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

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

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.

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

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

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

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