Surviving the First Year

This month I asked some other dads to contribute their own stories, give advice or just share whatever was on their mind on my blog.

This first guest post comes from the Couch Potato Dad. It was originally published on June 14, 2012.

Today, June 14, is Flag Day in the United States. While I’ve known for a long time that Flag Day is an actual day (holiday?), I’m not sure that prior to last year I could have told you that June 14 is Flag Day. Now, I’m almost certain that I will never forget that Flag Day is June 14 because June 14 is also Em’s birthday.

The common joke parents like to tell about having kids is that with one, you can double-team. With two, you have to move to man-to-man. And with three, you start playing zone. While this is mostly true, in my case, I often felt like I was playing man-to-man with one kid. As a nurse, Heather only has to work 3-days a week; however, those are 12-hour days. So, for those 3 days, it was just the Bug and me.

When Em arrived last year–once Heather went back to work–I had to shift to zone. And I would be lying if I said it was easy. It wasn’t. It was hard. The Bug was 2 when Em arrived and I soon learned that taking care of a 2-year old and a newborn is not a walk in the park (not that I expected it to be, but the reality of it hits you in the face).

But here’s the thing: As tough as this first year was with multiple kids, it was also one of the most rewarding years of my life. Don’t get me wrong, this past year was ridiculously tough on our family. We dealt with uncertainty surrounding my job and uncertainty surrounding Heather’s job. With the former, I kept mine while with the latter, Heather lost hers but found something new. There were long nights without sleep and long days full of tears (for everyone–mom, dad, kids). But there were also a lot of really amazing moments that bring an incredible amount of happiness.

Key to these wonderful moments and memories has been the Bug. From the moment Em was born, he has rarely displayed any signs of jealously or dislike towards the newest member of the family. In fact, it has been the complete opposite. He has showered his sister with such love, attention, and devotion that when he says, “She’s my best friend,” it is, most assuredly, true. Bringing him to the hospital the morning after Em was born was an incredibly emotional moment for me. For nine months, we told him that a baby was on the way, that he was going to be a Big Brother. We talked about being gentle with the baby once she arrived and all of the things he would be able to help us do–get a bib, grab a diaper, read a story. When we said our prayers at night, it was the Bug who started including “the baby” in the list of people for whom God should bless, protect, and care. Riding the elevator in the hospital up, I couldn’t help but being overwhelmed with emotion as I thought about introducing the Bug to his new sister. And when we walked into Heather’s room, his eyes lit up in excitement. It was, in all honesty, love at first sight.

This is, of course, not to say that there haven’t been moments where the Bug has been less than thrilled with having to share his parents’ attention. He may not display it often–and I think he has “suffered in silence” more than I will ever know–but every now and then he is prone to showing that jealously or unhappiness. But these moments are fleeting and minor.

Last night, before Em’s “party” we were out shopping. Heather was pushing one cart with Em and I was pushing another with the Bug. As we walked down the aisle, he was adamant about holding hands with his sister. So there we were, Heather and I, trying to synchronize our movements so that they could hold hands. And when a display would force us to separate, he would cry out, “I want my sister! Come back Momma, I want to hold her hand!” And Heather and I would have to push our carts together so they could go back to holding hands.

I don’t have any tips or tricks for anyone else out there who has more than one kid or is about to have more than one kid. I can’t offer any bits of advice to make it easier or to ensure that the oldest will love and adore the newest. All I can say is I’m lucky. I did nothing but luck into having two amazing children and a wonderful wife who made this past year a special year. So today, when I hoist the Stars and Strips up on my flagpole, I won’t just be celebrating Flag Day; I’ll be celebrating Em’s birthday and the day that changed my life forever.

Read more from the Couch Potato Dad at or follow on Twitter @couch_dad.

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


From our Sponsors