Tag Archives: Fatherhood

My First Father’s Day

I had my very first fathers day a few weeks ago and I am happy to report that it was AWESOME! Since it was my day I was able to decide what to do, and like I mentioned in my last post, I was taking my small brood to the 1st Annual Denver Comic Con. I was super excited as this would be my first “Con” and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew that it would at the very least be a very fun people watching experience, one that Kaleigh and I would both enjoy. After suiting up the family in our Star Wars shirts, and getting some delicious breakfast at one of our local cafe’s, we were off.

Olive is excited for her first Con, proudly wearing her Millennium Falcon shirt

After parking we made it inside.  The con was being held at the Colorado Convention Center downtown and in the main convention hall was all the action.  Immediately upon entering the hall i was struck with how many people there were.  And specifically how many people who were mere nerdy than me!  I couldn’t quite believe it.  I love all things fantasy/comic/sci-fi related but I can honestly say that I felt like a complete novice walking through the many aisles of displays, celebrities, artists and fans.  It was eye-opening. This can be evidenced by the fact that I meant to take a lot of pictures to document the occasion, but only managed to snap a handful. My goal was to get a picture of Olive and Darth Vader but unfortunately he didn’t make an appearance.  There were several Storm Troopers and lots of Jedi, but again like I mentioned above, I was a little overwhelmed.  I searched the inter-webs and found several great pictures of some of the better costumes, mainly from a website entitled Geeks are Sexy (which is true).

We saw several of these guys/girls on Sunday but according to several people I talked too, most of the costumes showed up on Saturday, the first day of the con something I will take into account for next year. Despite not getting a photo with Darth we were able to get Olive with a very special droid…

R2-D2!!!

All in all it was a great time! Very excited for next year!

Kaleigh and Mr. Freeze

After the con, we went home and spent the afternoon watching golf and napping in the heat.  We then finished the day with dinner at Billy’s Inn with tacos, sangria and a margarita! I couldn’t think of a better way to end a father’s day that with my two girls…

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Day of Dads

“Join me and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!”

So tomorrow is my very first father’s day. I am very, very excited to spend the day with my little family tomorrow. Tomorrow I get to choose what we are doing and I have decided that I want to take my family to Denver Comic Con.  That’s right Denver is having its first Comic Con and it is taking place this weekend and me and my brood will be there.  If you don’t actually know me you should be aware that I am a huge nerd.  I love Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, all the Marvel Superheros and pretty much everything else in the Comic book/Fantasy/Sci-Fi world.  And Comic Con is the place to be for nerds big (me) and small (Olive). Basically tomorrow is going to involve meeting some important figures in the comic book world and taking lots of pictures of the fans that have dressed up for the occasion.  My main goal for tomorrow is to get Olive’s first picture with Darth Vader.  I am not sure if he is going to make an appearance, but my fingers are crossed, its fathers day after all…  I am not sure what to expect tomorrow but I am sure it will be entertaining and I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures.

Now back to fathers day.  Kaleigh has gone back to work this week and leaves me alone with Olive on my days off.  I love these days.  I have never felt more like a father than I did yesterday after Kaleigh had left for work, and it was just Olive and me.  We spent the entire day together doing nothing, watching American Pickers, Mountain Men and Star Wars.  Olive slept most of the day, but for several hours she was awake and happy. Responding to me, gurgling at me and turning her head to my voice. The best feeling ever is coming into a room where Olive is sitting and calling her name, she turns her head to look at me and then smiles.  That smile, that sign of knowing who I am and being happy to see me, melts my heart. To me that is what being a father is all about. It is the essence of fatherhood. That is what I’m celebrating on father’s day.  The fact that my little girl, who has only been alive for two months knows who I am and likes to see me.  That is enough to keep me going all year.

So being that it is father’s day tomorrow I began thinking of memorable father’s from my favorite movies. Darth Vader aside here are some of the fathers from my favorite movies/tv shows, see if you can figure out which ones…

1.

2. 

3. 

4. 

5. 

6.

7.

I am sure I missed some, my brain usually isn’t at its full potential this early in the morning.  Who did I miss?  Who should I add? What are your most memorable fathers from the big screen?

Pancakes

I love pancakes. I always have. In fact I love everything about breakfast, from the pancakes to the bacon to the coffee.  Everything. The issue I have when I make pancakes though, is turning them over. For the life of me I can’t figure out how to flip a pancake without turning creating a semi-circular, semi-burnt circle of cake. I have been making pancakes for a while now and I still haven’t found a solution.

They always start off well…

But they always turn out something like this…

Despite using a very happy spatula…

Anyway at least they always still taste good!  And in my opinion a semi-irregular, semi-burnt pancake is better than no pancakes at all! Pancakes have always held a special place in my childhood.  My dad was a master pancake maker, who would usually make us pancakes on Sundays before church.  It was always a great surprise to wake up in the morning to the smell of melting butter and maple syrup.  It was always going to be a good day if it started with pancakes.

My other prominent pancake memory is from our trips to the “Secret Fort.” This was a the name given to the local McDonalds that we would frequent when my mom was out-of-town on business.  I remember going to the secret fort, getting a hotcakes and sausage meal and then spending an hour or so plotting my takeover of the ball pit in the play area.  It is strange how such a simple trip to the secret fort can make an entire day better.  How a simple pancake with maple syrup and an adventure in the play area can be so much fun and so memorable that some 15 years later it is still ingrained in my memory. I am not sure why this is, but I can only hope that such a simple experience will capture Olive’s imagination as much as it did mine. I don’t think there is some sort of special magic in McDonalds’ hotcakes, but I do think that my dad created a special world for my sisters and me.  I think he helped foster us using our imagination by using his. By turning our neighborhood McDonalds into the Secret Fort he created an atmosphere for our imaginations to grow.  My dad wasn’t afraid to help us turn that McDonalds into the Secret Fort.  No doubt he got some curious stares and judgmental looks as he brought us into the McDonalds calling it the Secret Fort, but that is the mark of a great parent. You forego any claim on your own dignity in an attempt to create a fun environment for you kids to succeed.

Seriously, look around the next time you are out and about in the store or the mall.  The kids that are having the most fun are the ones that are dressed up like princesses or super heroes.  The ones whose parents are actually paying attention to them, interacting with them, dare I say playing with them.  I remember a perfect example of this that I witnessed back when Kaleigh and I were throwing around the idea of having a child. I was in the restroom and in walks this dad and his son.  And immediately you can hear the dad telling his son, “You can do this!  You are awesome! Are you ready to rock!” Not sure what exactly is going on I glance over and can tell that the boy is potty training and his dad is solely focused on encouraging his son to do well! Again he chants, “You got this, you rock!”  I leave the restroom with a huge smile on my face knowing that even if this boy doesn’t master potty training today, he will eventually, and his dad will be the reason why.

I can only hope that Olive will feel this support from Kaleigh and me.  I can only hope that she loves pancakes as much as me.  And I can only hope that our secret fort will be as awesome as mine!

Until next time…

I AM a good dad

Ok first of all I apologize for going MIA for the past few weeks.  I can’t say that I have been extra busy, more so I have just been lazy.  It turns out having a baby is tiring.  Earth shattering I know, but seriously now that I am back at work, when I get home I just want to relax with the girls and do pretty much nothing. Plus I have started reading a new fantasy series you may have heard of, Game of Thrones, and it has been fun to lose myself in the land of Kings, Lords, Knights and some strange beasts known as The Others…but I digress.  I just want to commit to at least two posts a week.  I have a great source of material (Olive) so it shouldn’t be a problem. And honestly I know there are a few people who read this blog but the writing is also very therapeutic for me, I get to write my thoughts down and vent on various things and if others enjoy it, good.  But if they don’t I would still write.  Anyway on the title of this post…

I AM a good dad.  Or maybe it should be Am I a good dad? I’ve found that being a new parent I am continually comparing myself and Olive to other parents and young kids. This happens everywhere we go.  In fact I first noticed this when Kaleigh and I took Olive to church a few weeks ago for the first time since she was born.  We sat in the cry room as a preventative measure and inside this room it was like a different world.  There were babies everywhere, and parents too, plenty of subjects to analyze and criticize.  Obviously Olive is the best child in the world, I didn’t have to see other kids in action to know that Olive was the greatest of them all.  I mean if you take one look at her you know that she couldn’t ever do anything wrong. But this cry room  provided a secluded area in which to directly compare her against other kids. I was proud to see that Olive slept through the whole service.  She didn’t make a peep. She was peaceful and happy and sleeping. This could not be said for the majority of the other babies in the room.  Almost every one else had some sort of outburst during the service that required parental attention.  To me this obviously meant that Kaleigh and I were amazing parents and that Olive’s behavior reflected that. We didn’t have to do anything but listen to the service and admire what good work we had done with Olive. Never mind the fact that we really hadn’t done anything special with Olive and in fact we had/have no idea what we are doing with her still to this day.  She just likes to sleep, especially after being in the car.  But I will gladly take credit for my child’s mild temperament and affinity for sleep in moving vehicles. Anyway back to the cry room, as we left church that day I got my first dose of parental pride. I was proud of my little girl.  She stuck it to everyone else in the room, I thought I saw jealous stares as I proudly picked up my still sleeping daughter and walked her out of the room.  As we were walking back to the car I began to daydream of the future of Olive winning the Spelling Bee, of being the youngest girl to win Olympic Gold, of her graciously destroying all challengers in anything she did. My chest swelled even more as my fatherly pride grew exponentially.

I wonder if all parents feel this way.  I am not sure that they couldn’t.  I am sure that in that cry room other parents were checking out the other kids and thinking, my son/daughter is showing them up! I am sure that some of those parents were looking at Olive thinking, “That poor kid has no personality, she is so quiet…!” or something similar…I think that all parents think their kid(s) are the greatest, as they should.  But obviously they are wrong…:)

2 Weeks In…

Alright so it has been a few days over two weeks since Olive made her appearance and that means that I have been a father for an entire two weeks. Life here at the house  Echo Base, (I’m going to refer to our house as Echo Base from now on because I love Star Wars and I am kind of a nerd like that.  Plus Echo Base sounds a whole lot cooler than “our house”.) has been pretty mellow actually.  Olive is doing amazing, she is quite the character already with more than a handful of expressions that she uses both while sleeping and when she is awake. I still can’t believe that she is ours.  It still hasn’t completely hit me, even at 3am when I am getting up to change her diaper, it still doesn’t feel completely real.  But regardless of how it feels, it is real and I have a few observations that I would love to share with you about what is like to have a newborn and what it feels like to be a father of Olive in particular.

  • Newborns are really simple. All Olive really does right now is eat, sleep and poop.  Not necessarily in that order.  I can testify that she is quite a voracious eater and can poop with the best of them.  What this means for me is that I have become a first class diaper changer.  I was the one who changed Olive’s first diaper after she was born and ever since that has been one of my main roles (More on that later). Not the most glamorous role I know but still one that I can get behind as it gives me a sense of responsibility and something to contribute.
  • Olive loves to pee right when I take her diaper off. I don’t know why she does it but without fail as soon as I get off her old diaper and grabbing a new one she pees. I have become quicker and sometimes am lucky enough to get another clean diaper under her before she pees, but then before I close it up she pees and I have to throw away that diaper.  So usually with every diaper change we are going through two dirty diapers.
  • Olive loves to me moved.  She really doesn’t care how but she loves movement. She loves riding in the car and getting put in her swing or just simply rocked in our arms.  I am not sure why but that girl loves to move.
  • It is hard being a dad.  For all you dads out there I sure this is a no brainer, but for me this is more of a shock that it has been hard so early on.  Not hard as in physically demanding, but more like emotionally demanding.  I think that guys have a thing inside them that wants to protect women and kids and take care of them at all times. We have a certain amount of pride that says, I am the man I can do anything I can solve any problems and fix anything. With Olive, as with any newborn I am sure, I have had to put this pride aside because as I mentioned above my main role is diaper changer. For obvious reasons I can not feed Olive.  If you aren’t sure why this is, ask your mom. Anytime Olive is not eating she is usually sleeping. Which is all well and good but that means that there is nothing really for me to do.  And feeding her is really a one woman job which leaves diapers. And taking care of mom. That has become my main role for the past two weeks.  And for any new father or father to be I would recommend you get prepared for this because this is going to be your biggest responsibility for the first few weeks (that’s all I know so far) at least. Which leaves me to my next point.
  • Newborns, and Olive in particular make you patient. For the first week at home I struggled with what I mentioned above, not being able to contribute a ton and not knowing my role or how to help Kaleigh. But Olive has made me patient. Through the many diaper changes and hours rocking her in my arms our connection has grown.  Now when she looks into my eyes I start to realize that this little girl is my daughter.  My daughter who is depending on me to be her father and take care of her.  Even if that only means changing her diaper.

Liftoff

Olive

And we have liftoff. It’s strange to think that as of this moment I am the father of a 2 day old little girl named Olive. It’s also strange and even a little humorous  to think that on Sunday night on the way into the hospital to bring Olive into the world I was a completely different man than I am right now. My whole idea of a what having a baby entailed, what my wife, Kaleigh, would be going through and how I would feel just seconds after Olive was breathing her first breath would be shattered in about 24 hours.  Yup I said 24 hours.

Kaleigh and I (I’m Kyle by the way, the happy, proud and freaking scared father) were expecting the arrival of our daughter on April 10th, but that day came and went with alarming speed.  So did the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th.  Due to Miss Olive being at least as stubborn as her parents are she was going on 5 complete days late and showing no signs of wanted to come out.  Our Doc told us that she wanted to induce Kaleigh on Sunday night and give Olive a little shove to start the process. So that’s where we were on Sunday night walking into the hospital, wide-eyed and full of optimism wondering what our labor process would be like.

We got to our labor and delivery room at about a quarter after eight and got Kaleigh all settled in.  At about ten or so Kaleigh was all hooked up and receiving her pitocin, which I have learned is the synthetic form of oxytocin the hormone the body naturally releases to start contractions. Before we get too far, these were our main goals for this pregnancy:

1. Start labor at home on its own – Already not happening

2. Have a natural birth (no epidural)

3. No c-section

Alright back to the action…

The pitocin is typically started in small doses and slowly increased as the body needs it to help start and maintain the contractions.  Kaleigh started out on the lowest dosage, and with her all hooked up and ready to go, and Indiana Jones on the TV I thought we were in for a nice easy labor.

For the entire first night, nothing happened.  Well I guess nothing isn’t entirely true, Kaleigh was having contractions, but they were so small that we weren’t aware anything was happening until our nurse came in and told us.  Kaleigh was getting increased levels of pitocin all night until she reached the maximum amount, but still nothing too noticeable was happening. Now the be all end all of labor is dilation of the cervix and without getting too technical, Kaleigh started the evening at 4cm, and in order for the baby to come out and the pushing phase to begin you need to be dilated to 10cm. So fast forward to about 7am the next morning (Monday the 16th) and the doctor made a visit to examine Kaleigh and break her water, which would/should help move along the labor and intensify the contractions. With her water broken, it was go time.  The contractions started getting more intense and we were actually feeling like something was happening.

At this point, at least for me I was just incredibly relieved that something was actually happening.  We had been waiting 5 days and some odd hours to begin the journey of getting our little girl into the world and after a sleepless night of waiting and watching Kaleigh for any signs of discomfort or distress I was tired, but excited that the process was beginning in earnest. I wasn’t sure what the next steps would look like, but I had faith in my wife and faith that God would get us through it. I don’t know how many times I prayed that first night and I don’t remember what I said but I know that my constant conversation with Jesu kept me from freaking out.

With her water broken the contractions were beginning to get painful.  Luckily Kaleigh was able to get up and she spent most of her time bouncing on a birthing ball, moving around to get into a comfortable position. With each contraction Kaleigh was transformed into a picture of concentration. She would become quiet and completely focused on the task at hand, it was amazing to watch.  For about 4 hours Kaleigh was dealing with contractions that were coming consistently about two-three minutes apart and were lasting about a minute. I could tell that they were getting more and more intense. At the recommendation of our nurse we moved Kaleigh into the bathtub, which was supposed to help relieve some of the pain of the contractions, which it did.  But moving to the bathtub also brought on some of the most painful moments for Kaleigh and some of the most trying moments for me.

By the time Kaleigh was in the bathtub her contractions were getting closer together (about a minute apart) and were getting very, very painful. I am not sure how Kaleigh was dealing with each of these painful minutes, but I was doing my best to help her get through it.  My role was to remind her to breathe, remind her to drink water between contractions, encourage her and to try to help her not think about the pain that she was experiencing. I am not sure how successful I was at this, you would have to ask her, but I knew I needed to keep myself busy otherwise I would start to struggle myself. It was extremely hard to see my wife in so much pain, and know there was nothing I could do about it. Kaleigh and I had come to agreement beforehand that she was going to try to get through the entire process without the epidural.  (If it was me having the baby I wouldn’t have been so strong and would have got the drugs way earlier.) If she got to the point that she thought she wanted the epidural, I would ask her to get through three more contractions and then decide.  This was to insure that she wouldn’t feel like she jumped to getting an epidural too early.

Alright back to the action.  Kaleigh was in the tub for about an hour and was doing amazing dealing with the contractions.  As for me I spent every free moment praying to Jesus for safety, wisdom and strength; both for me and for my girls. Like I said above after about an hour, Kaleigh was ready to get out and I could tell she was about at the end of her rope.  It was very hard for me not to suggest her getting an epidural, I wanted to take her pain away.  But like with a pitcher in the middle of a no-hitter, I didn’t want to even put the thought in her mind, unless she had made the decision herself.  After getting out of the tub, she moved back to the bed and we got the nurse to come in and check her progress.  The nurse did her check and told us she was at about 4.5 cm.  That was it for Kaleigh, she could barely focus between contractions and I could see in her face that she was about 5 minutes away from a complete breakdown. So without further ado she told me she wanted the epidural, I didn’t question her and asked her if she wanted to wait for 3 more contractions. I knew the answer was going to be no, which it was but I wanted to ask to make sure.

Alright so check off number two on our list as not happening. Kaleigh was not disappointed in having to get an epidural. In fact she was relieved, as was I. The pain that she was going through was indescribable and I was more than impressed that she made it that far, especially after what happened next.

After the epidural was put in (very quickly I might add-more props to JC) Kaleigh was able to rest for a few minutes before the doc came in to check in with us.  Once the doc got to our room she again checked a much happier Kaleigh and told us that Kaleigh was “Completely gone.”  This we found out meant that Kaleigh was at 10cm! We were both dumbfounded, being that about 30 minutes ago she was at 4.5cm.  Anyway the good news was that she was now able to start pushing! Finally!  Kaleigh was a little out of it, due to the drugs and so our great nurse helped her figure out how to push and within no time we began.

Timeout. At this point I figured we were right around the corner from welcoming our child into this world and soon all the pain and waiting would be over.  Not true. Kaleigh pushed for 4 hours. This I am told is rare and I could tell that Kaleigh was using a superhuman effort to try and get Olive out but she was just not coming.  Without getting into too many details of the why this happened we ultimately came to the conclusion that a Cesarian was our only option and the best choice for Kaleigh and Olive’s help (Take number 3 off the list).  After this decision was made (it was about 7:00PM on monday the 16th) it was mere minutes before I was in scrubs and Kaleigh was in the operating room.  While Kaleigh was getting set up, I had a few minutes to myself to gather my thoughts, say a quick prayer for safety, and to put on my game face.

After that I was whisked into the operating room where Kaleigh was.  Again without getting into too many details, after about 5 minutes or so of me being in the room and talking to Kaleigh, Olive McKinzy was brought into this world!  What an experience.  I couldn’t believe that we had finally reached this point!  We took a few pictures and then I left Kaleigh to finish her surgery while I went with Olive to get her weighed.

No words can describe this feeling

I still can’t believe it, and in those few minutes when I was with Olive by myself, just me and her in the world looking at her I couldn’t help but be amazed that this had just happened.  That I was now officially a father, and that from this point forward my entire life had changed!  What a feeling! These thoughts and feelings are going to be saved for another post.