Posts Tagged ‘
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
We’re not a family of beach bums. We’re the opposite; whatever the opposite of a beach bum is.
In other words, we like to go where the crowds aren’t and where the weather isn’t very hot.
Fortunately, my wife’s family is in Sacramento; which gives us a good and necessary reason to travel out there once a year.
This weekend, that’s where we will be flying. With Jack’s 2nd birthday coming up on November 16th, this is the last time we can take advantage of him getting to fly for free.
No doubt about it, I’m very excited to take a week off from work and travel to one of my favorite spots in America.
But of course, I’m looking at this from a realistic perspective. A “vacation” with a nearly 2-year-old where we’re flying cross-country is not exactly a vacation for me.
I don’t mind being a glorified version of a stage hand while my wife catches up with her family and gets to see Jack, after over a year since last time.
Even the plane ride with Jack doesn’t intimidate me much. After all, I survived it last year when he was much more high maintenance.
The only thing that worries me is where he will sleep. It’s a really big deal to me.
If he doesn’t get good, consistent nights of sleep while we’re out there, I will turn into the Incredible Hulk.
(Not the updated Avengers movie version, but the 1978 Lou Ferrigno TV show.)
I don’t like me when I’m angry. When Jack doesn’t sleep well, neither do I; then I turn into a monster.
Jack still sleeps in his crib and he has outgrown his Pack N Play.
So one option is to put up some safety rails alongside a twin bed once we get there.
Another option is to buy a cheap or used Pack N Play as soon as we arrive, but A) I don’t want to have to worry about that after getting off the plane and B) I don’t want to spend money on something I may not be able to bring back home.
The best case scenario is we find a friend or family member who has a Pack N Play that we can borrow while we’re there, but no luck on that so far.
I guess this dilemma took the back burner in the midst of planning not only the trip out there but also Jack’s birthday party for that side of the family.
But here we are, days away from leaving, and I don’t have closure with this.
To dissect why this causes so much turmoil and unsettledness for me, it is because it’s my job to get Jack to sleep for all his naps and bedtimes. That’s one of the things I do! I’m very proud of that skill.
Without me getting him to sleep, it’s a world suspended in chaos. Bad things, man.
Getting Jack to sleep is something I’m an expert on. But without the appropriate place for him to fall asleep, I can’t work my magic.
The world is coming to an end.
To be continued…
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
To answer my own question: Lame.
Part of my agenda as the daddy blogger for a major parenting website is to positively re-brand fatherhood; to reinforce the fact that a dad changing his kid’s diaper is not ironic at all and that taking care of his own kid without Mommy around is not babysitting… it’s a man taking care of his own kid.
That’s the world we live in and that’s the generation I’m a part of.
Needless to say, I am not cool with the cartoonish concept of a soon-to-be dad having a drunken party (or the likeness thereof) with his buddies to celebrate his final days of freedom before he inevitably says goodbye to his sex life and his ability to watch football games on his 56 inch TV without being interrupted by his crying infant or nagging wife, which therefore makes his life a 1980′s sitcom hell.
Just to be sure that I’m not exaggerating what Dadchelor Parties are all about, an article on The Huffington Post describes them as an event “where men bring diapers in exchange for beer, while others are more extravagant and involve all day bar-hopping or even a destination weekend. All seem to involve drinking, sporting events, gambling, and more drinking.”
Okay, okay, but what about the non-drunken version of a Dadchelor Party?
What’s wrong with a soon-to-be dad hanging out with a couple of friends to share some beers and smoke some cigars in an effort to invite the days of fatherhood in a more sophisticated fashion?
Well, I guess I don’t have too big of a problem with that, except for the simple fact I don’t know anyone in my version of the real world who would think that’s cool; especially when attached with the phrase Dadchelor Party, Daddymoon, or Manshower.
I have a feeling that my own friends would actually think that having a “Manshower” is not only tacky, but also, uh…
Manshower? Come on, need I say more?
So what am I offering as a legitimate and respectable alternative? I say the kind of man who I would consider cool enough to be my friend would leave me out of the equation all together and instead take his wife on a babymoon.
The phrase “babymoon” is uber trendy, and therefore annoying, and is not a word I will ever speak aloud, but the concept of taking your pregnant wife on a getaway trip before the baby comes is righteous.
My wife and I went on [one of those] before our son was born an then we went on another one about 6 months after he was born.
It’s a good thing; especially for husbands and expecting fathers who, you know, are A) actually responsible adults B) who respect their wives and C) can understand that having a good time doesn’t need to require a hangover afterwards.
But for those soon-to-be dads who would rather flirt with 20 year-old waitresses at bars all weekend while getting “plastered,” and then brag about it the next week on Facebook, all in the name of a Dadchelor Party, you’ve lost your man card.
Let me know if you ever want it back.
Image: Let’s go party, via Shutterstock.
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Must Read, The Dadabase | Tags: dad, Dadchelor Party, Daddymoon, drunk, expecting parents, family, father, Manshower, marriage, new trends
Saturday, September 15th, 2012
I predict that the classic game of chess is about to get real relevant in American pop culture, especially for children.
The book Microtrends explains that as a norm is established in modern society, a complimentary archaic version of that trend begins to surface to counter it.
Some of us, who don’t have nor want Internet on our phones, want to further unplug our lives from all the collective over-stimulation.
Therefore, chess is officially becoming cool. And it’s perfect for kids, despite any preconceived ideas you might have about it being as difficult as a child having to memorize their multiplication tables.
I can’t play Angry Birds nor can I tweet about a boring day at any given moment because I’m part of the counterculture of Generation Y that doesn’t have Internet on my phone, but I can find organic entertainment by pulling out my chess set with someone who is cool enough to play it with me.
It used to be that chess was a game for nerds and Russians, thanks to that “lucky beret” episode of Saved By The Bell from 1991 entitled “Check Your Mate.”
Well, look at me: I’m not a nerd and I’m definitely not Russian. So let me tell you my 5 reasons to play chess with your child. Chess promotes the following:
1. Uninterrupted quality time: Turn off the TV. Put your phone on silent. Make a chess date with your child. The game of chess has been around for centuries, and once you begin to play it, you catch a sense of simpler, yet still challenging times. Playing chess with your child gives you legitimate and yet nonchalant excuse to make time for your child.
2. Good conversations and laughter. I promise, chess leads to interesting conversations as well as unsuspecting humor. The game causes a person to interact with another human being in an activity with endless possibilities of how the winner will win, unlike many “roll the dice because it’s really just about chance anyway” types of predictable board games.
3. Problem-solving skills. A Kindergartner can definitely learn how to play chess and have fun doing it. I think the key to making this happen is just a willing parent inviting a child to play.
The game of chess forces its players to multi-task, plan ahead, and making real-time executive decisions. Chess disciplines the mind, which I say is ideal for children, as they are constantly yearning for fun new ways to be challenged..
4. Cheap, easy entertainment. Depending on whether the chess pieces are made from plastic, glass, or wood, you’ll probably spend somewhere from 9 to 30 bucks on a decent set. That’s not bad at all considering the monthly prices of satellite TV, which in the process of entertaining a family, often mutes out real communication between its members.
5. Healthy, addicting habit. The best kind of habit you can help create for your child is one that encourages a bond between the two of you. Whether you’re a mom or a dad and whether your child is a boy or a girl, I believe that if you play a nightly or weekly game of chess with them, your kid will feel pretty darn special.
My own son isn’t even 2 years-old yet, so I still have a couple of years before chess can become “our thing” together. But for those parents whose kid is a little bit older, I invite you to take the “chess challenge.”
Become your child’s chess partner and see what grows of it. And remember, chess isn’t for nerds anymore! It’s for cool parents and cool kids.
Top image: Boy looking at a piece of chess, via Shutterstock.
Bottom image: Father and son playing chess, via Shutterstock.
Saturday, September 1st, 2012
If you’re friends with me on Facebook, then you know that A) I talk about my son a lot and B) I love discussing politics.
This election is epic! Here we are, deciding which man we believe best represents our own code of morality and decision-making.
For me, the most interesting part is regarding the discussions I’m hearing about the religious beliefs of the candidates, particularly from conservative Protestant Republicans.
Up until 3 years ago, before becoming your neighborhood friendly Ron Paul supporter, I was a Republican and I voted that way every four years.
Like many other conservative Protestants I knew, I voted for the Republican candidate, if for no other reason, because he was pro-life.
While I am still very pro-life, my focus is no longer on choosing the “better Christian,” or in other words, the most conservative Christian candidate.
Here’s the irony: Many Protestants don’t consider Mormons to be Christians; some of the biggest reasons being because Christians believe that Jesus is equal to God and that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. (My understanding is that Mormons don’t believe those things.)
In other words, certain Republican Protestants are voting for the “better Christian,” though, by their own definition of what it means to be a Christian, the man they will be voting for is not actually a Christian.
Instead, they’re voting for the man who best represents their particular Christian values.
This is the first election in a long time where Republicans don’t have a Protestant Presidential candidate to stand behind.
(The only Catholic President in American history was JFK, who he was a Democrat.)
What if Mitt Romney was a conservative, pro-life agnostic instead of a Mormon?
How “non-Christian” can a Republican Presidential candidate be and still be backed by the conservative Protestants as the “better Christian” candidate?
Of course, I keep having to put “better Christian” in quotation marks just to be clear that I personally I am not publicly judging their allegiance to Christ; I think if I did, it wouldn’t be very Christian of me.
Similarly, I think it’s unfair to demonize a President just because he’s with the “wrong” political party.
President Obama is not evil. Nor was George W. Bush. They just happened to be the first two Presidents we’ve had since the Internet has been relevant to mainstream America and since blogs have been subconsciously influential to the masses; so these recent Presidents have been much more rapidly criticized.
It can be so natural to call their actions evil when you’re part of the opposing political party. In the process, the whole other political party in that case becomes evil too.
In other words, either half of America is evil; it just depends on which side of the fence you’re not.
Like I said in the beginning, we as a nation, as parents of children whom we are trying to instill our own morals into, are trying to vote for the man we believe best represents our own code of morality and decision-making.
Sure, our own personal religious beliefs should play into that. But at least for conservative Protestant Republicans, it’s not as simple this time around as choosing the “better Christian.”
So, will America choose a Christian or a Mormon for President in 2012?
Top images: US Republican and Democrat, via Shutterstock.
Bottom image: Two voodoo dolls, via Shutterstock.
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Must Read, People, Spirituality, The Dadabase | Tags: 2012 Presidential Election, agnostic, Christian, family, Mitt Romney, Mormon, President Obama
Monday, August 27th, 2012
My wife is the one in the relationship who is the stickler for pushing the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube.
Meanwhile, I am the one who doesn’t allow either of us to let the faucet to run while we are brushing our teeth, except for the brief moments the toothbrush actually needs to be rinsed.
I think it’s no coincidence that here in America, we play in our water (at water parks!) while people in much of the rest of the world don’t even have clean water to drink.
That’s not to say that if we simply reserved our water use, the people on the other side of the world would suddenly have access to the water they need to survive.
Instead, we have to be proactive to help them have access to clean drinking water. Today, I am honored to share with you a way your family can help families in Africa do just that.
This isn’t just a hopeful prayer: “Lord, please help the poor people in Africa.”
Instead, this is you actually helping the poor people in Africa. What an awesome way you can teach your kids how to help those who are less fortunate.
This past weekend I got to meet Wally from The Wally Show, my favorite radio show. They are a big advocate of a grassroots organization called The Blood:Water Mission that empowers communities to work together against the AIDS and water crises.
The Wally Show hosted a Lemon:Aid fundraiser here in Nashville so my wife and I took our son Jack to check it out.
As the sign behind me in this picture above explains, for anyone who bought a $1 cup of lemonade, they helped provide water to one person for a year.
For a $5 cup, they provided water to a family for a year.
For a $25, they provided water for one person for life.
And for $125, they provided water to a family for life.
As you can see, just a few American dollars still go a long way in Africa.
While at the end of the day I could care less about controversial parenting topics like circumcision and the cry it out method, something I am extremely passionate about is actually helping hurting families in less fortunate countries.
The Blood:Water Mission helps countries like Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Rwanda to have water wells installed to provide clean drinking water for their villages.
Here’s a link to their website which explains all the ways your family can do more than just simply donate money to invest in these lovely African people, but also to get involved like the way I just mentioned:
Doing a Lemon:Aid Stand.
I will close with this perfect quote from Bono of U2:
“Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die.”