Todd Piro: My 6 week paternity leave adventure — between bottles and Baby Shark, watching love unfold

by pregnancy journalist

‘Fox & Friends First’ co-host Todd Piro signs off for six weeks of dad time.

Six weeks…or as the team on “Fox and Friends FIRST” called it – the “Spring of Todd.”  

Playing off the old “Seinfeld” episode called “The Summer of George,” where the character George Costanza plans an activity-filled three months away from work that ultimately ends with him failing to leave his apartment, I told the “FIRST” team – mostly parents themselves — about all the tasks I was going to accomplish during my paternity leave.

They laughed…and mocked me for my naivete.

And even though I knew they were probably correct – that I would get none of my tasks done – I didn’t know how correct they would prove to be.

-Finally watch “Mad Men”?  Ha!  Some days I didn’t have time to turn on the TV.

-Streamline my contacts list? The only “contact” I contacted was my wife and that was to ask “WHERE do I put that cream?” “How do I tell the difference between the different cries?” and “Why is there a color wheel for what comes out of this child?”

That smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles – is what I will cherish the most. There is nothing better. 

-Follow a workout regimen of running and flexibility training? The only running I did was to heat up bottles to soothe a screaming child and the only flexibility I demonstrated was the incessant one-handed bend to pick up the pacifier thrown to the floor approximately 20 times a day!

And you know what – I wouldn’t change a thing – because if I did one thing correctly in my anticipation of leave, it was to remind myself to enjoy the ride. When I look back on high school and college, I regret that I was so focused on the end goal that I didn’t appreciate the journey. Thanks to the benefits of wisdom that come with getting older, I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.  

That doesn’t mean the ride is easy – and every parent knows that. So, I tried to capture my first-time father’s observations for the world to see on social media (Twitter: @toddpiro; Instagram: @todd.piro).  Among my “favorites”:

-When you are not changing or feeding your kid, you are performing a constant song and dance routine where you inject your child’s name into every third word of the music and jump around your kitchen like an inebriated uncle at a wedding. A flailing of body parts and creepy clown face expressions that somehow is the greatest sight in your baby’s new life every single time you do it.

-The Nose Frida: if you know what it is, you understand. If you don’t, please don’t look it up – just maintain your innocence as long as you can.

-Baby Shark works. It just does. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I don’t care.

But my favorite observation from the past six weeks needs no witty description. It’s simply watching love unfold before your eyes.  A love in her eyes for you.  A love for her in a part of your heart you didn’t know existed.

It’s a love where everything you say is the funniest.  And if you’ve seen “Fox and Friends FIRST,” not everything I say is as funny as I think it is – just ask my co-anchor Jillian!

It’s a love where even the vilest of tasks are ones you know you will miss one day – maybe not tomorrow… maybe not 6 months from now… but one day.

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It’s a love where boxing up the infant clothes that she has already grown out of causes you to weepily wail “Butterfly Kisses” around the house (OK – even my wife makes fun of me for that!).

And it’s a love that makes the challenges of our times 100% worth it.

I cannot thank Fox enough for providing all fathers who work here with such a generous paternity leave. This experience has changed me in a profound way and in ways I won’t fully comprehend until my daughter is older. But for now – that smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles – is what I will cherish the most. There is nothing better. 

And, while it may not have been the “Spring of Todd,” it was without a doubt the time of my life.

This content was originally published here.

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