They say there are 6 degrees of separation, but sometimes, there’s only about one degree. Meet Dr. Josh Levitt, my one degree of separation. (Easy to have happen in New Haven I’ve learned.)
And lucky me! I mean, I’d only feel luckier if it was, say, Tina Fey :) Recently meeting Dr. Levitt reaffirmed that the part of my “job” I love the most is connecting with some really exceptional people. Let me introduce you to one inspiring Dad and pretty cool cat…
Let’s start from the beginning. Finish this sentence for us, would you? “Hi, I’m Dr. Josh Levitt and I…”
…am a naturopathic physician, a father of three, a human jungle gym, and the author of Baby Barbells: The Dad’s Guide to Fitness and Fathering
Excellent. A nice, quick, warm up! Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Dr. Levitt, you recently published Baby Barbells. I’m really excited for you to tell us all about it! Start with a synopsis. What is Baby Barbells?
Baby Barbells is a chunky, funky, board book for new dads who don’t have time to exercise and even less time to read a parenting book. It’s built to get kicked around the living room, get drooled on, and get propped open when daddy has a few minutes of playtime. Matt Steven’s slick, full color illustrations outline a series of playful exercises for dads to do with their children…we laugh that they give new meaning to the term “raising children.” In addition to the fitness and the fun, I serve up casual, witty, never-preachy tips that address meaningful issues related to fathering, health, and the value of the father-child relationship.
Baby Barbells is a chunky, funky, board book for new dads who don’t have time to exercise and even less time to read a parenting book.
I don’t want you to give away all your secrets, but would you share one exercise from Baby Barbells with us, you know, to tempt our fancy?
How about the “Precious Cargo Row.” Picture this, baby is buckled into one of those unwieldy carseats. Now, lean forward and grab the handle with an outstretched arm and do a single arm dumbbell row, a.k.a. “lawnmower pull.” Works the muscles of the shoulder and upper back and lulls that baby to sleep…multitasking at its finest.
I have to say, there is something charming about Baby Barbells because it’s a board book, one. And two, the fact that it’s a board book makes it feel less like homework for parents. It’s incredibly engaging – partly because of your guy’s guy humor, but also because there’s actually some really good stuff in there. Let’s talk about this notion of involved fathering, shall we?
“Fathers are the single greatest untapped resource in the lives of American children.” Dr. Kyle Pruett, the authority on the subject of paternal involvement said it so well.
When I ask new dads if they’ve ever changed a diaper, been home alone with their baby, or helped to make childcare decisions…they almost universally say yes to all three. It may come as a surprise to some that in most cases, their grandfathers would have done none of the above. Involved fathering is about dads being a part of the day to day raising of their children. The research on the subject is abundantly clear…involved fathering is good for children, good for families, and good for communities.
Involved fathering is about dads being a part of the day to day raising of their children. The research on the subject is abundantly clear – involved fathering is good for children, good for families, and good for communities.
While reading Baby Barbells, I was particularly drawn to your thoughts about maintaining a healthy Work-Life balance (mostly because this is a hot topic in my own family right now). How do you do it? How do you balance your important work as a naturopathic physician with your important work as a father/husband/friend/etc.?
I grew up in California and spent much of my youth on a skateboard or a surfboard – I’m all about balance. At the risk of sounding overly poetic about it, balance is a process, not an event. Surfers learn to make constant mid-course corrections depending on the wave. I find that it’s a fair enough analogy for life. I don’t think of myself as a doctor when I’m at work, a husband when I’m on a date with my wife, a father when I’m with my kids, or an author when I’m writing…I’m all those things, all the time.
Speaking of your day job, tell us about Whole Health Natural Family Medicine.
Whole Health is a natural family medicine office in Hamden that specializes in natural solutions for common and complex medical problems. I started the office in 2006 with my wife Dr. Amanda Levitt, (who is also a naturopathic physician) and Dr. Robin Ritterman a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist. All of us are trained to provide the best in natural family medicine to men, women, and children. We see patients with minor ailments, severe illnesses, and everything in between.
Since your book debuted I’ve noticed that you’ve been one busy guy! Where can we catch you at your next appearance?
I’ll be at RJ Julia in Madison CT doing a fun demo and book singing on June 4th at 4pm.
I’ll also be at the New Haven JCC in Woodbridge doing a fun event on June 12th at 10:30am.
And most important, HOW do we get our hands on your fab-o, little book? I mean, Father’s Day IS right around the corner!
You can pick up a copy of Baby Barbells at Barnes and Noble (it’s on a special Fathers Day table at the front of the store…a big deal :) and at most smaller bookstores. Of course, it’s also available online. Go to www.babybarbells.com and click the “buy” button to get to your favorite online retailer.
Awesome! You can bet the next time I have to buy a baby gift, Baby Barbells is going in the bag! Finally, a gift for the daddy :) Cheers to you, Dr. Levitt!