The 365 Things Project

I walked into my bedroom the other day and saw my three year old son going through a technical book I was reading. He often picks up my books, but never pays much attention, so his look of determination made me wonder what he was doing. As I got closer I realized that he was unfolding the bent corners of all of the pages I had 'dog-eared' to reference later.

He looked up sweetly and said "Dad, I fixed your book!". I couldn't help but say "thank you!".

That experience was just one of the tiny treasures of being a parent. It might not be significant in the grand scope of life, but it's just one thing I love about him.

I thought of everything else that I love about him; how every day he makes me laugh at something or expresses a new piece of his personality. I realized that years from now I may forget some of these tiny idiosyncrasies, even though they're important to how I know him and our interactions. It dawned on me that I really do find something new and amazing about him every day, so why not keep track? That's when I came up with the concept of the 365 Things Project.

The Project basically entails keeping a daily log of one trait or interaction with your child that is special or unique. It's a journal of 365 things you love about your kids. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of everything and make sure I'm up to date. I add a new line every day, usually in the form of sentence beginning with "I love that..." or "You made me laugh when..." There will be days when you're frustrated and want to kill them, but this will help you to see the positive side of things.

I strongly encourage every other parent out there to try it. At the end of 365 days you'll have a funny keep sake of all the wonderful little experiences you've had with your kids over the course of the year. I'm looking forward to reflecting on my son's hobby of flattening folded pages, his love of the color yellow and his tendency to smack the TV when 'bad' characters come on.

Kids dealing with pregnant mothers

As I approached my front door the other night I caught an earful of screams coming from the neighbor's apartment. They're a quiet and pleasant family so I indulged my nosy side for a just a moment while fumbling for my keys

"I gave up my life for all of you! I give you everything. You're all selfish..." It was the normally placid mother tearing into her usually well-behaved children. Then I remembered, she was pregnant. She was unloading on her four kids in what sounded to be a rather hormonal rant, completely out of character for her. The youngest daughter, about 2 years of age, began to bawl. I could hear the 10 year old trying to comfort her to no avail.

Making things worse, the father is not in the picture, leaving them all without the support figure they each need. A dad's role should be to help a pregnant mother through her difficult times and similarly help kids through what is a period of upheaval for them as well.

Many grown men think that dealing with pregnant women is difficult, but consider the situation from the eyes of a child. It's confusing for adults but must be of an entirely different scale for children.

By the time I found my keys I felt pretty sad for them. Until then I had never considered the pregnancy experience from a kid's viewpoint. It just wasn't my experience growing up nor my experience with our children. However it made me realize how important it is for dads to play a support role to the entire family during pregnancy.

This blog is not about demonizing pregnant women, it never has been. It's about shedding some light on the father's experience which is not always easy. What I hope it points out is that the father does play an important role in supporting everyone involved, mother, upcoming baby and the kids who are already around.

If you're an expectant dad with children, keep an eye out for how your kids are responding to the situation. Help out as much as you can, throw yourself on as many grenades as possible, just make sure they're happy. If you know a single mom without a dad in the picture, help her out as well. She'll need it more than anyone.