Aria’s Battle with Eczema and How We Helped Her!

EDIT – September 6, 2018

I’ve recently been made aware of a recall by Health Canada on Jian Pai thanks to a fellow reader – Lydia. I’ve posted the links below for your reference and your personal judgement on the use of this cream. Again, I’m not affiliated with this company or cream nor am I a doctor or healthcare specialist. As a desperate parent that stumbled upon this a year ago, we tried this and it worked magically. In fact, we still haven’t finished the first bottle as that’s how little we’ve actually had to use it. 

Whether you continue to decide to keep using it is up to you and any harmful effects or issues is your responsibility. From my personal perspective, this still outweighs many options given by doctors such as Elidel – which is known to cause cancer and other irritating Steroid creams. Read on at your own leisure and please do your own research in order to inform your decisions about the cream and any other medical product you choose to use.

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/advisory—jian-pai-natural-skin-care-cream-contains-antifungal-drugs-not-listed-on-the-label-which-may-pose-serious-health-risks-689919081.html

http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2018/67526r-eng.php

~END UPDATE~

It’s been almost 15 months with Aria and it’s definitely been a journey of surprises and unexpectedly  great things. Like every good thing in life, there are also some bad things that sit shotgun with them. Most of the time, parents only ever talk about the good because that’s really all we want you to know. Very rarely will we talk about the bad – for many legitimate reasons too – perhaps to hide the fact that your baby isn’t perfect or that you could be doing something wrong. I get it, because if something is “wrong” with your kid, then the parent must be doing something “wrong” too, right? Babies are perfect and they can’t be anything but perfect. Unfortunately, that’s not the case all the time…

In Aria’s case, she’s been battling eczema for the last 8 months of her life. Not an uncommon thing to be fighting, but definitely not perfect. Ever since Aria’s been born, she’s had a case of mild eczema – I say mild because it’s been mainly red cheeks, and some redness on her ankles, wrists and inside of her arms and legs. It’s not terrible, but it’s unsightly and it causes us more grief than it does for her. But as a parent – you want your baby to be perfect, and look good and feel good – even if they don’t know it. You can’t blame us, right? You would want the same for your kid.

Anyway, the reason for this post is more for information and a look into the eczema battle from our point of view. I know from the moment we knew Aria had eczema, Diana and I were always looking for others online for guidance, for information, for treatment that “worked” and you always end up with the same thing: steroids, paid bloggers writing about some OTC product that “magically” worked, and in some cases – the eczema just also “magically” went away. Our case for the last 7 months has been steroids and other creams that I’ll talk about, and the latter two “magical” options never graced us… So we had to look at other options. Those of you that do have eczema/kids with eczema can breathe a sigh of relief – I’m not being paid. I’m writing this because there isn’t enough true and real-life information out there and maybe this will help ease your minds. So if you’re in the same boat as us – read on. I hope that this will provide a solution or another option. For those of you who are used to my car stuff – sorry. I felt that this was important enough to share publicly.

I wanted to share some pictures of Aria with her eczema when it flared up starting from when she was smaller. At the time, it didn’t look “that bad”. When we look back now, my heart breaks that it actually did look “that bad”. Like I said before, it probably caused us more discomfort than it did her. She never really scratched and it never seemed to bother her – but it was unsightly. We used creams and lotioned her well but it would come and go – never completely, though.

Another of it on her face. When she was younger, the eczema was mainly on her face and less on her body.

As she got older though, the eczema started to move from her face to her ankles and wrists. You can see here, this was almost at the most stressful and frustrating time for us. The eczema would flare up on her wrists and she would just scratch. She would scratch until it bled and opened up her skin and we couldn’t do a thing about it. Diana and I were at the point where we were on her like hawks – always waiting for the moment for her to scratch only to stop her as quick as we could. You know how you never want to be a helicopter parent? Eczema forced us to be – for all the wrong reasons.

There were times where we were unable to do this. In the car – you would see her just go at her wrists and you can’t do anything while driving besides try and reach back and grab her hand away while also trying to drive safely only to have her back to scratching the moment you got your hands on the wheel again. At night when she’s sleeping, and she scratches while asleep and you don’t even know that it’s happening. It’s times like this where you’re helpless and you’re at a loss because there’s literally nothing you can do. This is the frustrating part because we would spend every waking second making sure she wasn’t scratching her wrists open only to have her open them up again when we couldn’t do anything.

Of course, as a baby – she didn’t know any better. Aria was good that way because she would scratch to relieve an itch and she didn’t know it was bleeding. Hell, I don’t even think she knew it hurt. She never cried over it, she never showed pain… It’s just extremely sad to see because if my wrists were like that, I would be crying. One of the toughest parts about dealing with eczema in a baby is that they don’t know what’s wrong and what not to do to it… You have to know for them.

Our next step was to try and protect her wrists. They would go from healed to opened again every few days and that’s what was frustrating. We couldn’t blame Aria because all she knew was that she was itchy. There really was no one to blame and in times like this, you really wish there was. Maybe the doctor for not prescribing the perfect medicine? No, because medicine can only do so much.

We decided to get some polysporin and gauze to cover them up and heal up the opened wounds. It worked for the most part but Aria got smart and was able to start scratching underneath the gauze and we were back to square one again.

Anyway, we got to the point where we were desperate. We were willing to do literally anything to stop her from scratching her wrists. I came up with the idea of cutting up one of her onesies, and sewing socks onto the ends of it so that we could put it on her when we couldn’t do anything about it. So we did just that – I cut up her onesie and Diana sewed on some socks. The above is the result and I’ll tell you – this was one of the silliest, yet smartest things we wished we had done sooner. It stopped her from scratching up her wrists but it didn’t “fix” the problem. We were just trying to find band-aid methods until we found a solution. At this point, we were at a loss and pretty much out of hope to find any solution at all. It got to the point (after months of putting this contraption on her) that she was used to the routine. It’s kind of cute that she knows “alright, I have to put this jacket on now before we go out or before I go to sleep” and she just sorta expected it.

You might be saying to yourself now – “maybe they didn’t do this” or “maybe they didn’t do that”. Here’s what I’ll do, I’ll tell you EVERYTHING that we did do… Just so we’re all on the same page and so that we can align on how desperate Diana and I got on trying to make this go away. Sure, maybe there is something we missed, but I felt like we did what we could and knew.

I’ll go through the routine and the products we used will follow after. The routine stayed pretty much the same over the course of the last 8 months but the products we used changed.

  • We bathed her everyday and put lotion on her immediately after to keep moisture in.
  • We tried not bathing her everyday (as per recommendations) thinking bathing often was irritating her skin. Turns out, not bathing everyday made it worse.
  • We wash her face and hands after every meal – if food stayed on, it made her eczema worse.
  • We lotioned her up religiously… And I mean RELIGIOUSLY. Every chance we got, we were putting cream on her skin so it wouldn’t itch and get dry.
  • We watched what she was eating carefully – fruits like Kiwi would make her itch even though she loved them. We would test new foods over the course of a few days just to make sure it wouldn’t cause an flare up.
  • We put a humidifier in her room to moisten the air and keep her skin from drying. (didn’t help).

Here’s a list of the products we used, what worked, and what didn’t work. I’m not saying it won’t work for you/your kid, but it didn’t do anything for Aria.

What worked:

  • Aveeno Eczema Night Balm – this was a thick cream we used at night that kept her skin moisturized nicely. We ended up using this throughout the day.
  • Aveeno Eczema Wash – probably still the best wash we’ve tried. It keeps her skin moisturized and doesn’t strip it dry – even with soft water.
  • Aveeno Lightly Scented Moisturizer – another good moisturizer. We ended up putting this on first with the night balm layered on top of it with good results.
  • Burt’s Bee’s Baby Bee Ointment – we tried this out in the later stages of her eczema and it worked well. The smell was not great but it seemed to keep her flare ups at bay very well, provided that we use it often during the day and at night.
  • Aquaphor Ointment – this worked well for a short amount of time to keep the moisture in at night. It’s greasy like Vaseline so it wasn’t ideal all day.
  • Vaseline Petroleum Jelly – another basic product that worked well but still not ideal.
  • **Steroid – I put asterisks here because this will inevitably come up. I’ll talk more about it later, but it was a product we used for about 7 months. It never healed it or made it go away, but it kept flare ups down. Not the best thing we wanted to use for that long (despite what doctors tell us).
  • **Jian Pai. This is the magic cream. I’ll talk more about this below.

What didn’t work:

  • Cetaphil baby wash – this was terrible. It looked like it burned her skin. It turned it all red and she flared up.
  • Cetaphil baby lotion – same as above.
    • I’d note that we only tried this because a “paid blog” said this was amazing. For Aria, it was nothing short of terrible.
  • Live Clean Baby wash – dried out her skin, flare ups happened immediately after bath.
  • Live Clean Baby lotion – not moisturizing enough. Scented products don’t typically work well with Aria’s eczema.
  • Dove Baby Rich Moisture – despite the name – not very moisturizing. Didn’t do anything for Aria.
  • Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Wash – surprisingly this was not a good product either compared to Aveeno’s Eczema cream wash. Did nothing.
  • Skin Fix – a cream I was undecided on where to put. I’m putting it on the “did not work” section because while we used it for a long time, it never cleared anything up nor stop flare ups. It might have only helped the itch for a short amount of time.
  • **Elidel – if you’ve had eczema, at one point or another – your doctor will prescribe you Elidel. It’s a cream not meant to be used on kids under 2 and there is a risk that this cream causes cancer. Well, we used it as per the doctors recommendation and it did absolutely nothing. We used it for a period of 2 weeks but to no avail. We stopped use of this cream immediately after.
  • **Stronger steroid cream – we got prescribed stronger steroids for short-term use as well which did maybe a little better than the low strength one, but we stopped using that too pretty quickly as it didn’t appear to help much more.

Now, there’s tons more products out there and if we didn’t come across Jian Pai (as mentioned above), you can bet your asses we would’ve kept trying. We’ve probably spent nearly $200 on different products, methods, and items to try and help Aria out and each time, you hope that this next product was the magical answer only to find out it made the eczema worse or didn’t do anything at all…

Now, I want to show you what I mean by us being “desperate” is and just how bad it got. I’m not joking when we say it’s been the most frustrating and stressful thing we’ve had to deal with for Aria – and even looking at this picture today makes my stomach turn. This was when she was in the car and just scratched away. We took her to the hospital immediately after and all we got was more head-scratching doctors and we ended up leaving with a stronger prescription. My problem with this is that after all these months, the only thing doctors have thrown at us has been steroids, stronger steroids, creams that can cause cancer, and nothing helps. In their defense, they can only prescribe what they know and if the first thing doesn’t work, something stronger must be better right? Is it safe? I don’t know but as I keep mentioning – you get desperate and do anything to help your kid out.

Let’s just get to what you’ve been waiting for – if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering what this magic cream is and maybe it’ll help you. The cream is called Jian Pai – it’s an Asian cream that’s free of steroids. (I’m going to start to sound like a paid blogger now, but believe me – I’m not. I’ll even pay this company more money for what it’s done to help Aria). Here’s a picture for reference.

I like to say that this is where the stars aligned for us and Aria because we only stumbled across this cream by chance. 4 months ago, when Aria’s hand was as bad as that picture above, our doctor referred us to a skin specialist. That appointment was just last week – that means we had to wait 4 MONTHS to see a doctor all the while her wrist was open. I get it, specialists are busy and we’re not the only people with problems in the world – so we bit our tongues and sucked it up until our appointment… Which I’ll talk about again at the end of all this. A few weeks before this specialist appointment, Diana was mentioning to her boss that she needed the day off for Aria. Her boss asked her what it was for, and she casually mentioned that Aria has been battling eczema for a while and we’re hoping to get some answers. She told Diana about Jian Pai and how it was amazing for her own skin and her battle with eczema. She listed off all the same medications doctors prescribed her that Aria had been prescribed. At this point – we’re willing to try anything – so we tried this. I went out to the nearest T&T market with the herbal store we always walk by and picked this small bottle up for $40.

Brace yourselves. We tried it that night – you put it on twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. In three days… THREE. DAYS. her eczema had cleared up. Literally all the redness and bumps and scratching that had been tormenting Aria just… Magically. Went. Away. It’s been a few weeks now since we’ve been using this cream and her skin is back to it’s beautiful, smooth, eczema-free baby skin we once knew. This is how a baby’s skin should look, we thought. How, after all this time, have we not known about this? Why don’t more people know about this? Why don’t doctor’s know about this? We haven’t put Jian Pai on her for a couple days and she hasn’t had a flare up since… If we start to see it coming back, one application and it’s gone again. It hasn’t been long enough to gauge how well this works but it has been long enough to tell you that no other product or medication or steroid has “fixed” Aria’s eczema like this has.

I’m no believer in magic, and I sure as hell don’t believe in Asian beliefs about drinking tea to make pimples go away or eating root to make you live longer but I think I can stand behind this cream and I’m confident that if you or your kid had anything like Aria did, this would be better than any product you’re using now. The best thing about this cream is that it’s all natural – no steroids, no nothing. I’m not worried every time I put it on Aria that it’s doing something else other than just working the way it should.

Anyway, I wanted to end this post with the skin appointment we waited 4 months for. Months leading up to the appointment, we were anxious because we held all our hope that this specialist was going to solve our problems and was going to tell us finally what was wrong with her skin. After Jian Pai, (2 weeks before her appointment) we weren’t sure what to tell the specialist because she was all good. No sign of eczema, no sign of flare-ups, nothing. But we went anyway…

I’m not going to name the doctor, but if you put the pieces together, you can figure it out yourself if you care enough. We were referred to the Market Mall Dermatology – apparently one of the only specialists in Calgary that look at eczema issues in children. Prior to the appointment, we were told to bring everything that we are currently using, so we did just that. Finally, the day had come – we didn’t go in with much expectations since Aria had already been healed, but we were hoping for maybe some sympathy, some knowledge, or maybe some insight to what it could have been.

We walked into the waiting room… Anxiously waiting to show what was left of Aria’s eczema, the products, the pictures of what it had looked like. The doctor came in, stated that he heard Aria had eczema from our family doctor and began prescribing the steroid and Elidel we had already been prescribed. He was talking so fast that Diana had to interupt to tell him we’re already using that. He said “Oh”, and listed off another one and mentioned that it should only be used by children over 2 but that it’s perfectly safe. He looked at Aria and said “don’t worry, we’ll get you all cleared up”, turned to his assistant and told her to write up the prescription and left.

Wait a second. He didn’t look at Aria, he didn’t care to see what her eczema looked like, he didn’t look at the products we used, he didn’t even care to think if what he was prescribing us was what we were already using. The thing that really puts me off about it all is that he didn’t even care to see that Aria was actually all healed up. The point of the appointment (for us, anyway) was truly unnecessary – we didn’t need to be there, but we were because we had waited so long and clung onto some hope that he might tell us we were fighting something wrong all along. Instead, he prescribed creams and medicines to a perfectly fine and healthy little girl – not knowing anything else about her. This was the worst doctor I’ve ever met. I don’t know him, but that 1 minute appointment was enough to know that I would never recommend or go to him again for anything.

It’s been a week since that appointment and Aria is still better than ever. We still follow our routine because we’re not sure if changing it will make her skin flare up again, but she hasn’t scratched once in about a month. No redness, no open wounds… She’s just back to normal. I guess I’m writing all of this because I feel like we went through hell and we exhausted almost everything until we came across Jian Pai and if we hadn’t, we would’ve kept going until we found a way to help her. I’m writing because of how mad I am that a specialist – who we waited 4 months to see – didn’t care to actually treat his patient, but instead threw more drugs at the problem that wasn’t even there. I’m writing to hopefully help anyone else who is going through the same hell we did. I truly hope this helps… Feel free to email me or leave me comments if you have any questions!

Happy First Birthday to Round Face Kid

To Round Face Kid,

A year has come and gone and it seems like just yesterday that we were waiting anxiously for you to arrive in the hospital. Up until that day, we thought our lives were perfect and every puzzle had been put together. The truth of the matter is that you were actually the last piece of the puzzle we didn’t know that we were missing.

The beginning was hard. It was scary and challenging and exciting. Before you, we would never – in a million years – imagine how difficult being a parent would be. It’s something everyone tells you about but it’s also something you would never understand until you have lived it. Most new parents are truly naive – not through anyone’s fault – but through the lack of experience. Over time, your Mom and I learned how to hold you, rock you, burp you a certain way, and every little thing that no one else can do quite the same. Over time, you developed a personality – sassy and stubborn – tracing back to your Mom and I, respectively…

Sassy. My favourite definition of this is that you possess an ungodly amount of cool (or at least you think you do). You are so like your Mom that it makes my head spin. If I’m not receiving sass from you, it’s from Mom. If it’s not from Mom, it’s from you. And if I’m not receiving sass, the both of you are sleeping. Thank you for being a mini-Mom – it reminds me of the love I’ve had for her since I was 14; childish and playful. You make us feel like kids again, and I think that’s what we love most about you. You’ve revived our imaginations – a skill that often gets lost as you grow up. Please don’t ever stop imagining.

You’re stubborn. My God, you are stubborn. Now I know why Mom has a hard time dealing with me. You knew how to put your foot down before you could even sit. I like that. I like that you know what you want and will say no when you just don’t feel like it. That will help with dealing with boys when you’re older (please don’t get older). I like to think that your stubbornness helps you discover the pieces of who you are; it creates a solid foundation of personality in you that becomes hard to break. That’s what we want you to be – unbreakable – because you’ll find that the world and some people you meet will try to break you. Keep that foot down and you won’t crumble, kid.

Thank you for letting us be your parents. Thank you for running us through our paces and allowing us to make mistakes with you and at the same time, have the best success of our lives with you. Thank you for teaching us things that we never knew we cared to learn. Watching you take everything in and understanding little things we have learned to overlook is the best experience we could ask for. One of my favourite things to do is watch your gaze when you see something new and trying to imagine what you’re thinking and to make sure how silent I need to be because that moment might be one of the most exciting and amazing things in your life. Being present in the moment with you is far more important than trying to handle too many things at once because we would hate to miss all of your first experiences. Thank you for choosing our hands to reach out to and trusting in us to give you more. That feeling never dies.

Today, you’re one. ONE. 365 days old and this was the fastest year of our lives. I hope the next goes by slower – at least a little bit so that I can take some time to reflect some more at all you’ve done. If someone asked me – what I am sad about the most, it would be that there were nights where we wished you were able to put yourself to sleep without us carrying you all night. Now, there is no more carrying and rocking because you don’t need us as much anymore. I’m sad that I have to come to terms with not doing that ever again. That we might have carried and put you down to sleep for the last time and that there are going to be more moments like this. I’m happy you’re a big girl now but you’re always going to be our baby girl. Even if it’s just carrying you like a baby for fun, it will always be special for me.

With that, we wish you a happy first birthday. We wish that you stay curious and question everything you don’t understand. We wish that you remain eager and continue to smile at everything you enjoy and that happiness is what makes up most of all your days. We – selfishly – wish that you stay forever small and cuddle in our arms when you’re tired and that your chubby little fingers continue to grab on when you don’t want to go. You’re going to grow up to change the world one day – and even if it isn’t everyone’s world, you’ve at least changed ours. Happy Birthday, Aria!

Love,

Mom & Dad

Dear Aria

Dear Aria,

At this time – 8:03AM – 6 months ago, you were born. Happy half-year. 6 months is both a long time and a very short amount of time in your perspective of the world that you know today. In the grand scheme of things, it’s short in the sense that we hope that you’ll grow old and happy, and find someone that treats you with the same respect that you demand of yourself. You’ve barely even scratched the surface of life – but here we are – celebrating the milestone you’ve completed. On the other hand, it’s a long time in the sense that we have been through more with you in the last 6 months than we have in the last 14 years together… Or at least it feels that way. We like to think that we’re good parents – we do everything in our power to make sure that you’re as happy and safe as can be, and at the same time, we’re also starting to believe that you like to test that.

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In the last 6 months, you’ve tested our patience, our love, our mental and physical capacity to function on as little sleep as possible, our strength as a family, our stress, and just about every other emotion we know – you’ve tested it all. One of the most important things you’ve shown us is how strong Mom and I can be together – and that is significant. It’s significant because it has the power to make us question how strong one half can be without the other, and it can break us down very quickly if we let it. Thank you for showing us the importance of togetherness and the work it takes to be a good parent and partner. You’ve shown us how much weight we can hold when the string is thinning. There have been nights where we’ve both collapsed on the bed after you’ve fallen asleep and muttered “we did it” while preparing for the next round of whatever you decide to throw at us. Thank you for making the experience rewarding and worth working for.

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Thank you for showing us how great it is to dance together again. We sometimes find ourselves in the endless circle of ‘you clean the toilets, I’ll clean the sinks. You cook dinner, I’ll wash the dishes. You rub my back, I’ll rub yours.” I won’t be the one to always change your diapers, and Mom won’t be the one to always rock you to sleep. At the end of the day, you will always find Mom and I there to support you together, for everything. We will always be willing to dance with you – no matter the dance, no matter the time.

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We’re more than ecstatic that you’re a part of our lives, but more importantly – we’re actually just a part of yours. Thank you for teaching us discovery again – an ideal that we’ve carelessly left behind in our youth. We will help guide you and help craft your imagination. We’ll delve into your world and play in it the way you want to. We want to turn your intangible sounds into physical feedback and emotion. The tools and weapons required to walk through the dark and dangerous dungeons – we will equip you with and meet you at the end. We are the sole providers of your experience and we swear to fight anything and anyone that tries to hold us back from giving that to you. You are as much a part of our lives as we are yours and when you giggle in your sleep, we can’t help but wonder what kind of dream you’re having, but we know everything that we’ve done up until this point has been right.

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We hope that the next 6 months is as amazing for you as the last 6 months have been for us. We hope that you become a strong, independent, and respectful person – no matter how small you are. Thank you for being one of the best things that has ever happened to us and for filling the gap we never knew we had. You are the reason we try to better ourselves each day and the only person we want to make proud. You’ll get kisses from us at 6 months whether you like it or not, and you’ll get kisses from us at 18 whether you like it or not.

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And thank you Diana. Thank you for being Aria’s mom and thank you for being our superhero. Any husband that denies that they are also another child to their wife is a liar. The amount of strength it takes to care for a grown man and a needy baby is beyond Superman’s. When I need to know where my lucky teal underwear is, I need to know now and when Aria needs to eat, she needs to eat now. We both want it now and somehow, you can do both. Now. Thank you for shouldering the both of us and for having the energy each day to smile. Thank you for having an overdrive button that never runs out whenever I’m struggling to fix mine. Thank you for letting me join you on this journey – I’ll be right beside you with my lucky underwear the rest of the way. Here’s to more milestones and adventures with Aria. We love you!

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Being a Dad

It’s been 5 – almost 6 weeks – since Aria has joined the family and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much our lives have changed in such a short amount of time. It’s not a bad thing – it’s an amazing thing. I try and spend most of my time with Aria when I get home from work and when I wake up on the weekends. If I’m not at home, I spend most of my time thinking about her or looking at her pictures over and over again in-between work and breaks. She consumes me in a way that I want to ask for so much more than that which is physically and emotionally impossible – that’s the kind of love you learn and crave – different than the love you have for your girlfriend, wife, parents, or siblings.

Being a Dad is still weird to say for me. I’m sure it’s weird for everyone to go through this stage because you know your past, your faults, and your flaws – you know everything you have done wrong and all the time you’ve spent trying to find redemption in things. At the end of the day, you also know everything you’ve done right, all the successes that have brought you here and all the good intentions you have.

Being a Dad means letting down all your emotional barriers. It’s becoming stronger than your past self and standing strong for everything that she faces. She might not know it yet – hell, you might not even know it yet – but you’re her superhero and dawning that cape is the best job you’ll ever have. You’re going to fight the monsters that scare her and hold her hand through any fire she will come across.

For the last 9 months of Diana being pregnant, the only things we’d hear people say is to “enjoy your sleep while you can!”, or “you better sell that car of yours and get a minivan!”, and “no more hanging out with the guys after this!”.

Those were my favourite. They were my favourite because I had to stop myself from asking “Is that why people have kids?” – to get rid of the things they enjoy? To put a halt to their hobbies? Because they decided they don’t want to sleep anymore? It’s true though – you get no mercy during some nights and when you know you have to get up at 6AM to go to work, the only thing you want is 20 minutes of extra sleep. I’ll tell you one thing though – I would sacrifice my sleep over and over again just to watch her get her own sleep. If there is one thing I could wish for, it’s to be able to stay awake forever to watch her because for every second I’m not watching her, she’s growing up and I’m missing it.

While my car is no longer my priority, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop tinkering with it. Parents can have fun too, can’t they? For every parent that feels like they have to give up something they once poured their heart into – I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you had to give a piece of yourself up. I’m sorry that I don’t want to, I’m sorry that my wife doesn’t want me to, and I’m sorry that I can’t wait to share my love for cars with my daughter. I don’t necessarily want her to love cars the same way I do, but I do want her to know what it’s like to love some thing. I want her to know passion and commitment, and care, and every thing she loves can show her.

Life is a balancing act and my daughter certainly tips the scales in her favour 10 times out of 10, but there will be times where she will let you tip the scale your way and you have to take it. You have to feel like you can take a little after giving so much – not just to keep yourself sane but to show her that you need to take too – and when she finally understands that life is about giving and taking, you hope that selflessness begins to grow in her.

Hanging out with the “guys” is not a thing of the past. It’s just infrequent and I’m OK with that. The “guys” are OK with that. I want her to grow up knowing what friendships are, I want her meet the guys and play with them. I want her to know that there are people other than “Mom” and “Dad” that can provide great experiences too

I want her to spend her years piecing together what love is – to define it herself and to find it and not settle. A Dad wants her daughter to feel like a princess and to never be treated less than that. I want her to find her prince and know that there is such a thing as a knight in shining armour and that there is such a thing as clowns in disguise. That there are far more clowns than actual knights, and that there is a someone out there that will appreciate every bit of her. Nobody is perfect, but she will have a definition of perfect and that’s what we want her to find. Being a Dad means showing her that fairy tales do exist. I want her to know that Mommy and Daddy lived one, and when she finally finds it, to never let go – there are such things as happily ever afters.

Experience allows children to grow because it is tough and merciless. It is nurturing and meaningful. It is allowed to be wrong and right, and it can decide whether it wants to teach you now or 100 tries later. Isn’t this what it means to be a parent? To provide experience the opportunity to run my daughter through her paces and get those scratched up knees and make those tears turn into hard-earned smiles? To show her that success is forged from sweat and tears and a little blood, and no matter what the experience is like – it always teaches respect.

The first few weeks of being a parent can really show you what you’re made of. It can show you what you and your wife are made of as a whole, it can and will test every ounce of patience, love, and teamwork your body and mind can muster… And if that’s not enough, it will show you how hard it is to imagine how much you can love something so small. How many times can your heart explode into a million pieces each time she smiles or how many times it can break when she cries.

The best thing about it all is you start to find a different kind of love in your wife that you have never seen before. You’d think after over 14+ years of knowing someone, you’d know everything… Being a Dad teaches you more about your other half than you could ever imagine. You start to delight in things you never thought you cared about before, like when you hear her endlessly sing words that don’t make sense and wonder how she comes up with those fire lyrics. How referring to her as Mommy is a lot cuter than you thought it’d be and you’ll never call her by her real name again. When she takes the bull by the horns and accepts that changing poopy diapers is a better job for her than you.

You wonder how a woman that you’ve been through thick and thin with can still do the amazing things she does day in and day out for our daughter. Things I couldn’t do. Things I can’t imagine doing.  When she’s up every 2 hours feeding a hungry baby, half asleep in the chair while I’m still asleep. When she is stuck upstairs at a party tending to her while I’m downstairs having fun. You realize very quickly that when you think you’re super Dad… Super Mom is actually more impressive and that cape you dawn is really hers – she just chooses not to wear it.

And while it doesn’t matter who wears that cape, at the end of the day your daughter doesn’t care either. She just wants you to be there to hold her hand through the dark and scary world, to let her fall sometimes, and show her how to forge her tears into smiles. That’s what being a Dad is like.

And when you go through all of that, you deserve to take selfies once in a while – even if she doesn’t like it.