March 10, 2012

Second (or third) Child Syndrome

Having a baby the second time around is definitely different. The first time you have a baby (or, in truly heroic fashion, more than one baby) you do everything by the book. Your house becomes more sterile than an operating room. Anything that belongs to the baby that ends up on the floor must be sanitized – or burned. Binkies get boiled, bottles get warmed, baby books get filled in.

But with the second child? This child is lucky to be alive. This child should thank its lucky stars that after the first one (or two), that we didn’t just throw in the towel and admit that this is all we can handle. This child OWES us. So in that respect, the child gets the shaft. Of course it’s still incredibly loved but dirty binkies now get sucked on by the parent and popped back into the mouth, non-sterilized bottles go down cold and baby books (or blogs) get woefully neglected.

And while it’s easy to say that this child will just have to understand that us parents ARE JUST TRYING NOT TO DIE, the truth of the matter is that this child will grow up to be the tougher one. This is the child that won’t be anal retentive because, shoot, its parents let him juggle knives, for crying out loud. This is the child that, while probably having a hefty therapy bill by the time its 30, will at least be able to take a punch, be tougher and prove to the world that he or she can compete with anyone.

So, while the first (or two) will grow up knowing that running with scissors is bad, the baby will grow up daring the world to toss her some scissors and get the hell out of the way. Yes, she won’t have a baby book but she’ll be making history nonetheless.

And her immune system will kick ass.

August 29, 2011

Relationship Building

I take you from your mother as the sun begins to set in the West. Your brother and sister are in bed and now it is your turn.

I have a bottle of the finest milk, freshly pumped from your mother, and I have the iPod docking station gently streaming lullabies. I carry you into the room and sit on the bed and position you in my arms. I marvel at your eyes and cheeks and as we gaze into each others eyes, I am reminded just how much I love you. I smile and, this is new, you smile back. Your smile swells my heart and I hold you closer and kiss your soft, downy head.

At this point, as the room darkens and the music softly fills the room, I pick up the bottle and get ready to begin our bedtime routine in earnest. You are not yet aware that this is about to transpire. I can tell because you haven’t begun your part of the routine yet. But I know it’s coming.

I smile and bring the bottle to your tiny lips, ready to feed you into a restful slumber. It is then that I see the look of recognition in your eyes. You realize that it’s bed time and, as if on cue, you begin your part of the routine…


Ah, yes. It wouldn’t be bedtime if we didn’t play the “Let’s scream in Daddy’s arms until I fall asleep” routine.

July 31, 2011

Eating Out at BlogHer ’11

The BlogHer 2011 conference is coming to San Diego.  When I attended this conference in Chicago two years ago, it was evident that people wanted to know where to eat and where to drink.  Well, since this is my hometown, I thought I’d write a little guide to some good food nearby.  And when you think of San Diego food you should think of Seafood and Mexican food.   That’s where I’m going to focus on.  But if you have any questions, hit me up and I’ll try and help.


The Oceanaire Seafood Room This is an upscale restaurant that has locations throughout the U.S.   The food is good and fresh and has a very robust menu with plenty of options ranging from oysters to lobster.  In fact, the specials vary due to the availability of fresh fish.  A complete wine menu is available and you can even call head to reserve a private group (which I know some enterprising BlogHer women would take advantage of!).

Address: 400 J Street
Walking time from hotel: 10 minutes.
Price: $$$  (Entrees range from $22 – $42)

Escape Fish Bar
This recently opened restaurant is small with a limited menu but the food is excellent.  The seafood is fresh and the sides are creative.  You can sit on the sidewalk cafe or inside.  Limited but good beer and wine selection.  Not great for a big group but perfect for a handful of friends looking for good seafood.  Try the Pumpkin Seed Slaw.

738 5th Avenue
Walking time from hotel: 10-15 minutes.
Price: $$  (Entrees range from $8 – $15)

Point Loma Seafoods If I was going to bring anyone from out of town to taste local seafood, this would be it.  Ambiance is out the window as this is more of a fish market than a restaurant.  However, they serve delicious seafood plates and sandwiches (I love the scallop sandwhich) for a great price.  You get your food on paper plates or wrapped in paper and you take your food to eat outdoors overlooking the marina.  The food is great but beware the seagulls!

Address: 2805 Emerson St
Walking time from hotel: Too far to walk quickly – 10-15 minutes by cab.
Price: $  (Entrees range from $8 – $12)


Since San Diego sits on the border of the Mexico, it’s only natural to steer you towards to good Mexican food.  Unfortunately, the really good food is usually a greasy hole in the wall and  not a sit down dinner in downtown San Diego.  However, I’ve thrown a couple downtown joints for convenience sake but you might have to travel to get some of the best stuff.

Las Cuatro Milpas This is a true hole-in-the-wall. It’s in the heart Barrio Logan, just south of downtown and the heart of the Mexican community. The food is authentic and delicious and cheap! Las Cuatro Milpas closes at 3:00 p.m. so it’s definitely a lunch location.

Address: 1875 Logan Ave (1.5 miles from the conference center)
Walking Time from Hotel: 15-20 (But this is towards the industrial part of San Diego and might be better to take a cab or the trolley)
Price: $

El Indio This restaurant was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  It’s a short cab-ride from downtown.  The food is good but the ambiance is straight diner/dive.  There is a nice outdoor eating area down the street and another across the street, so this is a “nice day” kind of place to eat.

Address: 3695 India Street
Walking time from hotel: Too far to walk quickly – 7-10 minutes by cab.
Price: $  (Entrees range from $8 – $10)

El Vitral I have not eaten here but I have visited the restaurant and it’s beautiful.  One wall creates a boundary for the park within Petco Park, home of the Padres.  The decor is beautiful and I hear the food is ok.  Yelp says the service can be s0-so but the real attraction for this restaurant is the Tequila bar.  Want a place to sample every tequila under the sun?  This is your place.

Address: 815 J Street
Walking time from hotel: 10-15 minutes
Price: $$  (Entrees range from $10 – $12)

Old Town I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Old Town.  There are several Mexican restaurants in Old Town San Diego which is a short cab ride from downtown.  There are a few restaurants along San Diego Avenue and Casa Guadalajara in the Bazaar Del Mundo which is a fun place to go with a small group.

Address: 4133 Taylor Street (Bazaar Del Mundo)
Walking Time from Hotel: Too far. 10 minute cab ride.
Price: $$


There are a couple of places that come to mind when it comes to indulging the sweet tooth. There’s Extraordinary Desserts and Ghiradelli Chocolate shop. I have pigged out in both.

Extraordinary Desserts This is one of the best dessert shops in San Diego. About a 15-20 minute walk from the hotel, it is totally worth it. They also have light food that is very stylish to go along with the out-of-this-world desserts. Go. You won’t be disappointed.

Address: 1430 Union Street
Walking Time from Hotel: 15-20 minutes.  Little over a mile.
Price: $$

Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop  This is for the pure chocoholics out there (you know who you are). Milk shakes, sundaes, and lots of chocolate.  Lots. Tons.

Address: 643 5th Ave
Walking Time from Hotel: 10 minutes
Price: $$

Other Places Nearby

Hard Rock Cafe The Hard Rock is minutes from the hotel, right across the street from the convention center.  With it’s roof top bar and two interior bars, there’s a lot to drink do.

Gaslamp Quarter Info The Gaslamp Quarter is the area surrounding the convention center.  This link will provide you with all the information of other restaurants, bars and wine bars.  Have fun!

June 23, 2011

They eat, sleep and…

She is less than a week old. Her chubby cheeks and cute button nose are in-your-face perfection. I gaze into her dark eyes and she stares back. Her mouth forms small O’s in a primal rooting reflex and, to this Daddy, I imagine she’s blowing me kisses. I am sitting in my back, supported by pillows, in a half-way-done situp position. She sits on my tummy as she rests against my raised knees. I hold her little hands in mine and enjoy being together for the first time.

As we share a moment together, alone – just father and daughter – I begin to tell her how much I love her. “I have known you all my life.” I tell her. “You have been in my heart and I’ve just been waiting to meet you in person.” I marvel at her fragility and wonder at the personality that is waiting to emerge.

I continue to tell her my hopes and dreams and as she stares at me, I feel that we are forming a close bond that will continue a lifetime. “I will be the best Daddy I can for you. I’ll give you kisses and hugs, words of encouragement, moments of discipline, and most of all, love.”

As I gaze into her eyes, I feel like she is understanding what I am trying to convey. In the waning moments of the day as dusk envelopes the room, my eyes fill with tears as I smile at this wonderful little girl sitting on my lap.

Suddenly, she looks at me and smiles back. My heart leaps and I laugh out loud at her smile at such a young age. I know that she understands and her smile is proof. I revel in this special moment between daughter and father. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

And that’s when she pooped with a force of class five hurricane, spewing yellow baby poop out of her newborn diapers and all over my shirt. She lets out a little cry and I am suddenly left with a feeling of warmth in my stomach that is in sharp contrast to the inner warmth I felt just moments ago.

That smile? Yeah, I’m thinking it was gas.

Maybe the bonding will take a bit longer.

June 10, 2011

Final Countdown Second Time Around

Almost exactly six years ago, I was about to become a father for the first time. With twins. I was scared of the unknown and how being a parent would affect my life. Would I be a good father? Was I ready to do this? How do you know how to take care of a baby – or in our case, two babies?! I can’t speak for my wife but I think we both felt a little of that and by keeping busy preparing for two little ones’ arrival, may have helped us keep the fear to a manageable level.

As I type this, my beautiful wife is in the beginning stages of labor. I’m sure she’s going to do great because she generally does great at anything that matters. I’m also struck by how calm I feel. It’s like being recalled to the Majors vs. being promoted for the first time. I’ve been there before. I know what to expect. And one baby? Please. Piece of cake.

I can already tell how the second child (in our case, third child) turns out so differently, many times, from the first. As parents we do things differently. First, we have older kids that need attention too. Second, we know that certain death does not lurk around every dropped binky or every dust bunny. We relax a little bit and, many times, the child ends up a bit more relaxed as well.

It will be interesting to see how this little one turns out. Will she be the same well-mannered child that Swee’Pea and TheMonk have been so far? Or will she be hell on wheels? Will she be more sweet and more spicy? Will she forever alter our lives in ways that we hadn’t imagined? Will that be a good thing? A bad thing?

Damn. Now I’m scared again.

Stay tuned…

May 22, 2011

You don’t know me

Hi Little One,

You’ll be here in less than three weeks.

Three weeks?! It’s going to fly by, I know. And before you come, I wanted to let you know that I’m really looking forward to you being a part of our family. And before you join us, before you meet me, I wanted to let you know a little bit about me.

I take this fatherhood thing pretty seriously. I feel like it’s my job to make sure you grow up to be a confident, caring, respectful person. I will encourage, love, listen and speak with you. But I will also say no when you really want me to say yes. I feel like it’s my job to raise adults, not children.

Having said that, we’re gonna have fun, Little One. I like to sing out loud (much to everyone’s chagrin), dance like nobody’s watching, color on a rainy Sunday, tickle and blow raspberries and have pillow fights. I’ll sometimes let you eat whipped cream right from the can, throw in chocolate chips into your pancakes or cap a hot Summer’s day at the local frozen yogurt shop. I like to braid hair, snuggle while watching cartoons, read bedtime stories and kiss you gently on your cheek after you’ve fallen asleep.

Now, I’m not perfect. I get grumpy when I’m tired or hungry. I don’t like being late and I’d rather go to the dentist than balance my checkbook.

But no one will love you more than I, Little One. I promise you that.

See you in a few weeks.


May 15, 2011


The past six years have been pretty damn amazing.

The first year, when everything seemed overwhelming and the twins made our lives all about them, I thought I’d never want to go down that road again. The lack of sleep, the irritability, the lack of sleep, the way breastfeeding ruled our lives, the lack of sleep…

There was no way I was going to do that again. But then things started to get easier. I got to sleep a bit more (although I still have not slept past 6:30 a.m. in six years), the kids became more self-sufficient and I began to realize that this could be it. The kids would be 1/3 grown up and I’d be wondering where the time went.

So we began to talk about having another one. The pros and cons were weighed. And the pros were overwhelmingly better than the one con – could we afford another one? In the end, we realized that we wanted another baby and sacrificing monetarily would be worth it.

And just like that, we were pregnant again (my wife is more fertile than than the Amazon rain forest). And while the pregnancy has been happening, I’ve had other things competing for my attention – specifically, opening a brand new YMCA four weeks ago. But now there is no doubt that a baby is coming. Week 36 has arrived and the little one could choose to join us anytime in the next month or so. It’s exciting but… different too.

I don’t have the anxiety that I felt the last time. The unknowns are now better known. I’m a veteran father now and not the rookie I was just six years ago when I was thrust into the part without really knowing what to do or what was expected.

Now I know. At least, I have a better understanding. I know I will be there to change diapers, blow raspberries on bellies and give warm baths. I know I’ll be there to hold a sleeping baby on my belly in the quiet morning. And I know I’ll be there to guide and protect and love.

Fatherhood has revealed itself to me and, I’d like to think, I’m pretty good at it. Maybe this time the new one won’t have to be patient for me to figure this fatherhood thing out. Maybe this time I’ll be able to focus on one baby rather than two and give her the attention she wants or needs. Maybe this time I’ll know that a little dirt won’t kill and exposing her to other people will help her be more social. Maybe this time I’ll be able to run into a Starbucks with a baby on my hip rather than two babies in a stroller. Maybe this time I’ll get more sleep.

Okay, probably not the sleep thing. But all the other stuff? We’re gonna rock it this time around.

I’m ready when you are little one.

December 4, 2010


“You have Boy/Girl twins? Wow! So, you’re totally done having kids!”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this in the past five and a half years. It’s like we’ve completed the set and now there’s really no reason to have another child. And I think for the first couple of years the wife and I kind of agreed that we were done. I mean, the first year alone almost killed us. The lack of sleep, combined with our general cluelessness was enough to put the thought of ever doing this again way out of our minds.

But then things got easier. We survived breastfeeding (and when I say “we” I mean, “my wife”), double diaper changes, late night feedings, projectile vomiting and mobile toddlers relatively unscathed. Our kids, much to my surprise, turned out pretty well-behaved. They listen most of the time. They put away their things when asked and they mix a mean martini. And even though I still can’t use the bathroom without being interrupted, we began to get a little cocky. This parenting thing? We got this.

So at some point (I don’t remember exactly when but I can tell you that I was 100% sober) I turned to my wife and said, “Let’s do it. Let’s have another.” And she replied, “But what if we have two?” Oh yeah, that. And that had us stumped for a while. As far as I’m concerned my wife is more fertile than Napa Valley. Who knows how many eggs she’s pumping out of there at any given time? Visions of Jon and Kate danced through my head and I envisioned myself begging Oprah to buy us a bigger house or a small bus.

And then there’s the age thing. We’re not getting any younger. In fact, I am now older than my own mother was the day I graduated from High School. I’m old! My wife is younger than I and looks damn good if I do say so myself but even she’s entered an age where pregnancies are higher risk. Did we want to go through with that and all that could entail?

But then I’d look at Swee’Pea and TheMonk as they get on the bus each morning for school and wonder where the time went. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was smelling freshly bathed baby heads and blowing raspberries on baby bellies? Sigh. I missed that. And I know my wife did too. So we looked fate in the eye and said, “Let’s do it. Let’s have another baby.”

And before we knew it, we were blessed with this.

Baby Pic

Baby Pic

Thank God, there’s only one.

Also? It’s a girl. If she’s anywhere as spicy as Swee’Pea is, Lord help us.

January 26, 2007

Please don’t let me forget…

-Soft, chubby cheeks.

-The lavender smell of freshly cleaned babies.

-Putting on socks and shoes.


-Crawling, feet-first, down stairs.

-Food in tiny little pieces.

-Sippy cups.

-Sign Language.

-”What sound does an elephant make?” “Pffft.”

-”What sound does a bird make?” “Pbbbbbt.”

-Bedtime lullabies.

-”Hi-ya” and “Buh-Bye”

-Tossing babies into the air.

-Little hands holding my finger.

-Crawling into my lap.

-Standing up in cribs to welcome me in the morning.

-2-hour naps.

-First words.

-First steps.


-Gobbling toes.

-Raspberries on bellies.

-”Sssshhh!” (As TheMonk stalks kitty)

-Two beautiful babies.

May 30, 2006

A guide for new parents

Now that I’ve accumulated a vast amount of experience in my (almost) first year of being a parent, I feel that I’m qualified enough to hand out some pointers to those who are traversing this slippery slope called parenthood for the first time. I know many people find parenting blogs hoping to gain little nuggets of wisdom in how to handle a seven-pound bundle of pure energy. So, here are few things I’ve learned that might be useful…

1) Lowrider pants for babies? Eyeballing the size of baby clothes is an acquired skill. What I’ve learned is if you go by the age on the label of baby clothes, it will be too small. For example, if your baby is 6 months old, go with the 9 month clothes. I cannot tell you how many times I tried on an outfit only to find that the baby had almost outgrown it. They won’t fit into those clothes for long so wear them early and wear them often.

2) How do I look in this thong? Always have the next-sized diaper on hand. One day, the baby will fit fine into that size one diaper and the next day your baby will look like it’s sunbathing on the French Riviera. Trust me, the thong look isn’t what you want when it’s time for your baby to go Number Two.

3) What’s up doc? We have taken full advantage of our health plan’s advice nurse. We’ve made at least 4 or 5 visits to the emergency room or to the “after-hours” pediatrician. Just resign yourself to the fact that you may have to drop everything and go to the doctor. For some reason, babies seem to know when you have an important meeting at work or when American Idol is on and they pick that time to start tugging painfully at their ear.

4) There’s no I in TEAM. Raising a baby is everyone’s job. Dads, I love you. I really do. But we get a bad rap when it comes to baby care out there and the only way we’re going to beat this rap is for us to rise up and change diapers, do 3:00 a.m. feedings, and play with the kids. Oh, and moms out there, I love you too. I really do. But you have to trust us dads just a little bit. I mean, what are the chances we’ll actually maim the child? It’s really very slim.

5) It’s 1:00 p.m., do you know where your child is? Getting your baby on a schedule is probably the best thing you can do for you and your child. With twins, the schedule got us through the first year. It will get you through your first year too. Nap times? Same time every day. Feeding times? Ditto. Your baby will respond well and you’ll be happy knowing what your day will look like.

6) Sleeping Beauty. Everyone has ideas on how to get a baby to sleep through the night. We used a modifed version of the Ferber method but the important thing is to use the method you feel most comfortable with. Just know that once a baby is ready to sleep through the night, do your best to facilitate it. Why torture yourself any longer than necessary?

7) No one likes a know-it-all. When it comes to parenting, we can never know it all. Keep yourself open to new ideas because when you continue to learn, your baby is the winner.

Well, that’s all I got for now. What about my loyal readers? What advice would you give a new parent?

Next Page »

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: