Archive for the ‘ All About Babies ’ Category

10 Errors I Made with My Two Sons That I (Probably) Won’t Make with My Daughter

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Editor’s Note: This guest post is by Joe DeProspero, who has two sons and a wife. He is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt,” Joe is also writing a parenting humor book. He posts twice monthly and his previous posts can be found here.  He currently lives in New Jersey and can be found on Facebook and on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

 

The best laid schemes of mice and men…often go awry.

Ask any coach who’s developed a plan to win a football game by perpetually blitzing a rookie quarterback. Or a college student who strategically hopped on a flight home one day early, to avoid the rush. A wise person once said that, as we make plans, God laughs. Well, for the purposes of this article, you are God. And I’m still me. Hopeful, naïve me.

I made plenty of mistakes with my first son, Antonio. In fairness, I was a new dad, completely fresh to the scene. Surely, missteps were going to happen. I just didn’t expect them to happen so often. I was that parent at drop-off with his shirt untucked, a baby in one hand, and my half-eaten breakfast in the other, simply trying to survive. I had no system, no experience to learn from. Slowly but surely, I adapted to the chaos, finding ways to manage not only my child, but myself. Five years, another son, and tons of mistakes later, I’ve condensed a list of my errors down to ten. I’m going to try really, really hard not to make them with my forthcoming third child — a daughter!

1. Leaving my groin unprotected

It’s an actual miracle I was able to conceive multiple children based on the effort each one has made to ensure my testicles are permanently on the disabled list. And we don’t even have to be wrestling for it to occur. Making pancakes, reading a bedtime story…both golden opportunities to slam me mightily in the balls, apparently. So, from now on, I’m wearing a cup at all times when I’m around any of my children when they’re awake. Not kidding.

2. Diagnosing illnesses via Google

It never fails. One of my kids has a stuffy nose and a fever, and the Internet tells me that my son has Polio. I’ve since realized that Google.com never earned its doctorate. So I’m staying away from that like I would stay away from someone with the terrible diseases it keeps telling me my family has.

3. Over. Booking.

We are an arrogant bunch, us humans. We somehow believe we can take Christmas card photos, attend a bounce-house birthday party, go grocery shopping, and map out a financial plan for your entire family all in one afternoon. With my third child coming, I don’t see myself committing to much more than “wake up, get dressed, eat things.”

4. Telling people our baby name choices

We told everyone our top 3 when my wife was pregnant with our second son. We never realized people would pick a favorite and literally start calling him by that name while he was still in the womb. That led to some awkward phone calls once he was born. From now on, this is the name. Deal with it.

5. Not bringing back-up clothes

My wife is far better at this than I am. But I’m starting to learn how disastrous it can be when you fail to complete this simple step upon leaving the house. I’ve learned that kids will find new and innovative ways to destroy their clothes, and it’s almost always when they’re out in public without the luxury of a dresser nearby. With a daughter on the way, I fully intend to stash a cornucopia of dresses, tiaras, and 16 pairs of underwear whenever I go even as far as the mailbox.

6. Making ridiculous threats or claims

“I’m not gonna tell you again!”

“If you don’t finish your dinner, I’m giving all your toys to the mailman.”

We both know neither of those statements holds merit. So, I’m changing my approach to a much more realistic one, incorporating threats that have a chance of happening.

“If you don’t come here and pick up these Legos, I’ll piss and moan for a while, give you four more chances to pick them up, then give you a dramatic ‘5 count,’ wherein I threaten the disposal of said toy before you finally tire of listening to me.”

7. Parking far from the cart return

When you’re food shopping with kids, the cart return is like your center of gravity. Stray too far from it, and you’re left disoriented and confused. If you park your car far from where the cart return station is, you have three choices:

  • Unload your bags and kids into the car, leave the cart next to your car for someone else to pick up.
  • Unload your bags and kids into the car, run the cart over to the cart return station, leaving your children unattended, in a car, for several seconds.
  • Return the cart first, then transport your kids and all your bags from the cart return station to your car.

All three options hold a negative consequence, if you have a conscience. So, I plan to park directly next to the cart return, no matter what.

8. Disrespecting the nap schedule

This goes hand in hand with overbooking. And it never goes well. In the past, I’ve been gutsy (read: stupid) enough to think I could pull off taking my son to a store that coincided directly with his nap. It might surprise you to know that he threw a Bobby Knight-level tantrum, eventually passing out in his stroller. Can’t blame him. Would you want to be stuck five people deep in a check-out line when you expected to be asleep in your bed?

9. Thinking we’ll be fine without the stroller

This is especially crucial during ages 1-3, when kids are excited about walking on their own, but only for about four minutes. I’ve learned that, somehow, my kids run out of gas quickly when walking in a theme park, fair, carnival, etc. Far quicker than people 20 times their age even do. From now on, it’s stroller or we don’t go at all. I’m not carrying a 20-30 pound bag of sand around Disney World.

10. Wearing work clothes to the breakfast table

I’ve determined through extensive research that wearing business attire while your child has access to throwable food is like dancing the Macarena in front of a hungry jaguar with sausage links draped over your shoulders. It’s just too cocky. So, instead, I’ve started wearing a plastic shield over my body. I may look like an Italian sofa, but at least I won’t show up at the office looking like a barbecue napkin anymore.

I’m sure this list could easily be expanded. So, what amendments did you make after realizing a mistake you were making with #1 or #2? Add it in the comments or tweet me @JoeDeProspero!

Parenting Style: Positive Parenting
Parenting Style: Positive Parenting
Parenting Style: Positive Parenting

* Father and son photo courtesy of Shutterstock,com

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I Did Nothing for My Baby’s First Christmas (and I’m OK With It)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

babys-first-christmasGrowing up, Christmas was a huge deal in my home. My sisters and I spent hours obsessing over the catalogs that crowded our mailbox and circling the toys we wanted in heavy black rings (adding stars and exclamation points to the ones we really, really wanted). We pestered our mom nonstop for weeks about what we were getting for the big day, so much so that she finally broke down and instituted a new tradition where we could open one gift on Christmas Eve. The morning of, we’d watch our clocks until they struck 6 o’clock, then we’d bum rush our parents’ room and wake them up by demanding gifts. Norman Rockwell it wasn’t, but the holiday was ours and I loved it.

So when my own baby was born, I had visions of pretty garland, nicely wrapped gifts and a bright, sparkling tree dancing in my head. This was in September, when I received a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament in the mail. This was also a week before our son gave up on sleeping through the night, a phase that lasted a staggering 18 months and upended every aspect of our lives. By December 25, my husband and I were in anything but the holiday spirit. We were cranky, tired, and exasperated — we couldn’t even muster the energy to buy a tree. All we really wanted for Christmas was a dark room, a warm bed, and 48 hours to catch up on sleep.

I wish I could say that we rallied the day of, that we at least hung a stocking and sang a Christmas song to our kiddo. Instead, I remember us snuggling on the sofa with our boy, watching the yule log on TV, and trying to spin our bare-bones day to excited (and well-rested) family members as something magical. We swore that we’d put more thought into the holiday next year.

Still, part of me felt like a failure. I read the articles about starting traditions, saw the awesome crafts I could make for him, remembered the parts of my childhood holiday that were most meaningful. And yet I didn’t do a single one of them. My role in the holiday had changed — from receiver to giver, from wide-eyed child to magic-making mom — and I was too tired to realize it.

My guess is that I’m not alone. In fact, just this morning, I called my best friend Dana, a wildly creative mom who’s constantly coming up with cool things to do with her two kids. I asked what she did for her first-born’s inaugural Christmas, figuring that if anyone was going to make it special with a capital S, it would be her. Instead, she giggled and said she only remembers that her father built a doll-sized crib for her daughter and even tracked down a Cabbage Patch doll for it. “We were too tired to do anything else,” she says.

So I’ve too decided to cut myself some slack. Sure, Joshua’s first Christmas wasn’t the storybook day I had pictured, but it was reflective of who we were at the time: overwhelmed, sleep-deprived new parents who were just trying their best. Looking back, that’s much sweeter than anything I could have wrapped up in ribbons and bows.

Tell us: What are your plans this holiday season?

How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

Image of baby in Santa hat courtesy of Shutterstock

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OMG! 3 Women Lose It Over a Crying Baby on a Plane

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

air-china-fightFlying the friendly skies isn’t always so friendly when you have a baby in tow. For every veteran parent on the plane who gives you an understanding “I’ve-been-there” smile as you and your kiddo squeeze down the tight middle aisle, there are plenty of other passengers who roll their eyes, shoot you a dirty look, or try to swap seats so they’re nowhere near you and your child at 30,000 feet.

Of course, none of this is comfortable if you’re the harried parent who’s juggling a squirmy infant and all of her accoutrements in a space the size of a sardine can. But I’ll take a nasty scowl over what happened on a recent Air China flight to Hong Kong.

It started out as most things with a baby do: with some crying. Though most parents are inured to the grating sound, the two female passengers sitting in the row ahead were definitely not — and they asked the mom, Chang Juan Sung, to quiet down her child. Sung, who was clearly at the end of her rope, yelled right back at them. Incensed, the women retaliated using the best gun in their arsenal: they reclined their seats all the way back.

It was tantamount to a declaration of war.

In a scene right out of Jerry Springer, the mom stood up, leaned over the seat and began punching (!!!) the women, a fellow passenger told the Daily Mail (h/t Mashable). The #BabyRage brouhaha caught the attention of the pilot, who threatened to ground the plane ASAP if the three grown-ups didn’t stop brawling.

Cooler heads must have prevailed because the plane ended up pulling in to Hong Kong right on time. Security greeted the fighters at the gate and fussed at them for their highly inappropriate behavior, though no arrests were made.

No word on whether the baby ever did stop crying.

Tell us: Are you traveling with baby this holiday season? How are you preparing?

How to Soothe a Crying Baby
How to Soothe a Crying Baby
How to Soothe a Crying Baby

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

Image of women fighting courtesy of Steve Herman via Twitter

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It’s a Second Girl for Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard!

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Kristen Bell and Dax ShepardFollowing in Kourtney Kardashian’s footsteps, Kristen Bell gave birth right before Christmas to her second daughter, named Delta, reports People. Delta is the second child for the “Veronica Mars” and “Frozen” actress and her husband, “Parenthood” actor Dax Shepard. They also have a 2-year-old daughter named Lincoln.

Both couples took to Twitter (and Instagram) to announce their baby’s arrival, with Kristen posting an image of  a mama gorilla holding a baby gorilla’s hand.

 

It’s unlikely the couple will share a photo of their baby anytime soon, as they’re private about photos of Lincoln. Along with other celebs, Bell and Shepard are also big supporters of the No Kids Policy, an initiative to stop paparazzi from taking photos of celebrity kids without their parents’ consent.

In an interview with Redbook last year, Bell shared her experience of being a first-time mom to Lincoln. “I guess this is the first year I’ve really owned the title of ‘grown-up,’ although I don’t feel like one. I think the biggest change for me is that somehow I feel more whole … The consensus from everyone is that [having a kid is] the best thing you will ever do in your life. Dax and I put a lot of stock in that, and they were right.”

Congratulations to the second-time parents!

Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Image: Photo of Kristen Bell and  Dax Shepard via Shutterstock

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Kanye West Spent HOW MUCH on North’s Christmas Gifts?!

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Baby North West

You can say a lot about Kanye West — that he never ever smiles, that his love of leather pants is almost illegal, that he’s a genius at avoiding E! cameras. But one adjective never hurled in his direction is “cheap.” The man deals in the currency of lavish. No gesture is too over the top, especially when it comes to his family. See: his proposal at a rented-out baseball stadium, a vase wall of flowers for wife Kim, diamond starter earrings for baby North. Why would we expect him to show restraint around the holidays?

An in-the-know source told Heat magazine that the rapper has splurged on his favorite baby this Christmas. If the reports are true, then Nori is in for a stellar day. Among the loot is a tot-sized replica of Yeezy’s black SUV and—wait for it—a diamond-encrusted tiara so that she “when she plays dress-up, she can be a real princess,” the source says. (That’s not exactly how it works, but whatever floats your boat, Kanye.) Those two gifts alone supposedly set the artist back a cool $74,000, the Daily Mail reports, a figure that made me feel slightly dizzy but mostly relieved about my own kid’s holiday haul.

Full disclosure: I didn’t buy him a holiday gift until he was nearly 2. I wasn’t being stingy — I just wanted to avoid the present trap, where everyone becomes more focused about what’s under the tree or what comes after the menorah lighting than on the true spirit of the season. Though my husband and I gave him a few treats last year, this year is the first where he’s expecting and anticipating gifts. Like a lot of parents we know, we’re trying our best to keep the excess in check by only buying him a handful of presents he really wants. We’re also beginning to emphasize the idea of giving to others, both through our conversations about the holidays and by picking out toys together for children in need.

Which all sounds great in theory, but honestly, controlling the glut of holiday gifts can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. After all, our son is an only child in a home that celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, and is the only grandchild on my side. We also have a circle of generous friends who give him goodies, too. Translation: Much of his December is spent tearing open something shiny and awesome.

My guess is that I’m not alone in wondering how much is too much. Even Kimye seem to be feeling that one out. Kim recently said her daughter will have to work for what she wants; meanwhile, Kanye (allegedly) dropped five figures on gifts for the 18-month-old. As a mom who’s also trying to balance celebrating and spoiling, I take some strange comfort in the fact that even celeb parents are figuring out where to draw the line.

Now it’s your turn: What are your gift-giving plans this holiday?

How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Google+

Image of North West courtesy of Kim Kardashian West via Instagram.

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