Happy Father’s Day! A Chat with One of our Favorite Dads

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there! We’d especially like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to Nic Novicki – not only is Nic a brilliant actor/writer/stand-up comic, but he is also the founder/director of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge and an Easterseals Southern California board member. The Film Challenge, in particular, is a game-changing platform for artists with disabilities that is blowing the doors open for disability inclusion across the entertainment industry.

But wait, there’s more. Nic has taken on a brand-new role as a first-time father! I was excited to be able to sit down with Nic for a chat about all things fatherhood.

Nic, on behalf of the Easterseals family, I would like to congratulate you and your wife, Teale, on the birth of your beautiful baby daughter. How are you going to celebrate your first Father’s Day?

Thank you so much. I’m very excited to be a new dad. My wife and I are so happy. I am going to celebrate my first Father’s Day by enjoying the day hanging out with my wife and daughter. Maybe I’ll watch some basketball or one of my favorite movies. Either way I am going to hang out with my family … including our French Bulldog, Rosie, who is technically our first born!

What was your reaction when you found out that you were going to be a dad?

I was ecstatic! Learning I was going to be a dad was the most exciting news I have ever heard! I have always wanted to be a father. I am a proud uncle of two great nephews, and I have always loved coaching kids’ basketball teams at LPA (Little People of America) conventions. I take pride in being a role model and having fun with kids.

Did your daughter adopt your comedic gene? Do you see a future stand-up comedian in your midst?

Yes, she is definitely a funny child. Not to mention, a night owl, total party animal! Ha! She’s got her mom and me slightly sleep-deprived. Sometimes she’ll be really upset and cry a lot or refuse to take a bottle, and whenever you start to get frustrated — she’ll give us a side-eye, with a laugh or a smile. She already knows what she’s doing, with that great sense of comedic timing!

Any hilarious comedy gold moments about being a new dad that might make it into a standup routine?

Yes! The first night of Memorial Day weekend she spit up so much that it oozed all the way down my back, going right into my underwear two separate times in just an hour. Let’s just say, it was definitely an interesting start to a holiday weekend! I earned my new dad stripes with that encounter.

How would you like to see fathers with disabilities represented in the media? Do you think there is a lack of representation there?

I would like to see more dads with disabilities in roles where the disability is never directly addressed. It’s a dad who just so happens to have a disability. I would like to see storylines with dads with disabilities on the soccer field or doing late night runs to the grocery store. That disability representation is important. Because guess, what? We are out there! There will be more progress with disability inclusion in the world when we see it authentically represented in media.

What do you think the world should know about parents with disabilities?

We are just like every other parent. There is not really much of a difference. We are going through the same things most new parents are going through in terms of sleep schedule, feeding, learning how to care for our baby, etc. The only difference is we just may need to do some things in a different way.

Did you ever have any worries / concerns about parenting while having a disability?

No. I did not have any concerns about being a parent with a disability. I have multiple friends who are parents with disabilities and they served as great role models for me. People with disabilities are natural problem solvers, it’s how we naturally go about our days. I am a little person and I have been involved with the Little People of America (LPA) my whole life, so I have grown up seeing people with disabilities as parent role models. LPA has been a great support system for me, so has my involvement with Easterseals and the Film Challenge.

What would you say to someone with a disability who is thinking about becoming a parent?

Just do it! I know a lot of people say, “It’s never the right time [to have a baby|,” but it will work out. Trust yourself and just go for it. I feel like that was the case for us. We have figured out ways to make everything work. My wife is also a little person, so we buy things that are lower and smaller to the ground and find ways to let gravity help us.

Do you know other parents with disabilities? If so, did they give you any great parenting advice that you could share with us?

Yes! We are lucky that we have a lot of friends from the Little People and disability community who have kids, so we were able to get a lot of great adaptive parenting tips in terms of the best and easiest ways for us to hold the baby, and the lightest kinds of strollers.

Sofiya Cheyenne, who is an Easterseals Disability Film Challenge participant, and a great friend of ours, had a baby less than a year ago. Sofiya gave us some great tips of what she bought and how it helped her, like what bassinet worked best, in terms of their ease of use and overall safety.

In your experience, what are the best resources out there for new parents who also happen to have disabilities?

There are so many great blogs out there, but I think the best resource for new parents who have disabilities is word-of-mouth. There are a lot of cool parents with disabilities out there and we were able to connect through social media. We’ve seen such a warm welcome in the online space, with an abundance of people that want to give us tips and advice. Sometimes almost too much, haha!

What is the best adaptive baby equipment that you recommend?

For us, the best baby equipment is the lightest baby equipment. A lot of things for babies can be pretty heavy and that is difficult for me, so we always try to find the lightest products. Also, we try to find products that fit short arms so that we don’t have to lean fully into the crib or bassinet.

Best parenting hack?

I’m still researching that, haha! Check back in a couple months.

What is the FIRST thing you learned as a new dad?

This goes without saying — my child is the most important thing in the world. No matter what. You’re a dad 24/7 and I love every second of it.

What is something you wish someone would have told you about parenthood?

I don’t know. I mean, there are only so many things you can tell someone, but it really comes down to learning firsthand. You have to learn and make all the new adjustments through your firsthand experience. It’s a new adventure.

What is the best advice you’d give to a new dad?

Get ready to have fun, be on call and be as supportive and loving as you can be! Also, get ready to have an amazing experience with somebody that depends on you and loves you. Fatherhood is a beautiful thing. I feel so lucky to be her dad.


 

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