My Family is my Oxygen by Jordan Middlebrook

On the TV show Scrubs, the main character, a doctor, JD has a son during the run of the show and at some point starts to become a different doctor. Changing his medical calls, altering his choices as his heart changes the way he feels about himself and his newborn son. Being a father changed him. It was better or worse, it was different.

I feel that way about my daughter.

I’ve always had emotions, I’m not a robot. I’ve always felt I was a little empathic towards the people around me. I’m more of a sissy when you think about it. When it comes down to the nitty gritty of it all. My daughter’s presence just amplifies it. It’s neither better nor worse.

For the first ten months of her life, a day or night didn’t go by where I never saw her. Like, I never went away and missed her for an extended period of time. I was either there in the morning, day or night. Never once not seeing her for ten months. I never noticed it until the weekend I actually went away and didn’t see her for three days.

I’ll tell you this, I had a panic attack the first night. In the past, yes I have had panic attacks, I am prone to panic attacks in time of emotional stress and this was no exception. As I laid my head to rest that first night it was terrible, crying and pining for my little daughter. My first night away from her, and the subsequent following days of not seeing her, were terrible (emotionally terrible, it was a great time but I missed my family).

I’m not above anyone to say that I love my daughter more than life. More than myself and more than anyone else, but guess what? I do. I will bend bars and break bones for my little kid, its a simple fact that any father should do for their children, no matter their age or what choices they make.

It’s safe to say that in the past year since October 2012 when I was first asked to Dad blog for monalisamom.com I have preconceived notions of how a child should act all the while trying to parent a child who is as independent as Galactus is large. I’ve changed a ton in ten years, and changed even MORE in the last three. My daughter’s milestones from years two to three have been the best I’ve witnessed; I wish I could name them all.

If you’re a parent, new or old, and remember what it was like at this stage, I’m in heaven with this little rug rat.

My family is my oxygen.

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28 Day Yoga Challenge

Reset after Thanksgiving and ramp up your system to fight the winter colds!

Experience the supportive and friendly atmosphere of MonaLisaMom Studio!

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Cost: $40!

To secure your spot REGISTER by contacting Jen at 289.383.2063 or email transfer payment to monalisa_mom@hotmail.com

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There is Good in the World by Jordan Middlebrook

Everyone says they always remember the bad times, but those bad times make the good times great.

My daughter was colic. Bad times.

Those times are behind us, and while my daughter reaches the agree of three and starts a new brand of colic, what I like to refer to as ‘attitude’, she is still my pumpkin, my little Beans, and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. The times we need to cherish are the little moments that happen when they might not think we’re looking, or the times when a simple gesture is a heart wrenching moment.

Story: At daycare my daughter ended up banging her chin of the ground, and since I work two minutes away, the daycare provider called me to come and take a look and see if she needed to be seen by a Doctor. I’m no injury specialist, but it looked bad and need to be checked out by a professional. Stitches or whatever, just take a look at this hideous cut.

I drove her to the Doctors, got a great little check up, nothing to worry about. The chin would heal fine, maybe leave a scar, but all in all she wouldn’t need stitches to scar her for life and forever frighten her away from the doctors. I was relieved, and if my daughter knew what bullet she missed, she’d be relieved too. So back to daycare.

After a reassuring kiss, hug and pat on the butt she was off to the races, but instead of running to the toys or grabbing at a board game, her best friend, a boy, was sitting on the couch, quietly by himself. My daughter walked over, hopped up beside him and put her head on his shoulder.



It was a moment from a Norman Rockwell painting, a moment when you feel two people connect like adults. It was blissful, amazing and cute.

She always talks about her best friend, and if you ask who her best friend is, she will correct you with his name. I can see them being a world of trouble in the future. I think they see it too.

There is good in the world, and my daughter proved it to me by having a shoulder to lean on.

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The Bed Upgrade by Jordan Middlebrook

Everyone has to graduate to a big kid bed. Today was that day.

Funny, I was going to write todays blog about something totally different but, real time parenting took effect like five minutes ago and re-routed the course of the story.

My daughter is going two going on seventeen. Really three years old on October 15, and she has done the stages of the bed; Crib to day bed. Now, today she has moved to the full size bed. Like, a double, a bed to big for her room. It’s almost comical. Then you slap her in the middle of it and it’s like Goldilocks in Papa Bears bed hilarious. We didn’t expect her to look so damn cute and funny as hell at the same time.

My wife and I built up getting the new bed. Get her excited about the transition. We never worried ourselves about anything negative, we anticipated the fact that it was a new thing and bed time would be disrupted a bit. Currently, it is being disrupted, she says she’s scared.

It’s the kind of scared you’re not usually prepared for. She’s not scared of monsters or shadows, she’s scared of change. It’s an interesting thing to witness. My daughter usually does what she can to stay awake. Talking to her stuffed animals or getting out of bed and wandering around her room, regular toddler stuff. Tonight, the first night in her big girl bed she is saying that the letters on her wall are bugging her. The slippers at the side of her bed are bugging her.

She said to me that she wanted her old bed back.

Vocalizing her fears instead of crying is an amazing cognitive thing for our girl, any child.

My parenting was being back seated by this blog writing, my wife was actually dealing with my kid and her new bed antics while I sat here in the bedroom and listened over the monitor. My wife reminded my daughter of times past when she was brave, like the Lion King bed on our vacation and then my kid started rhyming off times when she was brave herself. Connecting the emotional dots and relating them to the present. Amazing.

Change is scary, specially for a three year old. Sometimes you have to take away the baby steps and just take that leap. We did it with her bed upgrade, and so far, through great Momming we’ve almost got it nipped in the bud… probably not. You know as well as I do, parenting is a never ending battle.

We expect her first night to be a little rough, but we know, in the end, it will work out.

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Life On Your Mat

We rarely say what we mean. Even if you try your best to be honest, even if you are one of those shoot from the hip kind of people, we just do not tell the truth. How are you feeling today? Good, thank you. How are you doing leaving your child at daycare? She cried but I am ok. Sorry to hear about your lost, how are you? Ok, you know it was expected….etc. How are you feeling after just having your baby? Ok, but… The list goes on. We all know the real answers to those questions, and yet we never say them. We may think we might talk about it with our close family and friends, but the truth is that life moves so fast these days it almost never happens.

You cannot lie (get it ;)) on your mat. Yoga hides nothing. It is ruthless in the most loving way. And you will know with your first vinyasa or downward dog how much you have been lying to yourself! You might dream you can effortless float up in to the perfect headstand, but the reality hits quite fast! Yoga can tell just exactly how tired you are, or mentally drained, how strong or weak your muscles are and it has a beautiful way of letting you know where you need to go.

Yoga is a Practice. It is not a game, it does not compare, it does not judge, it does not lie. The journey of Yoga closely mirrors our own and if we listen, even just a little bit, we can start to understand our journey in this crazy world we live in. The next time someone asks you how you are and you come up with a quick response, stop and think about it. Was it true to your feeling? The next time you come to your mat, and work into your first pose stop and think about it. Are you honoring your body, mind and spirit?

 

 

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Potty Training is Easy by Jordan Middlebrook

I tricked you, I don’t know the ultimate secret to potty training. I’m not even sure I ever had a handle on the whole situation. They say the heart wants what it wants, and I guess in the case of my daughter’s potty training, the body wants what it wants. Her training was close enough to be recent, but far enough away that i don’t really remember it happening. It just happened.

I don’t remember it as much, so in my mind, my kid just took off her diaper and tossed in the air like the opening of the Mary Tyler Moore show and was done with the baby stage and finished using protective undies. At least that’s how I remember it.

My daughter has been trained for a long time. Wears underwear and no longer wears night time diapers, she’s only ever had one or two night time accidents. Just soaking the bed with pee. And this is something that s to be expected from a child just learning to control her bladder. Twelve hours of holding, I get it. It’s probably tough. Especially when you can’t just wake up and walk to the toilet, let ‘er rip and go back to bed. I mean, she can’t even get on to the toilet unassisted.

So, here we are, no accidents, living the dream of a dry night. We (my wife and I) finally discovered a little secret.

First off, limit the drinks after dinner. Nothing crazy. And remember I said limit them, not stop them. We’re not tyrants. As a part of her bedtime routine we include a small glass of water. Just a quarter of a Mickey Mouse cup. Noting fancy. Every night before we toss her into her bed we ask if she has to pee. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It’s never a big deal, because we have the secret at our side.

Okay, so she is off to bed.

My wife and I unwind after our days. Watch a little Big Bang Theory or if I ever win the battle we will watch Robocop. Before we go to bed, we haul our little girl out of her bed, she sleeps in our arms as we carry her to the toilet, pull her pants down for her and ask her to pee. Still sleeping in our arms and her head nodding back and forth, she pees. Then she stays dry the whole night, no accidents, not wet bed. It’s our secret weapon against the bladder overload.

Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night to say she has to go pee, and that’s just fine. That’s what we have taught her to do, and what normal people should do. The moral of the story is really that my wife and I have conquered potty training with an iron fist. All because our almost three year old daughter is as smart as a whip.

She really is.

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What is your Parenting Fear? By Jordan Middlebrook

As a parent do you ever go through those HOLY SHIT moments when your heart just sinks because you think, THINK something bad has happened to your kid?

Example? Just the other day, the kid and I were in the supermarket and I was letting her wander about by herself, something I know that isn’t the smartest thing to do on a good day. She was one step behind me down the whole aisle to the cash. I stood in line, heard her laughing and then turned around.

She was gone.

My heart sank. Where are you?! Where are you?! is what I was calling out and I could feel the beads of sweat just start to form on my head as this unfolded in like three seconds. Little beggar was hiding behind the little sign. Boy oh boy what a few seconds that was.

That’s not even what this is about today. A little while ago the kid was rummaging in my truck. We were getting ready to go out for the day, IKEA I think. The keys where out of the ignition, but sitting on the driver’s side floor so that she could accidentally start it. I buckled her up in her seat and then as I always do but the through the passenger side door, which is what i never do. That little difference in my routine made the my worst fear come true.

She had locked the door. If I had left the keys in the ignition the locks wouldn’t have engaged and in her rummaging in the truck she locked the doors. My heart sank.

One of my fears is being locked up. Being unable to escape, and here it was, my darling little girl was stuck in her car seat in the driveway locked in the truck. I cried, I couldn’t help it, I was watching her trapped. My wife and I tried to get her to unbuckle herself, but she isn’t strong enough to do that. It was a fear unfolding in front of me. Luckily there was a spare key, my Step-Dad has one and he was only ten minutes away. When my little three year old daughter was unlocked out of that truck, I grabbed her and didn’t want to let her go. God what a nightmare. It was less than 15 minutes, but is was terrible.

I used to hide on my Mom at Zellers in the clothing racks and I can only imagine the pain that she endured when she felt this way.

I try to learn my lesson. Sometimes I forget, I’m not perfect. I take the keys out of the truck and into my hand whenever the little girl is in the truck. Parenting is about learning, Boy what a shitty lesson.

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