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The first day I was a father, everything was easy. I got to stare at the baby while the nurses took care of her. If I had a question, the nurse had the answer.

When we got home, it wasn’t horribly difficult to take care of the baby. I was a champ when it came to changing diapers and holding the baby. But when I had a question, there was no nurse around to provide an answer. So I turned to Google.

Before I explain a bit of modern obviousness, first let me explain the mindset of a new parent.

For nearly the entire pregnancy, parents are given information on how to deal with being pregnant and how to get through the birth. Very few details are given on how to care for a child for the next 18 months (let alone the next 18 years).

So when the baby does arrive and nurses go through checklists of information to tell parents before they leave the hospital, they dump details on you by the truckload. (I’m not saying that’s a problem. It’s just a happenstance.) By the time you leave the hospital, you’re lucky to remember half of it. And the details you do remember seem contradictory.

For example, we were told twice that we should contact the pediatrician if the baby was feeling too warm…or too cold…or if she was fussy…or if she was often sleepy. I started to wonder if there would ever be a case where we wouldn’t need to contact the pediatrician.

In the baby’s first week, I googled questions probably fifty times. Is the baby pooping too little? Is the baby pooping too much? Et cetera, et cetera.

So no, you probably don’t need to be surprised that Google is a great search tool to help anyone find the answer to almost anything. But it’s worth noting that it has kept me sane for the last month.

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I believe this is an exciting time to be alive because of the new technology that is becoming available. Technology has a huge affect on my daily routines, so it only makes sense that I would use it with my daughter.

Big Brother Father

When Erin was building the baby registry a couple of months ago, it was hard for me to get excited about pink bedsheets and cute blankets. So when it came to the baby monitor, I was on top of things.

I went with the video monitor that has two-way audio, shows video in the dark, and plays music. We’ve only had a couple of opportunities to use it so far, but it’s been a lot of fun.

Daddy, Daughter, Data

Sprout Baby+When Erin and I got home from the hospital, there were tons of things we needed to keep track of—is the baby eating enough, sleeping enough, pooping enough, etc. After a couple of days without much sleep, we could hardly remember what we named our daughter let alone when we last changed her.

So I went searching for a solution and found an app called Sprout Baby+. It helps us keep track of everything important with the baby, and it shows us patters with data maps. You can see some of her diaper changing information on the right.

No Screens

Though I’m a big fan of technology, I’ve also done a lot of reading on what’s best for babies and how technology affects young children. So we made the decision that we won’t let our children watch TV (on our TV, computers, tablets, phones, etc.) until they are 2 years-old.

It’s still a little early to know if that’s a pipe dream or actually achievable, but Erin and I really believe that limiting screen time for our children is going to provide a lifelong benefit.

Claire Lorrenne PhilpotMy daughter nearly two weeks ago. It was one of the happiest, most exciting experiences in my life. So, like any new dad, I posted updates on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

While that shouldn’t be a shock (it’s what most new parents do these days), I don’t plan on posting tons more pictures of my daughter.

My decision doesn’t have to do with me trying to protect my daughter, which is a fairly common concern. I just figure that if someone wanted pictures of her, they could get them from my wife’s (or in-law’s) social media accounts.

And I’m totally fine with that. If someone really wanted to get a hold of pictures of my daughter to see how cute she is, they could find them.

My decision has to do with oversharing.

Working with social media at my job, I’ve seen people and organizations share so often that they take over my Twitter and Facebook feeds. It makes me feel overwhelmed with content from one place that has one bias, and it doesn’t take much before I stop following those accounts.

My tolerance for oversharing is low. For that reason, the last thing I want to do to my social media followers is overshare content, even if that content is the sweetest, most adorable little girl in the entire world.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t be sharing content related to my daughter or being a new father. I will share updates that are important to me and my life—like I always have. But, just because I am a father now, that doesn’t mean that’s all I have to share.

A group of us at my work decided we would sign up for an online course offered from Stanford University called Creativity: Music to My Ears.

This past week we were given our first assignments: create a playlist and an album cover for my life.

I spent a lot of time over the last few days putting homework together, and I thought I’d share them.

Playlist

The songs on this playlist may come as no surprise if you know my taste in music. They’re all acoustic songs (or acoustic versions of songs), and they express a chronological progression of life events.

I feel like the playlist is assembled with the right amount of melancholy to fit my personality, especially because I made it on a gloomy, rainy afternoon.

Album Cover

Just-Not-the-Poetry---Ian-Philpot-Album-Cover2

My visual inspiration came from Dashboard Confessional’s So Impossible and Summer’s Kiss EPs. I always felt like those album covers captured a simple moment of life, and that’s what I wanted to capture as a representation for my life. And what better way to show life and by showing love, which is why I went with the couple kissing.

The title, Just Not the Poetry, comes from my feelings about myself as a writer. I’m a published poet, but I’m always desperately trying to write fiction and essays to be known for them. I haven’t submitted any pieces to be published because I don’t think they’re ready yet, but I’ve been trying not to be noticed for my poetry because I’m a little afraid of what it means to be a young poet. There is a stereotype that comes with it, and I want to avoid that. Generally, I’m willing to discuss my life and my writing, just not the poetry.


That’s all for now. I’ll try to keep updating my assignments if they are post-worthy.

When I have spoken with other men about how I will be a father soon, I get two kinds of responses:

1. You’re excited now, but just wait… You have no idea.

2. This is such an exciting time for you! You are going to love your daughter so much.

Fathers say both of those phrases with smiles, but they’re very different smiles. One of them is warm and endearing, and it feels so encouraging to hear a dad tell me how great fatherhood is. The other smile is sly, and I feel embarrassed to for their children when they complain about them.

I fully understand that being a father will mean I will have nights that aren’t restful, days that are strained, and challenges I can’t even imagine right now.

But I don’t think those are reasons for me to lose my excitement.

What really bugs me is that people with a negative attitude are impressing their experience on me. That’s not fair to me, but it’s also not fair to my children.

I know that raising my children will not seem simple at times. But there are millions of dads around the world who handle it, and I can too.

So I’m looking forward to fatherhood and the struggles it may or may not bring. Either way, I will do my best to only encourage other fathers, because—as I’ve learned from my pre-dad experience—fathers need that encouragement.

I recently shared the creation of LoveBot, a new character of mine. Then I shared a day-in-the-life story of LoveBot, and I’ve received a lot of good responses from that.

Better yet, there’s a new version of LoveBot. Presenting LoveBot 0.5:

LoveBot 0.5

In the conversations I’ve had following the first LoveBot story, I’ve come up with an idea for a follow-up. Here it is:

LoveBot powers up, unplugs, and leaves his apartment building. When he makes it to the street, he looks around. The coast is clear. He opens his body compartment, pulls out his teddy bear, and gives it a hug.Suddenly, he is bumped from behind by another robot walking down the street. LoveBot drops the teddy bear and the other robot notices. LoveBot is embarrassed and picks up the teddy bear while the other robot is confused. LoveBot quickly puts the teddy bear back into his body compartment and continues on his route to work—down to the subway train, watching the robot eyes as they glow in the dark tunnels, and then onto the robot-only street.

As LoveBot approaches the factory where he works, he sees a grassy hill in the distance. LoveBot blinks and his eyes zoom in on the hill. It looks like fun. But LoveBot looks at the door of the factory and knows that he should go to work. Robots all around him are entering the factory. LoveBot looks to the hill and then at the door of the factory and then back to the hill.

LoveBot is at a full sprint when he reaches the end of the sidewalk and begins running on the grass that leads up to the hill. His heavy body leaves footprints in the grass. When he reaches the top of the hill, he can look beyond and see trees and flowers.

Lovebot opens his body compartment and pulls out the teddy bear. He holds out the teddy bear to see the trees and flowers, and then pulls the teddy bear close and squeezes it. He then grabs the teddy bear by the hands and starts to spin in a circle. He spins faster and faster until the pair is a swirling blur. Then something shoots out from the blur and LoveBot stops spinning. LoveBot is still holding the arms of the teddy bear, but the rest of it is gone.

LoveBot looks around from the top of the hill. He looks in all directions and finally finds the teddy bear at the bottom of the hill, lying under a tree. LoveBot runs over to it, pulls out a needle and some thread from his compartment, and begins to repair the bear.

When LoveBot is almost done with the repair, he sees a small boy running up the hill he had just been on. When the boy reaches the top, he trips on one of LoveBot’s footprints and skids his knee on the ground. His parents run up to him and his mother comforts him. His father looks at the place where the boy tripped and then looks over at LoveBot. The two lock eyes. The man is angry; LoveBot is scared.

The man pulls out his cell phone and makes a call. LoveBot stops sewing and swiftly puts the teddy bear into his compartment. He runs back to the sidewalk and hurriedly into the factory. He looks at a clock that shows the time in binary and looks panicked. He pushes into the time clock, rushes to his station, and the other robots in his assembly line are looking at him impatiently. He looks sorry and starts pressing buttons quickly.

At the end of his shift, LoveBot punches out and his boss—a large, angry robot—is standing next to the time puncher. The boss lets out a beep boop and then steam begins to shoot out of his ears. LoveBot looks defeated.

LoveBot looks very sad on his commute home. When he makes it to his apartment building, he stops and looks around. The coast is clear. He pulls out the teddy bear, but it is missing an arm. He checks his compartment, but it isn’t there. The arm must’ve fallen off when he rushed to put the teddy bear in the compartment.

LoveBot goes into the alley between his building and the next to look through a dumpster. After some searching, his head pops out of the dumpster and he holds up a can of Standard Robot Oil. He then climbs out of the dumpster, but instead of getting out smoothly, he falls. When he stands up, he pulls out the teddy bear and keeps his back turned. It’s clear he’s working on something.

Finally, when LoveBot turns around, the teddy bear now has a Standard Robot Oil can for an arm. He pulls the teddy bear close for a hug, and the oil can makes a small clang against LoveBot’s body. It surprised LoveBot and he holds the teddy bear out. He taps the arm, and it makes a clanging noise. LoveBot is happy and pulls the teddy bear in for another hug.

So, that’s LoveBot’s second story.

I think I’ve got some ideas for LoveBot’s next story. And possibly the three after that.

The following is a short story introduction to LoveBot. [Read how he was created here.]

You can change his battery. You can change his motherboard. But you can’t change his heart.

LoveBot powers up in a dark hallway. The red heart on his chest slowly lights up from the bottom to the top. When the heart is full, his eyes turn on like the powering on of an old television. Once he is on, his eyes grow dim like he is tired. He lowers one of his arms and removes a plug from an outlet near the ground and it recedes into the back of LoveBot’s left foot.

LoveBot looks around and sees rows of other robots up and down the hallway, all plugged into the wall. He moves forward slowly and walks down the long hall to a doorway. He opens the door and sunlight overtakes him. LoveBot steps outside.

LoveBot walks down a street of large, dark, windowless buildings. They all have signs flashing saying “₡30 a Month” and “Outlets starting at ₡25.” He hears something coming from near one of the signs and walks over to it. Behind the sign is a birds nest and some baby birds are tweeting. He watches them sweetly and his heart starts to glow. Suddenly a mother bird swoops in and it throws LoveBot off balance. He falls onto the ground. The bird flies to the nest with worms in its mouth and gives a glare at LoveBot. He gets up and continues on.

LoveBot comes upon a stairwell leading into the ground and walks down. He joins a large group of other robots waiting for a train. When the train pulls up, it’s just a grated floor with bars for frames. LoveBot walks onto the grated floor and grabs one of the bars. The train moves forward. LoveBot can see the lights from the eyes of other robots illuminating the dark subway tunnel.

When LoveBot reaches his destination, he walks up a tunnel and onto a urban/suburban area. He walks down a sidewalk designated for robots. He can look to the other side of the street and see humans using a different sidewalk. LoveBot walks past a fenced playground where children are playing. He stops to watch them. The heart in his chest starts to glow bright. Another robot on the sidewalk bumps into him and it breaks his concentration. He looks to see who did it, but the sidewalk is too busy. Right as he’s about to turn back, he is hit in the head with a rock. He turns and sees the kids on the playground standing in a group with folded arms, staring at him. He turns and continues walking.

LoveBot arrives at a large black building with a smokestack pushing out steam. He goes in and walks over to a time clock. He opens the door to his body, pulls out a car, and punches it in the time clock. He puts the card back and walks over to an assembly line. A furry, empty pouch appears in front of him on the assembly line. He presses a button and stuffing comes out from above the pouch and fills up what is now clearly a body of a teddy bear (minus the head). He presses another button and the next body appears. He hits the first button and it gets filled. He hits the next button and is goes down the line. Zooming out, you can see the entire factory of robots hitting buttons along a twisty assembly line. At the end, teddy bears end up being piled into a cardboard box. The box is then moved to a spot where it is closed and taped. The box is then put on a truck that drives to a toy store. The box comes off the truck, a person unpacks the box, and they put the teddy bears on a shelf. A mom and daughter walk up to the shelf and the girl pulls the teddy bear off the shelf and gives it a big hug.

LoveBot clocks out of work and begins walking home as the sun is setting. He’s hit in the body with a rock when he’s passing the playground. A small group of kids is picking up more rocks and throwing them, so he has to run a bit to avoid them. When he can finally begin walking again, he looks at a human family walking down the opposite sidewalk. The little girl in the family is holding a teddy bear in one of her arms. They looks so happy to be with each other. LoveBot gets on the subway train and takes it home. When he is walking down the road of apartment buildings, he looks behind the sign to see how the baby birds are doing. The nest is no longer there.

As LoveBot is coming up on his building, a glimmer of light hits his eyes. He turns and looks down a narrow alley between two buildings. Something is shining a light at him from down the alley. He turns sideways and walks slowly so he can fit in the alley. He isn’t as careful as he had hoped, and he scratches a few of the LEDs that make up the heart on his chest. Finally, he comes upon a small teddy bear with one eye—the eye that was catching some light and attracted him into the alley. He reaches into his body and pulls out a needle, some thread, and a machine nut. He sews the machine nut where the other eye of the teddy bear should be. He holds it up to inspect his work. The heart on his chest glows a little brighter. He pulls the teddy bear close to his body and the heart of his chest is so bright that it floods the alley with red light.

LoveBot leaves the alley, but he doesn’t seem to be carrying the teddy bear. He walks into his building and down the hallway that leads to his outlet. He lowers his arm to plug himself into the wall. The light of his eyes dims and turns off, but the red glow from his heart is still bright and it pulses with light. Looking through the door to the robots body, you can see the teddy bear is inside.

So, that’s LoveBot’s first story.

His physical design is still in version 0.3. I’m working on bringing him up to 0.5 by the time I’m able to find an illustrator willing to take on LoveBot’s story.