In This Episode

We talk about things that we wished we knew before becoming dads.  And talk things we learned and continue to learn along the way.

Mentioned In This Episode

Rob attempts to sing Queensryche’s “Take Hold of the Flame” when talking about grilling. LOL!

Books mentioned:
The Happiest Baby on the Block
The Highly Sensitive Child

Episode Transcript

Brandon Billinger 0:01
Every child is different. So you’re going to have to go about the about every single new experience or episode differently. Whether it’s potty training, sleep, you know, just general everyday sort of things.

Rob Ainbinder 0:19
You are you’re in the Dad Huddle, the show where we invite you to join us in improving the playbook on fatherhood. I’m your co host, Rob Ainbinder the Digital Dad, father to one teenager. And you’re joined in the huddle by my co host, Brandon Billinger. The Rookie Dad, father of two kids, ages three and eight.

Brandon Billinger 0:40
Hey, how are you doing there Rob?

Rob Ainbinder 0:42
Terrific, Brandon, how you doing?

Brandon Billinger 0:44
I’m hanging in there hanging. hanging in there.

Rob Ainbinder 0:48
Better then hanging out there.

Brandon Billinger 0:49
Yeah, you could say that. It’s it. It’s been a wild week. I’ll say that. I mean, it’s just, it’s been crazy.

Rob Ainbinder 0:58
Tell me about it.

My week has been jam slap up packed, jack. Yeah so um it’s cooling off and this time of year I see erupt kind of discussions around is grilling season over?

Brandon Billinger 1:17
no it’s never over

Rob Ainbinder 1:19
no I never over

Brandon Billinger 1:23
Never I don’t care if there’s you know six inches of snow out there I will be I will uncover the grill and I will I will start it I will fire that grill up.

Rob Ainbinder 1:34
“Take Hold of the Flame”

Brandon Billinger 1:40
What was that?

Rob Ainbinder 1:41
Some 80’s song. Yeah, I have to look it up. Cuz I forget

Brandon Billinger 1:48

Rob Ainbinder 1:50
And it had to do with fire which was grilling. So there you go.

Brandon Billinger 1:53
Yeah. All right. That makes sense.

Rob Ainbinder 1:59
So yeah, grilling season is never done and neither is barbecue season. It’s, it’s always a great time to barbecue. I have seen guys talk about doing it in doing that in 30 degree weather and in 16 below weather. But I will tell you, you use a hell of a lot of fuel 16 below to get to something around 200 or 300 degrees.

Brandon Billinger 2:26
Yeah, I was gonna say you have to keep that thing. Yeah. Yeah, you have to keep it hot. Yeah, in some way, shape or form.

Rob Ainbinder 2:33
Exactly. So there is decline. There is increasing costs, in cooking. In extremely low temperatures.

Brandon Billinger 2:43
But it’s all worth it.

Rob Ainbinder 2:44
But it’s all worth it. Fire kisssed goodness.

Brandon Billinger 2:48
That is right.

Well, so so for this episode, we really wanted to talk about the things that we wish we knew when we became parents because we can all all of us read read the books. We go to parenting classes, but there’s a lot of things that they don’t teach us or I mean, or that we’re not we have to learn along the way as our kids get older. So, so yeah, so let’s Rob what was one of the things that you wish you knew when you became either a parent or dad or you know yeah.

Rob Ainbinder 3:29
I didn’t know just how dog damn tired I’d be the nightly that you know the twice nightly feeding the changings all of those things clearly. There wasn’t any but they said be tired, but I just didn’t know to what depths I’d been tired. I felt like I was one of the zombies on the episode one of the episodes of The Walking Dead.

Quite frankly, yeah. It was something else.

coffee coffee still my friend but it was a little more than friends for a long time

Brandon Billinger 4:09
Yes, it was and in my house it still is.

Rob Ainbinder 4:12
Yeah, I hear you brother. I hear you.

Brandon Billinger 4:15
There’s not a morning that won’t go by that I’m just like kids just wait until I have this one cup please don’t let me get to let me get that let me get this first cup in me and then we’re going to be golden

Rob Ainbinder 4:27
Interesting now with a teenager because she’ll grab a cup of coffee on her way out the door most mornings

Brandon Billinger 4:33
Uh Huh.

Rob Ainbinder 4:33
So sometimes she she leaves it set up for me and sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes I leave it set up for her sometimes I don’t. But we’re we’re both Yeah, I have two cups in the morning typically.

Brandon Billinger 4:47
Yeah, I’m a I drink a drink a cup of bulletproof coffee in the morning which is like it has a tablespoon of ghee butter in it and then it has some other like, I think Coconut oil or something in there and I’m so that’s my first cup to kind of get me up and going and then after that it’s just it’s straight black coffee. I can’t I can’t add anything else other than that I can’t add anything else to my coffee I can’t I just can’t stand it

Rob Ainbinder 5:19
What else did I not anticipate being in for when I became a parent. The instant connectedness at the heart.

Brandon Billinger 5:29
Oh, that’s a good one

Rob Ainbinder 5:31
To know right at birth. They were completely and utterly dependent on you and would likely grow up to love you unconditionally. Most days.

Brandon Billinger 5:47

Rob Ainbinder 5:48
Most days

Brandon Billinger 5:49
there are those days that they absolutely absolutely hate you or just despise you. I don’t want to use the word hate that’s a little too strong, but

Rob Ainbinder 5:59
That’s okay. I think sometimes it approaches that but on occasion. Yeah.

Brandon Billinger 6:06
But yeah, one of the things I wish that I had known to was you talked, for some reason when you said instant, the term instant gratification came to my mind and how kids, I feel like in it, and I feel like kind of maybe Netflix has brought this along, but because you turn on Netflix, and you can watch whatever you want, when you want, and I feel like that has translated over into their everyday life now where they feel like they if they go to the grocery store, they’re going to get some there are that we go to the, say Target or you know, wherever we’re going shopping at sure that they get, they get whatever they want. Whenever we go there, and I’m like, No, it doesn’t happen that way. Sorry. They have an instant gratification things happen right when they want it when they want it. And that’s one of the things that like, nope.

Rob Ainbinder 7:09
You at the age where you’re inserting this thing called work, whatever it might be,

Brandon Billinger 7:16
yeah, we have them do chores. At least with the fabulous William he, he’s starting to do his chores. So he’s got to do that to earn some money. So he’s learning the value of the dollar right now.

Rob Ainbinder 7:29
So good. He should, everybody should. Yeah.

Brandon Billinger 7:34
And then one of the other things that I wish that I had known was just how different two kids can be. Because when I when we had our second I realized he is completely different than how we are raising him right because he’s three right now Joseph is is completely different than how William was when he was reading when it when he was three. You know, potty training is a completely different, completely different thing to go through with him. I mean, it’s still still a chore every day. We’re trying to get him to go to the bathroom. And we know we’re like you at some point you’re going to have to do this.

Rob Ainbinder 8:16

Brandon Billinger 8:19
Napping is so much different because William and well actually this is more positive. Joseph would go take a nap. me he’ll take a nap and he’ll go to sleep just fine. Whereas William still needs her stuff when it needed. It was a chore getting him to go to sleep, he would cry. He would. He just wish he would sometimes it would take up to upwards of an hour and a half to get him to go to sleep. And, I mean, the tantrums to oh my gosh with Joseph, or the tantrums are just so much more worse than what they were with William. We often I have been known to say if Joseph was our first he would have been our only Because I was like, I’m sitting here going I do not know that we could go through. I could go through this again. Yeah, I mean,

Rob Ainbinder 9:09
it’s just he’s just a bad. Well, it’s a different.

Brandon Billinger 9:12
It’s more it’s more intense. Yeah. Yeah. So

Rob Ainbinder 9:16
Different personality did

Brandon Billinger 9:18
Much, much different personality.

Rob Ainbinder 9:21
Yeah, potty training all that stuff. Yeah. Nobody. Nobody told us. Nobody told us that a child would act defiant. In the face of eliminating waste.

Brandon Billinger 9:41
Mm hmm. Yes. And that is how Joseph I mean with with William, he was potty trained at a year and a half. And it was no problem, it was it was a week and he was he was done. no accidents. Nothing. Were Joseph, it’s it. It’s we have to ask him to go potty and he’s like, No, I don’t have to go. There. I guess you do go. And then five minutes later there’s an accident. And it’s like some I know some of that’s on on on us as parents because we’re like, we should physically pick him up and take him in. You know, have them go to the bathroom, but But yeah, it’s sometimes it’s just you’re just you’re just sitting there like, I’m too tired. I’ve not had my cup of coffee in the morning. That I’m too tired to take you up. Just go to the bathroom.

Rob Ainbinder 10:32
We had this. We had this series of things come up when when, when our daughter was younger, she wouldn’t. She didn’t like socks with seams. She didn’t like tags in her clothing that touched her skin. Shoes had to be tightened to a precise tensile strength. And we were, we were close to losing our minds. We were really close to. So I got on the old Google and I started Googling around and pretty quickly what surfaced was this book, The Highly Sensitive Child. Funny enough I was reading through it and everything she was going through at that time matched up. It’s just something about the way your neurology is and how how, you know your skin, how you feel through your skin and some other things and and it’s not that unusual a thing apparently. Interesting. Yeah. So I and I wrote a blog post about about this experience to naturally but I’d say yeah, the highly sensitive child and that saved my bacon. We were at the end of our rope like going to just lose it?

Brandon Billinger 12:07
Interesting I’ll have to remember that one highly sensitive child?

Rob Ainbinder 12:10
Yeah. I think I might still have my copy.

Brandon Billinger 12:16
Yeah, we in one of the books that we resorted to, I think with with William, when we were at our wits end with sleeping with sleep problems with him was I think it was The Happiest Baby on the Block. I don’t remember who it was by or and it might have been another one. I think our pediatrician recommended one that helped us or that kind of talked us through the cry it out method at night because we just there was just no way we were we could keep laying with him every single night or

Rob Ainbinder 12:54

Brandon Billinger 12:55
because he was okay he was waking up. That’s right. He was waking up in the middle of night and coming into our bed. This is something that was completely different than with Joseph because with Joseph, he comes into our bed and I think we’re just so dog tired, we don’t even notice it whereas with William when he was doing it, we were I think we were a little bit more sensitive to it. I think it’s, it’s I think it’s that second baby syndrome where with the second with the second child, you’re just kind of like okay whatever you know sort of that sort of you know, kid whatever happens you can do whatever you want to a point at least. But yeah, so we I think we turned to Yeah, we turned to the cried out method at slept on when he was sleeping. And finally, I think I think it was like two or three weeks at that finally worked. But that’s one of those things that they don’t you don’t necessarily learn that or that they teach you that crying, you know, the cried out method does work or there’s there’s that there’s other ways, some substantial, every children child is different. So you’re going to have to go about the about every single new experience or episode differently. Whether it’s where it’s potty training, sleep, you know, just general everyday sort of things.

Rob Ainbinder 14:14

Brandon Billinger 14:15
So yeah, that’s one of the things I that they don’t that they don’t tell you.

Rob Ainbinder 14:18
Yeah. So if someone’s just fast forward to this podcast, we’re talking about things we wish we knew when we became parents. And one of the things that I wish I knew was about bottles is before kid was born we did the whole Toys R Us. No longer in business Babies R Us registered for this.

Brandon Billinger 14:43
Mm hmm.

Rob Ainbinder 14:43
And we literally are making a decision on the spot and and through process of elimination, we want to go on with Nuk brand bottles. And it worked really well for us. But, man, it was like looking at Oh, no. it was like being in the tampon aisle. I don’t know where I am Stranger in a Strange Land. Well,

Brandon Billinger 15:16
yeah, and I mean,

Rob Ainbinder 15:19
a first time parent and your parents aren’t with you and your friends aren’t with you.

Brandon Billinger 15:24
Exactly. I mean, you go down any I think any new parent who goes down a baby aisle is going to look at that aisle and just be like, Oh my gosh, what are we getting into? I mean, you have all of these you have all of these choices and decisions that you have to make before your child is even born sometimes and you’re like, Okay, I’m just you know, guessing that these are going to work. You know, these bottles are going to be just fine. Yeah, I’m get I’m guessing that this that these diapers are going to be you know, my kids are going to have a sensitive bum and You know, sensitive butt and you know, these diapers are gonna work out just fine. Or that these hopefully this formula works if you’ve just if you decide to go the formula route or Yeah, I mean,

Rob Ainbinder 16:10
That was that was a big deal formula that was a big deal. Like, we want to put her on soy formula.

Brandon Billinger 16:18

Rob Ainbinder 16:21
The other stuff wasn’t working,

Brandon Billinger 16:22
right and it’s only through the park but like a process of elimination when it comes to stuff like that, I mean, because you have so many choices out there to figure it out, like, I mean, we didn’t know until, I mean with Joseph’s he, he’s a he’s very sensitive to milk and dairy. And we didn’t realize it until maybe about two years in and once we figured that out and started eliminating all of the dairy I mean, things have been it’s been a lot better like I mean he, I mean, it’s just Yeah, he would have very his stomach. Just be like terror, you know, ripping him up. He wouldn’t he would have a hard time going to the bathroom too.

Rob Ainbinder 17:05

Brandon Billinger 17:06
Which I think has resulted in the heart the struggles we’ve been going through with potty training with him. But yeah, I mean, we didn’t realize that. And if I think if I had we known that going in, we would have chosen chosen a different formula. But yeah, I mean, you don’t know what’s going to work until you actually try it. And then you’re like, and then when it doesn’t work, you feel awful. For those kids.

Rob Ainbinder 17:29
Yeah, you do feel awful. You just don’t. You don’t? Yeah. You don’t know. And you have to, you have to, to a degree, you have to just try different things and be willing to try it. I think. I think that’s, that’s an important thing I wish I knew is that you can’t just fit you can’t just rely on one thing, right?

It might not work and then you’ve got to go to an alternate.

Brandon Billinger 17:57
Give yourself the freedom to screw up And realize that it’s okay.

Rob Ainbinder 18:02
Absolutely. It’s it you’re not going to harm your child by by picking a different diaper or different things.

Brandon Billinger 18:10
Exactly if something’s not working try something else.

Rob Ainbinder 18:14
Yeah I wish I knew that my kids would just on the first day kindergarten just want to walk right in the classroom by herself.

Brandon Billinger 18:26
Oh, that’s gotta be hard

Rob Ainbinder 18:30
You know, in truth, the night before we met the teacher, so we did the walk to the class, but she didn’t want us to walk through the class. She’s like, Man Wow.

No, I remember. I remember when William had his kindergarten round up. And we you know, all the parents go and up with all the kids and then the kids would go off on to, you know, with with the teachers. and whatnot. As the parents stayed back and learn whatever they needed whatever we needed to learn about kindergarten, I know I honestly I don’t remember what it was. I am going to have to go through it again in two years with Joseph but when he left Yeah, he when he left and the in was leaving with the other kids. He didn’t like all the other kids are like looking back and waving goodbye to to their parents. He didn’t wave back. He didn’t turn around and leave that

Just made a beeline for class.

Brandon Billinger 19:31
Yep. And I’m not I’m not afraid to say it. But I cried when he did that. And I was like, oh, man, he’s grown up.

Rob Ainbinder 19:39
He’s grown up. I don’t know who those people are. I gotta go be with my peeps.

Brandon Billinger 19:45

You guys again. Parents. Ugh, Stop embarassing me.

Rob Ainbinder 19:54
Just dropped me off and go already.

Brandon Billinger 19:57
That’s how he is at school. drop off now. Hmm.

Rob Ainbinder 20:01
thing how some things don’t change

Brandon Billinger 20:03
Exactly. We give our daily high five and then he’s, like, be good. And he’s often he’s, he’s running. I don’t even know if he’s even heard me say be good.

Rob Ainbinder 20:15
Yeah. The other thing I didn’t realize is just the utter sense of pride, I would say

Brandon Billinger 20:24
That is a good one.

Rob Ainbinder 20:26
Truly, to see her performing in school at the level that she is and committed to these extracurricular activities like she is, and it’s just, yeah, I can’t explain except that I’m extremely proud of everything that she is doing, and has done. It’s just amazing.

Brandon Billinger 20:53
Yeah, yeah. I know. There’s been moments where to where William has made me you know, more than proud and during whether it’s you know, whatever sporting events school, you know, whenever even just the times where we’re like, dude, we know you’re not gonna like this, but just get out there and at least give it a shot and he gives it a shot and he either he likes it or he hates whatever, whatever we is we’ve asked him to do. And I’m like, and I’m like, okay, at least gave it a shot. That’s what matters to me. And I’m, I’m proud of you for doing that at least. So,

Rob Ainbinder 21:32
yeah, that’s, I think that’s the essence of parenthood of fatherhood is is keying in on those those things, where we make direct impact where you know, where we can tell, through their experiences, what what they’re doing that they’ve stuffs been transmitted, and it’s embedded and now it’s working. You know, it was, yeah.


Brandon Billinger 22:05
Exactly. Yeah. One of the other things that I wish that I had known is and this one’s funny because this happens just about every day in our house is when your kids, you’re there, it’s going to happen no matter at some point in your kid’s life. They’re going to do something that is very or I don’t wanna say very inappropriate, but it is inappropriate for their age, but yet it comes across so funny that you can’t help but laugh. You have to like stifle your laugh right has to like put your mouth your your hand over your mouth and you’re like, yep.

Rob Ainbinder 22:46
What’s wrong, dad.


Brandon Billinger 22:51
Let’s talk about you’re not supposed to say that.

Rob Ainbinder 22:54
Yeah. It’s not a good thing to say.

Yeah. You’re not old enough to say that.

Brandon Billinger 23:00
Not yet.

Rob Ainbinder 23:02
That’s a naughty word.

Brandon Billinger 23:05

Rob Ainbinder 23:06

Brandon Billinger 23:08
Those are the moments where you’re like you’re in your kid is like, You’re laughing. I should be able to do that. No, just don’t just don’t. That happens, but I think what at least once a day in our house or like, yeah, okay, that was that. That’s funny. But no, no, just don’t don’t do that. Again.

Rob Ainbinder 23:29
I think we’ve covered that. I think we’ve covered that pretty well what’s Yeah. So let’s roll into kind of what’s been working and not working lately in the huddle in the Dad huddle in your Dad Huddle

Brandon Billinger 23:52
I always have a bad habit of just kind of like just picking like just little, you know, sick saying things to get a reaction out of William

Rob Ainbinder 24:03

Brandon Billinger 24:04
Well, whether it’s, you know, something about, you know, whatever’s on his Christmas list or whatever, or whatever, you know, new latest and greatest thing that he you know, wants or, you know, or does at that, you know, I struggle with just generally picking a fight with him and I and it’s not something that I mean, I don’t want to do it, but for some reason, it just, you know, whatever, whatever comments come out of my mouth do when he had that particular moment,

Rob Ainbinder 24:36
I think for where my kid and I are in the you know, with grieving and all that I’m just I’ve tried to be more a little more sensitive. But you know, at the same time she’s still owed a firm hand.

Brandon Billinger 25:02
Mm hmm.

Rob Ainbinder 25:03
And so I’m, I’m trying to find that that way, navigate that way that if if there’s something that in the household that’s not going according to the what we agreed to, then she needs to know that. And she needs to have the chance to make a corrective action carry forward and I think it’s finding the working on finding the best way to approach that considering everything else swirling around. It’s, I think where I’ve come to is that I’m just proceeding as quote unquote, normal. And that’s so that’s, that’s been a bit of a struggle and what I’ve figured out at least I’m going to do this this week.

Brandon Billinger 26:02
Cool. Um, so what’s been working for you right now?

Rob Ainbinder 26:07
Yeah, I’m listening well, even though they may not be the communicators we need listen for the requests in, in the question drill down a little bit more. Don’t take it at face value. Those those types of things are working. You know, she’ll be, for example show she’ll talk about what do we have for dinner? And, and what I really have to ask is, are you hungry now for dinner because I don’t know she’s meaning, eating three hours, or eat in 15 minutes. That’s been an accomplishment. My part. Yeah. What about for you? What’s been working for you and your brood?

Brandon Billinger 27:10
I’ve been I mentioned earlier about the value to teaching at least my oldest, the value of the dollar.

Rob Ainbinder 27:19

Brandon Billinger 27:19
And I feel like we are finally getting to a point where he understands just how much things cost.

Rob Ainbinder 27:28

Brandon Billinger 27:29
He’s he’s wanting a Nintendo Switch. And we said, okay, well this is how much it is. You have to be like, all right, and this is how much you’re going to need to either make or earn or save between your between your birthdays between you know, whatever, you know, Christmases, whatever. And he, he finally made the decision, I think the other day where he was like, all right, so this is what I want to do. I do want to get the Nintendo Switch and I’m going to save for it. This in this way is gonna save it from you know all the money that he was gonna get for his birthday Christmases and over the next few, you know, year or whatever. And he’s like, all right, and we’re like, Okay, great. Yeah, let’s do that. And he said it and he was like, but I’m afraid I’m going to want to spend the money before we actually get the Nintendo and I said, Well, here’s what we can do to prevent that is you can give that to us. And we will keep it in safekeeping before so that that way you don’t spend that money. And he’s like, Okay, good. Then I’m out.

Rob Ainbinder 28:32
How old is he he’s eight?

Brandon Billinger 28:35
Yeah, he’s eight going on nine.

Rob Ainbinder 28:38
Have you talked to a bank about a child savings account?

Brandon Billinger 28:42
We have not yet. It’s something that we’ve been considering though.

Rob Ainbinder 28:46
Okay, because it sounds like it might be a good time to introduce that con. Yeah. From what you’re telling me.

Right. Right. We will have to look above to look into it. I know we We’ve talked about it, but we haven’t really made a decision on it. I think we may end up but that may be this may be the the time to do that for him make a big deal about it, take them to the bank. You know, he’s with you guys opening the account. He has the money over all that stuff.

Brandon Billinger 29:19

Rob Ainbinder 29:19
It might be a cool thing. It might be. But I’ll tell you this talking about how much things cost. It never stops. I’m talking I’m talking to my teenager now about what things cost. Just so you know, like, I’m just saying it never know. I pay this on the house every month.

Brandon Billinger 29:41

Rob Ainbinder 29:42
And just so you know, I paid this on the car every month.

Brandon Billinger 29:46
Yeah, cuz I think what it’s one of the things that they don’t like a lot of kids don’t understand is that they say, Oh, well, we want I want the Nintendo Switch. Why can’t we Why can’t we get one Why can we just go and get one and I’m like, well, you want food on the table right? You want me to be able to drive you to baseball practice and to school and all this. Right? It will. Yeah, that you know that that stuff costs money. We just don’t. And it doesn’t grow mean it doesn’t grow on trees.

Rob Ainbinder 30:17
Definitely not.

Brandon Billinger 30:19
I wish that it did. Or I wish that dollar bills came from my tree whenever I am with how many leaves I have to rake every fall but that’s, that’s it. That’s a different story. Cool. Well, um, yeah. So thanks for listening in on this. This episode of the dad huddle. Rob. It was great to great to catch up.

Rob Ainbinder 30:41
Yeah, definitely. Cool. I’m glad we could do this.

Brandon Billinger 30:44
Yeah, I’m glad we could too. So we’ll hope you stay tuned for the next episode of the Dad Huddle.

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