Fatherly Stuff: January 2013

Jan 31, 2013

Funny Convo w/ My Kid #1

Note: So I decided to start documenting the ridiculously hilarious things my kid says to me on a regular basis.

The other day I was trying to have a very serious conversation with him:

Me: "...do you know what it means to treat others the way you want to be treated?"

Son: "Ummm... Photosynthesis?"

(I look at my wife, who was sitting behind him as she's tying to hold in her laugh)

Me: *smacks forehead* No. The word is respect, son. Respect.

By the end of our little talk, he seemed to understand the concept of respect as well as photosynthesis. We were both pretty impressed that he even knew the word. I guess I have Sid the Science Kid to thank for that!

Jan 25, 2013

Top 10 Tips to Pacify a Crying Baby

Note: This is my first guest article from fellow dad blogger Mike Neil. I hope you enjoy!

Top 10 Tips to Pacify a Crying Baby

You need to be really patient and careful while trying to pacify a crying baby. For babies, crying is the only way of communication to let others know about their needs. But the fact is that, most of the times, it is really difficult to understand what your baby is trying to say to you. Here are different things you can do to pacify a crying baby.

1. Feed your baby
The main thing that makes a baby cry is hunger. When babies feel hungry, they cry to let their mother know that they need food. You might not easily understand this as you might have fed your baby just a few hours back. But as the baby’s small tummy can’t hold very much and they urinate quite often, they will become hungry every few hours in the beginning.

2. Check the diaper
As babies urinate frequently, they become uncomfortable when their diaper become wet. So, check your baby’s diaper even though you changed it recently. Change it if required.

3. Check the temperature
Babies cry when they are too hot or too cold. You can use a thermometer if you cannot make sure whether the baby’s body temperature is normal. If you have overdressed your baby, remove a layer. If she feels too cold, use an extra blanket.

4. Burp your baby
Most babies get gas bubbles soon after feeding which make them uncomfortable. Burp the baby by rubbing or patting her back while you are carrying her with her head over your shoulder or while she is lying in your lap face down. This would release the gas and make her comfortable.

5. Hold your baby
Babies love physical contact so hold your baby and keep her very close to you. You can even swing as you hold her. Even after holding if she continues crying, then you can change the way you hold her.

6. Sing, talk or play music for your baby
Tender songs from her mother usually calm baby. You can even play music to soothe your baby. You can speak quietly to your baby as your voice is familiar and soothing for her.

7. Put your baby to sleep
Babies cry when they become tired and want to sleep. Take your baby to a calmer environment and try methods that will make your baby sleep. Some need singing whereas some others need swaying to help them fall asleep.

8. Allow your baby to suck on something
Many babies become comfortable when allowed to suck. Let her suck a pacifier or your clean finger to stop the crying.

9. Take your baby outside
Fresh air might make your baby feel better. So, take your baby out of the room.

10. Consult with a doctor
If you feel that your baby is crying because of severe pain and cannot get her to quiet down, then call a doctor immediately to discuss your concerns.

Mike has been taking care of his 2 children for the last 6 years and has gained a lot of experience parenting. Mike started blogging on parenting and child development 4 years ago and has published numerous articles. Mike is also a regular http://www.toysparadise.com.au also a toy reviewer and a keen runner!

Jan 17, 2013

Who Needs a Hairdresser When you Have an Appliance?

Today I came across this awesome video on YouTube of a dad who figured out a pretty creative way to tie his daughter's hair in a ponytail. If our 2nd child turns out to be a girl, I may have to try this!

 I will however, make sure the power level on the vacuum is low. We wouldn't want this to happen...

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Jan 15, 2013

The Porn Identity- Reactions to an Article and Reflection

How early (if at all) is “too early” to be exposed to pornography?

This question came to mind after reading an interesting article on the parental section of the Huffington Post about a father who, while checking his 13 year old son’s computer for viruses, was shocked to discover that the source of the viruses was from his son surfing the internet for pornography.

My first thought  while going through the story was, “Heh, been there before. I wonder how this guy is going to discipline his kid.”

The father’s reaction however, really surprised me. I was expecting an initial reaction of shock followed by punishment and maybe a stern, TV sitcom-esque heart to hear talk complete with that cheesy music that usually follows.

In actuality, the father decided to write a rather touching letter to his son (then subsequently posted it on Reddit ) that basically let him know that he completely condones that action of viewing pornography itself. What he didn’t approve of was the method in which he chose to do so (i.e. through dangerous sites).

 This is a complete parallel from my experience and subsequent run in with my parents, which occurred in the 6th grade.

It was a bit different, because back then, our family did not own a personal computer (mid 90’s, during what now feels like the Stone Age). A friend of mine brought in a Penthouse magazine from his dad’s secret collection. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal , but at that age it was like taking a bite of that forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Or reactions probably mirrored that of Vic Vega’s when he opened that briefcase in Pulp Fiction.
Boobs, glorious boobs!

The images were then divvied among the group of us and for the rest of that week; we are bartering and trading images like currency faster than brokers on the New York Stock Exchange.  I didn’t have them for more than a day or two until one night, using the profound and insightful judgment that only a 12 year old would possess; I decided it would in my best interest to hide the pages that I collected underneath my pillow. Well, the next morning I was awakened by the sound of my mother praying to sweet baby Jesus. She went straight for the kitchen where my father was eating breakfast and I knew it was in for it.
He was standing in front of me, pages in hand with a face that was stern with anger and disappointment.  My father was a trustee at our church and to this day, a devout follower of the Christian faith, so in his eyes what I did was especially heinous.
I won’t go into excruciating detail of our discussion, but to give you the gist, he made me look up the word “depraved” in the dictionary so I could fully understand just how evil those images were and explained that I should be more grossed out than anything.
Overall, I caught his drift: Porn=Bad, Jesus= Good. Don’t get me wrong, he accomplished his goal, which was to scare the hell out of me and deter me from a behavior that goes against the mission of most parents. While I knew what I did was kind of wrong, I really didn’t fully understand why. After all, I was just following what came naturally; so what could really be wrong with that?
 This is why I respect Reddit dad’s approach. Instead of condemning, he identified with him and let him know that while is interest is normal, there is a safe way to do it. He also explained that the images he saw on his computer were hyper sexualized versions of reality and there are other things (love, etc) that make real life intimacy so much more complicated.
There are obviously some people out there who think that what he did was wrong, but at the end of the day what’s more important is a healthy relationship between father and son. I like to think that theirs was solidified after this ordeal.
I can’t honestly say that when the time comes that I wouldn’t  be as progressive to the effect that I would actually recommend sites to my child; it’s not really my place to judge another parent’s methods, especially if he isn’t causing harm to himself or others. What I will say however, is that I hope to find some sort of middle ground between my own father’s “Wrath of God” and Reedit dad’s “Porn is fun!” approaches.
As much as we would like to, we can’t protect our children from all of the bad things in the world. We could do our best to keep pornography away from them (extra security on the computer), but it’s almost a guarantee they will either be exposed to it from an outside source or will seek it out on their own. 
As they get older and more curious about their sexuality, we need to be there to steer them in a healthy direction, and it will be up to you as a parent that will determine what that direction will be.
And to the parents who are in complete denial and think it will never be an issue for their child, just remember the famous quote from John Donne ,”… I am involved in mankind, and/therefore never send to know for whom the bells/ tolls; it tolls for thee."

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Jan 5, 2013

How Donating Sperm Can Backfire: A Cautionary Tale

The other day I was reading an article courtesy of the Mr.Dad blog about a sperm donor who anwered a Craigslist ad and is currently in a court battle with the state of Kansas on whether or not he should have to pay child support for the life he helped create.

Yeah. This is REALLY happening.
After reading the article, I replied to the twitter feed and the story kind of receded into the back of my mind and I went on about my evening. It wasn’t until the following day when I heard the same story on NPR on the way home that it really started thinking about exactly how ridiculous this is.

He signed an agreement with the couple who happens to be lesbian that relinquished all of his paternity rights and that was that. Or so he thought.  When the couple separated and fell on hard times, the biological mother decided to apply for state aid for the baby who is now 3 years old.  After she were pressed to give up the name of the biological father, Kansas social services decided to go after him for child support. The reasoning behind this has to do with the exact wording of the law that identifies only artificial insemination procedures done by a physician are considered legal. Since theirs was not, the state views the donor as the true father and is holds him accountable.
 I just can’t imagine what is going through his poor guy’s head right now.  Maybe he did it to make a little extra cash. Or maybe he just wanted to help this family out. Regardless of the reason, it was an agreement between a trio of consenting adults that is being completely disregarded by government. If the mess that is going on at the federal level is any indication on how quickly this will get resolved, that child may be getting ready for college by the time an agreement is made.
 A situation like this is enough to potentially discourage men from donating sperm in the future. An unintended consequence I’m sure, but if that were to happen, it would be a shame for future well-deserving families everywhere.
In any case, if you are considering becoming a sperm donor, make sure you are fully aware of ALL the laws of your respective state before grabbing that playboy magazine.