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

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

Baby bottles: You’re doing it wrong

A word of advice for new dads: NEVER blog about how well your babyperson is sleeping. It’s the oldest and harshest jinx. Last week, the Champ got a surly cold, and not even the formidable Nap Nanny® Chill™ could keep him asleep more than a few hours.

Today’s post is about bottles. I long considered myself an expert on the subject because I’m a master of the adult ones. If a container has booze in it, I will get us to the booze.

My 4½-month-old son, despite his fascination with grown-up drinks, isn’t quite old enough to hold his own bottle. Here’s one of his best efforts so far:

Continue reading Baby bottles: You’re doing it wrong

Baby products: You are the spokesman

Update: Do not use the Nap Nanny Chill. Six children have died while using the infant recliner. 

More coffee? No thanks, I’m good. TURNS TO CAMERA. Oh hi there. I’m Tim Agne. You may remember me from such defunct blogs as Week Fiction and The Big Yellow Nasty. But I’ll bet what you’re really wondering is how the father of a feisty four-month-old can be so gosh-darn chipper this early in the morning.

Trust me, it’s not just because my wife handles the night feedings and I don’t have to wake up early and get ready for work. The real secret is an incredible new baby product that we’re rating as a “definite buy” for new-baby owners and a “registry must” for prospective baby buyers. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Nap Nanny® Chill™. Everybody sleeps!

Since Attack of the Dad started using the Nap Nanny® Chill™, our infant sleeps as much as nine hours in a row!* Continue reading Baby products: You are the spokesman

Having a baby makes you soft

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I don’t have any cash right now.” My go-to line for dismissing a panhandler. Usually works.

“I don’t NEED money.”

“What do you need?”

“Diapers.”

Right then in my neighborhood grocery-store parking lot, at dusk on a Monday, a little switch flipped in my new-dad brain. And there was nothing my practical, logical, jaded superego could do to stop what was about to happen.

In order to help you understand what it felt like, here’s an obnoxiously cute baby photo:

Take all the time you need. Continue reading Having a baby makes you soft

What ‘SNL’ and Apple think of your parenting

I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for a month and a half, and I was supposed to be a famous daddy blogger by now. I had the big-picture stuff all planned out: A steady stream of review products and display-ad revenue followed by a huge advance on my bestselling book. Before long, CBS would turn my Twitter account into a sitcom, and morning shows would fly me in for parenting advice. I vaguely remember including some ideas about supporting a working mother and raising a baby boy.

And then, just as I was remembering how awesome I am, “Saturday Night Live” tries to take me down a peg with “You Can Do Anything!” In the sketch, Bill Hader and crew lay some thick sarcasm on YouTube-famous kids, blaming their obnoxious self-esteem on over-encouraging parents:

I guess my success as an energy-drink reviewer makes me part of the “YouTube generation” they’re lampooning. But the wake-up call is too late for me. I just walked away from an eight-year career in online journalism. I spent a lot of that time angry that my immense writing talent wasn’t getting me more public recognition, even though I wasn’t writing most of the time.

In fact, the real reason I’m launching this daddy blog is because I NEED YOU TO TELL ME I’M A HILARIOUS WRITER. You think I’m a good dad? Fine. You think my baby is cute? Whatever. Just tell me I write good. I need your validation to sustain the pie-in-the-sky fantasy outlined above.

Is there any chance my 4-month-old son could grow up with more realistic expectations? I’m starting to worry that I’m coddling him by indulging his near-constant need to be held. He’ll go to school in an era of hypersafety and criminalized bullying, and there’s a good chance he’ll never get punched. Is that really a character-building experience I should want for my boy?

“The world needs more singer-songwriters, and fewer doctors and engineers,” Vanessa Bayer says in the sketch. A New York Times article just told me that what the world’s corporations really need is a precise, nimble workforce of human drones willing to live at the factory and put in 12-hour days six days a week.

I think I might temper my son’s dreams by telling him he should aspire to a meager existence in the Orwellian future factory-cities of Foxconn USA, assembling iPhones for a thriving middle class in China and India.

Who am I kidding? This guy is obviously a star, and nobody will ever tell him any different.