Following on from the success of Part 1 (we’re up for a Croydon Council ‘Services to Men’ Award, alongside Jasmine’s Massage + Spa and The Pig and Whistle), here’s the second installment of the Let’s Dad! Top Tips for New Dads. Just like Part One, it’s chock full of practical know-how and dadding wisdom courtesy of the Let’s Dad! readership, so you can safely navigate the maze of early parenthood. Start your engines and away you go. Oh, watch out, someone’s left a massive pile of sh*t where the A258 joins the A3…
(As before, I’ve interspersed the tips with some old fashioned advertisements, to remind us men that we had our own way for many, many years, much to the detriment of fair and kind women the world over. So if you’re feeling put upon because you have to run the odd bath, clean up some breastmilk from the glovebox or remove a piss stain from the changing bag, just deal with it.)
Top Tips for New Dads – Part Two
– When you change your baby’s nappy, put a light coating of olive oil around their bottom before putting the new nappy on. It forms a barrier, making it easy to wipe off any poo next time around…and it keeps their skin as soft as…well, a baby’s bottom.
– It is ok to put on a Disney movie, CBeebies, or anything for that matter, if you need a break. It won’t instantly undo all the hard work you’ve done reading to them, buying wooden toys and dressing them exclusively in organic cotton.
– Your baby is not as cute as you think they are. Really, they’re not. To most people, it’s just a baby, which they already have or don’t ever want.
– Take the leap and buy a nappy bin. You’ll save approximately 6 full days of your life that would have otherwise been spent fiddling around with nappy bags. Your nursery is less likely to smell like ‘My First Sh*t Factory’ too.
– Kids bring up themselves. Your primary function is to keep them alive. Don’t fuss, just leave them to get on with it. They’ll let you know if they need something. You can read the paper.
– Make a note of those special moments, as they can easily be forgotten. The first song you made-up to get him off to sleep, the fortnight where she dragged her bum along the ground whilst simultaneously punching herself in the head or the first time they woke themselves up with a fart. They’ll want to know one day and you’ll want to be able to tell them. Or they won’t want to know one day and you’ll definitely want to be able to tell them (and the boy they’ve just brought home).
– Take a holiday around the 6 month mark. They’re not mobile, still snooze a lot and have all the food they’ll need handily stored in their Mum. It might just be the easiest family holiday you ever have. Unless, like Peter, you go camping in the New Forest…and they wake up at 1am…and you spend 3 hours, lost, pushing them round in the dark.
– In most cases, having a child will drastically alter the dynamic of your relationship, so try not to lose sight of your girlfriend/wife/partner. Make an effort to communicate, be considerate and spend quality time together – just the two of you – as often as you can. Please note, quality time does not mean pestering her for a hand-job whilst you watch Doctor Who re-runs.
– It doesn’t take two people to bath a baby or get them to sleep. Don’t get into the habit of always doing it with your partner – or just one of you being able to do it – as you need to be able to run the routine independently, so that either of you can get out of the house now and again without chaos ensuing.
– Whenever you feel yourself growing frustrated or angry with your little one, try to remember that children, as a rule, are not very bright. Worse still, this stupidity is almost always down to genetic factors, which means that you yourself are not very bright either.
– Be open to advice, as sometimes, amongst the sh*t there shines a diamond. However, it’s important to trust yourself and don’t be pressured by other people or opinions, only you know what is right for your kids. Unless it’s a doctor telling you that your baby’s faeces really shouldn’t be that colour. Definitely listen to her.
Let’s Dad! would like to say a massive thank you to all of the dads who chipped in their great tips. Great Dadding! These old ads were found on likeables.
This guest post comes from James Schloeffel. Take it away James…
Life as a new Dad can be tough. The challenges of balancing work commitments with sleepless nights, nappy changing routines and playgroup appointments are familiar to many men. But what is rarely discussed – openly at least – is the pressure on new dads to be funny.
The ‘Dad Joke’ is now generally accepted as one of the most established and sophisticated genres of humour, particularly in Australia. A well-told Dad Joke not only gives laughter, it can also alleviate domestic tensions and provide comfort for youngsters as they navigate the maze of modern life.
But the implication that new dads somehow become funny overnight is misguided. The Dad Joke genre is complex; it requires skill and practice. New dad’s can become overwhelmed or intimidated by the prospect of mastering the Dad Joke. There are no courses, no mentoring programs and no manuals. Until now.
What follows is a comprehensive guide to the many different forms of Dad Jokes, complete with explanations, examples and tips for making them your own. If you’re a new Dad, it could be just the guidance you need.
This is the first form of the genre that most new dads put into practice. While inherently complex – it requires Dad to skilfully twist the intended meaning of the verb ‘to be’ – with practice it can become an effective part of the Dad Joke arsenal. The gag follows the structure:
CHILD: “Dad, I’m thirsty”
DAD: ”Nice to meet you Thirsty, I’m Dad”
The strength of this form of the Dad Joke is its adaptability to a multitude of situations. It is just as funny when used with “I’m hungry”, “I’m hot” and “I’m finding your jokes annoying”. Perhaps hold back on using this joke with “I’m being bullied at school”.
A slightly modified, but equally clever variation of this form is when your child tells you what he or she wants to eat.
CHILD: “I feel like an ice-cream”
DAD: ”You don’t look like an ice-cream”
The conjured image of a human being in the form of an ice-cream (or can of Coke) is both absurd and unexpected. It’s also very, very funny.
CHILD: “Where are we Dad?”
DAD: “In the car son”.
The genius of this joke is that the punch-line is a statement of truth: you really are in the car. Of course, as Dad well knows (but doesn’t admit to knowing), the child was after a broader geographical definition of location. This surprising switch of interpretation is unanticipated and consequently, more than a little amusing.
When you’ve mastered this basic form, you can move onto more complicated executions such as:
CHILD: “Is there something on my face dad?”
DAD: (A long concentrated look before saying) “Yep, I’ve found it. Your nose”.
“The Word Play”
“The Word Play” is the most versatile form of the Dad Joke and can be adapted to almost any domestic or social situation. In time, dads can use the World Play to carve out their own ‘voice’ and persona.
At the dinner table
MUM: “Eat your peas”
CHILD: “I don’t like peas”
DAD: “All we are saying is give peas a chance!”
DAD: “Exit signs. They’re on the way out!”
At the breakfast table
DAD: “Oh, good morning, here’s the cereal killer!”
“The Word Play (Nationality)”
“The Nationality” is a sub-form of “The Word Play” Dad Joke. It follows the same rules, but focuses entirely on country names. Hilarity ensues.
CHILD: “My new teacher is Russian”
DAD: “Well tell her to slow down then!”
CHILD: “I saw a bike rider crash into a pole today”
DAD: “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. Those Eastern Europeans are a tough lot.”
CHILD: “Let me know when you finish”
DAD: “I was planning to be Australian for at least the rest of today”
CHILD: “I’m so hungry”
DAD: “I’m so Slovenia” (note the cross-over with “The Classic” Dad Joke form here)
“The Blame Shifter”
This simple but hilarious form of the Dad Joke requires Dad to fart or burp and then blame his wife/partner.
DAD: (after farting or burping) “Oh, honey, please not at the table”.
Only try this joke when children are present at the table.
Don’t forget, practice makes perfect. In fact, as many children will attest, telling the same joke over and over again is very much in keeping with the spirit of Dad Jokes, so keep at it. And remember, if it’s all too hard and you need to take a break or you feel like a cup of warm peppermint tea, well, you don’t look like one.
James Schloeffel is a freelance writer…check out his website here.
Big thanks to SMH too for allowing us to use James’ work.
By Mark Lawrence
The first few months after becoming a dad are challenging for many reasons, but one of the factors that rarely gets a mention is the effect it has on a man’s health. Late nights, poor sleep, less time to exercise and the additional stress of your new family dynamic (coupled with the alcohol often used to deal with it) can all lead to a phenomenon known commonly as ‘Fat Dad’. Yep, it’s those far-less-welcome additions to the family; the extra pounds around your waist, the turkey jowl under your chin and the extra breaths you take when attempting to climb the stairs in a hurry.
But by incorporating these simple – and largely effortless – measures into your routine, Fat Dad can very easily become Fit Dad!
1. Eat slowly, it’s not a competition. If you eat too fast your body doesn’t have enough time to tell you that you’re full. Subsequently you eat too much, or, to put it another way, more than you actually need to maintain your energy levels. Start with a smaller portion than you’d normally have and eat it more slowly. You’ll be surprised how satisfied you feel after just 70-80% of your usual intake.
2. Cutting down on your drinking is an obvious one, but it’s not always that easy alongside the stresses of being a new father. What can help is substituting beer for an alternative tipple. A typical pint of 5% lager has around 250 calories compared to a (single) spirit with mixer (soda, tonic, lemonade, coke not juice or red bull) which has around 105 calories or a double spirit with mixer which has around 160 calories. If you can handle the taste, then diet mixers provide even better results, with a single spirit and diet mixer coming in at only 70 calories or 110 for a double. If you multiply these amounts by an evening out, you could be saving 800+ calories…the rough equivalent to a 45-60minute run, 2.5hr cycle or an hours swim.
3. It’s the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the biggest. Avoid traditional fried breakfasts or mountains of toast, instead dish yourself up a modest bowl of muesli, granola or wholegrain cereal like weetabix or shredded wheat served with semi-skimmed milk or low-fat greek-style yoghurt. Sprinkle with honey or a few nuts or raisins to boost the flavour and away you go. Remember the first point and don’t fill your bowl to the brim as the likelihood is a standard size bowl (the guideline amount on the side of the pack, or thereabouts) will be enough to see you through to lunch.
4. Don’t snack between meals…and if you have to, snack on fruit or nuts. Again, it’s obvious, but that’s because it’s true. If 11am rolls around and your stomach is asking for a top-up, tuck into a banana, apple or satsuma rather than a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar. Remind yourself how tasty fruit is…and how it doesn’t leave your mouth coated in manufactured gunk. It’s cheaper too…and won’t make your breath smell like a butchered pig. Try to cut down on puddings or desserts after your evening meal. Fruit, yoghurt or a square or two of nice chocolate can provide some sweet relief instead.
5. Exercise. This can incorporate a myriad of activities…not just the usual few. Take your little one out in the buggy, at a hearty (but safe!) pace, for an hour or more, have some vigorous and drawn out sex with your partner, rather than just lying on your back like a troubled whale or go for a long walk or activity session as a family on the weekend, rather than spending it in a pub garden.
Don’t drop whatever exercise you were doing before your nipper came along. This might mean some healthy negotiating with your partner about the allocation of baby-sitting or chores, but that’s not the end of the world is it? That hour or so each week when you’re running through the park/providing a killer pass/swimming steadily/cycling along an empty road or smashing a forehand past your best mate will be more than worth it. Or you can turn dead time into exercise time; cycle/jog to work, use the stairs instead of the lift or have a swim during your lunchbreak instead of sitting at your desk trying to find a way around the firewall.
Lastly, buy some scales. You’ll be buoyed by the difference one week of restraint, and a small amount of exercise, can make. If you fancy it, make a note of your weight at the beginning of each week (first thing on a Monday, pre-breakfast) and you’ll be able to clearly associate the effort you’re making with the results you’re achieving.
Good luck…and don’t forget, the effects are threefold; you’ll look, feel and function better. Mark
Last week, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Bruce Willis likened the first six months of fatherhood to “Die Hard meets Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Except it’s not chocolate.” If Bruce has struggled – despite surviving four newborns and four Die Hards – then what hope for the rest of us?
Well, with the help of the Let’s Dad! readers, we’ve put together this essential two-part guide to the first year of dadding. Packed full of life-saving practical pointers and heartfelt emotional – and waste-management – guidance, it’s a handy reference point for anyone lucky enough to have knocked-up their special someone. Part Two will appear in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, feast on this buffet of knowledge, whipped up by a kitchen full of wise and worldly dads…
(I’ve interspersed the tips with some old fashioned advertisements, to remind men that we ran the roost, for many years, in a manner that wasn’t particularly fair to womankind. So next time you’re moaning because you’ve got to change a nappy, mush up some mush or clean a drop of milky-white vomit off the couch, just suck it up.)
Top Tips for New Dads – Part One
– In the first six months, you’re there to support your wife or partner. The time for Dads to shine comes later. Don’t feel bad if you’re not particularly interested in babies, they’re really not particularly interesting…unless you have a massive sh*t or vomit fetish that is. But once they start walking and talking, it’s fascinating.
– Taking a buggy over uneven ground/gravel/a skate park is a great way to get them off to sleep, as it mimics mum’s movements from their time inside. Similarly, get a buggy with one handlebar, so you can drink/use your phone/wave whilst on the move. Maneuvering a buggy over rough terrain whilst texting is an essential dadding skill.
– Keep wet wipes and muslin squares everywhere, as you never know when you will need them. As a combination they can clean just about anything, from a 6month old boy’s scrotum to a 1988 Ford Capri.
– Your peace of mind and well-being is crucial to ensuring the peace of mind and well-being of your kids, so don’t sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of your children. If you’re a grumpy, unsatisfied sh*tbag, then chances are your offspring won’t be particularly happy either.
– According to Bill Odie, molten lava, the evil cop in Terminator 2 and a newborn’s poo are the three most formidable – and unstoppable – liquids on earth. They get everywhere. Sometimes just hopping in the shower with your newborn is the easiest way to clean them up.
– When it’s 4am and they’ve been crying for a solid hour, despite being clean, dry and full of milk, try to think happy, loving thoughts as you rub their little chest for comfort. If you’re wishing they’d get sucked back up into their mums soundproof chamber, or even back into your ball-sack, so you could merrily continue with the much less complicated – and quieter – life you had before they arrived, they will sense it. Seriously. And knowing that daddy wished they were never born will only make them cry harder. Think happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.
– Record plenty of half-hour TV shows. You’ll rarely get time to watch a whole movie/match/documentary, but when you do find a few minutes of time to yourself, and you need to switch off, it pays to have something decent ready to go…so you don’t end up watching Hollyoaks, snooker or anything hosted by Richard Hammond.
– Train yourself to think that 6am is a lie in. By drastically reducing your sleep expectations, any uninterrupted sleep that last more than 4 hours will become a luxury. Manage your drinking accordingly.
And finally, for Part One at least, a very specific method of getting your newborn off to sleep, which you’ll hopefully remember when it’s 4am, they’re screaming the house down and nothing seems to work…
– Place the tip of your nose on the bridge of their nose and your forehead against theirs (as you’re holding them in your arms). They should find your closeness/smell comforting and, more importantly, if you breathe gently through your nose, the breath that you exhale hits their eyes and encourages them to close them.
Let’s Dad! would like to say a massive thank you to all of the dads who chipped in their great tips. Great Dadding!
These old adverts were found on likeables.