Baby Daddy Diaries: My Son is Eating Dirt

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READING TIME: 3 min.

BabyDaddyLOGO2I like to think that I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to being a dad. I know that Kyler needs his diaper changed when its dirty, that fussiness usually means nap time, and that I shouldn’t put his head in a ceiling fan. You know, basic stuff. As Kyler has gotten older, more mobile, and more curious, though, I’ve begun to question myself.

Recently I’ve found myself saying things like:

  • “There’s no way he could get that fork in the electric outlet.”
  • “Dog food can’t be that unhealthy…”
  • “Spaghetti does taste better smeared all over your face.”
  • “I did just clean that toilet.”

Earlier today my wife, Lauren, and I were hanging out in the backyard with our son, Kyler. We had just bought him a new baby pool and thought we would let him play with it. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Kyler loved his pool, Lauren and I had an obnoxiously cute water fight with the hose (all while fastidiously watching our son, don’t worry), and we had just moved under the patio to chat and watch our son play in the yard. It was one of those moments where you just take a step back and get overwhelmed by how blessed your life is. And then I looked down at my son eating dirt.

The moment was over. We looked at him and told him, “No. Yuck.” He stopped, considered our advice, and continued to eat some more before moving on to his next fascination. I know I could have stopped him, insisted more, or just picked him up and moved him. But this happened after I had already redirected him from biting a shovel, pulling a pile of wood on top of himself, and throwing rocks at the dog, so I guess I was just a bit out of steam.

One of the hardest things I’m learning as a dad is how to pick my battles. Sometimes I pick the wrong ones or don’t pick the right ones. There are obviously some safety things that are cut and dry (like the electrical outlets one above), but most of the stuff our kids’ curiosity leads them to is kind of gray.

This is where the power of communication has really come into play. I know this might seem novel and a bit uncomfortable for guys to do, but asking my wife basic questions like, “Can Kyler get in that cupboard?” or “Do we have to wash every toy that falls on the ground?” has been a lifesaver. Not only does it help me navigate through the minefield of decisions I face every day with parenting Kyler, but it also communicates to Lauren that I value her opinion (which is always a good thing).

Ultimately, I know that I’m not going to be the perfect dad. I might make the right choice one minute, and the wrong one the next. However, with strong communication, a loose grip, and practice, I think I’m going to survive. Besides, dirt can’t be that bad for you.

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Cody Kimmel is a worship pastor, student, writer, and musician. More importantly, Cody is the husband of DMB co-founder, Lauren, and the father of Kyler & Hayes. He also writes a blog called Shouts From the Wilderness.

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