How A Dad Filmed His Early Days Of Fatherhood And Became A YouTube Star : NPR Ed Amid the cat videos and makeup tutorials on YouTube, millions of people have watched a dad interview his daughters. But La Guardia Cross insists he's an "extreme nonexpert on fatherhood."
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How A Dad Filmed His Early Days Of Fatherhood And Became A YouTube Star

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How A Dad Filmed His Early Days Of Fatherhood And Became A YouTube Star

How A Dad Filmed His Early Days Of Fatherhood And Became A YouTube Star

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

What parent of a young child can't relate to this?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LA GUARDIA CROSS: Why do you still refuse to sleep through the night?

AMALAH: (Babbling).

CORNISH: This video has been viewed nearly 4 million times, and there are a lot like it. The premise is simple - a Florida dad and his 14-month-old documenting new fatherhood. In the process, he's become a bit of a parenting celebrity. Elissa Nadworny of the NPR Ed team has this profile.

ELISSA NADWORNY, BYLINE: After La Guardia Cross' daughter was born, in the midst of freaking out, he got his camera, and he started recording.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CROSS: This is (singing) "New Father Chronicles," "New Father Chronicles."

NADWORNY: He began uploading his little videos to YouTube.

CROSS: I thought it would be funny 'cause I knew I had no idea what I was doing.

NADWORNY: In one of his first videos, Cross, sitting in his bedroom, attempts to translate for baby Amalah.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMALAH: (Crying).

CROSS: She doesn't like the way I'm burping her.

AMALAH: (Crying).

CROSS: She needs to be changed.

AMALAH: (Crying).

CROSS: She doesn't like being changed.

NADWORNY: There were ups and downs, some cameos from his wife, Leah, at their home in Florida. It was just a way for friends and family to see his little girl grow. But then other new parents, people Cross didn't know - they started commenting on the videos.

CROSS: I relate. I get you. That's funny, same thing with me. Why don't you swaddle them? Why don't you try this? Oh, that happens to you. Why don't you do this? And so that was the beginning of it being more than friends and family.

NADWORNY: As Amalah grew, so did his audience. Today, Cross publishes new videos weekly. He left his job. Video views climbed to the millions. And the ads, partnerships and sponsors - they support his family.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CROSS: So I'm a husband. I'm a new dad. And I wanted to be able to give some strategies to other husbands who were also new dads on how to survive new fatherhood.

NADWORNY: Cross now has a second daughter, Nayely, who's joined the cast, too. His parenting tips - they're funny but helpful, like his endorsement of the multipurpose, all-powerful baby wipe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CROSS: So if there's pee, use a wipe. If there's poop, wipe it up - boogers, wipe; dirt, yep; stains, do it; restaurant table and shopping cart disinfectant, yes.

NADWORNY: He insists he's an extreme non-expert when it comes to fatherhood. But his experience - it resonates.

CROSS: I realized, wow, there's not a lot of dads chronicling the life of their kids online.

NADWORNY: And when you look just for dads of color, that handful of content creators - it gets even smaller.

CROSS: People had to tell me how important it was to see representation of a black father in any form of media, YouTube or whatever. Like, by accident, I'm showcasing the anti-stereotype.

NADWORNY: I ask Cross if he's ever had any reservations about putting his kids online, oversharing or overexposing them.

CROSS: It's too positive not to share. I want families to see other little girls, other dads, other moms with their kids in ways that they don't see.

NADWORNY: Cross says that's why his show, his brand is now bigger than just his journey with fatherhood. But the girls are growing up. They're no longer newborns. So is there a finale in sight?

CROSS: I mean, there's people out there like, please let this go until she graduates from high school so we can see every stage - first prom, first this. I mean, there's so many stories to tell, and I want to continue to tell it.

NADWORNY: For now, he's focused on the current season. He just wrapped an episode about how peaceful car rides are not.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CROSS: Can I please just have one minute...

AMALAH: It's not fair.

CROSS: ...Of time to myself?

AMALAH: I'm not talking. I was just...

CROSS: But you're talking...

NADWORNY: Elissa Nadworny, NPR News.

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