DHA Omega-3 milk vs. the dad

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.

Horizon 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 DHA Omega-3 milk vs. the dad

What new parents want in the iPhone 5

Apple is set to unveil the new iPhone today, and smartphone geeks are champing at the bit to hear more about what many are calling the “iPhone 5.” Rumors of a larger screen, 4G/LTE connectivity and redesigned earbuds may stoke the fanboys, but being full-time dad to a one-year-old has given me some different concerns.

First baby photo taken with iPhone 3GS camera.
This iPhone 3GS shot is the first photo anyone ever took of Champ with his eyes open. It would have looked much better on the iPhone 4S.

When our son was born, my wife and I had iPhone 3GSes we got on launch day more than two years earlier. I had to take his first pictures with that phone’s aging camera because Apple wouldn’t release the 4S for another 24 days.

We had packed a new DSLR camera that we bought just for photographing the baby, but nothing tops a smartphone camera for quickness and convenience. The fact is, the iPhone has become an indispensable tool for documenting and sharing the story of this new person’s life.

Here’s how to make it better. Continue reading What new parents want in the iPhone 5

The perfect sports-team baby clothes

College football season is here, and my Arizona State Sun Devils debut their all-new system tonight. The 7:30 p.m. kickoff is past my baby’s bedtime, but I still want the Champ to dress appropriately on game day.

Let me show you what I’d like him to wear:

Perfect baby sports-team onesie

Here are four simple rules for the perfect game-day baby outfit: Continue reading The perfect sports-team baby clothes

The Chompfather

It’s funny how these Internet memes get started. Somebody tweets a photo. Then somebody else comments, “Hey, that should be a meme!” And before you know it, some poor boy’s dad spends his entire Friday evening Photoshopping “The Godfather” quotes onto a stylized baby picture.

Nine-month-old Champ isn’t sleeping well these days. He’s got a second tooth coming in full steam, and his crib triggers an intense urge to work on his stand-up skills. After a pretty good nap this morning, Chompy stood up and smushed his chin onto the crib’s wide siderail. I think it helps his teething pain, but it also transformed his regular schnauzer face into a FULL BRANDO.

Lots more “Chompfather” quotes after the break: Continue reading The Chompfather

Stephen Colbert is corrupting America’s babies

One of my self-imposed rules for stay-at-home fathering is to avoid daytime TV whenever possible. I get around this rule by recording The Daily Show and The Colbert Report at night and then watching them the next day.

The Champ seems pretty interested in what Stephen Colbert has to say. It could be Colbert’s confidence, his in-your-face delivery, the bold colors of his studio or maybe just his eyebrows. So naturally, I ordered Champ a copy of Clobert’s children’s book the day it came out. What follows is my Amazon review of I Am a Pole (And So Can You!):

Flashes of heart, but too many flashes of pole

With its positive message about patriotism and finding your role in life, this could have been a great book for kids. Instead, Colbert crosses the line into adults-only humor a few too many times. There’s an insensitive jab at Native Americans, a couple of thinly veiled drug references and, worst of all, a full-page illustration of the main character as a stripper pole. The “Show Us Your Pole” activity page doesn’t help, either. Continue reading Stephen Colbert is corrupting America’s babies

A new dad’s guide to geeking out

My friends’ excuses for not coming to the Mike Doughty concert Saturday night include the following: Hockey game, college baseball game, tax prep, buddy’s wife’s birthday, too busy in general, leisure travel to Kansas City, semi-permanent relocation to San Francisco.

My very sporting wife has been my date to several Mike Doughty shows, but this one would have meant more time away from the baby after a hectic workweek. Not to mention a last-minute babysitter.

My mom convinced me to go alone. I wore my Mike Doughty t-shirt. I listened to his new live album on the hour-long drive up. Who cares if you’re “that guy” when you’re all by yourself? I geeked out, and it was awesome.

Continue reading A new dad’s guide to geeking out

Attack of the beard

I know what I said. Stay-at-home dads should shave every day. Now I’m telling you it’s OK to grow a beard. Just observe proper maintenance:

Small kids need to know that facial hair isn’t scary. My dad never had a beard or mustache to speak of, so my earliest notions of these things came from a handful of mustachioed uncles in the mid ’80s. I remember some of those guys being surly. Others teased me all the time.

Eventually the surly uncles mellowed out. I realized the guys who teased me were hilarious once I got a little older. But it was too late for mustaches. Mustaches were dumb. I wouldn’t even think about growing one until decades later, when indie-rock brainwashing and prostate awareness made it OK to grow a mustache for ONE MONTH ONLY.

That brings me to the next compelling case for scruff: Charity. Anything can be cool if it’s part of a “THON,” and they got thons for everything these days. Dudes have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars by playing the (deliberately) worst videogame ever made for days on end.

The Movember mustache-thon is a long way away, so what charity is this dad’s current beard supporting? I’m glad you asked!

I’m participating in the St. Louis Blues Beard-A-Thon. You can pledge my beard here. This very special thon is a great excuse to keep my beard for another month (I hope) because it benefits hometown charities while giving my favorite hockey team extra intangibles for the playoffs. If you have enough intangibles, you automatically win the Stanley Cup.

So please, pledge a couple bucks for my St. Louis Blues playoff beard. You’ll help my baby son grow to embrace both facial-hair diversity and ridiculous sports traditions.

If my beard doesn’t make any money, I’ll probably get all surly and start teasing my boy all the time. And then I’ll have to shave in shame.

Skyrim for new parents

Some guards nearly cut my head off, but a dragon attacks the town. I escape, get some armor, kill some zombies and listen to people go on about places like Morrowind and Oblivion. I feel a little lost. I walk around a lot. I get frustrated that I can’t climb all the mountains.

And then some other guy writes a review for my website. I get bogged down helping care for a one-month-old. I put my review copy of Skyrim on the shelf. I quit being a professional journalist.

But Skyrim won’t give up on me. A buddy, who exclusively plays terrible Super Nintendo fighting games, asks me at a bar if I’ve heard of this new game where you traverse a world the size of Minnesota. I hear hipsters explaining it to less in-the-know hipsters at Phoenix food trucks. My brother plays a Youtube video of a girl singing the Dragonborn song. On repeat.

A week or so into stay-at-home fatherhood, I run out of Breaking Bad episodes. I desperately need something to do during long babynaps. Skyrim has been waiting for me. Continue reading Skyrim for new parents

Objectives, part 1

My mom, who stayed home with me until I was in high school, gave me some advice: The things you do in your first week become habits.

As my last day of work approached, I wrote down some goals. These baby steps would become habits that would put me on the path to self improvement and creative fulfillment. I would do all these things in my first week, then brag about them in this blog.

Two months later, I’m finally blogging about my progress. One change: I’m calling them objectives instead of goals. Objectives sounds more videogamey. Continue reading Objectives, part 1