Dads in the Limelight – TechyDad

Our 29th Dad in the Limelight is author TechyDad of the blog TechyDad.com. I want to thank TechyDad for being a part of this series. It has been great getting to know him and now sharing him with all of you!

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight  for my readers knowledge)

For some reason, I always hate these “describe yourself” questions.  I feel like I’m either reciting dry facts (I’m 34 years old.  I have two sons aged 6 and nearly 3.  I’ve been married to my wife for 9 years this June.) or I’m attempting to fit every interest of mine (computers, photography, science fiction, cooking, nature, physics, space, writing, books) into a paragraph without leaving anything out.
(Oops.  I forgot the Internet.  Well, I guess that’s covered under computers.)

I work as a webmaster, which is nice because working with computers is what I love to do.  I’ve run other web sites and was active online for quite a bit before our first child was born.  When my wife was pregnant with our second child, she got into blogging.  However, she decided not to use her real name.  This put me in a bind.  I wanted to shout her every blog post from the virtual rooftops, but I couldn’t do that when my posting name was my real name.  It would pretty much defeat the purpose of her whole “stay pretty anonymous” thing.  So I decided to launch my own blog.  After researching some name ideas, I found that TechyDad.com wasn’t taken.  I loved the name and grabbed it.

Since then, I’ve become much more active in the blogging community, even meeting some folks when my wife and I went to Disney Social Media Moms.  Ok, she went.  I went through the parks with our kids.  Still, I met some interesting people!  Cue Bugs Bunny saying “Bloggers are such eeeenteresting people!”  Ooh!  Cartoons.  Forgot those in the interests list above.  Wait, what was I talking about?

2) Tell me about your family

Well, first of all, there’s my wife B, aka TheAngelForever of TheAngelForever.com.  We met online on September 9th, 1999 and I knew from the start that there was something special about her.  We married in June 2001, had our first child (NHL) August 2003, and our second child (JSL) May 2007.  Through it all, we’ve had happy moments, sad moments, and our fair share of angry moments.  Still, I keep finding myself more in love with her each day.

Next is NHL.  He’s my mini-me in lots of ways both good and bad.  He is very imaginative (like me), intelligent (like me), loves math (like me), easily distracted (like m– ooh, shiny ball!), has a great memory when he chooses to use it (ahem, whistles innocently) and can be quite maddening at times.  (For that last one, picture TheAngelForever piping in to say “Like TechyDad!!!” 😉  )  Still, he’s also quite a great big brother, constantly trying to show his little brother how to do things, and a great son.  Oh yes, and he loves ABC 123 by the Jackson 5.  Play it and he’ll sing along nailing almost every word.

Last, but not least is JSL.  Or, as he likes to be called “Robot JSL Pup-Pup.”  He’s our little nearly-3 year old clown.  One second, he’ll be playing puppy up to and including licking our cheeks.  (Hard to be mad at him when he’s so cute.)  The next second, he’ll be singing his ABC’s or It’s A Small World After All.  Still, being almost 3, he’s prone to temper tantrums.  Car trips *must* include the Wiggle’s singing “Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car” or else he’ll scream and kick.  (No, we don’t give in… all the time.)  Also, he both idolizes his big brother (following him around all the time) and beats up on him.  Yes, the younger kid pounds on his 6 year old brother.  (NHL doesn’t retaliate often knowing that he’d get in trouble along with his little brother.)

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

I’d say my largest challenge is not being my father.  My father tended to come home from a stressful day and then yell at me over trivial items.  Nothing abusive, mind you, but he would overreact because his nerves were shot from the stresses of life.

I’ve found myself, more often that I’d like to admit, yelling at NHL for something he did and then realizing that I sound just like my father.  I’ve made a concerted effort to keep my cool and not yell, but somehow NHL just seems to find the right thing to do to set me off.  I’ve figured out a system though.  I’ll ask him to do something nicely once.  Then, if/when he ignores me, I’ll ask again with more urgency in my voice reminding him “this is the second time I’m asking, *DON’T* make me ask a third time.”  If a third time is required, then I’ll stop what I’m doing to make sure he listens.  Even then, I try not to yell excessively.  If he’s really bad, he gets sent to his room.  I’m very careful not to say things like “are you stupid?” or “you must be a giant idiot” though.

Finally, I try to balance out the “I’m angry at your behavior” moments with “I’m silly” moments.  I think it’s important to walk the fine line between “Dad, The Enforcer Of Rules” and “Dad, The Playtime Friend.”  It can be really hard to do, sometimes, I’ll admit.  Too far one way and your child won’t come to you when they’re upset over something.  Too far the other way and your child won’t listen to you when you ask them not to do something (even if it is potentially dangerous).  It’s not easy, but walking that line is well worth it.

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Enjoy your time with your kids.  Enjoy every second with them.  Find things to share with them.  Find ways to teach them something new every day.  Encourage them to learn.  Kids are sponges and love new input, um… information.  (Sorry, watched Short Circuit recently.) I’ll repeat a simple fact to NHL (“whales once lived on land”) and he’s amazed as I tell him why.  (“They used to be land dwelling mammals that evolved into water dwelling ones.  In fact, if you look at the bones in their flippers, you can see finger bones.)  Remember what things your parents did right and wrong (no parent is perfect). Keep the right stuff, correct the wrong stuff.  And also keep in mind that you aren’t perfect either.  So if you do something wrong, don’t be afraid to admit it and try to correct yourself if the situation arises again.

5) Seeing that you (or your position) is in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

Outside life?  What’s that?  I really haven’t figured out a good balance yet.  I have no friends outside of our house (not counting online-only friendships) and TheAngelForever and I don’t get out on date nights often enough.  We keep saying that we should, but something always comes up.  It’s something we really need to work on.

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

To be honest, I’m just now starting to interact with other fathers more.  I don’t know if I’ve learned anything just yet.  I did learn some things not to do from my own father as well as some things to do from him.  Other than that, I’m winging it.  Then again, I think we’re all winging it to some degree.

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Expect the unexpected.  You’ll plan and plan and plan, but the one thing you don’t plan for and never, ever think will happen will be the thing that happens.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan and prepare, just realize that your plans can be tossed out the window at a moment’s notice.

Also, take lots of photos.  Tons.  From many different angles.  And take videos also.  It’s amazing how many memories a simple 2 minute video of your child laughing at the word “sugar” can evoke.

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

GAH!!!!  So many to pick from.  I won’t go for the obvious and say “baby’s arrival” or “first steps” or anything like that.  Those are memorable, but every dad has those moments.  I also won’t go for the
most “scary memorable” like when NHL had a febrile seizure and stopped breathing or the time JSL did the same and needed rescue breaths.

I’d say the most memorable experiences would be our two trips to Disney World.  B and I had been there for our honeymoon so going back brought back a lot of good memories.  Plus, we got to see things in a whole new light thanks to our kids.  Long lines waiting for characters were things to avoid when it was just the two of us.  Suddenly, they were excitement filled as we inched closer to Chip and Dale.  Kiddie rides like Winnie the Pooh and Small World were fun with just the two of us, but became amazing to behold repeatedly when the kids went on them.  In fact, I’d say that goes for pretty much everything post-kids.  They have a way of making you see the entire world from a
completely different angle.  And that’s a good thing!

If you have any questions for TechyDad, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!


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