A Christmas Potty Training

A Christmas Potty Training

On Christmas Day, my son Frankie will be exactly 22 months old, so basically a grown man. As such, I have very high expectations of him which include, but are not limited to, doing things I can brag about on this blog. Fortunately he has my genes so he excels at everything.

Research says that most kids are physically and emotionally ready to start toilet training between 22 and 30 months. I also read that boys are typically a few months behind girls which I assume to be utter nonsense because, well, I’m male and look at me. So, my wife and I had decided to begin toilet training when Frankie turned 2 but we did put some things in place much earlier.

Back in August we bought a potty and put it out for him to “get used to”, which took approximately 30 seconds from the moment I opened the box.

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They say that some kids are intimidated by or scared of the potty, but how a small plastic chair becomes the stuff of your child’s nightmares is beyond me.

Are there toddler classes that teach wussiness?

Is there a “Beware Of Unthreatening Inanimate Object” book series?

Do ‘The Wiggles’ have a song that goes
“Hot potato, hot potato. Cold spaghetti, cold spaghetti. Dangerous potty, dangerous potty”? 

I choose to believe that I don’t live in a world where any child has to fear a potty. In fact, if your youngster is terrified of the toilet, I volunteer F4 to come over and fearlessly sit on it to prove to them that you suck at parenting.

Although we’ve not yet started formal potty training, we have been encouraging him to sit on it. Most of the time he’s clothed, or at least in a diaper, but on occasion he’s full birthday suit when he chills. 90% of when he squats on the pot is when we’re brushing our teeth because it’s important that he understands efficiency. In fact, I’m writing this blog on the toilet while simultaneously brushing my teeth, Snapchatting, and doing burpees. You’re not on my level.

I also call F4 into the bathroom to watch me pee and poop because I’m highly skilled at both. So the other day I didn’t think anything of it when he stood fascinated by my manly display of urination. However, a few minutes later, when Lisa asked if he wanted to go potty like daddy he sat down on his tiny plastic throne. I watched my little guy look down at his penis like —

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For a moment I thought he might have fallen asleep

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I wasn’t really expecting anything when suddenly down in the potty I heard pitter patter. I sprang to the floor to see what was the matter. And what to my wondering eyes did appear but beautiful spray of golden pee my dear.

My sub-2 year old son taking the initiative to go in the potty for the first time almost made me pee myself. He looked up at me and mommy with an expression that could only be seen as, “Did I do good?”

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The wife and I both screamed like we’d just won the lottery. Frankie caught on and quickly realized that the answer to his question was an emphatic YES. My boy made me very, very proud. For once, I wasn’t the little crybaby that teared up over a milestone. Lisa, however, could not control her eye bladder and let out a few drops of her own. It was a few hours before we came down from our urine high and dreamed of a day when he’d poop in that very same potty.

Yeah, that happened the next day, right after he peed again. Granted, it was only one tiny turd, but he did it nonetheless. Talk about some next level shit. He went pee pee in the potty again that night and the following morning. That was 3 days ago. Since then, every time we ask if he wants to go sit on the potty he casually says “No” and keeps on keeping on. There’s part of me that wonders if he only did it to prove to me that he could. To make a point. To say, “Dad, you might be the king of all things, but I’m coming for your crown.” If that’s the case, so be it. I’d be happy to concede to my son in this Game Of (Porcelain) Thrones.

4throneThe wipe is dark and full of terrors.


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My Co-Sleeping Number Is Four

My Co-Sleeping Number Is Four

Sleep is a huge waste of my time. Not everyone’s time, mind you, but certainly mine. Spending 1/3 of my life unconscious deprives me of valuable hours that I could spend being awesome. In fact, you should be just as upset that sleep is depriving you of more me. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who should sleep more than they already are, because their being awake isn’t benefitting any of us. Regardless of all that we, as humans, require a considerable amount of sleep to function at our highest level and to be generally healthy. As such, I make sure I get a significant number of hours in every night.

Most parents will tell you that having a baby means giving up sleep for anywhere between 6 months and 23 years. My wife and I gamed the system early on with a simple rotating feeding schedule, battery powered swing, and co-sleeping. From the first week we were both getting at least 5-6 consecutive hours plus additional hours after that. In general, we felt pretty well rested for being the parents of a newborn. It wasn’t long before we phased out the feeding schedule and, shortly thereafter, the swing. Notice that I didn’t mention the co-sleeping.

Co-sleeping

Frankie Four is just about to turn 18 months old and has slept every night of his life in bed with us. Every night. All of them. Granted, I’ve traveled a bit for work so some of the nights were just he and Lisa, but he’s always slept with one of us.

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He’s had a crib since birth and has been asleep in it, but only for a few daytime naps, never at night. It was so underused that we converted it to a toddler bed early just so he could crawl in and out of it for fun. Today, it sits in our bedroom, acting as a holding pen for stuffed animals, spare blankets, and sometimes clean laundry that goes unfolded for days so my wife better get her ass in gear because it’s tough to stay on top of household chores when you have a toddler.

We didn’t intend to co-sleep for the length of time or in the manner that we did/still do. In fact, we bought a co-sleeper that attached to our bed so Lisa could breast feed then roll our fat little baby back into his own space. Frankie wasn’t having it. As far as he was concerned, our space was his space. I have no idea where he got that sense of entitlement. From day one, unless he was in the swing, he’d only sleep on or adjacent to us. Most of the time he slept with his lips attached to Lisa’s boob, which I think we can all agree is the best way to sleep. Or be awake, for that matter.  Take that Ambien.

When he’s not attached to the boob he finds some position that doesn’t inhibit my comfort or sleep at all. He’s a very considerate little guy.

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co-sleepingMaking sure mommy doesn’t breathe in any  of that harmful oxygen while she sleeps.

Co-sleeping gets mixed reviews in the parenting world which I totally understand. Before we were forced into embraced it, I considered it some hippie bullshit that women who didn’t shave their pits and named their kid Featherbreeze did. Being lumped in with those yurt dwelling shroom eaters horrified me, but once I burned all of the dreamcatchers hanging in that imagined world, I bought in. Ever since, having Frankie Four in bed with us has been one of the most gratifying aspects of fatherhood. And today I am the greatest at co-sleeping just as I am the greatest at all other aspects of parenting. As such, I’ve listed 5 of the potential problems that can arise from sharing a bed with your child, along with my solutions. However, because you’re not me, you’ll probably screw it up and damage your kid, so I take no legal or moral responsibility for anything you do.

1- BED SHARING WITH AN INFANT IS DANGEROUS
Experts say not to share a bed with an infant if you are fat, drink, smoke, take sedatives, have long hair, use blankets or pillows or sheets or a mattress, shit yourself at night, light fires in bed, sleep with a live alligator, watch Downton Abbey, create vision boards, think Trump “makes a lot of sense”, live in a home that had wheels but is now on cinderblocks, have too many sister-wives, think Tupac is alive, have a sword attached to the headboard, watch WWE, or are just plain stupid. Also, don’t sleep with an infant in your bed. Just don’t. Yes, I did. No, you shouldn’t.

co-sleepingNever leave your child in a bed unsupervised.

2- NO MORE SEX
You realize that sex is what got you in this predicament in the first place, right? Fine, if you want to continue playing Russian roulette with your finances/freedom/sleep/youth, read on. Your child is sleeping in your bed, so now you just have to relocate your shenanigans to other areas of your home. You can make the beast with two backs on the crunchy bed of Cheerios and crackers he’s gingerly placed on your sofa. Perhaps a steamy encounter on the kitchen counter between the leftover bowl of dried noodles she refused to eat and the half chewed Fig Newton she spit out because even toddler’s know that Fig Newton’s are fucking gross. Maybe a romantic interlude in front of the fireplace on a sticky, juice soaked rug where your spine will be tickled by the soft kiss of Lego pieces and one broken toy truck. There are countless places where you can throw down while your kid drools all over your pillow. Personally, by the time night rolls around, my version of “sex” is staying awake long enough to watch one show on the iPad. So F4 sleeping like a giant dash mark between us isn’t infringing on my action. My peak energy level/libido is early afternoon so if homeboy naps we’re in flagrante delicto somewhere in the house. If you want to use the bed to boink during the day, find another comfortable spot for your kid to nap. Below are some suitable options:

baby in a box

baby carrier

baby asleep on tricycle

baby asleep with eggs

bread pillow

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3- BED SHARING WITH A TODDLER IS DANGEROUS
Whereas sharing your bed with an infant is dangerous to them, bed sharing with a toddler is dangerous to you. A spinning back fist to the face is bad enough, but when your son is genetically gifted with powerful legs because he has your genes, it’s the feet you have to fear. I’ve been kicked in both eyes, the nose, both ears, the temple, the forehead, the throat, and the testicles, all multiple times. My beloved boy likes to sleep sideways across the bed, with his head near his mother, for obvious reasons (See: Boobs), and his feet near me. Asleep or awake, he kicks his feet like a bull trying to buck off a cowboy with a rope tied around his nuts. On more than one occasion I thought I had a broken nose. There are only two solutions to this problem. Solution 1 is to wear a hockey mask or one of those beekeeper hoods that fencers wear. Solution 2 is to stop being a pussy. If you can’t take a punch or a kick from a toddler then you’re not a man. If you’re a woman, you’re already not a man but now you’re even less of a man.

4- YOU WON’T BE FORCED GET TO CUDDLE
Woman, I’m sorry to say that there’s no solution to this particular problem.
Men, you’re welcome.

5- YOU’LL GET WOKEN UP EARLY/THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT
Early – People who sleep in are lazy. By the time my son wakes up I’ve already worked out, showered, perfected my hair game for the day, checked my email, and still had 10 spare minutes to flex in the mirror. If you sleep in you don’t deserve to sleep in.

Throughout The Night – 60 ounces of coffee every day, along with a gallon of water and a 46 year old prostate, means I pee every half hour all night long. My son complains that I wake him up too many times. If you sleep normally, and so does your kid, you’ll be fine. Otherwise the two of you can stay up together for fun time! Mommy will love that.

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Look, there’s lists on lists of reasons that people don’t co-sleep and I support their right to not care about their children as much as I care about mine. The fact is, I love co-sleeping. I’m a first time, and decidedly “one-and-done”, dad. In the immortal words of Aerosmith, I “don’t wanna miss a thing“. Having Frankie fall asleep with his head on my chest, snuggle up to me in the middle of the night, and smile at me when he opens his eyes in the morning, are some of my favorite moments.

co-sleeping

I know his childhood won’t last forever so I’m embracing every opportunity to connect, and just be with him. One day he’ll be too big to want to give me 10 kisses goodnight, or cuddle, or even sleep in our bed. After some emotional adjustment, I’ll embrace that stage too. But for now I’m going to enjoy the fact that I love my boy so much that comfort, sleep, and an unbroken nose don’t compare to me being allowed to doze off with him every night and wake up with him every day.

co-sleeping

And how could you pass up witnessing the childlike wonder as your little one peacefully watches the sun come up out the window?

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But really, this sums up co-sleeping better than any words.

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Here We Go Sport

Here We Go Sport

I just did something I swore I’d never, under any circumstances, do once I had a child. It’s difficult to reconcile that I’ve gone against my principles and risked all that I hold dear, gambling both my and my childs well being.

I signed my son up for soccer.

There’s a list of sports I want to kill and soccer holds a place firmly in the top 5 along with golf, tennis, lacrosse,  and golf. Yes, golf is listed twice because I harbor double the disdain for this so-called “sport”. It’s a skill, certainly, but not a sport. At least tennis and lacrosse require some level of physical fitness. You can play golf if you have one eye, emphysema, or even a wooden peg leg. Not to mention the fact that watching it is like staring into an empty abyss for all of eternity, only not as exciting.

Soccer held a similar position in my heart up until a few months ago. It was not Cristian Ronaldo or Lionel Messi that swayed me. Nor was it the great and glorious god of hairstyles that I worship, David Beckham. It was my one year old son himself, Frankie Four. See, I’d purchased F4 a little soccer ball on a whim one day. Not because I wanted him to play soccer, far from it, but because the ball itself was more durable than the other balls on sale for $4.99. My vehement opposition to soccer is overshadowed only by my frugality. I hate soccer but I still want to kick it in its cheap balls. Anyway, Frankie Four and I were outside playing the day before his first birthday. The ball was just sitting there when he walked up and kicked it. I figured it was an accident, that he’d been walking toward it and his foot hit before he had a chance to pick it up. Then he kicked it again. My son is only one but he’s sharp, so I doubted that the second time was inadvertent. Just to be sure, I pulled out the trusty phone and nudged the ball with my foot. Seconds later—

Boo ya! And ever since that first flurry of kicks, roughly 3 months ago, he’s constantly dribbling the soccer ball. Dribbling. Is that what it’s called? I know that’s what you call bouncing a basketball to move it down court, but is it the same for soccer? I could Google it but I’m terrified that soccer related ads will start showing up in my email and newsfeed. I’d rather Google “animal with largest testicles” or “is human pancreas edible” or “am I secretly a woman trapped in a mans body?’ than have soccer related marketing target me. That’s my level of disdain for soccer.

You’re probably wondering why I hate soccer worse than Donald Trump hates well, everyone. First off, I played one season of soccer back in elementary school and I sucked at it. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe there was ever anything at which I did not excel. That should be proof enough that soccer is a ridiculous activity. If I wasn’t good at it then, by default, it must actually be the thing itself that sucks, because look at me. Aside of  the traumatic childhood experience of participating in that horror show of a sport, it’s fucking boring. Painfully boring. Granted, it’s not “golf boring”, but it’s definitely a snooze fest to the nth degree. Proof is in the goals. The average number of goals in most World Cup matches is less than 3. Remember, we’re talking about a 90 minute game. That means you’re lucky if you see one goal every half hour. In between those goals you’re watching 22 people run toward a ball. One of those 22 people kicks the ball really far down a field roughly the size of Rhode Island. Then, all 22 people turn and run after the ball. Whoever gets there first kicks it back in the opposite direction and they all turn the other way and run. In the unlikely event that someone kicks the ball into the opposing teams net, a man, always from a foreign country, screams “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!” then immediately dies of surprise that someone scored. His scream is roughly 19 minutes long and is easily the most exciting part of the game. Unfortunately, just after he dies, the 22 people go back to playing soccer.

To make matters worse, I’m going to have to pretend to enjoy soccer. My son is only 15 months old so there aren’t a lot of sports he can play. I can’t sign him up for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or wrestling because it’s too early for the other toddlers to get choked out or suplexed. I considered swimming but that breast milk gut he’s rocking is not a good look in a Speedo. I’m going to discourage him from football because I prefer to avoid brain damage. And don’t start lecturing me about how MMA fighters can get brain damage because I’ll head kick you. When he’s ready to fight, he’ll fight.

One aspect of this that I do enjoy is that Frankie Four is going to start the soccer program at exactly 16 months old, to the day. The age range is 18-26 months for the starter program so he’ll be one of, if not the youngest kid on the field. If he’s good, I can brag about how advanced he is for his age. If he sucks (like I did), I can explain it away because he started so young. Either way, I win.

If I take a step back, and pretend that I’ve signed him up for something that’s not soccer, I’m really excited. It’s Four’s first group activity other than a sign language and sing along class that I never had the opportunity to attend. The soccer “league” is on Saturday mornings, right in our neighborhood, so that gets to be a daddy activity. I’m looking forward to seeing him interact with other kids in an “organized” manner and introduce him to being a team player. Although most of the sports I personally enjoy participating in and watching are solo endeavors, I understand the value of the team structure. Mostly I’m just enamored of the idea that this will be the first of many activities throughout his life where I can be there to cheer him on. Watching him school the other toddlers enjoy himself while learning valuable life lessons will be an immense source of joy for me. Whenever I took on a sport as a child my dad was always there and it was a great bonding experience. I look forward to sharing the same experiences with my son.

At the end of the day, I don’t care that he likes sports as long as he embraces physical activities and fitness. But if he does like sports, and wants to play, I’ll be on the sidelines 100% of the time, cheering him on, encouraging him, congratulating him for wins, consoling him for defeats, and always reminding him that I am his biggest fan.

Even if he loves to play soccer.

Although I’d prefer baseball.

Or powerlifting.

Bad Ass Dad

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10 Things I Learned In My First Year As A Dad

10 Things I Learned In My First Year As A Dad

I just celebrated my son’s first birthday and spent time reflecting on some of what I’ve learned in the last year.

birthdaybanner

One of the first things I realized is that the birth of your child is the single greatest experience that exists. I’m not claiming that everyone should have a child, or that you’re wrong if you don’t want them. Most of you shouldn’t. Have them, that is, because look at you. I’m simply saying that the actual birth of a human being, that you created, is impossible to equal with any other experience aside of possibly being born yourself. The only difference is that you probably don’t remember your own birth unless you have a really good memory.

That said, the subsequent raising of your child might suck. You might resent having given up your old life in order to raise your child. You could be a shitty parent. You could even have an ugly, stupid kid. All valid reasons for you to not risk having one. I, on the other hand, was never concerned about those things. Rather than give up my old life, I just integrated my son into it. Be a shitty parent? Given that I excel at everything, not a problem. And having an ugly and/or stupid kid? He’s got my genetics so that’s a scientific impossibility.

birthday

The last year has been more rewarding for my son than I ever could have anticipated. As the undisputed greatest parent that’s ever lived, my sense of accomplishment for raising a perfect child is huge, and deservedly so. I mean, there are a lot of great parents out there so imagine how I must feel being considerably better than all of them. It’s truly humbling to outshine the rest of the world.

blueeyes

My son, Frankie Four, is just like me, exceptional. Beautiful blue eyes. Check. Winning smile. Check. Superior intellect, charming personality, and smelly poo poo’s. Check, check, and check. Here we are, face to face, a couple of silver spoons.

love

Enough nonsense. Here are 10 things I really learned in my first year as a dad.

1) Nothing does, or ever has, come close to making me feel the way I feel when my son smiles at me. When he looks up with that little face and breaks into a grin, which happens about every 3 minutes, the rest of the world ceases to exist.

balls

2) As a proud germaphobe I am wholly disgusted at the idea of most people, except for perhaps my wife, sharing a beverage with me or taking a bite of my food. Because you people are gross. However, Frankie Four can grab food with his filthy little hand, drop it on the floor, pick it back up, put it in his mouth, partially chew it and cover it in slobber, spit it back into his filthy little hand, then hold his hand out for me to eat it. Whatever it is tastes better than than the best steak and lobster I’ve ever had.

food

3) My wife is way more bad ass than I am. She takes care of our son, takes care of me, takes care of the house, and works (check out her work at www.makeupartist411.com). And she complains uh, never. In fact, she thanks me on a daily basis. Not going to write any more about her. She requires her own post, not an entry on this one.

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4) Having a child makes me appreciate my parents and grandparents even more than I already did. They didn’t have it easy and, under the circumstances, did an excellent job. Whenever I’m unsure of what to do as a parent I just love my son like they loved me and I know it’s exactly the right thing.

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5) I want to do things that don’t involve my son approximately 10% of the time, or less. Don’t get me wrong, I like to get away for “grownup time”. But after a very brief respite from the responsibility of parenting, I want to be with my kid. When I’m not with him, I’m generally thinking about him.

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6) Watching your child grow up is both awesome and heartbreaking. As much as I want him to advance quickly so I can post video of him reading at 18 months, I also want him to continue babbling unintelligibly forever. Every new stage is adorable and fills me with pride but makes me miss the stage that just ended. That’s another reason I spend virtually all of my free time with him. I don’t want to miss any of it.

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7)  I spent much of my life being, or trying to be, the center of attention. Now I prefer to direct my attention toward my son and your attention well, doesn’t matter so much. That said, keep paying attention to me because you deserve to treat yourself.

bath

8) Frankie Four has me at about 50/50 on wanting another kid. On one hand, he’s so incredible that it’s hard to fathom not doing it again. On the other hand, I feel like it’s a huge risk to hope the next kid turns out to be like him. Everyone says that you’ll love the second one just as much, even if they’re different.

No, I won’t.

chair

9) Watching Four interact with other kids is one of my favorite parts of being a parent. It’s especially great when he’s playing with the children of my friends, as it gives our bond of friendship an additional layer. My favorite play dates are those with Bodhi, the son of my good friends Jeff & Angeline. Jeff and I are the same age, and our sons are only around one month apart. Witnessing them grow side-by-side makes me hope that they develop a friendship that lasts forever.

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10) Although I understood it even before my son came into this world, the moment he was born was when I learned the most valuable lesson of all—that I was meant to be a dad. I will be forever grateful to my wife Lisa, and my son Frankie, for making me the happiest dad on earth.

And a bonus lesson—my son kills the facial expression game.

base2

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Baby Food For Thought

Baby Food For Thought

My favorite part of the day has always been early morning. I like to get up before my wife, before noisy traffic, often before the sun has risen. The world is still a peaceful place and I can ease into life, like gently lowering myself into a warm bath infused with some sort of ridiculous overpriced chick-nonsense scented bath ball.

And then a baby fart rudely awakens me from my beautiful daydream.

Theses days I’m getting up even earlier than before. But it’s not to enjoy a few moments of quiet introspection, or a leisurely stretching session, or to watch mankind destroying itself, aka the news. It’s because I have an 8 month old baby boy who owns my mornings, along with any other previously labeled “me time”.

Ironically, I love these morning more than any mornings that came before them. Before Frankie Four was born the morning would (he said “morning wood”) be dedicated to avoiding all other human contact. Now the start of my day is dedicated solely to interacting with my son.

I usually wake up before Lisa and Four, so I hustle to shower and complete a few chores like take out the trash, wash the dishes, or poop. In the midst of these tasks, usually the pooping, I inevitably hear a call of, “Daaaaddy”, which is Lisa’s cute way of saying, “This kid chomped on my boobs half the night while you slept like you’re on vacation, so batter up motherfucker.” I drop whatever I’m doing and rush in to find my boy smiling up at me. He’s a happy kid in general, almost always smiling or laughing. But he’s got this big sleepy grin when he first wakes up that reminds me of what a great life I have.

I scoop him up and he presses his face against mine, his little warm cheek soft against my cheek, his arm around my neck, and nothing else in the world exists. It’s just me and my son and a love so strong that I don’t think my heart can contain it. There are mornings when holding him almost brings me to tears because I’d never imagined that being a dad would feel this good.

Now that I’m done weeping on my Macbook Pro like a little bitch, let’s get to the fun part—breakfast! This truly is the best part of my day. Every morning I put Four in his high chair and I make us breakfast. My oatmeal, his rice cereal mixed with carrots. My coffee, his steamed sweet potato. My scrambled egg whites, his scrambled egg whites. Actually, they’re the same egg whites. I don’t make them in separate batches. That would be stupid and inefficient.

Bad Ass DadI prepare eggs delicately, hence the extended pinky.

Bad Ass Dad CookingPlating and presentation of an ample bicep is key to being a good chef.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyFour glares at me waits patiently between bites.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyMy cereal looks good dad, but mommy taught me to try to eat your food instead of my own.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyI’m not kidding old man. Gimme the goddamn oatmeal.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyI’m done now. Be gone.

Before I say anything else, let me just point out how much I love my son. I allowed Lisa to take these photos prior to applying any hair product to my always perfect coif. In essence, I’ve bared my soul for you, for him, and for all mankind. You’re welcome. (Also, side note, I don’t have a soul because that’s not a real thing.)

This is a pretty typical morning for us. We also spend some time playing, maybe read a book, and practicing our conversation. I’m in an office Monday through Friday, have a few personal projects I work on, and go to the gym 4-5 days per week. Other than that, my family gets 100% of my time and attention. In a perfect world I’d spend all of my time with them, but then we’d be living in a dumpster behind an Arby’s and worse, be eating Arby’s. So, I maximize my time to the best of my ability in order to take an active role in raising my son. Lisa busts her ass on a daily basis taking care of Four (and me), and she deserves some time for herself. But more than that, I want to be a good dad more than I’ve ever wanted to be anything in my life. Each and every day I wake up grateful for the opportunity to be a father, and I want my son to know how much that means to me. If I can communicate that with morning snuggles, a diaper change, and some scrambled eggs, I think I’ve done my job.

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Dad Bod – Does This Kid Make Me Look Fat?

Dad Bod – Does This Kid Make Me Look Fat?

Let’s get this out of the way before all of the professional victims start whining about my opinion on the “dad bod” trend and call me a fat shamer. I’m not a fat shamer. I shame all people equally.

I’m a mediocrity shamer.

For those who don’t know, “dad bod” is a term recently coined by a Clemson student named Mackenzie Pearson in an article for ‘The Odyssey’ called “Why Girls Love The Dad Bod”. Ms. Pearson describes the dad bod in the following excerpt:

“The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, “I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.” It’s not an overweight guy, but it isn’t one with washboard abs, either.”

Given the adult and childhood obesity epidemic in America, I’m relieved that someone has finally started a movement to set the bar as low as humanly possible. I’ve spent so many years exercising and eating healthy, trying to maintain a high level of fitness, that I’m ashamed. My wife must be disgusted with my lack of excessive body fat. And christ, what kind of example am I setting for my son. He’s at risk of growing up to think that fitness and health is important to your quality of life. Fuck that. I’ll be at the McDonald’s drive through if you need me.

Pearson goes on to list the reasons that girls love a dad bod, which I will now shit on in this particular post.

1) “It doesn’t intimidate us.”

She uses the example of standing, in a bathing suit, next to a guy with a fit body and feeling insecure about herself. Basically what Pearson is saying is that his fit physique makes her feel badly about her unfit physique. So rather than taking better care of herself, eating healthier, and exercising more frequently, she’d prefer that he also make poor personal choices, giving her a lower standard to live up to.

I think more people need to start thinking this way. All of these stupid motivational book encouraging you to aim higher are pointing you in the wrong direction. What you need to be doing is surrounding yourself with people who are less fit, less educated, and less successful than you so that you’re not at risk of being dissatisfied with your own mediocrity. Don’t set the bar low, bury it underground!

2) “We like to be the pretty one.”

According to Pearson, females aren’t satisfied with just having a poorly constructed physique, they also want to appear skinny. And the best way to accomplish this is by standing next to a fat guy. In comparison it would make her look smaller. Notice how she doesn’t mention that she might look smaller if she stood next to a muscular guy.

How are all women not mad at this chick for assuming that every female suffers from poor self image and a complete lack of self esteem?

3) “Better cuddling”

Her entire entry under this heading is, “No one wants to cuddle with a rock. Or Edward Cullen. The end.” I think it makes perfect sense. Why would a girl want to rest her head on a firm, muscular pec when she could squish it down onto a hairy man boob that would mold to the shape of her face?

As far as the Edward Cullen comment well, point taken.

4) “Good eats.”

A guy that eats healthy should disgust every woman. “Sexy” is a lack of self control and succumbing to your every craving regardless of the consequences. Here I am, literally “doing my meal prep every Sunday” night and only indulging in moderation, mostly on the weekends, when I should be eating tacos and drinking beer on a nightly basis.

Atherosclerosis is a panty dropper.

5) “You know what you’re getting.”

This one might be the saddest greatest statement of all. Young Mackenzie continues on to explain that women envision a future with a male prospect very early on, so having a shitty dad bod from jump means that they have years to get used to it. He’ll have “the same exact body type at age 22 that he’s going to have at 45.” Yes! Hopefully he’ll start at the bottom of the ladder and stay there forever. If she’s truly lucky, his intellect, emotional maturity, career, financial status, and social skills will also remain stagnant from his 20’s until he dies early from heart disease.

By way of proving her theory correct, below are two photos of me. The first is of me at age 22, wearing a super manly, hot pink Speedo. The second is of me today, 5/21/15, exactly three months before my 45th birthday. No Photoshop, no filters, no special lighting or flattering angles.

Frank Prather - Bad Ass Dad

Frank Prather - Dad Bod

In the first picture I was competing in a bodybuilding contest where I won my weight class, weighing in at approximately 165 pounds. I’d been training twice a day for months and adhering to an absurdly strict diet. I don’t know what my body fat percentage was but it was low, unlike the amount of hair product, spray tan, and baby oil covering me.

In the second picture I’m standing in my bathroom where I’d just peed in what appeared to be morse code, thanks go my middle-aged prostate. My current weight is approximately 160 pounds. I workout for an hour, 4-5 days per week, and adhere to a mostly healthy diet with weekly binges on In N’ Out Burger and five or six super sized Kit Kat bars. I don’t know what my body fat percentage is here either.

I’m not a candidate for the cover of Men’s Fitness magazine. I’ll never be mistaken for a Calvin Klein model. I’m not even the fittest one of my friends. However, I think I look pretty good for a guy pushing 45 who has a 3 month old baby, a wife, and a normal day-to-day life.

The point of my entire post, if you’re not clever enough to discern it on your own, is that we as a society owe it to ourselves, and our children, to not aim for mediocrity in any facet of our lives. You wouldn’t suggest to your children that they should shoot for below average intelligence, or success, or maturity, or social ability, or kindness, or compassion, or emotional health, or any other aspect of their development, so why would you encourage them to aspire to a lesser level of physical fitness or health?

Ask yourself why you aspire to be (or appear) smarter, more successful, or nicer, or whatever you prioritize in your personal development, but not your fitness? What good is anything else without your health? Yes, I know that the “dad bod” bullshit speaks in terms of physical appearance, but the not-so-underlying message is poor health choices.

“…drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.”

People say that America isn’t what it used to be and I agree. Maybe our attitudes are the problem. Shouldn’t we strive to be more, to be better? Are we happy being the fat, fading, consumer society where 21% of our kids are obese35% of adults are obese, and 69% of adults qualify as overweight.

Before my son was born, I wrote a post committing to setting a good example for him when it comes to my health and fitness. I intend to demonstrate that to him every day by exercising, eating healthy, and walking around shirtless so that he can marvel at the fullness of my pecs and how my triceps bulge out like goddamn water balloons. I also plan to teach him to make good food choices, to focus on his fitness, and to indulge in rest and delicious treats in moderation so that he grows up with balance in his life.

I won’t push him toward perfection, I’ll encourage him to set his own standards, but to set them high. I don’t want him to be the best at everything, I just want him to be the best that he can be. And that will never include lowering the bar to make anyone feel better about themselves, particularly himself.

Cloning Myself Part 1

Cloning Myself Part 1

We all agree that I am an exceptionally great person who cares about everyone else in the world and just wants them to be happy. As such, it’s my duty to share with them the most magnificent gift that mankind could ever hope to receive, more of me. And, while I’ve been voted “Most Likely To Be Immortal” by my peers (I have no peers), there’s still a reasonable chance that I will one day expire. Hence, I have created life in the form of my son, Franklin Nathaniel Prather IV (aka Four) and will raise him to be exactly like me, perfect.

Below are 10 things that I’m teaching Four so he can be a superior being, just like his humble father.

1) Most people are irritating so it’s best to simply avoid them. However, you can to share yourself with them via social media so that they may bask in the digital glow of your visage. By the time you’re ready to do that without my assistance, I predict that the most popular site will be Instahologram.com (Instaholagram.com in Spanish) where others can feel ignored by a life sized you, as if you were in the same room.

2) All religion is nonsense, “god” is pretend, and “spirituality” is for hippies, chicks, and motivational speakers. You should be logical, like Spock, only with a scathing wit and winning smile.

3) Exercising and eating right will result in good health, a better physique, hotter significant others, and the right to lord your superiority over everyone to an even greater degree than just being smarter than they are. Nice pecs = lots of se…you get the idea.

4) Be smarter than everyone. This might be the easiest thing on the list.

5) You can listen to and enjoy all types of music as long as you agree that Prince is the greatest musical artist that has ever lived.

6) I don’t care if you’re straight or gay, just never wear white sneakers with jeans or use emoticons.

7) Make fun of everyone equally but lay off those weaker than you. Mockery makes life worth living but bullying is for pussies.

8) Violence is never the answer unless you’re beating the shit out of a bully.

9) Being attractive is a result of good genetics which were bestowed upon you by your father. You’re welcome.

10) There is no one greater than your father in any way. No one.

This is just the beginning of what I’m going to teach you. Eventually you will be filled with so much knowledge that, along with your impressive physique and extreme good looks, you’ll be pretty much the best person ever, just like me.

We are already alike in so many ways…

Spartan4

Frank Prather

I Change Diapers, They Don’t Change Me

I Change Diapers, They Don’t Change Me

Before Frankie Four was born I was told countless variations of the following: “The baby will take over your life,” “You’re never going to sleep again,” “Nothing is ever going to be the same,” and every other version of “Being a parent is great but you are a victim who is totally at the mercy of your baby.”

Now, just after hitting the one month mark, I can unequivocally say that people are soft and terrible at life, because this baby shit is easy. Literally. I change about 600 diapers a day and the shit, it’s easy. He eats, he shits, and he sleeps, not necessarily in that order. What he doesn’t do is present a great many insurmountable challenges. Granted, the sleep schedule is inconvenient but I did what any sensible person would do.

I got my baby addicted to sleeping pills and I’m finding that quite restful.

Obviously I’m kidding. He almost choked to death when I tried to get him to swallow the sleeping pills. Since he was so uncooperative, my wife and I had to figure out our own system which has been working very well.

Lisa is breastfeeding so we’d done a lot of research and every “expert” said, “Don’t introduce a bottle or a pacifier before he’s at least a month old because it will cause nipple confusion.” So I decided to do the exact opposite and realized that it absolutely does cause nipple confusion—

if you have a stupid baby.

Fortunately, my kid, even at two weeks, was able to differentiate between a pacifier, a bottle, and a HUMAN BREAST THAT’S ATTACHED TO HIS MOTHER. If your baby is unable to do this, don’t blame yourself *cough*weakgenes*cough*.

Bad Ass DadFour, “So you’re telling me that some babies can’t tell this…”

Bad Ass Dad“or this….”

breast“From THIS?!?”

Bad Ass Dad“Your baby sounds dumb. Does he even know how to read yet?”

Four is so advanced that we were able to introduce the bottle very early on. Thus, we have developed a system that affords both of us a reasonable number of consecutive sleep hours. Lisa breast feeds him all throughout the day, right up until the “final” feeding around 9pm, then heads to the bedroom and closes herself off from the world. I turn all of the lights down low and put Four to sleep in the co-sleeper, which I’ve rolled into the living room. If I’m tired, I crash on the sofa. If not, I watch a little TV until I doze off. Initially he’d wake up around 11 or 11:30pm to eat, although now that’s stretched to around midnight. I put a bottle in the warmer and change his diaper while we wait for his milk to hit titty temp. Once I feed him he’s usually restless for 30-40 minutes then konks out again for another 2-3 hours. By the time he’s ready for his next meal, Lisa has had 5-6 solid hours of restful sleep and I’ve gotten a few winks myself. At that point I wake up Lisa and we switch. She hits the living room, feeds him and naps on the couch. I lock myself in the bedroom for some real sleep. Assuming it’s around 2am, and I’m going to wake up at 7, I also get at least 5 consecutive hours. Now, 5 hours isn’t a full night in anyone’s book, but add to that 4-ish hours of intermittent sleep and we’re just as rested as a lot of people who don’t even have kids.

I told Lisa from the moment we decided to have a baby that he would integrate into our life, not consume it. We would get enough sleep, continue working, exercise, eat right, and not be stuck in the house like prisoners. Check, check and double check to all of the above. It boggles my mind to hear that some people don’t do this. It’s like they’ve brought home a tiny warden who has sentenced them to an ambiguous amount of time in the pen.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not living our “normal” life exactly as it was before, but we haven’t given up anything either. I’m fortunate in that my bosses are all family people and have been letting me work from home. Lisa’s mom, Susie, is next door and a huge amount of help. But all I heard before this baby was, “Get X in now because you won’t be doing it again for a while.” I thought a lot about that the third day after we’d brought him home from the hospital, while I was at Crossfit working out. When I got home that evening and was eating salmon with roasted vegetables that Lisa had made for dinner, we discussed how much our normal daily routine had been destroyed by bringing home a newborn.

Lisa: How was Crossfit?

Me: Great, I’m starving. 

Lisa: Don’t worry, dinner is ready.

Me: Cool, you want to watch “Blacklist”?

Lisa: Sure, but I have to tell you, this is already becoming really difficult for me to handle.

Me: Having a baby?

Lisa: No, this situation between agent Keen, her ex-husband, and Reddington. 

Now, Four is about to hit 6 weeks old. He’s been to restaurants for lunch multiple times. He’s attended a small dinner party. He spent Easter morning picnicking on the beach. He’s been to the park at least a dozen times to watch mommy work out. He’s been to Target, Trader Joe’s, and the baby clothes store. He’s ridden in the car from Manhattan Beach to Claremont to visit his grandpa. He stayed home one evening with grandma so mommy and daddy could go for sushi. His feet have touched sand, grass, and concrete. Soon he’ll come to watch daddy do Crossfit and shortly thereafter attend his first Spartan Race where he will stay in his first hotel. He is living his life by living our life, and will continue to do so because he’s a goddamn baby and doesn’t have any choice. Luckily for all of us, he enjoys it. I know that he enjoys it because he looks me straight in the eye, smiles a lot, and babbles sounds that I translate into him saying, “These are things I like, daddy…”

Bad Ass DadMy Batman shirt.

bad ass dadLifting weights at the park.

bad ass dadGetting my diaper changed in the trunk.

baby turtleDoing my turtle impression.

bad ass dadTaking selfies with daddy.

bad ass dadGetting weird with mommy.

bad ass dadShowing off my neck strength like a boss.

bad ass dadWearing my stunna shades.

bad ass dadFolding laundry (sucks).

bad ass dadWatching my dad do dumb shit with me.

bad ass dadShowing disdain for other humans, just like daddy.

But most of all, I love…

bad ass dadMy mommies kisses.

What it comes down to is that our lives are better than ever. So good, in fact, that it makes me wanna puke.

A video posted by Frank Prather (@frankprather) on

My First Post As A First Time Dad – The Birth

My First Post As A First Time Dad – The Birth

When I launched this blog back in September of 2014 I obviously knew that I was going to have a kid, because otherwise a dad blog would be an extremely stupid idea. But that didn’t really mean anything to me, in the sense of what it’s like to actually have a child in my possession. I thought it did but, until that little goopy Golem came gurgle splurgling out of my wife’s nether regions, it was all speculation. Then, on 2/25/15, which is a cool ass birthday, numerically speaking, my offspring sprung himself out of the womb and into my arms. Boom, in an instant I become the greatest dad that ever lived. Go me!

That was also around the time I fell in love with an 8lb. ball of slime-covered pink-ish flesh named Franklin Nathaniel Prather IV, aka Four, aka my son.

The birth went down in the typical fashion. Lisa, my wife, informed me that her water broke on a Monday afternoon. She called the groinocologist who told her to head to the hospital. As any responsible adult would, she decided that we’d go the following day, depending on whether or not we’d have time to watch The Blacklist first. Tuesday morning came and she still felt fine so I went to work while she stayed home and made meatballs.

pregant wife bad ass dadMeatballer, Shot Caller, Bra-ler.

While the meatballs were simmering she called the hospital and they let her know that she should come in right away. So, when I arrived home from work, she suggested that I had time to go to Crossfit before dinner because “right away” is such a vague term. It occurred to me that I might be making a poor decision by going to Crossfit, mostly because my back was a little sore. Oh, and because my wife was having a baby. But honestly, my physique has been looking so good lately that I have to keep my priorities straight, so off to the gym I went. When I returned Lisa had dinner all ready for me, as any good wife in labor should, so we ate some delicious meatballs with her mom then lazily packed up and headed to the hospital.

bad ass dad maternity ward“Patients ONLY”? Then I’m preggers, bitches. Open up.

Given Lisa’s casual demeanor over the previous twenty-four hours, I wasn’t completely convinced that she was in labor. However, when the nurse performed the examination she confirmed that the water had, in fact, broken. We were here to stay.

Because she read too many hippy birth articles written by women who probably don’t shave their armpits, my fit, tough, Spartan Racer wife had been determined to go through the labor process naturally, sans drugs, in order to fully experience the miracle of childbirth. Unfortunately, they needed to induce labor because, although her water had broken, she wasn’t having any contractions. Once the water breaks, both mom and baby are at high risk for infection so the labor process needs to get kick started. We asked every question you could think of and waited as long as we could, but ultimately the risk of our baby catching an infection outweighed her desire to avoid medical intervention. They started the induction drip and we settled in for the HOLY SHIT WHY IS SHE SCREAMING?

pregnant lady

Apparently the contractions are pretty horrific when they induce labor and get progressively worse as they increase the amount of the drug. Lisa went from, “Ouch these are uncomfortable” to, “Oh god, these are unbearable” in about 4 hours”. Now, lest you think my claims of her being “tough” are exaggerated, I’ve seen her complete a 13-mile Spartan Beast on what was essentially a broken foot. Lisa doesn’t just give in to pain. She’s been with me for over five years which I think speaks to her pain tolerance. So, when she looked at me at 3am and said, “Would you be disappointed in me if I asked for an epidural?” I thought what every loving, compassionate husband would think—I may finally get to go to sleep. Epidurals for everybody. First round is on me! Less than an hour later we were both out cold.

Suck it, natural childbirth.

Our doctor arrived the next morning and informed us that we were approximately two hours away from having a baby.

pregnantI’d like to order two large pizzas, a side of fries, and an epidural.

At that moment, for the first time, I actually started to get a bit nervous. It seemed like I was going to have a kid before lunch and I eat on a really strict schedule. What if I didn’t get to eat on time? Would the lack of protein cause my biceps to shrink 1/4356 of an inch? Could low blood sugar cause me to feel mildly irritable? What if my tummy grumbled uncomfortably? This baby is a couple of hours away from existing and is already a pain in my ass. My hangry musings were interrupted by the nurse coming in to get Lisa started on her pushing. Pushing real good.

I’d love to have some dramatic story about how it took her 6,000 hours of labor to squeeze the baby out but it went both quickly and smoothly-ish. Lisa’s pushing was pretty effective which I attribute to the fact that I force her to she works out consistently. I stood to one side holding her leg in an awkward position while offering words of encouragement like, “You get to have my baby!”, “Look how great I am at holding your leg!”, and “I don’t think you’re going to infringe on my lunch hour, good deal!”. Suffice to say that she is a very lucky girl and I am the epitome of a birthing coach.

dad bedside deliveryYou’re doing great, me. Stay strong! And that shirt looks really good on you.

When not single-handedly making the labor go well with my leg holding and word saying, I was watching her lady love-tunnel for the appearance of a baby head. A lot of things came out while I was waiting, none of which were a newborn baby. At one point the doctor said he would use a vacuum to suck the baby out which sounded awesome until I realized it wasn’t a Roomba or even a DustBuster. They have some sort of special skull sucking machine that clamps down on the babies head turning it into a living Stretch Armstrong doll. Finally, the giant gooey head of my heir parted her um, parts, and started smushing out. I was transfixed as the horror unfolded most joyous of events took place before my very eyes.

In every language the term, “miracle of childbirth” translates literally to, “That’s fucking gross.” After the misshapen head rips through an opening that’s ten sizes too small, the entire body basically slurps out like a rubber chicken covered in glop. When it was completely out I panicked for a second thinking that they might try to hand it to me and no way I was touching that thing.

babys first picI must have some gorilla DNA because look at his face.
He’ll be swatting planes off the Empire State Bldg in no time.

Fortunately they dropped the creature on to Lisa’s ample bosom for some skin-to-skin before they shuttled it over to a table for a quick weigh in and wipe down.

weighing a newbornApparently they try to see if the babies head will pop off to make sure he’s healthy.

Moments later the grossest ball of snot that I’d ever witnessed in person looked like a tiny baby boy/MMA fighter after a brutal beating. The nurse handed him to me so that I could have a brief moment before returning him to Lisa.

I held him the way one might hold the most fragile glass, or something made of egg shells. He felt almost weightless in my arms. I stared, hypnotized by his little face.  In that instant, everything, every person, and every moment I’d ever experienced, ceased to exist. There was only this tiny newborn baby who was more meaningful to me than all that had come before him and all that would come after him. At a healthy eight pounds even, this boy entered the ring of life as the undisputed heavyweight champion of my heart.

family

A few seconds later I handed him off to his mommy and he was instantly asleep, lulled by the sound of her heart. I stood next to the bed, beaming proudly at my family, and was hit with the most powerful realization of my life.

I am a dad.

Bad Ass Dad

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