Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two Lessons Learned From the Huggies Controversy

Now that the Huggies controversy is behind us, it's important for everyone to learn from this whole affair. There are two major lessons. But first--

A quick reminder: Huggies put out a video that made it seem like their diapers were so good, even dads could use them. It was dumb and offensive, everyone agreed. However, while some people were offended more, seeing the commercial as an example of brands disregarding dads and being stuck in an old parenting paradigm, others (well, me) saw this is an accidental offense we should note, try to change, and then move on.

Now for the lessons.

1. The bloggers who complained about Huggies and about its parent company, Kimberly-Clark, were approached by Kimberly-Clark's top management. The heads of Kimberly-Clark flew down to a blogging conference to speak to offended dads. Other dads were approached by phone to participate in round-table conversations with the heads of the company, chatting about the direction in which Kimberly-Clark brands would target their marketing. I know the company (and its PR company) knew about my own pro-Huggies post, because I checked my visitors' stats and saw them visiting hour after hour, day after day, methodically reading the blog/Facebook comments. However, I received no call. My input wasn't necessary. I wasn't a social media problem, so I didn't need to be appeased by round-table conference calls.

So what's the lesson? Never be pro-anything! Always criticize. You think the Internet has gone too far lashing out against a company? Well, be your own devil's advocate and think, "Sure, I can come to the defense of the company, but what's in it for me? On the other hand, I can criticize the company and threaten to add to the social media firestorm, and be treated like a celebrity!"

Edelman PR

Kimberly Clark

2. While the first lesson aims to illustrate the possibility that the Huggies outreach to bloggers had been a hypocritical attempt to put a fire out rather than a good faith effort to do right by dads, the second lesson, as illustrated by the picture below, is much more interesting.

A little after my pro-Huggies post came out, while checking StatCounter on my phone to see just how many times Kimberly-Clark and its PR company were visiting my blog, I noticed something amazing:

Kill Devil Hills

There's a place called Kill Devil Hills!

Wikipedia, give me your best citation-free name-origin:

Name origin
The name Kill Devil Hills dates back to the Colonial eraShipwrecks were common at the time, and many of the ships were transporting barrels of rum. When a ship foundered, local wreckers would scavenge what they could of the ship's cargo before it sank, hiding their pilfered rum behind, and sometimes in, the same large sand dunes where the Wright Brothers would later perform glider tests, before flying their first plane from level ground nearby. Since rum was called "Kill Devil" by the English at the time the dunes became known as "Kill Devil Hills."[citation needed]

And the official photo on the town's official website includes a date-stamp, which is a nice touch!

And by the way, if anyone still thinks Huggies is now motivated to treat dads as equals, check their latest addition to Facebook. (And of course I had to leave a smart-ass comment, didn't I... After all, I've learned my lesson!)

Huggies Mommy Answers

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Dad State of Mind

This video is from 2010, but somehow I missed it. Enjoy Juston McKinney's New Dad State of Mind.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I should really hate Chris and his blog Rude Cactus. His hair is much better than my hair and his blog is better written than mine. However, I can't bring myself to hate him. Unfortunately. The old me would have embraced the hatred without thinking twice, but the new me likes to pretend he doesn't care that people are more talented than he is or have better hair.

The hair is a real issue with me, I'm afraid.

Rude Cactus, like few other blogs, is one of those "The way the Internet used to be" places. When you read the blog you feel like you can stop running. Know what I mean? You read a post and then another post, and then you realize you didn't think people still did that--write quietly and honestly, without the expectation of reaching the top of the parent-blogging ladder-to-nowhere, without trying to get Ellen to mention them (yes, I am talking about you, Single Dad Laughing), without hoping for anything but honest readers reacting to honest writing.

Other than that, you know you're going to like a blogger when he's about the same age as you, he's a Liberal, his wife's name is also Beth, and he likes Genesis. I assume he's talking about Selling England by the Pound Genesis and not Invisible Touch, or I might have to rewrite this post.

Read this recent post for a great introduction: Sunshine to Me

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Precious Twos

My girl has just turned two, which is a great age, no matter what THEY say. She's still loving and dependent and filled with wonder. Next year she'll be three, which is the age my son learned to say, "I HATE you!" I can live with that, don't get me wrong, but I don't mind savoring the precious twos for as long as I can.

When I leave her for a second, she quickly gets distracted. But as soon as I'm back, even if I just go to the bathroom for 20 seconds, she throws everything she's holding, opens her huge eyes, and starts to run.

I bend down and wait for her with open arms, and she continues running until she bumps against my chest. It's the best feeling in the world. And one day it will be gone. Soon.

In this blog post from Being Michael's Daddy, Tom's kid greets him with an ambivalent "How did you get here?" Tom comforts himself by saying it's still better than being ignored, but...

I'm not ready for that. I know there's still time. I know. I know I should live in the moment. I know the day will come when I'm ready, when I'm actively encouraging her to show restraint, to show she's independent. That time will come naturally, and it will feel right. My daughter will see me, barely lift her head, barely acknowledge my presence. That's OK.

Until that day comes, though, I remind myself to take pictures.

The Precious Twos

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On Single Dad Laughing and How to Be a Dad

The pseudo-sensitive Dan from Single Dad Laughing has come out with yet another blogbuster of a post that would have surely saved humanity, if only it hadn't been criticized by Beta Dad (and by others, including me) for being fake, self-serving, and offensive--considering the seriousness of the subject matter Dan chose to write about.

Others came out defending Dan, some questioning the reason for the attack, claiming Beta Dad and others attacked him only because he's becoming successful. I have two arguments against that claim.

First, Dan doesn't write to get stuff off his chest, but looks for subjects that would resonate with the most people, using the persona he's created to write about these issues in a pseudo-meaningful way. The end justifies the means. Dan wants to be a celebrity. He wants to be celebrated. And he WILL get there, one fake post at a time, one royalty-free well-placed stock photo at a time. Like the Glenn Beck of blogging, Dan holds a bottle of tears over his eyes, dropping the liquid in just before hitting "Publish."

Gays are people too... Bullying is bad... Anything that the people who think Dr. Phil "says it like it is" will find just controversial enough, without going too far and alienating the middle of the road Dan will follow and attempt to define for the rest of his life. Why is Beta Dad correct to attack "one of us"? Because Dan from Single Dad Laughing despises us. He calls his blog "so much more than a daddy blog" because daddy bloggers are losers and he's a winner. He looks down at the rest of us and then complain we don't love him as much as he loves himself. Unfortunately, there's not enough love in the world for that. We can join our hearts together like the Power Rangers of emotional fragility, and we'll still not be as sensitive and real as the persona Dan has created on his blog. Look at us, writing about the trials and tribulations of parenting... Now look at him! He's probably saved two people's lives by the time it took me to write this sentence.

And second, I'm truly happy when I see real people become successful and enter the mainstream. Charlie and Andy from How to Be A Dad have now nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter, their Sleep Positions posts have been seen by everyone you know, and they now have become famous enough as Internet-celebrities to move on to write for the Huffington Post and to appear in the funny videos at the bottom of this post (as part of the Kin Community). They've earned everything. They're talented and they're real. And although I didn't appreciate their April 1st post about the end of their blog, it's better to feel like a fool one day a year than to be a Single Dad Laughing reader and be taken for a phony emotional ride all year long.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

If I Have to Tell You One More Time. . . Review

Let me start at the end: This book may change your life.

I remember the panic during that first moment alone with my baby. It was all happening too fast, too soon. Why did the nurse leave this screaming little thing with me? My wife was recovering from the c-section, and between the epidural and the exhaustion, she couldn't help much. It was all up to me, and all I could think was, "For this poor guy's sake, someone please get the nurse back in here!!!"

But I felt better every day. Although every developmental stage was an added challenge, I felt like every day made me better prepared for the next stage of this adventure. But I still didn't feel anywhere near 100% comfortable. I was still relying on numerous baby books, on scary Baby Center milestones-emails, and on anyone willing to offer advice online or in person.

That went on for about a year and a half, and then something strange happened.

All of a sudden everything changed. In one instant, I turned from taking any advice and tip I could get, to "Who the hell do you think you are telling ME how to raise MY child?!"

Which is why I was so weary about reading a book with the presumptuous claim of teaching ME anything. The author is a "parenting expert"? Well, so am I! Sure, I've felt like something was wrong. It doesn't feel right to have to yell at my 3-year-old boy every day, for example. But I felt my failures were inevitable and temporary. One day he'll start listening, I thought; one day I won't have to say the same thing again and again and again, only with an exceedingly louder voice.

If I Have to Tell You One More Time. . .: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling sounds like a Supernanny book, but its goal is actually to make kids' lives better--to make sure they grow up remembering their childhood fondly, as a time of safety, fun, and joy. The book doesn't do this by subscribing to simplistic ideas of strict parenting versus coddling, but by forcing parents to think outside this box, to continually reflect on what they're doing wrong and how they can make it right before things get out of control, and to make sure happy babies turn into happy kids, and then into happy teens.

Any book making far reaching claims like these is bound to be controversial, because many people are like me: knowing things aren't working the way they could and should, but refusing to accept the possibility that they need help. But I also believe even the parents who are most resistant to advice will find a lot of food for thought in this book. Sure, not everyone will need to implement every piece of advice in the book--not every advice suits every age and every situation. But there's enough in the book to make all readers rethink some of the choices they make every day, even if they choose to not follow the book as one whole methodology, but instead to pick and choose from the many tips and ideas raised by the author.

Here's some of the food for thought I got from the book:

I don’t empower my boy to make enough choices during the day, and then I complain that he acts like a spoiled brat. I complain he doesn’t tell me about his school and about his friends although I never treat him like anything but a child who should listen to my authoritative commands. I can tell him I want the best for him, but as long as he wants one thing and I want another, he won’t buy it, and Home will be a place of constant struggle, which is something I need to be aware of, at the least.

This book may give you some food for thought, and it might change your life and the lives of your children. It's quite a statement, but I'm a believer. I have a vision of what a happy home feels like, and I no longer accept the idea that my vision will not come true until my kids leave their rebellious phases. I believe, and this book might make a believer out of you, too.

I got one free copy to review, and another copy to give away. I've never used Rafflecopter before, so hopefully I'm doing this right...

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Dad

I get so mad sometimes... About politics. And about hidden fees. And why is Sarah Palin a best-selling author? Why is my laptop dying? Why doesn't my boy listen to me? And why do so many people on the Internet disagree with me on so many things (or in other words, why are so many people on the Internet WRONG)? And did I mention Palin?

Luckily, a visit to And I'm the Dad is always an escapist's heaven. The blog is mostly a collection of stuff the writer's kids say, and each blog post is more brilliant than the previous one. Also, each post is a learning experience for the reader.

Why do people need to torture Dora, for example? What's a kamuka? What's the least silly way to use pink sparkly beads? What is the alternate ending to Beauty and the Beast?

Considering how awesome this collection of pearls of wisdom is (in addition to the recent powerful attack on the politically motivated war on women, it's a travesty that not enough people read And I'm the Dad, Like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter. I call on YOU to make this situation better. I can't take it anymore! Why does a certain shall-not-be-named blogging dad (who refers to his blog as "so much more than a daddy blog" and sells blog links for M&Ms) get so many people to visit his phony self-righteous blog while cool blogs like this one get lost in virtual space? Come on, people, make this a better world by thinking globally and acting virtually.


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