Nov 24 2009

An Apple, a Scrotum and a Bit of Baby Sign Language

Summary: Using baby sign is pretty awesome and can give you insight into what your pre-language child is thinking.

Baby sign for "what the fuck, dad"

Baby sign for "what the fuck, dad"

My daughter was never one much for baths. Even as an infant she preferred a shower. However, that is not what this story is about, which is baby sign.

Back in 2003, after our daughter was born, we decided to use baby sign as a communication bridge until she could talk. You can start anytime from birth, but you really won’t see any results until they are developmentally ready. So for a while it just seems like your spinning your wheels. The bummer is, you kind of have to go through that phase were you sign endlessly and nothing happens for your child to actually be able to implement it when she’s ready. Continue reading

Nov 20 2009

The Day I Discovered Unconditional Love

Summary: I love my partner deeply and would do almost anything for her…but she’s still my equal. My daughter, on the other hand is in another category of devotion entirely.

My daughter trying out her new face. I had no idea that a newbord will show such a complete range of human emotion straight out of the womb. I figured it took a week at least.

My daughter trying out her new face. I had no idea that a newborn will show such a complete range of human emotion straight out of the womb. I figured it took a week at least.

Would I risk my life for my partner? You bet. Would I give my life for her? Well, that’s a bit more complicated. I would do whatever I could to keep her safe, to help her achieve her goals, to provide everything she needs to thrive, but if one of us has to die I’d prefer it was her instead of me. Sounds harsh, but she feels the same way about me.

Though we are devoted to each other our love has its limits because we view each other as equals with our own agendas, desires, and dreams. We could also survive without each other just fine. Not to say that it wouldn’t be devastating and sad for a while, but we’d move on and the pain would subside with time.

Our daughter is a different story entirely. If she were to die tomorrow,  it would leave a permanent whole that would never heal. Continue reading

Nov 17 2009

Not Cheating, Just Leveling the Playing Field – Morals, Children, and The Politics of Arcade Redemption Games

Summary: Is it cheating when you bend the rules of a system that is inherently unfair? The politics and economics of arcade redemption games and a couple’s differing opinion on the ethics of manipulation.

Bounce-a-Rama in San Jose. The bounce houses are totally killer and one of the best values for your buck anywhere. However, the redemption games will bleed you dry.

Bounce-a-Rama in San Jose. The bounce houses are totally killer and one of the best values for your buck anywhere. However, the redemption games will bleed you dry.

It’s a Saturday afternoon and we’re playing the Skee-Ball machines at Bounce-A-Rama.

My daughter has yet to figure out how to roll the ball up the ramp. She understands the basic kinetics, but her style is frighteningly awkward.

She picks up the ball and then locks out her right arm so it’s perfectly straight. Then she curls her wrist tightly inward as she clutches the ball. For good measure she raises her shoulder up next to her ear, arm tight against her body and rounds her shoulders and tilts her head to the right

She looks like a hunchback with cerebral palsy. Continue reading

Nov 16 2009

Self-Employed Work at Home Junkie – Help, I’m Addicted to Flextime!

Summary: If you’re up for it, working from home can be the best thing in the world. The pitfalls and triumphs of managing a home based business and family simultaneously.

My partner often says you can’t have it both ways. Most specifically she says that when I complain about the frequent interruptions from my daughter while I’m working. Meaning, I can’t just pull the “I’m working” card when it’s convenient for me and at the same time stroll out of my office whenever I need a break and hang out with her and my daughter.

“This is the compromise you made by deciding to work from home and not getting a separate office. If you don’t like it, then get an office.”

It pisses me off when she says this. Mostly because it’s true. You really can’t have it both ways. I have to admit though, I like it that way.

It’s a summer day, I’ve been working full blast since 4:30 in the morning,  it’s now 2:30 pm and the sweat is tripping off my forehead on to my keyboard.

“Fuck I can’t handle this anymore! I can’t even think straight with all this sweat in my eyes! Get on your flip-flops, we’re going to the beach.” Continue reading

Nov 14 2009

I’m a Father, Not a Babysitter – Debunking the Mr. Mom Stereotype

Summary: It’s insulting to both dads and moms to call it babysitting when a father is taking care of his children. Breaking the stereotype of dad as substitute parent.

When I’m out and about with my daughter I hear two typical comments. One falls in the “you’re such a good father” category. The other falls into the “so you’re babysitting today?” category. Moms never hear these. Ever.

Underlining these two statements are the same concepts. Women are just expected to devote their lives to their children, therefore any praise or acknowledgment is redundant and unnecessary. Fathers on the other hand are either inept or just have more important things to do than parent. Therefore any contribution to the raising of their own children is to be praised and acknowledged.

Both are insulting to men and women. Why is a man called a Mr. Mom when parenting his own children? It’s simple really. When raising children is classified exclusively as women’s work, any contribution from a man is considered an anomaly and a feminization of his manhood.

This is, of course, poppycock. Yeah, you read that right, I said poppycock! Continue reading

Nov 13 2009

Teaching Your Kid to Read Sucks! Thank God for Public Schools or I’d Shoot Myself

Summary: If your child is hella smart I suppose teaching him or her to read could theoretically be fun. For me, it’s straight up torture.

I don’t rely on schools or anyone else to teach my child anything that is important. But to be honest, without the support of public schooling, I think I’d go crazy. I just don’t have the patience to handle this all on my own. My partner will second that.

Though she’s now over the hump with many sight words, for several months this was our evening reading routine. It’s getting better every day, and she is clearly learning to read, but some days it feels like someone’s playing one  big practical joke on me.

And no, I’m not one of those overachieving parents forcing useless Baby Einstein videos down my kid’s throat and testing her with flash cards while she’s trying to eat snack . She’s six years old and in first grade. She loves books and we’ve been reading to her every night practically since she was born. She’s just taking what feels like an eternity to catch on to this whole reading thing . It’s mind numbing to experience this on a daily basis. Continue reading