Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dad tip #119: Know when to take a break

Okay, it's time to take a break. I'm going on a week-long vacation -- no, not a staycation and certainly not a nakation (if you don't know what those are, Google them) -- and aside from the possibility of having no internet access, I could just use a break from as many of my daily routine things as reasonable (including this blog).

I'm hoping to get some reading in and some nice relaxing family time with my wife and my son. In the meantime, please enjoy the picture of the green Maccha Milk Kit Kat above ("Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar") ... or enjoy some old articles related to poop.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Dad tip #118: Kids come up with great expressions for you to over-use

We've had some friends and their kids in town, visiting from Oregon. One of their boys somehow came up with the following phrase:
"You crack me nuts!"
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a variation of "You crack me up" or "You make me nuts"; or some weird pirate-speak or all of the above. Whatever it is, I like it and plan to over-use the expression in any scenario remotely warranting it.

It should be noted that I'm not going to be indiscriminately using kid-coined phrases all the time. This same child is also VERY fond of indicating to anyone that'll listen: "Let's get this party started!" I think it might be said with some kind of funny accent, too. But not an Oregon or pirate accent ... at least, as far as I can tell.

P.S. I also ended up watching parts of five Star Wars movies with this child in two days. Whew! That kid totally cracks me nuts.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dad tip #117: Peekaboo is the game that never gets old

In the context of an eight-month-old baby, Peekaboo really is the game that never seems to get old. If I'm in a jam for something to entertain my son with, I look for subtle variations of the game.

For example, here's a list of things that I've found myself hiding behind recently:I think the only thing you REALLY need to obscure, to make the game work, is eye contact. So, don't worry if there's nothing good around to hide behind; I'm sure there's something around that you can Peekaboo with.

P.S. I was just searching Amazon for the term "Peekaboo", looking for an image to associate with this post. There's a shocking dichotomy behind the results. Go take a look and see what you find.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dad tip #116: Be thankful that you live in the United States

The pseudo-advice tonight is: "Be thankful that you live in the United States."

Why such a fluffy topic tonight? Because I've been watching the Olympics like it's my job and it makes me sad to hear stories that a lot of China's athletes were essentially sent away from home at the age of three to begin their training with only one opportunity a year to see their parents.

Don't get me wrong, I'd be the proudest dad in the world if my son were to represent the United States in the Olympics some day. But, losing him for his entire childhood would be a deal-breaker. I don't care what the family gets from the government; and call me shallow if you want, but I don't think honor is worth that much.

That said, I'm now going to re-glue myself to the television as I await Michael Phelps's race tonight.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dad tip #115: Going out with the baby takes practice

I suppose it doesn't actually take practice to go out with the baby effectively. But, I think we've found that we feel a lot better about going out with the baby after having done it a few times.

You kind of have to get a routine for not only what you do with your child when you're actually out, but also what you do BEFORE you go out and what you do AFTER you get home. And on top of that, it's not only the routine, but also the timing of when you do everything.

After all, if your baby is happy, you've got a much better chance of having a good time away from the house. Set expectations for your baby and yourselves.

(This post was inspired by going out to dinner tonight with six adults and four kids.)

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Dad tip #114: Facebook can help you "spend time" with your wife

Okay. I'm sure all you dirty birds saw "spend time" in quotes and assumed that it was a euphemism for bumping uglies (which, of course, is also euphemism for something); but it's totally not. I actually mean "spend time". But it's in quotes because we might not actually be spending the exact same moments in time with each other.

For whatever reason -- work, baby, chores, personal hygiene breaks, etc. -- my wife and I can't always be in the same room at the same time. Facebook has been a shockingly functional way for us to still "spend time" together via Facebook apps; more specifically, through Facebook games like Scrabble or Scramble. You can start a game whenever you want and take turns whenever you have time.

You can also save the smack talking for whenever is most convenient, too.

Uh, I guess I should also admit that for some reason we've forsaken "real" Scrabble even when we are able to be in the same room at the same time. But it's kind of stupid because the Scrabble Facebook app is in beta and is obscenely buggy. We'd probably actually finish a real game of Scrabble much faster.

Oh well.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dad tip #113: Babies are like ... Play-Doh Fun Factories

Tonight's advice is the second in a series of "Babies are like" posts. The first post in the series compared babies to drunks, and had a virtual laundry-list of reasons why they're alike.

This post, on the other hand, will only have one REALLY GOOD reason why babies are like Play-Doh Fun Factories. Have you ever watched a commercial for the Play-Doh Fun Factory or ever watched one in action live? If you have, then prepare yourself for the very real possibility that you'll seeing something very similar during a diaper change.

I'm not referring to an ordinary diaper change. I'm referring to one where your child suddenly decides that they're not done pooping yet (mid-diaper change) and starts squeezing out as much additional poo as they can produce. If this scenario were to read like a GRE analogy it would look like:
Play-Doh : Fun Factory :: Poop : Your kid's butt-hole
So, the advice is, very simply, be prepared for it.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dad tip #112: Do separate shirt and pant outfits result in more diaper blow-outs?

I believe that when your baby wears separate shirt and pant outfits, that he's more prone to having a diaper blow-out. And when I say shirt, I'm NOT including onesies; I'm referring to the times that your baby wears something like a t-shirt with a pair of shorts.

I'm not sure there's actually a pattern or even true logic behind my theory, but I do feel like onesies somehow provide some additional support in containing the poop in the diaper. At the very least, onesies do help prevent you from accidentally pulling the diaper down when you remove the pants for a diaper change.

When blow-outs do occur in this scenario, you should consider yourself lucky if your baby's shirt buttons all the way down the front so you don't get into a situation where you're in danger of dragging poo through his hair. As you'll recall, we've inadvertently painted poo-racing stripes down our son's legs. Imagine how much worse it would be if you were painting the poo through your kid's hair.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Dad tip #111: Organize all your baby clothes

People love to buy clothes for your baby. People also love to give you hand-me-downs. And YOU can't resist buying your baby clothes. What does this mean?

It means that you may end up with more clothes than your baby can reasonably wear for any given age range. If you're not REALLY organized, it's entirely possible that you'll find yourself with completely new and unworn outfits that your baby's already outgrown.

Grouping clothes by size is key. And by size, I mean by physical size and NOT by listed size as every manufacturer has their own ideas of what you can squeeze a baby into and/or how big a baby should be at any age. Progressively packing away clothes that are too small also helps with the baby wardrobe de-confusification.

My wife should consider this post a monumental "Thank you" for all the hard work she puts in to keep our boy's things in order. I don't always say it enough, but I really do appreciate it. I suspect if I were in charge, we'd be finding onesies hidden away when our son is old enough to vote.

(But I'm sure they'd be really awesome Star Wars onesies.)

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dad tip #110: Try to switch baby-carrying arms

Try not to only use the same arm to carry your baby all the time. You're in danger of having a tired and sore arm; and of becoming some kind of demented, lop-sided Popeye.

Or maybe it's actually more like becoming some kind of less demonic, less sunburned Hellboy.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dad tip #109: Pottery Barn Kids has vintage Star Wars bedding!

Yup. The title says it all. Pottery Barn Kids has vintage Star Wars bed sheets!

I TOTALLY had those sheets as a kid. The advice here is that you too can relive your childhood. And major mainstream retailers are helping you do it. I mentioned a couple weeks ago how The Gap is selling all kinds of pop culture t-shirts, including Star Wars ones. And now, Pottery Barn is offering up Star Wars bedding.

I suppose I should also mention that Pottery Barn Kids also sells some Superman and Batman goodies, too. But, I think I might be able to build another separate post out of that topic another day.

P.S. I am soooooo ridiculously sad that the Star Wars sheets aren't available in king.

Geek parents unite!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dad tip #108: Babies are like ... drunks!

For a while now, I've been doing a series of "Beware the __blanking__ baby" posts in the form of haikus. Tonight's advice starts a new series of "Babies are like" posts where I'll compare babies to just about anything I can think of. Before I begin, I'd like to give credit where it's due and acknowledge that the basic idea was inspired by my wife and that tonight's edition comes straight out of my wife's mouth. In fact, she said:
"It's weird. Babies are like drunks. You can't understand them. They pee themselves. And you just want them to go to sleep!"
The main advice that I sort of take out of this is more along the lines of, "You can't reason with a drunk or with a baby, so you just have to suck it up and deal with it from time to time." That said, we came up with some other interesting similarities between drunks and babies:
  • You sometimes find them in parks.
  • Both have terrible senses of balance.
  • They'll get whatever they're eating or drinking all over themselves.
  • People call and ask how they're doing.
  • You might have an inclination to take embarrassing pictures of them.
  • You'll find them riding in the back seats of cars. In the case of drunks: police cars.
And yes, we realize some of these tidbits are more closely aligning babies with full-blown alcoholics, but they're still kind of true (and funny).


Monday, August 4, 2008

Dad tip #106: Amazon's "Birth to 24 months" toy store

I'm wicked tired tonight. If you've been following this blog, then you know this is typically when I start spouting all kinds of propaganda (like my deal on Amazon Prime).

Tonight's theme is Amazon's "Birth to 24 months" toy store. It's fun to browse what toys your baby can play with. I only wish that they'd break up the "Birth to 24 months" section into even smaller subdivisions. Our kid is only 8-months-old, so it'd be really handy to narrow the search even further. But, it is kind of cool to take a peek at all the stuff that he'll be able to play with soon.

Among the age-appropriate things on the front page of the store was Jacques the Peacock by Lamaze. It's a ridiculously cute toy that has (according to the description): a soft velour body, busy wings with multiple textures and crinkles, a peek-a-boo mirror, and a squeaker. Our kid has TONS of toys like this, but I'm still tempted to buy one.

Among the less age-appropriate and possibly even questionable results was a "Dark Knight" Joker Bobblehead. Even if it's technically safe for kids 12 months and up, it's still kind of creepy. Do you really want to walk into your kid's room every day and see a miniature statue of Heath Ledger every day?

The last thing I'm going to post here tonight is just a reminder for myself to eventually go back and eventually buy the Baby Farm Friends Bowling by International Playthings. THAT is also WICKED cute.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dad tip #106: Dinner time can be stressful

Okay, here's dinner time around here:
  • Dinner cooking or leftovers reheating.
  • Cat meowing like CRAZY to be fed.
  • Baby starting to fuss because he's getting hungry too.
  • Uh oh, what's that smell? Is that dinner burning?
  • Whoops, tripped over the cat while trying to check on dinner.
  • Dinner's fine, get baby's food ready.
  • Get all the food on the table.
  • Everyone eat as fast as you can.
  • Baby finished his dinner first.
  • Get baby cleaned up.
  • Give him a toy to play with.
  • Eat more of your own dinner.
  • THUMP! Baby's toy is on the floor. Pick it up.
  • Try to finish your own dinner.
  • THUMP! Baby's toy is on the floor. Pick it up.
  • Try to finish your own dinner.
  • THUMP! Baby's toy is on the floor. Pick it up.
  • Try to finish your own dinner.
  • THUMP! Baby's toy is on the floor. Pick it up.
  • Try to finish your own dinner.
  • Repeat until baby's bedtime.
So, the advice here is just to get yourself in the right mindset that dinner isn't necessarily a relaxing time of day anymore. As long as your expectations are set realistically, you'll find that you can able to enjoy that hectic bit of time with your wife and baby as much as you ever enjoyed dinner time.



Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dad tip #105: Sometimes it's cool to just hang out with the baby

The title of this post isn't quite descriptive enough for me to get my point across. What I'm trying to say is, that while trying to keep your baby stimulated all the time is admirable, sometimes the best thing for your baby is to just hang out with him.

With your baby's happiness on your mind, it's easy to get caught in a loop where you're constantly taking your baby from activity to activity, from station to station, but sometimes all your baby needs is your company. In fact, we've found that one of our baby's favorite things is to just lay on the floor with me on one side and my wife on the other.

Give it a try ... it's also relaxing for you if your baby likes it.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Dad tip #104: Babies frequently learn to crawl backwards first

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how mobile our son had become by honing his ability to roll. I just thought I'd quickly follow that up with how much more mobile he's become as a result of his ability to pivot and essentially crawl backwards.

I guess it's technically not crawling. It's more like pushing himself backwards. And occasionally it's like crawl-pushing himself diagonally backwards-ish when he sticks one leg straight out to the side like a pole vaulter's pole in a weird way.

In any event, don't be surprised if this backwards mobility develops as I hear it's pretty common. Also don't be surprised if your kid gets himself stuck underneath stuff unintentionally. And lastly, don't be surprised if your baby ends up frustrated as a result of being stuck or as a result of his inability to move forwards.

For the record, our son is SOOOOOOOOO close to crawling forwards. He can get up on his hands and knees and shuffle forward a little but not enough to satisfy him. Sometimes he's also able to put a bunch of effort into one big lunge, but then he's kind of wiped out.