Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nasty Cukes and the Over-Dramatic Organic Gag Reflex

I had such high aspirations of cooking organic baby food for Bea. There are so many great, easy recipes in Caveman’s Guide to Baby’s First Year. I was good to go.

But that was month’s ago and since I’ve been too busy mixing marketing messages and biz dev fizzies for clients. And being a caveman.

Mama came to the rescue, though. She’s reduced her time at work to spend more time at home with Bea. And we’re both big on organics for baby (and ourselves now as well) and Mama has not disappointed.

Listen, I know when many of us were growing up we road our bikes without helmets and ate plutonium straight from the ground, and we’re doing okay.

There’s been a lot of science since then, though – a 1993 report published by The National Academy of Science entitled "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children" concluded that current government pesticide standards do not protect the health of children.

According to Organic Foods for Your Baby by Sue Gilbert, MS Nutritionist:

  • Babies' bodies are much more vulnerable to pesticides because their brains, immune and detoxification systems are immature and in a state of development.
  • Pound for pound babies eat two to four times more vegetables and fruits than adults and so are exposed to a higher proportion of possible contaminants.
  • The health effects of chronic low-level exposure to pesticide residues are still unknown.

My wife will tell you it’s a lot of work cooking and blending your own organic baby food, but the prices of organic fruits and veges are coming down, and if you’re fortunate to live up the street from a farmer’s market that features local organic produce, then even better. There’s a growing market for baby organics on the grocery shelves as well.

And what about nasty cukes and the over-dramatic organic gag reflex?

I’ll tell you. Cucumbers are nasty. Simple as that. There’s not much I don’t like, but I do not like cukes. Blech.

Yesterday Mama wanted to try and give Bea some little pieces of organic cucumber. She’s already eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and so this was just a new one for her to try.

As Beatrice began to gum the tiny pieces of nasty cuke (she does have her first tooth coming in), I began to joke:

“Beatrice, tell Mommy how much you dislike cucumbers. Tell her you’re like Daddy and you think they’re nasty.”

Within seconds Bea started to choke, scaring the Bea-Jesus out of us, and then her gag reflex kicked in clearing it all out.

Cuke puke everywhere.

Happy Friday. Eat your organics!

Welcome to Fatherhood Friday! It’s a hip place at for dads and moms to share stories, ideas, photos and movies with one topic in mind – fatherhood. Good times.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mommies and Daddies can be bumbling dorks. Babies get that.

Even though the Caveman show was a bomb, Geico keeps their marketing machine revved with those funny, prehistoric unibrows.

I for one am a cromagnon-skull daddy who enjoys good physical comedy and proud to sport the thick skull that keeps me a tad dense from day to day (not to be confused with a narcissistic big head).

I am also proud that I’ve passed this genetic “safety” trait on to my baby daughter – to protect her against her bumbling parents not paying attention to where she is in time and space.

For example:

Slide Bang Smack – playing with baby on the floor while baby slides off the pillow support and into the granite fireplace.

Spin Whoosh Smack – spinning baby into the open car door while trying to navigate into the car seat.

Flop Freefall Smack – sitting next to baby on the couch while baby slides face first off the couch and onto the floor (sometimes catching her in midair - that's a trick).

Cradle Plop Smack – gingerly placing baby into car seat or cradle or high chair or bouncy and always, and I mean always, hitting the back of her head somehow, someway.

I know we’re not the only parents to have inadvertently and unintentionally banged our baby’s head, but it can be very scary in the moment. The only levity after the fact is that everyone’s okay, especially baby.

Mommies and Daddies can be bumbling dorks. Babies get that.

And thank goodness they don’t remember anything until they’re 3 or 4.

Happy Fatherhood Friday! It’s a hip place at for dads and moms to share stories, ideas, photos and movies with one topic in mind – fatherhood. Good times.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The catalyst of cause to action

An old friend told me she was happy I had a girl so as to be more sensitive to women’s issues.

That’s probably true, although I think it’s more about changing our minds and deciding to have a child. And hearing that my abusive birth father was dying of lung cancer.

I’ve lived the majority of my life abhorring violence, particularly violence against women and children; that’s what I grew up with. Unfortunately I participated in my own share of emotional abuse back in the day and am not proud of those unsettling moments.

However, I never made abuse of any kind my personal cause. It was just something I didn’t like, shaking my head at the tragedies reported by the media, maybe vocalizing my distaste to my wife, a family member or a friend.

It’s different now. Having a child is the catalyst of cause to action. I hold my daughter and I remember what my mother, sister and me went through all those years ago. I recall the pain I caused others all those years ago. That’s why I participated in The Human Race and will continue to do more.

We all have a choice and sometimes all we need is a catalyst. People can change for the better. Cycles of violence can be broken. We can be personally responsible.

Last month I listened to a Bill Moyer interview with Marta Peláez, president and CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc.

The interview was quite informative and disturbing as well, but one thing in particular that caught my ear was the discussion of her intervention services for the abusers themselves.

You don’t hear much about that, how some organizations work with the abusers to get them to understand they have a choice, that they can walk away from hitting and hurting, resolve their anger issues in other ways.

I was happy to hear that the Obama administration and Congress approved a funding package increases support for key programs that help to prevent domestic violence and support victimsnearly $70 million in increases for effective programs related to domestic violence, a tremendous accomplishment to help end against domestic violence. The bill includes more than $15 million in increases for the Violence Against Women Act, a $45 million increase for the Victims of Crime Act, and a $5.1 million increase for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Following last year's cuts, the bill restores funding levels to those of previous years.

Thank God there are these resources. We all have choices. People can change for the better. Cycles of violence can be broken. We can be personally responsible.

What’s your catalyst of cause to action?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cross-training with Baby (feel the burn)

I love to exercise. Whether it’s weight lifting, jumping on the elliptical (and actually using it), hiking or running – I love to exercise. The endorphin-vanity smack is a high I just can’t resist. My wife and I both are very active kids.

After high school, very many years ago, I left myself go to hell and a hand-basket. I was overweight, a smoker – basically the barely breathing/walking dead of America.

Very many years later I changed all that, but I’ve always been a plain-jane trainer. And then the women of my dreams and I had a baby.

And then the cross-training with Baby began. Rock on.

You know what I mean daddies:

  • The Jogging Stroller Stroll – This one’s pretty straight forward. Take baby on a short run in the jogging stroller. Run for at least 30 minutes or until she’s crying uncontrollably for mommy’s breast (you know, the way you cry uncontrollably for mommy’s breast).
  • The Airplane – Carrying baby sprawled flat on her stomach, right arm under baby, left arm supporting back and shoulders. Then you run around the room yelling “zoooooooom!” Or something like that. Do 3 sets of 2 minutes each and switch sides and arms.
  • The Silly Daddy Lunge – Baby plays on the floor while you lunge, alternating one leg at a time, at baby making silly daddy noises. Be careful not to be too aggressive as you may make baby cry and mommy mad. Do 3 sets of 10 lunges each leg. For an additional workout, pick baby up after each lunge and push over head.
  • The Bouncy Bounce – Simple yet highly aerobic. Place baby in portable doorway bouncy and jump along with baby’s attempt at River Dance. Do in 5 minute intervals or until baby is all done.
  • The Backpack Jack – Go for a hike with baby in backpack. Simple enough. But, when baby pulls your hair and that one Terminator nail that just can’t be trimmed or filed digs into your back, shoulder shrugs and deltoid flies are free of charge. Hike for 30 minutes or until baby fall asleep and drools down your spine.
  • The Raspberry Curl – This is a fun one. Hold baby across your arms, lift in a curl and blow raspberries on her belly. Do 3 sets of 10. Mommies will dig the love guns.

These are just a few examples. If you have any more baby cross-training exercises, please share!

Happy Fatherhood Friday! It’s a hip place at for dads and moms to share stories, ideas, photos and movies with one topic in mind – fatherhood. Good times.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

And what a great weekend it’s been so far!

I was so incredibly happy that my lovely wife and beautiful Bea got to join me yesterday for the Human Race. I raised some awareness in helping to prevent domestic violence, and over $500 for the local non-profit Women's Crisis Support ~ Defensa de Mujeres, whose mission is to end domestic violence and sexual assault by providing intervention and prevention services in a culturally-sensitive way. I did this on behalf of my mother (love you Mom) and mothers around the world who have experienced spousal abuse.

As I tweeted and posted on Facebook Saturday morning – I awoke to the Human Race with a glass half-full of hope.

What a glorious morning for a 7K walk/run! Beatrice was not diggin’ the first half of the race in the jogging stroller, but she warmed up when we put her in the Bjorn.

To date I don’t think I’ve experienced a prouder moment (and I have so many more to come!).

A special thank you to all those who support my cause, either monetarily, voluntarily or in spirit.

Today was a grand Mother’s Day as well! I made Amy a Mother’s Day video that highlighted our journey into parenthood from pregnancy announcement to now. Lots of fun putting together and I’ll have many more of those to go. And there’s nothing finer than a pancake and bacon brunch extravaganza!

Other than Bea helping me make it for Mama for future Mother’s Days to come. Can’t wait for those messes.

Now we’re heading up into the redwoods for an afternoon stroll. (Earlier Mama wanted to go for another brief walk down the street, and I said we’re already going on one this afternoon. She paused, her voice dropping into a low growl, “I sit around the house and play with baby all day everyday, so I want to go for a walk. Now.” Needless to say we were out the door and down the street for some sun and cathartic emotional hopscotch!)

Happy Mother’s Day to all my family and friends!

Mom’s rock, especially the hot one I’m married to. Love you sweetie!

Friday, May 8, 2009

She's a mother for Christ’s sake

When she was on the Today Show earlier this week, I didn’t want to look. I was in the garage working out and I really didn’t want to look.

But I did.

And from all the medical buzz around the face transplant itself, what struck me the most was how she got to the face transplant medical procedure (over 30 of them prior to that).

She was quoted as saying, “If your husband threatens you in any way, it’s going to get worse. Even if they say something to you, they tell you…Oh, you’re ugly, you’re stupid. But if somebody points something at you and they say they’re going to do it, eventually they’re going to do it.”

In 2004 her husband shot her in the face then turned the gun on himself. He went to jail for seven years. She’s been to hell and back again multiple times.

But she said:

“I still love my husband. I forgave him the day he did it. I have to.”

It’s reported that he’s shown remorse since, telling her he’s sorry.

This haunts me. I don’t know how many times my birth father and first step father apologized after beating and berating my mother (not to be confused with the man I call Dad today).

I remember one time when my first step father was threatening my mother with a gun, saying he was going to blow her fucking brains out.

But if somebody points something at you and they say they’re going to do it, eventually they’re going to do it.

We got out of there just as we got away from my birth father. We were lucky. By the grace of God, or by our own. Or both.

But what about Connie Culp? She's a mother for Christ’s sake. She has a son and a daughter and two grandsons.

I still love my husband. I forgave him the day he did it. I have to.

By the grace of God. I don’t know if I could do it. Actually, I know I couldn’t. I can't and won't speak for my mother, however.

Not the uplifting Mother’s Day post I still plan on writing this weekend, but one that weighs heavy on my heart.

This is for all the mothers out there who have been abused. God bless you and your children.

I’m so happy my wife and daughter are joining me tomorrow for the Human Race.

This is for you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.


And Happy Fatherhood Friday as well. It’s a hip place at for dads and moms to share stories, ideas, photos and movies with one topic in mind – fatherhood. Good times.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Back to School with Personal Responsibility 101

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been in school, and Bea’s still a few years away from starting, but why aren’t there these classes required in high school AND for those who attend college:
  • Parenting 101
  • Personal Finance 101
  • Nutrition & Exercise 101

Mercy, there are so many other courses about religious studies and critical thinking and philosophy and non-essential garbage (most of which are in college, not high school), but why aren’t there classes on parenting, personal finance, nutrition & exercise?

And why aren’t more parents committed to changing this? Isn’t it bad enough that “sex education” is still so controversial in school these days with teenage sexuality and STD’s so prevalent?

Maybe most parents don’t know what they never missed. Sure, many of us turned out just fine and our kids most likely will as well, but I believe we can make more of a difference in the lives of our children and our children’s children.

And what about a Morality 101 class? Make it required as well along with Personal Responsibility 101.

When I was in high school there was a marriage and family class – that I didn’t take. It was seen as an easy ride to an “A” with a fake wedding at the end with cake and fanfare. I remember my high school counselor specifically telling me not to take the class.

I’m all about prevention prior to praying for help after the fact. My mother used to send us to Sunday school to pray for her and my birth father – to pray the violence would end.

Anger management 101? I’m in for that one too. (I’m non-denominational humanitarian with a 2-8 Enneagramarian temper and thousands of years of culturally and religiously sanctioned abuse and violence have got to go.)

If we could help prevent one domestic violence case or one child abuse case or one obesity case or one bankruptcy case – wouldn’t you be an advocate for these preemptive required classes?

If anyone knows of these types of required classes that exist today in public or private education, please let me know. I’m still too old school and would love to write about them.

Bea thanks you!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The sleepless nights of seismic room shifting, nail scratching and nose snotting

The planets align. Oracles tap their staffs upon cliffs partings seas. The moon turns red. Men who love their mothers gouge their eyes out.

And parents sleep like crap.

It’s not that dramatic really, but this week has been a challenge with Bea. Or more like, a challenge with Bea’s parents.

Bea’s been teething, and although no baby pearly whites have punctured the soft pink gums yet, the growing pains hit like seismic shifts. Drool buckets at the ready, please.

We then decided that this would be the week to move Bea into her room and crib. To date she’s been in a bassinet next to Mama’s side of the bed, which we’ve both been fine with.

We moved her on Monday and as of Wednesday she was back in our room. Not because Baby couldn’t handle it, but Mama had to traipse back and forth so Baby could eat (still breastfeeding, no formula). That caused me to sleep poorly because I worried more about Mama than Baby. We’ll try again soon.

Then there’s the Beatrice Scissor-hands situation. I can’t cut Bea’s nails. It’s the one thing that freaks me out more than any other baby care moment. I just can’t do it. So the onus is all on Mama and she does a great job keeping them trimmed and filed.

However, there is one Terminator nail from the future that keeps scratching Bea’s face. It looks like she was outside in a catfight. Everyone’s recommending we bag the hands, but Mama’s not up for that one. Thankfully baby skin heals quickly. Like an alien’s.

And to top it all off, we summoned the cold Cracken to wreak havoc on Mama’s nose and now Baby’s. (No H1N1 virus here or eye gouging.)

I’m fine so far, but that run down feeling has started and we all know that a family that snots together stays together.

And doesn’t sleep well together. Sigh.

Happy Fatherhood Friday! It’s a hip place at for dads and moms to share stories, ideas, photos and movies with one topic in mind – fatherhood. Good times.