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Monday, August 20th, 2012
“Oh! You have the son that sleeps like a baked potato!” That’s what someone said to my wife at a birthday party a few weeks ago.
She and her husband had just met me downstairs and somehow I ended up explaining how Jack looks whenever I go to check on him at night before I go to bed.
When he sleeps, I just imagine my son as a baked potato, half-wrapped in foil, with butter, sour cream, chives, and pepper. He always has his back curled in away from me, like a little amoeba.
Please know that as I say these obscure things about my toddler son, I say them adoringly. I mean, what’s not to love about a baked potato? Everybody loves a baked potato!
Jack officially became a baked potato when he was three months old. That’s when he got this completely unflattering pajama looking-thing that made me embarrassed for him to be wearing it. Even if it was only at night. (Pictured below.)
A year and a half later I have fully embraced, and now celebrate, how he looks like a baked potato when he sleeps.
Jack also makes me think of that Taco Town commercial on Saturday Night Live; where they advertise a taco wrapped in a tortilla, wrapped in a burrito, wrapped in a corn husk, wrapped in a pizza, wrapped in a blueberry pancake.
I’m the one who puts Jack to sleep for naps and bedtime: He has to be holding his water cup, a toy, and his Mimi (thin security blanket) all while wrapped up in a regular blanket.
Without all of those peripherals, there is no chance of him even thinking about falling asleep.
Yet still, once he actually does fall asleep, it’s often in the most uncomfortable-looking positions. Sometimes he’s balled up in his baked potato position with his head mashed up in the corner of his bed.
Other times, his ankle will be caught in the wooden bars of the crib.
You would think this would lead to a night of restless sleep. But how does Jack sleep?
Like a rock.
Or maybe more like a baked potato.
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
It has officially been over a year now that I decided to incorporate the “cry it out” method to get my then infant son to sleep through the night.
Has it worked? Oh yes.
Do I have any regrets? Absolutely.
My regrets are that I waited until he was 7 months old. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it any later than at 3 months old.
But when you’re a first time parent, it’s hard to know who to listen to about whether or not to do “cry it out.”
You become instantly avalanched by blogs and books that completely disagree with each other. You have to choose a side.
Well, I ended up writing two separate blog posts on the subject to simply explain and demonstrate how it worked for me.
In the first one, Is It Wrong To Let Your Baby Cry It Out? I received this hateful comment:
On July 7, 2011 at 10:03 am
“Actually, what you have done is not teach him to sleep well, but teach him that, no matter how hard he cries, how scared and alone he feels, or what his needs may be, you will not be there for him. You have taught him to give up hope that mommy or daddy will be there for him no matter what, and to just give up trying. I see a major difference in the clinginess and dependency in kids that were let to cry it out, compared to those that were not. Kids go through stages and need us more in some then others. Congratulations!”
And then I received this condescending jewel of a comment in Getting My Infant To Sleep Through The Night.
On August 9, 2011
“Ummm infants are supposed to eat during the night. Not only because their tummies are small but preventing a super deep sleep cycle helps to prevet SiDS. The CIO method has been shown to cause distress in infants and leads to learned helplessness. It’s disappointing that parents don’t realize that having children is a sacrafice to themselves. Having children means less sleep. It’s called being a parent. I’m very disappointed in your touting crying it out. I’ve got two kids and I’m terribly tired a lot of the time but I’ll never leave my baby to CIO in a room by herself. She’s a BABY. I wish you and your wife would realize that your child is a baby and needs you.”
Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Jack is currently the only boy in his age/stage group at KinderCare. Since this recently became the case, I have noticed a new dynamic between him and his classmate, Sophie Culpepper. (What a cool name, right?)
Don’t get ahead of me here. This is not a post about Jack’s first daycare crush. We’re not there yet.
It’s becoming the norm now that when I drop off Jack in the morning, he will stand up next to the toy sink, and Sophie will walk up to him. Standing just inches away from his face, she stares at him as if to say, “Good, you’re here now. Entertain me.”
His sigh and blank stare back at her seem to translate: “Hey, I just got here. Give me a minute to see what kind of trouble we can get into today.”
Their “partners-in-crime” relationship is especially funny because of how much they look alike. I instantly think of the cartoon show, Rugrats, where the only obvious difference between Phil and Lil is a hair bow and a dress. In other words, it’s like they are twin brother and sister, who if they were the same gender, would be identical twins.
It somehow helps their buddy status that both Jack and Sophie are currently two of the most popular American names for babies. In 2010, the year they were both born, Sophie (Sophia) was the #1 most popular girl name and Jack was the 13th most popular for boys; for what it’s worth, Jackson/Jaxon was #3.
According their current KinderCare teacher, Ty, the two of them follow each other around and often want whatever toy the other is currently playing with.
So when they’re not making messes together by scattering the neatly placed toys all over the floor, which I’ve been informed they do on a daily basis, they have this assumed sibling rivalry going on.
I love it that at only a year old, Jack is getting a good idea of what it’s like to have to share with someone who is similar in age and personality. Sophie, who was born just a month after him, is his perfect match.
Jill (my wife, in case you’re new to The Dadabase) and I are especially smitten by Sophie. She usually walks up to us to get a hug whenever she sees us. As you can see from the pictures, she is an adorable little girl.
I knew she was officially cool when she started staring at me one day and I responded by making my scary Freddy Krueger face at her: Just like Jack, she instantly laughed. That’s when she won my heart.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Babies can get away with so much that we adults never could. Since they’re too young to realize they are breaking the rules of adult social expectations, their behavior is not only excused, but it also becomes slightly hilarious entertainment. Based on the things I’ve observed my 11 month old-son do in public, here are the top 5 things he does that are cute because he does them, but if I did them, I would be a moron.
1) Stumbling around the room for the fun of it. My son Jack has recently learned to walk; though technically I should call it toddling. I can’t remember the last time I stood in the middle of a crowded room and laughed and grunted as I stumbled 12 feet into every direction for no apparent reason. If I did that, it would be (and should be) assumed that wasn’t oregano on my pizza.
2) Wearing pajamas as normal attire. I see what my kid gets to wear everyday, and frankly, I’m jealous. Essentially, he wears a glorified version of pajamas every single day. Every day is Casual Friday for him… really, really casual.
3) Making a mess with food. You know all those “roadhouse style” restaurants where you get to throw the peanut shells on the floor? That’s every meal that my son eats. He eats his food until he’s no longer hungry; which at that point, the leftover food becomes a toy. Or maybe he pretends he’s throwing candy from a float in a parade.
4) Putting things in his mouth that just fell on the floor. Okay, I admit, I’m not jealous about this one. Heck, I’ve watched him lay down and lick the floor itself for fun. To him, the floor is not dirty; it evidently tastes like Skittles and makes everything that falls onto it taste like a rainbow as well. It’s the modern version of the Midas Touch.
5) Passing gas. I’ve been a dad for nearly a year now and so far, I’ve never been able to resist laughing when Jack releases a fluffy air biscuit- especially when he does it at church. Actually, maybe this should have been #1, now that I think about it. I guess the question is this: Which is worse, to seem like you’re crazy or to be rude?
Well, if you’re a baby, you’re neither. Instead, you’re cute either way!
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Nostalgia, Storytelling | Tags: autumn, babies, behavior, funny, holidays, pumpkins
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
I would love to believe that I am not at all judgmental of other people; that I don’t think or act as if I am “better” than any other person in this world. Because to my conscious knowledge, I firmly am convinced that is the case. In fact, I don’t want the responsibility of having to judge others- even down to a performance review of a coworker. If it’s up to me, I just want to stay out of any situation where critiquing someone’s value and worth in society is left up to me.
But it’s obviously not that easy. To think I am so not judgmental is, if anything, conceited: I’m no exception to human nature. Saying that I am not judgmental is almost as much of a paradox as a person bragging about how humble they are.
If I knew I was shaking the hand of a convicted child molester who just got out of prison, despite believing that God’s grace and forgiveness is more powerful than any wrong a person can commit, and despite that because of God’s grace and forgiveness I myself have been forgiven of “much lesser” sins, there would still be something in my subconscious that would judge that man even though I wouldn’t want to.
The reason? Like everyone in this world, I have what’s called “judge of character,” which is a very important and necessary trait to live by.
In general, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but when my instincts warn me about a person, I follow them. And I need to instill those particular instincts in my son to serve as a guide in his decision-making processes throughout life.
What I don’t want to teach my son is to think, however, is that he is ever cooler, more physically attractive, richer, or simply “better” than any other kid.
So really, the question is this: What’s the difference between being judgmental and having a good judge of character?
I believe it has a lot to do with whether or not we generalize another person as “good” or “bad,” or if they are “better” or “worse” than we are, in an overall sense.
Recently, as I was pulling my car out out from where I work onto a road with a 35 mile per hour speed limit, I saw that there was another car coming. But based on my learned perception, I wouldn’t have slowed down the other driver at all; if they were going anywhere near the speed limit.
Turns out, the person in the other car was driving somewhere around 55 miles per hour and had to cross a double line to pass me to keep from running in to me. Then the driver did the same thing to the car which was in front of me, which was also going the speed limit. By the time this speedy driver passed that second car, they had to immediately stop; there was a red light.
Whether or not I said it out loud, I know I at least thought it: “What an idiot! This person is so stupid!”.
Right through the red light, just about one block away from where I pulled out from my employer’s parking lot is KinderCare, the exact place I was going to pick up my son. Interestingly enough, the speedy driver had pulled into KinderCare right before me. She got out of the car and walked in. I followed only feet behind, then stood there waiting on her so that I could “clock out” my son on the computer.
I think it was more awkward for her than it was for me, but she mustered up a hello along with a smile, as if her daredevil driving stunt hadn’t just happened.
This same “idiotic” and “stupid” person who had without a doubt put herself and others in some serious danger, only to be stopped by a red light and ultimately only beat me by 7 seconds to KinderCare, is also a wife and mother. The truth is, I’m sure her abilities to raise her child are nothing like her ridiculous driving habits. I’m sure she’s a very decent woman and a wonderful mother.
Yet I labeled her as a stupid and idiotic person, based on just one of her actions.
For a guy who doesn’t want to teach my son to be judgmental of others, I’m sure there are plenty of other examples where I negatively label a person overall because of only one thing I see. Who else do I think is a stupid idiot, and for what reasons am I superior in some minimal way?
I am not ashamed of my “judge of character,” but starting now, I am attempting to make a habit of not generalizing people as good or bad, based on a solitary trait. I want to make a conscious effort to refrain from calling people names; because after all, it’s pretty juvenile. If through my speech habits I teach my son to call other people names, then I want them to be good names.
If I want to set out to be less judgmental of others both consciously and subconsciouly, this is my starting point.
Granted, I’ll never be completely successful at this new “no name calling” campaign. But surely I can improve. I just need to be careful not to begin thinking that I am better than all the people who still call others names. (Insert laugh tracks here.)
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Must Read, People, Spirituality, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: babies, character, daddy blog, ethics, human nature, morals, name calling, paradox, parenting, society, stupid