Breaking up with McDonald’s breakfast

We had a nice little McDonald’s breakfast routine going. Every week, on the way to the kids’ swim lessons, we would drive thru a neighborhood Micky D’s and eat in the car.

I would get a McGriddles sandwich combo and give the drink, always a chocolate milk, to one of the kids. Then I’d order a second chocolate milk and four orders of McGriddles cakes (“just the bread”). Big kid gets his milk in the jug while I expertly pour the little one’s into a Tupperware sippy cup. I bring my own water and a Monster to drink. I had it down to a science.

The good folks at my neighborhood McDonald’ses, not so much. I think maybe they’re not equipped to handle off-menu ordering. Probably my fault for violating the traditional combo structure.

Whatever the case, they never seem to get that I’m ordering four two-packs of McGriddle cakes (the kids just call them “pancakes”). It happens again and again that I leave the drive-thru light on McGriddles. Continue reading Breaking up with McDonald’s breakfast

Watch us unbox the DC Legion of Collectors crate

Maybe we’re going overboard with the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice collectibles. On top of the Robo Batcave, we’ve made videos about Mighty Minis Series 2 AND Series 1, plus a video I’m extremely proud of on how to make Batman cereal bars.

Now I’ve spent all my birthday money on year of bi-monthly boxes filled with DC Comics collectibles and wearables from Funko. I always say my son is obsessed with Batman, but maybe I’m the one with the problem.

The hoodie equality gap

On the eve of Women’s Equality Day — the anniversary of the 19th Amendment — I accidentally bought my son a girls’ sweatshirt.

Does this sweatshirt look girly?

Well, my mother-in-law bought it. I helped pick it out. It has fitted sleeves and a contrasting zipper for a look that I would describe as hipster rather than girly. It adheres to my “no cutesy crap” rule for college-sports apparel.

But when I saw the receipt — “NCAA YOUTH GIRL FAUST BRNOT FZ HOOD” (cool name, actually) — my gut told me I had to take it back. Because GIRL.

Forget for a moment that my 1-year-old daughter wears brother’s hand-me-downs all the time. I grew up in an age when dudes dressed like dudes, before the later-millennial boys got all emo and started buying pants in the juniors section. And thank God, because I never had the body to pull off girls’ jeans. Not that it matters. I’m a man, damn it.

A man who just admitted to spending an afternoon clothes shopping with his mother-in-law. A man who stays at home with his kids, changing diapers and cutting sandwiches into Batman shapes while his wife goes out and wins the bread. Moreover, I’m a man trying to raise a baby girl into a smart, empowered, badass woman. And that’s why Women’s Equality Day has me riled up. Continue reading The hoodie equality gap

Don’t use the Nap Nanny Chill

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
*according to the federal government

Continue reading Don’t use the Nap Nanny Chill

3 infant toys that build surprising skills

The Champ just celebrated his first birthday with a weeklong, multi-city tour de force that netted him a pile of new big-boy toys. Before we get too fired up about the new hotness, I’d like to pay tribute to the classics.

Here’s a look at some of the best toys for infant development from 6 months to 1 year of age.

Fisher-Price Lil’ Zoomers Spinnin’ Sounds Speedway, $20.
Skill: Free Standing.

You may have noticed that every little boy has this toy. Convincing babies to watch cars go around in a circle is fundamental to NASCAR’s infant indoctrination conspiracy. That’s why Babies “R” Us can sell it for $10 below MSRP. Continue reading 3 infant toys that build surprising skills

Why I don’t hate cloth diapers

The guy waiting for me has his one-year-old daughter in one arm. In the other hand, he’s carrying a single disposable diaper and a svelte pack of wipes. My baby is fussing on the ballpark restroom’s changing table as I wrestle a giant diaper bag, wet wipes, dry wipes, a clean diaper, a wet bag and soggy diaper I can’t throw away because it cost $20.

I get Champ’s clothes back on, strap him back into the BabyBjörn, cram all my supplies back into the diaper bag and shoot the cool dad anapologetic look. Being the most flustered dad in a men’s room full of drunk Brewers fans was a low point in my cloth-diapering career.

Two months later, this is how we spend a good chunk of Mother’s Day weekend:

Continue reading Why I don’t hate cloth diapers

Champ’s first food

The Champ is six months old now, and until today he hadn’t eaten anything but breast milk. That’s thanks to an incredible amount of effort, planning and patience on Mom’s part. But there comes a time when every boy must take his first step toward eating like a man.

I’m proud to say that Champ ate his first solid food today (if pureed into a fine mush counts as “solid”), and he handled it like, well, a champ. Here’s a video of this milestone, with some tips on how to make your own puree:

Continue reading Champ’s first food

Hawaiian sloppy joes recipe

Attack of the Dad Tomato-Free Meal

As a stay-at-home dad, I’m all about cooking meals that have high flavor-to-effort ratios. My biggest hurdle: Champ’s mommy¹ can’t eat tomatoes.²

That takes a lot of easy ones off the table: Chili, spaghetti, pizza, BLTs, grilled cheese with tomato soup, mozzarella caprese, junk,³ tomatoes Rockefeller and — easiest of all — sloppy joes.

What the heck can a guy from St. Louis sub for the tomato-based BBQ sauce that gives a joe its signature sloppiness? I found an answer, appropriately, at Trader Joe’s. Here’s what I made:

Continue reading Hawaiian sloppy joes recipe

Words with spouses

I drop a bomb. NUKE for 28 points.

It’s after 11 p.m. I’m playing Words With Friends against my wife. She’s already in bed. She’s on her iPad, continuing a game we started days earlier when we first downloaded the app. She might be nursing the baby.

I’m in the dining room, checking my iPhone while hunched over my laptop, joking about Mass Effect with my buddy and writing a complaint to Monster Energy. Costco stopped carrying my flavor. Bastards.

Continue reading Words with spouses

Stay-at-home dads should shave every day

Spending this much time at home comes with certain temptations for a dude. Sweatpants. Baseball caps. Old-man slippers.

I have it easy. I could wear jeans at my last job. Shorts at the job before that. Had I been stuck in the standard 9-to-5 uniform of khakis and a tucked-in shirt, a combination that makes me feel like a human baked potato, I’d have a much harder time resisting slob attire now that I’m staying at home.

I come to you now — in nice jeans, leather shoes and a shirt with buttons — with a simple message for stay-at-home dads: Shave every day.

Attack of the Dad Tim Agne shaving Continue reading Stay-at-home dads should shave every day