Fatherhood at 40

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Why I’m a little scared to be a father again

Welcome to my confession. Maybe I’m turning to you, readers, for guidance and some reassurance. I’m not afraid to admit it, even if I’m 40 and should know better. What I’m about to tell you sometimes keeps me up at night. Sometimes thinking about it draws my attention away from my job, and I have to move from my desk and take a walk to clear the mind. This source of some anxiety I’ve largely kept hidden from everyone around...

Two exciting reasons why you should attend HippoCamp 2019

Two exciting reasons why you should attend HippoCamp 2019

It’s Friday morning, 5 o’clock. Been up for 90 minutes after our 7-year-old son opened the door to our bedroom, announced he had a sore throat, and like that, the flu is two-for-two this year when it comes to our kids. Yet, I’m super thrilled. And it’s not the uber strong coffee I made. The good folks who compile Hippocampus, an online creative nonfiction journal, announced the lineup for this year’s HippoCamp 2019 conference. It takes place Aug. 23-25 in...

Here come the gender disappointment questions

Here come the gender disappointment questions

We know it’s inevitable. People will ask the question, and they’ll do so with the best of intentions. “Are you disappointed it’s not a girl?” As previously announced, we’re expecting our third child in June 2019, and at 12 weeks, we learned the baby will be a boy. Our third boy. So it seems reasonable for people to get inquisitive. I can’t blame them. They’re curious. They’re concerned. Anyone who decides to have a third child when the previous two are...

I'm turning 40, and we're having Baby No. 3

I’m turning 40, and we’re having Baby No. 3

Sometime during the Spring, my wife, Alison, and I enjoyed a rare date night, a few kid-free hours when we go to a restaurant and choose menu items without hearing “Daddy, I don’t like it.” It’s bliss. But on this particular date night, my wife brought up a subject I didn’t see coming. “I want to have another baby,” she said to me, and then laughed because my face must have looked like she just told me we were moving...

Five things I wish for new Dads this Christmas

Five things I wish for new Dads this Christmas

The “Christmas Meltdown” has become an annual tradition in our family. Usually the meltdown occurs when something connected to the good ol’ Tannenbaum doesn’t go right. Past years, I’ve led my family to Christmas tree stands and picked Fraser Firs either too tall, too fat, or both too tall and too fat. My family waits on the couch while I struggle to wind 8,000 tangled LED lights around the tree’s girth, its tiny green needles pricking my face and arms....

Ever peer into the past and discover astonishing facts about fathers from previous generations? I did.

One interesting fact about fathers from previous generations

Some of them were nurturing. Others tragic. And then there were those just downright criminal. For many of us, our own childhood experiences with our own father figures have shaped a perspectives on being a Dad and leading tiny humans through their childhood. For better or worse. Turns out, men in my family have been causing dad’mage to their kids in ways both good and troubling since about the 19th Century, and probably even before that. Soldiers, sailors, a corrupt government...

7 things I no longer do now that I'm a Dad

7 things I no longer do now that I’m a Dad

Long before the birth of my first son, I concocted an ideal of fatherhood. It was a cocktail, really. I saw myself as a blend of John Keating from Dead Poets Society; a bearded Jeremiah Johnson in the wilderness nodding over his shoulder as if to say “Damn right, we’re in the woods and LOVING IT”; and how I imagined Crash Davis from Bull Durham would act if he ever became a Dad.   Perfect. What no one tells you,...

My favorite children's books to read

CAUSING DAD’MAGE: My favorite children’s books to read

Ah, storytime. Intended to be a relaxing descent for our 6- and 4-year-old boys toward falling asleep. Gather, my sons, in your cartoon jammies with freshly brushed teeth and minds ready to focus on the pictures and words I lay before you. No, we can’t run around the hallway instead. No, you can’t have a fourth snack. No, you can’t watch the iPad. It’s reading time. Old fashion? Yes. But we’re gonna read books, dammit, like it’s 1909. This scene...