One-on-One Time with Your Star
Take on the sole responsibility of watching the star while the head coach takes time to do a hobby, has dinner with adult friends, and so on. Man-on-man defense is actually empowering for you and great for the kid. As a QB dad, you will fall into ease with your star and alone time will become painless. You don’t do things the same way as the head coach, but that is okay. The earlier you keep the baby by yourself, the better. Remember, for the first six months your baby is immobile and only eats, sleeps, and fills diapers. Use this time to get used to being alone with the little one. Your dad may have never watched you on his own, but wouldn’t you like to be better than him? It also helps to have the head coach bragging about you to her friends.
Solo Missions with the Baby
Taking the baby out is a great way to amuse both of you. Baby trips for the first year will vary by age. Make sure all of the places you visit are smoke free and relatively quiet. Everybody thinks of zoos, parks, museums, and malls, but there are plenty of other options. Great trips for the zero- to six-month-old crowd are supermarkets, pet stores, and big box superstores. Volunteering to go to the supermarket will qualify you for the QB Dad Hall of Fame. Supermarkets are full of bright colors and people to amuse your star. Pet stores are cheap places to go, if you can resist buying an animal. Big box superstores are great and you might get some stuff you need. My star loves the home improvement store, and the electronic superstore contains movies, video games, and music to amaze her. Never take a trip to the department store without a trip to the aquarium. The tanks of fish stuffed back in the corner of the store will keep her amused for up to an hour.
During the second half of her first year you can add some new destinations. Dog parks, construction sites, lakes, casinos, and football practices all work once your star gets mobile. Many towns have dog parks, but use care with strange dogs. Parking the stroller outside the fence and carrying the baby in your arms is a good, safer alternative. Large construction sites will usually have big machinery, and you can stay in the car for a nice view. Lakes, oceans, and ponds will allow you to feed the fish and/or ducks. Ducks love day-old bread. If you go in the nonsmoking side of a casino, it will actually be a baby heaven. But be aware that your star may start betting her lunch money when she starts school.
Football practices are the perfect place to bond with your star. Most pro and college teams have open practices early in the season that will probably be closed later. You can almost always go see a high school team practice in the afternoon or youth league at night. The movement, whistles, and bright colors will bring a smile to your first-round draft pick. You will be told that you can’t use a video camera during team periods, but everything else will be fine. Many players will smile and wave at your first-round draft pick.
Taking your baby on a mini road trip is a great way to entertain both of you. Once you have mastered taking care of the baby by yourself, it is okay to take the baby over to mom’s or the in-law’s house. Make sure that you have done it a few times solo before using the assistant coaches. If you run over to their houses each time you are alone with the star, you won’t get any credit for being helpful. The head coach will assume that mom is doing all the work.
Your head coach will return the favor and let you get out for a poker night, football game, golf game, or to do whatever your hobby is. It is healthy for you to still have guy friends. Just make sure that going out with the guys is limited in both length and frequency. You want a healthy relationship with the head coach, so be considerate. Being friends with other new dads may help, as they understand the importance of being a good QB dad. Don’t abuse me time. Find a comfort level with the head coach.
From Quarterback Dad, Copyright © 2008 by Bobby Mercer. $12.95. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications, Inc. Co. All rights reserved.
Bobby Mercer is a stay-at-home dad, part-time football coach, and writer. Quarterback Dad follows on the heels of two critically acclaimed juvenile science books. See more info at www.bobbymercerbooks.com.