Category Archives: Fatherhood

a dad blogger’s observations about children, being a dad and husband

Disney Offers Refund for Baby Einstein DVDs

It’s been all over the news this week, but just in case you have not heard: Disney is offering a refund on Baby Einstein DVDs. Dads and moms who are not satisfied with the Baby Einstein DVD they purchased, can exchange it for one of the following:

  • A Baby Einstein book AND a Baby Einstein music CD of their choice
  • A coupon for 25% off the purchase of one Little Einsteins product (redeemable with promotion code only at DisneyStore.com)
  • Refund for the current retail value of the DVD ($15.99)

Like many dads and moms, I bought several Baby Einstein DVDs and let my children watch them. At the time (five years ago), I heard it was not a good idea to let your kids watch TV before they are two years old. But I thought the Baby Einstein DVDs were OK because they were designed for babies and toddlers. Turns out I was wrong.

According to a study conducted by the Child Health Institute (University of Washington), each hour per day of viewing baby DVDs/videos was associated with a 16.99 point decrement in CDI score for infants (age 8 to 16 months). In terms normal dads and moms can understand, DVDs like the Baby Einstein series are likely to result in poor language development (a vocabulary decrease of about six to eight words for each daily hour of watching).

Wow, every time I let my toddler watch a Baby Einstein DVD, I was essentially stunting his development. I’m a bad dad. I should have known better.

Failure To Thrive Syndrome

Little Disney turned seven months old last Saturday. He’s still cute and has a great smile, but his life has not exactly been filled with rainbows and unicorns. At night, Little Disney wakes up hungry every two hours like a newborn. He’s been to the doctor’s office many times, had blood work done three times, been to a dermatologist and an allergist, and now has to go see a pediatric gastroenterologist. Our baby hates formula, solid foods, antihistamine medication, and being fed with a bottle. Little Disney also has acid reflux, which makes him spit up puddles of food. And he also hates his infant acid reflux medication, which costs a lot but doesn’t seem to help.

our baby boy at seven months

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Seeking Stay at Home Dads for New Documentary Series

Sean De Simone Casting is searching for stay at home dads to be profiled in a new cable docu-series. They are searching for fathers who take care of the kids while their wife goes to work. Father friends, play group dads, and family relations a plus. If you’re interested, please email Sean De Simone a letter of interest about you and your family and why you would like to be a part of the show. Please also make sure to send a photo of yourself and family (no older then six months old) and a current contact telephone number.

Electronic submissions are preferred. However, you can also send hard copy materials to:

Sean De Simone Casting
P.O Box 20347
New York, NY 10009
Telephone Number: 917-475-1411

Allowances

You parents out there, where do you stand on allowances and paying for chores? I’m all for it, but my wife refuses to pay me. She said something about “it’s not call babysitting when you’re the dad.” Whatever.

When I was a kid, I never got an allowance for doing chores around the house. My parents didn’t believe in allowances. They grew up in rural China in a time when kids were expected to do chores around the hut for free. When my dad was a kid, it was his duty to milk the chickens and run 26.2 miles to sell the chicken milk at the nearest village. According to dad, he had to run uphill in monsoon-like conditions…sometimes there was also ten feet of snow.

Even though my parents didn’t believe in allowances, my mom did offer to pay me five cents to vacuum the house. My mom thought five cents was fair because we lived in a small house (our house was so small that if you took two steps through the front door, you’ll end up in the back yard). I, on the other hand, thought five cents wasn’t enough and I insisted on twenty-five cents. Bad move on my part — I ended up vacuuming the house weekly for the right to live in it.

Recently we started letting our kids spend the money they received as presents. In the past, we made a note of what they wanted and shopped around for the best price. However, when the kids are in charge of their money, they have to get the toy or book when they see it at the store. They don’t want to shop around or wait for it to go on sale. Even when you tell the kids they could get an extra toy or book if they wait, they still insist on buying it right then and there.

I like the idea of telling my kids they can buy something they want with their money. I no longer have to be the bad guy when they ask me to buy something for them. But I still feel bad when I have to tell them they don’t have enough money saved up for the toy they want. You should see their sad little faces when I tell them that.

Even though I like giving my kids a little money management responsibility, I’m still not sure if I want to pay my kids for doing chores. That’s just not how I was raised. Here’s a question for my readers: Do you give your kids an allowance or pay them for doing chores?

allowance poll

Michael Jackson the Dad

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always thought of Michael Jackson as the guy who could sing, dance, and entertain. Later, I thought he was a little strange too. But even though I knew Michael Jackson had children, I never thought of him as a “dad” (who can forget the video of him dangling his baby off a balcony?). Then I saw the clip of his eleven year old daughter, Paris Katherine Jackson, during Michael’s memorial service.

“Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine”

After seeing the last part of the memorial service, I see Michael Jackson the singer in a new light — Michael Jackson the father of three children. I’m still not convince Michael was the best father you could ever imagine, but when his little girl said it, I believed her. It sounded very sincere and from the heart. I’m sure in Paris Jackson’s eyes, Michael was the best father she could ever imagine.

In my opinion, being a dad is more important than the number of platinum records you achieved or the zillions of dollars you earned in your life. Being a parent is one of the most important and fulfilling job in the world. And if your kids think of you as the best parent you could ever imagine, then you must be doing something right. When it’s my time to go, I could die in peace and without regrets if my kids consider me the best father you could ever imagine. That wouldn’t be a bad way for my life to end.

My Little Painter

When are kids old enough to be helpful? You parents out there know what I mean. Kids want to be helpful, but that usually means more work for us parents and the chore will take a lot longer to finish. Funny how little kids think chores are fun, but when they get older they hate chores and don’t want to do them. Back to my question, when are kids old enough to be helpful? Is it nine? Eighteen? Never?

I’m bringing this up because we painted the living room last week. As you can imagine, all four of our kids thought painting would be fun and wanted to help paint. Yes, even the little baby. Little Disney can’t talk yet, but he let us know he wanted to help by eyeing the paint roller and then crying every time we picked up the roller.

We decided to let the Little Princess “help” paint, but we said no to the other kids. With Spiderboy and the Little Monkey, there was a 200% probability they would “accidentally” paint each other. We didn’t think the Little Princess would be very helpful, but we wanted to give her the chance to prove us wrong. She didn’t. We had to repaint most of the sections she painted. Oh well. At least she didn’t lose a limb, paint the carpet, or knocked me off the 20′ ladder (note: a 16′ high living room is cool until you have to paint it, then it really sucks — sorta of like holding a baby when he has a diaper blow-out, but one hundred million nine times worst).

My little painter - nine year old daughter painting the living room

Do As I Say

family of four

When I look at this photo, I see four cute kids. It’s my job to make sure they stay that way and not menace society when they grow up. Every day I’m forced to make decisions that will influence my kids for many years. Make a wrong decision and the kids start their journey to the Dark Side. So, what do you say when you’re eating ice cream and the kids ask if they could have that for breakfast too?

Birthday Party

On Saturday, Spiderboy turned six, the Little Princess turned nine, my wife turned twenty-something again, and I conquered Europe. We celebrated by going to the mall and then throwing a birthday party with a zillion well-behaved kids. Speaking of parties, can you guess from the photos below who invited everyone in their class to the birthday party and who didn’t invite anyone?

My son’s birthday presents
son's birthday presents

My daughter’s birthday presentsdaughter's birthday presents

I’m not sure what’s going on with my kids. Last October, the Little Princess invited everyone in her class to our Halloween party and Spiderboy didn’t invite anyone. Less than eight months later, my son invited everyone to the birthday party and my daughter didn’t invite anyone. Is nine the age when kids no longer want birthday parties?

Little Disney – Three Months

baby at three months

What a big difference a couple of months can make. After one month, I wanted to return Little Disney for a full refund (minus a 15% restocking fee). After three months, I want my wife to have 20 more babies. He’s that cute.

At three months, Little Disney no longer torments us by waking up every few minutes at night. He also cries in a demonic manner less often. Now, Little Disney can laugh and smile when he’s happy. By smile, I don’t mean one of those fake smiles people give their in-laws. When Little Disney smiles, he really means it.

Little Disney can also talk now. Not with real words, but by cooing. When I talk to him, he coos back at me. I’m going to give him the benefit of doubt and assume he’s saying nice things to me and not talking back at me like my other three kids.

On the down side, Little Disney is losing his hair and has really bad eczema. My wife blames the receding hairline on me because once I said it would be nice to have a bald baby. All our kids were born with lots of hair. I think it has something to do with my werewolf DNA.

Converse Girl Star

This is a strange post for me. It’s about shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever written about shoes before. I usually don’t even think about shoes. I just wear them. Sometimes with clothes.

Then something bad happened.

Before I tell you what happened, let me tell you my favorite shoes are Converse All Star. I loved them when I was a kid. I love them now. If I could have, I would have wore them with my tux when I got married (my wife can be so unreasonable at times).

In my expert opinion, Converse All Star are the coolest shoes on all nine planets in our solar system (I still consider Pluto a planet – dwarf planet my foot). How can you go wrong with shoes that feature a star on each shoe? And let’s not forget that Julius Erving (Dr. J) wore Converse All Star when he played in the NBA. For you younglings out there, Dr. J was the Michael Jordan of his time. If you don’t know who Air Jordan is, then try Kobe Bryant or LeBron James.

Below are a couple photos of my Converse All Star. The first pair is the one I wear when it’s not raining (I wear boots the other ten months of the year). The second pair of shoes is the one I wear when I want to dunk over Shaquille O’Neal, which I do often in Bizzaro basketball.

Converse All Star

Converse All Star - hi top

Now for the bad part of this story. About a week ago, the Little Princess went shopping with the weirdo-in-law. When she came back from the mall, she told me she got a pair of brand new Converse All Star. At first I was happy. Then she showed me her shoes:

Converse Girl Star with butterfly

How could they do this to my beloved All Star? It was bad enough when Target started selling low-end Converse One Star. Now my ultra cool shoes has been turned into girly shoes too. And they even have the nerve to still call them All Star. Shouldn’t they call them Converse Girly Shoes or something like that?