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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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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Monday, June 16, 2008

Dad tip #58: Keep some post-baby-bedtime goodies around

I typically get home from work around 6:30pm. My boy hits the sack around 7:45-8:00pm. And we usually manage to sneak dinner in just before or just after his bedtime routine.

After he's down for the night, that leaves just a little time for me to spend with my lovely wife and then it's off to bed for the both of us.

While I'm spending time with my wife, I like to sneak some kind of a treat in. Lately, that treat has been either Friendly's Blueberries n' Cream Ice Cream or HaverAle Cream Ale by the Haverhill Brewery.

I highly recommend either and/or finding something else to help you unwind while catching today's DVRed episode of General Hospital. Hey, if my wife can occasionally tolerate an episode of Battlestar Galactica, I can do the same for General Hospital. But, if I'm being completely honest here, I pay way more attention to General Hospital than she does BSG and I can actually see why General Hospital is entertaining.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dad tip #40: The only pattern is that the pattern changes

We're almost six months into our baby boy's life and we've found that the only real pattern we're able to count on is that the pattern is constantly changing. When our son was a "newborn", we found that the patterns lasted only days whereas now they seem to last weeks.

When the patterns only last days, you don't get used to anything and you don't particularly miss anything when they change. That and the fact that the patterns of the first couple months usually involve some form of sleep deprivation. When the intervals are weeks and you've gotten into a good groove with something, you find yourself REALLY missing whatever it is that you'd gotten used to.

So, the advice here is enjoy it when you've got a good thing going on and don't be too distraught when you've got something less than desirable -- like a nearly six month old baby who's suddenly decided that naps are for wussies -- because, inevitably, it's going to change.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dad tip #39: Consider shifting your work schedule

Tonight's post is going to be a quickie. Why? Because I got home just in time to catch my son's bedtime routine. And now having just finished dinner, I'm going to immerse myself in the Game 5, Eastern Conference Finals experience.

So, tonight's advice simply is: Consider shifting your work schedule so you can leave early enough to have dinner with your wife, to spend some time with your kid, and to decompress a little. Take traffic into consideration, too if you live is a major city.

Now I'm going to go watch the Celtics game and lose my mind if they lose to Detroit.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dad tip #15: Ways to break the monotony of Goodnight Moon

So, you're getting your kid settled into his night-time routine and you've decided to make the classic Goodnight Moon a part of it. Two months and dozens of readings later, Goodnight Moon and its comb, its brush, and its bowl full of mush have lost some of their charm.

You're not the only one this has happened to. I suspect that there are parents all over the world who've felt similarly. A character in a recent episode of The Young and the Restless (yeah, don't ask me how I know this) sarcastically joked after putting a child down for the night, "Goodnight Moon: just as good after the 50th time." Well, here are some recommendations that will allow you to stick with your routine, but mix it up a little...

Margaret Wise Brown (author) and Clement Hurd (illustrator) collaborated on books other than Goodnight Moon. You could try mixing up your routine with My World, Runaway Bunny, or Goodnight Moon 123: A Counting Book. But be warned that My World is nearly as trippy as Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves which is most distinctly NOT a children's book. On the other hand, if you're a stoner who enjoys the likes of Teletubbies and SpongeBob Squarepants, then it might be right up your alley.

My other recommendation would be to investigate what other languages Goodnight Moon is available in. So far, I've found Buenos Noches Luna, Bonsoir Lune, and Goodnight Moon (Hebrew Translation). If you're wondering, we've only actually picked up the Spanish version. I'm holding out hope that I'll find the board book version of Bonsoir Lune and I'm pretty certain that I wouldn't even be able to mispronounce my way through the Hebrew Translation.

And for the record, no one in this household is even remotely a fluent Spanish-speaker -- not me, not my wife, and not our cat. The limit of our Spanish is being able to ask for margarita and a beer and then a bathroom afterward if necessary. But damn is it fun to read Buenos Noches Luna! Look at it this way:
In the great green room
there was a telephone
and a red balloon
and a picture of --
The cow jumping over the moon
... becomes ...
En la gran habitacion verde,
hay un telefono,
un globo rojo
y un cuadro ...
... de una vaquita que salta sobre la Luna
Anyhow, give it a shot. You might enjoy it. And please reply to the comments of this post if you happen to find a board book version of Bonsoir Lune or any other translations.

Buenos noches, lector de mi blog.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dad tip #5: You, too, can exercise while getting your baby to sleep

There's an interesting dichotomy to babies when it comes to sleep. On the one hand, as a parent, you should do everything you can to set expectations for your child by way of routines and establishing a general sense of calm before bedtime. On the other hand, you stick a baby in a car seat and drive half a block, they're out like a light regardless of how many people are honking at you and flipping you off. These two sleep methods are not realistically compatible.

However, the thing I've found is that even with the best of routines, you still need to endure some sort of personal triathalon consisting of some variations of rocking, pacing, and bouncing to get your baby to surrender to sleep.

Now, let's digress for a quick moment and consider the fact that in the first few months of being a parent the most exercise you've gotten is lifting your baby out of the bassinet and oh-crap-the-baby-woke-up-again "crunches" when getting out of bed in the middle of the night. If you need to simulate some sort of motion to help ease your baby to sleep AND you're in desperate need of exercise, you might as well try to kill two birds with one Born Free bottle.

Early on, I liked doing some kind of SAFE side lunge. But now, I like to mix it up a little more by doing an extremely sloppy (but SAFE) version of a Capoeira sequence known as the "ginga". Obviously you can't really do the accompanying arm movements, but I think it's more interesting than just doing the same single movement over and over again.

For the record, I have about ten years of Kung Fu training under my belt and all of one Capoeira class. I know that makes this bit of advice a little preposterous. So, the real lesson here is that there are other options than having to endure a 26.2 minute marathon of sitting in a rocking chair to get your baby to go to sleep. There's almost certainly something you can do that can help you burn off at least a couple of calories. (But don't forget the routine!)

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