Skip to content

Just Call Me Dad

Fatherhood in the 21st Century


Category: General Posts

There are a lot more than four! They didn’t even touch ferberizing! Great video though.

What a roller coaster ride 2010 was for my family. It was great, but marked with some tragedy. Now, with 2011 under way I am positive about the year.

For one thing, we have been blessed with a new pregnancy, allowing us to move past the miscarriage and focus on the future and happiness. Nick is an amazing little boy and surprises me everyday with his character, humor, and intelligence. And of course, my wife is a real trooper, managing to stay positive through it all.

Hello 2011, let’s get back to business.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve made a post on this blog – it hasn’t been for a lack of topics, just a distraction in my mind that I haven’t been able to get around.

Earlier this year, my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. This was wonderful news as we were looking to expand our family and bring another child into our hearts and home. As each day passed, I got more excited about the pregnancy, but thought it would be best to wait the traditional 3 months before posting about it here. In a way, I’m glad that I waited, as we got some bad news at the 11 week point.

It all started with some spotting. Nothing too serious, just something to keep an eye on. The next day we called in the Grandparents to look after Nick while we went to the hospital. After being in for more than 14 hours, we were sent home with an order for some follow-up blood tests to be performed in three days.

The next evening, things went from bad to worse. My wife started to hemorrhage very seriously, and we rushed to the ER. By rushed, I mean I drove FAST. Due to the severity of the bleeding, we were given priority and saw a doctor and nurses very quickly.

After entering the hospital in the evening, my wife was discharged two days later after having a D&C procedure performed. We found out a few weeks later at a follow-up doctor’s appointment that my wife was pregnant with twins, and that was the reason for the miscarriage.

I learned a lot about pregnancies, the hospital system (at least here) and the available medical treatments. This topic is not something that I hear a lot about – it is a very personal topic – but I think it’s something that there should be more discussion of.

What is a miscarriage?

Technically, a miscarriage is a loss of pregnancy in the first 20 weeks. A loss of pregnancy after 20 weeks is termed a stillbirth. In a terrible choice of words, the medical term for a miscarriage is a Missed Abortion.

Technically speaking, there are no medical treatments available to stop a miscarriage once it has started. In fact, the baby probably passed away in the days before you noticed any symptoms. The symptoms (cramping, bleeding, pain) are the body’s methods of expelling the remains. In another terrible choice of words, the remains of your child will be referred to as “The Product” as in “The Products of Conception”.

These last pieces of information are valuable to know, as we entered the hospital believing that there must be something that can be done to save our child’s life, and felt helpless and frustrated as we repeatedly asked for doctors and nurses to help. Someone could have explained this to us a little better.

What happens at home or the hospital?

Well, it’s not pleasant. Basically, the remains of your baby are passed from the woman’s uterus. In some cases, this will be accomplished without medical aid (please go see a doctor though). In other cases medicine may be prescribed to speed or ease this process.

The worst case scenario is a Dilation & Curettage (D&C). This is a surgical operation where the woman is placed under anesthesia and “The Product” is surgically removed from the uterus via vacuum and physical methods. This is used when there is risk of infection or high levels of blood loss.

What happens after a miscarriage?

Well, I guess that really depends on you and your spouse. In general, because the woman is not yet showing and the pregnancy is not far along, men handle the event better than women. Usually, men have not yet formed a bond between themselves and the baby, and the event comes across as feeling somehow not real. In the beginning, this is how it was for me – I knew something bad was happening, but it just never seemed real. It was only later that I really understood what had happened and how that was going to change our lives. In women, even at a very early stage, it feels like they are losing their baby. There are likely to be pretty strong emotions to deal with, and a lot of thinking to do after the event. Because of the strong emotional complications, most women are advised to avoid becoming pregnant for at least 90 days even though they may be physically ready for pregnancy again very quickly following a miscarriage.

Things to remember.

This is very common. In the US, about 20% of pregnancies result in miscarriage. Because the severity of the miscarriage can vary some estimate the number to be closer to 40% or 50%. You are not alone.

This sucks. You don’t need to be reminded that going through this is not something that you want to do. However, it’s nice to know that everybody else out there also thinks this sucks, and you have every right to be sad, angry, and grumpy for a while.

This isn’t your fault. Most of the time, miscarriage is a result of chromosomal abnormalities in the child. This did not happen to you or your spouse because you ate something bad, exercised too much or not enough, or had too much stress at work. Miscarriages related to trauma are relatively rare as the baby is very well protected in the uterus.

It could be worse. I know you don’t want to hear this, but in the past many women died from the hemorrhaging of miscarriage. At the very least, be thankful that you or your partner will live to try again.

Final thoughts.

I’m not a doctor, so make sure that you see a medical professional if you are pregnant or having any problems with your pregnancy. Just go. The stats presented here are the best numbers that I could find in my research and I believe them to be accurate, but again, check with your health care provider if you have any concerns.

The blog post that I originally envisioned for the 12th week of the pregnancy (a photograph of a fresh, steaming bun in the oven) was replaced by something much more morose several weeks later. Still, I hope that this post helps you if you are going through this terrible pain, and I hope that you know that you are not alone and that there are others out there who understand the way you feel.

Once upon a time my wife and I were both avid campers. It was a get away, a cheap vacation, and an escape from the bustle of everyday life. For us, there were few things more relaxing than sitting beside a fire late at night and gazing into the flames.

As Nicholas approaches 3 years old, the desire to get back into camping has grown, but the thought of having to pack up and head home in the middle of the night because of a scared child was worrisome. What we needed was a test trip, something close to home and the safety that it provided.

Enter the backyard camping trip.

Even though we were only in our backyard, we tried to set the mood of the day like a camping trip by spending most of the day outdoors, grilling burgers for supper, and having a backyard picnic. After supper we set up the tent and got all of the bedding ready.

To me, no camping trip is complete without a fire. Our city does allow backyard fire pits (many don’t, so be sure to check before striking flint to steel), but they have pretty stringent requirements for area surrounding the pit. Plus, I didn’t really want to go to all the hassle of building a fire and extinguishing it for what would amount to 30 minutes around the campfire.

I did some searching on the Internet and found a great alternative. These fire pits run on the familiar 1lb propane bottle that so much other camping equipment uses, and has a pretty decent flame. They do say that you shouldn’t cook on them, but we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores with no trouble at all. I think a weenie roast would be possible, but it would probably take a long time.

Then, when it was time to put Nicholas to bed, we read him some stories and tucked him in. We assured him that we were right outside the tent and that we could hear him if he needed us. Mom and I sat around the fire for a while, and then went to bed ourselves.

The night was uneventful. All of us slept well in the tent, with no interruptions. We woke up a little earlier than usual, but were all well rested.

If you have been considering a camping trip with your children but aren’t sure how it will work, I strongly recommend trying out camping in your yard. Our first real camping trip will come up soon, and I will report how it goes. For the first trip I would recommend choosing a campground close by, but more adventuresome parents may want to go all in and shoot for the moon on the first trip.

Whatever you do, have fun!

My son went for a drive on a Yamaha Rhino this weekend – I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that, but Mom assures me that he was completely safe.

In the vein of letting things go and not being afraid of taking some small risks with your kids, I’d like to share a video with you from a TED event. Gever Tulley, founder of The Tinkering School, shares a list of 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do.

These come from a much larger list – a book Tulley has written titled [Amazon Link]Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)“.


Nicholas has no shortage of toys; besides a collection of Thomas & Friends trains and rolling stock that would make VIA jealous he has blocks, cars, trucks, and stuffed animals – thanks to parents who can’t say no and friends and family who apparently have a lot of VISA debt. However, I’m always reminded of stories about kids who get the latest and greatest toy, only to sit down and play with the box that the toys came in.

I’ve been renovating our basement for the past several weeks, and left a couple of scraps of wood outside in our backyard. As the weather has turned warmer and we have begun playing outside more and more, the blocks have become a real go-to toy. In fact, I recently cut an entire 8′ 2×4 into 4″ long chunks. It’s amazing what can be done with these. Nick has turned them into a road, train tracks, bridges, stairs, towers, the list is endless. All this from a chunk of wood that cost less than $2.

This is something that anybody can do – just drop by your local home center and pick up a piece of wood. Make sure to lightly sand the edges to prevent splinters.

For even more fun, consider painting the blocks with your child.

I found this on a forum that I frequent and wanted to share it with you. If you know who wrote it, please let me know so that I can give credit where it is due.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family.
Talk about price shock! That doesn’t even touch college tuition.

But $160,140.00 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into:
* $8,896.66 a year,

* $741.38 a month,
* $171.08 a week.

* A mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is; don’t have children if you want to be ‘rich.’ Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140.00?

* Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to:

* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs,
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:

* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watch Saturday morning cartoons,
* go to Disney movies, and wish on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day, and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:

* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and
* coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:

* First step,
* First word,
* First bra,
* First date,
* First time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like, you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren & great-grandchildren!!!!!!!
It’s the best investment
you’ll ever make!!!!!!!!!

I’m a sucker for seeing families reunited. In honor of memorial day, here is a great video of soldiers being reunited with their loved ones, many of them of Dads and kids.

Thanks to @WBrettWilson and PeanutButterFingers for making me aware of the video.

You might want to get some Kleenex.



That is really the best way to describe the Day Out With Thomas event that occurred on May 8th at Calgary Heritage Park. This event, complete with a life-sized Thomas The Tank Engine pulling passenger cars, was a big hit with my wife, my son, and me. If you have a child that is even remotely interested in trains, I highly suggest that you find a Day Out With Thomas event near you.

The main attraction, of course, is the train ride with Thomas, but there were a number of other activities as well:

There was a story station where kids could sit on the floor and have Thomas & Friends books read to them. Between books they watched Thomas & Friends episodes on TV.

There was a GIANT merchandise tent where you could buy Thomas & Friends stuff.

There was an activity tent with wooden railway play tables, face-painting, temporary tattoos, coloring stations, and a stage with a live band.

Photo opportunities with Sir Topham Hatt.

Photo opportunities with Thomas.

We arrived at 10 am for our 11:40 train ride, and had no problem filling our day. One of the best things is just watching Thomas chug around the track – it was quite surreal, even for me to see. We stayed until about 3pm when Nick just passed out from exhaustion. We had kept the event a surprise, and the second he saw Thomas he just started vibrating from excitement.

Overall, the whole event was done very well, but there were some things that really impressed me. There were photo ops with both Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt – but you actually used your own camera. So many events like today this force you to line up and pay them for the pictures. I snapped dozens of images, and was able to select the best to print off and add to my photo album.

Here is a 2 minute video I took of Thomas:

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

I had another post planned for today, but a recent post by C.C. Chapman from Digital Dads made me rethink my plans. C.C.’s post was about a dance competition that he attended at which many of the elementary school age girls were dressed in fishnet stockings, tight boy shorts, and were performing very suggestive dance moves.

C.C. rightly (IMHO) suggested that he would refuse to allow his daughter to wear those outfits or perform those moves, despite the fact that dance is becoming a passion for his daughter.

Have You Been Tested As A Parent?

I haven’t, at least not in this way. Would I refuse to allow my son to do something that he wants to do, that his peer group is allowed to do, and that other parents in my circle think is okay because I don’t like it? I hope so.

One of the reasons I love writing about my experiences as a dad so much is because it forces me to sit down and think about parenting in a non-reactive way and to play out scenarios in my head and try to imagine what my response would be in those situations.

What Are Your Limits?

What I find so interesting about this story is that if just one of the dads involved had stood up and said “Hey, this isn’t right” this dance may never have occurred. Surely the moms and dads of those little girls knew that this was wrong, but they went along with it, not wanting to seem like a prude or go against the grain or draw unwanted attention to themselves. If just one person had objected, the others might have been shamed into rethinking that this was a good idea.

But not one of them did.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs