Meet Daniel, Father of Two

Tell us about yourself
My name is Daniel. My wife, Tascha, and I have two amazing kids: our 13 year-old daughter Nico and 2.5 year old son Risto. Yeah, that’s a big age gap…. I’m super involved with my kids, and since the pandemic disrupted business travel and traditional in-office routines, I’ve had the honor and joy of being able to put my son to bed nearly every single night for the past 2 years.

Tell us your favorite dad joke!
What do you call a fish with no eye? Ffffssshhhhhhhh. The joke plays better when you say it out loud.

What was your most rewarding moment as a dad?
When I truly appreciated that, however jaded I may be, literally every single thing in this world is new to my little kid and it all blows his/her mind. It was the moment that I embraced this revelation and—instead of sometimes getting annoyed that our 5 minute trip to the grocery store took 30, or essentially forcing mundanity upon them by trying to normalize the amazing—shifted my mindset, endeavoring to experience our world through their eyes. Watching my daughter’s face when she saw someone washing a window, staring mystified as soap suds slid slowly down the glass; indulging my son when he spots a helicopter or plane flying overhead and insists on marveling at those flying things until they cross the horizon out of sight. The day my little daughter told me that the reason it was so windy was because the tree branches were shaking, and that shaking motion had created the wind we were feeling.

What is your most valuable dad advice and how would a new parent apply it to their daily life?
I was lucky enough to have experienced raising one kid through her infant, toddler and preteen years before having my second child, which helped give me a lot of helpful perspective the second time around. One thing I’ve learned and am trying my best to embrace is the importance of focusing much less on the little things and much more on the big picture. Whether it’s trying not to get frustrated during a messy diaper change or trying not to worry that some single decision we make might end up ruining their lives, I try to recognize some core truths: being a dad is incredibly fun, it’s an exceptional blessing to have the opportunity every day to re-experience my own childhood through the lenses of theirs, and it’s not really about single decisions but about the overall habits, behaviors and relationships we help our kids develop.

What's a common dad-misconception? What do you wish people wouldn’t assume about being/becoming a dad?
When I found out my first child was going to be a girl, that threw me for a loop. Not because I was hoping for a boy—I had no actual preference—but because I realized in retrospect that all of my visions of future fatherhood had involved a boy. This is presumably natural for a man who has no sisters or close friends/relatives with little girls. One of the silly things I started to worry about was that there would probably be a lot of developmental milestones/significant events in my daughter’s young life that I couldn’t be part of because of some misguided sense that there were “dad lanes” and “mom lanes.” Having gone through 13 wonderful years with my daughter, tackling everything from the nuances around changing a girl’s diaper to helping her adjust to new puberty-related realities, I find myself just as front and center as I imagined I would have the privilege to be had she been a boy. That’s not to say that there aren’t any boundaries or that there’s no distinction between the types of tasks or support Tascha and I tend to lead on, but I’ve found that while boys and girls can certainly be quite different and have different challenges/needs, the gender difference has not kept me on the sidelines in any meaningful way.