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Published September 07, 2012, 02:10 PM

Areavoices: New dad offers top nine things he's learned in nine months

Congrats to this little munchkin who turned 9 months old today! In honor of this special milestone, here are the top 9 things I’ve learned being a dad for the last night months.

By: Patrick Kirby, "Father Knows Least" blog on Areavoices.com, INFORUM

Well, its been a busy time of year in the Kirby household with work, lake time, travel to see grandmas and grandpas, and as much golf as I could squeeze in. It certainly didn’t leave much time to chronicle the growth and development of my child on the internet. But now that summer has come and gone – time to document with a renewed ferocity, the scope and scale of poop filled diapers and the amount of times my kiddo bumps his head on everything in the house.

Congrats to this little munchkin who turned 9 months old today! In honor of this special milestone, I bring you the top 9 things I’ve learned being a dad for the last night months.

1. The person who invented pointy corners on end and coffee tables didn’t have kids

I’m not a carpenter. That’s evident by my father-in-laws’ insistence that I only refill beers rather than use any power tools when I offer to “help” with his projects around the house. However, having a child whose sole mission is to pull himself up on things, makes me fear and hate those that created the 90 degree angled table top. For some reason, the thought of him smashing his face against the flat surface of a cabinet or dresser drawer is much more comforting than him being impaled by the corner of some shoddily-built-IKEA piece I put together 7 beers deep on a random Thursday night all those months ago while he was still in utero.

2. I appreciate sleep more than I thought I did

For years I prided myself on being an “insomniac.” A term I borrowed from the actual physical affliction to use an as excuse to stay up and play video games while my wife went to bed early. However, now that I’ve spent the better part of the year NOT getting the FDA recommended amount of sleep at night, makes me realize the errors in my youthful ways. But the range and volume level of the baby monitor perched 3 feet from the bedside, picks up the slightest movement and noises coming from the spawn’s resting place. The most subtle coo or innocent sleep-sigh immediately wakes me up from the deepest sleeps and becomes nearly impossible to go back to that REM-like-awesomeness from which I was disturbed. Also, I swear he wakes up twice a night just to spite me.

3. Conversations with people who don’t have kids gets tougher

I’m fairly confused on what to say to people who don’t have children or who are not expecting children. To those who have kids, the conversation immediately becomes a note-comparing and story-one-upping about our now-crazy lives. To those who are expecting children, I find it fun to put the fear of God into them regarding the most horrifying poop and projectile vomit stories imaginable…if for no other reason to soften the blow of the ACTUAL horror of actual poop and vomit.

4. I feel the need to apologize to my parents for being a jerk as a teenager

I know that as a teenager, I sucked as a child. And looking into the eyes of my genetic personality clone, I must be seeing what my mother and father saw…and it scares the bejesus out of me. This kid is gonna charm the pants off of his teachers, give me higher blood pressure than I ought to have, and be one awesome dude…but not without driving me to the brink of insanity. And for putting my own parents through what I can already tell my child will put me through – a weekly phone call to say “sorry” for the litany of things I did wrong and staving off Karma for as long as I can, seems to be appropriate.

5. Poop comes in all sorts colors I didn’t know existed

Did you know if you feed your child carrots, they will poop orange? You’re welcome for that specific knowledge guy eating carrots while reading this blog!

6. Traveling with the child is getting harder

I have a friend of mine who works as a logistical engineer for the Army. He coordinates the shipping of everything from troops to food to tanks to ammo all over the world to ensure those defending the shores of America from terrorists have all the proper materials needed. His job is simpler than trying to pack the car for a two day trip to the lake.

7. Traveling for work is getting harder

I travel all over the Dakotas for my job – and every time I leave, it gets harder to come back to see some new “trick” my little guy has learned. Getting a cell phone video of him crawling or babbling while I am uncomfortably lying in a Quality Inn and Suites in the middle of nowhere does not get easier. And now that he is mobile, the wife certainly doesn’t appreciate the elongated stays across the Midwest. But that moment when I walk in the door, and the excitement I see in his eyes upon recognizing me, makes the numb butt from driving 9 hours in a row seem a distant memory.

8. Every month he gets more fun

Sure it was great to plop the kid in the middle of the room, be able to do dishes, laundry and a whole host of chores while not worrying he would make a b-line for the staircase. But when it comes to playing “airplane” with a spoonful of squash, splashing water around the tub during bath time or trying to squeeze him into a 6 month onesie when you know damn-well that he’s needs a 12 month – you’d be hard pressed to have more fun than that.

9. They grow up too fast

The more months that pass by, the more I sound like everyone else who has grown children. “They grow up too fast,” is the resounding theme. And it couldn’t be truer. I have to close my eyes and think real hard to remember a time when he didn’t want to jab his finger in an wall outlet, or flip through our camera to remember how tiny he once was. And I’m sure I’ll think the same thing when he turns 9 years old, as much as I’ve said it leading up to him turning 9 months old.

Soon we’ll be planning his first birthday party – and it will hit me like a ton of bricks: I’ve been a dad for a year. That’s about as weird as realizing 9 months ago that I’d actually BECOME a dad.

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