Moments can be a commodity if we let them; they can be magic if we hold them.
Be it morning routines of chocolate milk that are only right when mom makes them, to decorating birthday thrones, there is magic in the stories and moments we create with our family. Even when there are struggles, if you have experienced those passing feelings of being ill-equipped (as we all do at times), magic will pull you back into reality. It could be the cozy memories of cuddles and swaddling and rocking your darling children off to sleep, the magic of caring for a tiny human, and as time goes on a big human! There is magic in empathy, in shared moments of communion where we can all have an opportunity to see and feel seen. It’s those little moments, seeing your kiddos all buttoned up, hair combed, and ready for school, or listening to them shares stories about their day and the adventures that they had.
A wonderful father of three littles, Cody — despite not being able to make chocolate milk as well as his wife — is a consummate father who always has an eye for adventure and creating those magical little moments in his family’s life.
Cody, tell us how many kiddos you have and what are their ages?
We have 3 kiddos - ages 8, 6, and 4.
What does your current morning routine look like?
Chocolate milk lots of chocolate milk haha. So somewhere along the line my kids got into a habit of having a morning chocolate milk, perhaps it was the inspiration of mom and dad’s morning coffee in hand that became the culprit. Regardless, they just “can’t function” without it. The problem is, I can’t make it, it’s never good when dad makes it –only mom. No-one can pour that chocolate milk quite like mom does. Yes this is a real conversation virtually every morning.
Besides that we are in our first year of all three kiddos going to school. So breakfast and bento boxes are the duties of my morning. The challenge of attempting new lunch items with the risk of them not eating what I pack is pretty much a daily mental struggle.
But my favorite part? Seeing their uniforms tucked in, their hair combed back, and shoes tied tight. Knowing they are prepped, they are ready, and they are loved.
What is one of the best tips you have for making your child a better human?
Listen to them. So many times my wife and I have found as parents that when we get in power struggles or when we sense anxiousness or high emotion it's because we are too short to hear them out. For years as a dad (and it is still my inherent nature that I struggle to overcome) I approached situations from a position of authority as opposed to a position of empathy. It’s amazing how articulate kiddos can be when you let them have a voice about what is truly affecting their emotions and behavior.
If you could turn back the time and have a newborn moment back what would it be?
Swaddling and the cuddles + rocking that followed. I truly miss those days of wrapping up our littles tight (especially after their tummy was full and their diaper fresh), and seeing the look of complete contentment and peace come over them. Their beautiful skin, their newborn smell, and the little cooing sounds that come from a good swaddling and cuddle are unlike very few things in my opinion that this world can provide.
What keeps you up at night?
Right now it's usually my son's foot in the face. It starts about 1A.M. when he comes into our bed sleepy-eyed holding some kind of stuffy. I will admit though that it typically isn’t me he’s after –its mom. She gets the brunt of it, while I typically get the majority of bed space. Sometimes she will even have futile attempts for some personal space by moving to a different room or another bed, he simply follows her.
What makes you feel inspired or like your best self?
Connecting with people. Young and old I love to learn and grow from people, it is truly fascinating and inspiring to hear stories and share ideas and experiences from people who have completely different (or similar too) experiences as my own.
What is one piece of advice you’d give a new dad out there?
You will feel unprepared, ill-equipped, and not ready. It is just inevitable. I don’t think I have ever before in my life thought more frequently “I don’t know what to do here.” So know that those thoughts are so very common among parents, and they will not ever go away. But just love on them any chance you get, know you will make mistakes, and don’t let the “I’m not ready” thought take over and paralyze you.
How do you create magical moments for your family?
For us we try to create traditions any chance we get. You will hear our kiddos often say to other friends (and this is a proud moment, let me tell you), “that is tradition in our house” : ). Certainly we have our big traditions, but it’s also smaller stuff that we try to make special and celebrate. For example we decorate and reserve the chair at the head of the table for the birthday boy/girl to sit at all meals of the day. Also every year, as the leaves fall off our trees, we do “bury” contests and make leaf soup. Or anytime we have a family game or competition we do a trophy ceremony with old trophies while the winner has to sing along to “We Are The Champions” by Queen.
Whatever it is we try to make excuses for celebration around the Helgeson home, because we never know what will stick as a memory. It brings me so much joy when small celebrated moments that seem insignificant at the time, stand out to the kiddos as memories months and years later.
Tell us about the first time your kiddo had a loose tooth?
Our first lost tooth took us completely by surprise. It barely had a wiggle and it was gone. My daughter got it out all by herself without warning or fear. I remember being so surprised at how excited I was. Losing a tooth is such a huge milestone in their life, but as a new parent it’s not one that I thought had a lot of hype around it until experiencing it for the first time.
If you asked your kid "what is magic" what would be their answer?
“Magic is something you can not see or hear. It is something that makes your heart beat fast and you want to see more.”
What is the hardest part about brushing your kid’s teeth?
The struggle is real…
Honestly this can be one of the most frustrating parts for me of the day haha. It’s everything from the countless requests of “no motor tonight?”, despite the fact that they have had motor every night since they got the darn electric toothbrush, to the sudden change of flavor preference on the toothpaste they have used for 3 weeks.
What is your favorite children’s story right now?
So not quite a children’s “story” but our favorite children’s book right now is “Mud Pies and Other Recipes” by Marjorie Winslow. It's a make-believe cookbook for kids where all ingredients are from nature.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Just so grateful to Hold The Magic and the love, care, and wonder that they foster and create. Our kiddos are influenced by so many things today. And as a parent one of the hardest things to do these days is to find brands and products that help foster and keep their innocence alive. Moments can be a commodity if we let them; they can be magic if we hold them. There is this sense of safety that comes when you can trust a brand or products with your child's attention and that, as a parent, is so completely invaluable.