November 28, 2011

When My Toddler Son Became A Teenage Girl

First of let's start by saying he never technically became a teenage girl. If that disappoints you I'm sorry. If he had become one overnight I probably would have been on the Today Show and would be writing a book about it because that's what you do.

Also I should mention that this is another in my VapoDad series. These posts are about taking care of someone when they're sick... And it's a two parter in one post. The first part being long and rambling and the second one being short.

Part one:

So waiting for MF to get sick didn't take long because he was sick about a two weeks ago. Just pink eye in both eyes, bronchitis (which I totally spelled correctly without spell check but you'll have to take my word on that) and a slight ear infection. This of course meant I was sick last week but only for a bit.

And you're asking how he became a teenage girl... Well I'll tell you and then you'll get pissed that I'm saying he was a teenage girl instead of teenage boy but you can slam me if you'd like. Also please do it on your blog and link to mine so I get some extra traffic... An early thank you.

With all the things wrong with him he was given Prednisone, I thought it was called Pregnisone for a long time... Anyway there is a family history with Prednisone. Fifty-percent of the pre-kid household had been on it before (not me) and when this person fully Prednisoned and was on the phone with her mom she may have been yelling. And then when called out on it she may have yelled "I am not yelling." Also I might need a couch to sleep on tomorrow.

What I'm saying is, hypothetically, it might make otherwise sane people go a little coo coo if that's how you spell it (doesn't look right).

And so there was little MF on steroids... Totally roiding out... And that's when the teenage girl attitude came out (really I mean that strong independent thing that I think teen girls do with a better air to it than teen boys do... seriously).

All of a sudden he was ordering us around... And at first we let him because he's sick... Then we realized he's a teenager.

We'd hold him and he'd say "go right there" and point to where he wanted to go... I guess this wouldn't be so odd but he never said it before. So it was "go right there." "Go right there." "Go right there."

And there really was no right there. Also he forgot words like kitchen, upstairs and bedroom. Everything was a vague "right there."

Also he learned the word because... And he used it with a teen girl attitude...

"Why are you on the table?"

"Why are you spilling all the dog's water?"

"Why are you screaming?"
In a totally calm voice: "because."

And then the pièce de résistance (spelling totally Googled) MF had pooed and so naturally I asked if he pooed and he said no. I asked again. He said no daddy. So I said "it smells like you pooed." to which he answered, while pointing, "go in kitchen now."

Seriously. He forgot the word to kitchen when I was his rickshaw but now when I'm being put in a time out in my own house he remembers?

Part two:

Well he became nice again after the roids wore off. And then is where the VapoDad was VapoKidded (hey Vapo folks please pay me for that VapoKid thing... Or hire my agency for the VapoKid work you're gonna want to do.)

On Thanksgiving I broke my toe. It was quite traumatic but what I remember was being at the park and seeing a bunch of wolves running towards some innocent children trying to attack them. I ran up to the alpha-wolf and kicked him in the jaw. The kick was so hard that I broke my toe and the wolf turned around whimpering.

I was cheered on for my heroic act then, because I'm a hero, I waited a day to go see the doctor for treatment.

Others may say that I was at the dog park and kicked a tennis ball but missed and hit a rock. They also may say that the toe isn't broken. Who are you going to believe?

So I was limping a bit and my toe was dark purple. MF kept asking what happend and of course I just replied that I had been a hero and hurt my toe.

Then when we headed to our Thanksgiving meal (the day after) I got off the elevator. MF asked what happened again so I told him the hero thing. Then I asked if he'd carry me.

And he held out his arms.

And Last:
Remember that Vaporub has this Facebook deally called Feel Better Friend where you can send virtual care packages to friends. You all may know that I'm not really a Facebook fan and I don't dig many apps, but I can honestly say, and I'm not just saying this because they are sponsoring this post, that it's kinda cool how they search your friend's statuses to see who may be sick.

Also two of my friends are sick right now. Also I'm not really friends with either.

Music For The Kid

On both of my computers I have a playlist called "Music for the kid" both are unfinished.

When I'm hanging with MF I usually have the radio on and ask if he wants to listen to Rock and Roll or Classical... Three of four times he says Rock and Roll which is awesome to hear a kid say (and that statement is weird for me to be making because I think back at two years ago when people woud say "doesn't he/she say that so cute?" and I'd be thinking "No."

Since he's a fan of the Rock and/or Roll I'm trying to make a good playlist of music that I can listen to and that is good for MF to jam to.

I have a few rules:

  • It can't be music for kids – I recently bought a Lisa Loeb kid's cd . I rather like it (Staci doesn't – but it's been confirmed that I'm right) but that stuff and things like it won't make the list.
  • It has to be something I can listen to on heavy rotation because I know how kids are with music.
  • And it can't have a lot of swearing. I'd say no swearing but I broke that with the first song so... Whatever.
  • A majority of the stuff should be dancy... Kids like to dance... People like to watch them dance. Again I broke that rule in the first song.
  • Can't be stuff that's always on the radion... And hopefully stuff that is never on Radio Disney
That all being said I figure if I could come up with at least 10-15 songs that would fit on a cd then I accomplished something... And that's what we have here... But I'd love other suggestion. One more rule – no Dave Matthews.

By no means is this finished, perfect or anything else... but here's what I got so far. This will be revisited.

Nashville Tennessee by Frank Turner Just because I love this song
My Flying Saucer by Billy Bragg & Wilco It's about a flying saucer and it's fun
Click, Click, Click, Click by Bishop Allen Because it's awesome and so something I would have/actually have done. I hope MF causes mischief like this too.
Heart Made Of Sound by Softlightes Just fun good stuff... Sweet video too
Nothing by Mason Jennings Loved this song when he was a pre-kid
What Would Bob Do? by Colin Hay Fun and you need some Colin Hay in your life
Bowling Green by Neko Case & Her Boyfriends Fun and you need some twangy Neko Case in your life
The Cure by Tegan and Sara First song he danced to 
Smell Of Petroleum by The Pogues You can't forget about the awesomeness of The Pogues
Gardening At Night by R.E.M No longer a band but this is mumbling greatness
Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen Should be in every playlist really
Here And Now by Letters To Cleo Because no one has any idea of what they are saying in the chorus and a kid would love that
Another Postcard by Barenaked Ladies The dude is getting postcards with chimpanzees sent to him. This is a must for any kid playlist. I also wonder if he's still getting the postcards.
Beach Girl by Beatnik Termites one of my favorite Cleveland bands. Power pop/surf rock greatness. And kid friendly

November 22, 2011

My Kid the Luddite

The kid is becoming a bit of a Luddite... Not in a go out, grab a hoody and blow some stuff up kind of way... He just isn't always a fan of technology.

We kind of swore of television for Miloh before he was born... Then slipped a bit when he was super-crazy new and we were super-crazy tired... We let him watch Planet Earth... I know, scandalous.

Then we went cold turkey on television for a long while until he was a toddler and mornings were just a little bit better with a cat and a also a hat. Our doctor had said a little bit before bed was ok too... As long as he had under a half hour a day... And most days he didn't hit that...

Although he learned good stuff from TV... Seriously he learned a lot of words from Sesame St... We did notice he got hooked fast...

What I'm trying to say here is the kid was watching television and while it was either nature shows or PBS stuff we always felt a bit guilty. So we shut it off again with the exception of a little Busytown Mysteries or fish nature shows (his fave) when he’s asleep.

That's all his love of technology... But he did have moments of total hatred of it... And we didn't see it at first.

He started to hate our phones but it took some time to notice. Any time they were out he'd become really naughty, biting, hitting us and such. The same with our laptop except when we were watching Danny MacAskill do his thing, which we still watch… I won’t count the bike videos as screen time because that’s more training for when he starts to ride. He’s learning a ton by watching and so this screen time is invaluable.

It's tough to not be connected these days... It only took a few years but being connected all the time became the norm for everyone... But now we're trying to give it up when he's around... Well we've pretty much given it up when he's around.

I started unplugging because I did something dangerous... Istarted reading. I won’t regurgitate that article and I suggest reading it but the gist is that parents being plugged in is not so good for the kids.

And it makes me think about how to raise MF…

I was never thinking we’d be too quick on getting him his own iPod, iPad or anything like that... And not to offend, because I never do that, but I just don’t get why people hand them to their super young kids… First they’re expensive and second kids still like crayons and such.

I was intrigued by the Nook color's (and I suppose now the Nook Tablet's) interactive books for kids... Thought about buying one for an upcoming long ass plane ride but then balked…

I balked (if I’m using that baseball term correctly) because I read some more; AParent’s Struggle With a Child’s iPad Addiction, Aregadgets bad for kids? and the more general NYT collection about your brain on computers

All that stuff makes me want to keep MF analog for as long as we can.

I want to keep him away from tablets and phones and laptops until he really needs them for school. Some would say I’m setting him behind others… Sure keeping him away from that could hurt his chances of being a 12year old app mogul. But I’ll take those chances.

Before he was born I thought about how I'd get him drawing on the computer early because I have all the best software and why not get him good early so he can kick ass?

But, I think of my nephew and technology. Computers and cameras were around when he was young but he didn't really start using them until he was in his young teens... A handful of years later he's a freaking master and in an amazing film school...

Being late to the tech table didn't hurt him at all.

In reality it probably helped him.

Knowing how to do things the analog way, like actually draw with pencil and paper, separates the great people from the rest. I’m sure there are some amazing artists who go straight to a computer and can’t draw but some of the best stuff I’ve seen starts from a sketch.

That being said I’m trying to go more analog.

While totally hypocritical I got a Nook Simple Touch… The black and white kind. Partly because I thought I’d be tempted to hand a tablet to the kid… But also because while digital it has a similar affect on your brain as a regular book because of a reflective screen, as compared to a tablet with a backlit display. More about backlit displays and sleep here.

(Side note I actually read another article, that I can’t find, about how some dude dumped his iPad as an eReader because when reading he’d spend more time playing angry birds than read… That would be me.)

I actually notice the lack of screen difference in my life… I’m used to being in front of a TV or computer before bed and I have trouble sleeping… Now that I turned off the backlit screen and read the Nook I actually sleep better. And for those who think I fall asleep because I’m reading that’s what I’d do at night from on my mac.

So not really sure what the moral is here… I’m taking a cue from the kid and unplugging quite a bit.

As a kind of P.S. I read anotherarticle about why a guy dumped his iPhone. I don’t have an iPhone, I have an android phone, but really it’s the same idea. Now I’m thinking that when my next upgrade time comes around I’ll actually downgrade.

Moral of the story: I read a lot

Ladies and gentlemen... An example of pencil and paper before a computer.

The print of this is over Miloh's bed... He calls it big elephant but it's a mammoth. Maybe if we had him watch Ice Age he'd know the difference.

November 21, 2011

A Book Review or Part Two of What is PD Eastman Teaching Our Kids?

Disclaimer: again I was going to write a real post... And then this was too good not to post... And if you follow me on twitter you may have seen it... And this is completely inappropriate... And this paragraph is some of the worst grammar I've used... Probably. Also I really like PD Eastman but he left himself wide open for this.

We got our first snow this weekend... And it's awesome because while it's MF's third season of snow it's really the first time he gets how awesome it is... Or at least that it exists.

A few weeks ago Staci had the great idea to get MF a book about snow so he could learn about it before it hits. She picked up PD Eastman's Snow.

And, well, not sure I really need to comment about how this looks out of context.

Even the dog is embarrassed. 

Really it's PD and Roy McKie's book so I'm not sure who's to blame. And for what it's worth the book is great.

P.S. Miloh when you're reading this it's inappropriate because you should never through a snowball in someone's face... Yeah, that's it... Don't look into it any further.

November 14, 2011

Rocking The Suburbs: Part One of Maybe More Than One

So here's the deal... First off all blog post, speeches and the like should start with "here's the deal".

But while that's some ground breaking info it's not what the post is about. It's about my Virginia Slims moment... I've come a long way... baby (this is where I would link off to a vintage Virginia Slims spot but they are incredibly hard to find... And really it's the only reason I used that phrase... This is a cutaway fail).

I was born and raised in the suburbs. And was a total suburban kid...

I was that kid at punk shows wearing a gap hooded long sleeve hooded t-shirt because, well shit, my mom bought my clothes, I didn't know why I needed to look all punk and they were plain and easy... And really I didn't know any better... But it became my style so there you go.

What I'm saying is that while I hung with the punks I looked like the suburbs...

As an aside I'll say that some of the most punk people I knew did not have safety pins in their ears and foot tall mohawks and those looking the part were not always truly punks.

But that's not what this is about... It's about a suburban kid who couldn't help but looking the part.
Then after college (well technically after three college, plus a fourth for some classes, done in only 4.5 years I might add) I moved to they city... Chicago.

It felt right to me, down to what direction the lake was, and as I grew I became a city kid.
Then a job came along and took me out of Chi-town... And I found myself in a first ring burb.

Next we wanted to buy a place and we learned that if you move a bit out you get more space for the buck... I'm kinda happy we bought in the burbs because had we bought in the city our place would be worth even less (fuck you George Bush... and a bit of Obama... There are actually so many others I can name here but a special shout out to Reagan for starting the snowball... But that's not what this is about either).

I went back to my roots but it felt a bit off... I mean I love our place, I love having long roads to bike... But I hate that I can't walk out my place, make a left and have a great pub, cool restaurant, local bookstore 24 hour Walgreens (it's important) or grocery store within 4 blocks.

People are always surprised to hear I live in the burbs... Technically my job as a Creative could be on the line when people find out... I hide it.

But really that's not what this is about...

It's about our weekends with the kid. How awesomely pathetic some have become.

Last Friday night I had the kid on my own while Staci hit the gym. We had our housekeeper come that day (we're suburban) and I wasn't sure if she'd be home after I picked MF up... So I asked what he wanted to do; see fish, books, train or something else.

He picked fish. This is where we'd normally go to the Aquarium but that's a drive when in rush hour... But we found a magical place called PetCo.  Yup we go there all the time so MF could check out the fish, hamsters, snakes and all that... It's free, it's close, it's easy and it's something that I found a lot of parents do.

Then Saturday came around and we headed to another suburb to see royalty... The Cat in the Hat was hanging at Barnes and Noble. I'll make the long story short by saying the only communication between M and the cat was him say "bye-bye" A LOT... Also from about 50 feet away he asked the cat to take his hat off... The kid has manners.

Sunday came around and I had some time with MF alone... I asked him the question from a few days before... He chose trains this time...

So we headed back to the Barnes and Noble we were at the day before so he could play with their Thomas the Train set... It's free, it's close, it's easy and it's something that I found a lot of parents do.

As an added plus they now have a lego table filled with Duplos... He asked me to sit next to him and play but was completely unimpressed by the awesome alligator I made... It's hard to do nice stuff with Duplo and he really didn't appreciate my efforts...

The Alligator was awesome.

So yeah... This is our weekends... Stuck in the burbs but honestly I don't know what else we'd do... He has a ton of fun doing the strip mall thing... A little piece of me dies every time we bounce from mall to mall... But his glowing smile brings that back to life.

P.S. I should add that not everything we do is inside... We have a sweet park near our house and go their often... He's rocking the rock climb wall in the suburbs so that's cool.

And now for some enjoyment here's Frank Turner... Just switch out Reagan for Thatcher and the song kind of works for us folks in the states.

November 10, 2011

Move over Sal Masekela you have some competition

I was going to write an acutal post... One that actually mentions the scene in this video... But it's so much easier to just put up a video and feel like I did something and push any real work til later.

Here's the deal... I've mentioned it before but MF loves watching this one Danny MacAskill video out there... Sometimes in the morning he'll point to the computer and say "bike". Then I say no because we don't want him in front of a screen all the time.

Then he says "bike" again and I give in because A) he's cute and B) I'm brainwashing him into liking bikes...

So today I took a video of him watching and doing commentary... He'll be taking Sal Masekela's job any day now.

Also not sure why any of you would want to watch this because it's five and a half minutes long...

Best parts are in the beginning where he sees Danny's shoes while he pulls a street sign out of the ground... He says daddy but in the past when I've asked if it's daddy riding the bike he says "no, no, no". So basically he things I have the skills to vandalize but not ride a bike.

Other nice part is at 2:21 when he gives a little commentary he's never given before.

November 8, 2011

Self Cleaning: Montessori 101

Disclaimer: I'm probably not the one you want to go to for info about Montessori, Staci would be a good place to go, but I do give a good lay person perspective.

When I was in elementary school I new one kid who went to Montessori in preschool and he was a dork. So if you extrapolate that out it means all Montessori kids are dorks.

It's the "All sheep are mammals but not all mammals are sheep" kind of thing... And I had only seen sheep.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what Montessori is like and I think that the example above is a bit global... Others think that it's too strict and that kids become robots and have no fun.

Really it's bad marketing, and a bad business model because Montessori hasn't been trade marked so anyone can use the name even if they don't follow the method at all. (For more info on schools that follow the method check out the AMI or AMS websites... AMI is closest to the original method).

Anyway Miloh's been in a Montessori Casa since April (minus the summer) and he loves it.

The Casas are broken down into five areas... I think there are five. Really I could ask Staci but she's asleep... The problem is I can only find four areas through a Google search... So I'm already failing Montessori 101.

But the areas are; Practical Life, Sensorial, Math and Language... And if we have to throw a fifth in there, since I think there are five, I'll add bicycling (I know weird that bicycling would be an area, right?).

Blah, blah, blah practical life is huge in the toddler community (I think... really it's late and I should know this stuff more... Seriously failing Montessori 101).

What this means is they do things that you do in a normal day (I need to stress that this isn't all they do.. Staci schooled me in the way I made it seem like it was and confirmed that I did fail Montessori 101 so far). They sweep up, polish things, mop, cook and all that stuff (plus a lot of other stuff but that's not what this is about)... It's good for their fine and large motor skills...

This I think is why some people think Montessori is strict... But the kids don't yet realize that cleaning sucks... They do it because they see us do it... They have fun, they learn their environment and they grow.

And it has awesome side effects.

Sometimes they bring these skills home. And Miloh has brought the love of cleaning up home... Today after some Indian food we had a bit of rice to pick up off the floor. We spent 15 minutes switching off who would sweep and who would use the carpet sweeper.

It was awesome... Sure he wasn't as efficient as I was but we had a great moment and it made cleaning fun for me...

I tried to get a shot of it but he's really obsessed with the Pentax I got (and should write about) so the second the camera came out he went for it.

Just a bit of curry and rice on his face.
And that is my first lesson for Montessori 101. I'm planning on it not being the last but I'm not gonna promise anything.

November 4, 2011

Unrelated: Fucked Up Words of Wisdom

The best part of my blog is finding how you all find me... And a bit of folks find me through search... Not for things like; "who's the most powerful and most awesome daddy blogger?" "who's the sexiest daddy blogger ever?" or "what blogger would be the best POTUS?"

So here are some of the favorite search terms that brought people to my site in the last six months... If one of you found me with one of these searches and still read you are awesome:

  • fucked up words of wisdom (honestly my favorite)
  • you got your peanut butter on my fish (many variations of)
  • ikea kids shitting bunny (many variations of this too)
  • 99 problems and the bitch ate one?
  • brown stuff coming out of rabbits bum (reading this made me laugh so hard I started to choke)
  • clouth dipers are bullshit (I actually liked them for MF... Also they spelled it wrong)
  • dumb ass dog
  • gay belly daddy
  • having a baby sounds like the worst thing ever
  • how to determine the amount of urine in a pool (from an actual post but that rocks)
  • kenny naked (it's weird that only one search for this happened in 6 months)
  • schmonk you (that's my yiddish blog's name)
  • the best freakin thing ever (obviously)
  • worst things you can say to an animal
  • xylophone spelled with a z (but you spelled it with an x already)
  • what kind of music does matt muenster listen to (my blog actually started as one devoted to Matt's musical likes and dislikes)

There are soooo many more that are completely inappropriate and some that are just sick.

And this is where you share your awesome finds...

November 3, 2011

P.D. Eastman Teaches Miloh How to Get the Ladies

We all know the book Go, Dog. Go!... at least I hope we all know that book because really it would be a shame if you don't.

In fact if you don't please put away your computer, phone, tablet or webTV and go to your nearest book store and buy it because it rocks.

It's one of my favorite kid's books and one of MF's... He calls it Dogs Going in Cars.

Reading it to him he actually learned the concept of in and out... Big and little as well as some of the colors he didn't know...

But the most important thing he's learning from the book is a bit more subtle... Something that's sinking in to his brain now... Something he'll be able to use in his teens and early twenties...

He's learning how to be a total ass to women and therefore hook up with them.

Let's examine.

The hat's not so bad.

I mean the hat's not great but he doesn't have to be a dick about it...

Notice he steals her feather.

And this one... Yeah it's a bit out dated... I guess "Vintage" but that whole thing's in... If the dude dog was married to the girl dog you know he'd say he liked it either way... A pause or a no would mean he's have to see several other hats to pick the best and they's be late.

Definitely a double black diamond.

Okay... This is actually a cool hat... This is how you know the dog is a dick... Plus it's obvious that this girl dog like him... As far as we know every time she sees him she asks about her hat. Yeah it's a horrible opener but she's probably nervous... Also how did they both get to the top of that hill? Were they dropped from a helicopter?

His hat kinda rocks.

Oh really... Really dude dog... You like that hat? It's horribly ugly even for a party hat. There are fish and spiders hanging from it. But yeah girl dog probably had a little to drink, she's vulnerable because you keep giving her the cold shoulder and now you make your move... You knew this party was coming up... Bravo...

Shouldn't it be "Good-bye" not "Good-by"?

And the rest is history...

The dude dog totally was an ass to the girl dog... The more of an ass he was the more she got interested. She even spent a whole lotta time making a hat to impress him... And he got her in the end.

Moral of the story: Until their mid twenties a lot of women like assholes... Also if you read this book to your kid you probably won't have to teach her/him the birds and the bees.

November 2, 2011

Video: Bee Line for Bread

I was going to do a post but then got lazy... So here's a video of Miloh pushing his shopping cart around whole foods. We've been there twice and he already knows where the free bread is.


Also since the quality of the video is so amazing you'll want to know the equipment used. The camera is from my awesome Sprint phone and the steadicam is my arm.

Took awhile... Here's an infographic of MF's first year

I finished this about a year ago just for my personal use but thought I'd share it. It's a visualization of MF's first year in n...