Database Name: dbwzecoixet92g live long and dad podcast – A Dad’s Path

Transcript: #42- Live Long and Dad

 


Being a fantastic dad is not easy. Add in being a stay-at-home dad provides challenges even beyond. How do you ensure you’re being the best dad you can be while not sacrificing yourself?

We interview the host of the “Live Long and Dad” podcast, Cosmo! He gives us ideas from his experiences with twins as a stay-at-home dad in the Los Angeles area. Enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast platform. Like this episode? Check out more of our Dad Podcasts.


Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path::

Hi, and welcome to another episode of a dad’s path podcast. I’m will Bronstein. And today we have a very special guest Cosmo from livelong and dad. Hi Cosmo. Thanks for joining us. Before we jump in, you can find Cosmo on all the podcast platforms, just search for “Live Long and Dad.”  We’re going to dive in and hear more about Cosmo’s background and who he is. And first maybe, do you want to  share more about yourself, Cosmo?

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Yes, indeed. I am 39 years old and I have a seven year old boy and twin two and a quarter year old’s boy and a girl.

And it took fertility treatments for both pregnancies. So it was a, a long road getting the babies and the twins were born right at the beginning of the pandemic. So that’s where we are now. There’s always challenges, but a pandemic in the middle of, you know, trying to have kids and having kids is certainly not one that I think any of us counted on, but here we are. So, and I am the stay at home. Dad. My wife is a teacher middle school teacher, and I was part time employed with various jobs just trying to chip in. I was a football coach for high school for 13 years and I’m six, nine. So I’m a big guy. I was working as a security guard at a really lousy bar here in Los Angeles for six years.

And once we had James, our oldest, I coached football for one more year, but then the meager pittance that I was paid was not worth the time and energy away from James. And I did not enjoy that year. He was an infant having to put him in his grandparents’ hands and be gone so much. Summer football is really intensive. We have sports camp in the morning. So I’m gone from 7:00 AM to about 7:00 PM. And my wife had had a really rough pregnancy. We had almost lost James at week 20. We went in for the anatomy scan and they told us it was a boy. And I was recording this on my iPad and you hear me just breathe a sigh of relief, because I was hoping for a boy I’m on cloud nine and the technicians just taking a closer look at the ultrasound and she’s real quiet and she’s not just moving on to the next thing.

And Heidi, my wife starts to pick up on some bad vibes and I’m just oblivious because I’m a guy thinking to myself. Yes, it’s a boy now for our second kid, I can relax. Cause girl, boy, I’m good. And we found out my wife’s Cervi was short. And so a normal cervix is four centimeters thick and hers was down to 0.4 centimeters. So there was very little holding him in there and she was also having contractions at week 20. There’s not really anything they can do. They tried giving her some medicine to stop the progression and that didn’t work and it got even thinner. So they did an emergency Sage, which is a stitch over the cervix to try and put a dam on that cervix. And they said it was a 50-50 chance whether it would burst the water because it was so thin or if it would help.

And we thought we got to give the kid a chance. So we went for it and thank goodness it worked. And Heidi was then on bedrest until James came at week 31. So he was nine weeks preemie and pretty traumatic for my wife. And she still to this day is dealing with big feelings. Her sister just had her first kid and my wife still has these feelings of she was robbed of her pregnancy. And as a man, it’s really hard for me to connect to that. As far as my brain works, I’m just happy that we have healthy kids now. And so trying to help the wife through those feelings has been a challenge.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Oh, I’m sure. I mean that whole thing’s so intense. Not knowing whether your child’s going to make it. Thankfully I’m obviously thrilled that he did. And yet to your point, there’s a lot, we do understand as dads and there’s a lot that we just can’t understand. I mean the whole pregnancy thing, we can’t really understand on that same level. I appreciate you sharing all the challenges of pregnancy and how even after the pregnancy ends, the challenges that you know, came from it don’t necessarily end talking about things like postpartum depression and you know, as a male, as a dad, like we don’t necessarily, we understand what a pregnancy is, but then we also don’t understand fully in the same way. And you know, some of the pain that happened, the mental pain, you know, barely having a child or not understanding what’s going to happen there. And I guess what I’d be curious about because you know, you’re being really empathetic and you sound like a really empathetic person. And how has that affected the relationship with your wife? Have you been able to build that back up? You know, there’s challenges and you’re helping her, but at the same time you have to take care of yourself. So yeah. I’d be curious if you could talk about that for a second.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Oh yeah. I think a lot of us men want to  fix things and something like this, there’s no fixing it. You know, you come to me with a problem. I want to  present solutions to help you get past it. And this isn’t something that can be fixed and nothing I can suggest will help. And I am pretty empathetic and I frankly got some mild PTSD from all this. It was really traumatizing for me not knowing what kind of a state I would come home to with my wife and her postpartum lasted a good year, at least. So going into this second pregnancy, I was just really on edge and hypervigilant for all that stuff. And so I put myself behind her needs even when she is assuring me, that things are good. I’m still nervous about leaving her with all three kids. Not that she would do anything, but am I going to come back to a super stressed out and triggered partner?

I haven’t done enough self-care since the babies came out, the twins had a rough pregnancy too. We knew the cervix issues that my wife had on the first one. So we were prepared, but then she went with James to Minnesota at like week six of the pregnancy. Cause her grandfather James’s great-grandfather was 96 and we knew this was probably the last chance to ever meet him. So they go off to Minnesota and I’m excited because Hey, I get some time to myself, I’m play video games and watch football and a couple nights into it. She had a massive bleed. She said it was like her water broke. So she was in the hospital. Babies were fine. But to this day, nobody knows what was up with that massive bleeding. So she was put off bedrest from week six of the pregnancy on and then she developed two blood clots in her leg.

And so that continued the rest. And then her ovary got ed, which is twisted. They had to do an emergency over me to get rid of her ovary. And they said again oh yeah, the meds to knock you out could kill the babies. Okay. Thanks for letting us know. And so that was a super stressful first 15 weeks of the pregnancy. I am essentially a single parent cause Heidi’s on bedrest and the nerves of are we going to like be able to keep these babies then straight into having twins? So really since Heidi got pregnant, I haven’t done any real self-care and just been nervous about what she needs and we’ve really worked on the communication. And at this stage two years into the twins, I do feel comfortable with communicating my needs a little bit more. She’s a teacher today was her first day of summer vacation. And we’re trying to find that balancing act of I’m super excited to have my partner here and not be a stay at home alone, dad with three kids. But I don’t want to obligated to have to spend the entire day with the kids. I free to clean up the garage, which is full of stuff or have some leisure time. So we’ve just got to find that balancing act between my needs, her needs and family time.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah, I’m sure. And I guess it’s sort of a unique situation, you know, being a stay at home, dad, not that unique and then also being married to a teacher. So you both have time over the summer. So it’s a big advantage in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I mean, like you’re saying one, you don’t want to  throw everything to her, but two, you know, without the structure, things would go kind of either way, like have you guys talked about how you’re going to structure? Like I’ll take these days and you’ll take those days or

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Yeah. And that’s the way I like to kind of schedule things she doesn’t, but if we don’t schedule things it never gets done. So I told her the other day that Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, you are free to sleep in if you want. And mornings aren’t particularly tough. My least favorite part of the day as a dad is evening before the babies go to bed. Cause they’re not napping anymore. So they’re cranky. I don’t really enjoy feeding them at this age. And then the post dinner pre bedtime, they’re kind of wild. So that that’s my least favorite part. I can handle mornings. So Monday, Wednesday, Friday, stay in bed, go on a walk, whatever you want, you’re free. Join me at noon. We’re good working up the courage to say, can I have one day a week that I can sleep in? That’s where my PTSD kind of kicks in and I don’t feel comfortable lounging in bed. Cause am I going to walk out two hours later and have her be resentful and pissed off and triggered because the kids were extra crabby and tough to deal with. And that’s kind of my baggage because she is willing to, and it’s my thing that I need to get over and I, I need to be able to let go.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah. I mean, yes and no. I mean, I think you do need to let go if you’re feeling that, but you’re also holding on for a reason, you know, but I think, I think like you’re saying, you know, dads, we, you know, men, we like to fix things we don’t necessarily always like to ask for help. And that’s not exactly what you’re doing or need to be doing now, but just communication in general and just saying, okay, like this might not be ideal, but maybe this is jump. We’re going to have to take, I do that too. I mean, with my family where I know there’s something that like, I’d rather, I know I can do it a certain way and I know it’ll be done and I’ll be happy with it. Or you know, my wife can do it and she’s great, you know, whatever, but it’s not how I want it to be done. <Laugh> but at the same time it allows me to kind of, you know, breathe or have a little bit more yeah. Me time. Cause I think that is the, the key I really struggle with when I’m tired, I get mentally tired, you know, and I really need to like recharge and that, do you find that or is have you been able to like you have that with this reservoir somewhere or what’s your, what’s your

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Secret? <Laugh> my fuse has been pretty short ever since I was put in that situation with Heidi on bedrest and I’ve never really had the chance to recover. I should do mindfulness. I should do that kind of stuff. And I just never get around to it once everybody’s to bed, I’ve been playing a lot of baseball video game and that’s kind of where I, and I listen to podcasts while I do that or audio books. So that’s how I kind of Zen out a little bit. And I have really gotten out of the television habit since the twins were born. If I do put on something, it’s usually a rerun and something light like 30 rock or king of the hill, it’s been really challenging to recharge those batteries. Father’s days coming up. I don’t know, what’s in store there it’d be nice to be able to sleep in.

So my wife is going to be doing a 50 mile five day hike in Yosemite. And so that means I’m in charge of all three kids by myself, but I’m super supportive of it because it’s going to be so good for her to get out into nature, get away from everything she’s going with one friend. So I’m not particularly worried about her safety. And so it’s going to be really good for, and she encouraged me to figure out something to do for myself. So I am going up to PA Robles, which is a little wine place about four hours north of Los Angeles and Heidi and I went there in 2012 I think. And it’s got these hot Springs and me being six, nine. I don’t fit in our bathtub. I don’t fit in most bathtubs and every hotel room at this in has a giant two person tub connected to hot Springs.

So I’m going to take the train up there by myself and just soak in those tubs and listen to podcasts and audio books and have no noise from kids. And so for three days, that’s my little first dad vacation since we got pregnant with the twins. And so hopefully that will recharge my batteries. And then a week later she goes off to Yosemite. So I’m going to need it. It it’s definitely a challenge. One thing I’ve tried to start doing is when I get the babies to bed at six 30, James goes to bed around 8, 8 30, I take 10 minutes and go sit on our front lawn. We live in a nice little quiet neighborhood and I’ve got some wind chimes out there. And I really like just sitting on the lawn, listening to the wind chimes and half a little quiet and I invite James to come out there if he wants to and just take in that little 10 minutes. And that’s something I really need to get better at is just taking those tiny little opportunities during the day to have a, a minute of quiet.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah, no, absolutely. And that’s great. You have that event coming up just where you can be by yourself and soak like you said, but you started saying, Hey, I should be, I should probably doing more like meditation or mindfulness or something like that. But what you just described of going outside and just sitting and listening, like that’s mindfulness, you know, so it is, and I just mentioned that because I know for me, I can get caught up too and like, all right, I need to sit down and I’ve got my meditation app and I’ll do 15 minutes, you know? And it just can end up being this whole life. Well, I don’t really feel like doing it or, you know, and you get in your head on freaking meditate on mindfulness. You know, it’s like, you know what,

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

<Laugh>

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Just take a walk and that’s enough. And that was the other sort of amazing thing that I found both for myself. And then kids, because you were talking about kind of the witching hour as we call it. Right? Like after dinner or when the kids are, it’s not bedtime, but it’s always amazing just for kids. And then for us too, just going outside, you know like you described it going outside, just listening and, but when the kids are wild, I mean, I that’s what I do. Hey guys, let’s go outside, just run around a little. And then the wildness is outside now and

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Yeah, and that’s really challenging with the twins. Cause usually it’s just me and there’s two of them. Luckily they have become pretty darn good toddlers. And so I now in the last month, feel comfortable going on, walks with them being free. I’d bought leashes. And earlier in the spring they were both on a leash because they would walk in opposite directions. And when I had a single, I would never have put them on a leash. I always would, you know, raise an eyebrow at parents that had them on a leash. But when there’s two versus one I had to <laugh>

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah, just math man. It’s just math <laugh> yeah.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

They still go at very different speeds. One is always ahead. One is always dilly dialing behind me, but they listen really well. They’ll hold hands when we cross the street. So that’s nice. And my favorite time of day is walking because I can put on a podcast because they don’t talk yet. Twins apparently talk later than singles. James had a, a speech delay. He was two years old and had zero words, but he had really good receptive language skills. So he understood everything. So we weren’t really worried about him. We got hooked up with speech therapy and within three months he was ahead of schedule the same thing with the twins. Cecilia, the girl is super smart. She will say a word. And then when I say what’d you say, she’ll just give me a smile. Like, mm I’m not saying it again, daddy, they’re right there, but they’re not talking.

So we’re not going to bother trying potty training until they can talk. And yeah. So on walks, that is my time to get fresh air. And on top of being a stay-at-home dad, I’m also legally blind. I was born that way and my vision is 20 over 400. So what a person with normal vision can see at 400 feet, I have to get up at 20 to see. Wow. So I can’t drive. And so not only am I a stay at home dad, but I can’t put the kids in a car and take them to a park. I can walk to our dinky little neighborhood park, but I have to rely on family members to, if we have a doctor’s appointment, take them there. And so that’s even more isolating, you know, and has been a challenge.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Oh yeah, no, that just adds on top of normal fatherhood challenges. We’ve done it with, it seems like with grace and you know, like I said, you’ve been really empathetic about your wife, about your kids and I like that you have some self-care coming up for yourself. I mean that’s important, but doesn’t make it easier, you know? And I think the other challenge, not challenge, but that I’d had to keep in mind before with like a trip or things like that. It’s helpful sometimes, but it’s also not the be all end all, you know what I mean?

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Right. Yeah.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

It’s a start. But at the same time, you know, if there are other things you need on a regular basis, when you’re comfortable bringing it to your relationship, it makes sense. Like you said, you guys went through a lot, you know, and you’re still going through a lot, but it’s nice. It seems like there is some light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re saying this is my first trip, didn’t say a year. Right? You weren’t going on a

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Sure, for sure. And I, I feel comfortable with putting that on my wife’s shoulders with the whole postpartum thing. I was really hesitant to burden her with anything. And so she now tells me she can handle me being gone for three days. I believe her. I feel comfortable with that. And we are super fortunate. My mom lives half a mile south of us. Her parents live a mile north of us and her older sister lives with her parents. So we’ve got five caregivers that can help out. I work from home. I work for E site, which is a company that makes electronic glasses for visually impaired people. And now that I’m not coaching football anymore, I coach other legally blind people how to use this pair of electronic glasses. So I’m super fortunate that I get a work from home and work with the blind community.

And so Heidi’s parents come over three times a week so I can get my work stuff done and they aren’t in the best health to say the least their stamina. Isn’t very good, but they’re very generous with their time. Sometimes it’s almost more of a headache because I’m in my little home office. I hear everything that goes on in the house. So I hear some of the shenanigans that grandparents let him get into and just got to let it go. And then Heidi’s sister is super generous about driving. James has mild cerebral palsy and the way that manifests is his lower body is just stiff and doesn’t have great strength. So he does horse riding physical therapy once a week and that’s about a half hour away. So auntie’s nice enough to take him out there. And then my mom picks him up and takes him to school every day.

So I’m super lucky that we have this family infrastructure there and definitely takes the burden off of me not being able to drive. And with Heidi being a teacher, I don’t need to tell your listeners. Teachers work really, really hard. She leaves the house around seven 30 in the morning and she gets back around six 15 at night. So that’s challenging for her because the babies go to bed at six 30. And so that sucks for her, but it sucks for me too, because I’m sitting here just waiting for my partner to come home. And the last thing I want to  do is say here, take a baby, please. And you know, she deserves to decompress. And so finding that balance has been really challenging and you know, on the weekends she spends all that time during the work week. And then she deserves some time on the weekend too, but I want to  spend time with her and family time finding the balance is really tough.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

I’m sure it’s funny because you know, moms kind of have a head start on this just because there was stay at home moms before stay-at-home dads were as predominant. But you know, there are a lot of tools and just ideas that stay-at-home moms have developed because they’ve been through it. You know, one that I find really just insightful and true is, you know, it’s a job.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Oh yeah.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

And it not just in the work, but if you kind of view it through that lens and have your partner view it through that lens, it’s like, okay, like you were working seven to six. And I was working from now to now, you know, and I didn’t need to, like, we could get childcare, we could pay for a sitter and then I have to get another job, but I’m choosing not, you know, or whatever the case may be. I’m not putting that on you, but I’m more just saying, you know, more just suggesting, you know, Hey, it is a job and you know, but if you can put some guidelines around it or some sort of like, I can work extra, I do work extra and it’s not fully a job because it’s my family. And I love you guys. I want to  give as much as I can, but you know, you keep saying Cosmo, how much you’re you’re giving. And you’re, you know, you’re really sensitive to your wife, which is very important and your kids and you know, giving, giving, giving. But it’s just important as we keep saying, you know, can’t pour from an empty cup, you know, like if you’re tired all the time and it’s

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Hard. Yeah. My biggest struggle has been because I’ve got to be a house husband also, not just a dad, but a house husband. I’m not good at cleaning. I try my best and I’m getting better. But when my wife complains that the house isn’t in good enough shape, I know she values what I do as a dad, but it’s hard not to take it like, okay, the first word out of your mouth was, well, this is dirty. That’s dirty and that’s not put away. Okay. Well I wasn’t playing Xbox all day <laugh> and especially with two year olds, if I take five minutes and go do some dishes, sometimes they’re cool. Sometimes she bites him and gives him a big old mark on his hand or get something and unplug something’s that time to good house job recently getting a routine going every Friday I vacuum and mop the floors, which again is a legally blind person.

What I think is perfectly clean. Isn’t up to my wife’s standard. So that’s super frustrating too, where I think I did a bang up job. And then if I get on my hands and knees and get an inch off the floor, I can see, oh, I missed a bunch of spots. So that’s been challenging. And yet feeling undervalued, no matter what, it’s really emotionally draining because you, especially with two, you can’t ignore them. <Laugh> and when it was just one kid, sometimes he would occupy himself for 10 minutes and I can have 10 minutes for myself. But with twins, it’s very rare where they’re both occupied. One is usually looking for your attention. The best part of twins though is when James, our oldest would wake up from a nap or not want a nap, he would get mad and just scream. And I would go get him with the twins when they wake up or they choose not to nap. They’re in cribs next to each other in an L shape. And they just babble at each other. They throw their stuffed animals back and forth. So when they wake up at 6 45, am I tell our smart speaker device play the playlist babies. And then on the smart speaker in their room, it plays Casper baby pants. That’s an artist that I’ve found. He does some beetles, baby covers and just pleasant stuff. Casper,

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Baby pants, Casper,

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Baby pants. Would’ve never thought. And the babies will just dance in their cribs and hop around and play tug of war. And so I can leave them in there for a half hour and they’re cool that extra space and time to myself has been really nice. And they’re definitely dropping their naps for the most part. They still tolerate quiet time in there or bouncing around in their cribs going crazy time. But this summer I’ve definitely got to transition them to one nap. And I don’t want to  do that.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

<Laugh> yeah. Giving up some time. No, I know. I know that’s hard. Cause the routine is so helpful. I mean, I, I think with everything, having a routine just helps.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Yeah, for the babies and for me, I am a stickler for the timing of everything. Nine o’clock, the babies are going in the stroller and going on a walk and thank goodness they like it. Like I said, I can put on my EarPods and listen to podcast and push them around the neighborhood for an hour. And they’re happy. The little annoying thing is they like to bring toys on the walk now. And if I let them, I’m halfway through the walk day, start throwing them <laugh> and then I’m having to stop and then they immediately throw it. And eventually I say, it’s going in my pocket. You’re done. And now they’re upset. So I’ve got to be a Scrooge and say, no, no toys on walks babies. But yeah, the two walks a day have helped keep me sane. And just that rigidity of the schedule. If the babies don’t get it, when I get them from their afternoon nap, they both see me with my little hat on, they say, wha wha wha for a walk. And

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

They know the walks coming.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Yeah. And it’s super cute at bedtime when they waddle into their room and they get their animals all together. C the boy likes to sleep with a turtle, a little stuffed turtle and a one blanket. Cecilia likes every other stuffed animal in the whole house. So her crib is absolutely full of like four Donald ducks and a bunch of other animals. He’s got one little thing it’s really cute.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

That’s awesome. Cause you know, we spend a lot of time because your kids are home, but the twins are home of you caring for the twins and some of the challenges there. And we haven’t really touched as much about, you know, the time you spend with James, your older son and how, you know, your twins coming into his life has affected him and has affected, you know, kind of your relationship and all that. I’d be curious to hear you talk about that for a second. If you don’t mind. Cosmo.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Yeah. James was born March 26th, 2015. Twins were born March 19th, 2020. So they’re one week apart when they’re older, they’ll have birthdays on back to back weekends. So James was about to turn five and with his mom being on bedrest for six months prior to that, and that was the beginning of the pandemic. It was super tough on him. Any one of those things could really mess with a little five year old, be it a pandemic or going from only child to now third fiddle or mom being gone for six months. Any one of those? It was tough. He did virtual preschool for one semester and then virtual kindergarten for a whole year. So he was really isolated for a year and a half. My mom came over and sat with him during virtual kindergarten. Cause the twins were infants. At that point, it’s been really challenging to try and get some one-on-one time with James.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

And my mom has really picked up that slack. He goes and spends the night, once a week with her so he can get that individual attention. And my mom has been very generous and willing to come over and watch the baby so I can get some time with it’s slowly getting better. I’m taking to his first Dodger game this Saturday and that’ll be a nice fathers milestone. Yeah. On my podcast recently I’ve started watching of star Trek the next generation season one with James. And he’s always been very sensitive to any kind of TV or movie with antagonists. He doesn’t like it. He gets nervous. So it’s been really picking and choosing what he’s seen and he’s seen star Trek, but nothing with a scary alien or a bad guy, just the really innocent episodes. And if we watch star wars, we always fast forward through the it’s like a 30 minute movie with my edit of it, with dad edit. That’s good. And now he’s at an age where can handle it. And so we watch an episode and then I have him give the plot summary and give his thoughts on it. And it’s just five minutes of my podcast, but it’s funny hearing a seven year old retell the story and that’s been a fun thing to share. My dad read to me every night. And I remember the first adult book he read me was the princess bride. And he took me to the movie first and that was the first grown up movie I saw in the theater. And then he asked if I wanted to read the novel and then that opened up other novels, like treasure island, black stallion series. And so on my Kindle with the big print, I read him a couple of novels, like the black stallions.

That’s a good age appropriate book for the under 12 crowd. So we read two of those and Charlotte’s web, even with large print reading, isn’t super easy for me, but that’s a tradition I want to get back into. It’s kind of fallen off. And my wife has been reading him a couple of more advanced books, but I think reading is a great bonding experience. One thing that we’re just now starting to navigate is the screen time thing. We have really kept them away from iPads. TV’s one thing, but just computers, video games and iPads we’ve kept away from. And the little bit he’s had, I’ve really seen how obsessed he can get. He went up with mom to cabin big bear for a weekend. And the first day I FaceTimed him at the end of the night and I said, what’d you do today? And Heidi says he watched three movies on the iPad. You’re up in the mountains. What are you doing? Watching three movies on the iPad, buddy. <Laugh> it’s such a crazy world. When, when I was a teenager, we had the dialup internet, you know, and AOL instant messenger. So it’s really foreign territory for me. How have you dealt with the electronics and your kids

 

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

I know that’s not a word it’s been a struggle, but this sort of challenges that go through my head are one, I see how obsessed they get. Yeah. Not only just like sitting and watching, you’re kind of like, you know, from the couch, but then also when we start playing some video games and like games and things like that, it’s just, that’s all he wants to do. You know? And the other day he had a birthday party and wanted to stay home, to play video games. So to go, you know, and like that’s very normal, but not acceptable. <Laugh>, you know, obviously <laugh>, it’s like, Hey Nope. You know, I understand you want to  do that, but that’s not how it works. And then the flip side I just gave a bunch of negatives is like the world we live in is all digital, not watching TV as much, but you know, he has a Chromebook with his school and he’s learning to touch screen and he is learning. He’s doing math apps through it. And he’s actually learning through some of the games too, in the future. He’s going to be on the computer. I mean, you know, so that’s whatever looks like when our kids grow up,

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

It’s crazy how obsessed they get. Even the twins at two years old, they have not done anything with my phone, but auntie will bring out the little flashcard baby apps and they now associate that with her. So they go and will aggressively go for her phone and she’ll give into them. They don’t know what they’re missing if they don’t get it. And James has had very limited exposure to video games. Yeah. Let him watch me play flight simulator a few times. And I tried teaching him Mario cart, 64 and he just kept into the wall. So I said, OK, you know, maybe in a year or so, you’ll try that again. But I’m in no hurry to get him addicted to that stuff. And when his cousin was visiting in town also seven years old, and one morning he was on his mom’s iPhone, the cousin was and just totally ignoring James for like a good hour. It’s amazing how they latch onto it. And it brings out those antisocial behaviors.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah. It really can. So to sort of, you know, shortcut the answer, you know, what we do is we don’t allow it every day and we also set time limits on it. So it’s just a very clear, you get this amount of time and you know, that’s that. And then if there’s a big issue at the end, then that’ll affect the time tomorrow.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

<Laugh> exactly. That’s what I’m just dealing with. Now, when I say TBS off, and if you’re going to fuss, then that’s going to affect your next TV and it might be zero because you, when I say TV’s done, I’ve already been generous and you need to say, okay dad.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Yeah, the problem is that’s very logical, but our kids’ heads aren’t logical, so they’re not necessarily making that connection. And, you know, cause they’re living just in this very little moment and then it’s over. And then the next day you’re trying to teach a lesson where it’s like,

Like, what, why can’t I watch TV? And I, you know, so that is a tough one, but screen time will always, you know, I think will always be a challenge. And then at the same time, you know, I had a friend or two growing up who had no screen time and they were a little weird, you know, <laugh>, you know what I mean?

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

It’s all about balance with anything in life balance, diet, balance electronics. And luckily James has a great imagination and he can play with my old GI Joe’s, he’s a bunch OFS from me. He Legos

Dreading being a dad’s television, had some gyms, but we’ve been really lucky in the things James has really attached to have all been really lovely tumble leaf is Amazon prime, original and it’s Claymation and it’s really beautiful and it’s mellow and it’s just about problem solving. And I teared up during the serious finale of it. <Laugh> it was that, that suite of a show, Pete, the cat’s another good one. That’s on Amazon prime. He’s really into bluey right now. He watches that over grandma’s house and he’s obsessed with it. And I was kind of rolling my eyes at it, but it’s also, it’s an Australian show and it’s about playing with your parents and just finding adventures with your family. Okay. I came behind that. So he hasn’t really grasped onto anything. He likes paw patrol for a minute. And that definitely wasn’t my favorite, but I’m lucky. One of his favorite things is a show from my youth, the adventures of Brisco county, junior starring Bruce Campbell. And it was only around for one season. It was canceled by Fox. And it’s a cowboy show with a little bit of sci-fi in it. I bought it on streaming and he likes it. So that’d been fun to revisit some old stuff. He likes the princess bride and it’s been fun sharing that stuff as he’s gotten older.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

No, that’s awesome. Yeah. Having like you said, a little higher quality stuff out there and you’re right. Yeah. I’ve seen a lot of the kids’ stuff I can get behind as well. I, paw patrol was not my favorite. The other one I would caution you against is coco melon.  I would avoid that one personally. That’s just one where the kids loved it, but that’s one where their eyes get like hypnotized. You’re like, Hey, are you, are you still here? Hello. Hello. But they, you know, they like it, but you can choose. That’s the nice part. Yeah.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

It’s been interesting. Him being interested. He’s just from, I guess friends he’s asked me about Jurassic park because of the new one and I’m like, you’re not going to see Jurassic park. He’s very prone to nightmares. So I’m like, I will show you the clip from the end of the movie where the T-Rex fights the Raptors and saves the day. That’s it. That’s my two minute edit of that movie, but he’s asked me about jaws. No, you’re not going to see that. And he wants to see Lord of the rings. Oh, I’m sure you’re going to have lots of nightmares about those Orks buddy. And so <laugh>, I look forward to the day where he is old enough and I can share those kind of things with him the first time he sees jaws. I hope he’s impressed by it, but you know, who knows what this generation’s going to think of the effects from, you know, way back then. Yeah. Are they going to roll their eyes at it or not?

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

That’s part of the fun, like you’re saying, and part of the adventure, you know, the other side of video games or, or those sort of things is my son and I are playing Mario right now. And so we have that bonding experience, you know yeah. Against time here, but we’re hitting against our time here. But the last thing I wanted to talk about or just ask you about a little Cosmo is, you know, your podcast, like you said, is a podcast, but also in some ways it’s almost a journal for you.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

You. Absolutely.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

And I’d be curious, you know, to hear about how that works for you. If you have, you know, things you want to talk about in your head, when you just push record, if you push record, then delete how you use it. Cause most people use journals or not most, but just you hear about it more traditionally, like writing down and that’s fine, but there’s a lot of ways to journal so to speak. So yeah. I’d love you to talk about that for a minute. If you don’t

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Mind. I don’t know what prompted me to do it? I started it right after the babies were born. A coworker was talking about how they were using a platform that was super easy and that was always a hurdle for me. I am not tech savvy enough to figure out microphones and RSS feeds and all that stuff. And he told me about a free platform that spreads it out to apple podcasts and everything else. And I checked out the app. It was easy enough. I just talked into my iPhone. I had no expectations going into it. And it’s super modest podcast. I was just looking at the analytics and I’ve had 2,500 listens total. I’m shocked that I have that many because I just push, play and talk. I, I don’t edit it. It’s just really raw. And with me being legally blind, my writing, isn’t great.

And then I’d have trouble reading it anyways. So I can’t really write in an old leather bound journal. And I thought about typing one on a, a notepad or something, but I just needed somebody to talk to really, and with the postpartum wife and the infant babies and the pandemic, I figured I’ll just talk at a podcast and maybe some dad out there who’s going through postpartum stuff too. Will find some value in it. In those early episodes, the babies were rough sleepers. Baby girl was pretty good. By six months, she was sleeping alone in the crib <laugh> and it was awesome, but Cade, he would only fall asleep on me once asleep. I could put him in this little baby swing and he’d be cool for an hour or two, but then he would only fall asleep on me. And if I put him in the crib he’d barf and then everything soiled.

So from, they were born in March until Christmas time, he was sleeping on me in my Lazy boy chair and because of the wife’s PTSD and me being hypervigilant and my PTSD about it, I put all that on me and I said, you need your sleep. I don’t want to  deal with triggered wife. So I was the one just sleep deprived, sleeping with a baby on me. And so there are some episodes where I just put my phone on my shoulder and I vented to my podcast with a sleeping baby on me. It was really crucial to my mental health, just to be able to talk. I haven’t really had many interactions with anybody. I was really shocked when you reached out to me and it’s really kind of an honor to be with you on your show. And as it’s evolved, if things have gotten better, I don’t really usually have a plan.

And sometimes I am motivated to talk about a current event like those awful shootings recently. I had a, a pretty heated discussion with myself about it. And then sometimes I just want to  talk about the new OB one Kenobi series and give my thoughts on that. And I’m definitely interested in talking to other dads. That’s something I haven’t really done. I’ve talked about it with a couple people, but never really pushed it. And you’re inspiring me to do that a little bit more. And I’m actually going to record an episode with one of my other coworkers this week. And talk about the newest star Trek shows. It’s been really nice to just have somebody to talk to. And when you can’t talk to a postpartum wife about how you’re frustrated with how things are going. And so talking at my phone for the podcast has been a kind of a lifeline for me.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

That’s amazing. I appreciate you sharing that Cosmo. Cause it’s sort of counterintuitive. It’s almost like the placebo effect, you know, how the placebo effect works. Well, why does it help? You know, if you’re feeling lonely to talk to an iPhone, it’s like, well, let’s not talking to an iPhone. There’s like other things happening there, but it works. You know, and for me, I think, you know, I’ll journal more, you know, on paper, but it helps organize my feelings. It’s like, all right, I’m not feeling there’s a lot going on or something feels off and yeah, by spinning it out sometimes, you know, I, yeah, I wish I were out with a buddy at a bar or something and we could be chatting about it, you know, another dad, but sometimes that’s not possible often it’s not possible. It’s just get my emotions control or understand them more. And then

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Absolutely. And it’s helped me work things out before. Sometimes I’ll be fired up about something and I’ll, I’ll be resentful about something. And I’ll just the act of me talking it out, gets those thoughts together. And then by the end, I realize it’s not that big of a deal. And then I will hit delete. And I’ll say, eh, you know, the thing that I’ve been going around in my head about once I verbalize it, not that big of a deal

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

That is often the case and with everything in line with so many things in life, but it’s just easy to get caught up in our own head and little issues can consume life, you know, altering your life changing and often, Hey, it’s actually not, you know, just take a breath, let’s see everything we have to do and where we actually are count our blessings. You know, we all have blessings to count. I mean, you know, I, I have challenges. You have challenges obviously, and, but we’re making it, you know, we’ve got beautiful kids and <laugh> here. We are. So Cosmo, I really appreciate you joining me on the podcast here today. And like I said earlier, now that we’re ending on the podcast, you can catch Cosmo on live long and dad, you can find on all the podcast platforms. Cosmo, thanks again for joining us.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

My pleasure. And if you want to  see some pictures of the kids, I am on Instagram, it’s at Cosmo, C O S M O underscore more M O O R E. Feel free to check out there. Lots of pictures of the kiddos there. And if you are a star Trek fan, I have a super nerdy star Trek account at star fleet panels on Twitter. I used to be at Livingston card, which was captain Picard’s fish in his little ready room, but I got banned on Twitter. <Laugh> don’t know why, you know, it’s cool for white supremacists to be on Twitter, but a nerdy guy pretending to be a star Trek fish banned. The gist of it is I sell the consoles that explode on all the star Trek ships. So post pictures there too. So that’s at star fleet panels on Twitter and Cosmo underscore more on Instagram. Kids are cute. I encourage you to go check them out. They’re feisty little kiddos.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Oh, I’m sure. Sounds like you’re doing a great job with them,

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

Thank you.

Will Braunstein, A Dad’s Path:

Thanks again, Cosmo for joining us here.

Cosmo, Live Long and Dad:

This is a lot of fun. Thanks for having me. Awesome.

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