The parenting perils of Instagram

Lazy afternoon sunlight trickles through the dining-room windows and shines steely blue off the stainless appliances. Champ sits there in the kitchen, twisting the head of Big Batman, a “Dark Knight Rises” action figure aimed at adult collectors and probably unsafe for a toddler. I stealth-unlock my iPhone and crawl up next to him for a low-angle photo. This is going to make a great Instagram.

The final product of some dangerous Instagramming.

You should know about Instagram by now. It’s the service all the cool kids are using to square-off, stylize and share their best cameraphone photos.

I taught a journalism class last fall and devoted a large chunk of lecture to Instagram’s role in documenting Superstorm Sandy. Friends of mine interrupted a recent dinner party to make everyone watch an Instagram-themed Nickelback parody. Seriously, it’s everywhere.

Instagram is a big deal to me as a stay-at-home dad. I believe that if I can make my adorbz baby photos look hip enough, my childless friends won’t get sick of them and block me on Facebook. I rely on those friends for updates on things like limited-release beer and new movies, but my head would rainbow sparkle puppy explode if I kept all Champy’s cuteness to myself. Continue reading The parenting perils of Instagram

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 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

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

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

There will be blood

Lately, the Champ seems interested in everything I drink. If I take a sip of water, he’ll lock his eyes on my Imo’s Pizza mug from the counter to my mouth. He does this while I’m carrying him in his BabyBjörn, which requires some impressive neck-craning.

This morning, he reached for my Monster Energy can. Without hesitation, my expertly honed journalist brain recognized an opportunity to take one of the Great Types of Baby Photos: Baby Pretending To Do Something Dad Does.

So I let him have the can. And look!

Baby holding Monster Energy drink can Continue reading There will be blood