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Guest blogger Paul Starke: We had Luke's nine month checkup last week, and the good news: we haven't broken him! The bad news: he can't fall asleep unless one of us -- and by "one of us" I mean "my wife"-- cradles him to sleep first. Our doctor looked at us like we were horrible parents, and it got me paranoid about all the other things we-- and by "we" I mean "me" -- are doing wrong. We've read books etc., but nothing beats anecdotal evidence. So this week, I'm asking you, the momlogic community, to help me out with some answers to "12 Burning Questions from a Semi-Competent Dad." I'm looking forward to your advice!

Baby smiling holding a paper bag

1) Seriously, what should we do about the sleep thing? - Is it too late to Ferberize? Does it work? What about Dancersize?

2) Should we wean him off the pacifier? - I really don't want him going to his prom while sucking on his binkie.

3) What new foods should we introduce? - The doctor said most mushed up food should be ok now... when can I mash up Taco Bell?

4) Can we cut his hair? - Luke starting to look like Nick Nolte's mughsot.

5) How do we clear out dry boogers? - I'm good with the wet stuff, but it's dry booger season and Luke seems to be annoyed by it.

6) What kind of classes should Luke be taking? - He took a music class over the fall but their playlist was woefully archaic. Babies shouldn't be learning anything pre-Sheena Easton.

7) Do you let your babies play with technology? - Nothing makes Luke happier than gnawing on a blackberry. But I'm worried this might be frying his brain.

8) Can he start watching TV yet? - He's around when the TV is on, but can he start watching regular shows like "Sesame Street" or "CSI: Miami"?

9) He constantly bonks his head on the crib; does this make him a clumsy oaf? - Our doctor said he can't hurt himself, but it really doesn't look fun for him.

10) How do you stop swearing around the baby? - We don't swear out of anger, just humor, but I have a feeling Luke's first word will be "balls", and he won't be referring to any sport.

11) How do you baby proof a fireplace? - Obviously, we can get a barrier for it, but is there something less baby-ish that's safe and goes with the room a little better?

12) How many kisses can I give me son before he gets creeped out? - Right now, it's about a million a day.

next: Why George Anthony Is on Suicide Watch
29 comments so far | Post a comment now
nikki January 23, 2009, 5:19 PM

Very cute… and funny too. :)

Randi January 23, 2009, 10:42 PM

I had to CIO with my daughter at 8 months old. I was going insane. One night of crying and she sleeps through the night ever since. She goes to sleep with a sippy cup of a little juice and water. She needs the sucking to help calm her. My 5 year old still goes to bed wih a sippy. He wont be getting married with a sippy, so i dont worry.

Daughter loves dads blackberry and trio. The BEST TOYS EVER!

Sesame street all the way! Nothing better than learning manners, letters and other fun stuff. Its also good for when you really need to clean the mess from breakfast.

She loves to bang her head on the floor when she is having a tantrum. As long as there is no blood, its her own fault and I just let her to her emotions.

Music classes are awesome for this age!

Kisses…kiss away! Nothing can give you so mu h pleasure and heart warmth!

Love the post! ;)

Monica G January 23, 2009, 11:59 PM

Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child… book EVER to get your baby to sleep through the night. My daughter was nine months before I read the book and implemented the methods and it worked wonders. Does he grab for his binky? Does he seem to want it, or are you giving it to him whenever he seems to need comfort. We weened my son slowly, at about 12 months he was only taking it at bed time and then we took it all together a short time later and he never noticed. New foods- Introduce one new food at a time so you can watch and make sure he has no adverse reaction. Stay away from allergy prone foods like eggs and peanuts for a few more months and avoid honey. Stick with soft foods until he gets used to gumming his food. I don’t think there is a rule as to when to give the first hair cut, its all a personal choice. Make sure it is someone who is used to cutting little ones hair and protects the scissor tips while cutting. Eye poking would not be good! :) Dry boogers- I soak a q tip in warm water and then use that to remove them, gently of course and don’t poke too far up in there! 9 months old don’t really need “classes”, just lots of play time with mommy and daddy, but Gymboree is a great choice. Gnawing on a cell phone isn’t a good idea LOL, get him a toy cell phone/blackberry safe for under 12 months old and see if that will satisfy him. My kids weren’t really interested in tv until around 16 months. Both started out with sesame street. Head bonking- seems strange, but totally normal! As long as he isn’t bruising himself, no need to worry, babies are quite resilient :) Not swearing takes practice. My husband and I turned it into a game to try and make each other laugh at the most outrageous phrase substitute for a curse word “son of a hard workin man” and “cheese and crackers” were uttered in place of other more colorful four letter words. Sometimes nothing feels better than screaming a curse word, so we would sometimes have to go outside and scream a few to get it out. I’m sure the neighbors thought we were crazy! There are actually fireplace babyproofing products However, I am a firm believe in teaching your child what is dangerous and not relying on babyproofing. When he crawls near the fire place, always be within arms reach and pick him up and redirect him and say “no!” ” OUCH!” or “hot”. It takes a few times before they get it.
Kisses- the more the better, you sound like a great dad!! HTH!!

sherisaid January 24, 2009, 12:18 PM

LOL! My kids lived - yours will too. and nobody went to the prom with a binky ;)

although my 20 year old daughter still sleeps with her baby blanket…

Green Me January 24, 2009, 12:24 PM

Healthy Sleep Habits is an alright book, but good to read it in combo with No Cry Sleep Solution. The HSH will make you neurotic and worry your child will be come a juvenile delinquent w/o sleep. NCSS will help you understand what you are doing right. Both have good tips that we implemented and our son sleeps fine, on his own, w/o a binkie. He does have a lovey and a stuffed animal, and a sheep skin. Signing Time Videos (start with Baby Signing Time) are awesome first TV and sign language is an amazing way to communicate and avoid tantrums at 18 months. I will have to work on Monica’s tricks for creative swearing…I thought I didn’t swear until my 7 year old nephew spent the night…boy did he set me straight!

nipsy January 24, 2009, 12:28 PM

Let’s see. Well it’s never too early to start the bedtime story time. But you have to pick a routine fit for you. Mine was bath, teeth, bed. Then I would read for a bit. I also put chamomile in their bath water. Calm them down some.

Lose that pacifier!! It was great when they were infants, the first few weeks, but now it’s time to give it up.

New foods are always fun. Just make sure you give each new food at least three days before adding something else. Easier to watch for allergies. I loved mashing bananas, peaches, watermelon, broccoli, pretty much anything I could mash.

Cut his hair when you are ready. But save the curls for your memory box. Sadly all three of mine were lost in a move.

Sorry to say, I disagree with classes for tots, so I can’t help you there. I do agree with playing classical music quite often. Change it up. Or simply sit down with your child and build, or color!

They make the neatest little kid toys now that are full of technology. It’s never too early!

Start buying up the classic children movies now. And Sesame Street is never wrong.

My youngest son used to run into walls with his head full force. It had me worried constantly. He seems to be fine now. *fingers crossed* LOL

Wish I could help with the swearing, I’m just now stopping. The only thing I used to do was spell them out. Too bad the kids learned as well..

I don’t know about the fireplace part. I was too paranoid to live in a house with one when mine were younger.

And there is never ever enough kisses. Get them while you can. My children are 11, 10, and 6 and I have to fight for my daily kisses now. I miss the baby days.. Enjoy them while they are this little!!

Ann January 24, 2009, 12:29 PM

1) Gradually, evening by evening move yourself further away. Start by holding your hand on him in the cot, then next night sit next to the cot, then near the door and so on.

2) Pacifiers can inhibit speech development. When he’s old enough to understand have the pacifier fairy come and take it during the night and leave him a toy.

3) I know you’re joking. Most food is OK, if it’s home cooked. Some recommend avoiding egg until 12 months.

4) Save this for the hairdresser. they’ll be experienced and do a much better job.

5) Don’t think there is a good solution to this other than leave the child to handle it themselves - yuk.

6) Swimming is good.

7) Opinions vary, I let my two chew my mobile phone and they’re both top of the class.

8) Generally the advice is that TV is bad at this age. And when he gets to 2 years you need to be selective about shows. TV can help develop language and can be educational.

9) Don’t worry about this. Kids having tantrums make themselves faint and bang their heads against walls. He’ll get over it and he’ll stop if it’s hurting.

10) Practise and imagine your grandmother is in the room.

11) Accept your house won’t be a show house with a little one crawling around.

12) A million sounds about right.


Allison Majure January 24, 2009, 12:30 PM

Vaseline and q tips for the boogers. ONLY work the edges, never stick it up there! And on the sleep thing….buck up buckaroo! Where did you (and most new parents) ever get the idea that there was an entitlement to a full night of sleep? Ferberize, CIO, or just help your child get to sleep by holding him for goodness sake. When the child is “the problem” I fear for their future as objects to be controlled rather than humans allowed to unfold. Don’t mean to be too harsh; I just love and defend those little miracles…all of ‘em, tiring and trying as they can be!

Donna January 24, 2009, 12:32 PM

Second the Healthy Sleep Habits Healthy Kids. I’m not a big fan of Ferber, but it has worked for many people. We didn’t start until 18m, and it was 3 hours of crying the first night, 20 minutes the second night and it was done before I took my contacts out the third night.

I used to make a lot of her baby food. Bought cans of organic peaches or pears. Drained them, rinsed them with water and put them in the food processor. Then spooned it into ice cube trays and froze it. Each cube is about 2 tablespoons of food. I also did this with organic peas and butternut squash, which was one of her favorites. Roasted in the oven, then pureed. I also bought some baby food, and used the jars for the homemade stuff.

Don’t let him chew on the blackberry, cell or car keys. Spit will get in your device and ruin the electronics. Parents Magazine makes a line of developmental toys that are remotes, cells, keys, etc. We have given many as gifts and they are well received.

Have you tried any of the Baby Einstein videos? My daughter loved them from about 3 months on. She wouldn’t watch anything else for years, not Sesame Street or anything. Put her in the high chair and let her watch so I could get a shower or make dinner or whatever.

suzielicious January 24, 2009, 12:39 PM

you really shouldnt worry about any of the things you listed, only the sleep thing, you have spoilt him, he knows you or your wife will rock him to sleep, boy all these medical experts would have us believe we were all the worst parents in the world, nonsense, you will have to un train him, mind you shouldnt have started it in the first place, yes its going to be hard work, but something that must be done, for your and the babys sake, good luck, determination is whats needed, are you up to it ?

Teri January 24, 2009, 12:43 PM

My kids are grown now and I haven’t read any of the new books that would probably try to convince me that I did everything wrong. Just remember that your child is a gift from God and that child has special needs that only his God given guardians can fulfill. If cradling him to put him to sleep feels right, than do it as long as you can possibly fit it into your schedule - the security of his parents is much better than crying alone for a night and learning how to be alone - they have plenty of time to be alone in their future and it will help them be more secure alone if they have an abundance of parental security now. We adults are too anxious to make those little ones grow up independent too soon. Hold onto every little cuddle you can now because my kids don’t cuddle with me anymore at ages 36, 33, 31 and 29 and I miss them as being more dependent on me. Please don’t give up those special moments too soon!

The binky can become a problem regarding teeth formation.

Infants and children should never go to bed with a bottle or sippy cup or if it is an absolute decision of the parent to send them to bed with either - please do not put anything in the container other than water. Other ingredients will cause early rotting of tender new baby teeth. Usually, referred to as bottle rot.

Too many people opt for objects to provide security so they themselves can be free of the attention it takes to raise a well-rounded internally secure child.

Offer yourself as the security as much as possible - the results will show more in the teen age and in the future than right away.

Look at the big picture and the life journey …

Parental security matters!

Lee January 24, 2009, 12:48 PM

I will probably get lynched, but I took my mom’s advice and put some cereal in their last formula bottle before bed. It dissolved, fills em up and both my kids slept through the night at 6 months. And, they are still alive today…with only a few noticeable ticks! My oldest would not take a pacifier and took her thumb, I am afraid she MAY walk down the aisle with that in her mouth. My youngest did the pacifier and at 2 years old we had a ceremonial burial, and never looked back. Baby Einstein videos were my kids best buds, Elmo scared them until they were old enough to understand a red furry monster with a very high pitched voice. Kisses are the best, especially when you get them back.

Scatteredmom January 24, 2009, 1:02 PM

1. Find what works for you, him, and your family. Then just stick with it. If everyone is sleeping well, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

2. For me, I can’t stand a binky when kids are starting to talk. Then the kid is mumbling around this giant thing in their mouth, lolol. We began hiding Jake’s and had him transition to a stuffie as his comfort object.

3. Mashed veggies and fruit are great-peas, carrots, potatoes, yams, mix a tiny bit of cooked shredded chicken in there, etc. Easy to make your own…someone already suggested to freeze them in ice cube trays…it’s a GREAT way to make your own baby food.

4. Of course! You could get him to sit in one parent’s lap with a toy or something that will keep him relatively still, and the other parent could do a quick snip.

5. It’s been a long time (mine is a teenager) but I think you can get a bulb shaped thing that mists the boogers with saline to make them soft, and then easier to remove.

6. I may be the odd one out on this one. I personally don’t believe that babies need ‘classes’. When Jake was about 2 we went to a “Gym” program where he could run around and strengthen his motor skills plus burn off energy (a god send when the weather was bad). But formal classes? Uh…not for us.

7. No. I went a step farther and didn’t buy anything with batteries either.

8. That’s up to you. Jake didn’t watch TV until he was 3, and then it was only 1/2 hour a day or less until he was 6. I don’t believe that babies need TV, computers, or electronics (I’m a mean parent-my 13 yo doesn’t have a cell phone or game system either)

9. I don’t think so, he’s probably still figuring out balance and gross motor skills.

10. Hubs didn’t, and when Jake was 2 he was singing a made up song of a specific swear word in a store. You may want to come up with creative alternatives.

11. Can’t help you on that one. My kid has dypraxia, a motor disorder, and didn’t crawl or walk until he was old enough to really understand the fireplace was dangerous. He never went near it.

12. You can give him a million kisses until he’s about 5, then you have to slow down. Enjoy. When he’s 13 like mine, one a day is the limit (if that).

Bottom line: Figure out what works for you and your family, what your beliefs are, and go from there. No matter WHAT you do, someone is going to disagree or think their way is better. You know your kid best!

Kris January 24, 2009, 1:12 PM

Sounds like things are about normal to me! :) I do hope, however, that somehow you and your wife are able to figure out how to get Luke to sleep without staying with him until he IS asleep. My daughter is 3.5 and I STILL usually have to stay with her and rub her back until she is just about asleep; if I don’t, the tantrums are huge (fortunately, though, the nighttime routine is getting shorter, but some nights are longer, and worse, than others—I definitely need help of my own on that). For even more fun, when she’s in mid-tantrum she bangs her head on the floor on purpose. Good times…….
Don’t worry; the fact that you’re engaged in your son’s life makes such a difference, one Luke will appreciate throughout his life.

Anonymous January 24, 2009, 4:27 PM

You can always use saline drops for thoses hard boogies, but use the kind that mists not squirts.

jjbond007 January 24, 2009, 6:59 PM

baby will give his dummy to father christmas when he,s asks for a special present kiss and hug him long as you can.every one loves affection,let him watch any todders 3year old grandaughter counts and can speak bits in spanish,give her another few years and she will be able to order my drinks for me when we go on holidays.just let him grow at his own pace,he will soon let you know when he.s unhappy with something

unique69 January 24, 2009, 7:24 PM


you will just fine evenutually everything will fall into place just love your son and kinda try to introduce a new way of falling asleep.
he will evenutally get use to the alternative
good luck unique69

Dad not Dead January 24, 2009, 7:52 PM

1. As scatteredmom said, experiment and give each tactic a chance to succeed.
2. Yes.
4. Is that about him or you? ;)
5. It’s a Dad’s job to teach his son stuff, particularly by modelling. So you have carte blanche to pick at your own schnoz in hopes that he’ll copy! Enjoy!
6. Just play with him for Pete’s sake! He’s a baby.
7. Doesn’t hurt to start setting boundaries/limits now … especially when you’re talking about expensive tech. Oh and yeah, the EM field around it’s probably no better for him than it is for you. :)
8. Hopefully at 9 months, he’s grown out of the CSI franchise and tired of the crappy braindead dialog. Go Sesame Street…I know I do.
9. My youngest son felt his way with his head for two years. He’s 9 now, very intelligent and coordinated. Then again, maybe if he hadn’t bumped his head so much, he’d be a genius by now …
10. How about putting a shock-collar on and each time you swear, your wife has permission to zap you.
12. He’ll let you know when it’s getting too much. Around 5, it’ll probably be time to let him come to you, play hard to get. Around 10 he won’t put up with it at all. But right now, seriously, you’re doing him the world of good. More dads should shower affection on their bubs.
Good post, man.

Lara M. January 25, 2009, 2:52 AM

Keep rocking him…eventually he will go to sleep on his own. If you/your wife are happy rocking him think of it this way—this is the only time in his life that you will be able to hold him in your arms at bedtime. Enjoy it while you can—it will come to an end eventually. As the mom of three boys, ages 6, 4 & 3, I know that the time flies! I wish I could rock one of my babies to sleep now!

mackatie January 25, 2009, 4:40 AM

I think in the nicest possible way you need to chill out about this.Put your baby down to sleep leave the room for twenty minutes and I mean do not! no matter how tempted you are go back into his room if you cannot bear the crying go to another place in the house, you might have to do this for a few nights but after a week which in the grand scheme of things is not a long time you should have a bedtime cherub.If however you have a stubborn cherub go in after ten minutes don’t talk to him just lay him down again and leave the room remember don’t speak then put it up to 15 minutes.then 20minutes,each night should get easier. Good luck P.s watch super nanny she’s brilliant.

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