No. 7, Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Dear <<First Name>>:
They come from all walks of life and wear chef’s uniforms, baseball caps, board shorts and ties. This issue is dedicated to all of the brave and loving Dads (and uncles and grandfathers) in our community. Happy Father’s Day! Often misunderstood, the vast majority of fathers surveyed want to be more involved in their children’s lives. Read on to learn more about how Dads feel and about father involvement.

 Stay safe and be well.

Wil Blechman, MD
Past President, Kiwanis International  

Co-Chair, World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade

Diana Ragbeer Murray, Child Advocate
Chair, Early Childhood Cmte, Kiwanis NEMD 
Co-Chair, World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade


What does it mean to be a father? An interview with Chef Cory
Chef Cory White, Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida’s Most Valuable Father - June and July 2020
What does it mean to be a father?
A father to me should be a good example for his child, be present, lead by example, be nurturing, understanding and responsible. These are simple words but speak volumes when I think about being around children. Being a father means to be thoughtful about what I say and how I treat children. I am aware that I am raising a child who is going out in the world and I want my children to be decent human beings. I don’t focus on being rich or driving fancy cars; riches will come from being a good human being.

What values are important to you in raising your children?
Values are important to me. When you are kind to others, that will take you far in life. Your children may not understand now but they will understand as they grow. It will matter more than the salary you make. That will sustain them…not a superficial manifestation of life. It’s important to me how they treat each other. It takes practice but we can’t expect them to treat others kindly if they don’t treat each other kindly.

What can fathers do to raise their children’s sense of security and confidence beginning from birth?
Fathers need to be present…it doesn’t mean they need to be in the same space all the time, but be aware of their actions and their behavior and consider the example they are setting. Be someone they can look up to. I did not get that connection with my Dad; he’s a great man but he didn’t have a father himself to learn how to be a father. He was more like a friend. You need to be there mentally not just physically.

Before entering a nursing home, my Dad lived with me for a few years and that was the closest time we had together. He is 90 now and has dementia.

Why did you volunteer for your child’s school for the M-DCPS virtual Fathers in Education Week or in general? Why is that important and how does it make you feel?
It’s important to volunteer for your child’s school. Important to be present. One day I want my son to be present in his child’s life. I am setting an example. I want to do the right thing to pass that on to my children. When my children know that I will be there that starts that bond of security.

I would love to do more for children. I have been a chef for 15 years and cooked for the Dali Lama and many celebrities. I would like to give back; that feels good. I would love to do a children’s program. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. I learned more things from Sesame Street than kindergarten. Mr. Rogers was a saint. I consider him a good human being. He gave his whole life to children.

As a father considering your occupation as a chef what unique skills do you utilize in the interaction with your children? What impact do you think you have in the community?
 Food is very important in our household. Mom is an amazing cook too. I use food as a tool to help my children understand culture. I don’t just cook different dishes, we talk about them. I speak to my children as I speak to an adult. I don’t dumb down to our children. That is why my son is doing so well in school. We don’t want to teach our children things they have to unlearn.

I don’t have as much impact on the community as I would like. I work and travel quite a bit. I lived in St Croix and Hawaii and travelled back and forth. Because I was home during Fathers in Education Day, I was able to volunteer for my child’s school. It makes me feel good to know that M-DCPS is using the cooking program I provided to families at Ojus Elementary School as an example of what other schools could do.

What are your thoughts on how you can encourage other fathers and male role models to get more involved with their families and their community?
It’s important to connect with other fathers to see where they are and have conversations with them. They may have an issue about getting involved. I would love to speak with them. I would stress to them that getting involved builds a legacy of helping others. You pass on to your son and daughter the importance of being present in their lives, being aware that they need you. You need to help fathers understand the feeling as they may not have experienced that feeling growing up. I would promise them if they tried to be more present in their children’s life, they would be breaking the cycle and their children would benefit. It’s one thing to read something on a piece of paper about getting involved but to sit with a father on a one and one it is more profound. Someone like me who didn’t have that relationship with his father; it would be more personal and genuine.

How do you remain an engaged father during COVID19? What new challenges and opportunities do fathers have with their children during this time?
It is about social economics. In general fathers may not be able to do all that they want for their children because they work crazy hours and may not have time. But now with COVID19 fathers may be experiencing depression with concerns about paying bills, how and when they are going to be able to re-enter the work force. I try to keep a happy face for my kids; when I feel down I try to play with them. It’s rough because being idle is not what I’m used to so I have to find ways to keep my stamina like talking with someone. I don’t want my ups and downs to have a long-lasting effect on my children. I will watch a movie with my children and try to move on. Fathers have to be aware of how lashing out at their families and kids is not what they deserve. The tough times will pass. Children are going through a lot themselves. Some men are not good at expressing their emotions because they don’t want to burden others but this is not good for children or relationships if their fathers are not present for them. I encourage my children to talk about their emotions freely as I don’t have machismo ideas about being sad or crying. Sometimes fathers look like we are fine in our safe place; our work saved us because we were busy but we are more vulnerable now with changes due to COVID19. I know intellectually it’s not a burden to tell a family member or a counselor when you feel you are going off track. Our pride and ego should bring us to take action to keep healthy and stay active in our children’s lives.

What ideas do you have for fathers to remain involved with their children when they live apart?
When fathers live apart they should FaceTime and have every day conversations and engage with their children. Call them to find out how their day was and let them know you are thinking of them that they are on your mind. It gives them a needed sense of security and bridges the distance to know you remain present in their lives.

Cooking at Home Video
With Chef Corey

Source: Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida

Dads Are More Than Babysitters 

The vast majority of Dads, across all demographic segments, are passionate about the positive role that fatherhood plays in their lives. They love being involved fathers, and want, and deserve more credit. Did you know that:
  • 90% of Dads say being a parent is their greatest joy.
  • 73% say their lives began when they became a dad.
  • 54% of dads say “I love you” more, 47% participate more in playtime and 47% read more to their children than they recall their own parents did.
  • 63% of dads agree that “Dads don’t get enough credit for their involvement in raising and caring for young children.” By the way, 64% of moms also agree with this statement, too.

Still, many dads report feeling frustrated and shut out:
  • 40% of dads (versus 17% of moms) say that “I’d like to be more involved in raising my child but my parenting partner interferes with my involvement.”
  • 43% of dads (versus 16% of moms) say that “My parenting partner often takes too much control of parenting.”
Source: Zero to Three - National Parent Survey Overview and Key Insights

Oh Baby, Post Partum (After Birth) Depression in Men is Real 

Becoming a parent is wonderful, but can be challenging. Sometimes when things are not as expected, there may be underlying causes that need better understanding. For example, sometime after your baby is born, you notice negative changes in your husband’s behavior. It could be paternal postpartum depression. And yes, it’s real.

When his first child was born in October 2013, David Levine, was thrilled. “I was as excited as any new parent and looking forward to being a dad,” says Dr. Levine, a pediatrician who practices in Westfield, New Jersey.  Within days his initial elation eroded, replaced by anxiety and fear.

His son, Zachary, cried constantly. As a pediatrician, Dr. Levine often comforted anxious parents and crying babies. But in his new role as a father, his medical training couldn’t rein in his obsessive fear that Zachary’s persistent crying indicated a serious medical issue. “I became fixated on the idea something was devastatingly wrong with my son.”

At work, Dr. Levine rallied engrossed in his practice. Back home in the couple’s small apartment, he was irritable and even angry. “Every time I’m with him he’s crying,” Dr. Levine told his wife, “And now I’m even more convinced there’s something terribly wrong with him.”

His wife and his son’s pediatrician tried to reassure him. They didn’t succeed. “No one could persuade me that my son was fine,” he says.

Then when Zachary was but a few weeks old, Dr. Levine became convinced that the baby hated him. “He cries as soon as I walk in the door,” he told his wife who pointed out that the baby was too young to hate anyone. Feeling isolated and rejected, Dr. Levine became “verbally vicious” to his wife and demeaned his son constantly. “Maybe he’s autistic,” he told her, “hammering the point home day after day.” As the weeks went by his thoughts and feelings about, and towards his son, get darker.  “I hate him. I wish we’d never had him,” he told his wife.

Hidden Diagnosis
Though he didn’t realize it at the time, Dr. Levine was displaying classic symptoms of paternal postpartum depression (PPPD). While women tend to turn their sadness and fear inward, men are more likely to express depression through anger, aggressiveness, irritability and anxiety, says San Diego-based psychologist David Singley PhD, who has treated roughly 40 men with postpartum depression. “They are also susceptible to other manifestations such as increased use of substances (drinking, drugs), addictive behaviors such as gambling or video games as well as physical manifestations like headaches and stomach problems.”

Something’s Wrong
  At some point during those weeks, Dr. Levine googled paternal postpartum.  “I found out it existed,” he says, “but still I didn’t seek help.”  For men going from dude to dad is very different from any other event in their lives,” explains Dr. Singley, a member of the board of Postpartum Support International, an organization that provides resources and information about PPD. “And those old-school expectations that men are the protectors and providers keep men from seeking help.”  Dr. Levine’s reluctance to reach out to a professional was tied into his feelings about masculinity. “I didn’t want my wife to see me as weak and helpless,” he says. “I was supposed to be the strong one.”

Stifling his emotions made things worse. His dark moods led to even darker thoughts. When he put his son in his highchair, Dr. Levine worried he’d been too rough or had shaken him. And he confessed there were moments when his suppressed anger came so close to the surface that had to walk away from his son.

The Science of Sad Dads
Dr. Levine is not alone. According to a study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 10% or 1 in 10 men around the world experience paternal postpartum depression (PPPD). The study, a meta-analysis (a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies) involved over 28,000 participants in 43 studies conducted between 1980 and 2009. The study also reported that the incidence “was relatively higher in the 3-to 6-months postpartum.”

And while hormone levels are considered a major factor in female postpartum, another study found that men with PPPD may also be experiencing some hormonal mayhem. The 2017 study found an association between lower testosterone levels and PPPD. According to the study, “Following the birth of an infant, decreases in testosterone and increases in depressive symptoms have been observed in fathers.”  Why testosterone dips isn’t yet understood.

Hormones may play a part but the strongest predictor of male postpartum is female postpartum. If the wife is depressed, the man is twice as likely to develop postpartum according to a 2004 review of 20 studies. Researchers concluded that “during the first postpartum year, the incidence of paternal depression ranged from 1.2% to 25.5% in community samples, and from 24% to 50% among men whose partners were experiencing postpartum depression. Maternal depression was identified as the strongest predictor of paternal depression during the postpartum period.”

While the research confirms that male PPPD is real, the majority of men don’t know about it. The real challenge is two-fold: making men aware and helping them get help. And that’s precisely what Dr. Levine hopes to do by telling his story.

According to Pacific Post Partum Support Society, common signs of postpartum depression and anxiety in men are:
  • Increased anger and conflict with others
  • Increased use of alcohol or prescription/street drugs
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Violent behavior
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Being easily stressed
  • Impulsiveness or risk-taking (this kind of behavior can include reckless driving or extramarital affairs)
  • Feeling discouraged; cynicism
  • Increase in complaints about physical problems, like headaches, digestion problems or pain
  • Problems with concentration or motivation
  • Loss of interest in work, hobbies and/or sex
  • Working constantly
  • Concerns about productivity and functioning at work or school
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling sad or crying for no reason
  • Conflict between how you feel you should be as a man and how you are
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
Where to Get Help
Once a month Dr. Singley hosts an hour-long call-in forum where men can get support from an expert and from one another about adjusting to and dealing with the pressures of parenthood. You can also visit the websites below for more information on postpartum depression in men: Please see additional resources below.
Source: Psycom


World's Greatest Babies - Listen / Watch Us Live! 
Recently The World’s Greatest Babies created 2 radio/video shows to help parents gain important information on healthy pregnancies, child birth, breastfeeding, babies’ brain and socio-emotional development, early education and care, father involvement, parenting and more.

Watch us very Saturday at 2 PM on 99JAMZ Facebook Live during the month of June.
Also listen to The World’s Greatest Baby Shower each 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month at 4:30 PM on 1490 AM WMBM.
Visit our website at to see upcoming dates and topics or podcasts of previous shows.

Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida


Zoom with Expectant & New Dads with kids 0-3 years
Saturday,  July 11, 2020
10:00 am – 11:30 am (Eastern Time)

Celof You with Other Dads.
Build a strong Fatherhood Network Together to benefit the future of your children.

Facilitated by Corey Patterson, a Dedicated Dad

Meeting ID: 532 786 2785
Password: 8gZLz8

Math4Littles I Early Math Activities for Two-and-Three Year-Olds 

When young children learn early math skills, it isn’t about equations and flashcards—it’s all about having fun while helping your little one’s brain grow. Take some time to browse the play activities below and try some with your 2-to-3 year-old. We’ve designed these games to focus on the six key skill areas of early math:
  • Counting
  • Computation
  • Shapes
  • Spatial awareness
  • Measurement
  • Patterns
Start with the first set of activities and then move on to the others when your child is ready. As you play, remember that children master skills at different speeds—for example, counting errors are common in the early years. Feel free to adjust the challenge level to suit your child. Remember the goal is having fun, so avoid making a big deal about mistakes. Just explain the correct answer and move on with the activity.
Activity Levels: For Spanish translations of the activities, click here.
Source: Math4Littles is a collaboration between American Institutes of Research and ZERO TO THREE.

Teachable Moments


For more teachable moments, go to The Children’s Movement of Florida at:



Contact us
World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade at


The information in these newsletters is brought to you by members of the Planning Committee of The World’s Greatest Baby Shower in Miami-Dade 2020 which has since evolved into The World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade.  The Planning Committee is comprised of the following organizations making a difference in the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County. Click on the logos below to go to each organization’s websites to find ways they can provide resources for you and your family. 





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