Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dad tip #121: Sometimes you have to stop yourself from helping your baby

There's nothing worse than seeing your child suffer even slightly, even for a moment. But sometimes you just have to stop yourself from interfering because in some instances, when your child struggles with something, they're learning from that experience.

Let's look at my son's first attempts at feeding himself Gerber Graduates banana puffs. The puffs are these star-shaped snacks designed to be finger-foods for babies. They pretty much disintegrate when salivated upon but only become sticky when lightly moistened. With less than stellar motor coordination and a tendency to drool in the presence of food -- or in the presence of pretty much anything, for that matter -- his early attempts at eating the treats resulted in sticky puffs stuck to the highchair, the floor, and my son's hands and cheeks. In fact, the puffs seemed to be pretty much everywhere but in my son's mouth.

After a few moments, the urge to help him overwhelmed us and we fed him a couple of puffs. He was hungry! But, we also quickly realized that he wasn't going to get any better at it if we didn't let him figure it out for himself. Now, he can put those suckers down right- or left-handed while contemplating quantum physics or thinking about the potential of CERN's newly functional Large Hadron Collider.

It's pretty much the same thing when it comes to eating with a spoon. However, that just takes more coordination, more patience, and more paper towels to clean up the mess. We're still working on that one.

Anyway, keep this advice in mind because it seems to apply to just about everything right now.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Dad tip #120: Don't blink because you might miss something

Okay ... I took a longer vacation from this blog than I had originally intended. But, I'm sure it was needed and hopefully I'm a little re-invigorated from the hiatus.

My beautiful baby boy is now nine months old and, in the last 3+ weeks, a lot has happened. What you might ask? Well, my son learned to crawl (while attempting to reach a bottle of beer); he learned how to sit up (don't know how it happened, but one morning we looked at the baby monitor and there he was, sitting happy as can be); and he learned how to feed himself finger-food (delicious banana puffs).

He also learned how to kneel and he's able to stand (indefinitely) while holding on to something, but only if you stand him up. He hasn't learned how to actually stand up, but he's probably pretty close. Oh, he also tried (pureed) meat for the first time.

Anyhow, it feels like TONS has happened in a few short weeks. It's like a tiny cartoon snowball rolling down a hill and becoming a giant snow-boulder going a billion miles an hour. And yes, I'm describing both my son and the progress he's made!

So, the advice is actually less "Don't blink because you might miss something" and more "Holy crap! Get ready for your child's development to start picking up momentum."


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dad tip #119: Know when to take a break

Okay, it's time to take a break. I'm going on a week-long vacation -- no, not a staycation and certainly not a nakation (if you don't know what those are, Google them) -- and aside from the possibility of having no internet access, I could just use a break from as many of my daily routine things as reasonable (including this blog).

I'm hoping to get some reading in and some nice relaxing family time with my wife and my son. In the meantime, please enjoy the picture of the green Maccha Milk Kit Kat above ("Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar") ... or enjoy some old articles related to poop.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Dad tip #118: Kids come up with great expressions for you to over-use

We've had some friends and their kids in town, visiting from Oregon. One of their boys somehow came up with the following phrase:
"You crack me nuts!"
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a variation of "You crack me up" or "You make me nuts"; or some weird pirate-speak or all of the above. Whatever it is, I like it and plan to over-use the expression in any scenario remotely warranting it.

It should be noted that I'm not going to be indiscriminately using kid-coined phrases all the time. This same child is also VERY fond of indicating to anyone that'll listen: "Let's get this party started!" I think it might be said with some kind of funny accent, too. But not an Oregon or pirate accent ... at least, as far as I can tell.

P.S. I also ended up watching parts of five Star Wars movies with this child in two days. Whew! That kid totally cracks me nuts.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dad tip #117: Peekaboo is the game that never gets old

In the context of an eight-month-old baby, Peekaboo really is the game that never seems to get old. If I'm in a jam for something to entertain my son with, I look for subtle variations of the game.

For example, here's a list of things that I've found myself hiding behind recently:I think the only thing you REALLY need to obscure, to make the game work, is eye contact. So, don't worry if there's nothing good around to hide behind; I'm sure there's something around that you can Peekaboo with.

P.S. I was just searching Amazon for the term "Peekaboo", looking for an image to associate with this post. There's a shocking dichotomy behind the results. Go take a look and see what you find.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dad tip #116: Be thankful that you live in the United States

The pseudo-advice tonight is: "Be thankful that you live in the United States."

Why such a fluffy topic tonight? Because I've been watching the Olympics like it's my job and it makes me sad to hear stories that a lot of China's athletes were essentially sent away from home at the age of three to begin their training with only one opportunity a year to see their parents.

Don't get me wrong, I'd be the proudest dad in the world if my son were to represent the United States in the Olympics some day. But, losing him for his entire childhood would be a deal-breaker. I don't care what the family gets from the government; and call me shallow if you want, but I don't think honor is worth that much.

That said, I'm now going to re-glue myself to the television as I await Michael Phelps's race tonight.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dad tip #115: Going out with the baby takes practice

I suppose it doesn't actually take practice to go out with the baby effectively. But, I think we've found that we feel a lot better about going out with the baby after having done it a few times.

You kind of have to get a routine for not only what you do with your child when you're actually out, but also what you do BEFORE you go out and what you do AFTER you get home. And on top of that, it's not only the routine, but also the timing of when you do everything.

After all, if your baby is happy, you've got a much better chance of having a good time away from the house. Set expectations for your baby and yourselves.

(This post was inspired by going out to dinner tonight with six adults and four kids.)

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