Best baby names: A simple formula

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 Best baby names: A simple formula

The string cheese incident

An open letter to the dad. From the Champ.

File photo; string cheese not pictured.

Dear Dad,

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 The string cheese incident

The unmanliest thing I’ve done as a stay-at-home dad

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 The unmanliest thing I’ve done as a stay-at-home dad

Baby’s Bumbo: Perfect for beer growlers in the car

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:

bumbo-transporting-beer-growler
Baby's Bumbo floor seat is perfect for transporting a beer growler in the car.

Continue reading Baby’s Bumbo: Perfect for beer growlers in the car

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