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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If you enjoy the blog then follow me on Instagram (@frankprather) for pics of our daily adventures.

Meet The Family

Meet The Family

In May of 2000 I moved from Maryland to California. One little fight and my mom got scared she said, “You’re moving with your Auntie and Uncle in Bel-Air”.

I wasn’t sure if it was a forever move, and many people said, “You’ll come back”, but it was, and I didn’t. It was hard leaving my loved ones behind but after developing a career in television, along with a love for drought, traffic, disingenuous people, huge financial drain, earthquakes sunshine, I accepted that I’d be staying long term and that engaging my family in person was going to be infrequent. Although I love them dearly, regular trips to the East Coast are costly, time consuming, and the humidity wreaks havoc on my hair. Then, my son was born and suddenly I realized that perfect hair isn’t everything (<—Who AM I?).

It took 5 months after his birth for the stars, and work, to align perfectly so that Lisa and I could introduce Frankie Four to my family in person. Prior to that, Lisa had volunteered to brave the trip on her own because my work schedule wasn’t adjusting in our favor. However, in a fortuitous turn of events, not only did my job afford me the opportunity to join her on part of the journey, it placed me in the very city where my bride and progeny would land. What it didn’t allow was for us to travel at the same time, so Lisa carted Four cross-country by herself. Mad props to my wife for being a Bad Ass in every sense of the term, but particularly so for her willingness to drag our heavy handful of a kid all over America by her lonesome. Not an easy task.

I was already in Florida when Lisa and Four arrived, so I scooped them up at the airport and headed to my grandparents house where my mom and niece would be joining us from Maryland. It’s an understatement to say that I was as excited as a kid at Christmas. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. Or some other occasion where kids get really excited. I was more excited than a kid excited at any of those things.

My grandmother, better known as Nena (pronounced Nee-naw), was the first person to see Four and her face lit up in a way I haven’t seen in years. The minute she spoke Four almost jumped out of my arms smiling and laughing hysterically. Witnessing that interaction, between two of the people that I love most in the world, ranks among the happiest moments of my life.

NenaFourblog

That happiness might only have been equaled when my mom held her grandson.
momfourblog

The visit got better and better, like my looks, as time went on. Watching my mom, my grandparents, my niece Cassi, my wife, and my son together melted my heart.

bad ass dad - frank prather

Leaving wasn’t as emotional as I’d expected, but only because Lisa and Four stayed behind for two more days. The thought of them further bonding with my family made it a bit easier to return home.

The only disappointment was that I couldn’t join the dynamic duo on the next leg of the trip, to North Carolina to see my dad and stepmother. I would have loved to see Franklin Nathaniel Prather 4 meet Franklin Nathaniel Prather 2, but luckily Lisa captured the moment for me.

frank prather

Four even got a surprise visit and corresponding outfit from his Uncle Casey. The back should say, “And I just took one.”

caseyfour

I’m not sure anyone was more excited leading up to Four’s impending visit than my stepmom, Brenda. No doubt Four can’t wait til he’s old enough to work her for whatever he wants during visits.

dadbrenda

Lisa and Four stayed back East for almost six days after I left. I returned to Los Angeles to get back to work and tried to embrace what I thought was some much needed alone time. What I discovered while “relaxing” wasn’t that I needed alone time, but that I needed my family. I missed my wife and son so much that I didn’t know what to do without them. I tried reading, I tried writing, I tried watching TV, working out, and riding my motorcycle. None of it was enough to distract me from the palpable feeling of emptiness without them there. What I did use the time for was to reflect on how much I also needed the rest of my family, and how much I want Four to grow up knowing them, and not just via Skype or Facetime. He deserves to experience firsthand, on a regular basis, the unfathomable amount of love that exists in every member of my family, as I was fortunate enough to experience my entire life. I promised myself that he would see them multiple times every year regardless of work or other obligations.

Just prior to my arrival in Florida I was in Louisiana for work, meeting a family that’s being considered for their own TV show. The father of that family posted quite a few photos to social media and tagged them with words that have played on a loop in my head ever since I sat in a room watching the people that I love the most together —- #familyovereverything.

Family over everything, indeed.

dinner

First Fourth Of July Baby

First Fourth Of July Baby

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. First off, it’s during summer, the only season that should legally be allowed to exist. Spring sucks because it’s rainy, making it impossible to keep my car looking pristine. Yes, I live in California where there’s allegedly a water shortage and people claim we “need” rain. However, I live 1.35 miles from the Pacific Ocean which I can assure you is made almost entirely of water, and lots of it. Fall is just depressing. And winter is well, fuck winter. It occasionally drops below 60 degrees here during winter which means I have to wear a jacket over my extra-medium shirts, covering up my huge arms and ample pecs.

Anyway, this 4th was particularly special because it was filled with firsts. It was our first as a family, my first as a married man, and my first as a dad. More importantly, there were a few big firsts for my son, Frankie Four.

American BabyHe gave his first speech in preparation for when he’s President of The United States Of America.

Baby in treeHe climbed his first tree
BECAUSE THAT IS A PERFECTLY SAFE
THING TO DO WITH A GODDAMN BABY.

baby on sideHe’s been capable of sleeping on his side for a while and also able to roll from his tummy to his back. This weekend he figured out how to roll from his back to his tummy with ease so he flips himself back and forth constantly.

baby eats feet

baby at the beachAlthough the big eating news is in the video below, I should also mention
that he’s eaten a significant amount of sand which is clearly his
favorite beach activity aside of showing off his physique.

Family at beach

baby watching fireworks

We took him to watch fireworks on the beach which fascinated him. At 10pm he was still wide-eyed and fixated on the explosion of lights in the sky. And, unlike some babies that act like little wussy babies, he loved the loud explosions because my 18 week old son is a real man.

Manhattan Beach concert in parkHe also went to his first concert in the park
with some of his favorite people.

Even with all that excitement, there were still two truly big firsts that occurred in the same day.

Four, on the 4th of July, declared his (extremely limited) independence from the boob as he devoured his first solid food.

And the second big first, my personal favorite, is Frankie Four showing off his massive leg strength and standing up with no more than a little help balancing.

My son will probably never know the significance of his first Independence Day but, for me, it might as well have been my first 4th of July celebration. Because every one of his new experiences, and every new step in his growth, and every new little thing he does, causes my heart to explode like the grand finale in the worlds biggest fireworks display.

What I Learned From My First Father’s Day

What I Learned From My First Father’s Day

I’m a dad.

That thought recurs periodically throughout each day, and every time I’m hit with a surreal sense of wonder. I wake up in the morning, there’s my baby. I get home from work, there’s my baby. I get a text in the middle of the day, there’s a picture of my baby. It’s not as if I ever forget that I have a son, but rather that my mind is occasionally occupied with other thoughts until his existence unceremoniously dropkicks those “other thoughts” out of my head.

This past Sunday, my first Father’s Day as a dad, there was not a single moment where any thought other than, “I’m a dad” was able to cross my synapses. It actually began a day early, on Saturday, when the first card arrived from my mom. Sunday started with a text at 5:59am from my stepmom, followed by one from my mother-in-law, my dad, then a bunch of friends throughout the day.

text1 text2 text3

There were also some awesome cards.

Father's Day Cards

Most importantly, there were these two:

LisaFour

That’s my wife, Lisa, and my 4 month old son Frankie, aka “Four”.

My Father’s Day kicked off with a family walk at the beach, pushing Four along in his stroller with his fat little feet sticking out just enough to feel the warmth of the sun. We passed quite a few other couples doing the same thing, each time the dad and I exchanging a nod and a knowing smile. It was an unspoken acknowledgment that we were proud members of the new dad club, and that this was our day. In many ways it was similar to the looks I get from other bikers when I’m sitting on my motorcycle, only this felt way cooler. I never imagined that pushing a quiet stroller would make me feel infinitely more Bad Ass than a roaring 1600 cc Harley.

Dad with stroller at beach

Lisa took me for sushi after the beach and Four cooperatively slept through the entire lunch.

Next we headed to treat ourselves to some Açaí bowls and boobs, both refreshing on a hot summer day.

boobandbowl

Our final stop was  so that I could revisit 1982, the last time I bought a pair of Van’s. That particular pair were the black and white, checkered slip-ons a la Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” which 12 year old me watched hundreds of times just to see Phoebe Cates boobs. The new kicks I treated myself to have laces, and no checkers, because my son seemed to like this pair more.

FourShoes

On a side note, growing up in Maryland, I loved Fast Times because, to me, it romanticized the idea of living in a Southern California beach town where life appeared to be sunshine and boobs every day. Funny how, 33 years later, I bought my second pair of Van’s in Hermosa Beach, just a few miles from where I live now, enjoying year round sunshine and a gorgeous Southern California bred wife with even better boobs than Phoebe Cates.

boobs

Sunday really was the perfect day. A simple time spent with my wife and my son, the two people that I love most in this world, and the two people who made me a dad. And, over the course of my first Father’s Day, I came to learn something I’ll endeavor to keep in mind for the rest of my life.

On Father’s Day, while everyone is honoring me, I need to remind myself that they’ve got it all wrong. To me, the day shouldn’t be about others honoring me, but about me honoring them. Honoring them for allowing me to take on the most important role I will ever have in my life, that of being a dad.

Frank Prather

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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37 Weeks Pregnant – A Letter To My Wife

37 Weeks Pregnant – A Letter To My Wife

Our baby is due in 17 days, so this Saturday marks the last Valentine’s Day that my wife doesn’t have “/mom” in her job title. As such, I wanted to write her one more letter before we transition from “couple” to “parents”.

Dear Lisa,

It’s been a long road from that first day we met just over five years ago. The first few of those years were intense on both ends of the spectrum, alternating great times with brief, but all too frequent, rough patches. Then suddenly, we worked it all out. Or rather, you worked it all out. I give you 100% of the credit for making this relationship a success. Your patience, understanding, and acceptance of me and my baggage has been unfathomable. Your ability to deal with, and adjustment to, my demanding, self-centered, stubborn, and narcissistic personality wore me down. Your determination to make things not only work, but thrive, outlasted my determination to not change, to not grow, to not become a better person. Ultimately, your strength wore me down, but it also energized me. It’s not that you pushed me to become the person that you wanted me to be, it’s that you inspired me to become the person that I wanted me to be. And today, I am the best version of myself that I have ever been, which is only the case because of you.

As if that’s not enough, a relationship like ours is something I was never really convinced I’d have. Don’t get me wrong, I expected I could have a good relationship. I just didn’t think it could be this good. First and foremost, you truly are my best friend. Not just in the clichéd, “we do everything together” sense, but in the “I’d rather do everything I do, with you” sense. Our life feels like an adventure all of the time, even on a typical day. Rarely is there a moment we’re together when I don’t think to myself, “This is fun.” Your sense of adventure, sense of humor, and sense of wonder, are all a source of never ending joy to me. Your enthusiasm to hop on the back of my motorcycle, run a Spartan Race, hike 4 miles up a mountain to a waterfall (while pregnant), or travel any and everywhere never ceases to amaze me. Even when we’re sitting on the sofa binge-watching shows it feels like I’m having the time of my life. The fact that you can find the humor in anything is another one of my favorite aspects of your personality. But perhaps the thing I enjoy most about you is your sense of wonder and uncanny ability to find something beautiful or interesting about every person you meet, place you go, or thing you see. The world is a deeply magical place when I look at it through your eyes.

Lest you think that being my best buddy is the only thing I like about you, think again. Your romantic and loving side outweighs even how cool you are. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a human being as thoughtful, caring, kind, and generous as you. Every day I feel more loved than the day before, and you never waiver in your efforts to make that so. The things you say to me, the things you do for me, and the way you look at me melts my heart time and time again. I never have a moment to question your feelings without you reminding me of what I mean to you. I don’t capably demonstrate my affection in the extraordinary way that you show yours, but know that I feel it, every minute of every day.

If you’ll allow me to take a quick detour from being mushy for a second, I want to make sure I don’t forget to mention just how beautiful you are. And I don’t mean “on the inside” (although you are), I mean beautiful like in pretty, gorgeous, and smoking hot. Yeah yeah, I know I don’t say it out loud very frequently but that’s my issue, not yours. What you should know is that every day we’re together I find you more stunning than the day before. I not only love to look at you, but I love to take you out so I can be seen with you. Whether you’re dressed up sexy for date night, sweaty from the gym, or 8 months pregnant in a t-shirt, I’m proud to show off my exquisite wife. I may not always say it but, in my eyes, you’re the most beautiful woman in the world.

 I feel so fortunate to have you as my friend, my wife, and soon, the mother of my child. If you’re half as good at taking care of our son as you are at taking care of me, you’ll be the greatest mom that ever lived. And I don’t have the slightest doubt in my mind that you’re going be as amazing at motherhood as you are at everything else you do. You are an exceptional person on every level and I can only hope to try and live up to the example that you set.

I tell you all this now because things are about to change.

Soon, our Dynamic Duo will become the Three Musketeers.

Our love will encompass another person who will do his best to infringe on our romance.

And your hot wife-ness will become hot mom-ness.

I tell you all of this now because, in spite of the upcoming changes, you always have been, and always will be, the love of my life.

endoftime

Until the end of my last day,

Frank

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Beautiful photos courtesy of Yellow Heart Photography

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36 Weeks Pregnant – The Baby Shower

36 Weeks Pregnant – The Baby Shower

As the birth of our first child fast approaches, we knew it was time to get as much free shit as possible celebrate with our loved ones by holding a baby shower.

bad ass dad baby showerI like big blocks and I cannot lie.

My wife decided that she didn’t want a traditional gathering with a bunch of chicks sitting around eating candy bars out of diapers and trying to guess who farted. We both agreed that a co-ed, outdoor gathering that barely resembled a baby shower would be the most fun for our guests and over the quickest for us. Not to say that we aren’t social, but rather to say that I am not social. Parties were fun until I quit drinking a decade ago and realized that parties are torture and why can’t I be at a party where there are no other people. Because I don’t like parties, on the rare occasion that I throw one, I do my best to make them painless for my guests. I want them to be casual in attire, dining, and length of attendance. So basically you can wear what you want, have a variety of simple foods, and stay for as long or short of a time as suits you. Picnic in the park was the perfect answer.

While my wife’s friends jumped on board to assist, I decided to do the bulk of the planning myself. It’s not that I wanted to, but I consider throwing a party a task akin to wiping my ass. In a perfect world someone else would do it for me, but I’d always fear that the result wasn’t going to be up to my standards. That’s not a knock on anyone else. I just know that when I wipe, I wipe 100% clean. So you know I don’t throw a shitty party.

That said, the ladies stepped up when it came to food, decor, and baby laundry.

baby shower food

baby shower cupcakes

baby shower decor

We had a pretty nice spread of homemade food to go with the pro chef I brought in to grill up burgers and hot dogs. There was so much food left over that I sent tons home with people and still donated a huge amount to an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting or something. They’re big on potato salad.

In maintaining my rule of casualness, we didn’t want to force people to play too many organized games. On the other hand we did want to incorporate some forced fun which came with prizes for the champions.

baby shower diaper raffleA diaper raffle where one person won a great prize pack
and we got 6 months worth of free diapers.
That’s what I call a win-win for me and my bank account!

baby shower gameWe offered a gift card to the winner of the Make-A-Baby competition.
The only awkward moment was the couple that saw the sign
but didn’t notice the Play-Doh. They put on a good show though!

Our final two games did actually require group participation. One was a child abuse game where everyone threw a baby doll at a random person and that person had to painfully scream out something baby related. If you screamed out something that another participant had already screamed out then you got sent to foster care and were out of the game. Eventually it was down to just two people punting the plastic infant at each other and screaming out baby related words until my wife’s Aunt was declared the world champion of throwing babies at other people and won a fabulous prize.

The other game, the one I found most entertaining, was what we cleverly titled “The Lisa/Frank Game” because those are our names. Everyone stood in front of us and we’d read off an entry from a list of questions. If you thought the answer was “Lisa”, you went and stood on her side. If you thought the answer was “Frank”, you stood on mine. Anyone standing on the wrong side of the line for that particular question was eliminated. Ultimately, the winner was someone who had never met me and didn’t necessarily know Lisa as well as some of her friends/family did. Just goes to show you that people are terrible at games. Anyway, below are the questions we asked without the answers. If you’d like to play, just copy and paste them into a comment either here or on Facebook with your guesses. If you get enough correct you might win a prize or get nothing. You’ll have to play to find out.

Who had ice cream for breakfast this morning?

Who wakes up earlier?

Which one of them learned to knit as a child?

Who swore the baby was going to be a girl?

Who is more obsessed with their hair?

Who leaves love notes all over house?

Who got their first tattoo at the youngest age?

Who chose our sons name?

Who farts more?

Who has had surgery?

Who made Skittle soup as a kid?

Who slaves away over a hot stove all day so there is dinner on the table every night?

Who meditates every day?

Who’s favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?

Who hogs the sheets?

Who was the master decorator of Four’s (our son) room?

Who is in charge of the remote?

Whose car is messier?

Who’s more scared about having a baby?

In the end, the baby shower turned out to be relatively painless and a lot of fun. As an adult you spend less and less time with your friends and more time caught up in your own lives, careers, kids, and activities. It’s nice to get together with everyone before your baby is born and starts sucking up all of your time like it’s breast milk and your life is a giant nipple.

bad ass dad baby shower

The most important thing to remember about having a baby shower is to get more in gifts than you spend on the shower appreciate the people that love you and will be part of your new child’s life.

A big thank you to all of our family and friends who came by to celebrate the most important occasion of our lives. We truly appreciate each and every one of you and can’t wait for our son to meet the people we care about most. And for him to shit in all of the diapers you bought us.