When I first found out I was going to be a father, 24 years ago, I really wanted a boy. I think most fathers want their first child to be a boy.
She was not a boy. I got over it quickly though. I learned about this thing called daddy’s girl.
I had never experienced this before. I have no sisters and no female cousins.
My grandparents had 4 girls…my mom and 3 aunts, but I didn’t get to experience the daddy’s girl phenomena through their eyes either. My youngest aunt is only 5 years older than me but I only remember her living up to the youngest child’s expectations, you know, getting into lots of trouble.
Suddenly I had this little tiny human being dependent on me as a dad. I was the daddy part of daddy’s girl.
She’s 23 now and has her first child. A boy. I bet she wanted a girl.
I have my second daughter now. She’s closing in on 5. I am living the daddy’s girl dream again. There is really nothing quite like it.
I have my son and we have our father-son things but there is an unbreakable bond between a dad and his daughter(s). With my oldest, we talk life all the time. I am probably more honest with her than anyone else.
With Izzy, I get to do it all over again. Daddy daughter dates, daddy daughter dance (I never got to do this with Arielle), daddy daughter movies, and the list goes on.
There is one thing Arielle never really cared to do that Izzy loves. Izzy loves piggyback rides.
My back, not so much.
How Do You Say No?
I can’t say no to her when she wants a piggyback ride. It’s like I am breaking her heart. The look of disappointment on her face.
It’s not that I have back issues per se. But like 80% of adults I have back pain. Pain from sitting too long, walking too much, sneezing too hard, sleeping, breathing….you name it.
I rough house all the time with the kids and every once in a while, they get me good in the back. Ouch.
Whenever it’s time to get ready for bed, brush her teeth, get something upstairs or downstairs or do anything that requires leaving the current area she wants a piggyback ride now.
She has no problem tracking me down and making her best attempt at jumping on my back before we start moving. This really does not help anyone.
I came up with a dad hack for anyone dad who also goes through this.
Dad Hack One – Save a Daddy’s Back
Don’t Start on the Floor
My daughter weights somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds. We don’t weigh her so she only gets weighed at her annual physical which is in March. She was 38 pounds this past March.
Unless you’re a bodybuilder or athlete, trying to lift 40 plus pounds on your shoulders from the floor is tough. I can do it as can most adult men, but it puts undue stress on your back.
Plus, Izzy (like any Gombar) does not know how to remain still. These kids can’t even stay still when they sleep.
Start from the Couch or Chair.
Starting from a couch or chair gives your back the support it needs while your child climbs on. There’s no additional pressure put on your back during this process.
For me, it’s almost like a free shoulder massage that ends too quickly. She climbs on and promptly puts her hands on my head to stabilize herself.
She’s actually pretty good at this. We’ve been told she is going to be very athletic and you can already see signs of it just from her mounting my back (and the year of gymnastics she has under her belt).
Life with Your Legs
It sounds cliché, I know.
It is so important though. I spent some time working in warehouses and we used to hear this all the time.
I largely ignored those warnings and lifted with my back often. It’s quicker and easier until you hurt your back.
When you stand up, make sure you don’t try to lift your back. Use your very powerful leg muscles to do all the work.
Hold your daughter’s (or son’s) calves so they don’t move too much while your lifting. A sudden jerk in either direction can be very painful, and bring you too your knees fast.
This is probably the most important part of the hack so don’t mess this one up.
Never try to lift them with your back or neck. It might not seem that you are hurting yourself but this motion over time will have adverse effects.
This is the hardest part because it can seem a little awkward. Using your hands move them to one side of your neck.
Make sure you are not putting the weight on your shoulders but rather use your arms to control the weight.
Then pick them up and place them down on a chair or bed. Be careful not to bend your back while doing this.
If you need to lower them down, then bend your knees to do this. You will hurt your back and/or neck when if you ignore this warning.
The Most Important Step
Now give them a big hug because you are still able to after following these steps. Doesn’t it feel good?
That’s it for The Dad Tax’s first Dad Hack. I have a few more already planned. Let me know what you think!