Fathering Column in LocalParent Magazine: Daddy/Baby Mojo

Daddy_Baby_Mojo#TBT to two months ago, when I forgot to post my Fathering column from LocalParent Magazine.  The new edition has just been released, so I’ll be posting the latest column soon.  SPOILER ALERT: It’s about Clara’s first Christmas.

These columns have been a tonne of fun to write — and I hope they are just as enjoyable to read.  And because I’m enjoying the fact that Clara will be able to look back on them some day, I’m making sure they make it to the Small Print blog.

Local Parent is a parenting magazine that goes out to Central and Southern Ontario.  Look for your copy on newsstands today.  Or visit their website any time.

For the full edition of the magazine, please click here.

Daddy/Baby Mojo
How to have fun while getting a good night’s sleep

Festival food!  Or, in this case, make-believe festival food.

Festival food! Or, in this case, make-believe festival food.

One of the things I worried about heading into fatherhood was how life would change for Krista and me. I’ll be honest here: I also worried a bit about my own leisure time. Sure, I planned on being 100% dedicated to our new child – and to our new family – but as a guy who is passionate about music and sports, I was scared of losing my mojo.

As it turns out, no mojo was lost in the making of this family.

Clara was only two months old when she got her first shout-out from the stage at a rock ‘n roll concert. Sure, she might have been asleep and offering up cute little baby snores at the time, but it’s still an impressive feat.

At the tender age of 8 months, she was present for a handful of Canadian gold medals at the Pan Am games. Again, she may have been napping for most of them.
By 9 months, she had been to three different folk festivals and a huge street concert. Those, she caught quite a bit of. She even did some dancing in her baby carrier.

She lives a pretty active social life, that Clara Grace. And, just as importantly, so do her parents. How have we accomplished this?

First, we invested in our most important music and sporting event purchase: a pair of baby-sized noise-cancelling headphones. And, let me tell you, those bad boys work like a charm. They block out loud music, and also eliminate any other sounds that might prevent a baby from sleeping.

Daddy/baby shopping.  Clara's in charge of the list.

Daddy/baby shopping. Clara’s in charge of the list.

Next, we let Clara’s sleeping habits guide our music and sporting adventures.
Through careful attention to her sleep cues, we have a 9-month-old that sleeps from roughly 7 pm to 7 am. And there is no way that we are going to mess with the success that a predictable routine has given us.
This means that we usually check out a few daytime acts at a festival and head home before the main stage kicks into gear. It also means that we tend to hang around at the back of the crowd. Surprisingly, we’re usually surrounded by other parents, with other babies, all checking out a band or two before heading off for bedtime. Little infant headphones are a common fashion accessory. As are baby-carrying slings, knapsacks, and strollers.

When it came to the Pan Am Games, we only went to the morning events. This allowed us to best stick to scheduled nap times and also allowed Clara to experience some of the excitement.

But not all entertainment happens during the hours when babies are expected to be out and about. Which is why I was so thankful when Krista recently suggested I take a night off to go check out a favourite band that was playing at a local bar. And why she was able to spend extra time at both the Pan Am Games and a folk festival while I stayed home to write.

It’s a system of little compromises. And it is a system that works.

The best part, though, is being able to share the things I love best with my child. And having her grow into an appreciation of music and sport.

Looks like I’m in the market for a little Montreal Canadiens jersey and a teenie-tiny Neil Young T-Shirt. This family has some fun times ahead!