Dec 07 2015

Parents Need Sleep Too

Parents need sleep just as much as their kids do. My good friend Valerie Reiss wrote a great article for Wanderlust offering some tips about how to do that.

Boy toddler. A child running in the park.

Boy toddler. A child running in the park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This line made me smile: “I now understand why no one says, ‘Sleep while your toddler sleeps.'” Because toddlers don’t always sleep the way babies do. Babies, because they’re, like, babies, will eventually sleep for a decent amount of hours because they really need it, and they haven’t figured out how to belligerently decide that they would rather be playing or talking or just running around, as in the photo above. (A note on said photo: I have no idea who that child is; it’s a public domain image from Wikipedia. Notice, however, that he is not sleeping.)

Then there’s teething. Oh, by the Lords of Kobol, teething. That just sucked. There’s no way around it — you want your kids to have teeth, and those teeth literally push their way through your child’s gums. Think about how insanely painful that must be. You think you could sleep through that? No you couldn’t.

Still. You need sleep. Everyone does, even if they don’t think they do, but parents in particular must, must, must catch some zzz’s. Trust me. I speak from experience. Not sleeping is bad for you, and also bad for your children. Like your kids, you will be cranky if you don’t get enough sleep. This will not be fun for anyone.

Valerie’s article (link below) points out why you need sleep and offers some specific tips on how to get the zzz’s you need, even if only in small doses. Napping is fine. More than fine. Napping is AWESOME. I’d actually like to be napping right now.

All this writing about sleep is making me sleepy. Well, that and staying up late watching Sunday Night Football. Maybe I’ll take a naaaaaaaaaaaaaa……..

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Source: Parents: Power Down to Power Through (Wanderlust, by Valerie Reiss)


Aug 17 2015

Books – The Original iPad

I recently received an email from a PR person touting the success of electronic devices giving parents some time to themselves. This is true. But it doesn’t only apply to electronics. It also applies to books.

DaddyTips—Thoughts on Dadding

When I was a kid, there were electronics, but they required dinosaur toenail clippings to run. (Little joke there.) I spent plenty of time in front of a screen, usually a television, because that’s what we had. I also owned a lot of handheld games, like this miniature Pac-Man machine. Eventually I had a TRS-80 Color Computer which I used to play games and also write programs in BASIC.

English: Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 1

English: Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But before any of that, I read books. So many books. The Hobbit. Lord of the Rings. Bored of the Rings. A Wrinkle in Time. The Fletch and Flynn series by Gregory MacDonald. (I was too young for those but I read them anyway.) Agatha Christie. Sherlock Holmes. Comic books.

Reading gives parents a break as much, if not more than, electronics do. I’m not anti-screen time. I try to manage it, and I recommend that parents with very young children manage screen time closely, mostly because I don’t see any reason for a 6 month old to be playing with an iPad. But as a kid who grew up watching a lot of TV, it would be hypocritical of me to say that I’m anti-screen.

But a good book will always trump electronics. A good book — I’m talking about a really good book — is hard to put down. Sometimes it is impossible to put down. “Just one more chapter. Just one more page.” Sound familiar? Sure, the same can apply to a video game. “Just let me beat this boss.” But it’s not the same thing. A book requires imagination, and therefore uses more of the brain than anything involving a screen does. (Kindles count as books, although there is an argument to be made that plain ol’ paper books are more involving because it’s just the book, no buttons, no screen. It’s not necessarily an argument you will win, but you can make it, and I’d back you up.) (Note: the statement “uses more of the brain” sounds like I’m making a scientifically proven statement. I’m not. I think it’s likely that my statement is correct, but I don’t have the science to back it up.)

Not all kids are readers. I was, and luckily so are my kids. I like to believe that because they grew up in a house where reading was a regular activity, they naturally became readers themselves. I have no idea if this is the case, and I never will. Maybe I just got lucky. But I can confidently say that once your kids learn to read, it has the potential to be life changing… for you.

Kids who love to read get involved in their books. And when they’re reading, they don’t ask you to look up a walk-through so they can beat a section of the game they are playing. Also, reading is a quiet activity. Books don’t make noise. And readers rarely make noise when they read. (Occasional exclamations of surprise and/or joy don’t count, although they are wonderful to hear.)

Again — I am not knocking screens, literally or figuratively. Heck, unless you printed out this blog post, you’re reading it on a screen. And video games are fun. My point is simply that back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, books provided a service to parents that electronics do now. And they still can.


Jun 17 2015

Childhood Obesity Meets Bad Parenting

What happens when childhood obesity meets bad parenting? You get overweight kids. And at least one bummed out blogger. (That would be me.)

Fat Boys on Vinyl

Check out the lede from this New York Times story:

Not only was the 16-year-old boy 60 pounds overweight, but a blood test showed he might have fatty liver disease. At last, his mother took him to a pediatric weight management clinic in New Haven. But she did not at all like the dietitian’s advice.
“I can’t believe you’re telling me I can’t buy Chips Ahoy! cookies,” said the mother, herself a nurse.

You “can’t believe” it? Lady, according to this story, your kid might have liver disease. And your response is that you “can’t believe” the dietitian is telling you that perhaps the cause is cookie-related? Read more »


May 20 2015

Conan O Brien and Louis CK Talk Parenting on Letterman

David Letterman‘s last show is tonight, May 20, 2015. I tend to go to bed too early to watch Dave these days, but thanks to YouTube it’s easy to catch what you missed. Here are two fun video clips in which Conan O’Brien and Louis CK talk parenting on Letterman.

 

English: David Letterman hosting President Bar...

English: David Letterman hosting President Barack Obama at Late Show with David Letterman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A couple of editorial notes: the above photo is from Wikipedia and they say it is in the Public Domain. It is not a photo from either of the clips embedded below. Also, for each of the two clips, I included a link to the part where they start talking about parenting stuff, in case you’d rather not watch the whole thing. Who says this isn’t the DaddyTips age of Internet Video Viewing Options?

First up: Conan O’Brien in 2012. Obviously he discusses the NBC Tonight Show kerfuffle. But about halfway through, Conan tells a hilarious story about the time his family got to meet the President, but almost didn’t because, you know, kids.

 

 

Next: Louis CK, January 26, 2015. At the 9:50 point in the video, they segue nicely from Deflategate into what values you should teach your children.

See? It’s just three fathers talking about their kids. Celebrities are just like us!

Even though I’m usually in bed by the time Dave’s show starts, I’m sorry to see him go, and not only because it means I’ll never get to be one of his guests. He’s had a great career, and brought a pleasantly caustic sense of humor that will be sorely missed. Congratulations, Dave. Enjoy your retirement.


Feb 09 2015

Mike Francesa Says Parents Should Relax About Fandom

Remember when I wrote about raising kids to be fans of perpetually bad sports teams? (If not, I helpfully linked to the article for you. I’ll expect a thank you note in the mail.) Today on WFAN, Mike Francesa took a caller to task about the same issue. Basically, he told the caller, a father and fan of the Jets (I think it was the Jets) that parents should relax about fandom.

Alabama High School Coaches Fighting on the Field

(Note: the image above has nothing to do with the story except that it is a sports image, and neither person appears to be relaxed.)

The WFAN host’s point, which I basically agree with, is that people take this whole “I’m raising my kid to be a fan of a perpetually bad sports team” thing much too seriously. Or, as Aaron Rodgers put it — RELAX.

Francesa went on to describe some of the favorite Yankee teams of his childhood, which he described as not being very good but he loved them anyway.

I am also a Yankee fan, and here’s where I have to respectfully… not exactly disagree with Mr. Francesa, but add to his point. When the Yankees lose, it doesn’t hurt the way it does when the Mets lose. The same is true for the Giants and the Jets. Even when the Jets WIN, fans find it painful. The first two years that Mark Sanchez was the Jets’ starting quarterback, which were also the first two years’ of Rex Ryan’s tenure as head coach, they made it to the AFC Championship Game. That’s one game away from the Super Bowl. I watched those games, and the ones that preceded it, with a lifelong Jets fan. You know what? Even the games they won, I could feel the tension. There’s always a sense that something bad will happen. I don’t know why, but I’ve seen it firsthand and discussed it with other Jets fans. They agree. Barring another Super Bowl win (and it is worth noting that the Jets at least HAVE a Super Bowl win in their history, something many other NFL teams do not), I don’t know that it will ever not be at least a little bit painful to be a fan of the Jets.

Does that mean raising your kid to be a Jets fan is somehow bad parenting? Of course not. That’s silly. In my experience kids pick up on fandom naturally — if you’re a Jet(s fan) you’re a Jet(s fan) all the way, and your kids prob’ly will be the exact same way.


Jun 26 2014

Google Exec Wants People To Watch Their Kids Graduate On Their Phones

Buried within a New York Times article about cloud storage for businesses is this rather odd quote from Amit Singh, the president of Google Enterprise.
Android logo
Android logo via Wikipedia

“You’ll be videoconferencing with someone, while editing a supply chain document with someone else in Hong Kong, while he watches his son graduate on his phone,” Mr. Singh said, noting, “you’ll need a lot of infrastructure to do that.”
(emphasis added)

No disrespect meant to Mr. Singh, but, um, what the hell? Is he actually comparing “editing a supply chain document” with a child’s graduation?

What Mr. Singh was attempting to explain, as far as I can tell, is how a businessperson (I’m going gender neutral here; apologies to Caesar and any other intelligent non-human creatures of the future) could make use of the Android operating system on multiple devices at once. But if his idea of quality parenting is not only working while your kid graduates but squeezing it in as if it were just another activity in the stream of a business day, I have to disagree. Strongly.

Google, Microsoft and Others Delve Deeper Into Cloud Storage for Businesses – NYTimes.com.


Jun 23 2014

Article About Mentally Ill Kids

This New York Times article about mentally ill kids is troubling. Well-written, interesting reading, but troubling, especially if you are a parent. Caveat reader.

Seeing Sons’ Violent Potential, but Finding Little Help or Hope – NYTimes.com