Father Knows Best: Roundup

Sitting here listening to some hockey (Wild win in Detroit, 4-2) after watching an episode of Homeland, drinking a glass of this, trying to figure out what my edition of Father Knows Best should address. I realize that any of those first three items could (and typically do) generate a whole day’s worth of conversation here at the World’s Greatest, but none of them really help me with the task at hand: namely, come up with something about being a father that is useful, challenging, interesting and LTE-inducing – all while keeping the post manageable, i.e., short.

More after the jump…

I could write about all of the things I’ve done and continue to do wrong with regards to parenting.

I could write about all of the things I’ve done right (it would be a short post and likely fail to meet most of those “task at hand” criteria).

I could brag about how smart, cute, funny or all-around amazing my little girl is. She is all of those things and then some – the anecdotes would more than fill our own little corner of the internets.

I could ask a question like, “How does one begin the process of potty-training?”  “What do you think is the most important aspect of selecting a preschool, elementary, high school or college?” or, “When is the right age to have ‘The Talk’?”

I could ask for suggestions about child-centric music, movies, books or toys; look for “best of” or “must have” items for toddlers, preschoolers, young children, grade-schoolers, preteens, teens, college kids or young adults. Lord knows we have a wealth of knowledge and experience represented within this fantastic community of fathers (and mother). Actually, this last sentence leads me to the denouement.

Seeing as how this edition of FKB is a renewal of sorts, I figured I’d make my point by simultaneously opening it up for discussion on any of the aforementioned topics. I challenge each of you to share something that occurred to you while reading my laundry list of post possibilities. If you have a recommendation for a favorite book or toy, put it out there. If you just went through potty-training or college applications, tell us about it. If you made a colossal blunder or experienced some breath taking success, by all means, share it with us! If you just want to share a picture or brag about your kid(s), go for it.

Also, I apologize if by doing a post in this manner, I’ve torpedoed any future ideas by Father Knows Best authors. Think of it this way, if something generates a ton of comments, you’ll know what to focus on for your go-round. If something doesn’t get touched, take that as a sign of what to avoid!

Have at it. FYI - that Dark Horse was amazing.

61 thoughts on “Father Knows Best: Roundup”

  1. Oh, come on. No way that hockey ever generates a whole day's conversation here.

    We're approaching two months, and wondering how soon we can and should try to regulate sleeping patterns. He still needs to wake every 2-4 hours to feed, so even if we did everything perfect he wouldn't sleep through the night. But we also don't want him only being able to fall asleep after a bunch of parental fussing. Every expert seems to have a different take on what's best, as I'm sure everyone here has as well for theirs.

    1. For the first 3 or 4 months we had basically no choice but to have our daughter sleep in her swing because of her reflux issues. As for actually getting her to sleep during those early months, she had to be nursed before she would zonk out. Now, I haven't read any of the sleep books (although we do have the No-Cry Sleep Solution, which I should probably get around to reviewing.), but to my un-expert eyes, that seems like a logical, normal thing for a new-born.

      Now that she's older, though, I'm pretty well lost. She's getting better at napping, for the most part, but she sleeps with us and pretty much never in her own bed. I'm mildly concerned about this with another one on the way because we only have a queen bed and the dog insists on also joining us.

    2. I went way off the deep end regarding sleep. That's partly because my son was a challenging sleeper and partly because I needed my own sleep as well, especially after going back to work full time. One of the things I hate most about baby sleep is that there are a million different approaches, and most of them claim all the other approaches are wrong. In particular, the breastfeeding people and the sleep doctor people often are not in agreement at all.

      I've read a number of sleep books, but some of the resources that were most useful to me were actually online. Here are some thoughts about maximizing a baby's sleep from 0-4 months. The Troublesome Tots site has a lot of helpful info as well.

      The two positive things about everything we went through with my son's sleep are 1) he has become a generally good sleeper who puts himself to sleep and sleeps through the night all night in his own crib (I have nothing against cosleeping, but it's not the right choice for us) and who takes regular naps. 2) I learned a ton about sleep and have been able to give advice to a number of friends and relatives (and these people have indicated the advice is actually helpful).

      I could go on longer, but I'll just say that I'm more than happy to talk baby/toddler sleep with any interested Citizen via email.

      1. We really stuck to a good schedule. Get them to bed on time. It sucks sometimes, things are fun and you want to keep them up but then you miss the window when they're tired but not overtired and you will never get to sleep for more than an hour at a time. Or so it was with us.

  2. I once pinned a diaper to my daughter. Yep, you heard correctly... I was changing my daughter's diaper and she was fussing and crying because that's what kids do. In her moving around and crying I (accidentally) actually stuck the pin through her skin back through the diaper and enclosed it. Now by this time I noticed her crying was more the "I'm in pain" cry than the "I'm fussing and want to make your life miserable cry." So I checked what was the matter and found my mistake.

    No blood or anything, it was just through the skin. Of course I felt terrible. But she did survive.

    1. On a related note, when cutting Runner daughter's toenails, I felt like an OR surgeon, except the patient is wide awake. It's hard enough cutting my own without causing pain, but with her little buggers, well...

      1. Nail clipping is where I'm a viking! I've learned that when they fuss and wiggle, that's when you hurt them, and so it's not worth it.
        It does bother me that CER, now 9.5 years, has developed a nail-chewing habit. Her fingernails are all short and rough. I tried clipping them a bit once just to smooth them out, but there was no way to safely clip anything.

        1. As a long-time finger nail chewer who can't break the habit, I hope, for her sake, she can stop eventually. In addition to the inevitable pain from tearing, there is a load of things I can't do because of it, and I hate it, although it does make the payoff of drinking a Surly a little more awesome.

          1. I was a long-time nail chewer as well. What finally broke the habit was finding a better method than clipping my (finger) nails: filing. I realized I hated clipping my finger nails so much that I would chew them instead, which lead to all sorts of other issues. Switching to filing solved all of my issues and I can do it at work while thinking hard about problems procrastinating on things.

            1. For me, its more of a nervousness/anxiety thing. It definitely picks up when I have a lot on my mind while I can manage the urge in calmer times.

    2. We cloth diaper, but fortunately don't have to deal with pins nowadays.

      I'm really glad babies are soft and bounce. The trinket fell down the stairs about three months ago because I took her out of her seat at the table and didn't realize my wife had left the gate open. She cried but was otherwise uninjured.

        1. Haven't had any episodes on the stairs yet, but when she was just learning to climb, I stepped into the bathroom for a moment and came out to find her at the top of the stairs. It was a bit disconcerting.

  3. Went to daughter's parent-teacher conference this week.

    It seems our daughter is a different person at school. The teacher told us that she never misbehaves and went so far to say that even if everyone else in the class is misbehaving, she will not join in.

    At home, she's not that way. I guess that I'm happy that she behaves well at school. Just wish she'd show her mother and father that side of her a little more often.

      1. I don't doubt that in the least. I taught religion class one year in Fargo about 20 years ago. My class the first half of the year was all kids whose parents were teachers. They. Were. Awful. I put up with it until the last week when I finally sent one of them to the principal. The rest of that night, the kids were well behaved. The next week, I got a bunch of kids who came from families who weren't as engaged in the parish. They had lots of questions, but they were so much easier to teach. So much easier.

        1. My dad once got so frustrated while teaching a junior high Sunday school class that he threw a chair. (I was in the class--not causing problems--and I was beyond mortified.) Sounds like you found a better approach to get those kids in line.

          1. Sending the kid to the principal meant that the kid's parents found out. That's the one thing these kids didn't want -- to have their parents find out that they were misbehaving. I wish I had known that the first week.

            1. having grown up the child of a teacher, I never had a chance. I knew word would get home and that I would be flayed alive.

              also, my h.s. algebra teacher went to grad school with grampaS. This may come as a surprise to many of you, but I was kind of a smartass. Said algebra teacher once said to me "You're just like your father. Tall. Smartass." I'm not sure that he was joking.

              1. I myself might have been a smartass. I did have a teacher that I could take advantage of in high school and I exploited my opportunity every chance I get. Having gone to a Catholic high school we had prayer before class. The poor science teacher would call on students to lead prayer. When I was called on, prayer would last a very long time. I remember praying for my relatives (I come from a big family), naming them, listing their birthdays, going on and on and on. She would never interrupt me, because it was prayer. If she had had any sense in her head, she would have refused to call on me. Instead, she called on me more than anyone else because... I volunteered every day.

                I also distinctly remember threatening to call the ACLU about something or other. I'm not sure what possessed me in her class. I guess I was bored.

                I suppose I deserved a little heartburn later on in life.

          2. It takes a ton of patience to deal with junior high kids. My current approach is to be more relaxed about it. If they just get the message that learning about faith can be interesting and fun, rather than dull and boring, I'll be happy with that regardless of how much information they get or retain.

            1. What I found so fascinating was that the kids who came from what might be considered less nurturing backgrounds were the ones who were curious and engaged. They had questions and wanted to talk. They were a pleasure to work with. The kids from the "better" homes were bored and wanted out. I spent all my time trying to deal with their constant disruption. I really tried hard to make the class something other than a lecture. Nothing worked. The same approach worked great with the second set of kids.

              1. That's the other challenge of working with junior high kids--there's no one approach that works. Even with the same set of kids, they can be completely different from one time to the next.

                  1. I have a friend who used to teach junior high here in Madison for a couple years. I got the impression it was because it was his first teaching job, thus the crap end of the stick. It also happened to be at the worst/most dangerous junior high in Madison, so I heard plenty of stories. (some from the news.)

                    I'm happy to not be a teacher and respect immensley those who decide to do it.

                  2. I work with a bunch of middle school-aged kids at the rink during Public Skate. All the kids congregate there on weekend evenings. They aren't that bad, in the grand scheme, but I'm glad I don't have to put up with them for more than 2 hours. I keep telling myself we're providing a safe space for the kids and I'd rather the kids be hanging out and skating at the rink rather than raising Hell elsewhere, but holy goodness do they grate on me very quickly.

                  3. There's another side of it, too, which is that sometimes working with junior high kids can be very rewarding. They're at the age where they're actually able to start doing some critical thinking. Sometimes they ask some really good questions or have some awesome insights. It's not easy, but the times you can see a light bulb start to come on are really cool.

  4. thanks to CoC for a nice reboot of the franchise (if not a total cop-out ;)). i just wanted to pop in quick to ask for fresh bodies to fill some of the next few months. here's what's on tap and still available:

    upcoming author schedule

    • april 18: Algonad
    • may 23: Pepper
    • june 20: Philosofer
    • july 18:
    • august 15:
    • september 19: freealonzo
    • october 17:
    • november 21:
    • december 19:

    please share your wisdom with us, or something.

            1. Nope, no robot. That would be pretty cool though. Today was the first ultrasound (I'm predicting future multiple MVP catcher) and with today's post figured could do my part.

            1. Dido. But your odds of being able to string words together coherently for the first few months after The Catcher leaves the bullpen are slim.

  5. I do have an anecdote to share from just this morning. My daughter is in daycare from 8:15am - 5pm every day. She has been full time (5 days) for about 3 months, and was a '4-day' for a year before that. She's typically very good about the drop off: no fussing or crying, she just heads off to eat or play. Ususally, I kiss her good-bye and she'll wave as I head out the door.
    This morning, after putting her down and hanging her coat in the locker, I turned around to find her back at my side. She wanted a hug (or to be picked up). The teacher noticed and started to engage her. Kernel waved her off and remained adamant that I respond to her pleas. Usually I don't pick her up if she demands it; I want to avoid encouraging her. However, she's been dealing with a cold so I indulged her. She gave me a big hug and then, as I left, she stood at the door - fingers on the ledge and face to the window - watching me leave. She wasn't crying, just watching as I walked away. Truth is, it nearly broke my heart! I hadn't felt like that when leaving her with "strangers" since the first months of day care back last year. I wanted to run back and get her, take her home and spend the day snuggling, dancing, singing and playing. I couldn't, but I really wanted to.
    I sometimes get so caught up in my own stuff that I fail to really pay attention or pause to fully experience every moment that I can with her. Mornings like this one remind me to appreciate those times when I get to spend the whole day with her...even when she is being a pain toddler.

  6. Regarding the potty training thing, we got going on that last summer with the resident toddler. There was about a month of prep just reading books to him, getting a potty and letting him check it out (fully clothed), allowing him to, uh, observe us use the toilet and talk about what we were doing, letting him flush, etc. The Hennepin County Library has a hugely comprehensive list of potty books. We also got him his first-ever DVD: Elmo's Potty Time. I checked out books for parents from the library as well, but there was nothing I'd recommend actually spending money on.

    Once we started for real, we just kept the boy naked from the waist down when we were home. That helped him figure out how things worked. I'm not sure I'd take that approach with a Minnesota kid in the middle of winter, though!

    1. We tried pushing potty training without any special vigor for a while. It had marginal success. Then we tried pushing it for real, and Aquinas did brilliantly. Then he had an accident or two, and after that he was afraid - that screaming-eyes-on-fire-pure-terror thing really - and we had to push incentives to get him over that hump. A few more days of success did the trick, and he's been good to go. He was right around 3, maybe a little past.

      I think he was just afraid of failing, really. Helping him understand failing is ok is a big part of what we've gone though with him, in potty training as in other areas.

      Now if I could just learn that lesson too, huh?

    2. HPR was nearly potty trained several times, and we kept letting him slide back because he got really bad constipation.
      Which may or may not have been related to potty training. Not fun? Glycerin suppositories on an unwilling kid, and then having to hold him while he cries and pushes out a tennis-ball of week-old poo.

      We had a thing at church tonight (with babysitting! I wasn't that interested in whatever it was, but I went because I want them to offer more babysitting!). We were like 5 minutes behind where we meant to be and I forgot to ask AJR (3yrs, 1 day) to go potty before we left or once we got there. So she had an accident. Luckily, we still had a pullup in the diaper bag and someone had a pair of toddler pants. She's super about going potty and has been potty trained for quite a while (she got really invested in one potty training book, and really just required a nudge), but if we don't reminder her to go a) before bed, b) as soon as she wakes up, c) a few more times a day, she'll find something fun and just forget that she's out of diapers until its too late. When she has to go bad, she gets flustered right in front of the toilet pulling down her pants. But one of her older siblings is a boy, so everything's already covered with pee.

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