Category: Relationships

Dads Parenting Relationships Top Posts Twins

46 things I wish I knew as an expectant father

When I first became a dad, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing or what I was in for. In fact, there are some who would argue I’m not in a better place now after 7 1/2 years either but that’s another story altogether and for another time.

Having your first child (or children in my case) is as overwhelming as it is exciting. There is no rule or instruction book that comes with each baby. And while most of parenting comes from trial and error and is customized to each wonderfully unique baby, there are some things that I wish I had known back then that would have spared me some anxiety and growing pains.

So I offer to you 46 morsels of expectant dad advice that hopefully will keep you just a little bit more sane than you may have been without it.


  1. Get a Peepee Teepee. Once you become an expert, you can just toss a wipe over it to block any unexpected geysers.
  2. Do NOT register for a bottle warmer. They are completely useless. Use a bowl of hot water from the tap and drop the bottle in it for a few minutes.
  3. You probably don’t need a portable changing pad. You’ll get so good and fast at changing a diaper it falls under the 10 second rule.
  4. I’ve said it before but two words: Amazon Prime – diapers and wipes automatically delivered to your door.
  5. The Good Night Light: if you ever want to sleep past sunrise, invest in Mr. Sunshine and Mr. Moon.
  6. Feed twins at the same time. If one is sleeping and the other wakes up to eat, wake the other one up even if you have to open the window in the middle of a polar vortex. Multi-tasking is your friend.
  7. Accept that fact that changing a #2 diaper will never be perfect – there are just far too many belly folds and hiding places.
  8. Stick to a schedule no matter what. It just might save your life and your marriage.
  9. If you’re traveling, only book direct flights even if it costs you your second child. There is no room for error here.
  10. Alternate feedings with your wife or significant other. At least that will usually give you each a 4 hour block of continuous sleep if you’re lucky.
  11. Always book early morning doctor visits so you don’t end up sitting in the diseased waiting room for hours with little Johnny.
  12. Wipe warmers are a complete waste of money. And all they do is dry out the wipes so you end up with a brittle dry napkin. Plus, a cold wipe just might jolt them enough to keep them awake for that feeding!
  13. Accept the fact now that you will be overly exposed to all kinds of bodily fluids from little people. And you won’t even care.
  14. Vomit will not phase you.
  15. Never burp a baby without a burp cloth on your shoulder especially when dressed for work.
  16. Skip the Diaper Genie. Simply wrap and tie the dirty diaper in a plastic bag from the grocery store and drop it in the kitchen trash barrel. Yes, for the sake of sanity, you must forgo being ‘green’ for that short time in your diaper-changing life.
  17. Sleep is a luxury you cannot afford right now.
  18. Learn to sleep when they sleep no matter what time it is. Seriously, even if you can close your eyes for 20 minutes on the couch, do it.
  19. Don’t switch them to a bed until they ask to do so or until they are unsafe in a crib (we used a crib tent until little Houdini escaped.)
  20. Don’t keep a newborn in your room for too long. Move them into their own room before they get comfortable in yours.
  21. Don’t let them sleep overnight in your bed. Trust me on this. For SO many reasons. Just don’t do it even though you think it will help you get more sleep – it won’t. It won’t help with your marriage either.
  22. Baby proof your house BEFORE the baby comes home. And then invite friends/family over with small kids and see if they can hack into your cabinets or break the gate open at the top of your stairs. Hopefully not!
  23. DON’T FORGET TO ADD THE BABY TO YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE IMMEDIATELY! In fact, do it the day they are born to be safe! Just call your insurance company and have the baby added. Think of it as your first duty as a dad! This can save you a huge headache down the road.
  24. If your can afford it, bank their cord blood.
  25. Put your gym membership on hold for a couple of months if it’s allowed. You won’t be going for a while.
  26. Start asking your friends, family, and neighbors about a babysitter… it will take months, if not at least a year, before you find someone you trust enough to take care of your little angel.
  27. Be sensitive to your wife’s moods and feelings. Her body just went through the apocalypse so if she seems a little testy or emotional, cut her some slack.
  28. Take paternity leave!! Preferably right away so you too can bond with the baby as well as your wife (or S.O.)! Take the time to work together to figure out a routine that works for your newly expanded family. Some of those late night, sleep-deprived conversations that you’ll have together are priceless.
  29. Learn to swaddle a baby.
  30. Learn to make high-pitched sounds and funny faces. You won’t even care who’s watching if it makes your baby smile.
  31. Always keep a backup pacifier in your pocket.
  32. Post pictures and updates on your Facebook page or blog so people won’t keep asking “How are you doing? Do you have any pictures?” over and over again. They mean well but it can be overwhelming after a while when you’re working on 3 hours sleep and have vomit on your shoulder.
  33. Get them into the water (bathtub, sink, pool). It will help them immensely in so many ways. Skip the beach for a while. Between the sand, the blazing sun, and the waves, you might want to wait until they are a little older before hitting Crane Beach.
  34. Get a baby swing. It may have saved my life.
  35. Get a jumperoo thingy.
  36. Those crib mobiles actually worked for us. Wind ‘em up and the awe commences.
  37. Let the dog be part of the new family. Bring home some used baby blankets from the hospital before you bring your baby home if you can. Let the dog smell them and get used to the smells. When the baby comes home, introduce the two in a safe way. A face lick won’t hurt and they usually love it! Remember, the dog needs some time to adjust too with all the attention now being redirected to the new smelly and loud blob in the corner.
  38. Make room in the freezer for all the breast milk that is about to be pumped. A LOT of room.
  39. Clearly label the breast milk. You’ll make that mistake once.
  40. With that laptop on your belly late at night posting pictures of your new angel, open up a 529 account before it becomes one of those things you keep meaning to do but never actually do.
  41. Hunker down for a while at home especially in winter. You don’t want to expose your new baby to harmful germs if you can help it. It’s only temporary and you really just want to give them some time to get in a groove before subjecting them to the perpetual cold that they will get soon enough.
  42. Remember your wife. Remind her that she’s beautiful and you love her. She may not feel it right now and you saying it will make her feel better even though she’ll deny it.
  43. Don’t just take pictures, take video too. And write. Looking back, it’s one of the things I most cherish about that time.
  44. Both you and your wife are tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, and have no idea what you are doing yet. Be patient with each other. Learn together. Nobody has all the answers and every kid is different.
  45. Growing pains are real so when the little guy wakes up saying his legs hurt in the middle of the night (6 times), don’t discount his pain.
  46. Above all, remember… this is just a phase.

Hang on tightly. It’s the scariest, but most beautiful, ride you’ll ever take.

What tips do you have for the new Dad (or Mom!)?

Kip can be reached at or on Twitter @kipdurney

A Moment In Time Coming of Age Friendship Parenting Relationships

That first best friend

When I dropped my son off at preschool this morning, he uncharacteristically was upset that I was leaving him. This is his second year and never once previously did he show any signs of separation anxiety.

So I asked him, “what’s wrong?”

He reluctantly conceded, “I miss Jordan.” His first best friend who was no longer in his class.

I couldn’t help but feel for him. We’ve all been there.

Do you remember your first best friend?

The one that you played tag with at the playground and ate at the same table in the lunchroom. The one that made you feel cool for the first time when they showed you how to turn your baseball hat backwards.

The one that made you feel comfortable in that new school with those new kids and new teachers when you thought your insides were going to explode you were so nervous.

The one that you got sent to the principal’s office with for the first time even though, of course, it wasn’t your fault. Hypothetically speaking.


The one that liked the same girl but of course you never talked about it.

The one that you rode bikes with throughout the neighborhood for the first time without your parents watching. You had finally broken free of the confines of the driveway.

Explorers, you were.

They were the one that went a little too far into the woods with you and although you both were afraid that you wouldn’t find your way back out as it got darker and darker, you didn’t say a word about it to each other. But you both knew.

You got in your first fight together although you have no idea what you were fighting about. It hurt but you made believe it didn’t.

He showed you that magazine that he found. You know, the one with the pictures. Of girls. It was awesome but you didn’t even understand why yet.

When you got older, you snuck out of the house together at night for the first time to meet up with your friends that had a later curfew and subsequently locked yourselves out of the house.

Then you both experienced ‘being grounded’.

He saw you cry over a girl for the first time and then the next month did the same thing over the same girl. You understood.

You graduated from high school together and swore you’d stay in touch and see each other often, but you didn’t.

You visited each other in college a few times and it was as if time had never passed while you were together but your visits became less and less frequent. You were both busy studying and hanging out with your ‘other’ friends.

You both eventually got married. He was in your wedding. You were in his. Memorable speeches were made and you laughed and told stories of times gone by.

You bought a house. Had kids. He did the same.

You keep in touch but not as much as you had hoped. You meet up now and then and as always, time stops for those few short hours until you meet again.

Life gets complicated and busy and we all accept that. We cherish the time we DO have together.

But as life further complicates and responsibilities demand our time and attention, when I think back to all the great times we’ve shared together, I can’t help but realize that some of the best moments of my life were back on that playground with you.

Tag, you’re it.

A Moment In Time Family Parenting Relationships Top Posts

Don’t forget ‘your everything’

It was 8 years ago that we threw a spectacular party under a big white tent by a lake in southwest Connecticut with 150 of our closest friends and family. Afterwards we were whisked off to NYC in that stretch limo, spent the night at the W Hotel penthouse where Eric Clapton frequently stayed (or so we were told). The next morning, we had breakfast on a private 700 square foot rooftop patio before heading off to JFK for the beginning of a storybook honeymoon in Italy.

It was a time of pure self-indulgence and fun. We enjoyed frequent socializing with friends, city living, travel, and copious free time. There were long walks together, lazy sunny weekends lying on the grass in the Public Garden, and quiet rainy Sundays curled up on the couch together reading the newspapers.

That was our life 8 years ago.

Last week, our 4-year-old son woke me up at 4am because he had a dream about a scary ghost. I assured him that there were no such ghosts, tucked him back into bed and gave him a kiss on his forehead. He then lovingly wiped a booger on my arm because he didn’t have a tissue.

When my alarm went off the next morning to get ready for work, I sleepily walked into the bathroom only to find one of our daughters sitting on the potty with her head resting against the sidewall, eyes closed, and drooling.

And of course there is our 100 lb. lap dog that continuously entertains with his less than stellar manners and bodily sounds as he snuggles into our bed each night. By all accounts, he’s our first-born and contributes heartily to the chaotic cacophony of our home.

Our life together has certainly gone from one extreme to the other and gives merit to the phrase, “having kids changes everything.” And while most will agree that being a parent is the most rewarding job in the world (I agree!), it also changes your lifestyle, your wallet, your views of the world, your goals in life, and it changes your relationship with your significant other.

In the beginning, it’s all about nighttime feedings and diaper changes, sleepless nights, and an overnight transition from life being about you and your wife to being about the baby (or babies!). You’re both trying to figure out a routine that works so you can get some sleep and function at work. Sometimes that means you pass each other in the night and don’t see each other (awake) for a day or more.

As the kids get older, there are birthday parties to attend, soccer practices and games, dance classes, playgroups, swimming lessons, and the ill-fated “bath time”, all the while trying to work full-time and advance our careers that we so love and in which we find professional purpose and meaning.

We are perpetually tired.

There’s less time, money, sleep, and unfortunately, there’s often less “us.”

IMG_0940 copy-5.jpg

Photo courtesy of Michelle Hayhurst at Giggle Art Photography –

It’s easy to lose sight of where it all began and the person with whom you chose to take this path in life amidst the chaos and randomness of the world. And while the focus is certainly the kids, you don’t want to find one day that you’ve neglected each other for so long, that you no longer remember or recognize all the reasons you fell in love in the first place.

We all struggle everyday to find a few moments of “us” – a subtle flirt, a hand on a knee when trying to make believe we aren’t completely exhausted on the couch at night after the kids go to bed, or merely holding hands as we walk to the park with the kids.

It’s those moments, however few, that are the oh-so-important reminders to us both that “I’m here and I love you.”

So while lazy Sundays reading the newspaper might be replaced with trips to Monkey Joe’s, the local park, the ball field, or a dance recital (or all four!), just remember that beautiful girl you fell in love with; remember the one that fell in love with you. Remember the one with which you share this often trying but wonderful life while raising some of the most amazing, smart, funny, and sensitive kids.

Over the years, I’ve come to find that the following subtle reminders go a long way. Print this and put it in your wallet. And put another copy in her jeans pocket.

1. Get a babysitter and use them. The kids will be fine. Seriously. Life can’t be just about the kids. Celebrate “us.”
2. Leave her notes in random places.
3. Flirt. Nobody is too tired to flirt.
4. Talk. Take the kids places where they will be entertained so you can spend a few moments together. Not about the list of things you need to do but rather about life and each other.
5. Laugh.
6. Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll lose your mind.
7. Enjoy your kids now as they grow up faster than you will want them to.
8. Touch. When we lose that physical connection, we lose more than you think.
9. We all make mistakes. Support each other.
10. You are not alone in how you feel. We’ve all been there (or will) and you will get through it.

She was once that pretty girl you met at a party. She was once that girl you couldn’t stop thinking about. She was once your girlfriend. Then your wife. Then the mother of your kids. She was (and is) your everything.

Don’t forget.