I always been a fan of Tim Coyne’s ‘Unkempt’ series. Tim’s delivery and storytelling is honest, vulnerable, and funny. And, most of all, I can relate to his overarching theme: the challenges of maintaining long term relationships despite a parents’ divorce fucking it up from the start.
Tim’s drive to run away from the problems of a post-divorce home in Mirage map frighteningly close to the me of 15 years ago.
The latest Unkempt concludes with this line:
“I want my dad to know me….it shouldn’t be too hard. I’m him, if he had chosen the dream.” – Tim Coyne
It’s only been in the past 6 years that my dad and I have started to reconnect. It’s still hard, and we both can say, ‘yes, this is hard, let’s keep going’.
If memory and math serve me, when my Dad was my age, he decided to build a house for his family.
In the woods.
Where even today, there still isn’t a paved road.
And that’s where my memory starts.
Over the weekend, when the boy and I were out and about, we shared the following exchange – on each and every occasion.
(automatic doors opens)
“Papa, are those doors magic?”
“Any sufficiently advanced technology, son…any sufficiently advanced technology….”
After 3-years of knowing what a fantastic idea it would be – I finally moved the Mac Mini into the living room and plugged it into the HDTV.
While the initial plan was to use it as a DVD player1, it piqued my interested in video podcasts 2. Not knowing where to start, I headed over to AmigoFish and loaded up a “Feed for Predictions of Video greater or equal to 1.0 stars with confidence of Wild Guess”.
Immediately, it sends me National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles, or as the little guy calls it “Wild Crocodiles”. They’re 6-minute, highly informative, segments on cool animal stories that are a blast to watch with a toddler. This afternoon, we caught a segment on re-introducing monkeys back into the wild and learning how octopuses eat. Cool stuff.
And it’s great to have something on hand when I hear, “Papa, I wanna see fish.”
1. The mini replaces a sub-$100 Philips Upconverting DVD player that I can’t say anything good about.
2. As much as I dislike iTunes for podcast management, it’s far better than Tivo.
Waverly, my new baby girl, was born in the wee hours of the morning on Dec 30.
Everyone was home in time to ring in the new year. Couldn’t ask for more.
Oh, the reason her eyes are closed in the photo: when open her eyes emit a light as blinding and entrancing as the sun. Even a few days old, she understands that with great power comes great responsibility. 🙂
We’ve Got Money, What We Need is You
A New Dad’s Family Handbook
The first time around, we picked up the stereotypical new parent books. If any of you are having your first child – you only need one of those books. Go to the bookstore, page through them all, buy the one that makes you smile.
Chances are, it won’t be The Expectant Father or any other of the “serious” New Dad books. As my college roommate warned – all those books do is amplify the sense of financial inadequacy (all?) new dads feel and the need to double the instinct to “provide”.
There needs to be another book – one encouraging being present in the new family.
UPDATE: Dan Brown recommends Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads. A second?
Mattel Inc, recalls 9 million toys after recalling 1.5 millon.
All the recalled products are licensed – Barbie, Batman, Big Bird, Cars, Dora, Elmo, Thomas (shakes fist).
Back In My DayTM, very few licensed toys were allowed in the house. I’m sure it was a combination of the ickyness of branding your child, the sensitivity of a developing imagination, and because I remember them being more expensive.
These days, I’m sure the products are subsidized by the license-owner’s marketing budget, making the toys cheaper, more plentiful, and hazardous to your health. Makes me confident in my position to severely limit licensed products in my home as well.
“The most important fact to come from this study is there is no clear evidence of a benefit coming from baby DVDs and videos, and there is some suggestion of harm” – Frederick Zimmerman, University of Washington
While I’d like more info on the study methodology (phone interviews with 1K families in MN & WA) – it follows – when time with real, live, talking people is replaced with mumbling, sound-effect-laden non-sense, smaller vocabularies result.
There, I said it.
Spanking a child is child abuse. There, I said it again.
For three reasons:
- If same action anywhere else on the body would be considered abuse – it’s abuse.
- It shows children that bigger, stronger people have the right to hurt smaller people. So, big brothers think it’s OK to strike their little brothers.
- Not putting spanking on the list of disciplinary options – even as a “last resort” – doesn’t make it an option.
If adding spanking into the definition of child abuse isn’t possible, then yes, striking a child under 4 should be punishable by a year in jail and $1,000 fine. Kudos to California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber for initiating an anti-spanking bill.
I learned about this from NPR’s Day to Day: California Lawmaker Pushes Anti-Spanking Bill
Seems to me, programs that encourage parents to send their kids to schools outside of their immediate neighborhood is a bad idea in a number of ways:
- Gives parents no incentive to improve their schools or neighborhoods.
- Makes bad schools worse by reducing their resources.
- Redirects education dollars into fuel tanks to bus kids further away and back.
- Increases the strain and demand on “good” schools, making them less good.
My kid isn’t school age yet, the schools in my neighborhood are pretty good.
There’s a parallel in here with immigration. Until Mexico is a place worth staying at, borders will continue to be jumped. This only helps the bus drivers.
Daddy Types is collecting thoughts for Soon-to-Be-Dads.
Everyday, take your family for a walk.
And a bonus story:
One of our neighbors rang the doorbell one night back when Little C was just a few months old. Jen and I were watching TV and I was giving Little C his early evening bottle.
The neighbor asked if I could help him unload a new swingset from his car.
The he noticed what I was doing and said: “No rush. Enjoy this time. It doesn’t last that long.”