From first-time Dad to just a Dad

Note from the Editor: Happy Friday friends! It’s time for some Dad Stalking! This week we hear from my good friend, Alan Kercinik, out of Chicago. Alan writes his own blog, Always Jacked, and I’m so humbled that he finds time between his real job, his family, and his blog to write once a month for lil’ ol’ me. Thanks Alan! This week, we get a glimpse into the life of a father who’s expecting his second son. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment! Ask questions! Participate! We love it. Thanks for reading each week. xo -Kel

Our second son is due in six weeks.

Six weeks.

It sounds awful to say this, but sometimes I almost forget that we’re having another kid. Not forget, exactly. Clearly I know my wife is pregnant. I’ve been to the doctor’s with her. I’ve heard his heartbeat.

But just like you don’t ever really forget your first love, you don’t forget the experience of having your first child. Firsts of anything take all of your energy and thought.

Every doctor’s visit was a major event. Every kick and movement was a wonder. Every unusual feeling was a consult to What To Expect When You’re Expecting.

It’s different now. This isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve seen the movie. Heard the song. We know what to expect.

At least, we think we do. You never know what the kid is going to be like until they actually show up, do you?

The other difference this time, of course, is Jack. Our two-year old tornado. I don’t think he can walk. He trots everywhere.

I didn’t know it was possible to love someone with the ferocity I do my son.

Well, I did. I love my wife that way. Both of them, I just watch them being them and they make me laugh for not other reason than I like them both so much.

Most of my spare energy and thought goes to Jack. Hanging out with him. Playing. Reading him stories. Singing to him at bedtime. (The Monkees and the Spider-Man theme song are currently in heavy rotation.) Keeping him from jumping off couches or climbing up the kitchen cabinets.

He takes a lot of energy, so it’s sometimes hard to find the brain space to think about his brother.

This scares the holy hell out of me.

I was the older of two boys. There was a pretty big age gap between us, almost seven years. When he was born, I was already in kindergarten.

Of course, he needed the majority of my parents’ attention. Of course, people came to the house to see the baby. Or course, he was cute and cooed over.

Of course, I felt like I had suddenly been forgotten.

I wonder, sometimes, that if I love Jack as much as I do, how I can possibly love another child nearly as much. Do I have that much love in me to give? Because as I get older, I feel like I have less. Or rather, I’m willing to dole it around to fewer people. I’ve gotten stingier with my affections.

Like right now. I’m in my office, writing this post. Jack is up earlier than he should be and he’s calling for me. “Dada. Dada. Daddy!.” That didn’t work, so he switches tactics. “Alan! Alan! Alan!” He knows what I think when he calls me by my first name.

How can I not give this kid as much of my time and attention as possible? I never want him to feel, for one second, ignored or forgotten. But he’s going to, no matter how hard we try to make sure that he isn’t.

Women are better at this. They’re emotions seem to run so much deeper, an endless, bottomless pool. My wife, she lives for other people. She’ll do this well.

It’s me I worry about.

I don’t worry about Jack.

We had an ultrasound this week. When I came home from work that night, he had the pictures in his hand when I came into the house. My wife was smiling.

“Tell Dada who that is.”

“Baby brother,” Jack told me. Then he smiled this smile that about broke my heart.

“That’s right, buddy,” I said, putting down my bag. “You’re going to be a big brother. What do you think?”

He considers. “Ooooh. Fun.”

He’s right, the way that children often are because they just react instead of spending too much time fretting over all the junk that will cloud their heads when they’re older.

It will be fun.

Knowing how to hold a baby. Teaching him to crawl and walk. Even though these things feel like they happened a million years ago, they will all come back to me.

I hope one other thing does, too.

I used to take the night feedings with Jack. Three in the morning and we’d sit on our living room couch, the world dark and quiet around us. Just the two of us. I truly think this is how we bonded, those moments when I held him and he could tell that he was safe and loved.

I would be tired and bleary eyed at work the next morning. Sore in the small of my back from too little sleep. In need of two cups of coffee.

I was happy about it.

And I’m going to be, again.


  1. JP says:

    Alan, we still just have one child, a son. You’ve captured so many of my own feelings as a dad including the beauty and bonding of night feedings and especially what can only be described as ferocious love. Thanks for a great post my friend!

  2. Cass says:

    Very, very sweet. Congratulations, Alan, and good luck!

  3. Renee says:

    Very well put, Alan! Made me a little weepy too, as it hit home–we are 8 weeks behind you two!

  4. alice says:

    Wonderful post.

  5. Anne says:

    By the sounds of it, you have enough love for 10 kiddos! Great read, Dada.