Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dad tip #103: Teach your kids that it's not cool to push 64-year-olds

I'm not sure how, exactly, but there's some kind of life-lesson to be extracted from the Manny Ramirez situation that's been slowly festering over the last eight years in Boston. While the Boston Red Sox have won two World Series with Manny, they (and the fans of Boston) have also had to deal with the "Manny being Manny" antics that included things like dogging it to first base, having to pee inside the Green Monster during a game, and generally being a goof ball.

All of these things were excusable because he was still very likable and he was putting up ridiculously good numbers. Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, the relatively harmless Manny-isms turned ugly VERY quickly as the offending actions suddenly included slapping a teammate in the dugout, pushing a 64-year-old Red Sox employee, and essentially hanging the team out to dry against hated rivals, the New York Yankees.

Ramirez, once a hero loved and embraced by the city of Boston, has now been run out of town. The perenial All-Star and future Hall-of-Famer was traded away in a three team deal. It doesn't even matter that much who we got back (Jason Bay from the Pittsburgh Pirates). What does matter is that we got rid of someone who was poisoning our beloved Red Sox from within.

Addition by subtraction, if you will.

So, my thought here is that one day I'll use the story of Manny Ramirez as some kind of parable illustrating that just because you've done (relatively) good things in the past doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want in the present and future. Or maybe I'll coin a new phrase from the tale like, "Good will is a currency fast spent."

Or perhaps, "$20 million a year doesn't buy you common sense or a sense of decency."

Or maybe even more simply, "Don't be a dick and push 64-year-old people."

Anyway, bye bye, Manny ... we appreciate the good you did for the Sox but are sad that you never loved us (the city, the fans, and your teammates) as much as we loved you. I hope my son never grows up to idolize a professional athlete who ends up being a total douche like you.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dad tip#102: Beware the early-rising baby

Tonight's advice will be in the form of a haiku:
Good morning, papa!
Late to bed, early to rise --
That is my motto!
The point of this post is not to have sleep expectations based on how early or how late your child goes to bed in relation to their usual routine. There is an old adage that "sleep begets more sleep" that I believe has a lot of truth to it. While there seems to be more consistency behind that expression than the thought that "the later they go to sleep, the later they should wake up," there really is no universal truth behind the sleep logic of a baby.

(Hmm ... I was just thinking that a funny web site would be one full of "baby logic," but upon investigation I just discovered that there appears to be a cyber-squatter sitting on that domain. Too bad.)

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dad tip #101: Appreciate every member of your family

The summer already seems to be coming to something of a close as my sister and her family headed back to London yesterday and my parents will be heading back to Richmond in three days. It was really nice having everyone around regardless of what we were doing, because the more important thing was what we were just being: family.

Tonight, my parents came over to hang out. We had takeout Chinese for dinner, and then we watched the Boston Celtics 2007-2008 Championship Season DVD. What a totally chill and great way to unwind from work!

Plus, our son got to spend a little extra time with his grandparents who he TOTALLY recognizes and loves now; which really is awesome beyond words.

So, tonight's advice is just appreciate everyone in your family: your baby, your wife, your parents, your siblings, your in-laws ... everyone!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Dad tip #100: Boys start grabbing at their crotches pretty early

Happy 100th post to me, happy 100th post to me, happy 100th post to me, happy 100th post tooooooooo meeeeeeeeee!

Tonight's advice is more of a warning than anything else: Boys will naturally start grabbing at their crotches pretty early in life. As a result, right around when our son turned seven months, it became ridiculously difficult to change his diaper.

Why? Well for starters, his being much more alert and thus more distractible made the diaper change that much more challenging -- as did the ability to roll over. BUT, it's really his continuous grasping toward his nether-regions that makes the diaper change a little crazy and unnerving. Back in dad tip #10, I suggested placing a baby wipe over a baby boy's penis to avoid being peed on. Now, just 90 posts later, that advice has been completely negated because as soon as you put a wipe on our boy's penis, he's yanked it off and is pulling it toward his mouth. (And in case there's a misplaced modifier or some such in that sentence, it's the wipe he's yanked off and NOT his penis.)


Furthermore, after taking the wipe away from him, he starts reaching directly for his penis. He's definitely found it and tried to grab it, but I'm not sure he's figured out that it's attached.

I should clarify that our boy isn't a weirdo constantly grabbing his crotch like Michael Jackson. He's just doing it during diaper changes.

For now.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dad tip #99: Don't be too impressed with yourself; babies are easily amused

So, my family is in town visiting -- my parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. My wife, my son, and I were all sitting around with our visiting family tonight and some how three practice tennis balls started flying around the room. At one point, all three balls ended up in front of me and I began juggling.

My nearly 8-month-old son broke out in full-on belly-laughter and my 19-month-old nephew seemed to giggle his agreement that the juggling was, in fact, impressive and entertaining. With this encouragement, I added in a couple of simple ball tricks and changed up the juggling pattern a few times. And the laughter continued.

Then my dad, the most practical human being on the planet, suggested, "I think he'll be just as entertained if you just move one ball up and down in the air while holding it." Sure enough, the "simplified juggling" of one ball was sufficient to keep my son laughing.

Oh well.

I'm SURE that juggling will eventually be impressive to my son. I'll just count myself lucky that he's easily amused right now because it would be a pain if I had to jump through all kinds of crazy hoops to keep him happy. I'm not saying I wouldn't do it; it would just be a lot more tiring.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dad tip #98: Amazon has a "Green Baby" section

Okay, it's getting late and I'm feeling a little uninspired, so I'm going to one of my regular fall-backs: Amazon. Today, I'm going to talk about Amazon's "Green Baby" section (even though we're not the greenest household in the world).

If you happen to be "Green" and you're looking for a great selection of eco-friendly products to support your lifestyle (and your baby's lifestyle), you might as well give Amazon a go. -- particularly if you get free shipping as an Amazon Prime member. I have to admit that a lot of the "Baby Green" contents are a little beyond me, but I'll go ahead and list some of the more interesting things I found:I suppose the few rudimentary bits of advice that you could strain out of this post are that you can even be environmentally conscious when it comes to your baby and that you don't necessarily need to go to some expensive boutique shop to get it done.

Oh, and that there are some really cute baby items that happen to be green (like the Pixel Organics "Lions, Tigers and Kitties ... Oh My" Organic Crib Set).

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Dad tip #97: Babies need time to adjust to new food

This morning, when introducing our son to smooshed avocado for the first time, I was reminded that he's rarely ever had a distinct positive reaction to a new food or even a clear neutral reaction. Usually, there's some grimacing or even flinching of some kind once he's realized that he's tasting something he's never eaten before.

I suppose this stands to reason. If I were a baby and I had the tendency to stick everything and anything in my mouth, I might be surprised if I tasted something different that might actually be edible.

For instance, the first time we gave our boy apples, there was a lot of head shaking and squinting; basically the same reaction an adult might have if sucking on a really sour lemon. But, after the next couple of exposures to apples, he couldn't get enough. So, the advice is to not necessarily take their initial reaction as gospel as babies do apparently need some time to adjust to new food.

HOWEVER, Gerber 1st Food Peaches smell like @#$%! No really. They actually make my wife gag when she smells them. After several attempts at feeding them to our son (for which we sort of feel guilty now), we're convinced that he doesn't like them. We'll give fresh pureed peaches a go at some point, but we probably won't ever subject our child to the putrid concoction that is Gerber peaches.

Sadly, it seems, avocados are not on our baby's favorite food list either. But I'm sure that someday he'll love them on a big juicy bacon cheese burger smothered in swiss.

Ahhh ... some day.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dad tip #96: How to tell if your baby is pooing

Contrary to popular belief, odor is not necessarily the first sign that your baby is actively filling his diaper with poop. Nor are traditional fart noises the first sign that your baby is pooping.

Tonight's advice is simply going to be a quick list of alternate poo-indicators that we've cataloged while observing our son pooping (usually while sitting in his highchair):
  1. Grunting. Y'know, like "Ennnnnh. Enh! Ennnh..."
  2. "Eye of the tiger." That is to say, the look of adult seriousness that only manifests itself in babies in regard to serious matters -- like pooping.
  3. Face turning red as if straining with effort.
  4. Grabbing a magazine and heading toward the bathroom.
Okay, that last one's an indicator that I'm about to poo. But the other three bullets are totally gimmes that our baby boy is pooping. Do not ignore the signs!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dad tip #95: It's okay to want the baby furniture to match the room

When shopping for baby highchairs, I seem to recall looking at the Chicco Polly Explorer Highchair and the Fisher-Price Rainforest Healthy Care Highchair. Both chairs seemed to get pretty decent reviews, but the Fisher-Price highchair definitely seemed to have the slight edge.

I honestly can't remember how we came to a final decision, but I suspect that we went with the Chicco at least partially because it matches our dining room better. The modern lines and earth tones of the Chicco Explorer clearly fit in with espresso wood furniture better than the bright primary colors of the Fisher-Price Rainforest.

Don't get me wrong, the Fisher-Price chair is wicked cute, but it really wouldn't match as well as the Chicco does. In the grand scheme of things, as long as the chair is functional and safe, it doesn't matter what it looks like ... but, if by CHANCE you can get the baby furniture to match the room, what's the harm in that?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dad tip #94: Hobbies are less important than sleep

Okay, just logged on to Blogger and discovered that there's a scheduled outage in seven minutes. So, tonight's advice is going to be REALLY short.

Hobbies (like blogging or reading comic books like Guardians of the Galaxy) are genuinely less important than sleep. So, if you're forced into making a choice between the two, you should definite opt for sleep ... AT LEAST 75% of the time.

Good night!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Dad tip #93: Beware the baby with 'midnight munchies'

Tonight's advice will be in the form of a haiku:
I sleep through the night
Last night I had the munchies.
WAAAAAH! Give me some food!
We've been VERY lucky as our baby boy has been sleeping through the night for months now consistently. He's had less than a handful of instances where he's woken up in the middle of the night and even fewer incidents where we've had to get up and put him back to sleep.

Unfortunately, we experienced something of an aberration last night. Our boy woke up around midnight and we had a hard time figuring out why he wouldn't go back to sleep. We comforted him, checked his temperature, read to him, sang to him, changed his diaper, and pretty much went through his entire bedtime routine. Before we knew it, an hour had passed and we had yet to successfully put him back to sleep.

Then we (and by 'we', I mean 'my wife') nursed him and fed him some formula; which we were a little hesitant to do since we've been really good about breaking the association of feeding with waking up. But sure enough, after satisfying his midnight munchies and re-re-doing his bedtime routine, our son drifted off to sleep for the rest of the night.

So, the advice here is expect your sleep to be interrupted at some point. And also, cover all your bases if you can't figure out why your kid won't go back to sleep. And try not to have an early morning business call to India (like I did) because you'll be tired.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dad tip #92: Kids Star Wars t-shirts available at The Gap

Okay, today's advice is more of a "heads-up" than it is advice, but maybe it'll still be helpful to someone. As unlikely as it sounds, kids Star Wars t-shirts are indeed available at The Gap!

Furthermore, in some kind of partnership with Junkfood, The Gap is now selling licensed merchandise bearing the trademarks of not only Star Wars, but also Indiana Jones, Speed Racer, The Beatles, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Hello Kitty, Strawberry Shortcake, Peanuts, The Smurfs, and more. Junkfood apparently has some pretty amazing deals with a lot of different brands. Forming a partnership with a mainstream entity like The Gap is a pure stroke of genius to make those licenses go as far as they can possibly go.

The t-shirts are totally kick-ass, but they're EX-PEN-SIVE! We're talking $22.50 for a shirt that will probably only fit your kid for a couple of months at most. But it may well be his favorite shirt for those few precious months. And afterall, how much is YOUR nostalgia worth to you?

I suspect that Junkfood's license has a limited lifespan so you'd better act sooner than later if you're interested. But the greater sense of urgency to decide whether or not to spend that much money on an article of children's clothing will be The Gap's clockwork seasonal changes of their clothing lines. If you were looking for an adult-sized Junkfood Star Wars t-shirt for yourself, you should checkout the official Star Wars Shop (where some of the Junkfood tees are only $18.50, go figure).

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dad tip #91: Did you know Amazon has an outlet store?

Anyone who's been reading this blog for any amount of time has probably guessed that I'm a total hooker for My previous posts about Amazon include bits on the Amazon Gold Box, the Amazon 4-for-3 promotion, and Amazon Prime.

What other Amazon offering could there be left for me to sing the virtues of? Well, there are actually plenty of money-saving features, but tonight's selection is ... the Amazon Outlet.

I'll be the first to admit that there are pile of things in the outlet that I have absolutely no interest in. However, they do have an entire baby section. The #2 item right now is the Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing for $99.99 (which apparently is good for the Nature's Touch, New Nature's Touch, Nature's Wonder, and Butterfly Garden models). Not bad considering some of the models' list prices are as high as $174.49 and the cheapest price (from a reputable vendor) that I can find for any model in Google's product search is $118.99 (Walmart). All of these models are eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping, too.

Oh yeah, if you're anything like me, you might also be interested in the Xbox 360 games and Nintendo Wii games in the outlet, too. (For those of you with slightly older kids than ours, can I interest you in Spider-man: Friend or Foe (Wii) for $15.92? It's apparently a decent "bonding" game for dads and their kids according to the reviews.)

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Dad tip #90: People have boundary issues when it comes to babies

Tonight's advice is pretty much: "Be prepared for weird people coming up to you when you least expect it and getting all in your baby's grill. Also expect possible patting, rubbing, squeezing, and general grabbing of your baby's chubby extremities in an affectionate manner. Alternately, if the strange people are too far away, expect extended staring -- try to avoid eye contact so they cannot get close enough to start a conversation or make physical contact."

This post was inspired by my wife's recent eight-hour trip to the grocery store where other shoppers, their children, and employees accosted her every three feet to say how cute our son is. He is a ridiculously cute kid; but enough already, let my wife get groceries in peace!

Actually, while I'm thinking of it, this "baby crazy" behavior does seem to manifest itself most in baggers at groceries stores. A few weeks ago on the way out of the Hannaford, a nice older Chinese woman patted our son's legs and said something to the extent of "Pàng tǔi!" translating approximately into "Fat legs!"

At least that's what I think she said ... it was a different dialect of Chinese than I speak. Anyhow, be prepared, deal with it how you will, and remember that most people are doing it to be friendly (but keep your guard up, just in case).

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dad tip #89: Babies have ESP

My wife and I have both noticed a bizarre recurring phenomenon in our household. Occasionally, one of us will wake up early for one reason or another (full bladder, hungry cat meowing, etc.) and we'll take a peek at the video baby monitor and see our boy sleeping soundly in his crib.

Within moments of returning the monitor to the night stand and laying back down to sleep an extra 15 minutes, we'll hear our son begin to stir and babble. It's almost like he can see us looking at him through the video camera in his room!

I realize there hasn't been a speck of advice in this post yet; I'm getting there. If your child is anything like ours, he's good for at least 15 minutes of solo play time after waking up before he starts to really cry out for some attention. So, if you were trying to catch a smidge of extra sleep, then set your alarm and turn the volume on the baby monitor down.

Your kid will be fine and he might even learn that playing by himself is actually okay. And you'll be fine too as you enjoy your guilt-free extra rest.

("I always feel like somebody's watching meeeeeeeeee!" - Rockwell.)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dad tip #88: Beware the lamenting baby

Tonight's advice will be in the form of a haiku:
Why, James Posey, why?
Oh, why did you have to leave?
I'm just a baby!
Okay, it's late. I'm not feeling particularly creative. And I'm totally bummed that James Posey left the Boston Celtics for a longer contract with the New Orleans Hornets. I certainly don't blame him; after all, he's got to look out for his family. We just won't be able to replace a guy like that.

If for some reason the Celtics aren't able to win at least one more championship in the next three years, I'll point to this as the reason why. And by then, my son will be old enough to ask, "Why?" and I'll have to explain to the little boy the nature of professional sports as a business and that James Posey (and Danny Ainge for that matter) did what he had to do.

So the advice here is, umm ... something about balancing loyalty and logic or balancing the heart and the mind. Or something like that.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dad tip #87: May the sports be with you

So, it's occurred to me that I should brush up on any number of sports-related things before my son gets old enough to ask me about them. For instance, while I could talk for days about how the pick and roll is a lost art in basketball, I couldn't begin to even make up details on the differences between nickel and dime defenses in football. So inadvertently, the main advice today is "thank heavens for wikipedia!"

But, I also thought it would be funny to document my plan if my son wants to become a professional athlete some day. Should that become his desire, I will encourage him to be a baseball player. More specifically, a left-handed knuckleball pitcher! He'd always be in demand and he could have a wicked long career a la Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox.

While we're on this tangent, let's think about former Red Sox player Doug Mirabelli who was Wakefield's longtime designated catcher. If we eventually have a second son and my older son seems destined to become a professional left-handed knuckleballer, you can bet that I'm going to encourage the younger son to learn how to catch him.

Yep, I'm already planning on helping all my kids achieve job security while maintaining close familial relations. Go me!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Dad tip #86: Consolidate the baby and cat poop

We're a two baby family. We have a seven month old human baby and and a seven year old feline one.

One thing I got myself in the habit of doing is consolidating the baby and cat poop. When I empty the Diaper Champ, I also scoop the cat litter and deposit the pee clumps and poo into the not-quite-full bag from the Champ. It works out great for everyone involved and it reduces the number of plastic bags we waste.

On Bastille Day, I'll leave you with another of our famous songs with modified lyrics. To the tune of Frère Jacques:
Rancid feces, rancid feces
Cat and human, cat and human
Put them in the same bag, put them in the same bag
It's all poop, it's all poop
Bon nuit!

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dad tip #85: Take the grandparents up on their offer to watch your kid

My parents are in town visiting and they've already helped us out with babysitting duties while we've: attended a wedding, built a retaining wall, mowed the lawn, gotten iced coffees, cooked, and done a number of other small things. They offered again tonight to babysit so we could go out and have dinner if we wanted.

While we turned them down tonight, we do plan on taking them up on the offer soon to catch dinner and a movie (hopefully Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is still playing somewhere!). You see, we don't have any family in the immediate area, so when we do have someone visiting, we have to take advantage of it.

It's not that we don't want to spend time with my parents or that we can't deal with our own child; I just think it's probably healthy for us to get out alone once every blue moon. Keeping your sanity probably makes you a better parent. Plus, it gives the grandparents some time to bond with their grandchild. So really, it's a win-win-win scenario.

(And feel free to add an extra "win" in there if Indy is still in theaters!)

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dad tip #84: To let him sleep in a poopy diaper or not?

My wife and I just got home from our friends' wedding (which was beautiful, by the way). My parents were taking care of our son while we were out and, as usual, it sounded like they did a great job. We decided to check in on our son anyway and upon opening his bedroom door, we were immediately hit with the distinct odor of poo.

We backed out of the room to figure out our plan of action. After all, we REALLY didn't want to disturb his sleep pattern, but we didn't think good parents would let their child sleep another six or seven hours in a diaper full of poo. Ordinarily, I don't think he would've pooped his pants so soon after being put down for the night (or at all), but I suspect tonight was something of an exception because of the teething "symptoms".

Assuming that we could get him back down to sleep fairly easily, we decided that changing his diaper was the right decision. Like a finely tuned machine, we went in, changed his diaper, and had him back asleep with minimal disturbance all in about five minutes. (My wife and I are to middle-of-the-night diaper changes as Mulder and Scully are to paranormal investigations.)

After seeing and smelling the horrors that awaited us in the diaper, we knew we'd made the right decision. We also got a bonus out of the decision: seeing him smile at us in an adorable half-asleep (and grateful) way.

Perhaps the advice for dilemmas such as this would be to simply ask yourself: "Would you want to sleep in a pile of poop all night long?" Probably not.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Dad tip #83: Other less obvious symptoms of teething

Your kid drooling like crazy and chewing on everything in sight may be some obvious indicators that he's teething. But today, I learned of some other less obvious signs of teething.

Our boy had some light diarrhea the past couple of days and we saw that he had a mild fever of 99.7 today. I called up the pediatrician's office and spoke with a nurse only to discover that he's displaying classic symptoms of teething.

I don't know the exact science behind it but the words "inflammation, gums, virus, mild fever, and diarrhea" came up. We were told to stay away from fruits beginning with the letter "P" and to call back if there were any major changes to our boy's behavior.

So, that wasn't so bad, but it was surprising for me because I NEVER would've associated yellowy watery stinky smelly icky poo with teething.

Did I mention stinky?

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dad tip #82: Beware the steamrolling baby

Tonight's advice will be in the form of a haiku:
I can't crawl or walk
But I sure can move, like a ...
Tiny steamroller
When your kid starts rolling, make sure you keep a close eye on him/her. Once they get a hang of it, they'll cross an entire room in the blink of an eye. Just make sure they don't roll over, into, or off of anything bad.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dad tip #81: Beware the baby with ninja-like reflexes and guile

Tonight's advice will be in the form of a haiku:
I'll open my mouth
To make you think I want food
Ha ha! Got the spoon!
The haiku basically says it all. Though our baby is a mere seven months old, he's developed the ability to strategize ways to get ahold of the spoon. He'll open his mouth as if he wants a mouth full of food and then when you're in as close you can get without actually inserting the spoon in his mouth -- SHAZAM! -- like lightening his hand flashes out and he's got a surprisingly powerful grip on the spoon and there's mush all over his hands.

So the advice tonight is that you too must develop ninja-like reflexes. Work on that.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dad tip #80: Double-bibbing isn't insane

Another quick post for tonight. I figured I'd let you all in on something that my wife and I do that could be construed as overly anal or even crazy. We double-bib our baby.

Yes, two bibs at every meal. One underneath the straps of the high chair and one over. Why? Because when we only use one bib -- over the straps -- it has a tendency to shift to one side, leaving his clothes open to sweet potato and pea stains.

(PEA stains, NOT pee stains.)

It means that less food gets rubbed into the high chair (and its straps). It's a lot easier to toss a couple of bibs in the laundry than it is to disassemble the high chair for a good thorough cleaning.

Excessive or no?


Monday, July 7, 2008

Dad tip #79: Situational song-making

A quick post tonight ... I've mentioned in the past how much our baby likes it when we sing to him and that it can be fun to make up words to well known songs. I'd just like to add that it's also great when you do it on the spot situationally.

For example, I recently posted about how prunes perform as advertised. This recently inspired the following:
Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like prunes and bananas!
THIS I tell ya brother
You can't eat one without the ... other!
Specifically, our kid can't eat a whole ton of bananas without having at least a little bit of prunes because those bananas really are binding.

By the way, the image at the top came from another blogger's post about banana prune pound cake. Really.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dad tip #78: Neighbors be damned; go ahead and mow your lawn early

Mowing the lawn is not my favorite chore. In the last two years, I think I've finally come to grips with it. I think it's kind of like taking cough syrup or doing some really terrible shot that your friend buys you ... just do it and get it over with. BUT, in all three instances, do it well or else you'll get crap from your wife/cold/friend and you probably won't reap the full benefits of whichever you're doing.

Now that we have a baby who I absolutely LOVE spending time with, I have to be a little more time efficient in terms of when I get things done, including mowing the lawn. I used to put that chore off until the afternoon, but the problem with that is my son's afternoon nap tends to be shorter and afternoon mowing tends to be much hotter which makes showering a requisit of the chore.

Our son's first nap of the day is usually around 9:00am and lasts anywhere between 45 minutes and two hours. Some might say that 9:00am is a little early to mow the lawn on a Saturday or a Sunday; but neighbors be damned, it'll help me optimize my time with my son.

(And on top of all this, I'm a morning person and just way more productive in the earlier hours of the day, so it also practical from that standpoint, too.)


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dad tip #77: Setting (materialistic) expectations

There's something to be said for setting expectations early for your baby. For instance, it's important to comfort your newborn immediately when they become distressed to help them develop a sense of support and trust that you'll be there for them.

That said, the other night I was surfing around for another Daily DADvice topic and stumbled across the BMW Baby Racer. Really? My kid needs a BMW? We're just going to bypass a Radio Flyer tricycle, a Big Wheels, and even an old school Big Foot Power Wheels truck and go straight to BMW?

I suspect that even babies might identify that having a BMW that early in life might be a bit extravagant. It is kind of cute conceptually, but I think there's also something to be said for having parts of your childhood being a little more ... traditional.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Dad tip #76: How holiday baby outfits affect your life

You'll discover pretty early on that people love buying your baby outfits -- not just individual items of clothing, but entire outfits. This behavior becomes even more prevalent around the holidays. I suspect that you may find that holiday-themed outfits frequently end up being funny, inconvenient, frustrating, and/or impractical; but always well-intentioned.

For example, our boy received about a half dozen Christmas outfits within the first few weeks of his life. If I recall correctly, we actually changed his outfit two or three times on Christmas Eve and Christmas day to make sure that we didn't offend anyone by not having him at least appear in a photo with each outfit. Among the many outfits were an obligatory "My First Christmas" onesie and a full-fledged Santa Claus outfit (sans beard).

On Saint Patrick's Day we dressed our son briefly in a shamrock-patterned hand-me-down onesie that made him look more like a girl than a thousand pink bows would've. On Easter, our son had so much poop erupt out of his diaper that we had to dispose of his "My First Easter" onsies half way through the day. And today, he wore a very patriotic red, white, and blue striped t-shirt that he promptly spit up on after his first meal of the day.

There's always some underlying aggravation when something happens to the outfit of choice, but thanks to friends and family, you may very well have a back up (or even a back up to the back up). So, the advice here is appreciate that people are considerate and thinking of you baby and try not to get to frustrated if the outfit doesn't make it through the whole day.

Happy 4th of July!

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dad tip #75: Socks are a waste of time

I remember bringing our son home from the hospital seven months ago. The winter chill of Boston hung in the air so we had to make sure that he was properly bundled. That included dressing him in a knit jumper as well as a winter hat and socks.

It wasn't long after that when I discovered that even a newborn baby's randomly kicking legs had the ability to remove socks. Fast-forward seven months -- now our son can either kick his socks off or simply just grab them and pull them off ... with his hands or his mouth.

So, I ask you, what's REALLY the point of socks? I'd say one out of every dozen pairs of baby socks we own have even a remote chance of staying on for more than ten minutes. That said, I'm a big fan of Robeez and Zutano fleece booties, both of which stay on our boy's feet without fail.

I highly recommend looking into either of those options to keep your kid's feet covered. After all, isn't trying to keep socks on a baby like trying to teach George W. Bush how to pronounce "nuclear" correctly? It's a complete exercise in futility.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dad tip #74: Advertising permeates EVERYTHING

Traffic has been frakkin' ridiculous the last two days. I've spent close to four hours in the car over the course of two days and I only live eleven miles away from the office. That's just wrong.

Not moving in the car, I noticed something interesting. I found myself thinking, "Mmm ... tequila." This isn't a totally crazy thing as I love tequila, but I'm usually not thinking it at 7:30 in the morning. Why was I thinking this? Because there was a gigantic billboard advertising Don Julio tequila.

By the time I'd reached the office this morning, I noticed that I'd also passed billboards for Coors, Corona, and Ketel One vodka. On the way home I noticed billboards for Heineken, Bud Lime, and Patron Silver tequila. That a lot of alcohol advertising covering just an eleven mile stretch!

It occurred to me that at some point in the future, my son is going to be inundated with advertising. It'll be coming at him in ways that I'd never even imagined and it'll start targeting him sooner than I'd suspect.

I remember a couple of stories my sister told me about my niece. Before she could speak full sentences she began associating the colors orange and pink with Dunkin' Donuts and she also associated the GAP logo with "the baby store" because of apparently memorable trips to Baby GAP.

How scary is that? Now, I'm a grown adult and a stupid billboard had me subconsciously craving tequila first thing in the morning. What's advertising going to do to my kid? There's not really any advice here other than to think about all the advertising your kid will get exposed to and to at least be aware of it.

Now, I'm going to go try some Jarro Viejo tequila that my friend brought back for me from her recent vacation.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dad tip #73: Keep a screwdriver on every floor of the house

The title says it all. Keep a screwdriver on every floor; preferably one that has multiple heads (flat head, philips, etc.).

Now that we a have a baby and it seems that I'm assembling, adjusting, or fixing something every other day, it would be REALLY convenient to have a screwdriver on every floor. And if you're terrible about picking up and putting things back where they belong (like I am), the screwdriver is never on the floor that you need it. Furthermore, you might even find a screwdriver that WON'T suit your needs and that just even more aggravating.

Sadly, the need for the other kind of Screwdriver (the cocktail) seems to be diminishing.