Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wii for the New Dad

Having a child changes every aspect of your life. When you are watching a drama on TV where a kid gets sick or dies, you feel it differently than before. When you see other parents at Wal-Mart you immediately feel some type of connection to them or sympathy for them depending on what exactly their child is doing. When you come home from work watching the baby takes precedent over watching the TV. Your sports watching portfolio is trimmed to the bone. There is no time for watching that random basketball game very often so you stick to the teams you follow closely. I could go on making this list for the rest of my life but the last thing I will mention is the effect on your video game playing.

I have been a playing video games as long as I can remember. My dad and I played Atari all the time. Some of my favorite games were Decathlon and Pitfall. I remember at the end of Decathlon you had to run the 1500 m. The Atari had one button and a stick so the options for making the guy run were limited. You made him run by shaking the stick back and forth. This created a decathlon like experience as you just wanted to survive to the end and get rid of the cramps in your hand. After that we moved to Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega, PlayStation I and II, and finally now I have a PlayStation 3 at my house. Along the way I enjoyed Zelda, Mario Brothers, GTA and dozens of sports games. I got the new additions every year. When I was at home my Dad, brother and I had a team. I was the player. Dad was the strategist offering tips on patterns he could see and tactics that might work. My brother manned the map and any guides or books. His memory was outstanding. We beat a lot of games with our task force and I hope someday I will form a gaming partnership with my son. I have always liked console games and never had much interest in the Wii. Playing the PS is a skill that I have developed over years of practice and I am proud of it. I never wanted to play a game with an easier controller method but like I said things change.

I played the Wii for the first time over Christmas with my brother and our wives. Of course the wives love it so that is enough reason to consider a purchase. But this blog is about being a dad not a husband. As I played this ridiculously popular new type of game swinging my arms around in every direction, I had to think of my son. This is no doubt the type of game that he will start playing when he gets older. It may be different but this type of motion sensor console is probably the game of the future. We can play tennis, bowling, racing, shooting or any other games that they will dream up and it will be great. Difficult controller based games could separate father and son but I think the Wii can bring us together. It is something that he can do at a young age and I can hear his laughter already. See the biggest thing being a father does is change your point of view. All your life you have a self centered point of view (I am not interested in the Wii). Now you have a child centered point of view (he would love the Wii). That is what fatherhood is all about. I am already excited for our first Wii match and if they come up with a decathlon game this time the cramps will be in more than just my hand.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time to go home

After your baby is born you will have some time in the hospital to get your bearings. Most hospitals require a minimum 24 hour stay if both baby and mother are healthy. Our hospital doesn't allow patients to leave after dark so we had to stay 2 nights since 24 hours after birth would put us right at sunset. I thought they wouldn't allow you to leave after dark because they were afraid of werewolves, Dracula, or other creatures of the night but my Grandma said it was because no one would be open if something happened. She is probably right but I still keep my eye out for ghosts and goblins after sunset. There has been enough said about how uncomfortable the fold out bed/chairs are that the husbands get to sleep in so I will save you the trouble of hearing that again except to say that I think I separated my shoulder. After 2 nights of this I was obviously ready to go home.

While we were at the hospital our son slept about 22 hours a day. You practically had to force him to wake up and eat every 3 hours. We said ridiculous things like he never cries or he is so quiet. I will let you in on a little secret. All babies do this the first couple of days and it is in no way an indicator of how the baby will behave once you get him home. You have to remember that the poor guy had to travel from mom's tummy through some tight spots even changing the shape of his head along the way just to get out into the world. After all that work he is forced to adjust to life in air rather than under water. While he is trying to figure out this new dry, cold, and bright environment he also has to learn to breath and eat and so forth. So the baby is exhausted but I promise he will get his energy back.

The trip home was not too bad. I am normally a fast driver but just like every other first time parent I barely touched the gas as we crawled home. I even took the back roads rather than the bypass where all the lunatics drive 70 mph. The trip home is not simply a drive to your house. It is the beginning of a journey in which a small human like creature depends on you for life. It is the first time you realize that you, the same guy who used to funnel a few beers before dinner, has the enormous responsibility of keeping another person alive. Also when you get home all the sleepless nights begin. Everything you do will be a new experience and many of the things will be made up as you go along. No one teaches you this stuff and even if they did it wouldn't work because every baby is different. Now all the fun begins because the trip home is a life changing journey for sure.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Having just become a first time father I have lots of thoughts and experiences to share but I want to start with a little bit about the birth. My son was born on November 12th at 5:27 pm and weighed 8 lbs 5 oz. We had a scheduled birth because my wife was past her due date by about a week. We arrived at the hospital at the ridiculous hour of 5 am. The labor was pretty easy for her during the biggest part of the day. The only real problem came when the anesthesiologist decided that she had too much pain medication. This led to some screaming, crying, and even some towel throwing. Yes it is the miracle of childbirth. I could have bit the guys head off for making such a wonderful medical decision but of course he was nowhere to be found. He was probably off watching his soaps ala Dr. Greg House.

After we made it through that ordeal and eventually got some more pain meds my son was finally thrust into the world. I don't know how or why it happened but I got weak in the knees and according to the nurses turned some strange shade of green. I had to sit down in order to avoid busting open my head and needing treatment of my own. The next thing I knew it was over and I was holding my son and talking to him while he stared up at me taking in every word.

Childbirth is a crazy ordeal for the husband much less the wife, but when it is over you have the most amazing gift you can ever receive. I will forever remember the day that I stopped being just another jerk and became Daddy.