Gay Dad Life

One Gay Dad's Arduous Ascent Atop Potty Mountain

Potty training can feel like climbing a mountain with many peaks and valleys. Here are some words of wisdom from one gay dad who made the ascent and lived to tell the tale.

BSA Photography

Anyone with kids can probably attest that potty training is literally one of the hardest things you've encountered as a parent so far. I know I sure as heck can. It really felt like we were climbing a mountain... in flip-flops! There were highs that were full of celebrations with potty treats and dancing while we cheered our girl on. But then, just as things were looking good, it takes a sharp turn for the worse. Get ready, because there are just as many lows. I am talking full of sheer and utter dread. There were days that I felt so defeated.

Just when it seemed like we had started hiking up that mountain again, we'd fall almost right back to the bottom.

But I am here to tell you, there is hope!


Be prepared for anything

Starting out on the potty training journey, I was so eager for it to begin. In hindsight, maybe I was a little too eager.

I quickly went to Costco and got a great big jug of M&M's to serve as our potty treats. And we were off to the races!
It started great! Sometimes she would tell me when she needed to go, and other times, I would ask her if she needed to go. Many times she'd say yes and other times she wouldn't and messes were made.

After about a week and half into this new journey the novelty of the whole process wore off. I didn't know what to do. I read many, many articles about what NOT to do and one really stood out. "Don't lose your cool."

REALLY!? I just wiped poop off the walls, floor, bed frame AND toy box and I am supposed to be cool as a cucumber?

Bless my baby's heart. I know she was learning. And I know that I'd get hot headed sometimes. She was still processing this.
She was really trying hard too. And as gross as some days were, it was adorable to see her effort. I did not want to come across mad at something she couldn't control or didn't understand. I absolutely do not want her to feel like she had failed.

I quickly needed to reassess my expectations. I needed to be prepared for anything. Good days are awesome... but bad days are going to happen. That's life. I needed to get over it and know that I am making memories, and one day we would laugh at this.

Think outside the box

Once the novelty wore off, I was at a loss. I didn't know how to keep it fresh, new and exciting. A fun environment is what she enjoyed. Another thing I found problematic was I would forget to remind her to go potty. Whether I was with our youngest daughter or cooking dinner, sometimes, especially if we were doing good with this potty routine, I would "drop the ball" by not keeping her on schedule. Because of that, accidents were also made.

In the midst of feeling perplexed about what to do next, a dear friend told me what she did with her daughter. She said "get a potty clock! And bring books into the bathroom." The clock will help get you there in time and the books will keep her entertained. It's funny, I knew about the books but when you are so far up this mountain you forget about helpful suggestions from others that were made in the past.

We have a grandfather clock that just so happens to chime every 15 minutes. Perfect! That was our potty clock. I grabbed some new books that she hadn't read before and I would read to her to help her relax. My dear friend's suggestions were brilliant! It was like we took off the flip-flops and put on mountain boots!

Make it fun

Those suggestions were awesome! She was pottying all the time. It got to the point where she would remember that she needed to go and I didn't have to remind her. She loved getting her potty treat and everything was great, except she stopped pooping.

I read many things about this happening. It is very common. A lot of it has to do with feeling shameful or embarrassed about this process being gross and because of that, she held it in and would not go. Something else for us to think about was that we love pasta and cheese in this house. If it were up to my husband, he'd eat pasta every night. Because of that, it could cause her difficulty to make bowel movements. Our pediatrician told us to give the girls a half dose of milk of magnesia every day and that would help with the ease of going.

We were still at a wall with going "number 2" until I had an idea.

When I was a kid, I created this game for my sister who is 10 years younger than me. I transformed my room into a place called "Rainbowland." I used my motorized disco light to cast colors all over the room with exciting disney scores playing in the background. She would walk on clouds (pillows) until she got to the door where I had a treasure box full of

Mardi Gras beads. My sister was able to pick a prize and then it was over- Quick and fun.

That's it! I needed to make it fun. If I was able to have her enjoy going to the potty, for whatever reason, I felt like I would see big results. So I recreated "Rainbowland!"

I made a ticket with her name so when she poops in the potty, she gets a ticket to "Rainbowland." I made a treasure chest and started to fill it with different things I knew she loved.

I ordered rhinestones from Amazon, I added Mardi Gras beads, dress up clothes, necklaces and bracelets.

I wanted to keep it new and exciting, so I replaced different items to keep it fun and fresh. Each time she goes, she sees something that wasn't in the treasure box before- and it worked

She is still as excited to go to "Rainbowland" now as she was in the beginning. She is thrilled when she goes to the potty and gets her ticket. To see her excited like this absolutely makes me melt. It is such a cheesy idea, but it worked for us!

The struggle is real when it comes to climbing potty mountain! I quickly found that I would use whatever tactic that could work. And for us, this has.

They get big so fast! It's easy to get caught up in the emotions of the potty training journey, but keep in mind- this too shall pass.

I cannot believe she is 3 years old already. It feels like yesterday we were trying to figure out how this tiny preemie could keep her baby formula down. Now, she is using the bathroom on her own! This stage will quickly fade into so many others, so I savor every single second. We could not be more proud of our big girl.

BSA Photography

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I would love for you to follow our family's journey!

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Gay Dad Life

How Canada's 'Gay Dollar' Helped This Gay Man Reflect on His Biggest Regret—Not Having Kids

Canada unveiled a 'gay dollar' coin earlier this year, helping Gregory Walters reflect on the progress the LGBTQ community has made—and his decision to forgo having children children

Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

Gregory decision to forgo having children, he says, is his "greatest regret." While he takes responsibility for some of this decision, he also adds: "society's view of homosexuals and its opinions regarding gay adoptions also played a major part."

To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Gay Dad Life

8 Pics of Ricky Martin Being an Adorable Dad Because Why Not?

Here's some pics of Ricky Martin being an adorable dad because we've ALL had a long week and deserve this don't we??

Earlier this year, in January 2019, superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family. With twin 9-year-old sons in the house as well, Ricky and Jwan now have a very full casa. Fortunately, the dads are giving us a little glimpse into their chaotic but fun-filled home lives via Instagram. We rounded up 8 of our fav recent parenting pics by the popstar because we've all had long weeks and we deserve this don't we??

Enjoy!

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Gay Dad Life

17 T.V. Shows Featuring Gay Dad Characters

Gay dads are all the rage on the small screen these days... here are 17 shows that prominently feature gay dad characters!

The 2019-2020 TV season will soon be upon us! In recent years, gay dad characters have been all the rage... will we see more representation this fall? We sure hope so! But in the meantime, we'll be content reviewing this list of 17 shows that have (somewhat) prominently featured gay dad characters!

Also we KNOW we're missing some, so drop us a line in the comments to tell us what we should add!

1. Grace & Frankie

In this Netflix original series, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play gay dads who come out to their wives and children well past their primes. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play the ex-wives, rounding out the star-studded cast. Now in its fourth season, the show has been well received and sheds an interesting light on the complications involved with fathers who come out later in life.

Change the World

Judge's Decision in NY 'Compassionate Surrogacy' Case Involving Gay Dad Overturned

Though compensated surrogacy remains illegal in New York State, "compassionate surrogacy" arrangements are remain legal

Last week, an unanimous four-judge panel, part of the New York Appellate Division in Brooklyn, New York, revived a gay dad's petition to adopt his son born via surrogacy. The dad, identified as "Joseph P." in court documents, had earlier been denied his petition to adopt by a Queens County Family Court Judge, John M. Hunt. The Queens judge denied the petition because compensated surrogacy contracts are illegal in New York. However, the child born to Joseph was born via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning his gestational surrogate was not compensated.

The Appellate court's decision, written by Justice Alan D. Scheinkmanm called Hunt's decision "clearly erroneous," and held that a new Family Court judge should re-hear the case.

Judge Hunt's decision is all the more confusing since Joseph had actually already become a father via surrogacy in New York—three times over. In each instance, he used donor eggs and a friend serving, voluntarily, as the gestational surrogate. He had his first child in 2012, and then twins the following year. In all three instances, a Family Court judge granted Joseph's adoption petition, given that each child was conceived via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning no money changes hands in the course of a surrogacy journey between carrier an intended parent. This type of surrogacy arrangement is not illegal under to New York law. The social worker in Joseph's latest attempt to adopt, Gay City News noted, also gave him a favorable review, calling him "a mature, stable, and caring person who intentionally created a family of himself, the twins, and John."

Gay City News notes: "Justice Scheinkman provided a careful description of the laws governing surrogacy in New York. The Legislature provided that surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and treated as void. However, the only surrogacy contracts actually outlawed are those where the surrogate is compensated. It was clear to the Appellate Division that the Legislature did not mean to outlaw voluntary surrogacy arrangements, merely to make them unenforceable in the courts. Those who enter into a compensated surrogacy agreement face a small monetary fine and people who act as brokers to arrange such agreements are liable for a larger penalty. There is no penalty for voluntary, uncompensated surrogacy arrangements."

Read the full article here.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

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Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Fatherhood, the gay way

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