Amid the sweetness that is Father’s Day, there is a joy unique to those men who are celebrating it for the first time as dads.
Lance Goodwin and Franklin Dallien, fathers of boys born recently in Wichita, are basking in the glow of baby love today. Last year at this time they couldn’t have accurately imagined what it would be like to be a father.
• • •
Goodwin’s feelings took him by surprise even though he is finishing up studies to be a marriage and family counselor at Friends University.
He decided he wanted to help people with those relationships even before he was married, back home in Oklahoma City. And as part of a practicum, he had counseled parents in Wichita before he had his own child.
“I’ve seen individuals, couples, families, and working with them in that aspect has just been life-changing, to say the least,” Goodwin said last week after feeding his son, Locke, who was born in March.
The birth of his own baby has “changed the dimension” of counseling, Goodwin said.
“It does open up your mind sight a little bit to connect well with those who do have newborn children and know all the struggles that go along with that as well as all of the good times,” he said.
Goodwin, 25, found his own help ahead of the birth by attending a boot camp for fathers at Via Christi Health. The boot camp is free to all fathers-to-be, pairing them with veteran dads for some basic training.
“The idea is that parents who are prepared are far more likely to start out with confidence and therefore be less susceptible to frustrations,” Roz Hutchinson of Via Christi said. “It’s really part of a community initiative to get babies off to a good start.”
That effort also includes Happiest Baby on the Block. It’s a two-hour class that teaches parents the five steps to calming a crying baby, mimicking what the baby experienced in the womb. One of the ways is to provide a shushing noise akin to the sound of blood rushing through arteries surrounding the womb.
“It’s like dope for babies,” Hutchinson said.
Goodwin said he enjoyed the boot camp a lot.
“I received a lot of sound advice from a couple of guys who have been there, done that and gotten the T-shirt kind of thing,” he said. “A lot of information any dad needs to know.”
And Goodwin has already put the knowledge to use.
“We had a scare not too long ago,” he said of the baby. “There was a small electrical fire in our apartment. It actually happened in his room, in the outlet closest to his bassinet.
“Knowing the safety procedures, I was really glad I took that class, because that was one of the things they talked about in there.”
Goodwin’s wife, Samantha, is a nurse who just went back to work last week, pulling the overnight shift.
“That earns her Mother of the Year award right there,” Lance Goodwin said.
It also awards him the wake-up call to take care of Locke at 4 in the morning. But the family situation will get a shakeup come August. Goodwin will start a counseling job in Oklahoma City then.
“We’re excited about that. We’ll be closer to family.”
As for Father’s Day, “I’m excited about it,” Goodwin said. The newly expanded family of three has no plans but to enjoy the day.
“Just having that bond, that kind of connection with my son — you hear about that all the time,” Goodwin said. “It’s one of those things you don’t have any idea about until it actually happens.”
• • •
The birth of Cole Dallien last week at Wesley Medical Center marks a milestone for Franklin Dallien’s family, immigrants from Haiti.
Cole is the first member of the family to be born in the United States.
“His grandma calls every second,” new daddy Franklin said of his mother back in Florida.
Franklin Dallien’s family moved from Haiti to Florida when he was 9. A spot on the football team at Coffeyville Community College brought Dallien to Kansas. That’s where me met his girlfriend, Madelene Moore. The two graduated from Coffeyville in December.
Now Dallien, 22, is moving to Wichita to be with Madelene and their baby. He’ll be looking for a job — “anything to feed my son.”
The birth of Cole, Dallien said, gives him “more reason to be alive and happy and enjoying the moment. Be the best I can be. Give him something good to look up to.”
Dallien spent every moment with Cole from his birth Monday until the baby and Madelene were released Wednesday.
“He cries, wakes up in the middle of the night,” the new father said. “All in love.”