5 things I was told before becoming a parent that were useless

I’ll write this post just because, at the time when my wife was pregnant, we heard so many comments about what we should or shouldn’t do and it was extremely annoying. Also, I live away from my parents, brother and sisters, so my in-laws were telling my wife ALL the TIME what she should do.

And it was so frustrating to try to make my opinion (the future dad) count more than everyone else’s.

In a way, this is how I get rid of  frustration that I had at the time-and sometimes still have. Enjoy.

1. Sleep all you can before the baby gets here.
Suuuuuure. As if sleeping-in advance- would help us get through all of those sleepless nights changing diapers, feeding and putting the baby back to sleep. This advice was completely useless. I would have rather been told to tag-sleep. My wife sleeps a couple of hours and if the baby awakes, I take care of him. Then we switch. The next time that he wanted his baby bottle my wife tends to him while I get a couple of hours of shut-eye. This would have been a heck of a lot more helpful. To this day we have gotten used to getting up once or twice in the middle of the night, but those first weeks were really tough. They could have saved us some of that with more accurate  advice. But whatever.

2. How to deliver it. From the beginning I told my wife that I would support her in whatever decision she made in delivering the baby. Whether it was going to be a natural birth or a C-section. Early on, she decided on a C-section (of course, considering that the baby didn’t arrive earlier than expected). Whatever her reasons for this, I did not question. I wanted her to feel as comfortable as could be and to experience the least possible stress-and pain of course. But how about a bunch of her aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors and so on. Everybody had an opinion. I got tired of listening to  women-who had never had children- tell my wife that the natural birth was the best way to deliver a child into this world. And the worst thing was that-since there were so many of them suggesting something different than what she thought- my wife  actually felt bad for what she believed best for her. It was very difficult to convince her that whatever SHE wanted would be done and to avoid listening to those comments. That took some work, but eventually she did have him by C-section and everything went well, thank God.

3. When a baby comes, the relationship between the parents changes. Bolony. While I will admit that I have had a hard time “sharing” my boy with my in-laws, the relationship between my wife and I has never been stronger. We are laughing all the time. Everything our boy does is new and is a great experience for both of us. From farting to belching to sitting up straight, everything is new and is exciting for us-not to mention hilarious. We enjoy every minute we can get with him. I guess that, besides from being life-partners and lovers, we also make a great team. We are like best friends and I think that has a lot to do with it. Whether it’s house chores, work, vacations or baby care, we always get organized and set our priorities. So, no, our relationship didn’t change because of the baby. We only sleep less and spend more on diapers and stuff we didn’t know that existed. Oh and we have toys and baby stuff  lying around every corner of the house.

4. Only the mother’s opinion counts. Nobody actually said this to me. But everyone made pretty damn sure that that was the message I should be getting. “Oh look! Here comes-wife’s name-and the baby” Yeah, her and the baby. And how the yak did they get there? Certainly not by bus. And we certainly don’t have a driver. “Hey, I saw some green pants for your baby. Do you like green pants, future to be-mom?” “Would you like these sheets for the crib-future to be mom?”  “Should I buy white or blue sneakers
for your son-future to be-mom?

How about a little consideration for the man of the house? I guess I turned into the invisible man, but just didn’t know it.
When our doctor told us it was a boy, everyone-again- had their opinion. “Hey maybe he will be a soccer player like his uncle” or “Maybe he will like to go swimming like his grandpa”( my wife’s father) . Or “no, he will definitely have blond hair like his aunt”.
What the F…? What about me? What about his dad? The guy who-with his mother- is going to raise him? How about saying he’s going to be smart like his DAD?! (ok that’s a bit vain) Or “He’ll have dark hair like his dad? Anybody? Is this thing on?

But I have to admit, since,in my country, the father’s only role is mostly as a provider, they don’t consider us much. I found out about this by watching and analyzing my father and my wife’s father. Well, I am making pretty sure that they don’t hold on to this idea for too long. I have had to be very assertive and show that I DO get involved. I don’t just provide stuff. I change diapers, I make baby bottles, I shower my kid, I have gotten thrown up by him, he has farted in my hand, he has peed in my lap, vomited on my shirt, I change his clothes, hell yeah! I’m a parent, too. He’s my kid, too, damn it!
And besides, who took my wife to the doctor every single month when she was pregnant? I did. Who does my wife rely on for any problem? ME. Who was right there with her everyday watching her belly get bigger and help her in and out of bed when she couldn’t get up easily?
Who put on her shoes when she couldn’t see her feet anymore? That’s right, me.
And who pays for my boys’ medicine when he gets sick? Who pays the pediatrician? Again, me. So, yes, the mom counts. Of course she does. Without mom, there’s no baby. But dads count too. Maybe not as much as the mom. But dad’s count too, nonetheless. Don’t forget that.

5. The mother should quit work to raise the child. Day-care cannot replace good parents, indeed. But in the world we are living in right now, or at least in this country, having only one working parent is a luxury that most people can’t afford. Both parents need to work if they are to have a modest way of life. Pediatricians suggest avoiding day care altogether but sometimes there’s  no choice.
Before my son was born, this is what I thought, too. But you soon learn that daycare helps kids develop. They help them be more social and interact with other kids their age. Imagine a boy or girl that never gets to interact with children his age until he goes to kindergarten. It would definitely be harder for him. So, no, daycare is no replacement for parents, but it does help out a lot.
We always try to pick him up by the afternoon. Our jobs allow us to pick him up a little aerlier so that we can spend time with him at home. If we only spent a couple of hours with him at night, before he went to bed, then I would worry about daycare being our son’s parent. But it isn’t like that. So, I say, if you can have him in daycare to help you tend to your work routine, and provide him/her of his/her bare necessities and a little more, I say go for it.

I don’t recommend getting him or her accustomed to getting taken care of by grandma or grandpa. Grandparents tend to spoil their grandchildren. And they aren’t as quick to catch him if he were to trip or fall from the bed. They already raised their children so they figure that if the kid trips and falls, he’ll get back up and bumps and bruises heal quickly enough anyway. Plus they sleep a lot on their free time. I know a couple that leave their three-year-old son with either grandma everyday and sometimes, when they go pick him up, grandma doesn’t want to let his parents take their child. Why? Because they have left their child with grandma since he was months old, so now, the grandparents have been semi-raising the child, so they feel they have certain “rights” over him.

But anyway. Those are just things to think about.

Bottom line, if you have questions, ask a professional. Your relatives, friends, acquantances or neighbors might mean well, but they are not trained to give you advice about that. Your Obstetrician or Pediatrician will have the best, more common sense-answer to those questions that arise months before-and after-you have your newborn with you. And as far as those annoying people who think they know it all, simply listen to them, shut up and smile. Worked for me. =)

El precio de la tecnología.

Teléfonos celulares, compras en línea, tablas táctiles, auriculares, televisiones en tercera dimensión, IPod, IPad,ILoquesea. La tecnología nos rodea por todos lados. En un principio la tecnología se hizo para facilitarnos algunas actividades cotidianas. Ahora tiene un uso ligeramente distinto. Y vaya que se paga un precio por ello. Por ahi se dice que donde hay IPad, también Hayhambre.

Gracias a la tecnología, las personas se han vuelto más flojas. Hace diez o veinte años, ¿qué se debía hacer cuando se nos encargaba elaborar un ensayo en la escuela? Debíamos ir a la biblioteca, leer libros, sacar fotocopias y redactar el ensayo en la computadora, una máquina de escribir o a mano.
Pero ahora, ¿qué hacen los estudiantes? Entran a internet, escriben el tema que buscan y ¡listo! Ensayo instantáneo.
Copia lo que quieras, edita lo que no quieres. Imprime. Listo.

No se vaya a entender mal, me gustan las computadoras y la tecnología como a cualquiera. Pero empiezo a pensar que la tecnología nos está volviendo sus esclavos en lugar de que sea nuestros sirviente.
Observe a cualquiera que tiene un teléfono tipo Blackberry o de esos que se conectan a internet. La gran mayoría de ellos no pueden dejarlo por un solo minuto. El aparato es su amo y no pueden hacer nada sin el. Se escucha un timbre repentino y de inmediato deben revisar la pantalla. El aparato demanda atención.

Y ya no solo es para hacer una llamada a una persona para que pase a recogerte o avisar que llegarás tarde. Los teléfonos celulares de ahora pueden hacer cualquier cosa: tomar fotografías, enviar mensajes, revisar correo electrónico, jugar en línea, llevar la agenda, escuchar música, grabar voz y video, etcétera. Ah, y también sirven para hacer llamadas telefónicas.

Pero, ¿qué pasa si este aparatito se pierde? Se vuelven una persona inútil. ¿Te sabes el número telefónico de tu casa? Este..no, lo tengo anotado en el teléfono. Sin teléfono no pueden recordar un solo dato. Estan demasiado acostumbrados a confiar en el teléfono. Si se termina la batería sucede lo mismo. Adiós información.

Si, la tecnología es grandiosa y muy práctica. Pero póngase a pensar. ¿Realmente necesita ese IPod nuevo que le permite guardar 300 trillones de canciones? ¿Realmente tendrá el tiempo disponilbe para escucharlas todas? ¿En realidad es mucho mejor que el IPod viejo-que adquirió hace seis meses- que solamente le permite guardar 150 000 canciones?
¿Cuál es el motivo para adquirir un aparato que en seis meses será obsoleto? ¿Es totalmente necesario para poder vivir su vida? o ¿Qué pasaría si no adquiere ese nuevo juguete electrónico? ¿Se va a enfermar o qué le sucederá?

Tome el tiempo para pensar en adquirir ese nuevo juguete que acaba de salir a la venta. Es asombroso ver que en países como Estados Unidos, las personas faltan al trabajo o la escuela para hacer fila afuera de una tienda, durante varios días y noches, para ser de los primeros en comprar el aparato de moda. ¿Para que? ¿Para tener un aparato novedoso y una deuda bancaria innecesaria?
Póngase a pensar, ¿realmente lo necesita? O será más bien la necesidad de tener lo más novedoso lo que le obliga a gastar (porque es un gasto, no una inversión) su- tan bien merecido- dinero que gana con el sudor de su frente. ¿Le ayudará con algun aspecto de su vida ó será solo vanidad?

Uno no siempre debe enfocarse en cubrir sus necesidades. De vez en cuando hay que darse uno que otro gusto. Pero hay gustos que más bien son un gasto que rápidamente pierde la falsa satisfacción que en un principio prometía dar.

Reflexione y usted decida.

La cárcel nunca estuvo tan cerca.

En una ocasión, vine a la ciudad a visitar a mi entonces novia y a mi familia que aquí vive.

Una noche, alrededor de las 11 pm, mi primo, tres de sus amigos y yo nos dirigíamos de regreso a casa. Mi primo vivía en un pueblo pequeño, a unos 25 km de la ciudad. La carretera para llegar a casa era angosta, larga, oscura y tiene cierta fama de ser peligrosa.

En ese momento, él tenía un automóvil pequeño, en donde apenas cabían cinco personas de complexión mediana. Mientras conducía en la carretera, mi primo vió un auto que parecía descompuesto, por lo que se salió de la carretera para ofrecer ayuda.
Se trataba de un hombre, su esposa y tres hijas jovenes. Todos eran de complexión robusta. Su auto no funcionaba y dijeron que vivían cerca. Esto nos lo contó él porque fué el único que se bajó del automóvil para preguntar.

Así es que, ¿qué fué lo que el buen samaritano de mi primo hizo?
Nos hizo salir del automóvil para subir a estas personas y llevarlas a su casa.

Sus amigos insistieron en que yo me quedara con ellos, como garantía de que iba a volver. Consideraron menos probable dejar a un familiar foráneo, tirado en la carretera, que a un grupo de amigos que conocían el rumbo.
Entonces nos quedamos a media carretera, a media noche y ni siquiera estábamos seguros de que iba a regresar.

Ah, y estábamos a unos 50 metros del centro penitenciario de la ciudad.
Por lo tanto, decidimos caminar a una gasolinera ubicada a unos 200 metros de donde nos encontrábamos-y bien iluminada-para esperarlo ahí. Después de lo que pareció una eternidad, volvió por nosotros y reanudamos el viaje a casa.

Hasta la fecha, mi esposa sigue regañando a mi primo por habernos dejado ahí esa noche.

If you would like to read this in English, go here:   http://wp.me/p2jgRd-1i

No era exactamente mi concepto de diversión.

Tenía alrededor de 16 años. Mi hermano tenía como 14. Fuimos a visitar a nuestros familiares en otra parte de la república. Ellos viven en un pueblo relativamente pequeño. Durante nuestra estancia, una noche, uno de nuestros primos dijo que saldría con sus amigos y nos invitó. Esperábamos ir a algún lugar, como a una fiesta, a la casa de alguien para jugar videojuegos o a algún parque. Vaya que nos esperaba una sorpresa.

Mi hermana del lado izquierdo, mi hermano al centro y una prima del lado derecho. Yo soy el de atrás. El pie no sé de quien es.
Pasamos las siguientes tres ó cuatro horas atrás de una camioneta pick-up, con unos 6 muchachos que solo conducían por el pueblo. Caminaban unas cuadras, luego daban vuelta, luego se iban por otra calle y daban vuelta y así por el estilo. Eventualmente tuvimos que volver a la casa de mi primo. Cuando nuestro tío-el papá de mi primo-le preguntó cómo nos había ido, él respondió que muy bien.
Mi hermano y yo volteamos a vernos con la misma expresión en el rostro. Y, a pesar de que no puedo describir exactamente de qué era esa expresión, estoy seguro de que ambos estábamos pensando lo mismo: Nunca jamás.
If you want to read this in English click here: http://wp.me/p2fi9R-h

Not exactly my idea of fun.

I was about 16 years old. My brother was about 14. We went to visit our relatives on a different state. They live in a small town. One night, one of our cousins said he was going out with his friends and invited us. We expected to actually go somewhere, like a party at someone´s house or play video games or just hang out at the park or whatever. Boy, were we in for a surprise.

My brother in the middle, me in the back. My sister on the left and one of my cousins on the right.

We spent the following three to four hours in the back of a pickup truck, with about 6 other guys and just driving around town. Going around for a couple of blocks then back again, then through a different street, then back again and so on. Eventually we went back to my cousin´s house.
Our uncle-his dad- asked how it was. Our cousin said it was great.
My brother and I looked at each other with the same expression on our faces. And even though I can´t describe the expression, I´m sure that both of us were thinking the same thing: Never again!

Para ver este texto en español pulse aqui: http://wp.me/p2fi9R-n