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Sunday, August 11th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
Now that on Facebook I’ve stopped engaging myself in conversations or debates involving anything political, religious, or regarding a plant-based lifestyle, or curing cancer through Gerson Therapy…
Or being sarcastic and therefore confusing people, or posting phony status updates meant to mock the desperate cries for attention and pity that are so abundant, well… Facebook just isn’t that entertaining to me anymore.
And I think Facebook is a better place now, without me playing that role. These days all I do on it is just publish my letters to you and “like” peoples’ pictures.
So basically, I’m only on Facebook for 5 minutes a day, looking at my friends’ pictures to learn if anyone is having a baby or just went on a trip.
Or, by default, seeing pictures of them running in a half marathon.
Through that process, I’ve realized the nirvana I wish to achieve on Facebook:
To be one of those cool parents who runs half marathons and otherwise leaves the general public guessing on their personal opinions and lifestyles.
To be someone who Facebook friends ultimately only know through pictures with no captions.
I admire those people. I think they are cool. I wouldn’t mind being a little mysterious… (As if this helps!)
Lucky for me, today is Mommy’s birthday! (She and I are the exact same age for 9 months of the year; and that 9 months begins today.)
So yesterday, the three of us went to Fleet Feet so Mommy could try on some new running shoes, with the advice and direction of an expert. After all, she and I have had our old running shoes since before we were married over 5 years ago.
And for the past couple of years, she’s been telling me she wants to run in a half marathon.
Though I’ve always encouraged her to do so, there evidently was something motivating about this birthday that caused her to decide to take the plunge… by actually buying the official, right shoes for it.
So as Mommy was picking out her shoes, I turned aside to her quickly as the sales associate was checking the back of the store for a different size shoe for her:
“Hey, should I get shoes too, and join you in that half marathon?” I asked.
The rest is history. It seems like only yesterday… oh wait, it was.
Mommy is now the proud new owner of a pair of New Balance’s- and for me, a pair of Mizuno’s.
This is a pretty big deal for us. Mommy and I get to have a hobby! We get to be somewhat of experts on a thing.
Even if it’s simply running for a sort of long distance in a race we’re not actually trying to win.
In the process of buying these new shoes and doing YouTube searches on running a half marathon, I am now quickly becoming familiar with “front foot running.”(When you run in place, you put your weight on the front of your foot, not your heel. “Front foot running” is using the running-in-place model to move forward, to keep from permanently damaging your joints.)
I have to admit, I’m starting to feel pretty cool all of the sudden… on my way to be one of those half marathon parents!
Not that Mommy needs a new hobby to be cool. She’s way cool. And way beautiful.
Not to mention, she’s so sincere and giving of a person. You and I are so blessed to have her in our family of three. But you already know that.
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Saturday, January 5th, 2013
2 years, 1 month.
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I believe if there is any change I feel I need to make in my life, I need to make that change no matter what day it is, as long as that day is still “today.”
However, it just so happens that around January 1st of 2013, I officially decided I want to make a point to stop participating in the polarization of America.
To quote Jimmy in one of my favorite movies, That Thing You Do, “I….. I quit. I quit. I quit…”.
In other words, I am choosing to see both Democrats and Republicans as good people.
I am rejecting the belief that “the other side” is completely irrational and/or evil, no matter how extreme or overzealous I am conditioned to believe they are, thanks in part to pseudo news channels like CNN and Fox News.
That goes for whatever “the other side” happens to be, not just political affiliations: pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-gay marriage vs. anti-gay marriage, attachment parenting vs. supporters of the “cry it out” method, gun control reform vs. no gun control reform…
Basically, on all of these controversial issues, the side I am now on is technically… neither. Because I now publicly associate with the third party in favor of removing the “vs.” between the two polarizing sides.
Granted, I still have my personal opinions of how I feel about these polarizing topics, but I am much more interested in attempting to help tone down the collective angst regarding all the controversial issues that divide America.
I am tired of adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.
With that being said, I was pretty skeptical a couple of months ago when I was approached by Susan Terkel, one of the authors of the then-upcoming book, The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide for Parents.
Knowing that my collection of blog posts on circumcision had put me in the hot seat with dozens of my readers, on several occasions, I had officially decided to retire from ever writing about circumcision again.
Then I received a preview copy of The Circumcision Decision in the mail. After reading it, I decided I actually wanted to participate in promoting the book, as much as possible.
In fact, I was so passionate about this book that the authors asked me to write a blurb for it, which is printed on the very first page, as well as, the back cover of the book:
“With grace, wisdom, and class, The Circumcision Decision impressively presents both sides of the story in such a balanced narrative, that some of us who have already made up our minds beforehand may now find ourselves challenged by the flip side.”
I proudly associate my name with The Circumcision Decision and am pleased to announce it was nominated as a 2012 finalist for the Books For A Better Life Award: Childcare/Parenting.
This book, which is now officially published and available for sale on its website, is the perfect answer to the circumcision controversy and, more importantly, to any soon-to-be parents of a son who are trying to best educate themselves on deciding whether to circumcise their son, or to leave him intact.
My guess is, no matter which side of the circumcision decision a parent lands, reading this book will simply give them the courage, confidence, and closure on how they honestly personally feel about circumcision to begin with.
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Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
A year and a half.
What things do you see other parents do that annoy you, even though they shouldn’t? Plus, what things should bother you, enough to speak up against them?
I have a few “parent peeves” that come to mind…
Like hearing another parent making empty threats of discipline to their obviously undisciplined kid:
“Preston, I’m never gonna take you out in public again. You’re gettin’ a butt whoopin’ when you get home and Santa Clause isn’t gonna visit you this Christmas!”
Or watching a parent give their toddler a 24 ounce caffeinated soda.
My biggest one is medicating a toddler for ADHD or hyperactivity. But I’ve already preached my sermon on that one…
When should these things bother us as compared to when it’s none of our business? How do we know it’s our responsibility to butt in and try to do something about it?
Recently I asked whether we should really care what other parents think about us. Well today, I’m asking why (and when) we should care how other parents do their job.
To help answer these questions, I have designed a system for figuring that out and I want to share it with you today:
Superficial disagreement- A difference of petty opinion or personal preference. Action required: Think to self, “Hmm… that’s weird. That’s not how I would do it.”
Personal disagreement- A difference of opinion so strong it offends you. Action required: Write a Facebook status update or blog entry generically dissin’ it.
Moral disagreement- A difference of moral viewpoint. Action required: Personally confront the parent or the authorities.
I think all parent peeves fall into one of those 3 categories and it’s a matter of sorting out which action should follow on our behalf.
To demonstrate, I’ll throw you a few examples:
A parent calls their kid an idiot in the school parking lot.
A parent slaps their kid on their face at the park.
A parent lets their kids run around and play loudly in the department store.
A parent uses the “cry it out” method on their 4 month-old.
A parent lets their now 3 year-old sleep in the bed every single night with them.
You get the idea. What’s interesting is that I’m pretty sure there are parents to defend either side of each of those examples.
So ultimately, it comes to a case of good old-fashioned relative morality.
Yes, I’ve had people defend the one of slapping their kid on the face. I was told that internationally it’s not a big deal.
Your turn. What are your biggest parent peeves?
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Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Back in July, a restaurant in Monroeville, Pennsylvania started banning children under the age of 6 from entering its restaurant. Evidently, this event sparked a trend called the Brat Ban- a ban in which a certain demographic of adults want to keep kids out of their favorite public places (at least during certain hours). In addition to restaurants, this also includes swimming pools, theaters, planes, and grocery stores. This trend has evidently fired up a debate with parents.
As a dad, I’m evidently supposed to be offended. I’m supposed to go on about how the Brat Banners are selfish, whiny, bratty people themselves who just don’t understand the reality and necessity of having to take kids into public places. I should also defend us parents by saying we can’t always completely control our children in public.
Here’s the thing: I say if a business can afford to ban kids, let ‘em.
In this economy, if a restaurant or store or entertainment venue finds more monetary value solely in adults as opposed to families, then let them capitalize on that. Honestly, if I showed up at a grocery store where they ban children during the hours I shopped, I would simply take my money and my kid elsewhere. That’s simply it- no drama from me.
Something I particularly like about the Brat Ban is that it raises social awareness of two extremes: A) the parents out there who let their undisciplined kids run around unattended in public and B) the adults who generally see children as a rude nuisance. I represent neither; instead, I am one of the normal people not taken into consideration in these scenarios.
I think that the more people talk about socially extreme situations like these, the more it creates a snowball effect where many of the extremists begin to conform to the expected social norm. These days, if a semi-celebrity publicly makes an allegedly racist, sexist, or anti-gay comment, all Twitter will break loose over it. But there’s a pretty good chance that 50 years ago the same statement would have barely raised an eyebrow.
So I say let businesses ignore the civil rights of children. Let that action speak for the company itself and what they value. I say let irresponsible parents keep doing their thing and let those who are annoyed by all children keep running their mouths.
Meanwhile, I’ll sit here watching from the bleachers with my well-behaved kid.
Passing the Mic:
What do you other normal parents think about the Brat Ban?
Do you agree with my take on it? If not, why?
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011
I find it fascinating that as parents, we are often quick to point out the perceived flaws of other parents, as if it’s some game to “out” who the “bad parents” really are in our society.
After 48 hours of being published, my post “Positively Communicating with My Seven Month Old Son” received over 1,300 “likes” on Facebook. Interestingly, during that same short period of time, on Parents Magazine’s Facebook page my article received 167 comments; most of them vehemently criticizing me, while some passionately supported and defended me.
I’m learning just how polarizing my perspective on parenting can be. When I published that post, I had no idea that it would ever become so popular, as well as, so infamous. I just thought it was another post like any other day. It didn’t stand out as particularly special to me. Boy, was I wrong- because it hit a sweet spot for so many readers and struck a nerve with the rest. People either completely loved it, or hated it as much as I despise the TV show 16 and Pregnant.
Some of the best entertainment I’ve had in a while was reading through all the comments on the Facebook wall for Parents Magazine. While I felt so encouraged from those who supported me, the majority of the people who opposed my viewpoint said some really angry and/or hilarious stuff. (One of my favorite comments involves a unicorn.)
A common occurrence from several readers was the feeling that my tone was snobbish. This was implied because I stated I don’t like to see parents sarcastically joke about giving their kids away to strangers in public. (What about parents who can’t have children? How do they feel when they witness this same event?)
Sure, it regularly crosses my mind that having a child is tough; especially when he is not behaving as I would like. But I’m his dad and I’m suppose to be his number one supporter, not his number one critic.
Am I naïve and inexperienced when it comes to being a parent? Of course I am. I’ve only been a dad for seven months.
I have to speculate that that has something to do with why Parents.com chose me as their official daddy blogger, instead of a seasoned veteran who actually knew what they were doing. My lack of experience is one of the reasons The Dadabaseis interesting- because I am a newbie. I am learning something new as a parent everyday. I am wet behind the ears; that’s sort of my specialty here.
However, I was additionally perceived as a snob because some readers felt that I do not yet have the authority to write about communicating with my child because he is so young. But like I said in the article, I’m setting up the patterns now for how I will speak to him as he gets older. After all, it’s a gradual process and this is my way of preparing for it.
Another reoccurring (and I believe, caricatured) perception of me from those who disagreed with my viewpoint is that I am a hippie living in La La Land. That I am just so easygoing that my son is going to walk all over my wife and me as he gets older. That I am so preoccupied with not speaking sarcastically to my son that I will completely neglect the need for discipline.
Ironically, just a couple of days ago I did a Dadabase post about I how endorse and practice the “cry it out” method to get my son to sleep at night, prompting one reader to post this comment: “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… Congratulations!”
The truth is, I actually worship the importance of creating structure for my son, setting realistic expectations for him, and when the time eventually comes, following through with discipline; not just threatening it.
It’s interesting to me that I am paradoxically both a snob and a hippie. What a weird combo.
Side note: Thanks to the Facebook wall comments, I was made aware of the fact that there was a typo in the article. I said “my wife and I” when I should have said “my wife and me.” My college degree is in English, of all things. So that’s one embarrassing faux pas. I went back and fixed it.
To some, I came across as a snob who thinks I am better than other parents and that my parenting style is superior to theirs. Similarly, these same readers jumped at the chance to criticize me for disagreeing with their own parenting technique. Is it safe to assume that these readers who so passionately disagree think that their parenting style is superior to mine?
As parents, we all do what works best for us and what we believe will be best for our children. We all have controversial parenting styles compared to other parents out there.
But while it may appear that I am clueless or fanatical to be so darn positive, just know this: My head may be in the clouds, but my feet are planted firmly on solid ground.
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16 and Pregnant, baby, bad parents, blog comments, controversy, criticism, cry it out method, dad, dad blog, faux pas, hippie, La La Land, parenting, parenting styles, parents, snob, typo, unicorn | Categories:
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