I want my kids to learn from their mistakes, so I try to show them explicitly how I learn from mine.
Notice what my clever brother did there: he managed to work in the fact that he owns an iPhone. (I don't have one, and he knows I want one.) But he's also given my lovely niece the chance to see that her dad is not infallible (Oh, Anya, I could tell you stories...), that it's okay to make mistakes -- and he gives her the power to forgive him. And, he swears that her response is generally along the lines of, "Aw, that's okay, Daddy. And I'm sorry I dropped your iPhone. Again."
A lot of dads worry that they won't know how to parent their kids. Moms have the full nine months of pregnancy to get maternal, and an entire industry caters to women who parent children, but dads often feel they're left to their own devices. Not to worry, says Lex. As long as you experienced childhood yourself, you have what it takes.
"I remember more about being a kid than I realized," he says. "Kids can often get worked up and stressed out for reasons that defy any sane semblance of logic. But I have strong memories of my own life views and experiences as a child, and I think those really positively affect my interactions with my kids."
A good dad recognizes that at times he will encounter a situation that he has no idea how to handle. In such cases, advises Lex, "Go ask Mommy." Sound advice, and he's only half-kidding: "If it's not an emergency, I'll definitely try to check with my wife," he says. He also recommends that every parent take advantage of the always-on-call medical professional that is Dr. Internet.
That zero-to-one transition is a doozy, to be sure. Babies are a lot of work, particularly when you're just starting to learn about this whole parenting gig. And withholding sleep is a particularly awful form of torture. "But," says Lex, "things get easier, as they get more self-sufficient, and you get more sleep. I mean, more confidence. Okay, both."
Too true, too true. Happy Father's Day to my brother, my husband, my dad -- and all the other amazing dads out there.
Tell us: what's your guy's secret? Comment below!