Category Archives: Uncategorized

7 Little Remedies for Babies With Colic

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A year ago, MJ and I were in the throes of Sam’s unrelenting colic. And it was horrible.

While we had the run of the mill newborn experience with Will, Sam was a different animal altogether. An angry, howling, strictly nocturnal creature who refused to sleep or go gently into any good night. His colic was intense and nightmarish, and — well, I didn’t deal with it very well.

But that doesn’t mean you need to make the same mistake. Here are some of the tricks of the trade I learned over the years when dealing with a colicky baby.

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7. Swaddle
I naively thought swaddling was just wrapping a blanket around the kid. I was wrong. It’s truly an art form. You have to wrap in a way that stops the baby from being able to wiggle his arms free. They like to feel like they’re in a safe, warm cocoon not all that dissimilar from the womb. Once you perfect the “baby burrito” technique, that’ll help a lot.

6. Shift Your Position
Sometimes the way you like to hold the baby isn’t the way the baby wants to be held. You’ve got to try a whole bunch of different positions and experiment to see which one works the best. A lot of times, putting an arm under Sam’s belly and holding him face down seemed to work. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever works.

5. White Noise
Look, I’m not a doctor. I have no idea if this really works or not. But years ago with Will we bought a white noise machine from Brookstone, and it is one of the best purchases we ever made. When Sam was struggling to sleep, we stole borrowed it from Will and gave it to Sam. We put it on the setting for “fetal heartbeat” (a sound that closely resembles the sound of mom’s heartbeat a baby can hear in the womb) and it did seem to help him relax a little.

4. Pacifiers
Babies have a natural instinct to suck (pun intended). Sucking on a nipple or bottle means comfort for the baby, so when either or those isn’t available, try a pacifier. It’s not only comforting for the kid and will put him at ease, some researchers also believe it cuts down on the risk of SIDS. Unfortunately, Sam was one of the only babies on Earth who refused to take a pacifier!

3. Babywearing
This one is slightly hypocritical since I hate babywearing and refuse to do it. But nonetheless, a lot of people feel differently and a lot of babies respond very well to it. So if you have a colicky baby who isn’t responding to anything else, try putting him/her in a sling and wearing the baby close for comfort.

2. Burping
When in doubt, burp. Babies who have been crying incessantly have a tendency to gulp down a boatload of air, which can cause a lot of gas and make the crying and discomfort even worse. So burp the kid and get some relief. Normally I like to just throw him up on my shoulder and thump his back a bit, but at other times it’s also good to lay him across my knees or put my arm under his belly and burp him that way. Whatever works best for you.

1. Use Little Remedies Gas Drops & Gripe Water
Sometimes all of the above just aren’t enough. Luckily, that’s where Little Remedies comes in. There are two products we used with Sam that gave him (and us) relief. The first is Little Remedies Gas Drops which help quickly relieve tummy pain from excess gas, while gently easing stomach discomfort and bloating. Like all Little Remedies products, there are no artificial colors or flavors, no alcohol, saccharin, or preservatives. It can even be mixed with 1 ounce of water, formula, or other liquid. The second product is Little Remedies Gripe Water. This was a huge help to us when Sam was colicky, and especially when he couldn’t stop hiccuping after crying so much. It’s very safe and natural — with no alcohol or gluten — and reduces air buildup.

My wife and I are very cognizant of what goes into our kids’ bodies, and we use Little Remedies at every turn because they go by the idea that “less is more,” and none of their products contain artificial flavors, colors, or alcohol.

***Disclaimer: I was compensated by Little Remedies for this post. However, I used their products way before they ever approached me and I stand by their effectiveness and endorse them 100%. Check out their website and Facebook page.

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My Son Is Starting to Doubt Santa – And That’s OK

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“Dad, I know the Santa Alarm isn’t real.”

The alarm my 6-year-old references is a tool we use to keep him upstairs on Christmas morning until he wakes us up and we’re all able to go down together.  It’s something my father did to my brother and I for years (more than I’m willing to admit here). I’ve never actually specified what happens if the Santa Alarm is tripped, but years ago Will chose to believe all of his presents would disappear. I never confirmed that fear, but I didn’t exactly refute it either.

But apparently he broached the topic with kids at school, who told him they’ve been downstairs before their parents woke up. Heck, they even opened a gift or two. Lo and behold, none of Santa’s gifts self-destructed or magically transported themselves back to the North Pole.

“It just doesn’t make sense, dad. It’s impossible for the presents to just disappear. That’s how I know you’re lying about the Santa Alarm.”

First of all, never underestimate the ability of small children to start huge and complex discussions just before bedtime. Second, uh oh!

This is the first brick removed from the wall. The initial pinprick leak in the dam. The chink in the armor that will one day spiderweb across the magical innocence of my son’s youth until it finally shatters into a million pieces and disintegrates upon impact.

And honestly, I’m torn on how to feel.

I have walked the Santa tightrope ever since becoming a parent. Before Will was born, I swore I wouldn’t perpetuate the Santa Myth. I was going to be that parent who didn’t unnecessarily lie to his kids. I was going to promote logical thinking and watch with pride as my son used deductive reasoning to summarily disprove and dismiss Santa. And if that upset the parents of his school friends, too bad. They shouldn’t have lied to their kids.

But then I actually became a parent and witnessed firsthand the magic that comes with Santa. Because it is real.

I loved his excitement at the thought of a larger than life figure coming to visit him in the dead of night to deliver gifts. How he longed to feed the reindeer and make sure they’re hydrated enough to continue the journey.  I envied the complete glee and wonder he displayed when one of Santa’s sleigh bells found its way into his stocking. Say what you want, but there truly is magic in it.

And yet…

When he started putting two and two together about the Santa Alarm being fake, I was surprised my first emotion wasn’t fear, panic, and loathing the impending loss of youthful naivete. It was pride. Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but I was proud of him for checking with sources, applying reason, and coming to a common sense conclusion. The correct conclusion, I might add.

In that moment, I couldn’t lie to him. Yet I also didn’t come out and tell him the truth. Instead, I applauded his efforts and told him we all need to gather information and use it to determine what we do and do not believe in. I was like a shrink, turning it around on him and asking “Well what do YOU believe?” I felt like a government official at a press conference in that I would neither confirm nor deny the reality of the Santa Alarm.

Is it a cop-out? Yeah, kinda. But I also think it’s best right now.

He still believes in Santa. I like that. But I also know today it’s the Santa Alarm, but next year (or the year after or the year after that) it’s going to be doubting flying reindeer. And then the mathematical impossibility of Santa visiting every kid’s house in one night the world over. And eventually, the existence of the Big Man himself.

I think too many parents mourn the loss of youthful innocence, while forgetting to simultaneously celebrate the intellectual advancements maturity brings with it. Both have a place in our house, and neither one is better or worse than the other.

One day Santa will be gone, but there’s still magic to be had as your children grow and learn to think for themselves.

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Let’s Be frank – I Stink!

Look, it’s not that I don’t care about hygiene. I do. Kinda. I mean, I work mostly from home so it’s easy to just roll out of bed and go to work (the couch). The only people I have to impress are my wife and my 16-month-old, and he craps himself every morning so I’m easily winning the smell battle there.

But then there’s my wife. As the woman who pledged to sleep with me for the rest of our lives, she does care what I smell like. And rightly so. That’s why when I told her about an opportunity to try out frank — a zany Australian body scrub company — she insisted.

Turns out, it was a good move.

She loved it. I mean, LOVED IT! And why wouldn’t she?

You see, frank’s bath products are all coffee-based — and my wife is a coffee fiend! She took one whiff of the Original Coffee Scrub and was instantly in love. Then she read the label and her jaw dropped even more, because she loved the fact that frank is all natural. Whether it’s the Coconut Scrub, Peppermint Coffee Scrub, or Cacao Coffee Scrub, frank flat out delivers in the most uncomplicated way possible.

But there was one complication for me. In a nutshell, I hate coffee.

Yes, that’s right. I’m the weirdo who hates coffee. I don’t drink it and I don’t like the smell of it. And since frank’s product is literally covering yourself with coffee grounds, I was nervous that I wouldn’t like it. But after lugging the Christmas boxes out of the attic, decorating our living room, hauling the Christmas tree into the house, and then cleaning up the ensuing mess, I was filthy. And standing there drenched in sweat and pine needles, I was ready to try anything.

And I’m glad I did.

While I still don’t care for the coffee smell, I was amazed at how good I felt after using the frank Coconut Scrub. I had heard the term “exfoliate” before but after using frank I actually FELT it for the first time. The grapeseed and coconut oil moisturizes your skin instantly, and my skin was noticeably more hydrated. Not only that, but after only a few uses, the eczema on my upper arms was almost gone.

Even my 6-year-old loved it (though he wouldn’t open his eyes).

So even though I’m not a coffee guy, I’m going to continue using frank because my skin has never felt better, the kids have fun feeling dirty by using the coffee grounds to get clean, and my wife has been allllllllllllll over me since frank entered my life.

If you’d like to learn more about frank, visit their website. It’d make a great stocking stuffer. You can also check them out on Facebook, but their Instagram account is really amazing. But only if you like racy photos of scantily clad men and women using an amazing product!

But now I just have to worry about MJ and frank being alone together!

I was called out by Trey Burley at DaddyMojo and I’d like to think I answered the bell here. Now it’s time to start some shit with another blogger who is downright filthy and digusting. You hear me Mike? I know you’re “Dad and Buried” and all, but what people don’t know is you’re buried in a pile of bullshit and shame, the likes of which stinks to high heaven. You need to up your game, son. Well, first you need to get some game in the first place. And I’m not talking about another viral HuffPost list, you football hating bastard. You up for it?

***I have partnered with Life of Dad and frank body and was compensated for this promotion. But as always, my opinions are 100% my own.

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From Nightclubs to Netflix: How New Year’s Eve Changes for Parents

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Before I became a parent, the words “New Year’s Eve” sent me into a fit of anticipatory glee.

Maybe it meant going to a friend’s house and meeting up with all the guys to imbibe a metric ton of few cocktails. Or perhaps we’d splurge and plan to go to First Night festivities, followed by a night out at a series of bars and clubs where we’d dance our faces off and ring in the New Year in debaucherous fashion. Those New Year’s were always filled with a lot of fun (if you could manage to remember the night them the next morning), and I’ll always be glad I went all out in my capricious youth.

But then you have kids, and boy do things change.

My oldest is 6 and my youngest is 16 months. That means wild parties have been replaced by temper tantrums and wildly overflowing diapers. It means if anyone in our house is still awake at midnight, something has gone horribly wrong. And instead of dancing the night away at a crowded club with overpriced drinks, we’re far more likely to be getting down to Madagascar’s “I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT!” and spilling our sippy cups.

But don’t mistake that for a complaint, because these days I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year, my oldest is REALLY excited for the Netflix original series called “All Hail King Julien.” The first of five episodes comes out on Dec. 19, and follows everyone’s favorite ring-tailed lemur from the Madagascar series as he takes on the looniest characters and adventures the jungle can offer.  And given the amount of laughing and dancing that will likely accompany this show, he’ll tire himself out well before the ball drops in Times Square.

But Netflix doesn’t stop there with the holiday entertainment for the whole family. Here are some other recommendations from a variety of sources.

For those who can’t get enough Madagascar:

madagascar

For kids who like to monkey around:

curiousgeorgexmasFor kids who don’t mind vegetables:

veggietalesFor people with the same taste in movies as my mom:

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For people looking for an underrated holiday movie:

dutch

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I was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

 

 

 

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Why Some White People Can’t See White Privilege

got-privilege

I was 23 years old when I heard the term “white privilege” for the first time. And I immediately hated and resented it.

First I had to learn what white privilege meant. Simply put, it’s a term that describes the inherent advantages people like me enjoy simply from being born white. For instance, I don’t have to worry about being pulled over by the police just because of my skin color. I can live my daily life absent any and all concerns about race and how it affects my career, negative judgments during daily interactions with people, and my personal safety. Basically, white privilege means I have an easier path in life with fewer obstacles than people of color.

But for someone raised in America the land of the free where opportunity abounds and success always follows hard work, the entire notion of white privilege was impossible for me to swallow.

I heard “white privilege” and immediately classified it as someone making excuses for black people instead of holding them accountable. I heard someone trying to tell me I was spoiled and lazy just because I’m white. And I was threatened and defensive because I heard someone trying to take away from my accomplishments and hard work, simply because I supposedly had things handed to me due to my whiteness.

Basically I felt like I was being called a cheater.

So I went on the attack. I said things like “this is America and everyone has the same chance at success,” and “if black people want the success white people have, they need to work harder.” I screamed about Al Sharpton and shouted about the ridiculousness of the “race card.” And I capped off all such arguments by reminding anyone who would listen that slavery was a long time ago and we live in a modern, enlightened society largely free from racism.

It would take several years and a whole new network of friends from all over the world to see what an absolute jackass I was being.

Through new jobs and the power of online networking and social media, I began to talk to a variety of people with a plethora of life experience. Those friends and acquaintances made the difference, as suddenly the world as I knew it opened up – and looked very different from what I had known.

I’ve seen a mother with a black son and white son, and the pain she goes through when they enter a store and her black child is routinely followed and eyed with disdain, while her white child wanders around free from suspicion. I’ve listened to black fathers break down emotionally when they have to explain to their children why other kids at school refuse to play with them simply because of their skin color. One friend of mine was in a group of underage people who were caught drinking by security. Despite all of them being under 21, only my friend was detained while the rest were told to scram. I’m sure you can guess what color my detained friend was.

Even now you can see real-life stories of everyday racism and unfairness by viewing hashtags such as #AliveWhileBlack. It’s terrifyingly eye-opening, especially compared to #CrimingWhileWhite, which describes the leniency many white people experience during run-ins with law enforcement officers.

I know you’re thinking “Oh great, another I-used-to-be-racist-but-now-I’m-an-enlightened-progressive-white-guy” article. Fair enough. I’m well aware that for some people, that’s all this will ever be.

But my point is, the things I learned in the classroom about civil rights and MLK as a suburban white kid in a town that’s 93% Caucasian? They’re not enough. It needs to be personal.

I had no black friends because there was no diversity in my community, so I never had the opportunity to talk to different people. And I know I’m not alone in that boat. I truly believe if the majority of white people who don’t believe in privilege connected to people of color and listened to their perspectives – if they actually witnessed the pain and fear as they describe their experiences – things would slowly start to improve. A foundation will be built.

It’s not ever fun to admit you’re wrong about something as fundamental as how you view the world. Yes we live in America and yes it is a land of opportunity, but I was born a lot closer to opportunity than others. Too many white people think white privilege means they don’t work hard or earn their way in life, but that’s not true. White privilege does NOTHING to devalue the success that only hard work and determination can bring. But in the midst of all that, it’s important to realize we face fewer obstacles than people of color, who often have to work twice as hard for the same results. It’s all about perspective.

I hope white people will see white privilege is not an accusation – it’s just reality. Because that’s the starting point for the larger conversation about race this country so desperately needs.

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