Until 5 years ago all but a few fathers I knew were 30 or more years older than me. That’s because the simple fact that most of my friends had no kids so the only fathers I knew were their parents. Since those fathers were 60 plus and I was 30ish I didn’t put myself in the same category as them.
When we’re young we have a crazy concept of age. For instance when I went to day camp I thought all my counselors were about 30. I realized I was wrong when I was a counselor there at 15.
But that warped sense of age stuck with me when it came to fathers. In my head since I am so much younger than the fathers I know, I can’t be one myself. Maybe it was a really simple way to look at things but it was keeping me from putting myself in the category of father. I knew I wanted a kid one day but it just seemed so far away.
To add to my mental block of fatherhood, I thought of myself as just a normal guy. My conversations with other guys were about things like snowboarding, design, photography and such. Maybe most guys would switch football out for photo and design, but I make my living as a creative director. I didn’t of course talk about baby stuff.
But things changed. More of my friends have kids so I’m seeing fathers that I can relate to. And as Staci and I prepare for the baby we’re talking about baby stuff, maybe to the despair of some of our friends.
Last week at work I found myself in a 20 minute conversation about strollers. Granted we were talking about their design, form over function and which is more important for a stroller, but I was having a conversation about baby stuff and it felt right.
Five years ago I never pictured myself having that kind of conversation and enjoying it. Actually a year ago I never thought I’d be having that conversation. To be totally honest a few months ago, even after we found out we were pregnant, I didn’t think I’d enjoy a conversation about strollers.
That’s when I realized that there was a sea change going on in my mind. I made the switch from normal guy to father. I also found out I didn’t actually change much. I could still Kenny and just add the title of father instead of having the title define me.
I’m still having the same conversations I had before but with minor tweaks. I used to geek out on Eames chairs, now I get to geek out on the chairs but also the Eames Elephant for kids. I get to add to my list of things I’m digging. Pretty cool.
Maybe for some it’s a no brainer but it took me some time to realize that I can be a normal guy and a father.
An unexpected side affect of writing this blog is that I was introduced to the world of baby blogs. Totally didn't expect it, but since most of my readers are pregnant women or moms it makes sense.
There is some great stuff out there. One of the blogs I'm digging is the818.com by Morgan. Great, real look at pregnancy with some cool design stuff too.
She does a weekly update on what's going on with her and her pregnancy. All those questions that folks would ask.
But since men aren't the ones doing the hard work no one asks us what's up with us.
I thought it would be fun to answer her update questions from a male point of view. So here goes:
How far along? Officially 22 weeks and 4 days, but since I know a little more about math and the female body than every doctor I know that it's really closer to 20.
Total weight gain/loss: Down 3 pounds...sorry.
Stretch marks? I always had these little ones on my ankles...I think they are from when I grew to a enormous 5'6".
Sleep: This time a year my sleeping pattern sucks.
Best moment this week: Finding out Staci and the pre-kid are okay. Second best is the falafel at Little Tel-Aviv.
Movement: yeah, especially when I talk to it.
Food cravings: A falafel sandwich from Taste of Lebanon in Chicago (on Foster.) So freaking good, and its rolled which is hard to find. But since that's too far I'll go with good french fries.
Gender: Pre-kid is keeping it's legs crossed...awesome start if it's a girl.
Labor Signs:. I don't expect to have any. I do however have a bit of a tummy ache, it's probably from the super spicy food I had for lunch, or it could be punishment for eating on Yom Kippur...probably a bit different from labor.
Belly Button in or out? Innie and lint free.
What I miss: Snowboarding, not as much because of the pregnancy more because it's not winter. I'd love an early snow dump so I can ride before the baby comes.
What I am looking forward to: Getting the room together and seeing the little kid.
Weekly Wisdom: Try Malt Star, a soda that tastes like Guinesss and is surprisingly good. Plus, according to the guy at Little Tel Aviv, it promotes milk production if you're breastfeeding. FYI I am mentioning this again in hopes that Malt Star sees it and sends me free product.
Milestones: The pre-kid can now hear so we're playing music for it. I'm also trying to describe to it how to carve on a snowboard.
Oh and I added a blog roll to the right column. There are some other great baby blogs there, plus some design blogs, some illegal art blogs and more. Enjoy.
By kenny friedman on Sunday, September 27, 2009
Once, before her plane hit the ground to her destination, a whole opened 50lb bag of food fell down our stairs. 50lbs of kibble all over, not a fun thing to pick up.
The next time Kalli got some broken skin from playing at the park. Nothing to bad.
Third time was a charm, Kalli was again accidently scratched at the park. This time it was bad. Huge open wound that led to $400 at the vet. Then when I left for lunch one day I trusted Kalli because she wasn't picking at her stitches, when I got back her wounds were barely still closed up.
Then when Staci got home she noticed that our cat Zoggs had no fur on his ear, I hadn't even noticed. He's got food allergies and I think he at some flowers we had out.
This time, when I had been home for literally 1 minute Kalli yelp in pain. I thought I had stepped on her leg. Luckily she was just being dramatic because she tripped over a cat toy. From the sound I thought we were going back to the vet.
Needless to say Staci is worried to go out of town once we have the kid...
The Eames Elephant is super new, it was first produced by Vitra in March 2009, and super old, it was designed by Charles & Ray Eames in 1945.
I'm a huge fan Eames's design, so simple, so beautiful, so classic and so comfy. Their molded plywood chair, sometimes called chip chair, is my fave. You wouldn't think it but it's super comfy to sit in.
I wouldn't really do them justice in this post so check their wikipedia page if you're not familiar.
Any way in 1945 Ray & Charles Eames created 2 plywood elephants of molded wood. They were never mass produced. This year Vitra recreated the elephant in plastic and in 5 matte finishes.
It can be a chair, a toy or just a friend to your little one. Read more at the Vitra site, they have more great images, or head to Design Public to pick one up.
And to my family, I really want this so just put a green one in your cart, pay for it and don't look at the price. Thanks.
By kenny friedman on Wednesday, September 23, 2009
While there a soda caught my eye. It's called Malt Star. I asked what it tasted like and the owner dude said it was sweet. So when I ordered I was thinking it was gonna be a cola-ish thing.
At first sip I thought it was disgusting because it wasn't what I was thinking it would be. But once I was able to make the shift in my brain I actually loved it, and so did Staci. I can best explain it as the soda that Guinness would make if it made a soda. It has that bitter stout flavor with the a bit of sweetness. And although it doesn't taste it, it's non-alcoholic.
The guy also told us that it would be good for Staci once we have the kid, because it promotes milk production in women who breastfeed.
That's not something that i personally need to worry about.
I did the Wikipedia thing and learned more. It's basically a version of a drink called Malta, and many companies make versions. The only other ones I've seen are Goya Malta and Kinderbier.
People said I'd lose my fear of children as the pregnancy goes along. I'm proud to say that I have proved them wrong.
Yesterday there was a kid in my office and I walked the other way so I wouldn't have to meet it.
And before I go on I want to stress, again, that I'm super psyched that we're having a kid and psyched for this pre-kid to come out.
I'm not sure what the deal is but kids really do freak me out. There are a handful out there that I feel comfortable around, and yes if I know you I'm of course talking about your kid. But most scare me.
At the risk of sounding like an ass for comparing my pre-kid to a dog, I think I'll try a little analogy.
I was never a dog person. I didn't really know how to interact with them. I was also a believer of the 'master is a slave' thing because you have to pick up their poo.
But a few years ago we got a dog, and I love her. Plus she opened me up to liking other dogs. And while I don't like picking up her poo, and especially hate saying "Kalli go potty," I've realized it's a necessary evil.
However I am not a dog person. I am not a fan of a dog just because it's a dog. I think most breeds are weird. (if you have a dog I love that breed...so cute.)
But when I'm walking Kalli I have to interact with other dogs and owners. A lot of other owners want to chat about their dog and my dog and parks and dog day care and collars and such. My extent of the conversation goes like this.
Me: what kind of dog is that. Them: the breed. Me: (not listening) oh...cute (walk away).
So you're probably thinking, where is he going with this? I'm actually not sure myself...but I am wondering how my attitude towards kids will change once I have one.
Will I become a 'kid person'? Will I like most kids or still stay super selective? Will I be engaging with other parents or just ask them what kind of kid they have?
Will I just talk about kid stuff...I feel like this happens often now, I justify by thinking that people are asking questions. I apologize if it's annoying. I will try to stop because I don't want to call any of my friends to tell them my baby stared at a grape.
We'll find out.
As an update to the pre-kid action it's moving around when I talk to it. It doesn't do that for anyone else...yeah maybe it's trying to cover it's ears but it's still cool.
And Staci is doing awesome. There was a little scare last week when she had a ton of back pain. It was just Sciatica. It's funny that we celebrated Sciatica.
At some point we'll be teaching our baby to read. So the alphabet will probably be an integral part in that.
I found some cool posters and prints of alphabets so I thought I'd share. Some are limited additions and may no longer be available, but they are all good eye candy.
by Jennifer Ramos aka Made By Girl
As a little aside, since our child will be in the Montessori environment it will learn cursive before regular. There are a bunch of reasons that they start with it, including it being more natural, the circles and such are mirror the way children draw and it helps them see the contrast in upper and lower case. I'll probably talk more about that when our child is doing that but since that's years away here's a little snippet of more info.
With the good reasons to keep teaching cursive it's interesting that schools are dropping it. There has been buzz about it in the news lately.
I'm not really sure where I stand. I think it is good for kids learning to write, but my handwriting has not gotten better since 2nd grade. So I'm not one to talk about how people should write.
Here's one to file under things not to say. Yesterday I was talking to the pre-kid, it's cool because he/she actually moves around when I talk.
Well I was telling it that it has it easy now. That it's basically just hanging out in a bath for 9 months. Then I said it's present living quarters are super luxurious because it is, in ratio, bigger than what a bath will be once it's born.
First off, not sure what I was thinking because the size relationship was wrong. Second, Staci was obviously there at the time and did not like my comparison of her size to a bath tub.
For the record she looks great right now.
My recent post about (not) finding out what gender our kid is was republished on Dad Camp. It's a nice new site that has postings about fatherhood that are pretty universal. It's not the cliche dad stuff you see out there. So check them out if you're a dad, gonna be a dad or know a dad.
If you like this blog please click on the logo below. It gives me a vote on Top Baby Blogs. Thanks.
This is one of those baby furniture pieces that you're not embarrassed to have out when friends come over. Bloom's coco lounger comes in a lot of color options. It is self rocking, light weight and could hold up to 26lbs (I just looked weight by baby age and realized that could be anywhere from 1-2 years old in case you didn't know.)
Each single-piece frame comes in two material styles; patented stylewood (in natural or cappuccino), which from what I can tell is Bloom's fancy word for bent wood, and plexistyle (in clear, ebony or ivory), which is their fancy word for bent plexi.
The seat pads come in 9 color options and have a 5 point safety harness to keep your little one snug.
Other cool features are that like all of Bloom's products the coco loungers are
- made from sustainable materials
- lead free
- bpa free
- phthalate free
- PVC free
- heavy metal free
- AZO dye free
Preggie Pops are a scam...that's my opinion. You get seven lollipops for 4 to 7 dollars. They come in flavors like ginger, peppermint and lavender that may help with nausea, but our doctor and nurses said Dum-Dums are just as good. Plus Dum-Dums have that mystery flavor and cost so much less.
Soy and Rice milk boxes say something like 'not suitable for use as baby formula.' I understand why, people are stupid. However other beverages like Mountain Dew do not carry that warning, and some people are very stupid.
Don't sit at your wife's feet at doctor appointments. The doc or nurse will ask you to move. I have made this mistake all 3 appointments I've gone to.
When you first feel the pre-kid kick it's super light but cool. The first time you feel it flip around or turn is freaky.
Giraffes are the most gender neutral animal out there...as far as clothes go. Owls seem to be a close second. Hippos and monkeys are for boys while pigs and birds are for girls.
Expecting a baby is socially like quitting a job. People open up to you about things they never have before. All the crazy shit that happened to them. Often it's too much info.
I found this bottle on a recent trip to a little one's clothing store. I say litttle one because I'm not really sure what to call a store that offers clothes from newborn to 3, or maybe older. I also can't figure out how sizing on kids clothes work. I understand the month thing but no kid I've ever met wears the month that they are.
Then to make myself seems even stupider I don't know what ages you use use various names for kids. I.e baby, infant, or toddler.
But I digress. We were in this store for some age of kids and the clean look of the bottle popped out at me. I just took a glance and moved on when I saw that it's stainless steel.
You see at home we have a wonderful collection of stainless steel and aluminum water bottles and travel mugs. All say they are handwash only and so I rarely use them because I'm not always into getting coffee and tea stains out by hand. I'm sure the world wouldn't end if they went in the dishwasher, but I'm playing it safe.
But when my attention span for looking for clothes for the baby/newborn/toodler/infant waned I wandered back to the Safe Starter and actually started checking it out. It looks pretty cool. Comes in 3 colors and sizes: green, blue and pink and 5oz and 9oz. Has a silicone cover over a stainless steel bottle. A wide nipple and slow flow to help prevent colic. And there is a travel cap.
And to my delight it is dishwasher safe...which makes me wonder why no one can figure out a dishwasher safe travel mug.
So yeah, now you can have a good looking, dishwasher safe bottle that you can feel good about because it's more eco than a plastic bottle.
We live in a row house without a basement so storage space is at a minimum. That's why the room which will soon be the baby room was a freaking mess a month ago.
It started out as our office but it was too sparse. Then it slowly became a catch all for everything we didn't want to organize or weren't committed to sell or donate. It was never included in the tour of our house.
But finally after a bunch of trips to Good Will, a couple sales on Craigslist and 2 weeks of organizing we finally cleared out the room. Okay there are a couple things in there but they are baby related.
Now we need to find the perfect shade of white and start painting. We're going with white because it makes the room really clean and any art we add will pop.
We found a site called Modern Nursery. They offer some really well designed furniture, decor and gear. The furniture is simple/Swiss style so if you're into that check them out.
That's where we picked up this tree wall sticker. Once we figure out what variety of kid we're having, which I guess is when it's born, we'll create some other birds, leaves and butterflies to fit the gender of the kid. Not too pink and blue but a little hint is what we're looking for.
Then we're going to add some prints and posters. Since we'll be spending a lot of time in the baby room we want to put up art that we can appreciate but art that is of course appropriate for a kid.
I always check out OMG Posters to find new stuff. The site is geared towards poster collectors so don't expect to see good kids stuff all the time. But if you keep checking you'll find some cute stuff like this stuff from 64 colors or the Dig Dug poster by Dave Perillo.
Our baby's walls are going to have some work from a friend of mine, Jesse LeDoux. His work is awesome, and this series fits with our style. My only worry is our baby will have this art in it's room as a little one but then get sick of it when it's older. But it's not really kid art so that would be a shame.
As for the print I mentioned in an earlier post, I actually just received it today. The print is amazing but unfortunately not the right colors we were thinking for the room. I kind of knew that would happen but I figured that it would find a home. And it will in the hallway leading to the baby room so when it's older it could learn to question, or I guess actually ignore, authority.
As I said in my earlier post Staci was able to weasel her way into getting an ultrasound a week early so we could find out the gender of the baby.
Staci made up a card that we gave to the nurse running the ultrasound. It had 2 boxes on it. One with boy after it, the other with girl. We told the nurse that instead of telling us what it was we'd like her to mark it on the card and put it in an envelope. Then Staci and I would go out for a nice lunch and open the card together and reveal the surprise.
Again our pre-kid was flipping around like crazy. We saw a good heartbeat (150 bpm) and the hearts 4 chambers looked great.
The head, abdomen, sacrum and all that stuff measured perfectly. We were able to see all it's leg and arm bones, which was pretty cool.
Then came time for the nurse to find out what we were having. Staci and I closed our eyes while the nurse did her magic.
After 20 minutes she printed this picture out. It is of crossed legs. The pre-kid was in a position that made it tough to see what it was. To add to that it's legs stayed crossed the whole time even though it was moving around.
The nurse couldn't tell what it was. She couldn't see a thing. The pre-kid was being modest. Not a bad thing if it's a girl.
The irony is, if you read my last post, that the only thing we know right now is that it looks healthy. And that's great.
Staci is really bummed. I'm actually kind of happy. From the start I didn't need to know what we're having. Plus Staci has a hard time with secrets. If she has one for me she'll say 'I got you a surprise, do you want to know what it is?' And she doesn't like when she knows I'm trying to surprise her. She always tries to guess what's up. But when I do surprise her she is so happy that she glows. And I love it.
We're talking things over right now. I think we should wait to be surprised. We're doing a white bedroom and have some bright decals we're putting up but nothing is gender specific. Plus the gear we've bought, stroller, car seat etc. is all gender neutral. I think Staci is on board. I think she's getting excited about being surprised, but we'll see how that all plays out.
Everyone asks the obligatory question of what we want to have, a boy or girl. I think about 80% of the people care what the answer is. The other 20% want the answer to be 'I don't care as long as it's healthy.'
In fact a couple I've have been chastised, and lectured about my answer when it wasn't healthy. And that really pisses me off because that wasn't the question. I've never been asked 'would you rather have a healthy kid or would you rather pick the sex' because that's really what you're asking if the answer should be healthy.
And let's say the baby isn't healthy. It's still going to be a boy or girl, right. So shouldn't I still be able to have a preference.
And as I said before I don't really care as long as it snowboards.
I lean a bit towards boy because I love the name we picked for a boy. Plus I really don't get little girl clothes, tights, frilly dresses etc.
If it's a girl I'd be excited too. I also like the name we picked. Plus I think female snowboarding is really progressing and since our child will be blessed with a low center of gravity, Staci and I aren't the tallest of folks, and some gymnastic style athleticism I'd be psyched to see my girl tear up the hills.
So why am I writing this today? Because Staci weaseled here way into getting our ultrasound a week early, so in about an hour we're gonna find out if the pre-kid is a pre-boy or a pre-girl.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit freaked out.
I call it half-assed because I'm not sure if a bowl really fits into the category of gear, but this bowl is cool. And yeah it's probably way to early to be thinking about this for a kid but I may but a couple just to have a set now because technically I think adults can use it.
When I was making a living as a photographer I had the displeasure of having to do a shoot with a bowl of cereal in it. There was no glue used instead of milk, but there were however some milk splashes made of porcelain. I'm not sure exactly what each splash cost but I'm guessing about $75-100. Whatever it is the prop stylist was not happy when he dropped one and it shattered.
The Spilt Milk bowl by Fred & Friends gives you the look of the milk splash without the fear of a broken bowl. Made silicone you can drop it, bend it or whatever and you won't ruin the bowl.
Fred & Friends also has come other great stuff for kids like the Food Face plate and some things that are great but not so kid friendly like the Evidence knife which is a kitchen knife with blood stains on the blade and an evidence tag.
Check out their site for other goodies like the M-Cups, measuring cups that look like matryoshka dolls. Warning it's not the best site as far as user-experience.
I feel good about not using the obvious cliche. Your welcome.
By kenny friedman on Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Lately I have no freaking concept of dates and the Gregorian calendar in general...in fact I almost wrote Roman calendar and maybe that's the problem. I could be 2 calendars behind.
I've been screwing friends over left and right by not knowing what week is what and ruining plans. I'm totally confused on which week I have a photoshoot even though I know the date.
For some reason right now my brain can't process time. The good thing is I think it's the late Labor day that's fucking with me as this week is the one that has been forgotten and such.
Or it could be some sort of thing like Desmond from lost where he jumped through time. That would be awesome if somehow I can find out what the website I'm designing will look like, but it's unlikely that will happen.
Or maybe my brain is leaking brain cells. Maybe my years of not doing drugs and not binge drinking has caught up with me. My brain is doing a literal brain dump.
But then there is a thing called Pregnancy Dementia. Maybe it's that. Maybe since I haven't gained sympathy pounds or pains my body/mind thought this would be the way to go.
Any way, we have appointments coming up this week (It's the 20 wk...it's really the 18th week but there is that fuzzy math) so hopefully I don't miss that. It's 2 days away but honestly I can't remember at all. Then next week we find out what kind of kid we're having...I think it's a human. I hope by then this whole time/space thing gets solved.
Yesterday I turned 36 so I decided to tweet 36 things that I saw or did last year that inspired me. I decided I'd put them all together here. I would have done it yesterday but I needed to install a new router...long freaking story but I had to install from my wife's old Windows laptop, and it's a fact that Windows machines suck...they really do...so it took an hour.
Anyway here are 36 things that inspired me, or made me smile, last year in no particular order:
1. My new mode of transportation, that Staci got me when I got my new job.
2 and 3. JJ Abrams's issue of Wired and his Mystery Box speech at Ted.
4. A clock I can't afford.
5. Stubby, the Iguana I photographed in St. Thomas.
6. Discovering that I'm on Hulu in the episode of Bathtastic!, hosted by Matt Muenster, Staci and I were on. It's also on DIY network where you can catch all new episodes and even see Matt in an episode of blog cabin. It's not a shameless plug if it's for a friend, right?
7. Discovering Slow Club when their song Christmas TV was on the season finale of Chuck. And of course I mean discover in the way that Christopher Columbus discovered America.
8. Shepard Fairey's Obama Hope poster...whatever your political stance is, or your stance on appropriating images, you gotta admit that it is so iconic and helped to define the campaign.
9. I made a list of demands on Twitter and started with vegan marshmallows...moments later I got a reply saying they existed and that they tasted and melted like real ones. I was skeptical. On Sunday I got some as a B-day present. That rock and really do taste like real ones...yeah!
10. There are 2 things I love about NYC. Street art and the winter...I got them both this year. Check out Wooster Collective for some other good stuff.
11. Theo Jansen and his crazy kinetic robots.
12. The discovery of the platypus genome.
13. Finding out Staci was pregnant and then seeing the pre-kid flip around in our first ultrasound.
14. Once again being able to wear what I want to work i.e. Jeans instead of suits, and realizing that, and liking your job, is so much better than a 10% discount.
15. Some awesome images from the sometimes forgotten athletes of the Paralympics.
16. I learned ten cool things about the earth.
17. Graffiti Research Lab's Light Criticism video of some street artists taking over those TV billboards in NYC. The ad game is what pays my bills but I love seeing people taking back public space.
18. The anatomy of a Lego figure, a balloon dog and a Gummi bear
19. They found some lowland gorillas they didn't know about.
20. The Bristol Zoo added a new primate exhibit.
21. Getting some new glass (camera lens) second flash and more photo gear...you know because I need to take photos of the baby.
22. The Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters creating a paintball Mona Lisa.
23. It's been out for years but every once in awhile I need to watch Spike Jonze's video for Fatboy Slim's Praise You
24. A video of 24 hours of air traffic from around the world.
25. An inside look at Jeff Koons's studio.
26. Super slow-mo surfing.
27. After my gorilla post I got followed by @SavingGorillas. Yeah they have a search thing to find followers but it's the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International...check them out.
28. The photojournalism of Clive Limpkin, and the name Clive Limpkin.
29. That last one made me think about Frank Horvat so I checked out Horvatland again.
30. Cool design on small things.
31. Traseone's shadow skaters.
32. One of the most beautiful sites, if not the most, I've seen.
33. On April 25th street artists took back outdoor ad spaces.
34. A heatmap of 35,000,000 geo-tagged Flickr images.
35. The Honda Insight Let it Shine spot and while you're at it you should check out the making of.
36. Feeling the baby kick that happened last night as I was finishing this list.