Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Five things I wish my Mom would have told me about parenting

Parenting is one of the very few jobs where people just trust you to do it without any help whatsoever.  When we had our first I looked at the Doctor and was like "we just take him home, that's it?"...I couldn't believe that the hospital was going to just tell let me take the child home when I had clearly no idea what I was doing.  So here is a small, albeit condensed, list of what I wish my Mom would have told me before I became a parent.  There are plenty more, but a small list.
1.  Baby's aren't fragile.  In fact, they are the durable and resilient.  I learned this because my wife had a C-section and they literally yanked my child out and were holding him by the arm.  I didn't pay any attention to it at the time but as I reflect it makes me wonder why I was so careful everytime I was holding him.  By the third child, I would put her in my hand and pretend that I was lifting weights with her.  But I remember when I had my first I would hold him like he was an antique vase that would devalue if I were to get any sort of a bump or scuff on it.  This might be why my youngest will be the toughest of the three, but that is neither here nor there.
2.  Formula does not have to be warm.  You see all of these formula heaters and bottle warmers in babies r us and you think as a first year parent that it's a necessity.  It is not a necessity.  In fact, it's a pain in the butt.  We started with our first warming the bottles and it just took a minute longer than it needed to and our child become spoiled to only drink warm formula.  Solution, give them room temp formula from the get go.  I don't have any scientific studies to back this up, but my second and third will drink anything because of it.  Back in my growing up days, bottles use to be boiled or put in microwaves to get warm and you had to put some on your arm to check it.  This way you save time and the mess.
3.  Baby food tastes really, really bad.  I thought that since their taste buds were so underdeveloped that perhaps they would make them sweat, but it is comparable to that of dog food.  Honestly, dog food has that same no taste taste that baby food possesses.   Unfortunately, we are forced to feed them rice or oatmeal that is tasteless.  It's only through our decisions that we put fruit in there.  On top of that, the fruit still is bad and don't get me started on the veggies.  No wonder why kids hate them growing up.  I wish I could put some butter and salt on them...haha
4.  I wish my mom would have told me that I would think only my kid is cute.  I'm not saying that other peoples children are ugly.  But for some reason I am completely biased and think that my child should be on the poster for everything children.  I'm sure other parents feel the same about their kid but it makes me want to shake them and say "what are you talking about, my kid is cuter than yours".  I respectfully hold back on those urges since I'm identifying that I am way biased.  But in my mind, my kids crap greatness so I'm cool with it.  haha
5.  Lastly, and this does not mean it's the most important, that I would lose everything that is mine in the house.  New things get broken, the billiards room is now a toy room, the living room is now a play room...now, this doesn't go for anyone that has a basement...because usually those can be converted into a man cave or what not...or all the toys can go down there...or anything but having them littered around the house...however, I can't say that I don't like all the toys around...because when I'm in the living room I can watch my kids play as I'm watching t.v...and that's fun...so I'm cool with it...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Top five things not to do when poop training your child

Poop training, kind of sounds as if I"m potty training a dog or something of the sort.  I don't know yet how girls do it, but with boys it's two steps.  First, get them to pee standing up.  Second, to get them to poop on the potty.  I have had my share of mistakes and I would like to post the Top Five things not to do when you are poop training your child.
5.  Do not start him out on the big boy toilet.  We made this mistake and he isn't as comfortable.  His feet are dangling and he falls in when he doesn't put the attachment down.  If we were smarter, we would have started him on the small toilet that goes on the ground, that way he can climb on without a problem.
4.  Do not take him out of his pull-ups too quick.  This is straight up a selfish issue.  This cleanup is ridiculous.  Even when he makes it to the toilet there are remnants there and you have to get a new pair of undies.
3.  Keep soap or sanitizer everywhere.  Even if you have a perfect cleanup(a cleanup where no poop gets on you whatsoever) the stench of poo will stay with you throughout the day.  Think of the movie mall-rats when he gives the guy a stink palm.
2.  Do not read success stories.  Oh these drive me crazy.  Know what else I can't stand?  I can't stand it when other parents tell me about there kid that was poop trained at 9 months or something ridiculous like that.  Everyone knows you are lying, so give it up.  Every kid is different and there isn't a pure formula for everyone.  When he is ready, he will be ready.  To digress, the same thing applies to walking.  If I had a dime for every parent that told me their child was walking at 9  months....absolutely absurd, considering at 9 months they are barely crawling.  If your kids are walking at 9 months they should be in the Olympics at 4 years competing in gymnastics because of their superior balance ability.  Stop thinking it's a frickin contest parents and tell the truth.  Oh yeah, did I tell you that my 3 year old can juggle a soccer ball 100 times already?
1.  Do not expect your child to go as long as you.  Sometimes I feel like these kids sit real quick and get back up and say their done.  Parents sit longer of course.  I think that is more so because it's actually a good resting place away from the kids.  Sorry to those that don't have locks on their doors.

Extra Credit:  Do pick on those that don't have kids during your training experiences.  For example, and I stole this from my brother, but if your child has pull-ups and drops a load don't just throw it away in the garbage.  Hide it in the house of someone without kids, or in their car.  A place in the car where he can't find it and the heat will make it resonate throughout the car.  Good times...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Boring Stage

Yes I said it, the boring stage.  Mom's love it.  Dads however, well I can only speak for me, can't stand it.  There is nothing fun about this stage and men are naturally not cuddlers in this world so it just doesn't make sense.  Babies that can talk, walk, roll, move, or do anything of intent are exactly what I said, boring.  Every family man or woman is probably gasping right now because they give off this vibe like child birth has been a delight and everything is going so perfect at home.  Let me tell it like it is, it's not fun.  I like to compare it to my golf game.  I enjoy the fact that I'm golfing, not how I'm golfing.  I enjoy the camaraderie and the competition on a beautiful day but I get frustrated with what is within the day of golf itself.  Then, and for me it's a small moment, I hit the shot of the day.  This particular shot is a powerful one because it's the same shot that is going to keep you coming back to golf the next day.  A moment of clarity, a moment of immortality, and then it is shot down by your next drive.  Well, raising a baby is rather similar.  There is the constant pooping, spitting, crying, and dependence that will drain your physical well-being.  Then, just when you feel as if you can't take another diaper explosion, she smiles at you, and all is forgotten.  I develop a case of amnesia and can't remember all the times where I'm cleaning feces from my hands.  Regardless, it's boring.  Now, she moves, smiles, talks, and interacts.  She's funny, and developing her personality.  This is what I like.  She's developing her independence but yet can show her love for her brothers and parents.  Moms like to cuddle, Dad's like to rough house and move around.  Occasionally I will hold her against my chest when she is tired.  But still, I like running around with her more.

Monday, January 3, 2011

What is Discipline really?

To spank or not to spank, that is the question.  Whether it is noble in the minds of the experts in the world or just a reality based fixture in a fear ruled parenting society.  We have all said the same thing when we were kids: "When I'm a parent, I'm going to be the coolest!"  It's funny how things don't always work out that way.  I can only imagine how tough it is to live with me considering my better half is a special ed teacher and she believes that there is a different learning style for each individual kid.  Nowadays there are timeouts, not grounding.  I don't necessarily remember ever getting the belt as a child, but I for sure remember the threat of getting the belt.  It was easy, Dad would reach, we would shape up.  I did chores, I behaved without expectations of reward, and I was a crazy kid(I know, who would have thought)...with all this said and done I have this to say about my parents, they were on the same team always...and if they didn't agree with each others form of discipline it surely didn't show...that is what use to get us the most as children..."ooh wait until your daddy gets home"...and then we would have to sit there and ponder what the heck he is going to do to us...just purely on my moms word alone...they were a good team, regardless of the intensity of the discipline, they were in it together...and that's the key to discipline...if you choose to use timeouts, use them, but be on board together...I caught myself saying out loud that it doesn't matter because he will just cry himself out of it...I shouldn't have...I should never have verbally doubted our discipline in front of the kids because it will lack strength and effectiveness...I will not say spanking is wrong, because it's not for everyone(for example, my wife tried it the other day and my son laughed at her...it was pretty funny)...but what I'm saying is that you need to discuss this plan together...and if you're single...you have to play both sides of the coin...the sensitive mother and the angry father...good luck with that...

Friday, December 31, 2010

A summary of the events

I know it's been awhile since my last post but quite honestly I have been super busy with the holiday season and what not.  I am sure most of you paid special attention to the seating chart with the Christmas dinner and what not and realized how much I made sense.  I hit the seating chart lottery this year at my mother's house.  She had a perfectly designed children's table and I placed myself the furthest from it as possible.  As a result, my brother(because he was one of the closest) stepped up and dealt with the youngins during dinner.  It was heavenly bliss.  And while I can sit here and thank him for stepping up to the plate, I must also pat myself in the back for such a strategic move on the seating chart.  He was great for offering, but also really didn't have much of a choice.  Good guy, but great strategy.  And those of you that are always wondering why I do dishes at the family events it's plain and simple.  I do not want to be part of the cleanup down where they are opening gifts.  When you are down there, not only do you have to clean up, but you have to deal with the kids always asking you to open this gift that they want to try and it just adds to the mess.  This way, our kids open less gifts at my mother's house and therefore lose less parts in said gifts.  Truthfully, I think they would rather play with the other kids gifts anyway, this way, they can lose their stuff, and not ours.  On top of that, I'm sure my mom likes an organized dishwasher anyway, and it makes it much easier to put away when we are all out of there...see previous post....so without further ado I wish all of you(9 peeps) a happy holiday and a great new year.  I have some gadget ideas that will make your life easier when we enter the new year so stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blame it on the Children

Jaime Foxx has a song that came out a couple years back called "Blame it on the alcohol" that had me thinking about this next one.  A heads up gentlemen, and moms too, you have a permanent excuse built in at all times.  I use it rarely for fear of being the boy who cried wolf, but I use it nonetheless.  Blame it on your kids.  Yes, I said it, blame it on your kids.  When I say it, I mean anything.  Anything that you feel can get you out of an altercation, a problem, a razzing.  Whatever it is, for some reason in this world there is a certain sensitivity about the kids.
I was at the airport in a little debacle about how I was going to get home.  My flight was already delayed 3 hours, we were on standby for another earlier flight, which was a connecting flight too, and it was a nightmare.  I went up to the stand and told them that I needed to get back to Detroit that night because I have my kids that I have to get back to.  Instantly, the crabby helper behind the counter turned to positive and was doing everything she could to get me back to my kids.  Granted, my wife had the day off the next day too so it wasn't dire, but she didn't need to know that.  Now, gentlemen, there are certain times where this will backfire and make you look insensitive.  Be careful of this story in particular.
I was in Kroger the other day and a guy behind me had one item: a case of Budweiser.  I had my fair share of items and I was second in line behind a lady that had a full cart.  The man leans forward and speaks to the lady in front of me.  "Excuse me mam, is it possible that I skip in front of you, I have kids in the car?"...The lady replied back, "You left kids in the car so you could grab a case of beer, sounds like you have a problem."...see my point here, be careful when you use your kids as an excuse, timing is essential.
I recently have a legitimate disclaimer on my Christmas lights.  My son desperately wanted color in the front and much to the dismay of my wife I obliged.  She hates a mix.  If I am going to do white, she wants all white.  Same thing with color.  So when I decided to mix I brought her out and she was sorely disappointed and turned to me.  Before she could get anything out of it, I blurted out..."The kids wanted both."...now, does it excuse the fact the storm has trashed my lights from the roof and they are hanging everywhere, no...but it gives me a disclaimer of why my lights look white trash...the kids...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Minor Details can make it an easier day

My wife thinks that certain things I do are strictly Obsessive. I have to have my dishwasher set the right way.  I can't stand why toilet paper needs to be on a roll, it's so much easier to pick it up and unroll it.  I change my children backwards.  I use my left hand to do the wiping so my right can control the baby.  Yes it's weird.
Now we all have our little quirks and patterns in life and what we need to do is make sure we pick the patterns that make our lives just a little easier throughout the day.  My suggestions may seem rather minuscule to you but throughout the year it will help relieve some stress.  Since this is a blog to help Dads(and moms if it applies) shortcut their way to buy more time then I mine as well put my two cents in.
Sort your silverware when you put them in the dishwasher.  What a pain in the butt it is to put the silverware away when you could have just grabbed the whole section and put them in the forks part of the organizer.  This is a tell-tale sign of whether or not I have loaded the dishwasher.  One time, I paid the babysitter to do the dishes for me because I was running late and I got caught simply because of the silverware.  But in reality, so much easier.  And let's be honest, most of us don't unload the dishwasher until we have used at least half the dishes so it's easier to navigate and find that baby spoon for the next feeding.
Lastly, and I know it's only two but my sister-in-law is asking for more frequency in blogs, back your car into your parking spot.  This is new for me.  I did it last night and when I was taking the kids to school this morning it was a breath of fresh air that I didn't have to back up and turn around and all that nonsense.  Metaphorically, it is looking forward to the new day, not backwards.  Realistically, try and and see how it feels.  You will notice that it does feel good to just drive out of your driveway once in awhile.  See you tomorrow!