We babies of the ’80s didn’t have much competition for our parents’ undivided attention. Soap operas. Phil Donahue. Sometimes we had to cry a little louder so adults could hear us over their shoulder pads and through their perms. No problemo, as we used to say.
If my 11-month-old daughter could talk in sentences, she’d tell you kids today have it worse. Parents pull shiny toys out of their pockets and can spend an unlimited amount of time staring and tapping at the glowy part. The big TV plays whatever they tell it to. Sometimes it’s Umizoomi, which is great, but a lot of the time it’s grownups droning on in muted-trombone sounds. Like, gag me with a spoon.
So baby has a plan to win the attention war. She’s methodically testing our tech for weaknesses she can exploit. And she’s finding them.
Two years ago, I wrote a blog post gushing about a product called the Nap Nanny Chill. The tongue-in-cheek endorsement was part of a larger point about how parents become spokespeople for baby brands.
Now, six children have died while using Nap Nanny infant recliners, many major retailers have recalled the products and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents not to use them. We took ours back to Babies ‘R’ Us and got a full refund.
In light of all that, I’m downgrading my recommendation from “definite buy” to “potential infant death trap.”
*according to the federal government
My parents are in town, and we’re loading my two kids into the car after lunch at Food Truck Friday in downtown Phoenix. My dad fumbles with the buckles on two-year-old Champ’s car seat. My mom wrangles the lunch leftovers while cooing over the new baby girl. I break down the fancy stroller — it’s so fancy there’s a song about it — and load it in the back of my beefy crossover.
It’s taking forever, and my mom asks, “How do you do this by yourself?” The truth is that when it’s just me and the kids, I can do all this in half the time.
You see, I’m a ninja.
This is how I take care of two kids all by myself.
At my 20-month-old son’s insistence, I’ve been playing a lot of New Super Mario Bros. U (hard life, I know). Champy knows all the characters because their decals adorn his Mario-themed bedroom, and he makes me name them one by one before he will go in his crib (always worth it). I was excited, and he was a little terrified when we reached the game’s final boss, Bowser.
But the Koopa King seemed a little flat. He was lollygagging, puffing a few fireballs and occasionally jumping, but he clearly had no interest in killing Mario. He didn’t even roar until his son, Bowser Jr., supersized him with Magikoopa dust, dragged him out of the pit I put him in and forced him to fight me again.
Son, we’re going home.
My gut reaction was that Bowser is a lousy dad, halfheartedly raging in Peach’s castle while his underage son acts as Mario’s primary antagonist across eight worlds. But a New York Magazine article on ‘grups’ — 30-somethings who shun traditional adulthood and live like 20-somethings — has me thinking maybe Bowser is just dealing with the consequences of shared-passion parenting.
And it could happen to me! Continue reading
Lazy afternoon sunlight trickles through the dining-room windows and shines steely blue off the stainless appliances. Champ sits there in the kitchen, twisting the head of Big Batman, a “Dark Knight Rises” action figure aimed at adult collectors and probably unsafe for a toddler. I stealth-unlock my iPhone and crawl up next to him for a low-angle photo. This is going to make a great Instagram.
The final product of some dangerous Instagramming.
You should know about Instagram by now. It’s the service all the cool kids are using to square-off, stylize and share their best cameraphone photos.
I taught a journalism class last fall and devoted a large chunk of lecture to Instagram’s role in documenting Superstorm Sandy. Friends of mine interrupted a recent dinner party to make everyone watch an Instagram-themed Nickelback parody. Seriously, it’s everywhere.
Instagram is a big deal to me as a stay-at-home dad. I believe that if I can make my adorbz baby photos look hip enough, my childless friends won’t get sick of them and block me on Facebook. I rely on those friends for updates on things like limited-release beer and new movies, but my head would rainbow sparkle puppy explode if I kept all Champy’s cuteness to myself. Continue reading
I’m about to double my cash value as a stay-at-home dad. My wife and I are expecting our second child — a girl — this August. In the month since we found out the sex of the baby, we hear the same thing every day:
Do you have a name? How about _________ ?
Aryll is Link's little sister from "The Windwaker." You already know the DeLorean.
I’ll answer the second question first. No. Your name suggestion is stupid. As for the first question, we don’t have a name. We have something even better: A formula for coming up with the best possible baby name. Continue reading
An open letter to the dad. From the Champ.
File photo; string cheese not pictured.
I am writing to express my EXTREME DISSATISFACTION in your handling of the organic string cheese we purchased recently from Trader Joe’s.
I’m just a toddler. “String” is not part of my vocabulary. I vaguely grasp the concept of “cheese.” And yet even I can understand the purpose of this “string cheese.” It is a toy that is crinkly on the outside and rubbery on the inside — perfect for waving around, banging on things and even chewing. Continue reading
Since I’ve become a parent, I’ve done some things I wouldn’t brag about to my bros. I know the name of every Yo Gabba Gabba! character. I squeal when my son sticks his finger in my belly button. I once went to the mall just to get a limited-edition Yankee Candle, and I bought the matching Illuma-Lid to go with it. That last one I can’t even blame on my kid.
But now my son is getting over a sinus infection, and this forced me to do something unthinkably girly.
The Champ doesn't want to blow his nose.
As a stay-at-home dad, I’m the last person who should be throwing out generalizations based on gender stereotypes. But here goes: If a woman is wearing pants with pockets, she’s got a wadded-up tissue in there. Continue reading
Thanks to a new Arizona law that allows bars and liquor stores to sell draught beer in take-home containers, all my friends are buzzing about growlers. Usually a 64-ounce brown glass bottle, a growler is great for new parents who can’t waste precious babysitter time sipping craft beer in bars. A growler won’t collect dust like the other well-intentioned bottles of booze in your fridge because the beer doesn’t keep long. Honey, we have to drink this.
My go-to growler this fall has been Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter, a hard-to-find local seasonal that rivals America’s top pumpkin beers. I’ve brought home growlers for entertaining, tailgating and movie night at home. The biggest challenge is that the bottles are fragile and hard to transport in the car. Thanks to my baby son, I have a solution:
Baby's Bumbo floor seat is perfect for transporting a beer growler in the car.
I’m scowling at the milk in the Whole Foods dairy case. Mom’s not pumping at work anymore, so 1-year-old Champ gets cow’s milk, and I fill a boy up with premium. The whole point of this grocery run is to score a half-gallon of organic DHA Omega-3 whole milk.
Yes, becoming a parent turned me into a hippie. I grew big and strong on bovine hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified sugars. It’s too late for me. But over time I began developing vague notions like “we use too many pesticides” and “God intended cows to eat grass.”
I don’t often pay the premium for organic produce, but I started buying organic baby foods because they came in cooler packages. The logical next step, I guess, is to feed a boy organic milk.
Adding DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a no-brainer because it’s the trendiest nutrient in infant brain development. If Mom can choke down DHA-supercharged prenatal vitamins every night for nearly two years, Dad can pony up a couple extra bucks of Mom’s hard-earned cash to keep the brain train rolling.
That brings us to Whole Foods. Continue reading