Notes & Essays

Dads, You Need to Shape Up for Your Kids

The mighty misadventures of a father in training.
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Age ain't nothing but a number. But don’t forget to take care of yourself as well or your number may be up. 

Daughters are supposed to be behaved, prim and proper, and super obedient. Though I have one or two friends who have one or more daughters, and they say that that’s pure bullshit. Daughters are like mini WWE wrestlers, brave and willing to push the physical boundaries to the max. If that’s what life with “sugar and spice and all things nice” is really like, how much crazier is life with a son?

My wife and I knew the potential for chaos when we decided to have a boy. But even then, we never foresaw how our son, Z, would be the living embodiment of the Speed Force. Our son is fast, crazy fast. People who haven’t met him yet would say naïve things like “Oh I’m sure you can catch up to him easily” or “He’s a toddler. How fast can he go?”. When they do finally meet our little Professor Zoom, they always react with “Oh damn. He’s really fast”. And then I quickly look at them with dagger eyes before I take off to pursue our little runner.

I’m an old dude—I’m an over-40 father. Trust me, when you’re this at age, and you’re dive-bombing your entire body to make sure your speedster son isn’t going to split his head on the curb or get his cute little toesies caught in the escalator, you’re going to feel pretty much like Tutankhamen, but with more joint pains.

It’s not just just running that makes me feel my age. Z is a physical little guy. Elbows to my eye. Knees to my lips. Bites on the shoulder. Pinches and fist grabs where you should never ever have them. And the occasional foot stomp on the old egg and noodles. There was a time when I tried to carry Z along with his baby bag, it was a shoulder style messenger bag that held all his diapers, extra clothes, snacks, milk, and toiletries.

Every now and then he would step on that bag. You know, boost himself up like a meerkat. Which inevitably led to my left shoulder having a wee bit of pain. At first I just ignored it. But eventually that pain got worse, so that’s why now we have a baby backpack. The problem is, the pain never really went away. I went to have it checked. Thankfully, no bones are broken. But they did say that I may have to undergo some therapy to try and strengthen that part of my body.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the simple and inconvenient truth. We must stretch and exercise. I know it’s extremely easy and convenient to always use the “Oh I’m a househusband, so I really don’t have time for anything else” card. But the truth of the matter is, if you don’t take care of yourself, who’s going to take care of your baby? That’s why for me, I’m going to do something about it.

Stretch in the morning. Take a nice quick run or jog when you can. Find a nice gym or exercise course you can do at night. Or do some body weight exercises at home during your rare breaks. Sounds easy? Nope. Being a dad never is. Being a responsible dad is even harder.

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Peejo Pilar
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