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The Parenting Game – Part Two

Well, well, well…you came back to read more about my successes and hilarious pitfalls of adjusting to life as a parent. But, I must tell you, my son’s sleep schedule is quite errant. You see, my wife and I are sleep deprived. I’m sure once he reaches three or four years old we’ll feel revived. I’m excited to be living life again at full throttle, but hold on one second while I give him this bottle… Oh, you mean I don’t have to write everything in Dr. Seuss lingo even though it’s made up ninety percent of my literature intake the last five and a half months? Yeah, Sports Illustrated is cool, but it has nothing on “Hark! A Shark!” and “Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?” Anyway, enjoy the read and enjoy hearing about our precious five and a half month old son, Harrison! We’re beyond blessed to have such a handsome, healthy and happy baby boy!

Workouts

No, this isn’t the part where I tell you about my daily workout routine – or lack thereof. This is about Tummy Time. Alright, we’ve all been that person that pulls into the gym parking lot and sits in the car for an extra five minutes debating whether to go in or not. For Harrison, he literally had no say from day one about his workouts. Tummy time needs to happen for him to build strength and develop neck, back and shoulder muscles. For those who aren’t familiar, tummy time is when you place a baby on his or her stomach for an extended period of time while they are awake. Most babies are not a huge fan, Harrison included. He screamed from the moment we flipped him over from his back, but it was our job to distract him and cheer him on. We literally pull out toy after toy thinking, “oh, this is the one that will keep him distracted long enough to stop crying.” (Pause 10 seconds) “Nope, never mind.” But I must admit it is super cool to see how much stronger he’s gotten because of it. From screaming bloody murder at 15 seconds as a newborn to now lounging comfortably on his stomach for 15-20 minutes at a time, it’s remarkable. It’s parenting in a nutshell. It’s really hard but so darn rewarding.

Tough Road Swing

Here’s a sports cliché that I’ve admittedly uttered several times in my life. “Boy, the Twins have a tough road swing coming up. They’re going to play three straight series on the road.” Compare that road swing to trying to drive to the Twin Cities with a child who resists taking a nap and you’ll find out what a real tough road swing looks like. Now, full disclosure. Harrison did well on his first trip to the Twin Cities overEaster weekend. We did change his diaper on a dead-end road just off the interstate between Fargo and Rothsay, and he was very restless for the final half hour stretch to his aunt and uncle’s house in Bloomington. But I’ve heard several stories of babies that cry constantly on long car rides, and I’m sensitive to the fact that it can be incredibly challenging for everyone involved. Who knows what the future holds for Harrison and our treks across the Midwest, but I’m guessing it’ll bring more challenges than the chartered flights and 5-star hotels that the big leaguers must endure on their tough road swings.

Blowouts

Ha! If you’re a parent, you can’t help but chuckle at this one. So, I’ll be honest. Up until a few years ago, I knew nothing of what a baby blowout entailed. The blowouts I was concerned about had a different meaning. As in, “I’m on my way to shoot highlights of this game for the sportscast tonight. I hope it isn’ta blowout.” Or, “Hey, did you watch the Timberwolves game last night?” “Not much of it because it was a blowout.”

Let me tell you, I’ve covered many blowouts in my life as a sports broadcaster, but none of them have left the stain on my heart as tough to remove as the stains on my son’s cute little white onesie with the adorable little dinosaurs on it. I swear, what came out of his rear end that day (and several other days) was prehistoric. The white diaper may as well be a white flag on those occasions. My favorite memory was one that happened when my wife and I were both home (thankfully). He was lounging in a rock ‘n play and you could hear the rumbles. After letting him finish, I reached in to pick him up only to feel the finished product had seeped through his clothing. After bringing him upstairs, I removed his clothes and diaper. I held him underneath his arm pits hovering above the changing table while my wife, Amy, wiped him down with what must’ve been a dozen baby wipes. We would’ve probably been better off putting him in the shower and spraying him down. In the moment, it was complete chaos and frustration of what to do. But, it’s memories like that that we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives. After all, Harrison was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. Yes, blowouts take on an additional definition once you become a parent.

The Change-up

So, after reading up on blowouts you’d think the changing table would be a scary place for a first-time parent. I’ll admit, I was nervous thinking about changing a bunch of diapers and having to make sure I cleaned up everything correctly. The first few weeks, I was second guessing if I cleaned good enough or if the diaper was on straight. Was it too tight? Too loose? Backwards? But just like a changeup in the game of baseball, everything started to slow down. Maybe the better sports cliché for this portion should be “The game really slowed down for me.” I love that quote (sarcasm) and so do thousands of coaches and athletes across the country. Anyway, I’ve gotten better at changing diapers and find a lot of joy in it. In fact, I’m convinced that the changing table is Harrison’s favorite place in the whole world right now, and it’s become mine too. Yeah, it can be dangerous (just see the Personal Fouls section from my original “The Parenting Game” blog), but the kid gets the biggest smile on his face when he’s looking up at me. It’s like he’s thinking, “Hey, it’s just me and you right here…no toys, no distractions, just you cleaning up after me… haha.”

Tweet vs Tweety

If you’re reading this blog, odds are you found it via social media, which has been a gamechanger in the sports reporting industry. No longer do we broadcast highlights, scores, breaking news and stories solely to your television screen, but now we have a way to communicate that content to viewers 24/7. I’ll be the first one to admit that I spend a lot of time on my phone scanning Twitter for content that interests me and sharing info/content that I believe will interest my followers. Over the last five months though, tweeting has taken a backseat to Tweety. That’s what I’ve affectionately named Harrison’s colorful stuffed bird toy that never ceases to bring a smile to his face. He could be crying and throwing a fit, but one look at Tweety and he’s awestruck. It has become so important for me to not spend unnecessary time on my phone and cherish every moment with our family. Has it been easy? Not all the time.  But, is it worth it? No doubt about it.

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