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Saturday, June 14th, 2014
By Caitlin Ultimo
Any first-time parent surely can identify with the urge to snap dozens upon dozens of photos throughout their child’s early years. “Oh, look he’s smiling,” turns into: “Oh, look he’s smiling holding a cracker/a cell-phone/the cat (Sorry, kitty, for his awkward grip — we have to get this shot!).”
Well, Dave Engledow took his new-dad camera readiness even further. While Mom was on deployment in the Army, Engeldow and their new daughter, Alice Bee, staged (with the help of Photoshop) hilarious photo shoots. He began by sharing the photos on Facebook, accompanied with comedic essays, as a way to alleviate his fears as a new dad and poke fun at them. Starting at Day 3 and concluding with Day 918, his outlandish photos (some featured below) included scenes of Alice Bee helping him shave and the two of them breaking a sweat while lifting dumbbells together. Eventually, his photos were combined into one hilarious book, “Confessions of the World’s Best Father.”
Engledow is just one of a few parents who have opted for creative scenes in place of stiff photos. Jason Lee, a wedding photographer, started taking one-of-a-kind portraits of his two girls back in 2006. Because his mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and his daughters caught colds too frequently to be around her, he began a blog for the grandmother to see the humorous and whimsical pictures. Heather Sphor, who also had two kids, decided to document her infant’s, Jamesie’s, days because his older sister, Annie, had just entered preschool. Annie wanted to know what Mom and Jamesie did while she was in class, so Sphor decided to document Jamesie’s daily adventures, from searching for Cinderella to exploring the Wild West.
One of Engledow’s many unforgettable photos appears on Day 66, which shows him holding Alice Bee in one arm like a football while his other arm squirts bottled breast milk into his coffee cup that proudly displays the label, “World’s Best Father.” He noted, “Apparently, fathering is not going to be quite as easy or glamorous as it looks on TV.” With Father’s Day right around the corner, plenty of new dads will agree that even though fatherhood isn’t always glamorous, it sure can be fun!
What are some of the creative ways you make parenthood interesting?
Photos: Originally appeared in “Confessions of the World’s Best Father” by David Engledow. Used with permission of Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin Books USA.
What’s your parenting style? Take our quiz to find out what type of parenting you are!
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Friday, June 6th, 2014
Father’s Day falls on June 15 this year. You’re probably thinking, “I just bought him socks for Christmas!” which is probably right. You’re going to need to think up a new gift, but should also know that on the day before the holiday, Sam’s Club nationwide is offering free health screenings for men. Members and non-members alike are encouraged to visit their nearest Sam’s Club to receive an in-club health screening between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.. Not only is it an early Father’s Day gift, but since June is also Men’s Health Month, it’s a smart choice.
A lot of men may look and feel healthy on a daily basis, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease are among the top health risks for adult males in the United States today. A convenient health screening, like this one, will not only educate the men in your life, but it may also lead them to a healthier lifestyle.
Tests that will take place include:
- PSA (prostate-specific antigen) which test men 40 years and older. This test is used to screen men for prostate cancer by checking his blood level of PSA; a protein produced by the prostate gland.
- Blood pressure
- Body Fate Percentage
- Total cholesterol
- HDL (good cholesterol)
- Risk Ratio
- Vision Screening/Testing
These tests are typically valued at $150, but the father in your life will receive a priceless opportunity.
Making the choice to become, and stay, healthy is a big step. Dieting and exercising is always the first to pop in our head when it comes to choosing a healthy routine, but simple tests, like those mentioned above, is sometimes all it takes.
Think the kids are up for making a bird feeder for Dad to hang outside? Check out this craft.
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Thursday, February 6th, 2014
The 18 straight nights of TV coverage of the Sochi Olympics start today! But as we gear up, be sure to also mark March 7, 2014 on your calendars for the first ever broadcast of the Winter Paralympic Games. In recognition of this momentous occasion, Parents chatted with U.S. military veteran and member of our Paralympic Sled Hockey team Rico Roman. From his tours in Iraq and his injury to life as an athlete and father of Juliet, 12, and Raul, 10, Rico shared his experiences and his excitement for what’s to come.
P: How do you feel about going to Sochi and representing Team USA?
RR: It’s just a great feeling to be a part of a team again, to wear the red, white, and blue and represent USA.
P: How are the emotions similar and different to what you felt when you represented your country in the service?
RR: I feel just that same pride in putting on that uniform and being able to represent my country. It’s just a little different. I know that going over there to play hockey is just a game and it’s just to have fun and represent my country, but going over there to war is a tad bit different. You can always not come back, so that’s always in the back of your mind. In some ways, it’s very similar—being a part of a team. We’re from all over the United States, just like you are when you’re with your platoons and squads in the army, so that is very similar. The different accents. The different cultures and the different foods we like, so I love that part of it.
P: How old were your kids when you first left home to go overseas?
RR: I want to say Juliet was 2 and Raul was a couple months, because when I left I was carrying him around and when I came back he was crawling and standing. I was blown away.
P: Obviously, you felt a sense of duty and pride, but what was it like to leave them home when you had to go?
RR: It’s hard. It’s really hard to be away from your loved ones when you’re deployed. You constantly think about them. You constantly want to make sure that they’re good and that they’ve got everything they need. I would pray for them over there, even though I know they’re okay I would always say a little prayer for them. And you miss them. You miss them so much. My wife would send me pictures and I would always try to write letters.
P: When you became injured and you came home, how did your role as a father change with your new abilities?
RR: I don’t think it changed, you know. I just felt, Hey, I’ve got to get better and I need to get better and take care of my family. It goes in part with this Liberty Mutual RISE program that they have going on: With every setback there’s a chance for a comeback and to rise up from that. With me being injured, I didn’t really look at it as, This is gonna be the end and I’m never gonna be able to do the same things. I do them, I just have to do them a little differently now.
P: You were injured when your kids were quite young. Did they notice anything different in terms of the way you related to them and played with them?
RR: They did. They understood. I was in limb salvage for about a year. The doctors saved my leg, but it couldn’t bend and it was very painful. My kids have seen that and they’ve seen that I was really either very medicated, unfortunately, because of the pain, or I was very cranky because of being in pain. I’m the one that opted for the amputation and sure enough my daughter was really worried. She said, “Is it gonna grow back?” She was really nervous about it. My son knew right away from being around other injured service members that “Oh you’re gonna get a robot leg!” But they handled it very well. They seem to be very proud of me. I’m blessed with two great children.
P: Are your unique abilities everyday to them now, or do they recognize how extraordinary it is that you’re going off to the Paralympics?
RR: I think that they think it’s just me being me. One of their teacher asked my daughter—I guess she found out that I’m an amputee—and she asked, “So what can your father do?” And my daughter says she looked at her and said, “Everything.” I was so blown away that she said that. I don’t think it’s even part of the equation. We go about our days like no big deal. They love teasing me. Sometimes if I don’t have my crutches I’ll kind of hop around on one leg and they’ll have their pajamas on and they’ll fold their leg up in one of the pajama legs and hop around the house [laughter]. It’s a lot of fun.
P: After your accident and later your recovery, did you ever dream that you would end up taking the path of an athlete?
RR: No, I never did. I was always very into sports and I was so fortunate that I did my rehab in San Antonio, at The Center for the Intrepid. We had Paralympians come and speak with us. It gave me that drive that if I ever found a sport that I could play and get a chance to play in the Paralympics that I would really go for it. It just so happens that worked out.
P: What was Operation Comfort’s role in helping you find sled hockey?
RR: Operation Comfort invited me to do an MS-150, it’s a bike ride for multiple sclerosis and Operation Comfort helps veterans with disabilities due to combat. We did this bike ride and from there they had asked me to come and try the sport of sled hockey. They are the ones who sponsored this all-veteran team there in San Antonio. After playing for 8 months, our coach at the time, Lonny Hannah, was on the national team and said he thought I could make the Paralympic team. I didn’t even know there was a Paralympic team for this sport. I thought this was just the local, fun, rec thing to do. I tried out for the 2010 Vancouver games, but I didn’t make the team. I had to rise up and work really hard to make this national team. I made it the following year and have been on it now for four seasons, so I’m so excited to play in the Paralympics coming up.
P: Are your kids into sports? Do you hope that maybe one of them will take on hockey?
RR: Oh definitely. Texas is not that big into hockey, though. Football is #1 there. My son plays a little football. My daughter just finished basketball season so now she’s starting swimming. My son, I just got him started with skating lessons.
Shop for sports & game gear for your kids here.
P: What do you hope your kids can learn from your experiences, everything from your service to your injury and recovery to now your representing Team USA?
RR: I’m hoping that they’ll learn that you never know what life’s going to throw at you and to just be happy with what you’ve got and always to work hard at the things you want. Focus on things that you want. Tell yourself that you can do it and go get it.
P: Is your family coming with you to Sochi?
RR: They are. I’m so excited about it. They’ve never seen me play in the international games. They’ve seen me play in the club league but this will be the first international tournament and it’s the biggest thing, of course, the Paralympics. I’m very excited about them coming. I would love to eat some local food and enjoy the scenery with them and hopefully they embrace all of that and take it all with them.
For those at home: The Paralympic Games will be aired on NBC for 50 hours of coverage. This is the first time this is to ever happen.
Celebrate the Olympics and Paralympics at your house with this themed cake!
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Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Just before her flight to Sochi, Parents caught up with 19-year-old Olympic ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson. Inspired by her father, Bill, Sarah started Alpine skiing at age 2 and then followed in her older brother and father’s footsteps into ski jumping at age 7. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes recently released a study showing that sports are a prime way for dads and daughters to bond. Sarah and Bill each took time to chat with us about Sarah’s dreams as a young athlete and how skiing helped to bring father and daughter closer than ever.
P: Congratulations on your huge accomplishment making this year’s Olympic team, not to mention the first team in your sport! What was the first thought that went through your mind when you find out you were going to Sochi?
SH: It’s been my goal since I was little and when I had my knee injury my dream kind of seemed to flash before my eyes. But I worked hard and luckily I rehabbed just in time. Obviously just super excited to represent Team USA and compete at the highest level. I don’t think I really realize it at the moment how big it is historically, but it’s really exciting.
P: And, Bill, tell me what you’re feeling.
BH: It’s a dream come true. Who would’ve asked for anything this tremendous and awesome? A lot of it hasn’t sunk in and I don’t think it really will until maybe I set foot in Russia and see all the fanfare. It’s just gonna be tremendous to see Sarah at the venue with an elite group of jumpers and to see how she can do.
P: How is it to have a child who is so determined to achieve her dreams?
BH: It’s pretty inspiring, right? As a parent we try to inspire our children so when things flip and you realize my child is inspiring me, that’s pretty impressive. You kind of ask yourself, where does that come from? What gives her that drive? I carry passion for life and passion for skiing and maybe I’ve passed some along to her. I’m just so impressed with her. She takes the time to be the best she can be within her sport. It just warms my heart to find that she seeks that thrill and that joy out of doing what she loves to do.
P: When Sarah was younger, when it wasn’t clear yet that she was destined for the Olympics, how did you manage to balance a healthy encouragement of her talent without stepping into pressurized territory?
BH: Most parents probably don’t think about raising a child to be an Olympian and I certainly didn’t either. It was just a matter of doing what you love to do and having fun doing it. I would do my best to encourage my kids to get out of bed on Saturday mornings so we could go up to the mountain and go skiing. Then it kind of just naturally evolved. Because you have fun you want to go back and do it again and again and again.
P: Sarah, your dad was a ski jumper. Were you drawn to jumping because of your dad?
SH: He jumped when he was in high school. My dad really helped me get my start when he taught me how to ski at the young age of 2 here, in Park City. He loves bringing me and my brother out and enjoying the snow and the outdoors with me, so when I wanted to start ski jumping, of course he was super excited that I was following in his footsteps and also in my brother’s.
P: Do you think ski jumping brings the two of you closer together?
SH: What brings dads and their daughters more together is that athletic bond. It’s really important to have that bond with my dad. He supports me in every way and we still love going out skiing together. He obviously didn’t jump after high school, but he always says how proud he is of me and how crazy I am for jumping the hills that I’ve jumped. I’ve jumped further than he ever did. We share the love of skiing and we have so many memories of going on ski vacations.
P: How is the father-daughter relationship different from the father-son relationship in your house?
SH: I guess I’m Daddy’s little girl. He thought having a girl, I would be a little princess, but I have a tough side to me obviously.
BH: As Nick was going through adolescence, as a father-son relationship he just needed some more space. But with Sarah, I think we got a little bit closer as she’s been going through that 15-19 range.
P: Do you think your dad ever worries about you as his little girl?
SH: He definitely gets nervous, as well as my mom. They’re the ones at the bottom peaking through their hands as I jump at World Cups or World Championships when they both came and watched. I think they get more nervous than I do.
P: Is that true? Were you ever fearful for either of your kids to ski jump?
BH: Not particularly. I have a sense of what it is and what it’s about and that under the right conditions it’s reasonably safe. It’s not without risk, but I’m a bit of a risk-taker myself so I can appreciate that they take some risk. In terms of damage to the body because women are different from men, I would say not a concern. But I did have the concern that, Sarah being just under 100 pounds, she doesn’t necessarily have the strength Nick does to deal with conditions that aren’t ideal. What she does have is amazing body control and finesse and smoothness and grace that usually more than makes up for any concerns I would have. She is Daddy’s little girl, but great things come in small packages. She’s a tremendous little athlete.
P: How were you feeling when she got injured?
BH: It pained me to have her going through such agony. It was almost like we were one. She’s feeling pain, I’m also feeling the same pain for her. As parents we don’t want our children to suffer any pain. So that was tough, plus I knew she had aspirations to go to Sochi and just the uncertainty of all that. Could she recover 100 percent? Could she recover in time? Would she be able to jump again? Would she experience the same level of joy that she did previously now that she’s crashed?
Learn about sports injuries and how to prevent your child from sustaining one with this video.
P: What is it about a sport, specifically, that lends itself to strong father-daughter bonds?
BH: Sports seem to really allow dads and daughters to spend time together. Participating in a sport, you have to let other things fall away and that passion comes out and it just opens up and exposes who we are as human beings. You really let the real you come out. I think that when we allow ourselves to be authentic with each other, whether it be dads and daughters or fathers and sons, that creates a special bond where we can know each other authentically and accept each other.
For more news on dads, daughters, and bonding with your kids, sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter.
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2014 winter olympics, father daughter bond, fathers, kids and sports, Olympics, Sarah Hendrickson, ski jumping, skiing, sochi olympics, winter olympics | Categories:
Thursday, September 12th, 2013
The 2013 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament has finally come to an end, which means that the season is winding down and the players’ schedules lighten up. For the dads on the ATP tour, this means some added family time. Top ranked players James Blake of the United States, Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland share how they manage being a dad while playing, their most memorable moments with their kids on the tour, and their favorite things to do in New York during the grand slam. Turns out, even the tennis players who travel the world up to 42 weeks of the year value the same parts of parenting as you.
James Blake, dad to Riley, 1
What has your most memorable moment been with your daughter, Riley, on the tour?
JB: It’s every day. Every day is something new, it’s so much fun. The first time she walked was the day before I left for Atlanta and I couldn’t be happier that I was still home. I watched her walk across the basement floor and once she realized she could walk…just nonstop. I don’t think she’s stopped walking since then. It’s been a month and a half and I don’t think she’s stopped walking or running. And she’s started to mimic. So when I say “night night” she says “night night” back. Every day is so much fun.
What do you most look forward to doing with her now that you have officially retired from the game to spend more time with your family?
JB: I’m looking forward to being around and not even thinking about missing another milestone. I’m lucky to have that luxury, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Lleyton Hewitt, dad to Mia, 7, Cruz, 4 and Ava, 2
What was your funniest or most memorable moment with your kids on tour?
LH: Some of the best moments are when I’m taking them on court after I’ve had a good win—that’s obviously pretty special. I’m fortunate enough that I have kids who are young enough in age that I can still be playing on the tour and they can understand what dad’s doing on tour. Travling a lot, your priorities change, obviously. It’s not so much about my schedule as much as it is about their schedule and what’s best for them.
Stanislas Wawrinka, dad to Alexia, 3
What’s your most special moment you’ve had when your daughter travels with you?
SW: The first time she came to see my warm-up match in Basel last year was great. She was really happy. It’s more important that when she’s on the tour, she’s really happy to be at Daddy’s work. I like to play with her at night and when I have days off.
Has she been to New York? What do you like to do with her around the city?
SW: Yes, last year she was here. She went to Central Park a lot. For a kid it’s not easy in New York—it’s a big city. It was not easy for us because I leave early in the morning and come back late. When I had a day off I went to Central Park with her to ride the horse carriage and she loved it! She said, “I want to do it with Daddy and Mommy!” It was a great memory.
Image: James Blake by Herbert Kratky/ Shutterstock.com
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athelte, ATP, father, fatherhood, fathers, New York City, pro athletes, Sports, tennis, U.S. Open, US Open | Categories:
Monday, June 10th, 2013
Editor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.
As a dad and a pediatrician who has worked with families of all types and sizes for more than 30 years, I want to tell you about a great book written for moms that dads should read, too. After all, why should moms be the only ones who know the secrets for turning chaos to calm?
From Frazzled to Focused: The Ultimate Guide for Moms Who Want to Reclaim Their Time, Their Sanity, and Their Lives is written by Rivka Caroline, a Florida-based time management and organization expert who juggles seven kids, a speaking and consulting career, and graduate school. I discovered this book when the author asked me to review it for a possible endorsement because of my own time management book, No Regrets Parenting.
I loved Caroline’s book, and endorsed it with this quote: “From Frazzled to Focused is a brilliant blueprint for recapturing minutes, hours, and days otherwise lost to inefficiency and disorganization. This book will change your life.” Yes, it’s that good. But notice nowhere in that endorsement do I mention moms — or, for that matter, dads. This is a really wonderful book for moms and dads because efficiency, effectiveness, prioritization, and systemization are gender-neutral goals. This is not a book full of platitudes and bumper stickers. Instead, it’s a concise, organized, and focused 180-page playbook with an action plan for achieving, de-cluttering, and systemizing your work and home life.
Whether at home or at work, these From Frazzled to Focused guiding principles and recommendations apply to all parents:
- Switch from doing it all to doing most of it (and know that’s okay)
- Lack of time is actually a lack of priorities
- 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of your time and effort
- Work expands to fill the time available for its completion
- Create a “to don’t” list
- Streamline your home and your head
- Avoid decision overload
You’ll learn when to “do,” to “delegate,” and to “delete.” And deleting some of the items crowding your thoughts and your desk may be the most important paradigm of all for many of us. You’ll come to recognize that “practice makes good enough,” that perfection isn’t the be-all and end-all. This realization is really liberating.
Dads can particularly benefit from Ms. Caroline’s advice for systemizing, and her supermarket analogy is spot-on: When you go grocery shopping, you put more than one item in your cart at once so you’re not constantly driving back and forth to the store. Get ahead by always thinking, “What can I do now that will make things easier later on?” Batch your tasks, and block out chunks of time for doing them — returning phone calls and e-mails, paying bills, and filing should be done in batches, not piecemeal as the e-mails or bills arrive. Although the second half of the book is devoted to specific spaces in your home, taking control of those spaces isn’t just mom’s work; dads live in those spaces, too. Both Mom and Dad can use the principles in this book for equally effective rethinking of the workplace and the work mentality.
So, with Father’s Day approaching fast and the usual panic setting in about buying yet another necktie, take this message from Caroline’s book to heart: “Last-minute problems are a lot easier to take care of when they aren’t actually happening at the last minute.” Get this book for Dad. Do it now, while you’re thinking about it, so you don’t have a last-minute problem on June 16.
Happy Father’s Day!
Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).
Image: A busy daily schedule book via Shutterstock.
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busy dad, clutter, dad, Dads, father, Father's Day, fatherhood, fathers, Harley Rotbart, harley rotbart series, holiday, Holidays, No Regrets Parenting, organizing | Categories:
GoodyBlog, Holidays, Must Read
Monday, December 10th, 2012
Iron May Prevent Behavioral Issues in Small Babies
Iron supplements may help boost brain development and ward off behavioral problems in babies who are born a bit on the small side, a new study suggests. (via Reuters)
Could Kids’ Salt Intake Affect Their Weight?
Children who eat a lot of salty food also tend to down more sugary drinks — which, in turn, might be related to their risk of obesity, a new study suggests. (via US News and World Report)
School Lunches To Be Allowed Unlimited Meats, Grains, USDA Announces
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told members of Congress in a letter Friday that the department will do away with daily and weekly limits of meats and grains. Several lawmakers wrote the department after the new rules went into effect in September saying kids aren’t getting enough to eat. (via Huffington Post)
ADHD Linked to Oxygen Deprivation Before Birth
Children who had in-utero exposure to ischemic-hypoxic conditions, situations during which the brain is deprived of oxygen, were significantly more likely to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder later in life as compared to unexposed children, according to a recent study. The findings suggest that events in pregnancy may contribute to the occurrence of ADHD over and above well-known familial and genetic influences of the disorder. (via ScienceDaily)
Oxytocin Produces More Engaged Fathers and More Responsive Infants
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A large body of research has focused on the ability of oxytocin to facilitate social bonding in both marital and parenting relationships in human females. A new laboratory study has found that oxytocin administration to fathers increases their parental engagement, with parallel effects observed in their infants. (via ScienceDaily)
ADHD, Babies, behavioral problems, birth, fathers, iron, Noelia de la Cruz, oxygen deprivation, oxytocin, Parents Daily News Roundup, salt, school lunches, USDA | Categories:
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
3 Hours of Daily Exercise Suggested for Young Children
For children under age 6, getting at least three hours of daily physical activity, spread out over the day, may be a good goal, researchers say. (via Fox News)
Kids with ADHD Have Dimmer Prospects: Study
Children with ADHD symptoms tend to fare worse as adults than do kids without problems in school, according to the longest follow-up study of the disorder to date. (via Reuters)
France Considers Ban on Homework. Should the U.S.?
While a homework-free society remains a mere dream here, students in France may soon bid adieu to homework if French President, Francois Hollande, has his way. (via Today)
Fathers Matter When It Comes to Their Teenager’s Sexual Behavior
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A new study by New York University professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that fathers’ parenting behavior influences the sexual behavior of their adolescent children. (via Science Daily)
ADHD, Exercise, fatherhood, fathers, homework, homework ban, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, sexual behavior, teen sex, teens | Categories: