I miss football, but the offseason is a really fun time to be a parent. I can spend a little more time with my family. I'm at home right now a lot more, so I'm seeing all the action, handling my daddy duties and really enjoying spending time with my wife and daughter.
For me, being a father puts a lot into perspective. Obviously, it's changed my life a lot. You have somebody that you're responsible for other than yourself. I'm able to handle life's challenges as well as life's blessings a lot better because I'm living for somebody else now.
So it definitely changed me.
I'd already been growing in this direction anyway, living and striving every day to be a better person. But obviously, having a child is something that accelerates that if you really want it.
There are a few adjustments I had to make. Obviously, going six years in the league without a child -- and all of a sudden, coming home from work to not only my wife, but this other person who I want to spend time with and play with and give a lot of attention -- it's different.
It's tough at first. When I'm home during the season, I'm still trying to study as well, and trying to get some rest while a baby is crying throughout the night is never easy. Then when I wake up, I feed and play with the her before I even go to work. But the balance sort of came naturally just like anything else. Once you get the rhythm with it all, then it's just natural. Obviously, I'm also not the only guy that's had a child recently. So guys on the team were able to give me tips and pointers.
The locker room is an open forum. You may see a guy real sleepy in the morning, and you know he's got two babies at home that probably just ran him rough last night. I just had to go through it myself and find the right balances and find the right rhythm.
The biggest challenge from a family standpoint is just being able to share Reagan with everybody else, and make sure we're mindful of the time she's spending with family members. You have to make sure that she has the proper relationships with all the people that love her and care for her. That's something that I didn't necessarily expect to be as challenging as it originally was. I think now, in working through everything, we're in a really good space.
In my family and my wife's family as well, it's like everybody has been waiting for this person to come for years. So she is a central focus of the families right now, which is an awesome time for her. She definitely has a lot of love around her, and a lot of attention, because this human being has been anticipated for years.
Reagan is a little animal. She's standing up and climbing on things, climbing up and down everything. Every other thing we're telling her is either, "Sit down" or "Get down."
She climbs up and down the couch. She climbs all over the bed. We have an ottoman in the living room that she will not stay away from. But it's really dangerous because it's shelved underneath, so you can put books and DVD's in there and it has like pull-outs for cups and plates. That's the only thing that we're really nervous about. It's like "HIGH ALERT!. She's headed for the ottoman!" Then we have to go get her.
Besides that, we let her explore. We did light childproofing before she really got active, so I'm not too worried. She's not really around those areas. She has all her toys and all different types of stuff that she stands up on, falls down on. You think like she's getting ready to cry, but she looks around, pops back up and starts climbing again.
She's a beast. It's just nonstop with that girl. She has this thing where she tries to bust out of her car seat, or her booster chair, anything where she's strapped down. She thinks she can just flex and bust out of it. She doesn't like to be restrained at all.