I’m A Cool Rockin’ Daddy In The USA… For Now

July 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm , by 

19 months.

No matter how cool of a dad I may be in my son’s eyes now, I’m led to believe that will all change about a decade or so from now.

But as for the time being, Jack looks to me as a leader in many aspects on how to be a guy. A cool guy, might I add.

While playing “Animals” with him, if I place a chicken on top of a horse on top of a truck, he will instantly repeat that awesome thing his dad just did.

Jack thinks all the cool kids have a blow-up mattress in their living room, which serves as a necessary wrestling mat. Because his dad set one up for him.

And several years from now, when I teach him to play Chess with me, I’m sure it will become our mutual obsession. Same thing goes for when I help him become the only kid in his class to solve a Rubik’s Cube… in less than 3 minutes.

Unless I’m the exception to the rule, then in theory, at some point I will stop being considered cool with the age 18 to 35 demographics.

As a modern young dad, wearing plaid or cargo shorts is in style. Wearing pleated khaki shorts, on the other hand, is not.

Similarly, being a fan of Dave Matthews Band and Jason Mraz means I have good taste in music.

But at some point, will my love for their music be a sign that I’m out of touch with what is cool?

Granted, I’ll never be a skinny jeans kind of guy. So if that’s what’s cool, I’ve already missed that boat.(Fortunately!)

But for now, I’m a 31 year-old dad who assumes the culture of a 25 year-old guy; minus the iPhone.

Jack thinks I’m the coolest guy in the worldeven if by default.

After all, his dad wears a Spiderman mask while chasing him around the house. And pulls him around the neighborhood in a Radio Flyer wagon.

If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.

(As I if it needed saying, that’s not my cool classic car in the picture above. But at least mine isn’t the minivan next to it, either.)

dad from day one: The Business of Being Born

Fourteen weeks.  Second trimester.

For the past several weeks, my wife has been toying with the idea of “going natural” for the birth.  In other words, no pain medication.  And I’ve been impressed just by her willingness, because I know if it were up to the men of the world to continue the human population by giving birth instead of women, the human population would have died off thousands of years ago.

I had been seeing The Business of Being Born keep popping up on my Netflix as a recommended title that I would enjoy.  Then recently, a writer friend (http://www.meetmissjones.com/) also told me I should see it after she read about our disappointment with our first two appointments at a standard hospital.  (Of course, we ended up switching to midwives and are so happy, though I had no idea what a midwife really even was when we first met with them.)

So last night we watched the documentary, The Business of Being Born, directed by Ricki Lake and produced by Abby Epstein (yes, they are both Jewish).  I went into it thinking it would be a tiring movie telling how much money is made off of strollers, cribs, daycare, etc.

Instead, it is a one-sided film about the importance of the long-lost tradition of natural births.  And we loved it!

I took notes:

-Induced labor increases the chances of C-Section by 50%

-In Japan and Europe, 70% of births are delivered by a midwife.  In the US, only 8%

-The US has the 2nd worst newborn death rate in the developed world

-The US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all industrialized countries

-Since 1996 the C-Section rate in the US has risen 46%; In 2005, it was one out of every 3 American births

While there are obviously certain situations where a C-Section is absolutely necessary (like the baby being “breach”), it is a major surgery that has become the new norm.

Interestingly, in the movie, a group of young doctors are asked how many live births they have witnessed.  Basically, none of them had.

And to me, that’s scary.  That it’s easier, less time consuming, and more profitable to induce labor and perform a C-Section that it is to let the baby born naturally.

In the documentary they explain how the peak times for American babies being born is at 4pm and 10pm, the times at the end of the work shifts so that doctors can go home.

For me, the desire to have a natural birth all comes down to observing the downward spiral of having a baby in a hospital, with a doctor, the American way:

The mother is given Pitocin, to induce labor.  Which causes longer, more intense contractions and cuts off oxygen to the baby, putting both the mother and the baby at risk, as well as potentially causing birth defects (even ADHD or Autism in the child later on, though not enough evidence can back this yet, but I won’t be surprised when it can).

So inducing labor increases the chances of having a C-Section by 50%, which puts both mother and child at greater risk.  And the epidural slows down the birthing process- which in addition to the Pitocin, is another drug that may also affect the health of the baby.

Until last night, I had never witnessed a live human birth.  But now I’ve seen at least four or five.  All of them natural.

It’s pretty interesting to watch.  I didn’t think it was gross, and I’m not artistic enough off a person to go on and on about how beautiful it was.  It just seemed natural and normal.  Like watching someone poop.  But a baby came out instead.

The Business of Being Born does contain a large amount of nudity, as most of the mothers are nude while giving birth.  But we were so intrigued by watching the births, that it didn’t register, “hey, this is porn”.  It was just a woman giving birth.  The documentary is not rated, because if it was, it may have to be rated NC-17.  But to that I say, What Movie Rating Does Real Life Get?

One of the major reasons I now support natural birth (and denounce induced labor by a doctor, with certain exceptions) is the fact that in a hospital, the mother lays down flat on a bed.  Common sense tells us that gravity will naturally help pull the baby out.  Plus the fact that by having the mother lay down flat, it gives the baby less room to come out.

I also learned that when a baby is born naturally, “a love cocktail of hormones” is released by the mother, causing a unique bond to occur between the mother and the child.

This is where we’re headed.  This is what we will attempt.  A natural birth overseen by midwives.  Yet just down the hall from an M.D. in case something goes wrong.

We just have to be weird, don’t we?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Business_of_Being_Born

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Big Hands: For You to Be Rich, It Means Someone Else Must Be Poor

In 1992 I was in 5th grade and it was in my reading class that I learned so much of the way I see economics. I remember reading this story about a boy who wished for all the money in the world. He got his wish. His entire house became completely full of cash. More money than he could ever spend. It was wonderful. But not for long. He realized that he literally had all the money in the world. That meant that no one else had any, which kinda took the fun out of the whole thing.

The most education I can really claim to have regarding finances is a micro-economics and a macro-economics class my first year of college and completing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program a few months ago. I don’t claim to really know much about how money really works. But here is an interesting qustion: If every person in the world had the exact same financial status, how much would everyone have? Financially speaking, which country would we all be most comparable to?

I looked up the GDP (Gross Domestic Product- indicates the size of a country’s economy) for all 191 listed countries in the world. The midway point on the list was Albania, with a GDP of $5,600. The USA was #6 on the list with $43,500. I did the math. Americans are 7.6 times richer than Albanians. We have over 7 and a half times more of everything than we should have, based on my simple ballpark math.

So in my 5th grade reading class I indirectly learned that in order to be rich, to some degree, we have to get more than our share. Because if everybody was rich, then nobody would really be rich. It’s mathematically impossible. Just like not everybody can be famous.

What’s funny to me is, so many people that I know that everybody else thinks are rich, are actually just as worried about money as everybody else. The more money a person makes, the bigger their house gets. The newer their car gets.  It doesn’t end.

I think it’s easy to tend not to take the 10th Commandment as seriously as the rest of the Commandments. “Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor”. It seems kind of petty at first. But not when I think about it- and realize where that can get a person, or a country.

pac man