Monday, December 19, 2011

I Like to Move It!

Just a little excuse to dance and sing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't give me no lines and keep your hands to yourself.

Great article from the Good Men Project with tons of information through the links if you take the time to explore it.

"If you’re a dad, it’s really important that your daughter understand you don’t think she’s “asking for it.” If she tells you it’s happening, don’t ask her what she was wearing, because she could be wearing a burka and it would happen."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are we crazy train(ing)?

Interesting piece here from the Good Men Project.

"Gaslighting is a term...to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy... hose who engage in gaslighting create a reaction—whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness—in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal."



This article has been shared in several forums, and it stands out to me how men seem to react to the perceived personal accusation. Are most men incapable of looking past the indictment of some men's behavior to examine our own actions? Why must we defend men in general and point our fingers at the misdeeds of others rather than taking an honest look at something like this? We should be thankful of the point of view that helps us have empathy for women. As a man raising a young woman, I certainly am.  We have to be careful, as parents and men, not to condition our wives and children to this tactic of diminishment. More importantly, we must not detract from things women and feminists tell us feels like sexism.

Anyone could do or say something sexist unintentionally... the real test is what our reaction is to being told about it. Do we change our behavior, do we reconsider our language or do we put up our walls of defensiveness and work in vain to maintain our "Good Guy" persona at the expense of the very characteristic we are trying to protect? I have come to realize there are so many every day things that I don’t consider as a man because I have never had to, because I was raised differently, because the expectations placed on me were different, because I AM different than them. "Good” men ought to listen to women, and we ought not to detract from their feelings and experiences just because we don’t share them.

The defenses I keep seeing from some men in response to this article of “women do it too” is empty. Men are not on the receiving end of the societal discrimination and dismissal of our emotions as “crazy” to the degree of women at all. Men’s emotional responses are explained away as perfectly acceptable “short tempers”, “too much testosterone”, “inherent competitiveness” or “just a bad day” while women are viewed, as a group, to be more prone to “crazy” and “over-reaction”… the worst part of it is that any attempt by women to bring this up is met with more of the same accusations or with demands they “lighten up”. Men who dismiss this article need to think about how that must feel.

“Good Men” need to confront this tactic and these stereotypes at every turn in our selves and we need to speak up when we see it in public. It’s not always comfortable to challenge people on these things, but it is the only way to make change. The idea in this article is just one facet of the diminishment of women as people through sexism the good guys should fight against and I think this is EXACTLY the kind of thing a men’s magazine should be putting forth. There are too many potential “good men” who have never been exposed to the world view of women, feminist theory, rape culture and the impact of our actions, non-actions, words, silence and attitudes on women. Our wives, our daughters, our sisters and our mothers deserve better and they need the good guys to speak up and stop being defensive about the observations (this article didn’t say “ALL MEN” do anything nor that this tactic is “ONLY” employed by men, so why do so many of us read it that way?). You don’t have to be the jerk described in every article like this to learn something about how we impact women and how to do something about it. I applaud “Good Men Project” as a men’s publication that stands out from the rest, we don’t need another FHM or a Maxim, we need this.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tools of the Mind vs. Tiger Parenting


I ran across an interesting piece here on BigThink which touches on Dr. Sam Wang's indictment of "Tiger Mom" principles:

“An important point here,” says Wang, “is that willpower [i.e. self-discipline] training in children is most effective when the child is having fun.”  Intense stress is a poor learning tool at best, and potentially harmful to the developing brain, especially in sensitive children. Gently guided play, a powerful approach exemplified by the school program “Tools of the Mind”,  can incorporate self-discipline training into the imaginative play that children naturally engage in and enjoy."
This roused my curiosity about Tools of the Mind as I was not familiar with this program. Check out this NPR article for more background on the methods. The program focuses on improving executive function; 
"good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child's IQ....  executive function is the ability to regulate one's own behavior — a key skill for controlling emotions, resisting impulses and exerting self control and discipline." 
For anyone really interested in learning more about this, I found a 3 part series (part 1, part 2, part 3) from Kids at Thought to be comprehensive and helpful for understanding the Tools of the Mind program, the research supporting it and the methods of applying it to teaching and raising your own children. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby Part Deux

Dad On The Run and VV are expecting again. I guess, I'll soon be Dad-On-The-Mad-Dash!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Life's a Beach...

Today we went to the beach, which probably sounds like the bee’s knees… not exactly. It took longer to get ready than expected and J Bean was quite impatient to leave once she learned of our destination. Finally, after changing clothes, packing a lunch, gathering our stuff and slathering down with suntan lotion we were ready to roll. We rode across town in traffic and took longer than expected to find a parking spot. J Bean grew tired of the ride about half way there and screamed for me to fix something, do something, sing something, roll windows down, don’t talk etc… etc… I had to offer what I could verbally and try to remain calm while keeping us safe on the road and wondering why I’m trying to get to the beach. Traffic caused us to arrive at about the time we should have been eating lunch which I had so cleverly planned for a beach picnic. Guess what?! Toddlers are not interested in eating when there is a lake and sand nearby. We made our way on foot across the parking lot and over the pedestrian bridge to the beach. J Bean’s flip-flops were hurting she mentioned this to me at least 50 times even after attempts to "fix" them. So we take the flip-flops off, oops, the sand is too hot. Now I’ll carry the 2 year old, the over-stuffed diaper bag, a toy shark I have for some reason, the arm of towels/blankets and… her flip flops. Lay out the blanket, and my daughter immediately gets sand all over it. I wave off some sand, empty my pockets, undress J Bean. Let’s go get in the water!! Finally! Uh-Oh… the water is pretty chilly and J Bean is screaming at the top of her lungs (because she thinks this is what toddlers are supposed to do when within sight of water outdoors). We wade in to the water where I'm on the receiving end of a tongue lashing tantrum because I forgot the #@$@%! Floaties. We wade into the waves a little more (brrrr!!!), J Bean is scared and screaming about being scared, but I think she is again shrieking with joy so I am unaware of her panic for a minute. Once I realize my mistake, I grab her up and we get out of the water and onto the sand (time elapsed… 2 and a half minutes). We try again and she had fun for a few moments before saying she was scared and cold. Out of the lake again with her in my arms… what’s that I smell? It’s terrible… really very offensive. Wait a minute... it’s coming from my child’s backside and since she is wearing a wet swim diaper and bathing suit, which is about as porous as a wet coffee filter, I am now starting to have serious concerns about the origin of the “water” dripping down my side.  OK… I’ve dealt with this type of thing before; let’s take care of this quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, I could not lay J Bean on the blanket as it was mysteriously covered in sand so I threw down my own towel and put the crying, whining, screaming toddler on her back (she’s hungry/cranky and for some reason her heart's only desire is to go back to the water which she is deathly afraid of). I said something reassuring, took off the swim suit, deftly ripped off the sides of the diaper and found a half and half mixture of poop and sand/seawater… The sand was everywhere. Now I’m leaning over my child on the beach, a smell that was likely to cause the nearby sunbathers to retch was wafting away in the sea breeze and I’m using wipe after wipe after wipe and the poopsand is finally starting to give in. My rare, but crippling, stay-home Dad feelings of inadequacy swell up like hackles on my back. Surely every mother out here must be wondering what is wrong with me as I am wiping and wiping and I clearly didn’t bring a baggie!  J  Bean’s nose is running from the cold water now,
   See, we were at the beach and we had fun!
I literally took this picture with J Bean
  standing next to me crying. I have no idea
 why I felt the need to document the event. 
  so I’m also second-guessing my decision to bring her to the beach when she was still recovering from a cold and I imagine her snot glistens like a scarlet letter in the midday sun to those around who must be judging me by now. Alright, the gritty mess has been tamed, but our blanket, my shirt and my towel have fallen victim to the toxic spill. I set them to the side and we worked through the remainder of dressing and cleaning up. A few minutes later, I decide J Bean’s sour temperament is related to her lack of food, so I push the eating again and we get a little food down in her with plenty of protests. All the while, I’m thinking "did I clean her well enough? Should I use more wipes and hand sanitizer?" (the answer is no… had I used any more my offspring may have evaporated with it). Now I’m obsessing over the fact that a nearby Mom has almost surely been watching this whole scene and is now probably calling Family and Children’s services with concerns about water cruelty, bacteria exposure and a father who wipes his daughter with a half pack of wipes for one diaper. Oh well, put that aside... we came here to have fun dammit!

Again, we go in to the lake and again we have similar results (am I crazy?). Well, we had similar shivering and fear; thankfully there were no more dirty diapers. We came out of the water and I started drying off J Bean with our one remaining towel and put her in a cover-up. I’m packing up to leave, after all we’ve been at the beach for about 45 minutes and had a grand total of 3 minutes of fun with no crying or pooping. What else could I ask for, right? Together J Bean and I weather one more tantrum as she realizes we didn’t make any sand castles and I realize we can’t play in the sand and clean off in the water again without more shivering and fear and we have no more dry towels. In the car, it dawns on me I should start packing extra clothes for myself and not just the little one. "Whatever", I think and I ride shirtless across Chicago just like I used to do in my south Georgia hometown. And you know what? With the windows down, I could hardly hear the fussing from the back seat.  We made it home without further incident (other than traffic) and hopped in the shower together and got a load of laundry going. Now, I'm clean and relaxed for a few minutes (and I even got some writing in!), but J Bean is waking after a short nap and she sounds none too happy about it. Here we go again. I love my life as a stay home Dad and I'm happy to say that hearing J Bean exclaim from the backseat when we arrived home, “Daddy, the beach was fun, the lake was fun, I Loooove sand!” basically erased the bad parts of the day and writing about it has helped mellow me out so I can tackle the job again. No matter if J Bean is cranky for the rest of the day or if this is just her usual wake up grouchiness, I'll greet her with a smile and love her as far as the moon and back. I think we'll keep it simple tomorrow, though.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet Home Chicago

I know, it took a long time to follow up on the previous post... Note to self: Don't plan on writing on the road (or while trying to move in to a new place).

First things first, I delivered a nice load of supplies to the tornado victims in Cleveland, TN. Delivering some much needed tarps, bleach, paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a tent, batteries, pet food and other needed items was very fulfilling though in a different way than I expected. There was no welcoming committee and I didn't really get to see the damaged area so much, but there were real people (the real heroes) receiving and distributing these supplies to families of their high school. I am very happy we were able to help these people out, there were over a thousand people in the area with homes no longer habitable. I want to offer a big thanks to the people of Lakeland, GA, my friends and family who helped make it happen. The recipients were truly grateful and passed along their sincere thanks for the assistance.

I spent one night with my father and his wife in the Chattanooga area where I enjoyed some great conversation, good pizza and music and some cold beer. The next day I pressed on and made it back to Chicago that night. It was wonderful to see VeeVee and J Bean after several days away. I had talked with them on the phone several times daily, each time I spoke with J Bean she requested I "sing the Mowgli song" (aka: The Bare Necessities from Jungle Book) which was quite fitting considering the relief efforts I was involved in while away. The next morning we tackled the job of finalizing our packing, loading the truck with our Chicago apartment junk stuff, and meeting our movers for the unloading into our new fourth floor walk-up. I have to say, I am very happy we decided to use some movers for that Herculean task... had I been left to do that alone with my friend's help we would probably still be unloading and I would probably be without said friend. I'm sure the money spent was less than my potential hospital bills had I lugged our belonging up the steep flights of stairs to our new place. Since then we have been unpacking, shopping for new furniture, buying a new car and assembling new furniture; hence the delay in this post. Still plenty to do, just wanted to update everyone a little and work on getting back into the new "normal" for our new place. We love the space and have some great neighbors in our building, but we are working to get used to the new sounds of our fresh digs and learning about some of the other weird strange thuggish exotic new neighborhood and surroundings. This is what Chicago neighborhoods are all about, diversity and the good and bad that go with living in a new up and coming area. We are happy to find some great food in the area, some interesting Mom and Pop places and to make some new friends while less ecstatic about some of the crime, barking dogs and undesirable elements of our new place.

J Bean is adjusting well and progressing with toilet training with no setbacks after the move. In fact, she seems to be taking the stress and the new surroundings better than VeeVee, myself or the cat. She has particularly enjoyed shopping for and exploring our new vehicle. We bought a 2010 Ford Flex and we are very happy with the vehicle so far. It has 3rd row seats, which VeeVee was adamant about (perhaps she is expecting triplets I don't know about yet??) and all the gadgets it takes to make me happy. It's kind of like a mobile man cave, I'm very pleased with the ride so far and J Bean loves having enough room in the back to have a dance party while I learn how to use the on-board computer system and how to Sync this vehicle with our mobile devices. Very Star Trekkish I must say. Actually, I am dictating this blog post from the cabin of my new ride where it will be spell-checked and formatted for publishing (that's not true... though it may be a feature I just have not learned about yet, wouldn't surprise me). Anyway, hope everyone is having a great day and that you all have a pleasurable weekend!

Monday, May 2, 2011

From the north to the south and back again...

I’m in the back of a new Dodge Caravan being chauffeured from Jacksonville to my hometown 2 hours away. The ride costs less than a one way rental car and works well with my plan to rent a truck this week and schlep across the country with the rest of our belongings as we make our move to Chicago more permanent. Seems odd to call it permanent as we have been in Chi-town for over 2 years now, but we always thought our departure was imminent. Along with some added job security for VeeVee and our family, we’ll finally be moving out of our one bedroom shoebox (albeit a shoebox with one helluva great location and view) and out into a real Chicago neighborhood and a 3 bedroom, 2 bath monstrosity of an apartment. I’m looking forward to all the new amenities (In unit washer and dryer! Key the hallelujah choir music!).

It’s been an interesting few years watching J Bean grown from… well, a bean… to a little girl. She’s now 2 and half and remains the light of every day I get to spend with her. The changes in her ability to move about and in communicating with us never cease to amaze. Today, while leaving my family (for the first time more than a few hours away more than just one night since we first moved to the second city) I found myself faced with a big lump in my throat.  I was feeling apprehension about leaving them, will they be safe? Will I? Will VeeVee be prepared for the days on end without my support? As with other jobs, we stay-home parents tend to over-estimate our irreplaceability in our roles.  Once I made it to the airport, the worries started to melt away and after having spoken with VeeVee and J Bean on the phone twice already (I’ve been gone only 7 hours at the time I wrote this), I can see the world continues to spin without me and that makes me very happy. J Bean will get some time with sitters this week every day while VeeVee is working. I am very interested in seeing how this goes and I’m excited to see the new things she will learn while also a little anxious to see what new behaviors I may have to work with when I get home.


I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some friends and family while I am home in between the packing, loading and seeing if I can find a buyer for our seldom used extra car while I’m here. We’re hoping to expand our family soon and it is about time to upgrade to that dreaded mini-van. Maybe I’ll be able to convince VeeVee an SUV is really the way to go, but I don’t think she is taking seriously my lobbying efforts for a new Charger. Signing off, from the road. I’ll try to post again in a few days with an update and I’ll be passing though some storm damaged areas of north GA and Tennessee.

UPDATE: The packing is mostly done, I pick up the truck tomorrow and get down to the business of loading it with all my worldly possessions. While writing the entry above it dawned on me that I would have a big rental truck only half full when heading up to the tornado affected areas so I reached out to some philanthropist friends of mine and we are working together to gather supplies to take to some families in need in Cleveland, GA. I am hopeful we can have a positive impact on the recipients. There are some 300 families without homes up there and most lost everything they had, I’m very happy to be able to be a part of helping them through this time. I encourage you all to donate to the Red Cross or other charities to help these families. The devastation is unreal and I’m bracing myself for what I’ll see when I get there on Wednesday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"It Smells Like Good"


J Bean was prescribed glasses a few months ago for a little eye crossing, which is a result of her trouble focusing. We just went back for her follow up appointment and the doc says the eyes are aligning much better, but she is not seeing as well out of her right eye. The solution for this? Cover the left eye with a big patch for two months and force the brain to deal with the input from the weaker eye now that the crossing is no longer exacerbating the problem. J Bean has taken the whole experience in stride and has adapted to her glasses quite well and hardly skipped a beat her first week with the patch. Other than not being able to tell how far away my popcorn laden hand is and being frustrated with the need to take steps a little more cautiously, she seems to be doing great with it. On one hand, I feel terrible we have to keep this on her for two months, but I'm also happy to see she is able to meet these challenges and has displayed some resiliency. I know I wouldn't be in as good of a mood if I had to wear a pirate patch all day every day, can you imagine how irritating that must be? Not to a two year old though, she has enjoyed the extra attention the patch has brought and likes to laugh at herself in the mirror while yelling "Yarr!!!" at the top of her lungs. She gave an impromptu performance of Twinkle "Ittle" Star in a gift shop yesterday and received a round of applause from the friendly shoppers. 
It seems the unique patch has actually boosted her self-esteem rather than taking away from it, which makes me very happy. This coupled with a walk through the park the first day with the patch reminded me again just how awesome this little person is. While checking out the garden at the park, we came to a spot with some flowers near the sidewalk. J Bean stooped probably 2 feet away (not having any depth perception) and proceeded to sniff the flowers despite distance, the strong wind and a stuffy nose. She turned to me with one sparkling eye and said, "Smells like good, Daddy!" That's right little one, it sure does.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Scary technology or just more fear mongering?



As a former private investigator, part of me is very interested in this and how useful it might be to those searching for fraudsters, missing persons and criminals... the parent in me is somewhat concerned about this. How worried should we be though? After all, we are just a needle in a stack of needles these days and shouldn't have any real worries (beyond those parents have had since the dawn of civilization anyway). With that said, I did disable the automatic location services on my smart phone and don't allow it to tag location info on my photos, but I did that when I set up my phone not as a result of this story.

It is worth noting the media's handling of this by pointing us toward websites and apps that can help with stalking endeavors seems a little counterproductive... as is my spreading of the message I suppose. Anyway, lesson to be learned here... know your setting and don't allow your devices to spy on you and reveal information that you would not put out there knowingly. As a guy who spent nearly 10 years looking for and watching people (insurance fraud suspects) who all thought no one could possibly be watching them or care about what they are up to, I think it is prudent to be aware of your digital profile and the profile of your children.

The website mentioned in the story icanstalku.com is actually a great resource for turning off the location options on many different smartphones and explaining more about geotagging. Check it out here to find out how to disable on your phone or to find out more. While you are there, go their homepage and see how they are "stalking" or locating twitpic users 24/7 on their site. Some info from their site:

The storage of location based data, in the form of Latitude and Longitude inside of images is called Geotagging... This data is stored inside if the metadata if JPEG images and is useful for tying the photograph to a location...
Most modern digital cameras do not automatically add geolocation. There is a large exception to this rule: Smartphones. With the proliferation of smart phones that contain GPS locator technology inside, the cameras in these devices are already equipped with the specialized hardware to automatically add geolocation information to the pictures at the time they are taken.
Most people don't realize that the action of automatic geotagging takes place on their smart phones... as a result, individuals often share too much information about their location, right down to the exact Latitude and Longitude when snapping photos with their smartpphone and posting them online.

I didn't find any credible information in my research for picture (or location services: foursquare, Facebook check-in, etc) to indicate there is much crime taking place as a result of this information being shared, but I do think it is just a matter of time before a more sophisticated criminal arises. I'm not scared and am not indicating any of you should be, but it's good to be aware of these things so you can take precautions. This site is a great resource for information: http://www.eff.org/wp/locational-privacy it is worth noting I found their link through a site called pleaserobme.com which pointed out how "checking in" somewhere sends a clear message that the one place you are not is at home. Personally, I'd rather the criminals take my stuff when I'm not home so no one gets hurt; however,  advertising when you are not home is probably just asking for trouble.

It has even be suggested by some that usage of location services (fourquare, buzz and even facebook with check-ins) could ultimately lead to higher home insurance premiums for users if/when it is correlated to increased burglaries. Seems a little weak to me at this point, but if you want to play it safe and avoid the possible extra costs, check out some tips here.

Of course, we must also remember Facebook has led to the arrest of criminals in some cases. So while offering up too much location information could lead to robbery/burglary... it could also lead to arrests of criminals. Check out this story about a 19 y/o who couldn't resist checking his Facebook account while burglarizing a house and was ultimately caught as a result... D'oh!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Check yourself... being a gentleman is rarely easy.

A great article here from the Good Men Project. Reminding us how our actions impact others and what it requires for role models to rise above the fray.
"Sure, there are high school girls with Johnny Depp fantasies, but guess what? You’re not Johnny Depp. (If you were that 48-year-old actor, you’d be devoted to your 38-year-old French girlfriend.) Yes, some young women do flirt with older men. Some do it for validation, some do it for excitement, but a hell of a lot of them do it because guys like you have already taught them that’s the only thing that older men want."

UPDATED: 
More relevant information here.

"Many men insist they’d be “thrilled” to be shouted at on the street. So why don’t women feel flattered? Because we live with the threat of rape—the knowledge that one in every six American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Even if a man has “innocent” intentions when he yells “Hey sexy!” at a woman, he has a good chance of making her feel uncomfortable, angry, or frightened. She’s likely to automatically connect the moment with other negative street harassment experiences she’s had—or, worse, with memories of more serious assault." 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soulshine

I just love this song and thought this was a great version. I'm mainly posting it here so I can find it later, but I encourage you to give it a listen.


Soulshine by Gov't Mule

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Who steals a blanket... seriously?!

J Bean was sick as only a two year old in the throes of a stomach bug can be on Friday night. It was one of those nights when VeeVee and I were looking forward to a bottle of wine and a movie soon after J Bean's bedtime. Instead we spent the evening worrying about and caring for a very sick little girl. At around midnight we were contemplating whether our supply of clean bed clothes would last the night or if we should do a few loads of laundry before we pass out from exhaustion in the wee hours of the morning. Rookie parent move of the night: We did do laundry before bed. Then we soon realized we would be doing laundry again in the morning. Advice: Don't bother starting laundry until you have had several hours of your child not going off like old faithful.
J Bean was fine by mid-morning the next day and our laundry was done. The family was no worse for wear other than some sleepy parents, a missed birthday party and a tired and cranky J Bean. We later learned someone had apparently swiped a blanket from our dryer during the all night launder-o-thon. Not just any blanket, it was J Bean's favorite blanket, a hand-made gift from her grandparents. If any of you have been through pacifier weaning lately or has a child who is hooked on their nap-time accessories, then you may better comprehend the importance of all the right "fuzzies", "lovies" and "blankies" for a peaceful transition to bed. I've searched the house, double-checked the laundry facilities in our building and am now trying to decide if it is worth my time to post a nasty-gram in the public laundry area or if building management would be willing to put out an all-points bulletin and allow a full search of all 200+ units within our building. I will not rest until this culprit is found and the blankie is returned to it's rightful owner! No, seriously. Until we find it we may not get any rest. Not due to my one man quest for vengeance, but because J Bean may not understand why her favorite things are disappearing. She has to be thinking, "First my paci, now my blanket... what kind of a place are you guys running here? Cheesy Pizza!" Cheesy Pizza has become my preferred replacement for other less kid-friendly expletives and calls or curses to deities. J Bean has quickly picked up the verbiage and will sometimes proclaim "Pee-eww... cheesy pizza!" while having a particularly odoriferous diaper changed for example.
We are working on gaining J Bean's acceptance of other available blankets by talking about how fuzzy and cozy there are and I think we'll be just fine by tonight... but seriously..... Who steals a blanket?! That's just not right.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Like to Move It!

In celebration of J Bean's triumph over the paci addiction!



Sorry about that... not a lot of songs about the pacifier apparently. If you are not disturbed after having watched this video then you may need to seek counseling.

We have been trimming the tip of the pacifier for weeks since J Bean's last trip to the dentist and the resulting scolding for allowing her to use it at 2 years (Oh, the horror!). Although we were only using it at night, the dentist said the night-time sucking was causing a small gap (or tongue thrust) which could ultimately cause teeth alignment issues and even speech problems if we didn't make a change. Reluctantly, we opted to take her medical advice and the trimming approach worked very well for us. We poked a hole in the pacifier, then began to slowly trim the tip a little every day until J Bean had nothing but the hard plastic part of the pacifier left and she just lost interest in it. There were a few rough nights when the pacifier reached the size she could not longer hold it in her mouth, but it wasn't too bad at all. We had several discussions with J Bean about how the pacifier was "broken" but that it was OK as this time had coincided with her recent fitting for glasses which obviously make her more of a "big girl" as well.

Next stop... potty training. We are moving out of our current apartment in the next few months and I am hoping to leave any unseemly stains or odors behind when we go.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baby Talk

There has been an interesting piece circulating about an MIT scientist who recorded over 90,000 hours of video of his son learning language and his study of that process. If you have a new child or are just interested in learning more about the amazing feat of learning a new language, it is certainly worth a read.


One of the most interesting revelations of the study was that:


“Caregiver speech dipped to a minimum and slowly ascended back out in complexity.” In other words, when mom and dad and nanny first hear a child speaking a word, they unconsciously stress it by repeating it back to him all by itself or in very short sentences. Then as he gets the word, the sentences lengthen again. The infant shapes the caregivers’ behavior, the better to learn.


UPDATE----------- 3/10/2012--------------------------------------------


I already love TED talks as evidenced by the rest of this post, so I was very happy to see the researcher I just mentioned above, Deb Roy, is on the most recent Ted talk discussing the very study mentioned above. Check it out... simply fascinating:



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It's amazing to me that not only our children's learning is highly advanced, but our methods of teaching... not too shabby either. This is very interesting and dovetails nicely with the TED talk below in which Patricia Kuhl discusses how babies learn language and what age and exactly how the human interactions pertaining to language during those periods are so important. Television or audio only do not provide the environment for the super learning babies are capable of. The knowledge we hold regarding infant learning and brain development is astounding... I intend to use this knowledge for the betterment of any other children we have and plan to help J Bean now by introducing her to a new language before her ability to learn new languages begins to taper off though we have already missed the window for "wiring" her brain to excel in the differing sounds of foreign languages. This is certainly not to say she can't still learn a new language and learn the native sounds/pronunciation, but the sounds would have been easier for her to discern and to learn had we exposed her to another language earlier according to the video.





If you made it this far, you are really bored or very interested in the workings of baby brains... I am too! What an amazing mechanism humans have for learning, its almost as interesting to hear how it works as it is to watch it unfold in your own child. Below Michael Merzenich discusses the wiring (or rewiring) of the human brain that makes the learning we heard about earlier, as it relates to language possible. His discussion of learning disabilities is interesting as he describes what sounds a lot like the GIGO concept (garbage in, garbage out) as it relates to children's perception of sounds and how they learn languages and ultimately learn. Hearing problems result in children with native languages of "muffled English" or "degraded Japanese" for example... and how brain (language processing) problems can result in children who have a native language that is "noisy" or degraded as well.





From there, I just continued down the rabbit-hole of brain mechanisms and workings. I think I've already gone over-board for one post, but if you are interested in more I also found a few other related talks here and here. I find this subject fascinating and I'm sure I will revisit in the future.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Playgroup Socialism?

Some of the recent political happenings surrounding healthcare, government spending cuts and labor unions set me to thinking about the values I hope to instill in J Bean. After thinking about it a little and speaking with other parents I came to realize most parents want to instill similar values with their children regardless of their political persuasion. Parents of differing political views teach our children similarly in many ways: share your toys, don't snatch from others, no hitting, take turns, don't pick on people who are different. It seems that much of what we are teaching boils down to empathy... we work to help our children understand what others may be feeling and how their actions may affect others, so when does that change? When should children grow up and stop caring about the principles that were important on the playground? I hope my child never forgets those lessons.

This point is illustrated wonderfully in a a great article here from Steven Almond circa November 2009 which also ran in the Boston Globe. Why do we teach our children one thing on the playground then rail against the same principles as adults? Maybe we should all learn to play nice.


"...most parents are mortified when their children refuse to share on the playground, when they hoard toys, when they decide it is their right to smash a sand castle they played no part in building. 


These basic rules of the playground are sometimes given a more sophisticated, adult name: socialism. Which makes all us good parents de facto socialists.... opponents of President Obama have attempted recently to turn "socialism'' into a slur. Displaying the zeal exhibited by naughty children the world over, they have equated socialism with fascism, Stalinism, and even Nazism.


For the record, they are wrong. Socialism is a theory of economic organization that calls for equal access to resources for all individuals, along with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended. Translated into playgroundese: Everyone should have a turn on the swings, and if you built the sand castle, you get to play with it."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Goodnight, Dune...

Simply awesome... Check out this take on the Children's classic "Goodnight Moon"... this cover story is based on that book and the Sci-Fi hit "Dune".
"Good night two moons.... Good night Shai- Hulud bursting out of the dune... Good night glow globe and the floating baron"

This one used to be on this list of children's books that should exist... now it does. I wonder if I could find a physical copy of this?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toy Story Redeux

I always keep an eye on covermesongs.com to see who is covering what songs and once in a while I find a jewel in the mix. I'm impressed with these covers of Toy Story songs.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Standing Up to Dad

Another great post worth a read from Good Men Project: Standing Up to Dad. If you haven't noticed... I really like this blog and highly recommend them for daily consumption.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall... Talking about Beauty.

This article by Emily Heist Moss which was shared on The Good Men Project blog was one of the most impactful pieces I have read on fatherhood and the importance of our behavior and speech to our daughters. Being a good father means thinking about what we say and how we interact with the world around us and remembering there are little eyes watching us... closely. The piece focuses on self image and how family and fathers in particular can shape our daughter's opinions of beauty.

"So how is a good dad to avoid adding to the barrage of corrupting messages your daughter receives every day? Start close to home. Think about what she hears from adult women around her. Do her mother, older sisters, or aunts discuss looking fat in front of her? Do they pinch themselves, complain about how they look, or crash diet? Does her grandmother tell her that she needs to watch her figure? Girls’ and women’s bodies are unfortunately considered open to “constructive criticism” from strangers and loved ones alike."
Nothing in this article should discourage us from telling our daughters, or any other girls in our lives we may be impacting, they are "cute" or "beautiful". However, it is very important we offer other compliments more often. We must teach children we value their independence, athleticism, intelligence, and kindness, to name a few, far above their appearance. I also think this is an important lesson for children if we expect them to grow up to be respectful of people of other races and cultures... much of the discrimination in our world seems to stem from society's exaggerated focus on the importance of physical traits.


Reading this piece and thinking about the advice and the issues discussed within reminded me of the powerful Dove videos that came out a while back and is certainly worth revisiting:



Being a good dad, means a whole lot more than just doing "what feels right"... if we are serious about influencing our children in a positive manner, it is going to take a whole lot of patience, studying and the will to apply what we have learned.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Time out works & if you feel like hitting then you are the one who needs the time out.

I recently read an interesting article from Montreal Gazette which discussed a study from the Journal of Child and Family studies and the results which indicated time outs are an effective tool for parents. 
"Time out can de-escalate contentious parent-child situations, they found, and the more effectively and consistently it's used, the less it's needed."
Nothing really new there, but the article started me thinking about the contrast of physical discipline and other forms of parenting. Oddly enough, the most insightful view on this subject that I recall seeing comes from comedian Louis C.K. and his comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious. You can view the segment below the blog post (though I warn you Louis is not shy about dropping the F bombs and coming down on the offensive side occasionally). If you would rather bypass the cursing, which I actually find quite fitting in this discussion, the relevant transcript (edited) is here: 
"You're huge. How could you hit me? That's crazy. You're a giant, and I can't defend myself" I really think it's crazy that we hit our kids. It really is--here's the crazy part about it. Kids are the only people in the world that you're allowed to hit. Do you realize that? They're the most vulnerable, and they're the most destroyed by being hit, but it's totally okay to hit them. And they're the only ones. If you hit a dog they ^#!%i!# will put you in jail for that ^#!%i!#. You can't hit a person unless you can prove that they were trying to kill you. But a little tiny person with a head this big who trusts you implicitly, ^#!% 'em. Who gives a ^#!%? Just ^#!%i!# hit--let's all hit them. Hey, people want you to hit your kid. If your kid is making noise in public, <people will say>, "hit him, hit him! Hit him!"


Thursday, February 17, 2011

One bourbon, one scotch and one baby?!

Hat tip to Nathan @ Dadwagon for pointing out this gem... it really is golden. This is the movie trailer for “Las Palmas” by Johannes Nyholm which can be described as nothing less than epic. We've known for years that toddlers have a lot in common with the drunken bar flies, but I had never considered that taking the former and casting one as the latter could result in an Oscar-worthy performance. Just watch it: 



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mush! Mush! It's time for the Chiditerod!

Looks like I'll be teaming up with a great group of guys to "ride roughshod over hunger" in the 6th annual Chiditerod coming up on March 5th. Our team will be part of the larger consortium known as Hobo-Q 3 and our cart in particular will be Hobo Q 3: What about Bob?! The shtick being that we'll be dressed as characters from the movie and we'll be serving nothing but kabobs out of our grill carrying, super-mod grocery cart. I'm hoping we have room to strap someone on the front like this great scene from the movie, but I'm not yet sure how the logistics of that are going to work out. Depends on how "rollable" our cart is and how harsh the road conditions are, probably. Keep in mind, we still have snow on the ground from the groundhog day (another great Bill Murray movie) blizzard and if we are pushing our food laden cart across ice patches and snow... I'm thinking we're not going to want anyone's ass strapped to the cart, but we'll see.

If you would like to donate to the cause through our team, please click here. The event is fantastic and is a great cause to help feed the hungry! Last year they raised nearly $2500 and collected over 7 tons (yeah, tons... as in over 14,000 lbs) of food and this year is expected to be even bigger! Please give what you can, I'll share pictures of the fun after the fact! If you want to be a part of the event with feet on the floor when the magic happens, let me know and we'll find a spot for you.

Poppin' ain't easy, but it sure is fun...

Check out this article over at Bitch Magazine. Great perspective on stay-home Dads and Dad bloggers in particular. Also a great place to pick up some new blogs to read or conventions to consider.

"demographic shifts combined with an ongoing recession, high childcare costs, and a twist on the notion of family values are leading more and more hetero families to split childcare in nontraditional ways. Inspired not necessarily by gender deconstruction or feminism but rather by a belief that children are best cared for by a parent, a growing number of families are relying on dad to stay home, maybe because mom’s job offers better benefits, maybe because dad was laid off, or maybe because dad simply prefers it. These families may well be the true vanguard of a new vision of family life, and the children raised in these households the most interesting bunch to watch in the future."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Doctor Phil Bad

Doctor Phil gives advice to a concerned mother who asks about the behavior her 5 year old son is displaying in playing with Barbie dolls and wearing girl's clothes.
 "Direct your son in an unconfusing way. Don't buy him Barbie dolls or girl's clothes. You don't want to do things that seem to support the confusion at this stage of the game ... Take the girl things away, and buy him boy toys. Support him in what he's doing, but not in the girl things."
So... support your kid in what he does... unless you don't agree with it? Of course we shield our children from danger and work to correct anti-social behavior, but does dressing in girls' clothes present a danger to a 5 year old? Is there some inherent difference between a Barbie, which is just the likeness of a very unrealistic woman, and other dolls action figures your child might play with?  Last I checked none of them have genitalia anyway. If your child wants to throw a tea party or a masquerade ball for his/her toys does it really matter if the doll is stamped with the name Barbie or G.I. Joe? Play is play and children's imaginations are a lot stronger than the Doc gives credit for... if the kid wants to play with the toys in a "girl way" he's going to, regardless of what they look like. My daughter names her pretzels sometimes (fortunately, I harbor no animosity toward baked dough being referred to as Larry or Sadie). The Doctor does at least say these behaviors are not a precursor or an indication that the child is gay (although, I'm not entirely sure he doesn't see gayness as an undesirable outcome)... so why not just allow your kids' personality to develop as it will instead of teaching them every aspect of life should be managed and controlled in order to comply with society's expectations? I'm thinking a 5 year old is going to go through a lot of phases from dressing as a women, pretending to be a dog or a lion, dreaming of becoming an astronaut; just let the kid be himself, he'll be OK. Maybe he's going to grow up to be gay, heaven forbid!! Maybe he'll be the next Bill Cunningham or perhaps another Roddy Piper.

Gender rules are constructs of society... gender's only role should be to determine if two beings can procreate. If we looked at gender for what it is in this fashion, think how much better it would be for women in general, transgender people, gay people or basically anyone who doesn't fit the gender stereo-types. Sexism, homophobia, and any of the multiple forms of sexual identity discrimination are all based in the idea of gender identity and our need to put people in tidy little boxes. If a man wants to dress and act as "most other men" (whatever that means) great... if he wants to go another direction... fine. Same for women and children. We are all just people and we all just want to do our own thing. You notice how people from other cultures have a hard time assimilating in different societies? It's all part of the same problem. A person is not defined by the way they talk, who they love, how they dress... scratch that... people ARE defined in some ways by these things.. but we are not limited by them and should not be judged by them. When people of this world realize that we are all here trying to enjoy a little happiness while we are here then maybe we can stop hating on each other for the most ridiculous things. The only reason Dr. Phil's advice seems sound to some in this example is because they believe confusion about gender roles is a problem... I ask why? Why do we have these roles? What purpose do they serve? My daughter is going to be a strong person capable of choosing any path in life she wants and I'll be damned if a gender stereotype is going to stop her. If/when I have a son, the same will go for him. We need more men in teaching, in nursing and as stay-home parents (maybe I'm biased here)... Men are just as capable of caring and nurturing as women and women can be just as tough and hard-headed as men.

I did some digging on the Dr. Phil's positions around gender issues and find nothing to indicate he is homophobic and he seems to give good advice (and more here) about homosexuality and he even went after the Vice President of Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas who made some terrible comments about homosexuals last year. I just think he got it wrong on this one and I can't say I've ever been a fan of his approach.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jedi Mind Tricks...


J Bean's grasp on the use of manipulation continues to grow. Her latest Jedi mind trick is employed by saying "Daddy Loves You" and flashing the sweetest smile that has ever graced the world at me when she is busted red handed getting in to mischief. This morning J Bean was conducting an experiment to determine if raisins fit more readily into a DVD player or a PS3. It seems the PS3 is more likely to accept raisins, but probably only because she did not figure out how to open the DVD player before I intervened.

I have to admit, I definitely prefer the puppy eyes and "Daddy Loves You" trick much more than whining which is another talent she excels in. I worry that one day J Beans attempts at distraction, manipulation and straight up mind control will surpass my ability to recognize them or resist.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We don't need a doctor... it's just a piece of bacon.

Today as I was cleaning up J Bean after her breakfast, I had to take a second look as I thought I was seeing an open wound on her head. In a flash, I was trying to determine how it happened and what action I needed to take. In that microsecond I was also wondering why isn't she crying?? Could this be a serious brain injury!? Oh wait... it's just a piece of bacon stuck in her morning hair-do. 


I know what you're thinking and yes... I ate that piece of bacon. We're talking about bacon here folks.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Like to Move It!

Wake up the kids and move it! On second thought, maybe you should wait until they wake up on their own.

The "I Like to Move it!" posts will be fun stuff for the little ones to join in on. I'm hoping these posts spark some impromptu dancing in the living room and serve as a reminder that being a parent is loads of fun and we need to remember to get off the computer, put away the bills, set those chores aside and forget our troubles regularly to just spend some time with our hands in the air and smiles on our faces with our kids. This installment: Will.I.Am - I Like to Move It (from Madagascar2)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Imagination (or a paperclip) can be a wondrous thing.

We're entering new territory now as J Bean's imagination surpasses my predictive capabilities. I used to be able to look around for dangers and potential threats in a room and feel pretty comfortable about what she could get in to. Now I might be in the kitchen working on dishes and peek around the corner to find that she has pulled off her socks in order to use them to dip into the cat's water bowl and then spin the sock around her head before putting it in her mouth in order to suck the tasty water out of it. The water bowl is blocked in such a way to prevent her from walking up to it, but not in such a way that you couldn't repel down to it or gain access with a pole vault. 




Note to self: Need to keep the cat, the cat's water, food, and litter into a child-proof safe as current precautionary measures are insufficient. Also aquariums, fish food and all electronic devices need to go in there. Also, I may need a bigger safe. 


It seems to be something new every day as J Bean's brain power, strategies for destruction, physical capabilities and height increase at a startling rate. It is time for child proofing part deux, which will be completely pointless. Even if I manage to cover everything in the house in Nerf, nail each item to floor and install a state of the art monitoring system... I am destined to fail. We have spawned baby MacGyver. J Bean could tear up an anvil with a powder puff (and a paper-clip). It's only a matter of time before she figures out how to make an incendiary device with which she can target me. My favorite part of catching J Bean tearing something up or finding the evidence afterwards is her wide eyed stare and the immediate innocent exclamation of "What Happened?!! Tear it Up!!". Reminds me of the scene below (audio only) from Black Sheep for some reason. 

(Link) View more Thomas 'Tommy' Callahan Iii Sound Clips and Chris Farley Sound Clips
Hope everyone has a great Sunday! I'll be trying to watch a little football (a once or twice a year rarity for me) while keeping at least one eye on my daughter lest she fashion a catapult to launch Disney figurines at me with. Maybe I should consider a helmet too?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kid Lord of the Sith

This video has been making the rounds and it's slated to be a Super Bowl commercial. I just can't resist the temptation to share it in case any of you have missed it up to now.




I don't fully understand the kids and Star Wars phenomenon, but I definitely support it! I've been teaching J. Bean to say "Luke, I am Your Father" for months and she finds it wildly funny. She also enjoyed having her own light saber for a few days before she demolished it around Christmas. I guess I should go all in and get her some other Star Wars Gear. Here are some of the goodies I've been eyeing:


 

  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Play in the dirt... it's good for you.

Great article linked here from Whitney Wyckoff at NPR. Think twice before letting your daughters become too prissy and too clean! Looks like a little Tom Boy in your daughter's attitude could reduce her chances of developing certain health issues later in life.

Girls are expected to stay squeaky clean while boys are encouraged to play outside... and that might explain why women have higher rates of certain illnesses.
Women have a higher rate of asthma than men — 8.5 percent compared to 7.1 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They're also more likely than men to have allergies. And the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association says autoimmune disorders affect women three times more often than men.
 Not all young girls avoid dirt. Hannah Rose Akerley, 7, plays in a gigantic lake of mud at the annual Mud Day event in Westland, Mich., last July.

Stupid Baby Tricks

I have no background on this video, but I like to imagine this guy was on the verge of becoming a stay home father when he put this video together. Now he's probably reading dad blogs from his computer at work instead, because his wife changed her mind about that being a good idea... That's a baby, not a puppet! Nice timing though, I think the kid has a gift... just sayin'.


Baby's First Audition from alex on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Holy Moly, Me Oh My, You're the Apple of My Eye

Hat tip to Man of the House for this great clip of a Daddy/daughter singing duo! J Bean can really belt out the singing, but I'm going to need some guitar and voice lessons before I can help her reach fame like this.



I didn't have an "I Like to Move It" choice up and ready, and this seemed appropriate to lift spirits after my previous morbid post. We're preparing for a blizzard in Chicago, stay safe everyone!

Do you have a council of Dads?

A moving TED presentation from Bruce Feiller discussing his cancer diagnosis and his approach to help fill the shoes of "dad" when and if he succumbs to the disease. He decided to approach some trusted friends who would be willing to be a part of his twin daughters' lives if he were to pass... he was looking to form A Council of Dads.



This a fantastic idea to discuss with your friends before you find out something could be happening to you, after all, life is fleeting and none of us know when our time will come or if we will have any forewarning. I've already spoken with a friend of mine on my wishes that my online "diaries" in the form of my blog and social networking be saved for my daughter in the event I meet an untimely end. What does that mean anyway? Is there ever a timely ending? After seeing this, I think I'll have that foxhole conversation with him and some other friends too.

I hope my wife would find a new partner in life if she were to outlive me. (Only if I'm gone though, VeeVee, don't get any ideas!) There is no doubt that anyone she could love would be a wonderful and nurturing parent as a prerequisite, but it would be nice to know my friends (who share some of my philosophies and interests and who know me well) are willing and ready to step up and take an important part as role-models, advisers and confidants in J Bean's life. These thoughts also make me realize I would like that council of Dads to have a part in her life regardless of my presence or lack thereof. Children need strong mentors, both men and women, in their lives. Have you selected your council of Moms or Dads and spoken with them about how important they are to you and the commitment you seek from them? It takes a village.

Sorry for the morbidity, but that clip really got me thinking about this. I'll have to follow this up with a "I Like to Move It!" selection to lighten the mood. Life is short... make sure you are really living it!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

(ThirtyMag) Freakin' New Guy

I was featured as a guest blogger over at ThirtyMag yesterday. Check out the post, Freakin' New Guy, along with other great Dad stuff at their site or on their Facebook page. 

Freakin' New Guy, of Dad-on-the-Run, discusses feeling like a noobie Dad and his days as a stay-home Dad are contrasted with his past life as a private investigator...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mom Sentenced to Jail For Seeking a Better Education For Her Children | Crooks and Liars

Please take a moment to read this story and pass it along.


"if you're a single mom living in the projects who is going to school yourself to earn a teaching credential in order to make a better life for you and the kids, you might consider enrolling them in the district where your father lives, because that district has a terrific rating and great test scores. And if you did that, and got caught, you might be convicted of felonies and receive a jail sentence. For trying to get a better education for your kids."




Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
~ Martin Luther King Jr


Tiger Mom... Not so GR-R-REAT!

It seems everyone has already written about Amy Chua and her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", so I'm a little late hopping on the bandwagon. Maybe it was my parents' laissez faire approach to my upbringing that kept me from being the first to analyze this... I'm sorry father for I have shamed you by not being the first and best blogger to cover this story.

While I agree with Amy Chua that some Americans may over-indulge our children, I think there are miles and miles of middle ground between what she sees as our stereotypical parenting and the Tiger Mom approach. I have some big Problems with only accepting first place for your child in all things. First of all, there can be only one (sorry, couldn't resist). Obviously, we should teach our children to strive for the top spot in all they do, but you have to accept a child's best effort and recognize their devotion to different challenges and activities will vary. I also believe that being proud of your child for placing less than first is absolutely crucial to teaching fair play and good sportsmanship. Can you imagine the way a child would act in a competition after taking third place if they know their parents are going to be scornful of their performance? 

Chua pokes fun at the way Americans praise our children for the smallest things like "drawing a squiggle or waving a stick." In my view, praising small victories is a big deal. I'll never stop doting on my daughter with over-excitement for those things she accomplishes, be they small feats or momentous triumphs. Of course, I'll have to crank it up for the real victories, but helping to construct that early self-confidence encourages strength... not weakness. Having your parent/mentor displeased unless you take the top prize is like something straight out of a kung-fu movie; I just don't buy the assertion that holding the bar so unrealistically high will result in well-adjusted adults. I'd wager these expectations result in arrogance and crushing bouts of depression when, at the end of the day, you are just not as proficient at something as the next kid. My parents pushed me hard and I always felt pressure to bring home only "A's", but I think it was more self-applied pressure than fear of disappointing them and they always encouraged me to focus on studies and activities that I enjoyed.  "What Chinese parents understand," says Chua, "is that nothing is fun until you're good at it." I could not disagree more. To me the key is to encourage the idea that learning (and practicing) is fun. Maybe Chua's approach is great for generating athletes and musical prodigies, but does it help children to achieve their dreams of becoming artists, actors, scientists, philosophers, politicians, writers, counselors, teachers, et cetera? This observation may seem cheeky coming from a stay home dad blogger and directed toward a critically acclaimed author, but my point of view and how I define success is apparently very different from the Tiger Mom's. 

I do agree with the idea of praising hard-work more than inherent intelligence. If you teach your children hard work is praise-worthy, they will continue with that habit and learn to encourage themselves and recognize the rewards of hard work. Teaching your children they just have a natural ability can breed complacency and arrogance. Take me for example; I've always dealt humbly with my "giftedness" and hereditary mental superiority, which is why I have no humility when it comes to critiquing a best-selling author's take on parenting. (Hopefully, everyone recognized that as a joke… I actually think I’m kind of a simpleton when it comes to the range of human IQ).  

I am also a little skeptical that this woman is really going to allow her daughters to go in the direction they wish with their matriculation and careers without interference; only time will tell. I would say let’s wait for an interview with these girls in 10-15 years, but one of the problems with this parenting philosophy is they will still be seeking her constant approval and may never tell us how they really feel while she is alive and perhaps not even when she is gone. In fact, I'd be willing to bet this whole "tiger mom" bit is just a scared little girl's attempt to garner attention and praise from a father who was too harsh and obviously has his own ideas of what constitutes a "good" parent. Parents of differing schools of thought have raised children who are just as talented and smart as Chua's daughters. I have to wonder though if she would receive the same praise from her father had she not chosen his way of thinking and it stands to reason she may look through the same lens at her own children when it comes to parenting.

I won't let that happen with my daughter; not on my watch. The idea that each of us is a "special flower" (as Amy disparages) is not a fairy tale or something to be taken lightly, it's a philosophy of life I truly believe in and will share with my child all the years I am here. Stephen Hawking is never going to be a champion in tennis and Hellen Keller was never the best cello player, but they certainly excelled in areas of their choosing and ended up contributing a hell of a lot to this pale blue dot. I wonder where and how the handicapped fit into the tiger mom's parenting views?

To me the whole Tiger Mom outlook is a militant way of approaching parenthood. The military hierarchy and totalitarian approach have their merits depending on your goals, but there are many ways this approach falls short. If you are bent on world dominance... raise yourself an army. If you are looking for enlightenment, happiness and hope to instill compassion for others... raise a child with that in mind. J Bean can conquer the world if she decides to do so, I'll make sure she has the foundation from which to spring in any direction but, hopefully, I won't drive her crazy while laying those cornerstones.