Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood: Bedtime Routines, Black Fatherhood, and Milkshake

This edition of This Week in Fatherhood includes stories about involved African-American dads, a personal post about bedtime routines, a weird video, and a study about the never ending terrible-twos. And a gif about milkshakes. Like always, you can subscribe here to get these weekly newsletter posts in your email. Let me know if I've missed anything good, and I'll be sure to include it next week. Thanks for reading!

African-American Dads

African American dads
In an environment where the media is mostly interested in bad news, African-American dads are often portrayed as the root of all evil, but a recent survey shows involved dads defying the damaging stereotypes of black fatherhood being synonymous with absent fatherhood. (Black daddies finally shown in positive light)

Bedtime Routines

Bedtime Routines
A dad is writing about changing bedtime routines. Rather than being jealous of parents whose kids are old enough to go to sleep by themselves, he cherishes the last moments of the day with his kid. A great post by John Wiley of Daddy's in Charge? (Why I Don't Mind the Bedtime Routine)


This week on the blog, I wrote about my talented and funny cousin, who will one day draw a cartoon for my blog. Until that bless'd day comes, click on the image to see more cartoons from Ilene. (The Weenies!!!)

Casa Weenie

Fatherhood Across Time and Species

(via 22 Words)


(via Reddit)

Terrible Twenty-Twos

Terrible Twenty-Twos
An interesting article on the New York Times suggests young, violent people in their late-teens/early-twenties don't learn to be violent, but actually never learn to stop being violent. Like all other kids, they're violent when they're toddlers, but unlike most people, they never learn to suppress their violent tendencies with time. The implications of this theory are that absent parenting (and mostly absent, or at least uninvolved fatherhood) contributes to greater violence in society. Well, at least that's my take. (Terrible Twos Who Stay Terrible)

Worst Dad in the World

Worst Dad in the World
A Nazi dad made news in 2008 after a bakery refused to make a birthday cake for his son, Adolf Hitler. Now, Dad is trying to regain custody of his daughter, Eva Braun. Child Services have custody of the poor girl, and her Nazi dad is threatening to make more babies, saying, "I'll stop making them when they stop taking them." Nazi Dad has 9 kids. Thankfully, he has custody of none. (Neo-Nazi dad demands child services hand back his baby girl named Eva Braun - or he'll just keep having more babies)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Weenies!!!

Nothing to do with parenting, except the fact that one day I'll convince Ilene to draw parenting cartoons for this blog. We can rule the world, Ilene!

Until then, here's Ilene Haddad's life-in-pictures: Casa Weenie.

Ilene is my wife's first cousin, but she's also a playa in the Austin, TX blogging scene. She runs an annual Austin blogathon, which started in her house, with her mom making sandwiches, and now is a "real" event, with sponsors, speakers, and even its own hashtag. She's also one of the funniest people I know, and her cartoons give you a glimpse into the family I married into.

Ilene and her husband are DINKs, only without the douchey part. Yes, you can be in your 40s, have no desire for kids, and not be an ass about it. Who knew? They have two dogs and a cat, and each has its own unique personality. They often visit the cartoons and show off their love and/or disdain for their human roommates.

Without further, Casa Weenie!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood: Christmas Spirit--Unleashed!

This week includes several posts about the most wonderful time of the year, as well as links to a new survey about modern fatherhood, a calling out of photo card companies, a mention of the newest member of the Stay-at-Home Dads club, and more. You can subscribe here to get these weekly posts in your email. Thanks for reading!

Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit
From DaddyDoctrines

Christmas Wishes

Christmas wishes
A dad is asking Santa for some essential items this holiday season. As soon as Santa brings us all world peace, it would be nice if he could make time for this list, which includes self-destructing stickers, a limousine partition in the family car, an "I don't know" button, a panic room with a toilet, and more. (Dear Santa: 12 Things I Would REALLY Like for Christmas)

LGBT Families

white hetero families
Brent from Designer Daddy is calling out photo cards companies for their exclusion of LGBT families from their cards, and he has the statistics to back him up: The parents in the TinyPrints, Minted, Snapfish, and Shutterfly cards are 100% heterosexuals. Other statistics show that in all of these companies, at least 80% are Caucasian, and just like LGBT families, Hispanics have zero representation. To make up for it, Brent has called out LGBT families to post their own holiday/Christmas cards on his Facebook page, and the result is an amazing display of families that--in spite of gradual move toward gay rights--are still considered "untouchable" by photo companies. (An Open Letter to Photo Card Companies: LGBT Families Celebrate Christmas, Too)

Modern Fatherhood

modern fatherhood
A survey published by AP shows some surprising results, considering the bad rap dads still get. Stories and statistics about absent dads, especially from specific racial and ethnic groups, make good headlines, but judging by this article that shows "9 in 10 bathed, diapered, helped them use the toilet or get dressed at least several times weekly" and that racial differences were not statistically significant, the reality of modern fatherhood seems very positive. (Dads to Diapers and More, Myth-Busting Survey Says)

Saying that, it's important to note the negative. Vincent DiCaro from the National Fatherhood Initiative points out the elephant in the room, which the AP report glosses over: if there is still a large number of absent dads, and the AP article is so positive, are we still as guilty as ever at lowering expectations for dads? If we ignore the negative implications of this survey, are we complicit in the lowering of expectations? (The “Tale of Two Fathers” Confirmed by New Study)

Second Child Syndrome

second child syndrome
Previously on the blog, I tried to figure out the difference between raising the first baby and the second one, and found the lack of obsession with those dreaded milestones to be quite a relief. (Second Child Syndrome)

Stay-At-Home Dads

beckham stay at home dad
Looks like we have a new member in the SAHD club (which, according to this article, is a very trendy club. Who knew?). David Beckham has now left soccer to become a full-time stay-at-home dad. And although the article makes sure to tell us how much money Beckham has, which implies being home is easy for him (hey, everything is a piece of cake when you have money, right?), it's always good to see an article about a celebrity who stays home and loves it. Also, the words "Mr." and "Mom" don't make a single appearance in the article, which is nice. (Beckham: ‘I’m lucky to be a house husband’)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood: New Books, Worst Dads of the Week, and More

This week (a day late and a Shekel short) features two new parenting books from dads, two contenders for the Worst Dad of the Week award, a story about a girl's first high heels, and another about a mother's guilt, and more. Hope you like it!

If you have links or tips for next week's roundup, email me.

And if you want these weekly posts in your email, subscribe here.


Men get pregnant book
Kenny Bodanis, who writes the blog Men Get Pregnant Too, has written a book about what many men go through when their wives become pregnant. Yes, it's not just sympathy weight gain. The book includes some material from his blog, and a lot of original chapters with a unique perspective about what to expect when she's expecting. (Men Get Pregnant, Too. (despite never pushing a watermelon through a pigeonhole))

parents' phrase book
Another parenting book comes from Whit Honea, who writes at Honea Express. Parenting is not just about discipline--good parenting is thoughtful parenting, which comes from understanding the underlying issues that cause kids to behave the way they do, and this phrase book is definitely a way in to kids' minds. By understanding what we're facing, we can react wisely. (The Parents' Phrase Book: Hundreds of Easy, Useful Phrases, Scripts, and Techniques for Every Situation)


Girl princess
I wrote this guest post on Scary Mommy after my girl turned 3. I was working for a long time to turn her into a well-rounded girl, which meant pink princesses were my arch-enemies. But then, on her birthday, when she received her first tiara and high-heel shoes, I had to try to figure out if I was fighting a losing battle, and more importantly, whether this battle even needed to be fought. (The Sometimes-Princess)


Motherhood guilt
I recently wrote about the guilt of working mothers, after watching a commercial that implied mothers were not allowed to have days off ("When You're a Mom, There Are No Sick Days"?). The guilt is strong here, and it's important that we know what's going on and that we're there for our partners. Working mothers have society and history on one shoulder, laying out the guilt, and us on the other, telling them they're doing more than enough. It's not easy.

In this article on Time, a stay-at-home dad (Dave from Amateur Idiot, Professional Dad), talks about the guilt that often strikes working mothers when they feel inadequate in their "natural" roles. (Stay-at-Home Dad: Why My Wife Is Embarrassed by Me)


Mama video
Speaking of feeling inadequate (only the less damaging kind), I often feel a little inadequate as a father and as a husband. And then I see this video and I feel even worse... Still, great father and son duet. (The Mama Song)

Worst Dad of the Week

freak bee attack
The first contender is only guilty of being honest. A dad watched his son being stung by bees more than a hundred times. He was then asked what was going through his mind. And anything else I say will be a spoiler, so just watch the video. (Freak Bee Attack)

Botox dad
But much much worse is Dr. Michael Niccole, who has named his adopted daughters Charm and Brittani, and that's not even the worst thing. Dr. Niccole believes in beauty: "Our cars are always immaculate, our house is immaculate and all our friends are beautiful." He performed plastic surgery on his daughter when she was 10, turning an outie to an innie. Because outies are gross, maybe? And now he still fixes their bodies, 15 years later, every other month.

Now, the thing that makes this guy the worst dad in the world is not the fact that he's the worst kind of doctor (plastic surgeon), and it's not even the fact that he's injecting his 25-year-old daughters with botox every other month, but that he has raised them to think they need it. (Plastic Surgeon Dad Turns Two Daughters Into Walking Ads for His Clinic)

Monday, December 9, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood 10: Over-Scheduling Activities, Basketball Prodigies, and the Perfect Parenting Metaphor

This is the 10th edition of this newsletter, and I hope it's a good one, even though (or maybe because?) it's shorter than usual. My boy turned 6 this week, and there were a lot of plans to be made, gifts to buy and open, and video games to play with. We also went to see Frozen with his friend--a really good movie, by the way. So without further...

Well, just one more thing. If you want this weekly newsletter in your email, subscribe here. Thanks for reading!


One dad asks if we're over-scheduling our kids. I believe we do. I believe a walk around the block can be a great learning experience, and spending time at home can be as important as a visit to the Science Museum. We should stop thinking we're depriving our kids of life when we give them an afternoon off. Read his post for some more in-depth thoughts. (5 Signs You’re Over-Scheduling Your Children)


A week after this video of a tiny basketball sensation was published on YouTube, it has nearly 9 millions views. Dads, let your kids play with balls in the house!!! (Trick Shot Titus 3 -- ft. Channing Tatum & Bradley Cooper)


Are you a proud geek? Are you a parent? Then go over to Dad Camp to win a set of parent-kid shirts featuring Star Wars, Firefly, Harry Potter, and more. (Contest: Geekling Offers Matching Shirts for Kids and Parents)


Just as much as I care about being there for my kids, I will care about being there for my grandchildren. Being an involved grandfather is a win-win-win. It's good for the grandchildren, it helps keep the parents sane, and it will give me the benefit of experiencing the best parts of being a dad again. A member of our Dad Bloggers Facebook group has just become a grandfather again, and then wrote about his expectations from himself. (Don’t overlook your family … ever)

Parenting Metaphor

Previously on the blog, I found the perfect parenting metaphor. And it was a GIF. With cats. (A Parenting Metaphor)

Playgroup Moms and Dads

I've written before on the blog about playgroup moms who refuse to let dads in, and although I personally didn't have an experience with that, I did mention the one time I got dirty looks in the park. Well, that post has been republished on The Good Men Project, and as usual, once a post leaves a blog and ends up on a site with more readers, the comments become more angry, turning a post I didn't think was controversial at all into a post that proves I'm a segregationist, I'm a racist, I hate dads, and I'm the one responsible for the lack of male teachers in America. Read the post, and then try to make sense of the comments. (On Gender Warfare and Dirty Looks)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tips for Home Fire and CO Safety This Winter

Tips for Home Fire and CO Safety This Winter
I've written in the past about the Kidde smoke alarms. They have batteries that last 10 years, and they stop us from waking up in the middle of the night, running around the house, searching for the origins of beeps. I think it's a great thing to have, and now I'm happy to write about their 10-year-sealed-battery carbon monoxide alarm, especially since my previous (non-Kidde) alarm broke (because my kids break stuff), and I've been meaning to look for a new one. We haven't been without a CO alarm for too long, but I've still been feeling bad about it. 12 years ago, our CO alarm went off in the middle of the night, and when we called 911, 4 fire engines came to our house, just in case, so I know this is serious business responsible people shouldn't neglect.

Well, they sent me an alarm in the mail, and I feel like a responsible adult again. Kidde has also asked me to post this quiz and my own answers, and if it convinces anyone here to buy a CO alarm (from any brand), I'll feel good--maybe even forgive myself for not having a CO alarm in the last few weeks.

Here's the quiz, complete with my answers. I hope you find the time to answer the quiz yourselves, and if something is off, make a plan to make it right.

1. One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?

Kidde's answer:

· Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace CO alarms every five to 10 years, based on the model.

· Purchase an alarm with a 10-year sealed lithium battery, such as Kidde Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, to receive hassle-free protection for a decade --no need to change a battery or hear a low battery chirp. Available nationwide at retailers like The Home Depot and Walmart, each alarm installed will save you $40 over its life in battery costs.

And my answer:

Where we live now, the smoke alarms are over 10 years old. We are moving, though, and will have some new alarms. I'll make sure to ask the previous owners how old their alarms are. And thanks to Kidde, we'll have a new CO alarm when we move.

2. Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor, and inside/outside all bedrooms?


· Choose alarms with room-specific features, such as an LED light in the hallway, or a voice notification for the bedroom.

· Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor. Keep them 10 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

My answer:

We do have smoke alarms on each floor, including the basement, and in each bedroom.

3. Do your alarms incorporate the newest features and technology?


· A sealed-in 10-year lithium battery continuously powers the alarm for 10 years. It’s tamper-proof and can’t be removed.

· A digital display shows the level of CO in the air and updates the reading every 15 seconds.

· An intelligent multi-sensor responds faster to real fires and CO, plus it reduces nuisance alarms like those commonly caused by cooking.

· An end-of-life warning lets you know when to replace your alarms.

My answer:

Honestly, it seems like a luxurious purchase. But considering the fact that these things aren't that expensive, it almost seems like a no-brainer. You can get a Kidde Combination Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm with Talking Alarm for just over $20 on Amazon (prices change all the time on Amazon, but right now, this model is $21.94). a combination smoke-alarm and CO alarm with a 10-year battery costs about $40 on Amazon, but think about all the money you'll be saving on batteries.

4. Do you need other safety products?


· Fire extinguisher – place one within reach in rooms where fires often begin: kitchen, garage, bedroom, living area

· Escape ladder – place in second and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route

My answer:

Well, we do have one small extinguisher in the kitchen, but when we move to a bigger house, we'll get more. Also, we'll make sure the kids know how to use them.

5. Have you developed a family escape plan?


· Practice it regularly. Know two ways out of every room and who will assist children and loved ones with mobility/health issues.

My answer:

Got me on this one. But they're right. We'll have one (when we move).

6. Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?


· Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

My answer:

We don't have a house phone, only cellphones, but I'll make sure my kids know how to operate our phones and dial 911. Also, we'll follow the advice about having an emergency area on the fridge

7. Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?


· Have a professional inspect fuel-burning appliances to ensure they function properly and that they vent outside.

· Have a professional clean or inspect fireplaces annually. Birds and small animals can make nests and leaves can build up on top of the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from venting properly.

· Have you created a 3-foot clutter free zone around fireplaces, space heaters or wood stoves?

My answer:

These are all good points that we'll follow once we move. Right now, it doesn't really apply to our house.

And that's all! I hope the post helps one person or one family create a safer home! Thanks, Kidde, for the CO alarm, and more importantly, for the valuable information.

Tips for Home Fire and CO Safety This Winter

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood 9: Books, Hooters, and Other Life Lessons

This week's newsletter features some great links about a variety of subjects, including work-life balance for dads, bonding at story-time, bonding at Hooters, male depression, toy safety, and a great win-win idea of turning a house into a restaurant for a day. As usual, if you want this type of post delivered straight to your email, subscribe to the Week-in-Fatherhood newsletter. Thanks for reading!


Scott Behson's entire blog is dedicated to one subject: dads searching for that elusive work-life balance. In the interview Scott posted on his blog, he talks about statistics showing dads are trying to spend more time with their kids, and about the changing priorities in their work-life balance. It's a great video for anyone who struggles with this issue (which probably means most work-outside-the-home dads). (An Interview on Fatherhood, Work-Family Balance, and What Makes a Good Dad)


If you're looking for the next good read for dad-toddler story-time, a bunch of blogging dads are sharing their favorite books on The Bump site. If you have a toddler, this is the post for you. And if your kids are older, the post may bring back enough story-time memories to make you want to make another baby. Good luck, either way! (Dad Bloggers Share Their Favorite Toddler Books to Read)

Father-Son Bonding

Nothing controversial about father-son bonding. Unless the bonding happens at a Hooters restaurant.

After a fellow blogging dad mentioned taking his teenage son to Hooters, some of the other dads raised concerns, saying it might teach misogyny at an early age. So, is it sexist to take a kid to Hooters (and let him pose with the waitresses), or is it harmless?

I gave my 2 cents, leaning on the it's-harmless side. My rambling opinion is quoted by Andy Hinds on the Daily Beast. (Father-Son Bonding at Hooters: Sexist or Harmless?)


In a previous post on my blog, I did my best to talk honestly about depression. This post was written in May of this year, after a fellow blogging dad lost the battle to depression. I, along with other blogging dads, thought this would be a good opportunity to talk openly about our own experiences with depression. Other bloggers' links are featured at the bottom of my own post. (The Solitary Confinement of Depression. #ForMarc)

Life Lessons

Although the idea that our kids can teach us just as much as we can teach them is not new, it's always great to read a fresh post with a new perspective. We have a lot to learn, and this post is a good start. (Eight traits my kids have that we should also have as adults)


This week, I wrote about a great father-son scene in the movie Jaws. Take a look at the video on the post, and if you remember a better father-son scene, mention it in a comment! (Jaws and the Greatest Father and Son Scene)

Parenting Win

We all love a good parenting win, at least once the rest of us get over the how-come-I-didn't-think-of-that feeling. In this post, a dad doesn't want to disappoint his kids who REALLY want to eat in a restaurant, so he turns his house into one, complete with illustrated menus. (Parenting Win: Our House Restaurant)

Toy Safety

It's toy-buying season, and before we dump a bunch of random toys under our trees, we need to make sure the toys are safe. One blogging dad received a toy to review on his blog, and the toy started over-heating to the point of melting... (Trouble in Toyland: Attack of the Dangerous Toys - Keeping Kids Safe this Holiday Season...)


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