3 Ways for working parents to spend more time with young kids

1. Early to bed, early to rise.

Aside from the "early to bed, early" to rise cliche you've always heard, going to bed and rising early will maximize the time you have to spend with your baby or young child. This aligns you more with their sleep patterns so you are both awake during more of the same hours.

I wake up early so I can spend time with my boy before I leave for work, and I love it. I take him for walks in the morning with our dog and it's great quality time that gets us both lots of fresh air. Not only does it increase my time with him, it de-emphasizes work by fitting in more activity in my day before I ever even arrive at the office. I find that I am no longer waking up and rushing out the door, but enjoying my home and family more before I start my professional day.

2. Utilize your lunch time better.

A properly utilized lunch time is a great way to increase your time with your kids. I've done this in three primary ways:
a: Finish any errands or tasks during your lunch time that you would otherwise do at night. This will free up your evenings and reduce the number of things which may infringe your time together.

b: Visit your child during your lunch time or have them come to you if the other parent is able to drive them. My wife and son visit me quite often at noon and I love seeing them. I always have a good time, even if we just run errands together, and it really breaks up my day.

c: If your work schedule is flexible enough, try taking a shorter lunch period or working through lunch and get out early. I often try to get into the office early because I get up early (see #1) , take half a lunch and head on home to see my boy.

3. Feed them.

Having dinner together as a family is a great bonding time. It is time well spent together and gives you the opportunity to be part of the child's routine. Meals are a significant part of a child's day and by being part of one, you are taking a major role in your child's life. For me, feeding my son is a messy and time consuming endeavor, but he's happy and interactive during the process so it's great quality time.


Pregnancy Pact Quadruples Teen Pregnancies at MA High School

I'm not even sure what to say about this other than it is so incredibly bizarre, pathetic and sad on many levels... A high school in Massachusetts has seen high school pregnancies rise to quadruple last year's rate. At the heart of it, a pregnancy pact. It seems as though many teens at Gloucester High thought kids were so great they made a pact to all get pregnant and raise their kids together. And no, I'm not making this up.

There are currently 17 expectant students at the high school of 1,200. If you assume that roughly 1/2 the those students are female, and of those 17 are pregnant, then almost 3% of female population is pregnant. I'm highlighting the female population because not all of the fathers were students; reportedly one of the father's was a 24 year old homeless man. And no, I'm not making that up either. They just really wanted to get pregnant.

From Time Magazine online:
As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there's been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head.

I really have trouble even wrapping my mind around this. Sad, sad, sad, sad, sad.

Margaret Wise Brown, Author

Goodnight Moon is my son's favorite book. Hovering in the third place slot is The Runaway Bunny. Both are books by Margaret Wise Brown. Many of this early 20th century author's stories feature animals as the main characters and a definite pattern or rhythm. Her approach was to write stories the way kids wanted to hear a story, not how adults tend to tell them.

Tonight while reading GM to my son, as I flipped the last page I noted a blurb about Ms Brown which indicated that she only lived to the age of 42. Out of curiosity I looked up her up on Wikipedia and found out she was quite an interesting lady who lived a relatively full life in a short time. Born in Connecticut in 1910, she began writing children's books at the age of 22 while working at the Bank Street Experimental School in New York City and wrote hundreds of works over the next twenty years.

Brown died unexpectedly of an embolism while on a book tour in Nice, France. According to Wikipedia, two weeks after an emergency... kicking up her leg to show the doctor how well she was feeling ironically caused a blood clot, which had formed in her leg, to dislodge and travel to her heart. A very strange ending, indeed, but the works she created have long outlived her and will be her legacy for generations to come. I can't wait to dig into more of her tales with my son.


Dessert for Hanibal Lecter

In this video a very talented cake maker takes us through the process of making a sculpted, 3-d cake in the shape of a baby. It's quite a complicated and very well-executed... which says nothing for how creepy it is.

Mmmm, baby cake. Save me the face! It's like dessert for Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs.


Chuck Norris gives roundhouse kicks as Father's Day gifts

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris does not get frostbite. Chuck Norris bites frost.

Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

If you didn't know these facts about Chuck Norris, you need to read The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World's Greatest Human. My wife bought me the book for Father's Day but gave it to me early because she knew how funny I find all the Chuck Norris "facts" circulating the Internet.

The Truth About Chuck Norris is a collection of some of the most popular and ridiculous pseudo-facts about Chuck. The book was written by Ian Spector, the guy who started the whole Internet craze about Mr. Norris in the first place. If you're looking for a funny, mindless read or a goofy gift for a 30-something dad in your life, this is highly recommended.


6 Tips on Starting Solid Foods With Your Baby

Today was my son's six month check up and the pediatrician gave us the OK to start solid foods. While his first few spoon fulls of oatmeal cereal left him with a perplexed and disgusted look on his face, he was soon reaching for the whole cup, trying to get more into his system.

Some tips on starting solids from the good doctor and the American Academy of Pediatric

1. You should wait until your child reaches six months of age to start them on solid foods. This is the recommended age as it reduces instances of food allergies as their digestive systems are better able to handle foods.

2. Cereals are usually the first recommended solids. Rice, oatmeal and barley are the initial line up, and in that order.

3. After introducing cereals and your child gets used to eating, you can begin introducing them to fruit, strained vegetables and meat.

4. Introduce new foods to your baby one at a time. Wait 3 to 4 days between new foods to see if there are any allergic reactions. The 3-4 day waiting period simply lets you determine to which food your child is reacting without dealing with multiple variables.

5. DO NOT give your child eggs, peanut butter, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus, seafood or honey until 1 year old.

6. Get a bib, place mat or tarp. The food will end up everywhere.

As always, consult with your own pediatrician before changing your child's diet.


Sweet T-Rex Kicks

We broke out some new shoes for the boy today that were gifted to us a while back. They have some pretty sweet dinosaurs on them, and frankly I might like an adult-sized pair myself. These are the Robeez T-Rex Slip On, but I'm hoping that maybe someday a forward thinking shoe company (Puma, perhaps?) makes a sneaker for dads that has some slick, removable decor options.

I'd totally wear a pair of T-Rex trainers to the gym to show how bad I am, or maybe a running shoe with a little turtle on the side to show my ironic, easy going side. Even if they weren't athletic sneaks, I'd wear a pair with a penguin on the side, you know, to show that I'm cool.

When someone pointed at them, and I'm sure they would, I'd just say "it's a new dad thing, you probably wouldn't understand."