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First Child Tips

Jeremy:
So in our homeroom community, which is a community we have of families that are trying to bring on one new tool, one new challenge every single month to build their family team. You guys can check that out, we open it twice a year. Nolan, who’s a new member, jumped in there and said, “My wife and I are expecting our first baby in December and I’m equally excited and also feel the weight of what fatherhood will bring. As a new dad, what are some first child things you were glad you did and things you would have done differently in regards to the first year or as a three person family, any answers welcome.”

Okay. So what I want to do is just do a quick list of some things that Jeff and I enjoy doing with our babies. I would say one thing that I love doing is taking my baby on what I call baby tours. So any chance I got with like, took my little six month old. I just walk around the house, walk around the restaurant, walk around the neighborhood and just talk to them like a real person, because they are incredible linguistic machines and so they are listening and I don’t know if you guys have ever researched the signs of what’s going on inside of a baby, talk to them constantly. And it’s really therapeutic just to, you get to introduce your baby for the first time to a flower, to a butterfly, and just talk about whatever you know about that thing, just stream of consciousness. I did this. I’m really introverted I don’t like to talk, but it felt really different for some reason, just taking my baby around and talking to them constantly.

All of our kids, they talked really, really early. And so much of that kind of the science is just that input. They need lots of input, especially, there’s something even special about the father’s voice, the father’s language. I think one study that I read actually demonstrated that the father’s articulation to their child had a bigger impact on their sort of their verbal intelligence then than anyone else, because the fathers tended to talk to their kids in much more normal adult language. Mothers tend to be a little bit more baby talk. And so I just think that man, like talk, talk, talk to your kids, find ways that sort of stimulate that conversation. That’s one for me, but Jeff, what do you got?

Jeff:
Yeah. I mean, what I would add to that was exactly what you just said, it’s like, just talk to them like normal and it’s crazy how, I think it’s kind of fun it does something to the connection. Another one I would say is baby wearing, I just obsessed, it’s my favorite thing and it’s so easy to have hands free, but wear your baby get one of those backpacks wear them on the front, where them on the back, where them on your shoulders, wear them wherever, put them in a backpack with their head popping out like a real backpack, whatever you need to do. But there’s something about that that just is my favorite in that season where it’s just having them close, going on walks, and then you can kind of do number one with what you just said when you’re just walking with them and wearing them so that’s a big one.

Jeremy:
That’s awesome. This very much relates to that one, which is kind of just make your default, I take the baby with me. I know that that doesn’t work, certain jobs or whatever, but I think that some people actually have the opposite sort of standard, which is that the default is we’re always separated and unless there’s like, everything is perfectly designed for babies then I will leave them home, and just reverse that. I mean, we took our babies everywhere, to movies. We just take them out or if they started fussing, “I’m sorry, everyone.” I mean, we always sat close to the door. But I mean, just I wanted them with me and you’re a dad and there are cultures by the way where this is normal I know our cultures is really an extreme.

And if you live… The closer you get, by the way to a coast, especially the West Coast, the more offended people tend to guess by the idea, Jeff and I both grew up in the West Coast so we can say this, but you grew up in a culture, a childless culture. And some of you are living in a childless culture where we’re where there are adults who are living their lives all day long without children around them. And so they expect to not see a child and they’re offended. And so if you’re conscientious, you want to maintain maybe subconsciously even that cultural standard. And I would just say, make it a goal of yours to break that as much and as egregious early as possible. Bring your child with you. You’re a dad, kids are okay, don’t disrupt things, be respectful, but man, it’s good to be with your child, your baby should be with you as much as possible, put them on that backpack or wear them to whatever you’re doing as much as possible and see where that goes.

Jeff:
Yeah. Another one I would say too is in the way I joke with it is be rougher with them than you think, and obviously be safe, but there’s something about just playing with kids and kind of just… Here’s another way to put it is, don’t treat babies as fragile as you think they are. Let siblings touch them, you touch them, tickle them, wrestle with them a little bit. And obviously, if we’re talking a month old, there they are fragile but I always laugh of like the babies are not glass, right? And I think that that kind of mode for a year can really, I think mess up a little bit of the starting years of don’t always just think… I think that’s like a, almost American idol at some level is like safety.

And just this level of, so I’m going to put so many things around me to try to escape the variables and that’s impossible, right? You can’t put enough door locks to make something never happened or whatever. And of course be safe, be wise. Wisdom is different than I think craziness and so know the difference. But yeah, I think one of those is just like usually being a little rougher with them is fun and, and connective and it’s the act of physical touch to it, it allows more physical touch on a baby that’s is really important.

Jeremy:
Yeah. That rough and tumble play, one of the things that discovered about it that oftentimes is initiated by the father, gives children their best sort of body awareness. A lot of kids don’t actually, we inhabit these bodies and we don’t know what it was like when we were two, three, four, five, trying to figure out what it looked like to be hurt and how to control. But as kids get older, very similar to language, if they were played with their dad, especially, a little bit more on the rough side, they just had a lot more awareness of their body and that this turned them into someone who is more comfortable in their own skin, literally speaking. So anyway, yeah, that’s a really good one, I love that one. Actually, Jeff, on the notes, he called that body slam your baby. I don’t know about that, that’s…

Jeff:
You can do a small one, you can do a small one. A little a Rock or Stone Cold, Triple H WWF move.

Jeremy:
That’s right. That’s you put them in the middle of your king size bed and you just like give them good push.

Jeff:
Exactly.

Jeremy:
Let them figure out what that feels like. All right, the last one I would say, guys is, especially if your child is struggling, maybe sleeping or there’s a lot of crying and you’re having a lot of negative interaction with your baby, and that can happen often, is that sneak into their room and don’t wake them up of course, do this really carefully, especially if you’re having a hard time. But I really enjoy just praying over them when they were asleep, just watching them sleep. They’re so peaceful and you can really bond with your baby just by experiencing that closeness, that spiritual connection in those moments in the evening hours after they’re there completely in that peaceful state. So yeah, take advantage of that, go into their room or to their cradle or a crib and spend some time just praying over them and yeah, expressing your love for them in that way. So those are some ideas guys, Nolan, hopefully that helps and congratulations on your first baby and any of the rest of you out there, fatherhood is an awesome thing.

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