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Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
No matter how cool of a dad I may be in my son’s eyes now, I’m led to believe that will all change about a decade or so from now.
But as for the time being, Jack looks to me as a leader in many aspects on how to be a guy. A cool guy, might I add.
While playing “Animals” with him, if I place a chicken on top of a horse on top of a truck, he will instantly repeat that awesome thing his dad just did.
Jack thinks all the cool kids have a blow-up mattress in their living room, which serves as a necessary wrestling mat. Because his dad set one up for him.
And several years from now, when I teach him to play Chess with me, I’m sure it will become our mutual obsession. Same thing goes for when I help him become the only kid in his class to solve a Rubik’s Cube… in less than 3 minutes.
Unless I’m the exception to the rule, then in theory, at some point I will stop being considered cool with the age 18 to 35 demographics.
As a modern young dad, wearing plaid or cargo shorts is in style. Wearing pleated khaki shorts, on the other hand, is not.
Similarly, being a fan of Dave Matthews Band and Jason Mraz means I have good taste in music.
But at some point, will my love for their music be a sign that I’m out of touch with what is cool?
Granted, I’ll never be a skinny jeans kind of guy. So if that’s what’s cool, I’ve already missed that boat. (Fortunately!)
But for now, I’m a 31 year-old dad who assumes the culture of a 25 year-old guy; minus the iPhone.
Jack thinks I’m the coolest guy in the world, even if by default.
After all, his dad wears a Spiderman mask while chasing him around the house. And pulls him around the neighborhood in a Radio Flyer wagon.
If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.
(As I if it needed saying, that’s not my cool classic car in the picture above. But at least mine isn’t the minivan next to it, either.)
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Bruce Springsteen, cool, cool parents, cool people, culture, Dave Matthews Band, fatherhood, in style, Jason Mraz, Pop Culture | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Home Life, Nostalgia, The Dadabase
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
A year and a half.
It was a year ago yesterday that The Dadabase officially premiered on Parents.com with “Welcome To The Dadabase.”
Today, I want to share some advice with any mom or dad out there who is considering, or at least curious about, starting their very own mommy or daddy blog.
If you’re wanting to start blogging about your kid mainly just to share with friends and family, then I simply recommend going to WordPress.com and get to typin’. That’s all the advice you need from me.
But if you are like I was back in April 2010, recently having found out I was going to be a parent and wanting to be the best darn baby blogger I could be with hopes of “going pro,” then this article is perfect for you.
Here are my top 7 tips on how to start a baby blog:
1. Be both personal and international. You want to engage two different types of necessary readers: Friendly Followers-family and friends who read your stuff because they love you and your cute kid. And Cosmic Crashers- people who don’t care who you are but want to learn about some buzzing new topic you’re covering in the world of parenting.
2. Be different. Before I started my blog, I was determined to find my “schtick.” I wanted to be the first ever daddy blogger who documented his thoughts from the moment he went public with the pregnancy, on a weekly basis.
Even now, I don’t know of any other dad who has done this. You can go back for over two years and find between one and seven blog posts each week about my son and my thoughts as a dad. What’s your schtick?
3. Be willing to be wrong. I am constantly wrong when it comes to my opinions and viewpoints regarding all those polarizing, controversial parenting topics from circumcision to raising a vegetarian child.
Not only am I wrong at least half the time, I’m totally cool with it. I don’t mind being crucified one day and praised the next. I am both the good and the bad guy.
4. Be consistent. Can you commit to writing at least one blog post per week? If not, stop reading now because this isn’t for you.
Just like with advertising, your work needs to be omnipresent. And just like with the news, it needs to be fresh.
5. Be egotistical. Speak with authority. Assume your story is interesting, then prove it. Ever heard of what’s called “the blogger’s ego?” Well, I depend on it.
6. Be weird. In the midst of sharing the chronologically predictable advancements your child experiences each week, make each event special by pointing out the strangest aspect about your kid learning to eat solid foods or learning to walk. “Quirky” sells.
7. Be named well. You have to come up with a really cool name for your blog; one that represents you well. Consider your kid’s name or your last name or something people won’t be able to forget.
Good luck and may the force be with you.
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baby blog, blog, blogging, culture, daddy blog, mommy blog, Star Wars | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Must Read, People, Storytelling, The Dadabase, Writing
Saturday, November 26th, 2011
In this highly anticipated follow-up to Losing Man Points Vs. Being a Good Dad, I will help society identify what is considered as crossing the line from being an active and admirable dad to just another “look at me!” Tweeting tool who happens to have a kid.
Based on my research, it pretty much all comes down to this: An active and involved dad ultimately loses man points when he is not discreet about his fatherly role; when he abandons the art of being subtle by either A) making a dramatic production of the event or B) trying to make it look too easy. Accordingly, when a man loses enough man points, he gets his man card pulled.
But thanks to my scholarly work published here on Parents.com, I am actually earning man points by helping to prevent other men from becoming “that dad.” Here are the top 4 ways that dads lose so many man points all at once, they get their man cards pulled:
1) Telling other men “cute” stories about their kids. Recently I did a post which told about how my son’s KinderCare teacher threw a Baby Birthday Party; cutting out a paper crown for him and having his toddler classmates thumbprint it as their signatures.
Granted, I have pictures of the event hanging up at my cubicle at work. But you better believe I didn’t go around to the other guys telling them the story behind the pictures. I told the few women that I work with, but not the men. Because men don’t tell each other cute stories!
Men just spit out the basics to each other, like “Hey, my kid is learning to walk this week.” Not, “OMG! So right now, little Carter is totally trying to figure out this whole walking thing. He’s like, “Daddy Bear, I’m not sure about this…”.
2) Using “baby talk” in public. First of all, no man should ever say to his kid, especially not his son, “You want your passy?” Allow me to be too frank; “passy” sounds (and is spelled) a lot like another word used to describe what you are if you’re a man who uses the word “passy” in public. Also off-limits are “sippy cup” and “boo-boo.”
3) Abusing social media. It is not acceptable for a dad to Tweet each time his kid eats a new food, needs a diaper change, or is having an “off” day. Even worse, daddy bloggers should not be allowed to use the phrases “I just need a place to vent” or “I have to blow off a little steam.” No, no you don’t. Sack up.
Dads don’t throw pity parties. Instead, they distract themselves with sports or have some kind of hobby that doesn’t require men to look directly at each other for more than five seconds at a time.
4) Making it look too easy. Parenting is hard for guys. How are we supposed to remember the difference between a onesie and sleeper? In which of the 13 compartments of the diaper bag are the wipes?
If you’re the exception to the rule, then secretly I envy you that your brain is able to successfully function as both a man’s and a woman’s- because I’m sure that totally scores man points with your wife. Just don’t rub it in the rest of our faces.
Pretend you’re still trying to figure this dad thing out like the rest of us, Mr. Mom. Help us look good- or we’re taking away your man card.
Reminder: Mail me your family’s holiday card and end up on my fridge. You’ll be entered for upcoming drawings here on The Dadabase.
Nick Shell c/o The Dadabase
300 Seaboard Lane #5
Franklin, TN 37067
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Monday, November 7th, 2011
Not that we ever have the patience to go out for a meal with our son, but when we rarely do, it’s a safe bet that when we leave the restaurant, the waiter or waitress will have some smashed Cheerios under the table to deal with. But it’s okay; we have a “Parent Pass.”
Did we just show up 35 minutes late? Oh, that’s alright. Our wrinkled clothes with dried baby formula on them make it very clear: We have a Parent Pass.
It’s not that I’m ever intentionally trying to look cool by growing a 10 day-old beard. The truth is, four days go by (which is evidently the point of now return) without me having 90 seconds in the morning to use my electric razor. And this happens often. Parent Pass.
Similar to recently reformed zombies, first-time parents of young children like myself are still suffering from the culture shock of living in a different version of reality called parenthood. Therefore, we may appear to be any (if not all) of the following:
Frantic, dazed, confused, exhausted, unkept, unprepared, on edge, or checked out.
(No, I’m not describing a sterotypical pot head from any movie starring Seth Rogen.)
Those with a Parent Pass earn an unspoken level of (un)pitied respect from onlookers and bystanders. It’s not even a case of “takes one to know one.” Common sense says that parents of young children, especially, are constantly a bit preoccupied.
This constant preoccupation isn’t a good thing for people like me who are already awful multi-taskers. To make it worse, I’m easily distracted by the very thing I’m not supposed to be paying attention to; whatever it is. I think I fall in the “dazed and confused” category more so than the other adjectives from my list above.
I’ve recently realized that I unintentionally started my own catch-phrase; I say it at least three or four times a day: ”Say that again?”
Yes, I’m constantly a page behind and a card short of the deck. I do expect this to change, though. I don’t know at what point I’ll get normal again, but I was never that normal to begin with.
As for now, I’m totally going to take advantage of my Parent Pass; while I still have a reasonable excuse for my Keanu Reeves-ness.
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Saturday, November 5th, 2011
I always thought that one of the most fun jobs in the world would be to censor R-rated movies for TV. Some of the curse word stand-ins are simply (and deliberately) hilarious. I remember in high school watching the edited-for-TV version of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. There’s a part where Judge Reinhold’s character gets fired from his fast food cashier job for “using profanity” with a customer: “I’ll kick 100% of your face!”
Another horribly awesome substitution is for Bruce Willis’s signature catch-phrase in Die Hard. It becomes, “Yippee-ki-yay, kimosabi!” In the sequel, it’s “Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon!” This is especially funny because there definitely is no character in the movie who is named “Mr. Falcon.”
Curse words both fascinate and bore me at the same time. Cursing is so common now that it holds little shock value anymore; even if we pretend otherwise. And that’s sort of the whole point of cursing: dramatic effect. I believe it is safe to say that traditional profanity is simply losing its edge because of overkill.
In fact, I make a point not to curse both in my everyday language and in my writing, simply because it makes me feel deeply unoriginal.
Besides, why should I let our American society choose the profanity word bank for me? For example, in China, it’s “son of a turtle.” That’s an actual Chinese curse word!
In the likeness of R-rated movies edited for TV, I feel more confident as a human being by using my own profanity- as I soon will demonstrate. But admittedly, as the title of this post conveys, there are plenty of times as a dad where I become pretty tempted to be unoriginal. Good thing I have my creative curse word stand-ins…
1. When my son won’t go to sleep, though he knows and I know that he really wants to and needs to: I think there’s some really popular book out about this very thing… if only I could think of the name of that book. Profanity of choice: ”Ah, shazbot!”
2. When my son gets whiny because I’m not his mom: It’s so annoying that all my wife has to do is pick him up if he cries, and he’s fine. As for me, I have to constantly distract him with a new toy or take him on a walk outside for a change of scenery or injure myself in attempt to humor him. Profanity of choice: ”Smurf it!”
3. The fact that my son has a talent for easily finding and experimenting with the most physically threatening item in his proximity: In a room full of age-appropriate toys, he will dart towards an uncapped ball-point pen or an unprotected electrical outlet that I overlooked. He knows how to find adventure; or as I know it, danger. Profanity of choice: Royal Ruckus!
4. When my son puts up a fight as I change his diaper. Hey, I already have a track record for not changing his wet diapers as much as I should; well, he sure doesn’t inspire me to change my bad habits. Profanity of choice: ”Crash Bandicoot!”
5. Having to pay extra money for something he refuses to eat. Confession: I believe that “baby yogurt” is simply regular yogurt with an extra vitamin or two; just a marketing ploy for first-time parents. I learned my lesson- my son made me waste three bucks on “baby yogurt” that he wouldn’t eat. Profanity of choice: “Pac-Man fever!”
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censorship, Chinese, culture, cursing, Die Hard, profanity | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Nostalgia, Storytelling, The Dadabase