Born yesterday: my son on being human

It’s something you hear all the time: “I wasn’t born yesterday, illness you know!” And it means: “I’m too smart to fall for that.” Well, cure meet my son. He was born yesterday – 11:04 AM actually. I spent most of the night with him pacing the hospital halls, and maybe it’s sleep deprivation talking here, but I think somebody born yesterday has a lot to say to the rest of us. And loudly.

Archer Begs to Differ

1) There’s nothing more important than family

Sorry colleagues, clients, friends, social network followers. I love you all. But when it comes right down to it, you just can’t compete with my 8 pound little man or his mom, or his siblings. They are the thing that puts everything else into perspective.

2) Focus on the simple things

Eat, sleep, poop, clean up, and repeat. Okay, in the business world, the details might be different, but it all smells the same in the end.

3) Don’t lose the wonder

When my son opened his eyes for the first time yesterday, everything he saw was new new new. I hope he keeps looking around with the same sense of curiosity and awe in the awesomeness of the world around him (and take a minute to try it yourself – or find a kid to play with if you need help).

4) You can’t do everything yourself

Birth is the ultimate team effort. To my wife: thank you.

5) Outsiders really care

We’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support we’ve gotten from family,  business associates, friends, and strangers. People are generous and caring by nature if you open yourself up to them. But you have to open yourself up.

6) Trust the experts

Doctors, nurses, hospital custodians, all have been wonderful. But most wonderful of all, we can’t do what they do, so we’re extra grateful that they do it so well. (And a plug for my American friends: it’s also totally free!)

7) A well packaged bundle is good for everyone

I’m watching the nurses these days with swaddle envy. They are just so crisp and efficient, and they wrap him tighter than a tortilla. And although the baby hates the blankets going on, once he’s wrapped right, everyone’s life suddenly gets easier: my wife has less trouble nursing, he’s easier for me and the nurses to carry and pass around, and most importantly, he’s much happier than when I wrap him. But I’m working on it.

8 ) Names matter (but they’re hard)

Everybody’s got an opinion on what makes a good name. Ours were: easy to pronounce, easy to spell (particularly since Van Staalduinen is the last name), distinctive, but not so distinctive as to get the kid shoved in a locker every day. We also needed two names – one for a boy and one for a girl – and wanted to honour family with the middle names. All hard. But worth thinking about.

9) You’ll get your teeth, but it will take time

Patience is one of the biggest lessons of raising kids. Development just  takes time and no amount of over-parenting or worry will change that. Babies lose weight after they’re born. They won’t be able to eat solids or walk for many months. They’re babies. Deal with it. There are no Baby Einstein shortcuts in babies, business or anything eles (sorry Disney).

10) Sometimes, you just gotta yell

This blog is called Beg to Differ for a reason. And most of the time we try to be fair, balanced, diplomatic. But sometimes, life isn’t fair, and it’s okay to just open up your lungs and just yell like the day you were born. So go on. Make some noise. Then grow up and get on with the business of being human.

Well, it’s back to the hospital for me.

But Beg to Differ would love to hear from you:

  • What branding or business lessons have you learned about being human from babies or kids?

16 thoughts on “Born yesterday: my son on being human”

  1. “Eat, sleep, poop, clean up, and repeat.” <–Brilliant!

    The following really happened to me:
    I was hanging out with one of my friends who has three cool kids. The kids are all very quick witted and so I like chatting with them. One day we were talking about the differences between cartoons "in my day" and the ones they watch today. At one point I responded to the 10 year old by saying, "I beg to differ" (I knew you would appreciate that). Without missing a beat the 10 year old said to me, "Ok. Go ahead and beg. It might change my mind."

    To this day he is one of my favorite people.

    Easy Lesson: Be careful with the words you use. This kid was smart and used my words to get me off my game. It was quite funny.

    Deeper Lesson: Try your rock-solid pitch on a group of kids. They will help "refine" your approach.

    Congrats on the newest member of Beg to Differ. I look forward to learning more from Archer.

  2. Welcome, Archer. A very successful product launch, Jeanette & Dennis. Well done. Now to develop the logo and jingle 🙂

  3. Welcome Baby Archer George!! Way to go Mama Jeanette!! Loved your lessons on parenthood! My Grandfather wrote out ten lessons for his Grandchildren, here are two of his to share with your great family:

    #2. To learn to choose the optimistic rather than the pessimistic outlook. This is because I have known many happy optimists, but not one happy pessimist.

    #4. To learn at an early age, the joy of humour, the healing balm of kind words spoken from an understanding heart, the wisdom of books, the beauty of music and art in their mnay forms.”

    ~ from C.D. Shepard, My Poppa 😉

    Looking forward to meeting the newest little man in your lives! xo to all!

  4. Dennis – congratulations to you and your wife. I was waiting for a picture and you (with Archer’s cooperation of course) certainly exceeded expectations. I would definitely agree with you that newborns always create new perspectives. However, few people could lay them out as well as you. Take care and enjoy. Time only speeds up from hereon in.

  5. Dennis, congratulations to you and your family! Like Angela said, you and your perspectives are wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  6. Congratulations Dennis and Jeanette! Wonderful picture of the baby Archer and even more wonderful thoughts that you shared! Being a parent certainly makes you wiser, now I need to think of becoming wiser too I guess.

  7. Thanks for posting more photos, Archer is equally as adorable as his siblings with his own great look, I love his nose!! And Jeanette is the amazing super mom as always up and about looking great, day II!

    Starting with the Branding? hmmm, someone had to write it…

    We A.R.E. the Vanstaalduinens three.

    And what a great bunch they are!! Congrats again!!

  8. Lovely post. Congratulations to you and your wife.

    Our children bring us clarity if we choose to see it. My son (at 5 years old) said, “Dad, if you’re going to help me, you have to think like me.”

  9. Dennis,
    once again congrats to you all.

    Thanks for taking me back 23 years. I got into trouble (with MIL) for refusing to let her have a cuddle with #1 son (and grandson) the first evening. It was a special time.

    The time goes past so fast, enjoy ever moment!


    PS. Katie, absolutely love your Grandfathers optimist advice.

  10. Congratulations Dennis and Jeanette with newly born Archer. We are happy everything went well. He seems as loud as his father looking at the picture. Regards and kisses for you all from Holland

  11. Congratulations to you and your family! What a blessing!

    Your question is a good one for #brandchat! What do I learn from kids? I don’t have my own, but 22 nieces and nephews and volunteer work around kids. Kids master exploration, asking questions and innovation. That scales back at age five for many humans and is lost by eight years old for too many. I reflect back to eight year old me often for many reasons (as a matter of fact I have keynote around it called “I’m #1” – this kid in all of us.)

    We ALL must explore, ask question and innovate!

  12. Hello Dennis,

    Congratulations to you and your family! The little man certainly looks like he has a lot to say and I am sure it will be insightful. Obviously, from this heartfelt and wise post one can see the influence he has is already insightful.

    Wish you the best and hope you get some sleep.

    Your friend,
    Andrew Mueller

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