Archives for posts with tag: parenting advice

I’m not exactly sure how this happened, or, frankly, when it happened. Last thing I remember, Grayson was just a little fellow who could barely muster a few words. Sure, he was kicking a ball around, thinking he was going to be the next (only?) savior of US Soccer. But, today? Well, today he’s kicking the soccer ball with gusto. Celebrating by yelling GOOOOAAAL and throwing his hands up, or lifting up his shit to reveal his belly (a soccer goal celebration as good as any). Today, he’s starting to say complete sentences (“I kick,” counts people.) He knows all the sounds animals make, and letters and numbers, and just random shit like that.

Can he tell us after he’s pooped? Yes. I’m not sure what good that does me after the fact, because the smell more than let’s me know what has happened, but it’s important people say.

His development is rapid, and it’s pretty mind-blowing that he (and kids this age in general) can soak up so many things. At some point, we need to stop cursing in front of him, because I’m pretty sure he already says shit.

He definitely gets frustrated, though, not being able to vocalize the things that he wants. Yes, he knows sign language, but that doesn’t really help with things like, “Dad, this sandwich sucks. Can I get some chicken?” Really, the sign language is good for getting girls to think he’s blowing kisses at them (when he’s actually saying “thank you”).

I do generally like to talk about things that he likes, so I can give friends and readers a heads up on what they need to be buying their kids. The problem here is that for the most part, as long as he has a soccer ball around, he’s perfectly fine. It’s the damnedest thing, but 70% of the time, he’s perfectly content with having a ball. The other 20%, he wants a book. And, the other 10% it’s a complete crapshoot.

His reading list consists of, all of the Brown Bear, Brown Bear series, Goodnight Moon still, the Dr Seuss hits (Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Sox, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Mr. Brown Can Moo), Where the Wild Things Are, and a couple of really random books. If I hear “Elmo can use the potty!!” one more time…

While I’ve allowed him to sneak Arsenal matches, and football, baseball, basketball games since he was old enough to lift his head, we’ve just started to introduce actual TV. Perhaps this is because of laziness, or perhaps our hippie San Francisco ways are almost completely drained, I’m not sure. But, he’s started watching this show Chuggington on Disney Whatever It’s Called Now.

And, really, that’s about it right now. The kid is just awesome. We cannot get enough of him, and I think he feels the same way.

The one thing that’s guaranteed to come along with being a new parent, the death and taxes of parenthood, is advice from everybody. And 9 out of 10, it’s advice that you’re not necessarily seeking. They say it takes a village to raise a baby, but what they don’t say is that oftentimes you’re ready to move out of that village because of frustration.

It’s a catch 22, because more often than not, you’re getting advice from people who have raised children, as well as parents who raised you. I mean, it’s not like your friends without kids are offering up advice on how to you raise your kids. Hell, they’re impressed you can actually hold your baby without dropping it.

It’s the people who are experts in child rearing. Your parents easily forget that they haven’t raised kids in 20+ years (unless you’re one of these dummy’s who have kids at 16), and things may have changed a bit since then. For example, I saw a picture from when I was a baby. I was in my crib, and in the photo I saw everything from stuffed animals, to blankets, to scissors to a tub of water next to a plugged in hairdryer all inside of crib. Now, thanks to SIDS, Dibs and I subscribe to having nothing but the baby inside of the crib. This is lost on my parents, and rightfully so. After all, I survived despite having loaded guns and knives in my crib (I hope you all get my exaggeration here).

The biggest problem is handling the advice that’s obviously coming from a sincere place. Your reaction can be set off a firestorm, so you have to tread lightly. Before Gray was born, we tried to set the precedent that we were going to raise Gray the way we saw fit. Naturally, that precedent was tossed out the window. We have to remind those around us of it often.

The best way to handle unwarranted advice is to nod and say things like, “I’ve never thought of it that way, I’ll look into it.” Does it always work? No. But, it’s a lot better than, “I’m going to raise my child the way I want. If you don’t like it, you can suck it!”

Granted, that’s an option, too.

I originally started writing this post on Tuesday. It was going to be about how after a point, you seem run out of things to do with a baby. Because, really, there’s only so much you can do.

I had the title all cued up, “So, What Do We Do Now?” And it was going to be this post about all the things we do to keep Gray engaged in life, and how we’re starting to run out of ideas. Really, how many times can we sing Old McDonald, or read Fox in Socks before he’s over it? (Side note 1: Fox in Socks is so much fun to read. It has become our favorite.)

All that changed yesterday, when Grayson went to his pediatrician’s appointment yesterday. See, that morning I got a text from Dibs that Gray had successfully rolled over from his back to his front. Not once, but twice. He’s 3.5 months old. At the pediatrician’s office he went back to front, then rolled back over front to back. This isn’t normal, folks.

Dibs was telling the pediatrician that he seems to get frustrated. Our pediatrician explained to her that Grayson was likely getting bored, and not stimulated enough. Basically, our son is out pacing us.

We’re really good about not letting him watch TV. I read to him every night. We constantly sing to him, and help him practice sitting. Tummy time is a daily activity. Plus everything else, like when we’re eating, “This is a piece of chicken. Chicken is awesome.” But the kid is already bored of us!

Do we need to do quantum physics with him? (Side note 2: Quantum physics always reminds me of the best part of Men in Black. The part where Will Smith is training, and the only person he shoots is the little girl in the middle of the ghetto with quantum physics books. Laugh every time. “Hesitated, sir.”) How do you keep something that can’t talk, or even sit up entertained? Sorry that we’re boring you, son.

The first thing I said when Dibs told me about the pediatrician’s visit was, “Well, did you ask how to keep him stimulated?” “Oh, uh, no,” she replied. Great.

So, that’s my new mission. Finding ways to keep Gray stimulated, so that hopefully he’s smarter than us by the time he’s 5.

Feel free to leave your tips in the comments below.

In an ideal world, I would never have poop on me.

This is not an ideal world.

No, this is a world covered in poop. I am the world. I am covered in poop.

I know what you’re thinking, “Toph, what’s the deal, buddy? Why can’t your kid keep it in his pants?” To be honest, I have no idea. We’ve tried so many different types of diapers. We’ve tried the Pampers Swaddlers and the Huggies Little Snugglers and still poop comes pouring out.

(Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Another edition of Gray’s poop stories)

His favorite place to poop seems to be on me. When I have him in the position that’s photoed in this post, forget it, he’s going to poop on me. As soon as I feel the rush of poo, I pick him up quickly and sprint to the changing table. Too late. I’m covered.

We do seem to have a bit more success with the Little Snugglers.

I think the biggest problem is the amount of poop Grayson produces. Seriously, when he lets it go it’s everywhere. When he goes more than day without pooping, our house is on Threat Level Red. Expecting parents prepare yourself. When these kids poop, it goes everywhere. It goes between their leg creases and under their huevos. The best part is when they start kicking their legs and get their feet in it. The whole thing escalates quickly. Next thing you know your kid is covered in poop and Brick killed a guy with a trident.

My steps to avoid this disaster (though futile) are:
1. Removing socks and pulling up onesie as high as I can.
2. Trying to clean his butt with the existing diaper as much as I can.
3. Holding his legs up while I get more wet wipes.
4. High pressured water hose.

When you’re traveling with him, I also recommend packing a few freezer bags in his diaper bag, plus an extra outfit (or two, depending how long you’ll be gone). The freezer bags help to protect the contents of the diaper bag after an explosion. Just be careful not to leave the poop-laden clothes in the diaper bag too long. Trust me. I opened a 2 day old bag, and it fried my nose hairs off. Sure, it was good to get rid of some unwanted nose hair, but there are better methods.

“When your kid comes, your life will never be the same. Enjoy it while you can.”

How many times have you guys heard that? Every time I went to Vegas, Miami or New York before the kid came some douche dad said that to me on Facebook. So, I started blocking them on Facebook. (I love blocking people on Facebook. It’s the best. Yeah… you’re my friend… but you’re BLOCKED!)

Obviously when the kid comes things change. No one really tells you what is actually going to change, though, do they? Well, guys, that’s why you hired me! What’s that? I’m doing this for nothing? Eff…

So Long Life Without Guilt – Prepared to feel guilty about everything you do from here on out. I went golfing for the first time since Gray was born two Sunday’s ago. The whole time I felt like I was a terrible person for being gone. I wasn’t. On Sunday I’m going to the Frightened Rabbit concert. I’ve felt guilty about this since I bought the ticket. 2 months before Gray was born.

Seriously, You’re Going to be a Whole New Kind of Sleepy – And, here’s the thing, you can’t really complain about it! Dibs is a part of new mom’s group that discusses this sort of thing. I’m thinking we should start a new dad’s group to talk to each other about what we’re not allowed to talk to our wives about. Because no matter how tired you are, she’s 10 times more tired than you. Of course she is. Why wouldn’t she be? The metaphor would be complaining to someone that you had to settle for a BMW M model, when they’re driving their Grandma’s Cutlass Supreme.

You’re About to Accept A Lot – My example of this, if you follow my twitter, happened the other day at lunch. My friend, Ryan, and I were in line at the Thai place, and I’m on my phone. Ryan says, “Dude, what’s all over your phone?” I examine, shrug my shoulders and say, “Grayson pooped all over me last night. It must have gotten all over my phone.” This was at lunch! I’d gone over 12 hours with poop covering the top of my iPhone 4, and I shrugged it off. Never in my life did I think I’d laugh when someone hosed me down with poop, yet, here we are.

You’re Excited About the Tiniest Things – Every milestone that happens makes you think your kid is a genius. I mean… of course he is.

Eating Is a Whole New Experience – When we go to restaurants, we basically prepay, and ask them to bring it out in to go boxes. When he cries, one of us tries to calm down, if we fail, then we’re out. Eating at home is even more fun. She’s eating and I’m holding him. I’m eating and she’s holding him. Just be ready to eat cold food.

(As I type this, I’m having a beer at the office. I feel guilty about this. I told you!)

What else have you guys noticed as changing? Let’s start the New Dad’s Group…. now.