What I’ve Learn From Being a Dad. Lessons and Insights.

*Please note that I occassionally update this post when I acquire new knowledge.

This post is different from the rest of the content on the blog.

I’ve been a dad for a little over three years now and I wanted to share some insights and observations that could be useful to current and future dads. When you announce you are expecting, you get endless advice from friends who already have a family. You will hear or read something like “The family needs come first”. The advice is good, the intentions are good, but it’s not very practical. So here’s more. Please note that there’s a lot left to learn.

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They don’t come with an instruction manual. Also there’s a no return policy.
  • During my wife’s pregnancy I didn’t read any “how to become a daddy” book. Parenting books are a joke. Parents, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do – not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t work when it’s bad.
  • How many times have you heard “What’s wrong with my baby? He’s not conforming to the behavior model in the book.” Well maybe the behavior model in the book is not conforming to your baby. The whole point is that you need to figure it out yourself. You can’t read a parenting textbook and say you know how to parent. It’s a life journey, an experience that can’t be described or learned in a book. That’s why there’s no special parent training center. My wife tells me anything I needed to know because she knows everything. I’m very lucky to have married my wife.
  • With the first baby you do everything by the book. With the 2nd baby, you do what’s works.
  • You can’t complain around a pregnant woman. Never say you are tired. Try at your own risk.
  • I also found out that you can’t complain around a post-pregnant woman either. You can’t say something like “Well you were pregnant like two months ago!”
  • Everyone’s mom got pregnant.
  • We did go to a prenatal class. You learn a few things but it’s not a must go. The baby is coming out anyway. And when your wife is in labor, you rapidly forget all these cute fancy breathing techniques that you learned.
  • When your wife is in labor, as a dad, you are totally incompetent. That’s why they make you cut the umbilical cord, to justify your presence. Between the doctors, nurses, and painkilling drugs, you are at the bottom of the list in terms of importance. Your job as a future dad comes after.
  • When you become a dad the change is immediate. You go from I’m not a dad, I’m not a dad, to “pop”, you’re now suddenly a dad. With mommy there’s a transition period. She grows the baby for 9 months. She knows she’s going to be a mom. With dads you are not one until you are one.
    GNARL3
  • I’m a parent and my baby has displayed a lack of interest in being parented. I told her that if you are going to raise yourself at least do a good job.
  • Once my baby was born, I was shocked to learn that there’s wasn’t a postnatal class. There no such thing. You leave the hospital like you are leaving the grocery store except you are carrying a baby inside the house. It’s pretty much “here’s your baby and go figure it out”. Again my wife knew everything.
  • Then I quickly realized there’s no way in hell there’s a training manual for my baby.
  • As a dad, you’re in second place. Like far behind second place. Mom is the winner and it’s not even close. Mommy and baby can snuggle and read stories for hours. Maybe it’s the hair on my face.
  • I realized that the world is divided between parents and non-parents. There’s no in the middle. Sorry non-parents but the baby doesn’t come with a mute button.
  • Dear non-parents, having a dog is not like having a baby. Dogs come when you call their name. Babies don’t.
  • There seems to be two dominant schools of thought when it comes to sleep training. There’s the attachment parenting and the traditional parenting. Traditional parenting basically involves putting your kids to bed and listening to them scream all night. And there’s the attachment parenting, which involves cuddling your kids and then listening to them scream all night.

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  • Babies don’t care how many whiskies you had the night before.
  • Sleeping babies often cry due to discomfort of some sort (hungry, diaper…). If you can find a way to defuse the problem immediately, they will return to a fully sleeping state. If you miss this opportunity to intervene, the results can be devastating for the entire household.
  • If the baby is not sleeping, nobody is.
  • When the baby is tired, you have a window of time to put your baby to bed. If you missed it, again the results can be devastating. You’ll be up for the next three hours with a tired cranky baby.
  • Moms are magical. They don’t sleep and they have more than two arms. And they know everything.
  • Day cares are basically labs for new diseases and viruses. You want to take down ISIS? Send a toddler with a runny nose.
  • There’s no point of going anywhere in the winter. By the time I got my baby inside a snow suit it was already spring thaw. If you a parenting pro and managed to get your baby all zipped up, they have to go to the bathroom.
  • If you do need to go somewhere, it looks like you are moving. There’s the stuff the baby needs, there’s the stuff the baby wants, there’s the maybe stuff, and there’s the “what if” stuff.
  • NEVER say the word “i-c-e c-r-e-a-m” in front of kids.
  • If leaving the house with kids is impossible, try leaving the park. The longer they stay, the more tired they are, the more difficult it is to leave without a crisis. But you stay longer because you want to be a good dad. The best time to leave the park is shortly after you got there (nobody is hurt and tired). But it looks awkward if you leave before time and it’s a check in the bad dad column. Try the word “i-c-e c-r-e-a-m” to get the troops in line.
  • Baby music has some very depressing origins. For example, the charming rhyme “Ring around the Rosie” refers to the Black Plague that decimated Europe’s population. In “Old Macdonald had a farm”, Macdonald HAD a farm. What happened to the farm? Did the bank take it?
  • Can the geniuses at Fisher-Price come up with a toy that’s more fun than a toilet-paper roll?
  • Just like cats, your baby will enjoy the box your gift comes into more than the actual gift.
  • Unlike cats, you can’t leave a tray of food on the floor with cereals in it for your kid to eat it in the morning. I have the ceremonial role of getting up in the morning because my toddler is “starving” and for some odd reason my “starving” toddler doesn’t want to eat anything presented.
  • When eating, my baby’s food knows where to find her hair, ears, eyes, face but rarely the mouth. My baby girl doesn’t bother to eat over her plate. If she realized how much there’s under the table maybe I wouldn’t get up so early in the morning. Drinks however are spilled on the table. This is where babies can wreak the most havoc. Kids are fascinated by spills. Whoever invented the sippy cup should be the richest person alive.

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  • In the morning, do not get fully dressed for work until you have to step out of the door.
  • Silence is a luxury. It was silent the other day and it woke me up. If you are lucky, your baby might sleep at night and you get a moment of silence but the night ends very quickly.

gNARL2

  • To whoever said that “it takes a village” to raise a kid, well I want to move to that village.
  • My village is not adequate. So far it would take more than a village to raise my baby.
  • Whoever came up with “terrible twos” must feel pretty silly when they turn 3.
  • If you call your two year old “terrible twos”, you never had a 3 year old. They are like tiny teenagers.
  • Expect them to be in the house until they are 30. My baby is still unemployed and doesn’t pay rent.
  • If you are going to give clothes, make sure they are made of velcro. Snaps are ok but make sure the snaps are aligned. Buttons are just plain evil.
  • It’s amazing how little kids cans spend hours in the pool without having to go to the bathroom.
  • When I was a young I remember thinking that dads are the ultimate boss and kids were slaves. I had it backward. I’m the slave and the baby is my master.
  • Babies don’t learn how to walk, they run. They run into things head first at high speed.
  • Toddlers don’t put their hands up to prevent brain injury when they are falling. Their face hits the ground first and they slide a bit. In the process they managed to scrape the whole front part of the body.
  • Watching a toddler is a little bit like keeping an eye on somebody on suicide watch. Me and my wife take shifts to keep her alive. I’m not sure what I did, but my baby is always trying to find new ways to hurt herself. My baby girl’s approach can be described as “run head first into the coffee table”. She is fearless, a climber and a jumper.My whole job is to keep her alive.
  • My baby girl doesn’t speak English or French but somehow she has mastered the art of negotiation. Why does everything turn into a negotiation? Why am I negotiating with a two year old?
  • Kids don’t process that you are talking to them when they are watching T.V.
  • Kid shoes should come in pairs of three.
  • Kids have no awareness when they have to go to the bathroom. And if they ever do, there’s no bathroom nearby.
  • Kids might not know the value of money but they know the value of candies. Candies are the kids’ currency. That’s how they make friends and get stuff.
  • Family restaurant: It means you can come in with your wild crazy family and just destroy the place and it’s fine. The parent’s side has a bar to enjoy a cocktail. The kids’ side has one too to tranquilize them.
  • It feels like my wife gave birth yesterday. What I’m saying is that they are growing way too fast and you are going to miss the cute little things they do. Enjoy the moment.
  • Remember all the nonsense your parents said when you were a kid, well you finally piece it together. They tried their best.
  • Do you remember when you were about to have your first child, and everyone said to you, “Life as you know it is about to end,” and you laughed and nodded but didn’t really believe them, and then your child was born and you discovered that what everyone had told you was an understatement.
  • My virility caused this whole situation.

family

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The Gap Between The “Real World” and School

50 G.O.P. Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation’s Security ‘at Risk’

Last week I included a letter by a former deputy director of the CIA explaining his endorsement for Hillary Clinton and on why Donald Trump is not qualified to by the next President of the U.S.A.

This week, fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members of former Republican administrations have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” This comes on the top of several Republicans to publicly announce that they would not be supporting the GOP presidential nominee. Mr. Trump, the officials warn, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”

Below is the full statement:
Continue reading “50 G.O.P. Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation’s Security ‘at Risk’”

I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton

Below I reposted a solid article by the former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Morell. The article is clear, rational, and straight to the point.  What you would exactly expect from a CIA guy. With so much nosense floating around, this article is refreshing.


Repost from the New-York Times
I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.
By Michael J. Morell

During a 33-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, I served presidents of both parties — three Republicans and three Democrats. I was at President George W. Bush’s side when we were attacked on Sept. 11; as deputy director of the agency, I was with President Obama when we killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

I am neither a registered Democrat nor a registered Republican. In my 40 years of voting, I have pulled the lever for candidates of both parties. As a government official, I have always been silent about my preference for president.

No longer. On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president.

Two strongly held beliefs have brought me to this decision. First, Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president — keeping our nation safe. Second, Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.

I spent four years working with Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state, most often in the White House Situation Room. In these critically important meetings, I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument.

I also saw the secretary’s commitment to our nation’s security; her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary; and, most important, her capacity to make the most difficult decision of all — whether to put young American women and men in harm’s way.

Mrs. Clinton was an early advocate of the raid that brought Bin Laden to justice, in opposition to some of her most important colleagues on the National Security Council. During the early debates about how we should respond to the Syrian civil war, she was a strong proponent of a more aggressive approach, one that might have prevented the Islamic State from gaining a foothold in Syria.

I never saw her bring politics into the Situation Room. In fact, I saw the opposite. When some wanted to delay the Bin Laden raid by one day because the White House Correspondents Dinner might be disrupted, she said, “Screw the White House Correspondents Dinner.”

In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.

These traits include his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law.

The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump’s character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated.

Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States.

In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.

Mr. Trump has also undermined security with his call for barring Muslims from entering the country. This position, which so clearly contradicts the foundational values of our nation, plays into the hands of the jihadist narrative that our fight against terrorism is a war between religions.

In fact, many Muslim Americans play critical roles in protecting our country, including the man, whom I cannot identify, who ran the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center for nearly a decade and who I believe is most responsible for keeping America safe since the Sept. 11 attacks.

My training as an intelligence officer taught me to call it as I see it. This is what I did for the C.I.A. This is what I am doing now. Our nation will be much safer with Hillary Clinton as president.

Michael J. Morell was the acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013.