannot give of yourself in the way that children need you to.
  • Comparing children to one another is an ugly affair. Parents who measure their child against someone else's are really just exposing their insecurities and anxieties. I give you my solemn promise - your child will grow up to be big and strong and smart and happy. If not, your pediatrician will point out the red flags way ahead of time. So relax and find something else to talk about with other parents. I really don't care how many teeth your kid has.
Comment Policy

People seemed to enjoy making the occasional comment on my blog. And as much I appreciated the interaction, I'm afraid I will have to shut all that down now. The problem is that spammers love to post links to pornographic websites in the comments section. And for some weird reason, it's always in Chinese. So because of these Chinese spammers, as of September 1st, comments will no longer be a feature available on this blog. One feature that will be available, however, is a tidy, little table of contents.

Table of Contents
  • Firsts - This here is a list of all the milestones Baby J reached. First steps, first words, etc. Very useful if you are a Baby J historian.
  • Comics - When Dawn of the Dad first got started, I did a comic pretty much every other day. Though I couldn't keep up that pace, all told, I posted about 50.
  • Music - To celebrate milestones and to add a bit of variety to the blog, I posted about ten songs I'd written over the course of the year.
So there you have it. It's been a hoot. I hope you enjoy my musings.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Baby J seems to have a low frustration threshold these days. If she can't complete some task quickly enough or make herself understood, she moans and growls and does this strange, fake cry. I think it's because she's at the point where she can communicate a bit verbally and knows how to get her message across. But when words fail her, she goes straight to angry grunts for almost anything. She sounds like a little cave-baby.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Baby J is going through a biting phase. At least I hope it's a phase.

At school she's been chomping down on her friends left and right. My wife is scared she's going to get kicked out of school but they don't seem too worried about it there. Especially since Baby J only seems to bite in an affectionate way. It's only when her friends are giving her a hug or she's playing nicely with someone. Never out of frustration or anger.

Either way, I'll be happy when this phase is over.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Got Poo

Today, Baby J reached another milestone - an awareness of poopy.

She was playing with some toys when suddenly she stopped and came over to me. She was babbling on about something but I didn't quite understand. But then, quite clearly, she said, "got poo."

A quick sniff confirmed it and I whisked her off to be changed. I really didn't think much of it. But when I told my wife, she got really excited - giddy even! After that, I thought about it a bit and realized that this is the first step towards potty training, towards doo doo independence, and, most importantly, the end of me having to change poopy diapers.

That is certainly something to be giddy about.

p.s. The spell-checker on my computer put a little, wavy, red line under every reference to poop in this post. Apparently, the folks who programmed my computer did not feel it is important to put potty talk in the computer, they consider it all to be misspelled. Why is that? The more graphic, four-letter word for it passes muster but not "doo doo." Strange.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I got my first paycheck today. I'm making money again!

We've officially made landfall on this stay-at-home voyage. Even though we'd planned everything out well in advance, it's still hard to believe that we survived financially for almost two years with a single wage-earner.

When I look back at my time as a stay-at-home dad, I don't much think of the lean living. I don't think about the student loans I've amassed. I don't think about the wage earning potential I gave up. At this moment, now that I fully realize my stint as a stay-at-home dad is ending, I feel only a tremendous sense of accomplishment, I feel really proud that my family and I made a goal, stuck to our plan, and made it out the other side. In these tough economic times and in a way that most families don't operate, we followed made a decision, stuck to our guns, and it's really something to be proud of.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Listening To

Over the course of the year, I kept a running record of the music I was listening to while I wrote. Part of the reason I did this was to make recommendations to anyone who happened to be visiting Dawn of the Dad. But I've been keeping track of my musical meanderings for my own benefit too. For some reason, I feel like this will be important to me someday.

So, for your benefit and mine, here's an excel spreadsheet of all the Dawn of the Dad albums complete with comments from yours truly. Yes, it took me a long to do but I think you're worth it.

And if you want some more musical recommendations, here's an online list of 1001 albums you must hear before you die.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We Only Accept the Love We Think We Deserve

A thought has been bouncing around my brain recently: we only accept the love we think we deserve. I think I read that somewhere. Maybe a fortune cookie. Maybe on a bathroom wall. I can't remember. Either way, I think it's a pretty profound statement.

I'm not going to comment too much on this little snippet of wisdom. It's probably better if it infects your brain the way it did mine. I just wanted to ruminate a bit on where our concept of self-worth comes from. Is there a preset, innate sense of self-esteem for each person? Is it something taught to us by our friends and family? Is it both? How is it that we decide how much we're worth?

Psychologists have probably written scores of books on this subject. I should probably check a few of them out of the library. After all, I want to make sure that Baby J grows up feeling good about herself and worthy of love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Baby J acquires things over the course of a day so that, when it comes time for bed, we have to disinter her from her collection. For example...

Yesterday, my wife bought her a toy stroller. She, of course, needed a passenger - her teddy bear, Timmy. Then, she decided she wanted to put on a pair of my wife's shorts but they were a bit too big to stay up around her waist. I improvised and used a tutu to hold them up like a belt. Then she found my wife's cardigan and demanded that she wear that too. She spent the final part of the evening walking around like some bag lady, pushing her cart and ambling around in cast off clothing.

At the end of the day, when I went to give her a bath, I had to take all this away from her and more!

I wonder if, when she grows up, she'll be a hoarder.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I'm not on Facebook or any other social networking site so I don't really keep track of old friends via the internet. I try to keep up correspondence through emails and phone calls instead but it's a sad fact that some folks slip away as the years go by.

So when one of my friends said she wanted to get all our old pals together and do a BBQ, I thought it was a great idea. The date was set, the location picked, and all old friends tracked down. My family and I are driving out to see everyone over Labor Day and I'm really looking forward to it.

One of the coolest things about this BBQ is that everyone is bringing their kids with them. In the past few years, we've all been busy siring offspring and now they're all at the age where they can interact and meet each other. For some reason, I just think that's the cat's pajamas. I can't wait for Baby J to meet the other babies. I doubt she'll see anything really significant about it but for me it'll really be something special.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

FIRSTS: Sentence

Baby J's first complete sentence is:
"Where did it go?"
She said it the other day in the tub when the water drained out.

As far as first sentences go, this one is quite a doozy. I mean, how do you answer that? How do you explain that water is made of individual molecules that, by going down the drain, eventually rejoin the water cycle?

It's probably enough to just say it went down the drain but I try to give Baby J accurate information.